The Tennessee Pastors Network announced today that they are encouraging Tennessee legislators, and candidates for Governor, to embrace legislation signed into law in Texas on May 19, 2017 which shields pastors sermons from subpoenas issued by state courts.
“Religious freedom is one of our most cherished rights, and pastors in Tennessee should be assured that they will not be targeted for government interference, threats or intimidation for what they prepare and deliver from their pulpits,” said Tennessee Pastors Network President Dale Walker in calling for Tennessee to follow Texas’ lead
The Texas bill was authored by state Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and signed into law by Republican Governor Greg Abbott after passage in the Texas legislature. Texas Senate Bill 24 provides that a government cannot “compel the production or disclosure of a written copy or audio or video recording of a sermon delivered by a religious leader during religious worship … or compel the religious leader to testify regarding the sermon.”
“President Donald Trump made protection of our religious liberties a centerpiece of his campaign and he carried Tennessee by a huge margin on that platform, including carrying all but one of Tennessee’s 95 counties,” Walker noted. “I would hope that our legislators and candidates for Governor will express immediate and strong support for Tennessee following the I great example that Texas has set and pass similar legislation in the Volunteer State.”
Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet), who said over the weekend she will announce that she is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Tennessee in 2018 next Saturday, pointed out: “It is a sad commentary that states have to pass legislation like this to protect the religious freedoms of our pastors and their congregations, but it is the world we are in today. I will be happy to sponsor legislation to shield our pastors in Tennessee from government threats, subpoenas and intimidation based on what they preach from the pulpit.”
“Having just personally experienced the attacks that Christians in this country are experiencing for simply embracing Biblical values, I will be happy to support legislation that protects our pastors,” State Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), another potential candidate in the Tennessee Republican Gubernatorial race in 2018, said in response to the Tennessee Pastors Network call for action.
Green was nominated by President Trump to serve as Secretary of the Army, but withdrew from consideration after he was subjected to repeated and unfounded attacks by LGBT and Islamic activists.