There are times that we see the well-intentioned actions of good men accomplish little. They, seeking to make a statement to the world around them or to make a point, contrive to accomplish something that will, in the end, accomplish nothing. This is the case in Tennessee.
Christian News reports:
A proposed Tennessee bill to make the Bible the state book is advancing in the legislature despite opposition from church-state separation groups and questions from the state attorney general’s office.
Now, I do not want to seem as though I am opposed to such measures or sentiments in any legislature. Quite the contrary. I am wholeheartedly for any legal or state recognition of the Scriptures. I believe that the Word of God is to be the light of the nations. In fact, the Scriptures says that the eventual purpose of the Church will be to guild the nations (Rev. 21:23-25). But I do not think that this is the intention of this bill.
Tennessee has a number of adopted state symbols that have been approved by the state legislature, as the tomato was designated the state fruit by the General Assembly in 2003, the Eastern boxing turtle was designated the state reptile in 1995, and the square dance was agreed upon as being the state dance in 1980. Tennessee also has several state songs, such as the “Tennessee Waltz” and “Rocky Top,” the latter of which sings of a girl who was “half bear, other half cat; wild as a mink, but sweet as soda pop.”
Now, it does not seem that the tomato is eaten by all who work in the legislature. Nor has knowing the word to “Rocky Top” become required to serve as a representative. This then points to what I mean by not accomplishing much. You see, we can hold the Bible up to whatever title or position of honor we want. Call it the book of America. But until it is the rule by which our leaders govern our states and the people live their lives by, nothing changes.
And I am not alone in this assessment.
“I just don’t feel like we’re serving any purposes,” said Rep. Robert Ramsey (R-Maryville), according to the Daily Times. “[It] is not going to save one soul or feed one child or give hope to one person. It’s just an effort to glorify the things of the world, and I just absolutely shiver at the thought of devaluing or diminishing the value of the Holy Bible in that matter, so I passed [on voting].”
Of course, the godless oppose the bill.
“[G]oing with the Bible slights the many authors who are either from these states or who have written about them in significant ways (or both),” Boston wrote. “We’re not sure who wrote the Bible—it was likely many different authors—but we can say with confidence that none of them lived in the South.”
“I doubt the Bible played a major role in how any of them became a part of the United States,” he said.
But, here is my take on this issue. It is a well-intended sentiment, but a waste of time and energy that could be better spent fighting real battles. Unless this law would commend to all the citizens the Scriptures as a rule of life and make it the standard by which laws are created and passed in Tennessee, it will not be worth the paper it will be printed on.
Rather than claim the Bible as Tennessee’s book, how about claiming Tennessee as Christ’s state?