As of Wednesday, Tennessee is advancing a bill to make the Bible its official state book, but not everyone is happy about it. Even Republicans are bickering between each other over the matter, and the state attorney general says the measure would be unconstitutional anyway. Tennessee’s governor, Bill Haslam, also dislikes the idea, calling it “disrespectful,” so how could it pass the House?
Well, it did – 55 – 38 in a conservative-heavy state House of Reps. As quickly as Thursday, the state Senate may consider a companion bill, as well. Republicans dominate the state Senate, too, 28 – 5.
Republican Rep. in favor of the measure, Bud Hulsey, told his choir in the state House that “now more than ever” such a designation is necessary — perhaps a reference to the wave of marriage equality sweeping the nation. These are “sinful” times, folks. Sinful times, indeed, what with all that acceptance of homo-sex-u-ality and mary-wanna out there.
But even some Republicans feel less than happy with the measure to the point of opposition. It seems some of them are awake at the wheel just enough to sense adopting the Bible as the state book of Tennessee might create the wrong public perception of the volunteer state. Others believe the state could potentially dump far too much money into defending, essentially, an un-defendable law, should it ever get that far. Conservative Rep. Marc Gravitt worries the state’s attorney general’s statement indicates that amount could be into the millions.
Republican State Rep. Martin Daniel stated:
The controversy will not end in this chamber. If we pass this, we’re going to be ridiculed.
Still other representatives are worried for an entirely different reason. They believe simply calling the Bible a “book” is disrespectful. It makes it just another run of the mill text, essentially on the same level as… duhn-duhn-duuuh! – literature. And if Christians really believe what they say they believe, that makes perfect sense. After all, the Bible is not a “book” – it’s the literal or figurative word of God in their eyes (I’ll leave that debate for those who believe enough to give a damn).
To Kill a Mockingbird and The Pilgrim’s Progress are books and calling the Bible a book is in itself wrong.
As mentioned above, Gov. Bill Haslam feels the same way.
All that, and with Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert Slatery III against it, saying it’s unconstitutional and in violation of the oft-violated separation of church and state under both the U.S. and Tennessee state constitution. It’s tough to see how this bill will ever reach the status of “law,” though what the state Senate plans to release as early as Thursday may hold a suggestion as to whether or not any form of the measure may reach the light of day anytime soon, when all is said and done.
But for those of us non-believing heathens out there who view the Bible as nothing more than a book, anyway, it’s somewhat easy to laugh it off and not care about this slick attempt by Tennessee to incorporate religion into government. We can’t do that, however, because we also know just how allowing something as minor as that will only open up the floodgate to any other yahoo state out their wishing to do the same thing, and then suddenly, all across America, we have the Bible as the state book, essentially turning it into America’s national book, which is just too close for comfort for everyone who maintains that the church and government should be separated.
No, this bill is just plain wrong, and a multitude of reasons, even from within the Republican Party whose members brought forth the bill, illustrates just how and why.
It’s baffling to consider, isn’t it, just how good bills fail time and time again, but something as trivial and contested as Tennessee attempting to adopt the Bible as its state book still passes in the House and could actually become law.
Why is it so tough for some Christians to understand that one can worship Christ and maintain Christian ideals without inserting it into government at every point and opportunity? Use it to inform your decisions, personally, even when it comes to voting, but keep it out of the American people’s legislation. It’s just not constitutional. After all, how are all the non-Christian folks supposed to feel living in a state whose state book is the Bible?