TN Lt. Gov. Urges Voters to Reject Candidate Because She’s a “Dangerous” Atheist

I posted last month about how Gayle Jordan was running for the Tennessee State Senate in District 14, just south of Nashville.

In 2016, she ran for the same seat and lost (by a large margin), but she’s on the ballot again because there’s a special election in the district next week and she felt voters at least deserved a decent progressive option. Why should a Republican get a free ride, even in a deeply red area?

Since being a Democrat is arguably a mark against her in parts of Tennessee, Jordan didn’t feel the need to hide the fact that she’s also the executive director for Recovering from Religion, a group that provides resources for people who want to leave their faith.

This should be a safe seat for the GOP. In any other year, they probably wouldn’t even pay any attention to her. But this is 2018, voters everywhere are fed up with Donald Trump, and Republicans have reason to be worried no matter where they are.

A couple of weeks ago, the state’s Republican Party released a statement calling on voters to reject Jordan because she’s a “radical atheist.” Party Chairman Scott Golden even urged Democratic gubernatorial candidates to distance themselves from Jordan because of her “extreme” religious views.

What is a “radical” atheist, exactly? What are her “extreme” godless views? Does she not believe in God really hard? Who knows. The Republicans clearly just wanted to scare their base.

I guess they didn’t scare them enough because one of the top GOP officials in the state is now getting in on the act. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally posted messages on social media this week encouraging people to vote for Jordan’s opponent because she’s apparently too “dangerous” for Tennessee.

In my 40 plus years in Tennessee politics, I’ve seen few candidates as dangerous as Gayle Jordan. She is not just out of step with a majority of Tennessee on matters of policy. She is out of step on matters of values and faith.

In her daily work, she directs an organization called “Recovering from Religion.” Most Tennesseans, whether they are strong believers or not, recognize the strength and comfort faith provides. Gayle Jordan rejects faith as a positive force for good in the world. She believes faith is something from which people need to be rescued.

This is not the type of person we need in the Tennessee Senate.

Once again, if McNally lashed out against a Jewish candidate for not being in step with the Christian majority, this might be a bigger story. But his attack on atheists shouldn’t be ignored.

Jordan’s not “dangerous”… unless McNally is worried she’ll make believers think critically about their faith. (I suppose I’d be worried about that if I were him.)

And while Tennessee is overwhelmingly religious, Jordan’s group isn’t there to “rescue” people from religion — as if she’s walking into churches and kidnapping worshipers for their own good. She’s there to help people who have walked away from faith on their own but need guidance moving forward. (Seriously, look at the group’s resources.)

Tennessee needs representatives willing to help everybody, not just those in the religious majority. It’s appalling that the Lt. Gov. doesn’t understand that.

Jordan isn’t campaigning on her atheism. She really isn’t even mentioning it. And she sure as hell isn’t running for office to push her non-belief on others. She took part in a public forum a couple of weeks ago and the topic of religion never even came up. The two candidates discussed local issues. It’s hard to watch that discussion and claim Jordan is a danger to anybody because she happens to be skeptical about a popular myth.

By the way, check out the Twitter bios for Jordan and her opponent. Guess which one of them goes out of the way to mention religion?

Jordan’s opponent makes it very clear who he represents. If you’re not a conservative Christian, good luck getting him to pay attention to your needs.

The election happens on March 13. You can donate to Jordan’s campaign right here. Show the Lt. Gov. and his entire party that you’re not going to back away because of their bullying.

(Screenshot of McNally via YouTube)

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