Tennessee lawmakers to restart debate on Bible as official book

Friday, April 10, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 15

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House members are preparing for another run today at making the Bible the official book of Tennessee.

Time ran out on a sometimes raucous debate Tuesday about whether the measure would run afoul of the state and federal constitutions by endorsing a religion.

The bill's sponsor, freshman Rep. Jerry Sexton of Bean Station, argues that his bill only seeks to honor the Bible's historical, cultural and economic impact in Tennessee. But critics say making the Bible the state book is an inherent endorsement of Christianity.

Prominent Republican opponents of the bill include Gov. Bill Haslam, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell. Twelve co-sponsors have dropped their endorsement of the House bill in the two days since state Attorney General Herbert Slatery said it was unconstitutional.