Tennessee’s Blackburn and Hagerty Should Support the Build Back Better Budget

  • Signed by 33 pastors across the State of Tennessee.

As pastors of Tennessee, we implore Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to vote for the passage of the Build Back Better Act, as it reflects many of our core Christian values.

The policies set out in the Build Back Better plan declare that each of us is created in God’s image and of immeasurable worth, and gives all of us the freedom to prosper.

One of the main elements of this program is an investment in universal preschool and community college.

As religious leaders, we believe that no matter where they live or what color their skin is, all children deserve a high quality education that allows them the freedom to build a strong future.

We know that Jesus puts children first and cherishes them, as he said, “Suffer little children to come to me and do not prevent them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. “

But sadly, the United States, and especially Tennessee, lags behind other countries in funding and providing quality education.

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Investing in Children and Their Parents


If we want American children to thrive, we owe it to them to provide them with the best education possible.

Investing in community colleges and universal preschools is not only an investment in our children and the future of our country, but the data shows that for every dollar we spend on early childhood education as a society, we’ll see $ 7.30 in benefits, including a greater chance that students will graduate from high school and college, earn higher salaries, have better health, and are less likely to get involved in crime.

In order to build strong families, we cannot simply invest in the education of our children; we must also invest in the well-being of their parents and families.

The Build Back Better plan extends the current and expanded child tax credit that nearly halves child poverty across the country, and offers family and medical leave to give all workers the freedom to take the job. time to bond with a new child, to care for a sick loved one, to shelter from assault or violence, to recover from an illness or to take the time to mourn the death of loved one.

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American policies push people into poverty

Currently, the United States is one of the few countries that does not have paid family leave as part of a national policy.

One in four employed women return to work within two weeks of giving birth, and 95% of women in low-income jobs do not have paid maternity leave as part of their work.

These data are an accusation of our lack of family values. If women cannot spend the time necessary to bond with and care for their babies, but have to return to work too early to pay the bills, we are not preparing our families to thrive and we are plunging women and children into the mix. children in poverty across the country. Currently, only 19% of Americans have paid family leave through their employers, but over 71% of voters support paid medical / family leave.

It is time for our senators to support a law that the people support rather than the lobbyists who fund their campaigns. Jesus teaches us how to stand up for the vulnerable and the forgotten – to bring the good news to the poor – not just with words, but with deeds.

The resources are there for us to make these investments. Now it is a matter of having the moral courage to make this a reality for the Tennesséens, and indeed, all Americans.

By improving public health, protecting God’s creation, and prioritizing those who are economically disadvantaged, this plan will help create a fair economy that improves the lives and well-being of all of us.

And we urge you, Senators Blackburn and Hagerty, not only to support it, but also to defend it.


  1. Rev. Dr. C. Don Jones, Pastor, United Methodist Church
  2. Reverend Dr. Jo Ann Barker, Episcopal Priest
  3. Reverend Gordon H. Myers, Retired Clergy, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
  4. Rev. Dr. Donna Krupkin Whitney, Pastoral Assistant, Metropolitan Interfaith Church
  5. Reverend James A. Dougherty, Retired Clergy, United Methodist Church
  6. Reverend Christopher A. Smith, Pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA), Nashville
  7. Rev. Brandon L. Gilvin, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Chattanooga
  8. Rev. Dr. Lillian H. Lammers, Associate Pastor, First Congregational Church of Memphis
  9. Rev. Elizabeth H. Doolin, Pastor, Presbyterian Church (United States)
  10. Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Bristol
  11. Rev. Ingrid McIntyre, Pastor, Glencliff UMC and Belmont UMC, Nashville
  12. Rev. R. Calvin Kimbrough Jr
  13. Rev. Nelia J Kimbrough Rev. John M. Feldhacker, Edgehill United Methodist Church, Nashville
  14. Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs, Franklin Community Church Rev. Paul Purdue, Sr. Pastor at Belmont United Methodist Church
  15. Rev. Dawn Bennett, Pastor Developer, The Table, Nashville
  16. Rev. Matt Steinhauer, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lebanon
  17. Rev. William M. Vaughan III, retired clergy, United Methodist Church
  18. Joe T. Porter, Retired Priest, Episcopal Church, Diocese of West Tennessee
  19. Pastor Morgan Gordy, ELCA Southeast Synod
  20. Rev. David E. McIntyre, Retired UMC Clergy
  21. Rev. Valerie Ohle, United Methodist Church
  22. Rev. Barbara Clark, Pastor, First United Methodist Church in Gatlinburg, TN
  23. Rev. Stacey Harwell-Dye, West End UMC Missions and Outreach Pastor
  24. Rev. Kate Fields, Pastor, Belmont United Methodist Church, Nashville
  25. Rev. James Cole, pastor, United Methodist Church of Antioch
  26. Rev. Laura Becker, pastor, Northminster Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga
  27. Rev. Dr. George E. Odle, Retired United Methodist Clergy
  28. Rev. Ann Owens Brunger, East Tennessee Rectory, PCUSA
  29. Rev. Brandon Baxter, Pastor of Spiritual Training, West End UMC
  30. Rev. Elizabeth Carpenter Episcopal Deacon
  31. Rev. Regina Girten, Outreach Pastor at Providence United Methodist Church Mt. Juliet, TN
  32. Rev. David Goodpaster, Episcopal Priest with the Episcopal Missions of Southeast Tennessee
  33. Rev. Darren Wright, Youth and Young Adult Pastor, Belmont United Methodist Church
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