FEBRUARY 9, 2020
In 2015, Tennessee State Rep. Jerry Sexton filed a bill to make the Holy Bible the official state book.
It didn’t work. While the bill passed in the House, the Senate did nothing with it, in part because even Attorney General Herbert Slatery said it was unconstitutional.
In 2016, Sexton’s GOP colleague State Sen. Steve Southerland tried again… and failed.
Now Sexton is giving it another shot. The substantive part of House Bill 2778 is just a sentence long: “The Holy Bible is hereby designated as the official state book.”
There are already ten co-sponsors. The companion bill, SB 2696 (with six co-sponsors), does the same thing.
Of all the books any state should be exalting, a specific group’s religious text ought to be pretty low on the list. Why not a math textbook or a work of classic literature? There are so many authors with connections to the state — Alex Haley, Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams — yet their works weren’t even considered.
This bill should fail. Tennessee doesn’t need a stronger connection to Christianity. It needs far less of it.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)