Most of the news coming out of Tennessee last week revolved around whether or not the legislature would pass a bill making the Bible, a text regarded by Christians as the living word of God almighty, Tennessee's official state book. When asked to comment on what it means to elevate the Bible to the same status as raccoons, which are Tennessee's official wild animal, and "Rocky Top," one of many Tennessee state songs, Rep. Micah Van Huss had this insane thing to say: "The dog and the cat are state symbols and nobody in Tennessee is required to purchase a dog or a cat." The dog and cat aren't Tennessee symbols, unfortunately. All these shenanigans would be a lot cuter if they were.
State Senate Republican leader Mark Norris had this to say when the Senate voted 22-9 to send the Bible bill back to committee: "All I know is that I hear Satan snickering. He loves this kind of mischief. You just dumb the good book down far enough to make it whatever it takes to make it a state symbol, and you're on your way to where he wants you." In spite of all that kooky Vincent Price stuff about Satan laughing, Norris' comment was widely praised for its relative sanity.
The most incredible thing about this story is that it didn't happen in Memphis first. A development group that was blocked from building a sex club adjacent to the Goodpasture Christian School in Madison, Tennessee, is moving forward again after rebranding the effort as a church renovation. According to reports, the ownership group will have to prove that the building is an actual house of worship prior to opening.