Writer says Reeves is mudslinging
To the editor:
Things have become a little heated lately here in Tennessee’s 14th district. We are nearing the finish line of a special election to fill a vacated seat for the Tennessee State Senate and have two candidates to choose from. At the beginning of the election, both candidates agreed to run a clean campaign and to put the issues first. However, with only days left in the election, it has become clear that this has not been the case, at least on the part of one candidate. During the Republican primary, candidate Shane Reeves resulted to mudslinging against his opponent and once again has done the same to his democratic opponent Gayle Jordan. I must say that as a constituent in the 14th district my heart weighs heavy that Mr. Reeves has resulted to such low bar tactics. I begin to wonder why he would do such a thing when he promised from day 1 to run a clean campaign. Is he scared? Does he not have a strong enough platform on the important issues? Or, is this just a measure of his true character?
This past week, his campaign manager sent out a letter to local clergy asking them to speak from the pulpit and encourage their parishioners to get out and vote for Mr. Reeves as his opponent is a devote atheist and a threat to our values. First, this is a clear violation of the law, and if Mr. Reeves and his campaign are willing to violate the law to be elected, what are they willing to do once in office? You may think, but President Trump abolished the Johnson Amendment! Well, that is only partially true. The Johnson Amendment is still law but he has signed an Executive Order that it not be enforced. So technically, The Reeves campaign is encouraging clergy members to break the law in order to help him win. Now to the part of Ms. Jordan being a devoted atheist and a threat to our values. Ok, so yes, Ms. Jordan is an atheist. BUT, what does that mean? An atheist is simply a person who lacks belief in the existence of God. And as far as being a threat to our values, well, I don’t know about you but even being a Christian, I don’t have to look to God for my values; they are ingrained in me individually. My moral compass is part of me and was even before I committed my life to Christ. As a Christian, before you were “saved,” did you not already know right from wrong? Did you not already have morals and a set of values that guided you? So by saying that Ms. Jordan being an atheist is a threat to our values is just a fear tactic being used by Mr. Reeves and his campaign. Furthermore the Constitution of the United States says that there should be no religious test for office. But I want to tell you a personal story for a moment so bare with me.
Gayle Jordan was my Sunday School teacher at a Southern Baptist church in Murfreesboro during my impressionable teenage years. Her and her then husband molded me and guided me. Because of them I wanted to become a minister and use my life to serve others. I volunteered for missionary work and basically was at the church anytime the doors were open. So Gayle is not an evil predatory person that her opposition would have you believe. It wasn’t until much later in her life when her children were growing up that things changed. Her children, as smart as they are, started asking questions about the Bible, Christianity, and their faith. So Gayle, in her wisdom started studying with them. When she couldn’t find the answers, they went to minister after minister looking for answers and guidance. When none was found, her children led her kicking and screaming from the church. Gayle was lost for a long time, as the church was always her home. She is not opposed to organized religion, in fact, I’m sure she would agree, she can see the value that it has on many people’s lives. However, when she found a lack of evidence and answers to support her beliefs she moved away. But those same principles of Love, Giving, Sacrifice, etc, are still a vital part of who she is, and that will never change.
Now back to the campaign. Mr. Reeves, as stated has used his faith as the reason voters should vote for him. “I am the Christian candidate!” he will boastfully say. In a recent Meet the Candidates function he and his campaign would often be heard saying “Did you know she’s an atheist?” Mr. Reeves, this is to you: Are you so weak on the issues that all you have to fight with is what you perceive is a weak character flaw? If so, you are gravely mistaken. Because Mr. Reeves, you are only showing how weak your character is. You see Mathew 15:8 says “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” You may brag about your faith but your work and the stances you take have shown little action. When looking at the issues, Gayle Jordan addresses many of the direst things that face Tennessee today. From our education system, healthcare, transportation, etc. The only thing I see that you truly have a plan for is healthcare. And honestly, I find this as no surprise since you have made your fortune in the industry. And guess what your plan entails, right, you making another fortune from healthcare, and not actually helping the people of Tennessee. Romans 16:18 “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
When looking at Healthcare Gayle Jordan addresses the crises facing our rural communities and the threats of the closures of rural hospitals. For our district, that is just about every community except Murfreesboro. She also speaks on Medicaid expansion so that working Tennesseans can have healthcare at no expense to the state budget. We already paid that money into the system through the Affordable Healthcare Act, it is there for us to use, but because of politicians like Mr. Reeves, we have lost $5.4 billion that we could have used to help Tennesseans with healthcare costs. Mr. Reeves on the other hand wants to work with private companies to help with the healthcare issues. Now why would he want to turn down free money from the federal government and instead pay private companies? Maybe because that is where he makes his money? Coincidence? I think not. Gayle Jordan also addresses our opioid epidemic and wants to legalize medical cannabis in our state. This would allow people a natural way to deal with chronic pain and chronic illness. Mr. Reeves again wants to work on finding new drugs and treatments. (Lining his own pocket.) I could go on to address other topics of concern to Tennessee voters such as higher pay for teachers, reduction of standardize testing for students, improving mass transit, fixing our roads, etc. all of which Gayle Jordan supports and has plans in place for but when researching Mr. Reeves position on such topics things come up a little blank. You will get answers like “I have a heart for education.” Well Mr. Reeves, I’m glad you have a heart for education but having a heart is not a plan. It’s time for action.
So in closing, Mr. Reeves, stop shouting that “I am a Christian,” and start acting like one. Clergy, don’t do what Mr. Reeves and his campaign is asking you to do and break the law, personally, if my church leadership were breaking the law I would question my church. And Voters, Don’t listen to the mudslinging going on and look at the issues and the plans of action on each issue. Once you do, you will see that Gayle Jordan is more like you than you realize, you will see that she has a moral compass that is almost identical to yours, and you will see she is the only candidate that has a plan to lead Tennessee into a brighter tomorrow.
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