Press release from Tennessee State Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, Oct. 2, 2015:
Clemmons questions Lt. Gov. Ramsey’s comments regarding “card-carrying Christians”
NASHVILLE, TN — Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey recently posted the following comments on his Facebook page in the wake of yesterday’s fatal shootings at an Oregon community college:
“The recent spike in mass shootings across the nation is truly troubling. Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West.
While this is not the time for widespread panic, it is a time to prepare. I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.
Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise.”
In response to these comments, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons issued the following statement:
Lt. Governor Ramsey’s comments reek of fear mongering and religious crusading. Rather than lead the General Assembly’s bipartisan efforts to improve public safety by removing guns from the hands of criminals and addressing the serious mental health issues confronting many in our state, Senator Ramsey unfortunately chose the road most traveled by the radical right.
There is an eerie absence of logic in his statement that ties one’s Christian faith to firearms ownership that is offensive to all religions. Senator Ramsey isessentially saying that we should all run out and get a handgun carry permit to prove how serious we are about our Christian faith. Not only must we have a state-issued ID to vote, must we now have one to prove our religious faith?
Senator Ramsey’s inciting statements in the face of a national tragedy are all the more alarming when you consider them in their historical context. Things have never ended well when any leader has asked people to take up arms in the name of their religious faith. This type of rhetoric is counter-productive to our efforts on so many levels.
In the end, I am sure he will get the national headlines he was seeking, but it will be the rest of us Tennesseans who will suffer the humiliation and pay the price for his words.
State Rep. Clemmons recently introduced H.B. 1409 to amend the ‘Guns-in-Parks’ bill passed earlier this year in a bipartisan attempt to make some common sense changes to the legislation. He serves District 55 in the Tennessee House of Representatives.