No on 1: More Than 100 TN Clergy Leaders Oppose Amendment 1

Press release from the Tennessee Vote No on 1 Campaign; October 29, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Today, during a press conference of community leaders in Knoxville, Vote No on 1 released a list of over 100 clergy leaders across Tennessee who are opposing Amendment 1 from a place of faith. The pledge was announced by Rev. John Gill in Knoxville’s Church of the Savior United Church of Christ.

“We are faith leaders from a variety of religious traditions,” said Rev. Gill. “We do not need to agree on abortion to agree that this amendment would harm women and families in Tennessee by taking privacy protections out of the state Constitution. We urge you to join us in voting No on Amendment 1.”

Rev. Gill was joined by more than 20 Knoxville community leaders from faith, legal, and medical backgrounds. Speakers also included State Representative Gloria Johnson (District 13); Dr. Susan Dodd, an OBGYN in Knoxville; and Terry Adams, an attorney in Knoxville and former candidate for U.S. Senate.

The press conference is the third of its kind to feature clergy leaders standing in opposition to Amendment 1. Earlier in the month, Vote No on 1 held events featuring clergy in Memphis and Nashville.

A copy of the clergy list and their joint statement in opposition to Amendment 1 follows.

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Faith Voices Against Amendment 1 Statement:

We are faith leaders from a variety of religious traditions. Although we hold many different perspectives on the complex moral issues related to parenting and pregnancy, we are united in our opposition to Amendment 1, which would allow the legislature to pass extreme and unlimited restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion.

First, Amendment 1 includes no exceptions for when a woman’s health is in danger, or she has been a victim of rape or incest. In difficult or tragic circumstances, our religious values affirm that families need compassion, privacy, and respect—not unnecessary barriers to healthcare.

Second, we know that people hold a variety of beliefs regarding abortion, both within and across religious traditions. This is both legitimate and to be expected in a country that cherishes freedom of religion. Amendment 1, by contrast, would give the Tennessee legislature unchecked authority to pass laws that represent only one religious perspective on abortion, thus reducing or eliminating options for people with other beliefs.

Third, our religious values call us to care for the poor and marginalized in our communities. Texts from the Hebrew Bible (If there is among you anyone in need …do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your needy neighbor, Deuteronomy 15:7), the Christian Gospels (Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me,’ Matthew 25:45) and many other faith traditions affirm that we have a moral obligation to act in the service of others. Since the negative impact of Amendment 1 would fall most heavily on low-income women and women of color, we must speak out against this injustice. As people of faith it is our religious and moral duty to take action when policies threaten to make life even harder for those who are already struggling to get by.

As faith leaders committed to showing compassion for those in need, respecting the religious liberty of all people, and caring for the poor and marginalized, we stand united against Amendment 1. We do not need to agree on abortion to agree that this Amendment would harm women and families in Tennessee by taking privacy protections out of the state Constitution. We urge you to join us in voting No on Amendment 1 on November 4.

~ Signed by 100+ diverse Tennessee clergy leaders (see following pages) ~

Title, First Name, Last Name, City, Denominational Affiliation

  • Rev. Deborah Douglas, Belvidere, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Dr. Jim Hughes, Brentwood, United Methodist
  • Rev. Jennie Barber, Chattanooga, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Laura Becker, Chattanooga, Presbyterian
  • Rev Lina Hart, Chattanooga, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, Chattanooga, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Robert Stewart, Chattanooga, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Tricia Dillon Thomas, Chattanooga, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Clay Thomas, Chattanooga, Presbyterian
  • Rev. David Spencer, Columbia, United Methodist
  • Rev. Jeralyn Major, Cordova, Baptist
  • Rev. Merrilee Wineinger, Hendersonville, United Methodist
  • Rev. Jacqueline Luck, Johnson City, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Dr. William Boys, Knoxville, Lutheran
  • Rev. Chris Buice, Knoxville, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Leslie Etheredge, Knoxville, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Marcia Free, Knoxville, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Robert Galloway, Knoxville, Metropolitan Community Church
  • Rev. Dr. Gordon Gibson, Knoxville, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. John Gill, Knoxville, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Ralph Hutchison, Knoxville, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Timothy Kobler, Knoxville, United Methodist
  • Rev. John Lackey, Knoxville, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Judith Meyer, Knoxville, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Dr. Dwyn Mounger, Knoxville, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Kay Reynolds, Knoxville, Episcopal
  • Rev. Jim Sessions, Knoxville, United Methodist
  • Rev. John Mark Wiggers, Knoxville, Episcopal
  • Rev. Laura Bogle, Maryville, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Erik Johnson, Maryville, Presbyterian/United Church of Christ
  • Rev. S.M. Johnson Atchley, Maryville, Christian
  • Rev. Dixie Lea Petrey, Maryville, Baptist Christian
  • Rev. Carla Meisterman, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Anne Apple, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Julie Bailey, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Davis Bailey, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rabbi Katie Bauman, Memphis, Jewish
  • Rev. Cheryl Beard, Memphis, Baptist
  • Rev. Jared Bingham, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Margaret Burnett, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Burton Carley, Memphis, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Cheryl J. Cornish, Memphis, United Church of Christ
  • Rabbi Harry Danziger, Memphis, Jewish
  • Rev. Renee Dillard, Memphis, United Methodist
  • Rev. Paul Eknes-Tucker, Memphis, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Eyleen Farmer, Memphis, Episcopal
  • Rev. Earle Fisher, Memphis, Baptist
  • Rev. Dr. Eugene Gibson, Memphis, Baptist
  • Rev. John Gilmore, Memphis, Christian
  • Rev. Chris Girata, Memphis, Episcopal
  • Rabbi Micah Greenstein, Memphis, Jewish
  • Rev. Anne Hagler, Memphis, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Kendra Hotz, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Dr. Johnny Jeffords, Memphis, United Methodist
  • Rev. Dr. John Kilzer, Memphis, United Methodist
  • Rev. Richard Lawson, Memphis, Episcopal
  • Rev. Beth Lefever, Memphis, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Faye London, Memphis, Disciples of Christ
  • Rev. Carla Meisterman, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Stephen Montgomery, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Stephen Montgomery, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Dr. Rosalyn Nichols, Memphis, Disciples of Christ
  • Rev. Ellen Roberds, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Dr. Brenda Sawyer Webster, Memphis, Disciples of Christ
  • Rev. Kevin Sebastian Smith, Memphis, Baptist
  • Rev. Dr. Gina Stewart, Memphis, Baptist
  • Rev. Walter Tennyson, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Lucy Waechter Webb, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Dr. Gayle Walker, Memphis, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Sonia Walker, Memphis, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Tilope White, Memphis, Christian Methodist Episcopal
  • Rev. April Baker, Nashville, Baptist
  • Rev. Richard Britton, Nashville, Episcopal
  • Rev Khette Cox, Nashville, Baptist
  • Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, Nashville, Disciples of Christ
  • Rev. V. H. Dixon, Jr., Nashville, United Methodist
  • Cantor Tracy Fishbein, Nashville, Jewish
  • Rev. Lisa Gwock, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. Lillian Hallstrand, Nashville, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Jay Hartley, Nashville, Disciples of Christ
  • Rev. Trudy Hawkins Stringer, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. N. Neelley Hicks, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. Judi Hoffman, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. Adam Kelchner, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. J. Thomas Laney, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. Rachel Lonberg, Nashville, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rabbi Shana Mackler, Nashville, Jewish
  • Rev. Dr. Mary Louise McCullough, Nashville, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Ted McEachern, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. Dr. Amy Mears, Nashville, Baptist
  • Rev. Cherie Parker, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rabbi Laurie Rice, Nashville, Jewish
  • Rabbi Philip Rice, Nashville, Jewish
  • Rev. Dr. Christophe Ringer, Nashville, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Dr. Dan Rosemergy, Nashville, United Church of Christ/Unitarian Universalist
  • Rabbi Mark Schiftan, Nashville, Jewish
  • Rev. Gail Seavey, Nashville, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rabbi Michael Shulman, Nashville, Jewish
  • Rev. Katherine Smith, Nashville, Presbyterian
  • Rev. Joseph Tribble, Nashville, Baptist
  • Rev. Ann Walling, Nashville, Episcopal
  • Rev. Janet Wolf, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. Niger Woodruff, Nashville, United Methodist
  • Rev. David McIntyre, Normandy, United Methodist
  • Rev. Jake Morrill, Oak Ridge, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Tandy Scheffler, Oak Ridge, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Kay Hereford Voorhees, Old Hickory, United Methodist
  • Rev. Pamela Rumancik, Riverside, Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Marsha Brown, Wildersville, United Church of Christ