Welcome back to This Week in Books. Today’s topic is not to be taken lightly. I know most people couldn’t care less about any state’s official state book, but what if that book also happens to be the Bible? Would you raise your eyebrows at that? I would. Which is how today’s video came about.
Seeing a state even consider naming the Bible as its official state book in 2016 should be a head scratcher, but it’s isn’t. Not when you take a minute to think about all these so-called “religious freedom” bills that are constantly popping up all over the country.
Now watch, please! And don’t forget to tell me what you think!
2 thoughts on “This Week in Books: Tennessee’s State Book”
I’m not sure separation of church and state applies, as all of those “state whatevers” are often trivial and have little impact on most people’s daily lives. I do think such things have to be approved by legislature, but I’m not sure that conflicts with the actual words of the Constitution, which are “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Maybe implicitly?
I’m a bit torn because I generally acknowledge the cultural impact of the Bible even if I don’t believe in it myself. There are over 1 billion Christians worldwide, as well as millions of Jews. Think of all the art that came out of the Italian Renaissance and beyond that used Christian imagery. On a more sobering note, think of how many people lost their lives in the Crusades due to Christian warmongering. For better and worse, the book has completely reshaped human culture. But obviously, you and I both know that Tennessee is only promoting it for moral grandstanding, not because of secular impact, which makes it a bit shady.
And I completely agree that “religious freedom” bills are ridiculous, as they are just a thinly veiled excuse to discriminate based on hate. I am pretty proud of our governor Nikki Haley for taking one look at an anti-transgender bathroom bill some stupid state rep proposed and saying “uh, no. We are not having that nonsense here.” SC has done a pretty good job of avoiding religious sycophant politicians in general, so we haven’t had any “only teach intelligent design” or “everyone has to pray” or “no abortion after 5 weeks” bills cropping up here even when the rest of the South falls to such behavior.
Easter (by extension, Good Friday) and Christmas are largely commercial holidays anymore, so they’ve become more secular than they were any time before the 20th century.
As for the “religious freedom” bills, I highly doubt they will be considered Constitutional when all is said and done. But it does raise an interesting question:
Should people be allowed to discriminate?
Honestly, I think that the same rights afforded me should be afforded you (the general “you”)–and so if I’m allowed to discriminate, you should be allowed to consider me a bigot and not shop at my place of business, or run a campaign to put me out of business. As society progresses, then, tolerance would happen naturally instead of artificially, and laws like this would become, at some point down the line, quaint and/or archaic, like some states’ laws against sexual intercourse with fish.