The Bible will not become the state of Tennessee’s official book.
A measure granting this designation to the Bible passed both chambers of the legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam (R). The bill, H.B. 615, would have made Tennessee the first state in the country to make the Bible an official symbol.
Lawmakers in the state House of Representatives attempted an override but failed on a 43-50 vote. The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station), lamented the failure but said he and his colleagues had “made history.”
“There is so much oppression today of Christian beliefs and values it seems it is not the popular thing to do,” Sexton said. “I stand today to say that I’m a Christian and I’m proud that I am and I’m proud that I live in a country that I have the freedom to do that.”
In a letter to House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Haslam explained that he vetoed the bill because it violated both state and federal constitutions and “trivializes” the Bible.