Great news for pagans and other minority religious groups today as the famous Tennessee state bible law was vetoed by Haslam earlier last week, but then had a failed override afterwards today. The bill sought to turn the bible into the state book, which is forbidden in the state constitution that says no exception for any religion. The vote was 43-50 on overriding it. The controversial bill was met with fierce opposition from Christians and non-Christians alike.
Early yesterday, people were worried the bill would pass. Some were even praying for the bill not to succeed. Senator Mark Norris was one of those people. He had a problem with the devaluing of the bible. He told News 2:
“We consider it sacred scripture, not just a historic book to be sold at the state museum as a trinket.”
However, Rep. Mark Sparks voted for the override. He cited the value of the bible, specifically pointing it out as it being the top seller. He mentioned how “positive” the bible was and how it changed so many lives.
The supporters of the bill took it too far. Rep. Jerry Sexton, a former baptist minister, believed it to be an attack on Christianity, which he felt is common these days. He believes Christians are actively oppressed. He is quoted as saying:
“There is so much oppression today of Christian beliefs and values it seems it is not the popular thing to do, I stand today to say that I’m a Christian and I’m proud that I am and I’m proud that I live in a country that I have the freedom to do that.”
The law was so controversial, that both sides are still talking about it on Team Haslam’s Facebook page, including in unrelated topics. With atheists and others making their voice heard. Christians also dissented.
Many pagan news sites have ignored the outrage and the bill, for the most part, choosing not to report much on the bill even prior to the veto. Though unclear why, as the bill sparked controversy among a lot of people in TN. Witchvox mostly stayed silent. Top Pagan news shows nothing about it. Even the Wild Hunt, the premiere pagan news and commentary site, didn’t really cover the bill.
Quite a few atheist, humanist, free thinker, and irreligious pages however, did cover it. It was especially important because it really imposed Christianity in the state, a violation of both the state and federal constitution. They claim that it was a covert attempt by Christians to impose their religious beliefs.
Out of all of the controversy and even with the bill being fifteen pages long, there was never an explanation of which version of the bible would even make it to be the state book. There is 531 different bible translations as of 2014. With well over a hundred English language translations alone.
In any case, the news coincides with a holiday. Given that it also falls under some non-traditional religions’ beliefs, it may be another reason to celebrate the day.