Tennessee Faith Leaders Denounce White Supremacy Conference at Montgomery Bell State Park

Advocate Andy

Cumberland Presbyterian pastors and congregants sign letter opposing event at location of denomination's founding

Leaders and parishioners of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination have signed a letter denouncing a planned white supremacy event being held at Tennessee's Montgomery Bell State Park on November 18-20.

More than 300 representatives from the denomination, founded in Tennessee at the current location of the state park, have signed a letter denouncing the upcoming "American Renaissance conference.

The letter reads in part:

"On the hallowed grounds where the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was born, White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Klansmen will meet again November 18 – 20, 2022, to espouse their hateful beliefs. At the American Renaissance conference, participants desecrate the site as they justify, plan, and teach their racist version of American culture in the shelter of Tennessee’s Public Land, Montgomery Bell State Park. As a grassroots group of concerned Cumberland Presbyterians, not only are we sickened by their racist ideology, we are heartbroken that they will again meet near the birthplace of our beloved church. In response to this meeting and in the face of rising extremism, we have a duty and a responsibility to speak up. Silence is complicity. Therefore, we state together and with a unified voice: We denounce White supremacy as evil and a threat to justice, peace and the common welfare. We petition the State of Tennessee and Tennessee State Parks to cease sheltering hate speech and providing a platform to individuals and groups promoting white supremacy.

"White supremacy undermines the safety, livelihood, and basic human rights of its victims and hardens its proponents against the dignity of all people. We vehemently oppose any ideology, philosophy, or theology that sees any human being as inferior to another – based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, age, nationality, or any other reason. We believe all persons are created in the image of God, even those who do not reflect God’s love. We pray for those who suffer under oppression and those who deliberately ignore or are unconscious to it. We pray for White supremacists and those of us who benefit from its systemic practice, for the harm it does to our humanity, and that all our hearts may be transformed."

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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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