Nashville, TN

Pastors Speak Out on Gov. Lee's School Board Appointee

Advocate Andy

Group says Mollenhour engaged in "reckless" and "dangerous" business practices

Members of the Southern Christian Coalition spoke out in opposition to Gov. Bill Lee's appointment of Jordan Mollenhour to the Tennessee State Board of Education.

In a statement issued after Mollenhour was confirmed by the Senate, pastors shared their concerns:

“As a father with two children who attend public school in Tennessee, I question the wisdom of appointing someone to the State Board of Education whose company is currently under litigation for supplying deadly ammo to underage persons, ammo that was subsequently used in the perpetration of mass shootings,” said Rev Brandon Baxter, Elder in the United Methodist Church serving in Nashville. “We know schools across the country have been plagued by the scourge of gun violence and mass shootings for decades now. Regardless of one's positions on gun rights, surely we can all agree that members of the State Board of Education should not be implicated in such reckless and dangerous business practices. There are plenty of qualified persons of all political stripes and persuasions to serve on the State Board of Education who do not bring with them such ethical questions and concerns.”

The group noted that Mollenhour's business practices were directly relevant to the post on the Board of Education:

“The lawsuits against Mr. Mollenhour’s company, ‘Lucky Gunner,’ are serious, as it is illegal to sell ammunition to a minor in Texas,” said Rev. Billy Vaughan, Retired United Methodist Pastor in Memphis. “Education is about teaching our students to do more than merely pass tests. High quality public education is about learning from history, developing critical thinking and having the capacity to reflect not simply on economics, but also social responsibility. That includes learning about the responsibilities that come with rights and privileges, including the right to bear arms in the second amendment. Mr. Mollenhour may not believe his connection between business, law, and ethics is important for education, but hopefully others will. I am not only saddened for our state’s public education related to this appointment, but also deeply troubled that Governor Lee and our Supermajority Legislature, who insist that their faith guides their decisions, can’t see this connection."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

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