Rocky Top

Ten religion stories that made us ooh, ah, chuckle, scratch our heads and otherwise go 'hmmm' in 2015

Ten religion stories that made us ooh, ah, chuckle, scratch our heads and otherwise go 'hmmm' in 2015

Religion news was heavy in 2015.

Heavy, as in weighty subject matter ranging from the legalization of same-sex marriage to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State terrorist group to the shooting deaths of nine worshipers in Charleston, S.C. 

But occasionally this past year — as is the case every year — the Godbeat blessed us with headlines that were a little different. They were heartwarming or quirky or simply far enough off the beaten path to catch our attention.

In chronological order, here are 10 of my favorite GetReligion posts from 2015 that concerned news that — surprise, surprise! — didn't make the Religion Newswriters Association's year-end list:

1. Lawmakers in my home state of Oklahoma made headlines as they considered — seriously, it seemed — getting out of the marriage business.

 

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In Tennessee, is the Bible up there with 'Rocky Top,' salamanders and tulip poplars?

In Tennessee, is the Bible up there with 'Rocky Top,' salamanders and tulip poplars?

The Bible is making headlines in the Bible Belt.

In Tennessee, lawmakers are debating whether to make the Holy Bible the official state book.

And what a fun discussion it is:

A bill to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee isn't very "respectful" in the view of Gov. Bill Haslam.
The Tennessee Attorney General also thinks the bill, set for a vote Tuesday morning in the House, may be unconstitutional.
"The governor doesn't think it's very respectful of what the Bible is," said David Smith, a Haslam spokesman.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of an opinion from Attorney General Herbert Slatery. The AP writes that Slatery believes the bill would violate separation of church and state provisions in the federal and state constitutions.
Slatery's office hadn't widely released the opinion as of Monday evening.
Haslam, who is an elder at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, echoes concerns of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, and other legislative leaders about the bill. Ramsey and Norris said they revere the Bible, but they thought including it in the list of official state items along with the catfish and "Rocky Top" is offensive.
"I mean the Bible is my official book, it is. It shouldn't be put in the Blue Book with 'Rocky Top,' salamanders and tulip poplars. I'm sorry; it just shouldn't," Ramsey recently told reporters.

Can we go ahead and nominate Ramsey for "Quote of the Year?"

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