Lawmakers again introduce bill to make Holy Bible Tennessee’s official state book

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WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 28: A man reads scripture from the Bible as members of the public wait in line to view the casket of Christian evangelist and Southern Baptist minister Billy Graham as he lies in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda February 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. A spiritual counselor for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama and other world leaders for more than 60 years, Graham died on 21st February at the age of 99. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Tennessee legislators have introduced a bill that would designate the Holy Bible as the official state book.

Sen. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) introduced Senate Bill 2696 on Thursday, which pairs with House Bill 2778 that was introduced by Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) on Wednesday.

If passed, the bill would legally designate the Holy Bible as Tennessee’s official state book.

A similar effort was made at the state level in 2016, when then-Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed a bill that would do the same thing.

At the time, Haslam sided with the Attorney General who said designating the Holy Book as the Tennessee book would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

That clause states “no preference shall be ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”

Thursday’s bill is the first time the issue has been brought up again since 2016.

WREG has reached out to the offices of Rep. Sexton and Sen. Pody, but has not heard back.

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