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Along with the majority of Tennesseans, pastors oppose dangerous book bans
May 11, 2022

After today’s release of state-wide polling indicating that the
majority of Tennesseans oppose book bans, pastors also speak up

NASHVILLE -- After this morning’s release of statewide polling that shows that the majority of Tennesseeans oppose bans on books in public schools, pastors also speak in opposition to book banning.

“Just like the majority of Tennesseans surveyed in the statewide polling, I also am opposed to book bans in our public schools,” said Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs, Pastor of Franklin Community Church. “We need leaders focused on solving the real problems our students are facing, not dividing us with distracting culture war issues and book bans. This is why I call on our elected leaders, from Governor Lee to school board members, to focus on getting all students the support they need to thrive including addressing the teacher shortage with full-time, passionate teachers, finding funding for mental health support for children, and making sure there are enough talented and dedicated staff in school so that students have the support that they need to learn and thrive.

“As Christians we should never fear the truth. Not only did Jesus tell us the truth would set us free, but he also commanded His disciples to not fear. Banning books out of fear of exposing our students to the truth about history is the opposite of what we should do as Christians. We are called to be people of truth and justice, and this law is contrary to both of these values.”

“No matter our color, background, or zip code, we want our children to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right,” said Rev. Matt Steinhauer, recently retired Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. “This is why I am so appalled that so much of this legislative session was focused on book bans and punishing teachers and librarians, and so grateful that Tennesseans are opposed to these policies and laws. We must instead be a state where we respect and support each other across our differences, and reject the efforts of banning books by our leaders.

“As pastors we must be trained by Biblical Scholars in order to be ordained and lead a church. The same is true for our librarians and educators. They also have received the higher education and training needed for their profession and we must respect and trust their training and profession. Book bans are the opposite of where our attention should be if we truly claim to value children, education, and our future. If we truly value education as a state, we should be focused on supporting and encouraging our librarians and educators instead of seeking to punish them and limit access to books for our students.”


Statewide polling about book bans
Tennessee schools could now see blanket book bans
Tennessee bill requires librarians to submit list of books for state-level approval
Tennessee School Library Debate

About Southern Christian Coalition
The Southern Christian Coalition is a nonpartisan grassroots, ecumenical organization. Across the South, politicians use ideology in the guise of Christian theology to push policies that harm our communities and isolate us from our neighbors. We are a community of Christians, speaking up on the values of our faith.

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