Speaking out against dangerous permitless carry

March 4, 2021
  • Right now, our TN state leaders are trying to pass a law that would allow anyone to carry a firearm without needing to get a permit first. 
  • Our current permitting system ensures that proper background checks and safety training are done before an individual can carry a firearm in public.
  • This law would make it easier for firearms to get into the hands of people with dangerous histories, including those with histories of domestic abuse or drunk driving, 
  • There is not public support for permitless carry. 
    • In 2019 polling showed that 75% of Tennesseans opposed or strongly opposed removing permit requirements to carry a gun, while even more said they believed individuals should have to complete a course and obtain a permit to carry a loaded gun in public.
    • Members of both the Tennessee Sheriff's Association and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have spoken in opposition of the bill.
  • Studies have shown that states that have weakened their firearm permitting system have experienced an 11% increase in handgun homicide rates and a 13-15% percent increase in violent crime rates.
  • What can you do?

Sources

1. Permitless carry bill advances in state legislature

2. Poll shows Tennesseans strong support the current handgun carry permit system

3. Michael Siegel et al., “Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States,” American Journal of Public Health 107, no. 12 (December 1, 2017): 1923–29, https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304057. 

4 John J. Donohue, Abhay Aneja, and Kyle D. Weber, “Right-To-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Control Analysis,” NBER Working Papers (National Bureau of Economic Research, November 2018),
https://www.nber.org/papers/w23510.pdf.

5. Daniel W. Webster et al., “Concealed Carry of Firearms: Fact vs. Fiction” (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Gun Policy and Research, November 16, 2017), https://bit.ly/2QJr2Mi.

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Tennessee Pastor calls on Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to uphold the values of integrity and accountability during the Impeachment trial this week

February 11, 2021
Pastor Dave Gerber

“No matter who you vote for, most of us believe our elected leaders have a duty to uphold our democracy and govern in our interests. Any elected official who stokes violence and division and tells repeated lies to subvert our democracy is unfit to represent us. We deserve leaders who demonstrate the courage of real convictions and an allegiance to uphold our freedoms and our rights. Our Senators, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, must come together with their colleagues to complete the impeachment process, hold any elected leaders who have done us harm to account and address the challenges we face.

We are Pastors who represent a wide variety Christian faith denominations in the Great State of Tennessee. We call on each of our Senators, both Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, to uphold integrity and accountability. This accountability is not to your own self-interests, your political party, or your political “base.” We demand that you be accountable to the Constitution of the United States and to the vows each of you have taken. How can you do so when you refuse to speak out against representations of false witnesses like QANON? How can you do so even as you have taken the oath of jurors in the upcoming impeachment trial to be fair and impartial and have already stated that your mind is made up. 

We also call you to the integrity that is demanded of all who seek to be disciples of Christ. We are at a time when truth has been tattered, where trust is undermined at every turn, where the “what’s in it for me” has replaced the greater good. Christianity, something to which you all claim, demands virtue, honesty, compassion, acceptance, accountability, and service to all who are created in God’s image. James write in James 4:16-17,  “As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and does not do it, it is sin for them.”

This is how we move forward together. May you each  have the discernment to see the political games for the self-serving nonsense they are and replace them with true justice. so that we can be assured that our leaders govern in our name and deliver what our families need, from pandemic relief to vaccine distribution. May your hearts and eyes be opened to the opportunity that each of you have in representing not just the State of Tennessee, but the Great Kingdom of God in liberty and justice for all. “

-Reverend Dave Gerber
Hospice Chaplain
Brentwood, TN 

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We Sing “Joy To The World” – NO EXCEPTIONS! Rev. Jim Sessions

March 20, 2020

Our thoughts and prayers go to all our sisters and brothers throughout the world suffering from the coronavirus…and to those health workers laboring to contain the virus and care for the sick.  It is coming home to us that our health is not just a private possession but is shared whether we like it or not….it is community ……health must be shared in our town, our county, our state…and we are learning today shared with all of God’s creation.  Or we all suffer the sick, unhealthy, and fatal  consequences.

We sing Joy to the World…we  sing Joy to the world NO EXCEPTIONS.. we do not sing Joy to the World EXCEPT for those in a certain income bracket,  EXCEPT for children, EXCEPT for the invalid,  EXCEPT for rural communities,  Joy to the World EXCEPT for the sick. Joy to the world EXCEPT for people in nursing homes

People of faith sing Joy to the World NO EXCEPTIONS.

But in Tennessee our state government makes exceptions.   They refuse that lifeline – that gift of life and good health to 1.5 million Tennesseans.  We call upon our state leaders to choose life ....And health for its citizens – our sisters and brothers throughout the state facing suffering as never before.  Choose life not death.

This not just about number crunching, or being stuck in political  ideologies, or stuck in the past.  This is the very present danger to precious lives in our state.  To cripple or end our access to health, to not expand that access through Medicaid…..is just wrong.  We should probably  stop singing Joy to the World until our state leaders get this right.

Time is not on our side  --  Or theirs.

Rev. Jim Sessions - Knoxville, TN

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Block Grant Forums | Memphis

October 15, 2019

Block Grant Forums | Memphis

By Initially Neglecting Memphis, Does Gov. Lee Understand the Danger of Block Grants?

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Gov. Lee’s initial decision to deny Memphis a block grant hearing, the area with the most TennCare enrollees in the state, is morally troubling. While we are encouraged that Gov. Lee ultimately granted Memphis a forum, we worry that Gov. Lee fails to understand why Tennesseans oppose his block grant proposal in the first place. As Christians, we are called to care for the vulnerable; however, Gov. Lee’s block grant proposal would hurt our children, the disabled, and the working poor. We call on Gov. Lee, a man of faith, to choose to protect, not harm, our most vulnerable.

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Rural Hospital Closures Are a Moral Failure

May 31, 2019

Jamestown Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in Fentress County, due to loss of federal funding, is another rural hospital at risk of closing.

Our leaders, the public servants Tennesseans entrusted to improve, not abandon their health care needs, are watching our hospitals fall one by one. If Jamestown Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in Fentress County, closes its doors it will be a moral failure at the hands of those in power. Medicaid expansion is a resource that could help stop this crisis, yet they refuse. How many more hospitals have to close before Governor Bill Lee and the state legislature act?

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UPDATE on the Lawsuit to Repeal the ACA

May 24, 2019

The Fifth Circuit of Appeals will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on July 9, 2019.

We remain on the front lines of protecting the ACA that millions of our brothers and sisters depend on for health care and even their lives. We continue to call on Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery to withdraw from this blasphemous lawsuit. If AG Slatery has his way, the entire ACA will be overturned and with it will come chaos and cruelty.

Without the ACA, protections for pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, and cancer will vanish.

What happens to the cancer patient in the middle of lifesaving treatment? Will insurance companies refuse to cover their treatments and leave them to perish? Or what about the parents who have been able to sleep at night because the ACA eliminated lifetime caps? Do they now go bankrupt because insurance companies no longer cover the cost of care for their child?

Jesus loved people. Jesus healed the sick and staunchly protected the most vulnerable. It is time for AG Slatery to follow His example and protect our state against such cruelty. He must withdraw Tennessee from this lawsuit and encourage others to follow suit.

After the Fifth Circuit rules for or against the health law, the next and final step will be an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Speaker Casada Must Resign: A public servant’s moral character matters

May 17, 2019

Last week, we called on Speaker Glen Casada to resign. Speaker Casada has abused his role as public servant. We lamented that instead of serving Tennesseans, he was serving the false gods of greed and power.  Today, we learned that Speaker Casada has continued to abuse his position of power by attempting to manipulate the 10-member ethics panel reviewing his actions. We again call for his resignation.

Character counts.  Moral excellence counts.  

A public servant’s moral character should matter to all citizens, especially God’s people, as it does to Him.  We must not accept anything less than for our elected officials to live by the highest standards of morality, both in their roles as leader and citizen.

Again we say, Speaker Casada, if you are not the servant leader who respects and serves those over whom you have power, do the right thing –  step away from your leadership position as Speaker of the House.

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Speaker Casada’s Abuses of Power Disqualify Him as a Leader and He Must Step Down

May 7, 2019

The Gospel Warns Us that Abuse of Power Leaves a Trail of Destruction: Tennesseans Must Reckon with Casada’s Pattern of Behavior

In response to House Speaker Glen Casada’s pattern of behavior, Lenda Sherrell, state director of the Southern Christian Coalition, released the following statement:

“The Gospel is clear that abuse of power leaves a trail of destruction. It is essential that those in leadership be aware of the ways in which they are tempted to misuse power. After the recent revelations of Speaker Glen Casada’s pattern of behavior, all Tennesseans must reckon with this question: Is Speaker Casada abusing his position of power? As people of faith, we have come to that conclusion.

“In Matthew 4:8-9, Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world If he would just bow down and worship him. If Jesus was tempted in this way, so will we be also. In Tennessee, the trail of destruction includes Casada’s texts objectifying young women, dismissing victims of sexual assault, instructing the sergeant of arms not to release lawmakers from the chamber, and risking a fire hazard and therefore the safety of all in the room.

“We urge you, Speaker Glen Casada, to ask yourself if you are living by the Golden Rule – are you treating others as you want yourself to be treated?  Are you seeking to serve others, or are you serving a false idol of greed and power?

Speaker Casada, if you are not the servant leader who respects and serves those over whom you have power, we ask that you step away from your leadership position as Speaker of the House.”

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Vouchers Would Hurt the Poorest of the Poor

April 29, 2019

Public Education is Key to Human Well-Being and Must Be Protected Against Vouchers

Rev. John Gill, Pastor  of Church of the Savior and Rev. Marcia C. Free, M. Div. Associate Pastor in Knoxville, issued the following statement on behalf of the Southern Christian Coalition calling on Rep. Jason Zachary (House District 14, Knoxville) to change his original “aye” vote supporting private school vouchers (House Bill 0939 / Senate Bill 0795) to “no.”

“In John 10:10, Jesus tells his followers: ‘I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.’ Abundant life applies to every aspect of our being in this world – physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Public education is key to community and human well-being. A few families may be able to afford to use a voucher for their child to attend a private school but what happens to the poorest of the poor? The vulnerable who we are called to care for will be left in already underfunded schools, an abandonment of these families and our Christian values.

“The voucher bill would widen the socio-economic disparities that already exist in our society. The Bible tells us that we are all precious in God’s eyes (Isaiah 43:4), especially our children who depend on us as advocates to provide quality education and a loving community so that they may live more abundant lives.

Using public funds for private schools or vouchers moves us further away from this moral imperative. Rep. Zachary, please reconsider your previous vote and choose to protect the vulnerable and the least of these by voting against vouchers that would take money from our public schools.”

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The Voucher Bill Is Morally Irresponsible And Fails Our Children

April 23, 2019

Senate and Gov. Lee Must Not Abandon Our Public Schools

In response to the Tennessee State House of Representatives passing legislation (HB 0939) to abandon the needs of our public schools by expanding a private school voucher system, Rev. Laura Becker, Pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga and member of the Southern Christian Coalition, released the following statement:

The voucher bill is an immoral abandonment of the state’s obligation to ensure that our children are educated equitably. The state has a responsibility to care for its most valuable resource – our children. Tennessee is already under-funding and over-testing our schools, and this proposed voucher plan will only exacerbate these problems. This voucher bill fails our children by creating a system that invests in some children more than others when all children of God should have the same opportunities to thrive. The State Senate and Governor Bill Lee must do everything within their power to stop this legislation from becoming law.”

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