Tennessee Evangelical Pastors Angry with Sen. Blackburn’s Outrageous Questioning of Brown Jackson

Lindsey Graham exploded and went beyond the pale. Tom Cotton asked a black woman SCOTUS nominee whether she knew specific statistics as to how much crime there was in America and average sentences, (the implication to all the world, a black woman will be soft on crime, despite the fact that her brother is a cop), Ted Cruz asked about children’s books, CRT, and got into a fight with Sen. Durbin which prompted Republican Sen. Ben Sasse to seemingly call Cruz a jackass. And then Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee took her turn and was so condescending, so hostile, so inappropriate in her questions; “Can you tell me what a woman is?”  that she prompted a group that would normally support her, Tennessee pastors, to write a letter condemning her behavior and demanding that she stop.

From Fox Channel 17 in Nashville:

 Tennessee pastors expressed their “embarrassment” and “frustration” towards Tennessee’s state Senior Senator Marsha Blackburn for her role on the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee after the second day of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Pastors part of the Southern Christian Coalition, a nonpartisan grassroots, ecumenical organization felt that Sen. Blackburn did not demonstrate professionalism by focusing on political talking points.

The article cited some examples:

 Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor of First United Church in Bristol, TN.

While most Senators in the Judiciary Committee focused on the qualifications and experience of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, our Senator Marsha Blackburn’s line of questioning was inappropriate and irrelevant, and as a Christian, pastor, and Tennessean, I was embarrassed by her public behavior.

Rev Billy Vaughan, a retired United Methodist Pastor and Professor at Memphis Theological Seminary.

…That Senator Blackburn rudely and consistently interrupted Judge Jackson when she tried to answer the legal and judicial issues involved suggests that the Senator’s primary agenda was creating sound bites for her political base. She used terms such as “progressivism,” “critical race theory,” “white privilege” and “social justice” to, I assume, offer an alternative conservative agenda. But what was she conserving? Certainly not the truth, something on which our judiciary and our life in community depend.”

And again from Berg:

Her vocabulary of fear-mongering is in stark contrast to the faith she claims in a Savior who reminds us repeatedly, ‘do not fear,’ and ‘the first shall be last, and the last shall be first,’ while on the other hand, Judge Jackson shows the ability to live out the believer’s call to ‘do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God,’ as all Christians should strive to live out.

There are two lessons here. First, and maybe most important, it is dangerous to lump all Evangelicals and Fundamentalists together as the type that would support Blackburn or at least her berating Judge Brown-Jackson. It is dangerously wrong and goes against what we’re supposed to believe as progressives regarding stereotypes.

The Second lesson is that the GOP Senate Caucus was not going to let an obviously qualified black woman get a lifelong seat on the SCOTUS without putting her through the punishment they believe white man Brett Kavanaugh went through. despite the fact that they couldn’t find anyone to claim that Brown-Jackson assaulted them or any doubts in her qualifications.

That second lesson includes the fact that a Black American woman is assumed to have an agenda, which opens the door to questions irrelevant to the law; “Can you tell me what a woman is”?  and-or questions citing race relations from a children’s book used by the school on which Brown Jackson merely sits on the Board of Directors.

It sounds like at least some Tennessee pastors recognized the lessons learned and were embarrassed by their own senator.

As they should be.


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