Tennessee is one step closer to naming the Bible as its official book.
According to The Associated Press, the state Senate voted 19-8 to approve SB 1108, which "designates the Holy Bible as the official state book" because of its historical and cultural impact in Tennessee. Now Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who said he opposes the bill, must decide whether to sign or veto the legislation.
The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Steve Southerland, has stirred controversy, with some opponents saying the bill trivializes the Bible and others questioning whether it is constitutional.
"The Bible is a book of history, but it is not a history book to be placed on the shelf," said Democratic Sen. Jeff Yarbro of Nashville, according to The Tennessean.
Meanwhile, Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU in Tennessee, said the bill was a "thinly veiled effort to promote one religion over other religions" and "violates both the United States and Tennessee constitutions."
But supporter Sen. Kerry Roberts, a Republican, had a different take.
"The very founding of our nation – the very form of government that we have today – was put forth by men of faith, based on their faith, based on what they read in Holy Scripture," Roberts said, The Tennessean reports.