Posted: April 12, 2023
Democracy, racial justice, and gun safety are under joint assault in Tennessee. The good news is that pro-democracy faith leaders are pushing back -- and they're winning.
After three Democratic state representatives used a megaphone to call for new gun laws in the Tennessee House during Holy Week, Republican Speaker Cameron Sexton falsely accused them of "insurrection" -- an outright lie to undermine democracy, silence his Black and progressive opponents, and distract from demands for gun reform.
Sexton quickly scheduled an unprecedented vote to expel the three lawmakers. In response, dozens of faith leaders held a press conference to denounce the power grab, then led a nonviolent clergy sit-in at Sexton's office.
During the House's sham hearing on the matter, one of the three falsely accused lawmakers -- Rep. Justin Jones, a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School -- was asked what he meant when he proclaimed, "No justice, no peace." Rep. Jones responded by quoting the Book of Jeremiah about anti-justice and pro-gun politicians: "They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wounds. They give assurances of peace where there is no peace."
House Republicans ultimately voted to expel Reps. Jones and Justin Pearson -- but not Rep. Gloria Johnson, kicking out the two Black men but not their white compatriot. The good news is that Reps. Jones and Pearson have both just been appointed by the relevant local authorities to fill their own vacant seats.
Now that he's been sworn back in, Rep. Jones says Speaker Sexton "must resign for his attacks on democracy." Add your name to show that a nationwide movement of pro-democracy Christians agree!
Sign the petition: