Tennessee Pastors Call for "Moral Agenda" in 2023 Legislative Session

Advocate Andy

Southern Christian Coalition calls on Tennessee General Assembly to lead with a focus on inclusiveness, tolerance

A group of Tennessee pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition called on the Tennessee General Assembly to adopt a moral agenda as they return to Nashville to begin conducting business this week.

On behalf of the Southern Christian Coalition, Rev. Barbara Clark, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Knoxville, outlined the group's priorities:

"No matter where we live, the color or our skin, or our gender identity, we all want the freedom to be ourselves and to live safely in our communities," Clark said. "But as Tennessee's legislative session starts this week, I am reminded of all of the legislation that Gov Lee and our state's Supermajority Legislature has put in place in the past two years and have already filed for this session that benefits the rich and powerful while furthering harm to the most vulnerable among us. They continue to hold onto power by putting us in boxes based on what we look like, where we’re from, or our genders. They stoke fear so that we turn against each other instead of demanding what our families need, such as affordable healthcare and quality public schools for all Tennesseans. And as a pastor and Christian I am calling Governor Lee and our State Legislature to follow the call of Jesus to prioritize love over hate and to pass policies that care for the vulnerable among us, and that includes policy that protects LGBTQ Tennesseans instead of harming them.

Clark added a scriptural reference she said she hopes guides lawmakers in their actions, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy."

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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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