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Tennessee lawmakers vote to make Bible the state’s official book

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Having already made a .50-caliber sniper gun the official state rifle, Tennessee lawmakers voted Monday to make the Holy Bible the state’s official book.

The state Senate gave final approval Monday on a 19-8 vote despite arguments the measure conflicts with a provision in the Tennessee Constitution that “no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”

Republican Sen. Steve Southerland argued his bill is aimed at recognizing the Bible for its historical and cultural contributions to the state, rather than as government endorsement of religion.

Opponents argued the Bible would be trivialized by being placed alongside other state symbols like the official tree, rock or amphibian.

The measure heads to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who hasn’t said whether he’ll issue a veto.

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