Senate and House committees overwhelmingly approved measures Tuesday that would designate the Bible as the official book of Tennessee, despite reservations raised by religious leaders and some lawmakers.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved the measure by a 7-0-2 vote; no lawmakers voted against the bill, but two abstained. The House State Government Committee approved the bill by a voice vote about an hour later.
The House version includes added language in the form of an amendment. The amendment adds “talking points” in support of the bill, said House sponsor, Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station.
“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.
Several local religious leaders spoke out against the bill in the Senate committee hearing. Michael Williams, pastor at the West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, said he fears that making the Bible the official book would demean the Bible and what the Scriptures mean to himself and other Christians.
“I love catfish, but listen, it doesn’t come close to the Holy Scripture,” Williams said, noting his fears of listing the Bible with the state fish and other state items.
Click here for more.
SOURCE: The Tennessean