Group of Pastors Calls Gov. Lee's "Day of Prayer" an Empty Gesture

Advocate Andy

Southern Christian Coalition says Lee's words on faith don't match his deeds

On the eve of a day that Gov. Bill Lee has declared a "statewide day of prayer," a group of Tennessee pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition lamented the governor's lack of action on justice and referred to his proclamation of the event as an "empty gesture."

In a video statement, members of the group said Lee has consistently ignored calls for justice and mercy in state policy.

Rev. Dr. Donna Whitney, Pastoral Assistant at Interdenominational Church in Nashville, said, "We are here today a group of us pastors from across the state to ask Governor Lee the same question the apostle James asked, 'What good is it my brothers and sisters if someone claims to have faith yet has no deeds?' Governor Lee signed a proclamation making tomorrow a day of prayer, humility, and fasting. After joining other pastors for years calling for Governor Lee to promote policy that embodies the call of Christ in our communities. I have to say my heart fell when I saw this proclamation from the governor calling for prayer and fasting, because he has for so long ignored our pleas for justice, mercy and love of neighbor."

Rev. Jason Mikel, Pastor of Jenkins Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Nolensville, declared, "When Governor Lee uses Christian talking points and declares a day of fasting yet neglects the justice that God calls us to do, this sure seems to me to be taking the Lord's name in vain. Using Jesus's name to promote personal political agendas through talking points and forcing to the margins the LGBTQ community, teachers, librarians, immigrants, the poor, even doctors, in the name of God, all of that violates that third commandment."

Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor of Norris and Sinking Springs United Methodist Churches in Norris, TN asked, "How can Governor Lee proudly proclaim a day of prayer and fasting when he has repeatedly passed on opportunities to expand Medicaid which would provide health insurance to almost 400,000 uninsured Tennesseans?"

Berg then quoted from James Chapter 2:

"You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith fit together hand in glove."

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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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