Southern Christian Coalition Calls on Lee to Cut Ties with Hillsdale College

Advocate Andy

Pastors speak out on remarks about teachers, promotion of Christian nationalism

Following reports that Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College and an education advisor to Gov. Bill Lee, made disparaging remarks about teachers while Lee sat in silence, a group of Tennessee pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition has called on Lee to sever all ties with Hillsdale and Arnn.

The move comes after a Chattanooga charter school announced it is ending its relationship with Hillsdale in response to the controversy.

Lee has so far refused to apologize and has instead defended Arnn's remarks, which included:

"The teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country."

In a statement, the pastors called on Lee and Tennessee policymakers to take action to sever all state ties with Hillsdale.

"I'm appalled not only by these comments but also by the lack of response or apology from Governor Lee," said Rev. Kevin Riggs, Pastor of Franklin Community Church in Franklin. "It's past time that Governor Lee cut off this partnership and his desire to bring 100, or even a single Hillsdale School to Tennessee. These schools and their curriculum blur the line between church and state and are an attempt to bring White Christian Nationalism into our public schools.

Riggs added:

"White Christian nationalism attempts to rewrite and whitewash our history and by including it in our public school curriculum, we would be using public funding to blur the separation of church and state. Today we are asking for Governor Lee to abandon this partnership and instead finally fully fund our public schools so that every child in Tennessee has access to a quality public education that prepares them to thrive as productive and successful adults who enrich our Tennessee communities."

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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.

Nashville, TN
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