Tennessee Attorney General Says Bill to Make the Holy Bible the Official State Book is Unconstitutional

Following the lead of Republicans in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, Tennessee State Rep. Jerry Sexton (below) filed a bill earlier this year to make the Holy Bible the official state book:

HB 615 will be voted on today in the House, but yesterday, the state’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery said passing the bill would lead to a constitutional violation:

“The Bible is undeniably a sacred text of the Christian faith,” Slatery wrote in the opinion obtained by The Associated Press. “Legislative designation of The Holy Bible as the official book … must presumptively be understood as an endorsement of religion.”

Not that the legislators seem to care:

Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown and a lead sponsor of the measure, said he plans to move forward despite the legal opinion: “That’s his opinion. I’ve got a different one.”

Take take, Attorney General! I mean, what could that guy possibly know about the law…?

(Southerland, by the way, was a mortgage broker before he was in elected office. So he totally knows what he’s talking about.)

Slatery’s opinion isn’t just a recommendation, though. If a lawsuit is filed against the bill down the road — and you bet your ass that’ll happen — the Attorney General’s office will not be required to defend it.

Looks like others are backing away from the bill as well:

The governor also has strong reservations about the bill, spokesman David Smith said.

“The governor doesn’t think it’s very respectful of what the Bible is,” Smith said.

Senate Republican leader Mark Norris of Collierville said he hopes the attorney general’s opinion will persuade colleagues to vote against the measure.

“They were dumbing down the Bible, trying to make it look like a history book to keep it secular, rather than sacred,” Norris said. “It’s a dumb bill and it needs to die.”

It needs to, but it won’t. It’ll keep getting votes until someone with a sense of responsibility and understanding of the law has the guts to put a stop to the nonsense.

(Thanks to Chris for the link. Portions of this article were posted earlier)

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