NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – “You can’t trivialize the Bible if you wanted to,” says the state lawmaker who is facing some pushback for wanting to make it the official book of Tennessee.
Rep. Jerry Sexton from Grainger County said he had heard the criticism but remains undeterred.
“I understand that people don’t want the Bible trivialized, I understand that argument, but my opinion on that is that you could not trivialize the Bible if you wanted to,” Sexton told News 2 on Wednesday.
The measure is headed to floor votes in both the House and Senate, but it is not getting there without some critical words right from the top.
Case in point came Tuesday with Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey who reference the Tennessee Blue Book which has the official state lists.
“The Bible is my official book. It should not be put in the Blue Book with Rocky Top, salamanders and tulip poplars.” he told reporters Tuesday. “I think it belittles the most holy book that has ever been written.”
Rocky Top is a state song, a type of salamander is the state reptile and the tulip poplar is the state tree.
Rep. Sexton has testified in various committees that the Bible should be honored because of the role it has played in keeping Tennessee historical records.
“The family Bible has vital records in it for births, deaths, marriage certificates and in many cases, state government did not have those records.” Sexton told News 2.
The East Tennessee representative pastored a church for a 25-years before becoming a state lawmaker.
The vote from another pastor in the the legislature is a cautionary yes for now.
“There are different versions of the Bible, different religions believe in different versions of the Bible, but more than that–the Bible is a book of choice,” Rev. Johnny Shaw told News 2.
“So we are not going to get into versions,” countered Rep. Sexton. “We are just going to say it is from the original manuscript, wherever those words were derived from–so we will leave it at that.”