Here’s an interesting twist in Tennessee State Rep. Jerry Sexton‘s latest attempt to make the Bible the official state book.
In case you need a reminder, he’s been trying to do this for years, but always failed. Even the state’s Republican attorney general has told him this is blatantly unconstitutional. He’s still going at it, though. This time he introduced a resolution, giving it slightly less heft than a potential law, but it would still get the job done if it passes. House Joint Resolution 150 says the “Holy Bible” should become the official State book.
Now here’s the twist: After the bill passed through the State House last week, Tennessee’s Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, who also serves as the speaker of the State Senate, signed on as the bill’s sponsor in that chamber.
Why would that matter? Because McNally — even though he demonizes atheists — really doesn’t like this resolution. Not because it violates any church/state laws, but because he thinks having the Bible as the State Book puts it on the same level as the state amphibian. In other words, by treating the Bible just like other state symbols, the resolution would “minimize its importance.”
Now, by becoming the co-sponsor of this resolution, he can effectively just… ignore it.
Given his vocal opposition to the resolution, McNally’s decision to sign on as a sponsor signals his likely intent to kill the effort by never allowing it to be taken up in a Senate committee.
In a statement, McNally’s office did not directly answer why he became a sponsor of the resolution, but noted the lieutenant governor has taken no action to move it through the Senate.
“The first senator to sign on to a House Joint Resolution received by the Senate becomes the prime sponsor,” McNally spokesperson Adam Kleinheider said. “Lt. Governor McNally was the first senator to sign on.”
He seems to be doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons. But hey, I’ll take it. In a legislature that’s overwhelmingly Republican, a bad reason to block a bad bill still amounts to good news.
Sexton hasn’t yet publicly commented on this power move. Maybe because he’s too busy using his official Facebook page to advertise Christianity:
That’s a separate problem right there, but maybe that’s not a bad thing either. If this guy can’t be bothered to help the people of his state, then by all means, let him be distracted by Jesus. The less work he does in government, the better it is for everyone else. If only his voters could figure that out.