NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Haslam vetoed the bill that would make the Holy Bible the state book of Tennessee.
In a letter to House Speaker Beth Harwell, the governor cites the Attorney General’s opinion given last year that says it would violate the First Amendment of the Tennessee Constitution, which states “no preference shall be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”
The governor goes on to say his “personal feeling is that this bill trivializes the Bible, which I believe is a sacred text.”
“If we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, then we shouldn’t be recognizing it only as a book of historical and economic significance. If we are recognizing the Bible as a sacred text, then we are violating the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of State of Tennessee by designating it as the official book,” Gov. Haslam goes on to say.
Hedy Weinberg, the executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, said in a statement they applaud Haslam’s leadership in “sending a clear message” that the state “values and respects the religious freedom from all Tennesseans.”
“Religion thrives when it is left in the hands of families and faith communities. Publicly elected government officials cannot use their official positions to favor one religious belief over another. The governor’s veto of this unconstitutional legislation ensures that religious freedom can flourish in Tennessee,” the ACLU’s statement continues.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also weighed in on Haslam’s decision to veto the bill. She tweeted: