According to a Reuters report, this Wednesday, Tennessee state legislators moved forward on a bill to make the Bible the official state book, a measure the state attorney general slammed as unconstitutional, with even Republican Governor Bill Haslam calling the bill “disrespectful.”
The Republican-controlled state House of Representatives voted 55-38 to approve the Bible as state book. A companion bill could be considered as soon as Thursday in the state Senate, where Republicans hold 28 seats to five for Democrats.
Representative Bud Hulsey, a Republican, told colleagues in support of the bill it is worth the fight “now more than ever.”
Other Republican representatives opposed the bill, citing concerns about how Tennessee might be perceived and the cost of defending it against legal challenges.
“The controversy will not end in this chamber,” Representative Martin Daniel said. “If we pass this, we’re going to be ridiculed.”
The bill has even been criticized by religious leaders. But the most notable criticism came from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, who said the bill violates the separation of church and state under the U.S. Constitution — and Tennessee’s constitution.