Again another flat out attempt to use made up history to force their religion on everyone. Notice the one guy said he serves his god first the county second. Preaching and forcing Christian doctrines comes before the needs of the county. The right has tried hard to destroy public schools and force their god into them. This is the result of home schooling and church schools that took off in the 1980s and became the Christian thing to do. I remember when James was growing up he was forced to attend religious schools. They pushed this nonsense hard, the country was Christian, the Founding fathers were highly religious Christians, the US was meant by god to his special country of chosen people to lead the world into following the Christian god. These people don’t quit, ever. They are still trying to deny evolution, they worked for 50 years to end Roe, they are doing everything they can to end LGBTQ+ rights, end same sex marriage. They are driven. It is all about controlling others and what others are allowed to do. It is not them worshiping the god they want, letting that religion guide them. No it is about controlling you, because some how their god is sad and cries if not everyone adores him. The secular community must keep fighting back against this.
On October 17, the Sumner County Commissioners in Tennessee voted to codify a new set of “Standing Rules and Procedures” to guide their meetings that references their allegiance to “Judeo-Christian values.”
The updated rules of conduct for a local government meeting wouldn’t be much interest to anyone outside the community—and arguably very little within the community—but one of the changes involved the addition of a preamble (on page 24). The paragraph is nothing more than hyped-up language promising that commissioners will do the job they were elected to do—which shouldn’t need to be stated at all—but the bigger problem is that it says their work must be “reflective of the Judeo-Christian values inherent in our nation’s founding.”
We, the Sumner County Board of Commissioners as the legislative branch of Sumner County, recognize that all powers are reserved by the citizens of this county. In order to perfect the operation of our County government, to ensure that it is just, orderly, efficient, cost-effective and most importantly reflective of the Judeo-Christian values inherent in our nation’s founding, as well as responsive and transparent to the people of Sumner County, our goal in serving the citizens of Sumner County is to exceed the requirements established in Tennessee state law and do hereby adopt these Standing Rules and Procedures.
Honoring supposed “Judeo-Christian values” isn’t just something they aspire to. It’s the most important thing they aspire to. And what are those values? Who knows. They don’t spell it out. But it certainly sends a clear message to non-Christians (and non-conservative Christians) that their needs will always be considered a lower priority.
Even at the meeting where these rules, including the preamble, were adopted 20-4, a few voices pointed out how this wording could be a problem:
Just minutes earlier, the county’s interim law director, Ben Allen, advised the group that the change could set the county up for costly discrimination lawsuits.
“I just believe that this would be a violation of the First Amendment establishment clause,” Allen told the commission. “The supreme court could change their mind on what ‘violation of the establishment clause’ means tomorrow. It’s very expensive to be the ones to find out if that’s the case.”
Nashville Attorney David Raybin says including language about Judeo-Christian values in the commission’s rules preamble is a clear violation of the first amendment’s ban against the government endorsing religion, and that it would be a “slam dunk” case in court.
“I think we need to be very careful we don’t cross over to something that ends up, taking more of our tax citizens’ dollars over the next coming years in litigation,” said Commissioner Danny Sullivan.
Allen, the interim law director, also said the phrasing could possibly be used in a complaint in case a county employee was ever fired. A hypothetical person could say she was let go because of her non-Christian faith, fairly or not, pointing to the wording as evidence the county discriminated against her.
The Christian nationalists on the Commission, including Matthew Shoaf, pushed back, saying they were just acknowledging history (which is false) and that they supported secularism. but shoving Christian references in places where they’re not needed is a hallmark of Project Blitz, the Christian nationalist playbook.
A few commissioners suggested this was a completely reckless and unnecessary move. If their legal director is warning them about the problem, and they’re opening the door to possible litigation, and all of it is is occurring by choice, what the hell are they thinking?
Those wise words were ignored.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has already written a warning letter to the Commission, letting them know this is both unconstitutional and ahistorical:
… It is erroneous to assert that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. The concept of “Judeo-Christian values” did not even exist until the mid 20th Century, let alone at the time the United States was founded. To the contrary, the United States was founded by Enlightenment-inspired thinkers who valued reason and skepticism.
By adopting a Preamble officially promoting Judeo-Christian values, the Board violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, disregards the wall of separation between state and church, and disrespects the diversity of Sumner County’s citizens. We request that the Board immediately correct this constitutional violation and remove any reference to Judeo-Christian values or other religious ideologies from the Preamble.
None of that means a lawsuit is forthcoming. But the groundwork has been laid. The bottom line is that these commissioners adopted Christian nationalist language despite the advice of their legal counsel. And the statements made at the meeting itself, beginning at the 3:07:01 mark here, make it abundantly clear that the goal is to promote the false belief that conservative Christianity is foundational to our nation’s history and that it must be the basis for the county’s future.
Just consider the comments from Commissioner Tim Jones, who said, “As a Christian, I cannot operate from a position of fear. I serve God first, this county second,” before adding that the county would continue failing because people were not “standing up for what every one of you know is right, that claim to be Christians.” Commissioner Jeremy Mansfield also made it clear that they live in a Christian-majority community, so there was no need to pay any lip service to Muslims, Hindus, or anyone else.
These people are angling for praise from right-wing propaganda outlets.
They don’t give a damn about the people they were elected to serve.
5 thoughts on “Sumner County (TN) adopts rules based on myth of ‘Judeo-Christian values’”
Heh. Look for numerous County Commissions to clean out the treasury to provide food and medical care to county residents. Look for them to prioritize making all abandoned properties inhabitable so that no one goes without a place to live. Look for them to divest from liaison with entities that profit from human suffering and war. Look for them to … yeah, I know. But it felt good to think of it for a few minutes.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Ali and Scottie;
I’ve always wondered what “they” mean when “they” say ‘Judeo-Christian Values’. I mean, it’s one of those words that everyone THINKS they know what is meant. But, if I think on things, like you said Ali, I think on the words attributed to Jesus. But, I also think on the dark ages and the inquisition. I think on my friend and pastor who lived his faith, to the detriment of his own well-being at times, and the Hitler regime who were, purportedly, christian.
When I think on “Christian” values, I think on someone who believes that everyone needs to eat, contribute, speak with kindness to opposition, value his/her neighbor, be healthy, be humble, find peace and happiness, and leave his friends and even those who are in opposition to him with a hug. Go figure, eh?
…currently laughing my ironic ass off.
LikeLiked by 3 people
Hello Randy. You are such a grand person. You could be a religious leader I would listen to. Have you ever seen the posts I have made about the Rev Ed Trevors and his videos? He has a view of religion that I can understand and not only tolerate but have no problem living next door to. I watch most of his videos and enjoy them.
Randy you understand well what I am going to write but for those reading along what these fake / Pharisee Christians want to do. Your religion should be a personal god that guides your own life and how you act. But it was never meant to be forced on others, Jesus fought the Pharisee over that idea. But today when people on the right say they are pushing family values or they will push / stand for Judeo Christian values what they really are saying is they will force their regressive views of morality and hate on others, They are not saying they will use their faith to help others, what they are saying is they will use their faith as a club against those they don’t like. Sorry that is not a faith, it is not a value, it may even be the very thing the founding fathers were trying to prevent.
Randy as I read your comment and was writing my reply I was also watching video on the other monitor, and it says what you did.
OT Before I post the video I want to give credit to Randy. He has been the one and true brother I love and needed all my life. When we got home and found that half the roof was off the front room that was my office, an 12 wide 22 / 24 foot long room and one wall gone, the inside of the home had water damage due to the roof being stuck , sliced open and that allowed water damage to our home. More on that later. Our biggest concern was covering the roof. This is Florida and this time of year we get almost daily after noon rain. Ron and James tried every where to get heavy tarps for the roof. In desperation I ordered a couple from Amazon, but the delivery date kept being pushed back. They didn’t any have big enough but they were the only ones I could get.
Randy was on the phone with us many times a day and offering to help and I told him the problems with the tarps / roof torn open and that we were struggling to find gas even the small gas canisters to use the grill to have hot food. My bro leaped into action and he sent a tarp that covered almost the entire roof and he sent a case of propane canisters that kept our grill going. And he kept asking what more we needed that he could do. But we were in a situation that no one could really help. Jill was wonderful enough to offer to send money. Other people also offered to send money. Each and everyone of those people are grand. Randy is such a great person and wonder brother I wish I had grown up with, I am older so I would get to tease him and … wait a sec, he is 6.9 and I am a short 5.6 and at that time I weighted about 58 pounds. plus I have pictures where his entire hand goes around mugs instead of using the far too small for him handle. Nope not going to tease him too much. 😁😂❤😉😉 And here is the video. Hugs
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hello Ali. You are a grand Christian, one I am proud to know. You seem to use your religion / faith as your own personal guide while letting others have their own personal life guides. That is wonderful and I so desperately wish all Christians / all religious people were that way. Every time I hear a republican claim they stand for family values while cutting food assistance for poor families and school lunches for hungry children I wonder what they think a family is and what those values are. Well we know what they mean by family values, it is a code word for bigotry, they are promising to hate those others that don’t follow our bible. So we have to ask just what values do these commissioners want to promote? Do they want to work for the poor which Jesus did? Do they want to feed the masses which Jesus is said to have done? Do they want to forgive sins or help the down trodden? Nope their version of their faith statement of Judeo Christian values is to hate /ban / and rule over others forcing them to follow the doctrines / morality of their church. I am sorry that may be what St. Paul was preaching but it is not what I thought Jesus was saying. I could be wrong. I am an atheist who tries to help everyone else out I can without pushing my views on them. Hugs
LikeLiked by 1 person
Exactly. And thank you. I’m blushing hard, because I’m just as judgmental as the people I rail about here. I feel welcome to bring religion up here and try not to overdo, but mostly I just try to be kind to people. Some days are better than others, because each and every one of us is human! Hugs back.
LikeLiked by 1 person