A bill that would designate the Bible as the official book of Tennessee has passed the state’s House of Representatives and a Senate committee, and now goes on to another Senate committee for approval.
Christian Today reports that SB 1108 passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee with a 7-1 vote. The bill was previously passed by the House 55-38.
The bill is sponsored by Republican state Sen. Steve Southerland. Tennessee's Gov. Bill Haslam and Attorney General Herbert Slatery oppose the bill, saying that it violates the separation of church and state.
However, Republican Sen. Kerry Roberts, who also supports the bill, said that George Washington and other Founding Fathers were sworn in on the Bible, and that “the attitude of these people was not to keep religion out of government. It was to keep government out of religion.”
Other states besides Tennessee have attempted to pass similar bills, including Mississippi and Louisiana, but the bills have not passed in those states.
The bill now heads to the Tennessee Senate Calendar Committee which will decide if it should get a hearing on the Senate floor.
The American Civil Liberties Union is opposed to the bill, stating that "The rich religious diversity in our state is best respected by ensuring that government does not promote specific religious books," according to ACLU Executive Director Hedy Weinberg, who added that "selecting the Bible as the state book amounts to government promotion of one religion over other religions, which clearly violates both the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions."
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Publication date: April 1, 2016