Tennessee House Fails To Override Gov’s Veto, Make Bible Official State Book

The Tennessee House of Representatives on Wednesday failed in an attempt to override a veto by Gov. Bill Haslam and designate the Bible as the state's official book. File Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

NASHVILLE, April 20 (UPI) — The Tennessee House of Representatives came up short in its attempt Wednesday to override a veto by Gov. Bill Haslam to make the Bible the state’s official book.

The House and Senate passed the controversial legislation but Haslam rejected it last week, saying the designation would marginalize the holy book.

“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,” he said. “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.”

After Haslam’s refusal, the bill’s proponents in the legislature said they would try and override his veto, requiring only a simple majority, which both chambers had to pass the bill in the first place.

As the House’s override attempt on Wednesday failed by a vote of 50-43, it was clear that some who originally voted to pass the bill last year did not wish to supersede the governor.

In fact, five Democrats and six Republicans in the House voted for the measure but relented in the face of Haslam’s veto.

Debate over the bill lasted for two hours in Nashville on Wednesday. Some lawmakers said it was an opportunity for Tennessee to send a message to the rest of the country, while others questioned whether it was all that important.

“What if we are the state that fans the flame and causes other states to pay attention and read our actions,” Republican Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver said. “What if Tennessee was the state that started the revival that this nation so desperately needs?”

“You know what this legislative body ought to be doing if we really wanted to honor the Bible? We ought to make sure everybody in the state is covered health wise,” Democratic Rep. Johnny Shaw said. “You’re not going to see no difference in Tennessee whether you make it the state book or not.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jerry Sexton, said he was disappointed by Wednesday’s vote but that he also understands it was a tough decision for many of his colleagues.

“There is so much oppression today of Christian beliefs and values it seems it is not the popular thing to do,” he said. “I stand today to say that I’m a Christian and I’m proud that I am and I’m proud that I live in a country that I have the freedom to do that.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here