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Bill to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee is back

(RNS) It was approved by the Tennessee House last year. Now it's out of committee and heading back to the Senate.


(RNS) If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That’s not a biblical proverb, but Tennessee lawmakers still seem to have taken it to heart.

The state’s Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday (March 29) gave the green light to a bill that would make the Bible the official book of Tennessee, The Tennessean reports.

RELATED: Tennessee House approves bill to make Bible official book

It comes a year after the measure won approval in the Tennessee House but was then held up when the Senate sent it to committee.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has said the bill is not respectful, and Attorney General Herbert Slatery said it violates the state and federal constitutions. But state Sen. Steve Southerland, the bill’s sponsor, pointed to a 2005 Supreme Court case that ruled displaying the Ten Commandments on government facilities was constitutional.

“What we’re doing is using the Supreme Court case as the guideline to make sure it’s historical and not religious,” The Tennessean quoted Sutherland as saying.

Similar bills have failed in Mississippi and Louisiana, it noted.

(Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS)