Tennessee Votes To Make The Bible The State Book, Has Nothing Else To Attend To

The state house in Tennessee voted 55-38 Wednesday to make the Bible the “official state book.” The senate will vote on it today, and then it will go to the governor, and then if it’s passed people will sue and if it’s not we’ll have to hear about how Christians are oppressed even in the Bible Belt. I will probably have to write another goddamned blog post about it.

As much as I want to make this about the separation of church and state–and it most definitely is, even the TN state attorney general agrees with me there–there are a few things about this vote that actually bothered me more. In particular, this line from the New York Times article on the subject.

While supporters acknowledged the likelihood of a lawsuit if the bill becomes law, some said it would be worth the expense.

Really? With 17 percent of your population living below the poverty line, this is what you think is fine to spend money on, Tennessee? Seriously? You’re one of the ten poorest states in the country, and you’re going to spend your people’s tax money on some stupid and purely symbolic gesture that people in your state will most likely only be reminded of during pub trivia?

To boot, not to be petty, but Tennessee is like, number 11 in terms of taker states. They take in far more federal tax dollars than they put out. We’re giving them money, and they are cool with spending theirs on–I don’t know, trying to make Jewish people feel unwelcome or something? You know, given how much Republican lawmakers go on and on about their fears that poor people are secretly purchasing filet mignon with their $29 a week food stamp budget, you’d think they’d oppose measures like this which barely serve any purpose other than to court lawsuits.

That’s not entirely true though. I’m going to say a pretty large part of it is also bread and circuses. These people are basically just distracting the poor white Christians in their state by going “Look at how special we think you are! You just go and ignore the fact that we have the sixth highest unemployment rate in the country, OK? Just think about how nice you’d feel if the government gave a ringing endorsement of your personal choice of religion, and about how all the mean atheists want to take that away from you! They don’t want you to be special! Look here, don’t look there!”

Notice that the other two states who have tried to advance such measures–and failed–were Mississippi and Louisiana. Both of which, I’m sorry, have a lot more important things to attend to than trying to test the boundaries of the separation of church and state with a vote on what the state book is going to be. You know, there is that saying about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

[NY Times]