Tennessee Governor Vetoes Bill to Make Bible Official State Book

Mark Humphrey/AP
Mark Humphrey/AP

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam vetoed a controversial bill that would have made the Holy Bible the official state book.

“Our founders recognized that when the church and state were combined, it was the church that suffered in the long run,” Governor Haslam wrote in a letter explaining his decision to veto the bill.

Governor Haslam also said he thought the bill would “trivialize” the Bible, putting it on par with the state flower.

“This bill trivializes the Bible, which I believe is a sacred text,” he wrote.

Tennessee Republican state legislators, who pushed the bill through to Governor Haslam’s desk and who also hold overwhelming majorities in both the state House and Senate, are already moving forward with their plan to override the Governor’s veto.

“It’s not a huge surprise that Gov. Haslam vetoed the bill making the Bible the state’s official book. He gave a pretty clear warning before it passed,” said WPLN reporter Blake Farmer. “But already, the measure’s sponsors have said they will attempt an override, and they may have the numbers. It doesn’t even take quite as many votes as the legislation got in the first place.”

A simple majority in each legislative chamber is all that is needed to override Governor Haslam’s veto.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson.


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