A Tennessee pastor valiantly attempted to convince the state House and Senate not to declare the Bible to be the state’s official book — but to no avail, The Tennessean‘s David Boucher reports.
During the meeting of the Senate State and Local Government Committee — which eventually voted 7-0 to name the Bible the state book, with 2 members abstaining — pastor Michael Williams of the West End United Methodist Church in Nashville said that naming the Bible as Tennessee’s official devalued the holy scripture in the eyes of Christians like him.
“First of all,” he said, “we live in a diverse state, and to make one holy book the official book of the state seems, to me, to not recognize that diversity — even among Christian denominations.”
“When you say ‘the Bible,’ the Catholic Bible includes books that my Protestant Bible does not, as far as the official canon,” Williams continued. “Of course, my Bible includes books that [the Hebrew] Bible does not, and it seems to me that that’s a fairly slippery place to be.”
“In addition to which,” he said, “it seems a bit demeaning to simply list my holy book — along with the holy book of many other people here — along with a whole list of state birds and songs. I love the mockingbird, but it’s not the equivalent of my Bible. I love ‘The Tennessee Waltz,’ in terms of its commercial impact. Our official fish, the channel catfish — I love catfish, but it doesn’t come close to holy scripture.”
“For me,” Williams concluded, “to portray it simply as a book of history is to misrepresent it — in terms of how I understand, because I don’t know of another history book that’s read every week as part of religious services. So for me, to say ‘it’s just a book of history,’ is to mischaracterize something that is a holy book.”
Watch the pastor’s impassioned plea below via YouTube.