Bill introduced again to designate Holy Bible as Tennessee's official state book

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In this July 5, 2019 Bibles are displayed in Miami. Religious publishers say President Trump’s most recently proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could result in a Bible shortage. That’s because millions of Bibles, some estimates put it at 150 million or more, are now printed in China each year. Critics of a proposed tariff say it would not only make the Bible more expensive for consumers, it would also hurt the evangelical efforts of Christian organizations that give away Bibles as part of their ministry. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee legislators have introduced a bill that would designate the Holy Bible as the official state book.

Sen. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) introduced Senate Bill 2696 on Thursday, which pairs with House Bill 2778 that was introduced by Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) on Wednesday.

If passed, the bill would legally designate the Holy Bible as Tennessee’s official state book.

A similar effort was made at the state level in 2016, when then-Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed a bill that would do the same thing.

At the time, Haslam sided with the Attorney General who said designating the Holy Book as the Tennessee book would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

That clause states “no preference shall be ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”

Thursday’s bill is the first time the issue has been brought up again since 2016.

WREG has reached out to the offices of Rep. Sexton and Sen. Pody, but we have not yet heard back.

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