You may have heard of this so-called “Nashville Statement,” released by a group of conservative evangelicals on Tuesday. If you haven’t, you’re either too busy paying attention to stupid stuff like the shoes Melania Trump wore to visit ravaged Texas, or really important things like, say the PEOPLE of ravaged Texas.
In any case, if you haven’t heard of the Nashville Statement, you certainly don’t live in Nashville.
But I do.
Basically, this group of old white men who call themselves The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood got together at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and drafted up a manifesto outlining 14 beliefs.
You don’t need to read it.
Here’s the short form: gay people are an abomination to God and transgender people don’t exist. On Tuesday, in the spirit of Martin Luther and his 95 Theses, these same old white men metaphorically nailed their proclamation to the church door.
That’s not a shocker. After all, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was founded in 1987 to “help the church defend against the accommodation of secular feminism.”
What the hell is “secular feminism” anyway?
According to Merriam-Webster, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” So, you know, things like allowing women to vote (gasp), or own property instead of being property; the idea that women are as important as men and deserve the same protection under the law.
But what’s “secular” about that? It’s in the freaking Bible for God’s sake:
Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
I guess “secular” is a dog whistle for “Here comes something we don’t like. Watch out!” Otherwise, we’d talk about secular laundry, secular mortgages, secular health insurance.
So, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood created this manifesto and published it….
But here’s the thing, instead of calling it something descriptive like 14 Reasons We’re Scared of Gay People or 14 Things We Talked About When We Should Have Been Feeding the Poor or Clothing the Naked, they called it The Nashville Statement.
This is Nashville:
Nashville may be the buckle of the Bible belt, with more churches per capita than any other city in the nation, but the vast majority of those churches are committed to giving comfort, building community, and serving the underserved. You know, like Jesus did.
Nashville is hot chicken and hot tracks; Thistle Farms and The Purpose Hotel; the nation’s largest Kurdish community; the Parthenon and university students. Nashville is welcome-to-the-neighborhood-cookies and Is-there-anything-else-I-can-do-casseroles.
Nashville is not a group of small-minded tourists sitting in a hotel conference room thinking up ways to exclude people in the name of religion.
The mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry (yes, a WOMAN, cue collective gasp) tweeted this on Wednesday morning:
The president of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Denny Burk, replied, “The name simply indicates where the statements were drawn up. Whether The Nashville Statement will prove to be as enduring as those others remains to be seen. But that is the reason for the name. We were simply following a precedent set by many before us.”
To which, I say this:
I’m tired of you loud-mouthed entitled old white boys co-opting the name of Christ and embarrassing the hell out of the rest of us who are just doing our best to love our neighbor and maybe even ourselves if we can manage it. It’s bad enough that you’ve ruined the word “Christian,” so that now we must preface every mention of our faith with the phrase “not that kind of…” but you CANNOT have our city too.
You want to write some backward, thinly veiled hate document? Do it somewhere else.
Nashville doesn’t want you.