NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – One of your state lawmakers wants to add the Bible to Tennessee’s list of state symbols.
State Rep. Jerry Sexton, a Republican from Bean Station, filed the bill Tuesday and it would make the Bible the official state book.
Lynn Willis from Fountain City said she goes to church regularly and supports the Bible, but believes the proposal is too much.
“It’s absolutely wrong. It goes too far. It shouldn’t be at all. There shouldn’t be any state religious book,” said Willis.
Others at a park in Fountain City, like Earl Pressel, said they think it’s a good idea.
“A lot of reasons. For one thing is we need it. You know it helps us out a lot in different things, different reasons,” said Pressel.
Tennessee has more than two dozen state symbols including the state flag and the state fruit, which is the tomato. Adding the Bible as the state book would be its own category.More online: Tennessee State Symbols
ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg issued this statement:
Religious texts should not be used as political footballs. This resolution clearly violates both the United States and Tennessee constitutions, which prohibit government promotion of one religion over other religions. While the Bible is an important book to many state residents, Tennesseans come from a wide range of diverse faiths—privileging one religion over another is not only unconstitutional, it sends the wrong message, marginalizing the thousands of Tennesseans who choose to practice other religions or not to practice religion.
Not everyone agrees.
“But we’re all God’s children, no matter what nationality or what color we are or anything. We’re still God’s people,” said Pressel.
“Therefore if I say that my religion is more important, better, right, and you’re wrong, then I don’t think Jesus would approve of that,” said Willis.
State Rep. Sexton issued this statement:
House Bill 615 simply recognizes the most influential book in Tennessee’s history and the history of our great nation. It would not force religion on any Tennessean. Simply because it is a religious book does not disqualify it from consideration, nor does it take away from its historically important role. Even today, it continues to play an important role in the lives of many Tennesseans. Its influence is worthy of our recognition.
A request to find out whether there is a Senate sponsor to his bill has not been returned.