Tennessee lawmaker wants Bible to be state's official book


It would seem that Louisiana and Mississippi are not the only states eyeing to declare the Bible as the state book.

But while the attempts in the two areas have so far failed, the third time may prove to be the charm.

Tennessee Rep. Jerry Sexton from Bean Station, has recently filed House Bill 615 before Congress entitled "An Act to amend Tennessee Code relative to designating the Holy Bible as the official state book."

The measure seeks to amend Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3 of the Tennessee Code, annotated to include the designation of the Bible as official state book with the act taking effect upon becoming a law.

While Sexton could not be reached for comment, the bill has been met with similar concerns as its predecessors, especially on the issue of the separation of the church and state.

This was the same issue that prompted Rep. Thomas Carmody to pull the bill before it reached the floor in 2014.

Meanwhile, both versions of the Mississippi bill filed by Republican Rep. Tracy Arnold of Booneville, and Democratic Reps. Tom Miles and Michael Evans have failed to make it through committee after the first major deadline of the 2015 Mississippi legislative session earlier this month.

An editorial posted on The Tennessean slammed the bill for being unconstitutional and divisive as it cited the part of the Constitution of both the United States and Tennessee that allows the exercise of religious freedom without the state favouring one religion over the other.

"Making a religious text the state's official tome isn't like the innocuous act of choosing a state beverage (milk), fruit (tomato) or rock (limestone). This sends a message of exclusion and divisiveness in a state that is becoming more and more diverse," the article cited.

Tennessee has previously declared the tomato as its state fruit, agate as its state mineral, and the raccoon as the state's official wild animal.