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GOP lawmaker wants to make Bible official book of Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee lawmaker wants to make the Bible the “official state book.”

Rep. Jerry Sexton, a Republican from Bean Station, is sponsoring legislation adding the Bible to the state symbols of Tennessee.

It’s unclear whether the proposal would meet separation of church and state provisions in the federal and state constitutions.

Tennessee’s state symbols already include the tomato as the state fruit, the tulip popular as the state tree, the Tennessee cave salamander as the state amphibian and the square dance as the state folk dance. The state also has several state songs such as “Tennessee Waltz” and “Rocky Top.”

Similar proposals to make the Bible the state book failed in Mississippi earlier this month and Louisiana last year. Supporters maintained that they weren’t trying to force religion on anyone.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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