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Todd Gardenhire makes a point in this file photo.

NASHVILLE - Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, said today he will abstain from voting on legislation making the Bible a state book.

"There is no book that is more important to me or that has affected my life more than the Bible," said Gardenhire said in a statement.  "However, we do not need a state law to sanctify it.  That has already been done from a much higher power than the State Senate.

"At the same time, voting against this resolution would send the wrong message to those who stand against our Judeo-Christian heritage in Tennessee," Gardenhire said. "I will be abstaining for these reasons."

 Final passage of the House version was delayed today following more than an hour of heated debate. It has yet to be scheduled for Senate floor debate.

The bill needs 17 votes to be approved by the 33-member Senate.

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