Committees in the Tennessee state legislature have approved a measure that would make the Bible the official book of Tennessee.
“It doesn’t in any way, shape, form or fashion say that anyone has to read this book,” The Tennessean quoted state Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, as saying. “It doesn’t mean anyone has to believe in the tenets of this book.”
However, a number of religious organizations have expressed concerns about the bill, according to media reports. And, not every elected official in Tennessee supports the measure.
“It shouldn’t be,” the Chattanooga Times Free Press quoted state Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, as saying. “I’m just adamantly opposed to that. The Bible is my official book. It is. It shouldn’t be put in the Blue Book with ‘Rocky Top,’ cave salamanders and the tulip poplar.”
With the approvals from the Senate State and Local Government Committee and the House State Government Committee, the measure now heads to the full House and Senate for consideration. Gov. Bill Haslam hasn’t publicly said whether he would sign of veto the measure should it be approved, published reports indicated.
“I see no positive. I see no positive reason to do this,” WATE-TV quoted Rev. John Mark Wiggers as saying.
“The Bible is so important to people of faith and I feel like to put it in the same category as state bird or state soft drink or flower does sort of belittle that,” Wiggers added. “We feel like there’s better work for them to do. We’re glad if they’re people of faith and if that’s guiding their decisions, but to hold up any one particular faith is not helpful and is potentially harmful.”