NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS Local) — A Republican lawmaker is making another attempt to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee.
Rep. Jerry Sexton filed HB2778 on Wednesday, which would designate “the Holy Bible as the official state book” of Tennessee.
The bill comes four years after he sponsored similar legislation, which was ultimately vetoed by then Republican Governor Bill Haslam.
Critics of the 2016 legislation complained the legislation would trivialize the Bible by placing it alongside other state symbols like the official rock, tree, or reptile.
The Bible the official book of Tennessee? Four years after a failed effort, a Republican lawmaker tries again https://t.co/NWEToUWp1P
— Tennessean (@Tennessean) February 5, 2020
Attorney General Herbert Slatery III also argued the bill would have violated both state and federal constitutions.
“If we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, then we shouldn’t be recognizing it only as a book of historical and economic significance,” Governor Haslam wrote at the time of his veto.
“If we are recognizing the Bible as a sacred text, then we are violating the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee by designating it as the official state book,” he added.
Haslam left office in 2019 after serving two terms and was replaced by Bill Lee.
Lee, a Republican who frequently touted his faith during his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, has not indicated how he would handle the new proposal, the Tennessean reported.