Southern Christian Coalition Stands with Local School Boards

Advocate Andy

TN faith group opposes overreach by Michigan-based Hillsdale College

As a trio of charter schools affiliated with Michigan-based Hillsdale College asks the state Charter Schools Commission to approve their applications, the Southern Christian Coalition announced it is standing with the three local school boards that rejected the schools.

Pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition held a video press conference to express their opposition to Hillsdale operating charter schools in the state.

The group specifically pointed to the divisive nature of Hillsdale's curriculum and said that Christianity is a religion of inclusion.

Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs, pastor of Franklin Community Church in Franklin, TN declared, "No matter what we look like where we live, or what's in our wallets, most of us want our neighborhood public schools to inspire imagination, cultivate critical thinking, and ensure our children can live fulfilling lives. This is the vision we have for our children to have success. But these Hillsdale affiliated charter schools recruited here by Governor Lee are working to divide us. One of my primary concerns with Hillsdale is in teaching a whitewashed and untrue reading of the history of our country."

 The Southern Christian Coalition also spoke out against what it says is Hillsdale's doctrine of "Christian Nationalism."

Rev. Dr. Donna Whitney, pastoral assistant at Metropolitan Interdenominational Church of Nashville, said, "What Hillsdale affiliated charter schools actually have to offer is white Christian nationalism, a pernicious doctrine that is anything but Christian and obfuscates the truth of American history. For such a doctrine to even come close to the arena of public education, and at public expense is insultingly and corrosively anti-democratic. In Matthew Chapter 7 we hear Jesus saying, 'beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves'. Now, I'm not calling those who speak for Hillsdale affiliated charter schools, prophets, but they sure are false, and we will do well to be wary. So today I ask Governor Lee to abandon his dangerous partnership with Hillsdale and to remove the power of the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission to approve charter schools over the clear will of local school boards and the communities they represent and serve."

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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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