Tennessee Bill to Make Bible State Book Passes House, Senate

Tennessee Bill to Make Bible State Book Passes House, Senate

The Tennessee Senate and House committee approved measures this week that would make the Bible the official book of Tennessee.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved the measure by a 7-0-2 vote, with two abstaining from the vote. About an hour later, the House State Government Committee approved the bill, according to The Tennessean.

The bill still needs to go to another committee before it goes to a vote at the full House and Senate.

"It doesn't in any way, shape, form or fashion say that anyone has to read this book. It doesn't mean anyone has to believe in the tenets of this book," said Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown.

Some local religious leaders told the Senate that making the Bible the official book of the state wasn’t the best idea.

"I love catfish, but listen, it doesn't come close to the Holy Scripture," said Michael Williams, pastor of the West End United Methodist Church in Nashville.

Said Mark Schiftan, senior rabbi at a temple in Nashville: “We urge you to reconsider and to contemplate this within your own hearts.”

House sponsor Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station disagreed.

"I don't think you could diminish (the Bible) if you tried. It doesn't need us to hold it up, it stands on its own," Sexton said.

Publication date: April 8, 2015