religion & politics

With Haslam signature, legal Sunday booze sales can begin this weekend

Gov. Bill  Haslam today signed into law legislation that authorizes Sunday sales of liquor and wine, according to his communications department. The bill (HB1540) says that, insofar as liquor stores go, it takes effect “upon becoming law” – meaning when governor signs it.

Thus, Tennessee liquor stores could legally be open on this Sunday if the operators wish – or have time to prepare. But the bill also declares the effective date for grocery stores and supermarkets that sell wine only is Jan. 1, 2019. The first Sunday after that date is Jan. 6, 2019.

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House approves Sunday sales of liquor and wine, 55-35

Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattnooga), center, speaks with Rep. Tim Wirgau (R-Buchanan), right, after a House vote on Sunday wine sales. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The House voted 55-35 Monday evening to authorize sale of bottled liquor and wine on Sundays, sending the bill to the Senate where a vote is scheduled Wednesday.

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Mandate for display of ‘In God We Trust’ in TN schools sent to governor

On an 81-8 vote and with little debate, the House gave final approval Monday evening to legislation that requires the words “In God we trust” to be prominently displayed in all kindergarten-through-12th grade Tennessee schools.

The “National Motto in the Classroom Act” (SB2661) was approved earlier by the Senate without any debate as a part of a “consent calendar” of non-controversial bills and resolutions. It now goes to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature.

On the House floor, Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) proposed an amendment that would have required schools to also display “the traditional national motto of the United States, ‘E Pluribus Unum’ (Latin for out or many, on) along with “In God We Trust.”  But he withdrew it without any discussion after being told by the House clerk that he had filed the amendment too late for normal consideration on the floor.

The bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Old Hickory), who briefly described the measure, declaring it appropriate that “a cornerstone of our freedom” be part of children’s schooling. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Paul Bailey (R-Sparta).

Note: Previous post HERE.

Sheriff sees ‘dirty politics’ in PAC complaints over prisoners’ trip to church

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson held a news conference Thursday to denounce as “dirty politics” claims by a political action committee that he put the public in danger by taking nine state prisoners to a church in civilian clothes, apparently unguarded, reports the Times Free Press. 

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Christian conservative leader has legislators scuttle bill banning child marriage

A bill aimed at banning “child brides” in Tennessee is dead for the year after a former state senator and conservative activist asked it be delayed for fear it might interfere with his legal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage, reports the Times Free Press.

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Legislature poised to mandate “In God We Trust” signs in all TN schools

A bill mandating “prominent” display of the words “in God we trust” in all Tennessee schools was approved unanimously without debate in the state Senate and got only one recorded ‘no’ vote in clearing House committees as it heads to a floor vote.

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Lee gets celebrity help in seeking evangelical vote (‘God can work through him’)

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee has five celebrities serving as “honorary co-chairs” in a listing of his gubernatorial campaign supporters called  “Community and Faith-Based Advisory Council.”  Celebrities are country music star Ricky Skaggs, former Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher, former NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip along with gospel singers Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith.

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In Nashville visit, Pence praises Trump, Black for anti-abortion efforts

Vice President Mike Pence used his latest visit to Nashville to offer support for the anti-abortion movement and reassure those gathered at a Christian broadcasting conference that the Trump administration will be the most vociferous supporter yet of issues important to evangelicals, reports The Tennessean.

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Haslam on ‘critical’ need for politicians to have spiritual discipline

Excerpts from an article Gov. Bill Haslam wrote – headlined “Public Service as a Spiritual Discipline” — for Comment, a publication of Cardus, which is described as “a think tank devoted to renewing North American social architecture, rooted in 2000 years of Christian social thought”:

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Christian university backs out of hosting Beavers event criticized as anti-Muslim

Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville has decided against serving as the location of an event organized by Republican gubernatorial candidate/former state Sen. Mae Beavers and criticized by some  as having anti-Muslim event, reports The Tennessean.

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