Citizens of Tennessee who support the idea of the Bible being the state book are pondering their next step after a bill to that effect hit a roadblock.
Legislation honoring the Bible was approved by state legislators not only because of the Bible's influence and role in the history of Tennessee, but also because the state is a leading publisher of the Bible. However, Governor Bill Haslam vetoed the measure on Thursday, saying it "trivializes the Bible," which he considers to be sacred text.
David Fowler, who heads the Family Action Council of Tennessee, understands that sentiment.
"[But] we do disagree with the attorney general's opinion, which essentially was not about the bill as it passed but was about the bill as it was filed," he explains. "And the attorney general's opinion – in our opinion – seems to indicate that if you have something that is religious in character that the state cannot acknowledge it."
And that, says Fowler, raises the question as to whether the opinion is anti-Christian in some ways.
"It almost borders on saying that we have to substitute hostility towards religion for a tolerance and acceptance of religion," says the Christian activist.
"That, of course, makes it very difficult ... for us to remember our history when we can't acknowledge it because [that's] somehow unconstitutional."
Senate sponsor Steve Southerland filed a notice to override the veto. That should take place next week. An override requires only a majority vote in Tennessee, not two-thirds.
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