On Wednesday, the Tennessee state Senate approved a measure to make the Bible the state book by a vote of 19-8. Governor Bill Haslam has yet to sign the bill into law, but has given some pretty strong indications that he won’t do so. Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slattery released a statement saying the bill would be a violation of the First and Third Amendments. He is absolutely correct. Executive Director of ACLU-Tennessee Hedy Weinberg released a statement saying that the bill “marginalizes the tens of thousands of Tennesseans who choose to practice other religions or not to practice religion at all.” This is also correct. There are any number of excellent reasons to veto this bill, but here’s an important one that ought to hit home with a majority of people who’d like to see it passed: it’s a slap in the Bible’s face.
The history of Official State Things began at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, in which each of the then-44 states submitted one flower for the “National Garland of Flowers.” Some genius decided that whatever flower each state sent would forever be their “official flower,” which is sort of like you ordering cheesecake for desert one time and being known as “Lil’ Cheesecake” for the rest of your life. Shortly thereafter, states began adopting official birds and trees which, fine. But then things went a little off the rails. Texas has an official state footwear (the cowboy boot.) Kansas has an official state toy (the Etch-a-Sketch.) Florida has an official state song and it is, not kidding, “Old Folks at Home.”
But when it comes to Official State Stuff, few states can top Tennessee for sheer love of the game. It has two official state flowers, two official state fish, an official state folk dance, nine(!) official state songs and–yes—an official state firearm: the Barrett M82/M107, a sniper rifle.
Its state animal is a raccoon. Its state horse is a Tennessee Walking Horse. Its state fruit is a tomato. Its state beverage is milk.
“The very founding of our nation — the very form of government that we have today — was put forth by men of faith, based on their faith, based on what they read in Holy Scripture,” said State Sen. Kerry Roberts and setting aside the sketchy historicity at work here, are we to then assume that Senator Roberts believes a book this holy should be listed alongside the state rifle and the state fish? Is he not concerned that the foundation of his religious beliefs might be slightly trivialized by this hollow symbolism?
Making the Bible Tennessee’s official state book may alienate people who are not Christians and violate the Constitution, to be sure. But it’s also a slap in the face of the Bible itself—a meaningless gesture that serves only to rub everyone else’s religion in the mud, and does nothing to uphold the actual teachings of the Bible or the law of the Constitution itself. Christians, of all people, should believe that the Bible deserves better.
Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.
Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.
United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?
Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.
If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.
Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.
This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.
Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy. During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.
This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.
We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.