National Review senior writer David French has sharply criticized Nashville Mayor Megan Barry for her comments denigrating the Nashville Statement, a declaration by Christian evangelical leaders supporting traditional marriage and calling homosexuality and transgenderism sinful.
The statement was approved Friday at a meeting of evangelical leaders in Nashville who named the declaration for the city in keeping with a historical Christian practice of naming doctrinal statements for the places where they were written. French, who lives in Columbia, Tennessee, 45 miles south of Nashville, was one of more than 150 conservative evangelicals who signed the Nashville Statement.
French wrote in a column Wednesday that it is unreasonable for Barry to claim that orthodox Christian beliefs are “incompatible with the ‘inclusive values’ of a city that’s located in the heart of the Bible Belt.”
“The Southern Baptist Convention has a headquarter building right in downtown Nashville,” French said. “You can’t drive five minutes in Nashville without seeing a church that’s teaching exactly the values and beliefs contained in the Nashville Statement. Is Barry’s position that they should change their ways, shut up, or leave?”
Every now and again, progressive politicians tip their hand. Every now and again, the message of “inclusion” becomes, “We don’t want your kind here.” When Chick-fil-A was in the eye of the culture-war storm, progressive city leaders from coast to coast indicated they wanted no Chick-fil-A chicken sold within their city limits. Consider for a moment that degree of malignant intolerance. No one is indoctrinated in a fast-food restaurant. But the mere idea that faithful Christians would be enriched by liberal dollars was too much for some progressives. “Inclusive values” apparently demand punitive reprisals.
We now live in a world where a subset of progressive politicians is enthusiastically and vindictively intolerant in the name of tolerance. They will re-educate or ruin small-business owners who won’t lend their creative talents to celebrate gay weddings. If the Constitution allowed, they would ban from their cities any businesses run by faithful Christians who refuse to be silent on matters of sexual morality. They will publicly reject basic statements of Christian theology, and they will do it in the name of comprehensive social engineering.
French cautioned his readers, “Don’t ever forget that, for some folks, ‘separation of church and state’ is a half-measure. It’s just a pit stop on the road to de-Christianizing America. It’s a temporary means to a much bigger end.”
The Tennessee Star contacted the mayor’s office Thursday morning to ask whether Barry was concerned about not including orthodox Christians in her definition of inclusiveness. The Star had a few other questions as well, but Barry spokesman Sean Braisted said the mayor’s office had no further comment.
“I think the statement on Twitter speaks for the mayor’s position about the naming of the document,” Braisted said. “The reaction to it from the Nashville community has been overwhelmingly positive.”