TENNESSEE: Governor Vetoes Bill to Make Christian Bible Official State Book, Saying It Deserves More


GOP Governor Tries to Find Way to Pacify Far Right Christian Lobby

The Holy Christian Bible will not be the official book of Tennessee. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has just vetoed a bill that would have placed the "Good Book" among other state symbols, including salamanders, the Barrett M82 sniper rifle, the Eastern box turtle, milk, bees, raccoons, tulip poplar trees, tomatoes, the largemouth bass and the channel catfish, and the square dance.

"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," Haslam wrote in his veto. "If we believe that the Bible is the word of God, then we shouldn't be recognizing it only as a book of historical and economic significance."

Lawmakers are in session for another week, should they decide to try to overturn his veto.

Less than two weeks ago it took state lawmakers less than 30 minutes to pass the bill and rush it off to the governor's desk, despite, as the governor suggested, the fact that it's unconstitutional. 

As NCRM reported earlier, the bill's sponsor is Sen. Steve Southerland, the Republican Caucus Chaplain. Southerland "said it is aimed at highlighting the historical significance of the Bible in Tennessee, not as an official endorsement of a religion," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Southerland told his colleagues that should the bill become law then challenged in court, the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) promised to defend it. FACT says that "healthy families and communities come about when basic values from the Bible are embraced and upheld."

The only other state to have an official book is Massachusetts. In 2003 the state chose the 1941 children's classic Make Way for Ducklings.

While the Governor has his veto pen handy, perhaps he'll maintain his momentum and veto HB 1840which will allow therapists to turn away LGBT people if they can claim that treating them would violate their "sincerely held principles."


Image via Wikimedia

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