Southern Christian Coalition points to "Christian values" in climate, healthcare effort
Pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition are calling on Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to support President Biden's "Inflation Reduction Act," a legislative effort designed to address issues around climate change and healthcare by using tax policy to fund key budget priorities.
In a press conference, the pastors outlined the importance of the initiative to the planet and to Americans.
Rev. Nikki Tolliver, Director of Student Success at American Baptist College, said, "We are pastors across Tennessee celebrating the Christian values in the Inflation Reduction Act, and we call on Tennessee's Congressional Representatives and Senators to support the values embodied in the plan. No matter what we look like, or where we come from, the vast majority of Americans value our freedom, which means we long for the freedom to make a good living, to ensure prescription medications are affordable, and make certain that we have clean air and water for generations to come, which are all provisions included in this bill. Unfortunately, there are a handful of corporate politicians doing the bidding of big pharma and oil companies and working to be dishonest about this bill."
A Nashville pastor highlighted the healthcare benefits of the bill.
"As I lead Historic First Community Church, and our non-profit, Healing Minds and Souls, which is in an underserved and under resourced community in the North Nashville area, I daily see the impact of how individuals have to make decisions on whether they purchase their medical prescriptions or buy food for their families," said Rev. Ella Clay. "This should not be the narrative when we live in the richest and most resourced country in the world. Due to the lack of proper and economical health care, many people do not have the ability to receive the medical help they need to live productive and healthy lives. To me, part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ is that we act together to meet the needs of the sick and the vulnerable among us. And it is through our government, where we all pitch in together, that we can ensure health care is a right protected for all, not a privilege just for the wealthy and the well connected, whether we're white, black or brown."
A pastor from Maryville talked about how Christians are called to be good stewards of the planet God provided.
"It is the most biologically diverse area in North America," said Rev. Don Jones of Sycamore Tree United Methodist Church in Maryville in reference to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "And it is very precious to us, and all of Tennessee, as well as all of the country. And that part shows me that meaningful action on climate change is a moral imperative. And it's a theological imperative too. In Genesis, God called all of humanity through Adam and Eve, to take responsibility to care for all of the creation. However, for the last few centuries, we have instead considered creation to be merely natural resources for our immediate benefit, and not cared for it the way God commanded. This is why I'm grateful for the action on climate change included in the inflation Reduction Act."