After the early ending of the 2023 Legislative Session, Tennessee clergy and people of faith lamented the harm and called for a future moral agenda that prioritizes people over money and power.

NASHVILLE, TN — Dozens of pastors and people of faith gathered in Legislative Plaza this week to lament the harmful policy of the legislative session that just ended and call for a moral agenda going forward including passing common sense gun reform in the special session that will convene in a few weeks. 

Rev. Brandon Baxter, Pastor of East End United Methodist Church, Nashville opened the press conference reminding everyone of the moral agenda called for by Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs at the start of the legislative session saying, “A moral agenda draws on the words of Jesus saying, ‘So in everything do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” He summarized that a moral agenda would expand Medicaid and resource rural hospitals so that they can remain open, acknowledge that reproductive rights are between a woman her faith leader and her doctor, prioritize housing those experiencing homelessness instead of criminalizing them, resourcing public schools and increasing teacher pay instead of financing private schools through vouchers or pseudo-private schools, protecting children in state custody, providing them a bedroom to sleep in, instead of an office couch, taking children’s accusations of abuse seriously, rejecting discriminatory and oppressive bills against LGBTQ communities, fighting for racial equality and against white Christian nationalism, getting rid of the death penalty once and for all and of course, passing common sense gun reform so that our children and communities can be safe from gun violence.

“Unfortunately, the Supermajority Legislature and Governor Lee have only moved us further away from this moral policy agenda […] While the General Assembly may have ended early so they could avoid talking to the people, we most certainly will not end our calls for justice and we will keep coming back especially since they are coming back. We are going to demand some action.”

The definition of Christian nationalism is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity and that the government is to take active steps to keep it that way. […] This dangerous ideology is our laws that protect guns over life, proprofit over affordable health care, and discrimination of our  LBGTQ neighbors and other members of humanity over love. Listen, what makes ideology and an event like this so sneaky is their own ongoing language about returning to God […] When they say the word return to a system, they’re talking about returning to a system of power and control where patriarchy, guns, money, and power are all worshiped. And when we see this idolatry played out when they refused to pass common sense gun legislation, we see it played out when they use the Bible to defend and promote the use of firearms over pursuing peace. It’s just one more dangerous aspect of Christian nationalism that masquerades as the Christian faith, full of falsehoods, contradictions and misuses of the Bible. Christian nationalism is an ideology that is preaching a false god.”