The state of Tennessee could soon make history by naming the Holy Bible as the state’s official book.
On Monday, April 4, the bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 19-8, with both Republicans and Democrats voting in support. If the bill leaves the Governor’s desk with a signature, Tennessee will be the first state to name the Bible as its state book.
Supporters of the bill argued the Bible has contributed significant historical and cultural contributions to Tennessee, while those in opposition voiced concern that if the bill passes, it would violate Tennessee’s constitution by elevating one religion over another.
According to an article in The Tennessean, Governor Bill Haslam has 10 days after receiving the bill to either sign it or veto it, before it automatically becomes law. Last year, the Governor was faced with an earlier, slightly different version of this bill, and he expressed concern that it was not “very respectful of what the Bible is,” according to David Smith, a Haslam spokesman. One of his apprehensions last year was that placing the Bible on the list of official state symbols—nestled among things like raccoons and the Barrett M82 sniper rifle—would be irreverent.