Theocracy Alert: Tennessee lawmakers make the Holy Bible the state’s official book.
On Monday Tennessee lawmakers gave final approval to making the Holy Bible the state’s official book.
The state Senate voted 19-8 in favor of the bill, which now goes to the desk of Governor Bill Haslam.
The bill was passed despite arguments by the state attorney general that the measure conflicts with a provision in the Tennessee Constitution stating that “no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”
Last year, Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued an opinion suggesting the measure would violate separation of church and state provisions in the federal and state constitutions.
Indeed, Article I Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution seems clear – pay particular attention to the last clause:
That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.
The Editorial Board of The Tennessean issued a blistering rebuke of the lawmakers supporting the legislation – calling them theocrats and comparing them to Muslim Ayatollahs, declaring:
This is Tennessee, not Tehran, We are governed by the people, not the religious authorities.
In the end, the legislation is an obnoxious and dangerous example of Christian privilege and religious extremism run amok. There can be no doubt that making the Bible the official state book is a direct attack on atheists, agnostics and other freethinkers, as well as other religious minorities.
Bottom line: The legislation making the Holy Bible the official book of Tennessee is an assault on the U.S. Constitution, the state constitution of Tennessee, and the secular values upon which this nation was founded.