The First Amendment makes clear that the government cannot privilege one religion over another.
But state lawmakers are attempting to do just that, by once again pursuing a flatly unconstitutional bill that would make the Bible Tennessee’s state book.
SB 2696/HB 2778, as introduced, designates the Bible as the official state book. In 2016, Governor Bill Haslam vetoed a similar law that also clearly violated both the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution, just as this bill would.
Tennesseans come from many different faith backgrounds. Our elected officials should not be in the business of privileging one religion over another, or codifying into law the message that one Tennessean’s faith is more legitimate than another’s.
Government officials must not use their official positions to promote their own religious beliefs, much less turn their personal religious views into law.