official state book

Presbyterians, Baptists, Churches of Christ: Do denominational affiliations matter in Tennessee Bible debate?

Presbyterians, Baptists, Churches of Christ: Do denominational affiliations matter in Tennessee Bible debate?

I'm typing this on a lazy Friday afternoon after eating a rather filling lunch of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy at my mom and dad's house in Texas.

Frankly, I'm a little drowsy and could use a nap.

So I can't swear that I'm thinking totally clearly or that my questions about a news report on Tennessee's governor vetoing a bill to make the Bible that state's official book will be relevant to anyone except me. But since I get paid the big bucks to do so, I'll go ahead and ask.

As you may recall, I first posted on the Tennessee debate last week.

In recent days, Godbeat pro Holly Meyer and her colleagues at The Tennessean have done some excellent coverage on the issue.

However, the story that sparked my questions was produced by The Associated Press.

The AP's lede:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday vetoed a bill seeking to make Tennessee the first state to designate the Bible as its official book.
Haslam, who considered entering a seminary before deciding to join the family truck stop business after college, said in his veto message that the bill "trivializes the Bible, which I believe is a sacred text."
The bill had narrowly passed both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly after sponsors said it aimed at honoring the significance of the Bible in the state's history and economy, as opposed to a government endorsement of religion.
"If we believe that the Bible is the word of God, then we shouldn't be recognizing it only as a book of historical and economic significance," Haslam said.

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Rocky Top, you'll always be good for a great debate on the Bible's place in Tennessee

Rocky Top, you'll always be good for a great debate on the Bible's place in Tennessee

They're at it again in the Volunteer State.

A year ago, we noted Tennessee lawmakers' debate over whether to make the Holy Bible the official state book.

In that 2015 post, I suggested:

If a reporter just listens to both sides and reports what they say, this is one of those stories that almost writes itself — and, in the process, makes for pretty entertaining reading.

Welp.

I'm not so sure that journalists with national media outlets such as The Associated Press and the Washington Post got that memo. Take the AP coverage, for example. Mark Hemingway — former GetReligionista, senior writer for the Weekly Standard and, most importantly, husband of Mollie — passed along the wire service's report.

The subject line on Hemingway's email:

The snark in this lede ...

Uh huh:

Having already made a .50-caliber sniper gun the official state rifle, Tennessee lawmakers on Monday gave final approval to making the Holy Bible the state's official book.

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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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