Southern Christian Coalition Opposes Library Censorship

Advocate Andy

Advocacy group calls on legislature to oppose efforts to censor school library content

Pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition are going on the record in opposition to a last-minute legislative effort to censor the books available in school libraries.

An amendment to HB2666 would restrict the books available in school libraries to only those texts approved by the Tennessee Textbook Commission. If a book wasn't on the approved list, it could not be available in a public school library.

The Southern Christian Coalition released statements from pastors who oppose the effort.

“I am horrified that our lawmakers don’t trust school librarians,” said Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor of First United Church in Bristol. “They have been clear for decades that they don’t trust our exceptionally educated and trained teachers, and now they are coming for librarians too. As a pastor, partner to a public school educator, and parent of children in the public school system, I am deeply concerned about the level of distrust our elected leaders are creating around our trusted professionals. To be quite blunt, this is an abominable exercise in censorship.”

The group plans to participate in a demonstration at the Capitol tomorrow (4/27/2022) to protest the legislation.

One pastor noted that Christians should celebrate rather than fear the truth.

“As Christians we should never fear the truth,” said Rev. Brandon Baxter, Associate Pastor of West End United Church in Nashville. “Not only did Jesus tell us the truth would set us free, but he also commanded His disciples to not fear. Creating legislation out of fear of exposing our students to the truth about history is the opposite of what we should do as Christians. We are called to be people of truth and justice, so it is my fervent prayer that our elected leaders pivot from this harmful censorship legislation.”

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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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