Tennessee lawmaker Jerry Sexton has been pushing the state legislature to consider the Bible as the official book of Tennessee. Sexton has encountered many setbacks along the way, as many experts considered the very idea a violation of the establishment clause, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. On Thursday, the official legislation that would make the Bible the Tennessee state book was derailed by the state senate. According to the Tennessean, the Republican senators completely opposed the bill.
Throughout the life span of the bill, many experts and politicians stated that it was unlikely that such a bill would pass. Recently, Republican Governor Bil Haslam spoke out against the legislation. Now, the senate has officially voted to refer the bill, which doesn’t completely get rid of it.
Tennessee is not the first state to make an attempt at claiming The Bible as the state book. Last year, Louisana made the same attempt, but quickly gave up. This year, Mississippi is still working to ease the idea back into conversation with Democratic House Rep. Tom Miles in the forefront.
All of these states, as well as Indiana, are having such a hard time because of the concern that having The Bible as a state book is unconstitutional. Law experts believe that it would not only violate state law, but federal law as well. However, the senate has not reached a final conclusion on whether the Bible would be a legal violation.
As the U.S. Constitution speaks on “respecting the establishment of religion,” in order to make a decision, the senate must decide if the Bible is partial to a certain religion. Recently, Robert Blitt, a law professor at University of Tennessee College of law, expressed his concerns with the state book ordeal.
“I don’t think one could make a distinction that this is about invoking a generic god or having a national prayer breakfast. I think there is something substantively different making the Bible the official book of the state. Are they going to be printing copies of the official state book? Hosting the state book on government websites? That gets into entanglements that are problematic.”
Having the Bible as the literary mascot of the state has already had a religiously exclusive effect. During the floor vote, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris blamed Satan for the vote not going in favor of the Bible.
“All I know is that I hear Satan snickering. He loves this kind of mischief. You just dumb the good book down far enough to make it whatever it takes to make it a state symbol, and you’re on your way to where he wants you.”
Jerry Sexton and his committee reportedly have no plans to cease in their efforts to make the Bible that state book of Tennessee.
[Image via Examiner]