Columnist: ’55 Bible-thumpers’ in the House and ‘the least of these’

Columnist Sam Venable opines on the Legislature’s attempt at blessing the Holy Bible. An excerpt:

I can’t decide whether 55 Bible-thumpers in the Tennessee House are sincere but misguided people of faith, pandering hucksters or foot soldiers in the American Taliban. Maybe a bit of each.

Whatever the case, it’s obvious they aren’t fiscal conservatives. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be eager to waste money sending a flimsy law through the courts, knowing full well it’ll be declared unconstitutional.

Happily, Tennesseans have been spared this expense — not to mention the embarrassment of once again being portrayed as rubes with a Glock in one hand and Mamaw’s King James Version in the other.

For that, we can thank the state Senate.

…True, this is the same Senate that joined the cowardly House on another hot-button issue a couple of days earlier. Proving the entire lot are some of the most breathtaking hypocrites in the history of shame, members voted to keep guns out of their own chambers while welcoming anyone with a carry permit to city and state parks.

Not surprising, of course. It’s often the nature of politicians to distance themselves from pesky rules that apply to everyone else.

Nonetheless, you gotta give senators their due on the Bible bill. They knew a sham when they saw it and had the backbone to react.

Not so in the House. On Wednesday, members afraid of being labeled “anti-Christ” prevailed 55-38, denigrating the holiest text in all of Christendom to the same secular level as salamanders, catfish and other state symbols.

As a Christian who has served his church for decades as lay reader, that makes me see red. And I ain’t talkin’ the red-letter edition.

Surely the vast majority of House members consider themselves to be practicing Christians. Which is fine.

But not all Tennesseans do. Some have different religious faiths. Others profess no faith. Yet all are covered by the same constitution.

It’s not the job of politicians to proselytize — which was the de facto intent of this bill, no matter how much “historical, economic and cultural” sugarcoating was attached.

If lawmakers truly want to honor the Bible, they should attempt following its themes of love and compassion. Like the passage from Matthew 25:40 about caring for “the least of these.”

Health insurance for the working poor would be a great start.