Tennessee Attorney General: Bible can’t be official state book

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Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III said on Tuesday (April 14) that a bill under consideration in the legislature to make the Bible the official state book would be an unconstitutional endorsement that the sacred text does not need.

Photo courtesy of Office of Attorney General, State of Tennessee

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III said on Tuesday (April 14) that a bill under consideration in the legislature to make the Bible the official state book would be an unconstitutional endorsement that the sacred text does not need.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) "I am quite confident that the Bible's distinguished place in history will not be diminished in the absence of a state's endorsement," state Attorney General Herbert Slatery said.

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  • Sanity is so refreshing!

    Score for Separation of Church and State.

  • Patriots

    Psalm 119:11

  • Marie

    Religion is intrinsically unpatriotic. It requires people to put a fictional “god” character higher in importance than country would be.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Wow…you actually score some points this time,Max! ( Although you diluted your win somewhat by the snark.But I’ll let that pass for now.)—I happen to agree with the Tennessee attorney general: The Word of God needs no recognition as ANY state’s so-called “official”book; the very concept is ludicrous,as I say that as a Christian!! Seriously,saints—Let’s use our God-given wisdom,O.K? Please.

  • Shelama

    Well, if not the Bible, then maybe they can name Jesus as the official state Jew.

  • Larry

    It is far more appropriate to name a Jew who is native to the state. 🙂

  • I’m not being snarky.

    Any time a government official cites the virtues of the Establishment Clause it is a win for all our freedoms – including religion.

    The Establishment Clause (“Congress shall not establish a religion..” – US Constitution )
    does not endorse the Bible’s staying power!
    It is a rejection of the Bible having power.

  • Marie:

    BINGO! THANK YOU!

  • Shawnie5

    Thank you. Which is why Communist and other totalitarian regimes HATE it.

  • Shawnie5

    And thank you for revealing your true feelings about the nature of the state by agreeing with the above statement.

  • opheliart

    “Bible can’t be official state book”

    How about a small state air craft?

    http://news.yahoo.com/small-aircraft-lands-capitol-lawn-pilot-custody-174723947–politics.html

    😀 this is too funny!

  • Marie

    Shawnie5, that’s quite the emotional outburst. Please try to be more reasonable in future comments.

    Many people of all political stripes dislike the bible, not just communists and those behind totalitarian regimes. I think you are trying to imply an association with one group that isn’t actually exclusive, in order to score points for your religion. I reject that despicable ploy of yours. It was pretty easy to see through your cheap tactic.

    Someday hopefully you’ll take your blinders off and take a more careful look at what your bible actually requires you to do and to think of others. The bible is itself a prime source of hate.

  • Marie

    See below for my comment on your despicable associative ploy, Shawnie5.

  • James Carr

    Naming the Bible the official state book has all the punch of Budweiser being the official beer of the Olympics. Meaningless. But IF the people want to vote it in, why not?

  • Fran

    That’s a surprising statement to me since so many religions get involved in politics and wars. They still put their trust in man, and not God, to solve all of their problems. We can only see the results of man ruling over man with corruption, injustice, selfishness and greed.

    The only hope for mankind when it comes to “government” is God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) which so many religions do not even acknowledge nor support.

    That government will soon put an end to all the problems we now face, including all wicked ones (Isaiah 11:1-9), and provide grand blessings to all meek ones (Revelation 21:3,4).

  • Larry

    Except whereas the Olympics will seek endorsement of any and all products and things of note, the government is prohibited from endorsement of any given religious belief. See the 1st Amendment.

    Equating government responsibilities to the public with commercial endorsements are one of many reasons not to take conservative Christians seriously when they talk about religious rights. They obviously do not understand the concept.

  • Shawnie5

    Marie, that is quite the emotional outburst. Please try to be more reasonable in future comments.

    “Many people of all political stripes dislike the bible, not just communists and those behind totalitarian regimes.”

    True, but not because they think the state deserves prior loyalty. That is the reason why totalitarians have hated the Bible from Nero’s Rome to the Soviet gulags.

    Hopefully, you’ll someday open a book.

  • Fourth Valley

    “Naming the Bible the official state book has all the punch of Budweiser being the official beer of the Olympics.”

    Are… you implying that the authors of the bible are paying Tennessee ridiculously high amounts of money in order to market their bibles as the “Official Bible of the State of Tennessee”??

    Lol, there’s a lot of money and advertising in Olympics deals. A LOT of money (the Olympics is a very corrupt, bribe-taking organization), so I’m not really sure how their comparable.

  • Marie

    Stop copying my text, Shawnie. It wasn’t justified. Nowhere did I use all caps in my post, unlike you.

    You and your religion are indeed despicable. You just demonstrated that again with your insulting remark. I’ve read many books, obviously.

    Thank you for acknowledging my points. Now, please provide an apology for your insult. I’ll be waiting.

  • James Carr

    The Bible IS a book, thus is entitled to be a contestant for “Book of the State”. Looks like Christian bashing again. I shall contact Rome today.

  • James Carr

    Olympic sponsors, State symbols, Miss America; all meaningless titles……yet some folks enjoy them. Leave them alone.

  • Irving 143

    God’s kingdom is not here on Earth, and no one can say when and if it will ever arrive. Do you suggest we just sit here and spin while we wait (and wait and wait and wait…), or get on with actually living on Earth?

  • Shawnie5

    “Stop copying my text, Shawnie. It wasn’t justified.”

    It was entirely appropriate, and I will repeat it when it is again appropriate. Nothing is more delicious than equal parts atheist bile and atheist hypocrisy.

    My all caps were for emphasis alone, since I can neither type in bold nor italics in the comment box. Your remarks were simply and deliberately insulting. You deserve no apology.

  • Shawnie5

    The Kingdom has existed on earth for 2000 years within the hearts of its citizens. Only the ultimate fullness of it is awaiting realization.

  • Eric

    So, being reminded that the US Constitution doesn’t endorse or authorize (your favorite flavor of) Christianity now counts as “Christian bashing.” Gotcha. Damn, but you evangelicals/conservatives are tediously whiny. The real question is: what doesn’t look like “Christian bashing” to you?

  • Max-1

    In violation of Tennessee State Constitution, the State Legislature has voted to make a religious book prominent over all other faiths.

    The citizens should be gathering the feathers and warming the tar ’bout now…
    … Pay attention to the last line.
    http://www.tennessee.gov/sos/bluebook/07-08/47-Constitution,%20Tennessee.pdf
    Section 3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship
    Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.

  • Fran

    Irving,

    Exactly! God’s kingdom is in the heavens, why I referred to it as a heavenly government, as Jesus called it (Matthew 4:17).

    No one knows on earth when that heavenly government will start its millennial rule over man on earth. However, we can see fulfillment of many signs Jesus provided that we are living in the last days of a wicked era (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). That is why we can be confident it will soon take place.

    We can now live with a great purpose, peace of mind and a happy and satisfying life, knowing that real relief is at hand from this chaotic world.

  • Diogenes

    Naming the Bible an ‘official’ state book is kind of feckless, a form of pandering and showmanship. That said, My regard for the Bible has no bounds but I want to see it engraved on men and women’s hearts, not assigned symbolic status with no force on a state’s ‘official’ list. I would add to Marie, your posts on this thread offer no cognitive argument against God or the Bible, simply an irrational emotive response without any basis in evidence. Shawnie5, while I agree with you entirely, your tone was less civil than is your wont…I as surprised.

  • Diogenes

    Was Surprised.

  • Shawnie5

    Point taken, Diogenes. I continually struggle with not responding in kind.

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  • Larry

    Is that a request?

  • @Diogenes:

    “I want to see it (the Bible) engraved on men and women’s hearts…”

    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “They are fools!” – JESUS (Matthew 23:17)
    “They are dogs!” – JESUS (Matthew 15:26)
    “they are swine!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)
    “Avoid Them” (Romans 16:17)
    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault.” (Matthew 18:15)
    “have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonian 3:14)
    RICHES ARE A SIGN OF HOLINESS
    “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord …. Wealth and riches shall be in his house.” (Psalm 112:1, 3)

    JESUS: “BE A FOOL – ABANDON ALL YOU HAVE LEARNED IN LIFE AND SURRENDER TO PURE, CHILDISH IGNORANCE”
    “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – JESUS (Matthew 18:3)

    Keep this nonsense away from me. Okay?

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  • anyonymus

    The Word of God as a concept is ludicrous because the extraordinary events do not have extraordinary evidence and we know we gain no wisdom by pretending to believe that God exists. Pretending that God cares about Tennessee is hilarious, imagine if the people cared about this life instead of the one they don’t even know about?

  • anyonymus

    Facepalm 4/15/2015

  • anyonymus

    Why would a Jew live in Tennessee? Serious question.

  • Ben

    “I continually struggle with not responding in kind.”

    I like how your apology is basically a she-did-it-first excuse.

  • Milo

    Seeing as the bible was not written in TN, nor are any of the characters in any way related to TN, it would make a bad choice for a state book. “Roots” by Alex Haley on the other hand would be very appropriate.

  • Lamont Cranston

    You’ll have to ask them. One word of warning; two Jews, three opinions.
    Here’s a list of synagogues, so obviously *some* Jews live there. http://www.maven.co.il/synagogues/C3339

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  • Larry

    There is a long history of Jews living in the “Bible Belt” going back to before the Civil War. Its amazing what you can find online.
    http://www.jewishsouth.org

  • Jeremy

    Shawnie5, I have to say, you look quite foolish when attempting to use tactics that don’t apply to the situation. As for whether or not states deserve prior loyalty, that’s an excellent argument FOR the separation of church and state. Loyalty to one should not conflict with loyalty to the other. What these evangelical Christians fail to realize is that THEY are the ones creating a conflict between church and state where none previously existed. They try to pull crap like this, which is a blatant constitutional violation, and then cry discrimination when they’re rebuffed. That’s like me walking up to a stranger and punching them in the face, then saying that my rights to free expression are being infringed when I’m arrested.

    You should also read that bible more closely – Things like “Nothing is more delicious than equal parts atheist bile and atheist hypocrisy” aren’t congruent with Jesus’s teachings. He won people over with love and compassion, not derision and…

  • Jeremy

    Fran, people have been seeing “fulfillment of the many signs Jesus provided that we are living in the last days of a wicked era” for literally HUNDREDS of years. You’d think that by now you might see the trend.

    I think it’s an error of tremendous proportions to put your trust in any kind of afterlife. If people treated this life as the only one we’re going to have, there would be no more suicide bombers, no more religious martyrs, no violent extremism, etc. Do good and work hard in this life for the sake of accomplishing good things, for if you’re right you’ll certainly have nothing to fear, but if you’re wrong (which *every bit of evidence in the entirety of history* has indicated is the case) then this is the ONE chance you have to experience everything you’ll ever experience, and accomplish anything you’ll ever accomplish. The only thing the promise of an afterlife accomplishes is adding fuel to the fire of religious intolerance.

  • @Jeremy,

    “Jesus won people over with love and compassion…”

    Nonsense.
    This freewheeling reflexive Public Relations Ad Campaign for Jesus must be corrected!

    “Execute my enemies in front of me”- JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Hate Them” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)
    “Avoid Them” – ROMANS (16:17)
    “Do not associate with the GUILTY..” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
    “Bad company….” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
    “Do not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
    “Do not receive him…or greet him..” (2 John 1:10)
    “tell him his fault.” (Matthew 18:15)
    “Have nothing to do with him!” (Titus 3:9-11)
    “LET HIM BE REMOVED” (1 Corinthians 1:13)
    “In the name of Jesus..keep away from him!” (2 Thess 3:6)
    “LET HIM BE CURSED!” – (1 Cor. 16:22)
    “Deem them unworthy” – JESUS (Matt 10:13)

    Love and compassion needs none of this nonsense.

  • Lamont Cranston

    Dude,
    “Execute them in front of me” – (Luke 19:27) is the J-Man speaking as a character in a story. The attribution would be “Nameless Nobleman”.

    I don’t disagree with your central point, but that example doesn’t support the thesis

  • Lamont Cranston

    Neat.

  • Shawnie5

    OK. So are you suggesting that she didn’t?

    While we’re on the subject, I hope you are not preparing to treat us to another rant about “slanderers and revilers” who are supposed to cancel out whatever hateful or insulting rhetoric comes from your side… because that would sound very much like “they-did-it-first.”

  • Shawnie5

    “If people treated this life as the only one we’re going to have, there would be no more suicide bombers, no more religious martyrs, no violent extremism, etc”

    Several violent and totalitarian atheist regimes, some extinct and some still in existence, disprove this handily.

  • Shawnie5

    “Nothing is more delicious than equal parts atheist bile and atheist hypocrisy” aren’t congruent with Jesus’s teachings. He won people over with love and compassion, not derision and…”

    Really? Jesus’ quips on hypocrisy were more astringent than anything I can muster, and He certainly didn’t win everyone over. Many wanted to shove Him off cliffs for His efforts.

    You think He didn’t have a certain twinkle when He offered the image of a person going around with a a two-by-four in the eye???

    The same love and compassion that pointed out this absurdity was quick to offer forgiveness for it, to the point of His own death.

    Read those gospels in their entirety when you have a chance.

  • Shawnie6

    Bahahahahahaha

    You only work against your own cause every time you open your mouth

    … hahahahahaha

  • vance

    the bible is a book, yes- but as literature, it is completely awful.

  • Wrong, Lamont.
    You need to understand Luke 19:27 as the claim of the second coming – Jesus is the Nobleman of the parable. It is not a well-veiled warning.

    Perhaps you are not a Christian or you never went to Sunday School as I did through all of my childhood.
    Have you heard of the second coming? The Parousia?

    The Parable of the Minas (“Execute them” – Jesus (Luke 19:27 ) is a precise demand of Jesus. The nuns taught me well.

    When Jesus returns (as the Nobleman) he will line up the good servants and demand that they execute the bad servants – this will be a gift to the good servants – they shall have the pleasure of executing the disobedient servants.
    In this way Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Jesus is appealing to the bloodlust for vengeance – the human desire to hurt someone who is out of line.

    The Nobleman is Jesus – it is the seed of fascism.

  • Jeff Little

    ezekiel 23 20

    That make about as much sense as yours.

  • Rajani Isa

    Actually, it’s not a rejection of the Bible having power, either. It’s a non-statement, either way.

    After all, a rejection of a religious book would be a negative endorsement of it, essentially.

  • cindy

    I think the 5 at the end of Shawnie must be her age, who else mimics like that

  • Rejection of a religious book is not a ‘negative endorsement’ whatever that means.

    The United States Constitution is still the ONLY constitution in the world with has completely rejected a religious book as part of its charter.

    Their objective was NOT to be ‘neutral’ about religion.
    The founder’s objective was to keep religion 100% out of government.

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” – James Madison -letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

  • Bamaginian

    Come on now! Beer deserves a lot more respect than this. Let’s not bring beer into this debate! I’m totally offended that someone would add beer to this equation. after all “what’s wrong with the beer we got? It drink pretty good don’t it?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZoTJzh13n8

  • brad

    Jesus died for his own sins not mine.

  • John D. Ayer

    There is no separation of church and state. The 1878 decision quoting Thomas Jefferson’s personal letter and claiming a wall of separation violates the First and Tenth amendments. At the time of ratification of the Constitution, which Jefferson didn’t have anything to do with, most states had state sponsored religions. The first amendment forbids laws like “you can’t have a state sponsored religion” or “the Federal state sponsored religion is…” The First amendment does not prevent states from having state sponsored religions.

    There is no wall separation of church and state in the Federal Constitution. Tennessee can write their own constitution to include a state sponsored religion and have the Bible as the state book. Unless the Federal Constitution is struck down, there is nothing anyone can do about it, vote to write a State Constitution making Tennessee a secular state.

  • John D. Ayer

    Atheist Max, you are welcome to interpret the parables anyway you want. You are welcome to choose or reject Christ. Don’t expect me to consider your interpretation as valid.

    I was in an adult sunday school discussing the parable of the sower, and asked the class if people were the sower or the seed? The class responded with a rousing “both”. In the parable of the sower, people are represented by the dirt, rocky dirt, hard dirt, fertile dirt. The seed is the word of God. The sower is God, not people. I use this as an example because it is the only parable that Christ actually explained and people get this parable wrong all the time, even adults who have spent much longer in Sunday school than you did.

    You are welcome to take any verse in any context you wish. Just don’t expect me to accept your understanding because I know people are all too flawed. I’ll put my faith in Christ.

    And there is no wall of separation in the Constitution. People are wrong about that…

  • John D. Ayer

    Max-1: Your quoting of the Tennessee Constitution is an excellent argument against making the Bible the state book. I don’t know if it is accurate, thank you for providing a link to the Tennessee “Blue Book”, whatever that is. It does give me reason to believe your post is accurate.

  • John D. Ayer

    Atheist Max, there were State Sponsored religions at the time that amendment was written. The 1878 SCOTUS decision quoting the Wall of Separation of Church and State actually violates the First Amendment by creating a defacto law, “you can’t”.

    Go read some history about State Sponsored religions. Many states, like Virginia, and later Tennessee, adopted secular constitutions which forbid state sponsored religions. Those, like the Federal Constitution, can be re-written. State sponsored religions fell out of fashion. I think Massachusetts was the last state to drop a State sponsored religion in the 1830’s.

    The First Amendment is a protection against a Federal sponsored religion, not a State sponsored religion.

  • I don’t care if people want to believe in Leprechauns.

    The point is, don’t force your leprechaun’s laws on me.
    That is the true American way – not this clutch of hysterical religion-doused Tennessee Dimwits who can’t wait to throw out their freedoms only to replace them with whatever the sky daddy commands.

    “Zombies walked for Jesus to raise awareness” – (Matthew 27:52)

    Religion is a divisive, primitive public nuisance. It should be abandoned and deserves no regard.

  • @John D. Ayer,

    “There is no wall…”

    Oh yes, there is.
    WALL SEPARATING CHURCH AND STATE:

    “CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW ESTABLISHING A RELIGION…”
    US CONSTITUTION.

    You need to read more.
    You may try to inflict the rest of us with you Jesus nonsense and try to force it into the law but it is a despicable ambition and Fascist to the core.

    Separation of Church and State means
    No Religion can force itself on me through the power of the state.

    Funny that you seem to think this is not in the Constitution. Thank a Pastor for not teaching you properly.
    Religion is a public nuisance.

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  • Constitution Lover

    The 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution is what applies all amendments to the states, including the First Amendment. The states can provide more protections for the individual, but cannot provide less than those in the Federal Constitution. So, states cannot have state sanctioned religions even if they choose to amend state laws/constitutions.