Tennessee makes Bible official state book

2016-04-05 22:00


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Nashville - Tennessee lawmakers voted on Monday to make the Bible the state's official book. They've already made a .50-calibre sniper gun the official state rifle.

The state Senate gave final approval on a 19-8 vote despite arguments the measure conflicts with a provision in the state Constitution that "no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship".

Republican Senator Steve Southerland argued his bill is aimed at recognising the Bible for its historical and cultural contributions to the state, rather than as government endorsement of religion.

Opponents argued the Bible would be trivialised by being placed alongside other state symbols like the official tree, rock or amphibian.

The measure heads to Republican Governor Bill Haslam, who hasn't said whether he'll issue a veto.

In solidly Republican Tennessee, heavy doses of God and guns are considered reliable election-year politics. The bill came to a vote just days before the candidate filing deadline, giving lawmakers pause about being portrayed by political rivals as being as opposed to the Bible if they voted against the bill.

Hedy Weinberg, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, called on the governor to veto the Bible bill, calling it a "thinly veiled effort to promote one religion over other religions clearly violates both the United States and Tennessee Constitutions".

Read more on:    us  |  religion

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