The Tennessee legislature approved a bill Monday that would designate “the Holy Bible as the official state book,” becoming the first state to approve a measure of its kind.
The bill passed by a vote of 19 to 8 in the state senate and is now headed to the desk of Gov. Bill Haslam (R) for his signature.
“Haslam has stated that he opposes the measure but hasn’t said whether he’ll issue a veto,” Fox News reports.
Memphis Democratic state Sen. Lee Harris opposed the measure and said his constituents were concerned that the bill favors one religion over others.
“My constituents tell me that they want us to respect the diversity of faith traditions in the state of Tennessee, not just a single view or a single religious tradition,” Harris said. “And I think they’re right about the diversity of faith traditions in our state. One in five Tennesseans are not Christians. This group includes Tennesseans that are Jewish, Buddhist, and also those that do not identify with a religion.”
More than 8 in 10 Tennesseans are Christian.
“What we’re doing here is recognizing [the Bible] for its historical and cultural contributions to the state of Tennessee,” Republican sate Sen. Steve Southerland said.
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