Tennessee might be the first state to establish the Bible as its official book, after the state Senate approved a measure to do so on Monday in a 19-8 vote. The bill is now headed to Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, but it’s unclear whether Haslam, who said in 2015 that the bill wasn’t “very respectful” of the religious text, plans to veto or sign the bill. It will automatically become law if he does not take action within 10 days, excluding Sundays, after the speakers of the House and Senate sign off the legislation.
“The governor doesn’t think it’s very respectful of what the Bible is,” the governor’s spokesman David Smith told The Tennessean. The state’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery also released a statement last year that said acknowledgement of the Bible as the official state book would violate the First and Third Amendments of the Constitution for giving preference to a religious institution. Meanwhile, legislators in support of the measure argued for the significance of the holy scripture and its role in founding the United States. FULL REPORT