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If at First You Don't Succeed: TN Lawmaker Tries 2nd Time to Make Bible 'Official State Book'

02-07-2020
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Back in 2016, then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) vetoed a bill that would have made the Holy Bible the official book of the Volunteer State, saying the bill went against both the federal and state constitutions.

Fast forward to today -- State Rep. Jerry Sexton filed a similar bill (House Bill 2778) on Wednesday that would "designate the Holy Bible as the official state book."

Eleven co-sponsors have joined Sexton in promoting the bill. 

State Sen. Mark Pody also filed the bill in the state Senate. 

Sexton has said his measure recognizes the role the Bible has played in Tennessee state history.

"There is no denying our history," Sexton told The Baptist Press in 2015. "The Bible has certainly had a pivotal role in the history of our state as well as our nation. The Bible also plays a significantly important role in our state today with several companies in Nashville being responsible for publishing more Bibles than possibly any other city in the world."

"Making the Bible our official state book isn't a violation of either our Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. It is simply a recognition of its historical importance," he continued. "To preclude the Bible simply because it is religious in nature is anathema to the First Amendment."

In a letter to Beth Harwell, the speaker of the Tennesse state House, former Gov. Haslam wrote: "In addition to the constitutional issues with the bill, my personal feeling is that this bill trivializes the Bible, which I believe is a sacred text."

CBN News has reached out to Rep. Sexton for comment.  We will update this story as soon as we hear back from him. 

As CBN News has reported, over the past year, legislation in seven states allowed Bible classes in public schools. Six more states could follow.

The believers behind that effort say their idea is simple and to the point: Teach the book that has shaped our civilization like no other.

President Trump even tweeted about that effort.

"Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!" he wrote.

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