It’s up to us, the citizens of Tennessee, to speak out against the hypocrisy and demand David Byrd and Glen Casada be expelled from the House.
My favorite church hymn is “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” because it epitomizes the teachings of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. Unfortunately we haven’t seen much love from our leaders who claim to be Christians.
During 2019 we heard Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada talk about his faith, his Christian values and forgiveness. He spoke of these things as he purposefully and methodically used the lifelong trauma sexual assault survivors experience as a weapon to try to intimidate and break the spirit of survivors. He used the concerns of African-Americans as a rallying cry to the "good old boys," clearly signaling they had his support and repeatedly slamming the door of respectful dialogue in the face of those who decried racist statues in our capital.
House Speaker Glen Casada leaves a House Republican Caucus meeting after a no-confidence vote Monday, May 20, 2019, in Nashville.
Casada systematically exploited some of our most vulnerable and marginalized citizens, citizens who became unwilling participants in his crusade to advance his personal political agenda. He did this while also denying and trying to cover up rampant racist, misogynistic and illegal behavior. In short, he committed what could be considered the worst offense against God: Turning the children of God, temples of the Holy Spirit, into pawns for his political chess game, all so he could quench his thirst for stature and influence.
Gov. Lee also touted his Christian values and faith. Sadly, those values do not include “open your mouth for the mute, for the right of those who are oppressed. Defend the rights of the needy.”
When sexual assault survivors asked the governor to make a statement about David Byrd, Lee suddenly went mute and chose to hide from the citizens he swore to represent. He became complicit in the racist and sexist text scandal by refusing to take a stand until he could no longer hide. Just as many followers of Christ hid and said nothing when soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Lee failed to speak out against injustice. Like the apostle Peter, Lee denied Jesus and his teachings when he failed to voluntarily step forward and take a moral stand against racism, child molestation and the objectification of women.
A billboard near I-65 advocates for the removal of Rep. David Byrd
Lee is a willing accomplice to Casada’s entrapment of the disenfranchised. Whereas Jesus sought out and chose to associate with the vulnerable and most at-risk people, Lee has gone out of his way to avoid them, speaking only when he felt it was politically safe and expedient to do so. He and leaders of Republican Caucus continue to show a lack of moral leadership by allowing Casada to rob hardworking Tennesseans of their tax dollars by drawing an additional two months of his speaker salary.
David Byrd remained silent and willingly allowed his victims to be victimized once again, all so he could retain power and prestige. He allowed Casada to try to discredit innocent victims, never once having the integrity or moral character to speak the truth and right a wrong.
Greta Mcclain (Photo: Submitted)
Byrd did finally apologize to one of his victims, saying he prays for forgiveness and thinks about what he did every Sunday when he takes communion. Unfortunately, he forgot that if we claim to have a fellowship with God but walk in darkness or we fail to confess our sins, we cannot receive forgiveness.
Byrd has shown no true sign of remorse or of repentance. What he has shown is greed, hypocrisy and his willingness to continue to inflict harm on not only his victims, but on all sexual assault survivors simply so he could continue to feed his ego and his lust for power.
It has become clear that Byrd, Casada and Lee have no plans to put their faith into action, and it is equally clear the Republican Caucus has no desire to hold them accountable. It’s up to us, the citizens of Tennessee, to speak out against the hypocrisy and demand Byrd and Casada be expelled from the House. We can no longer turn a blind eye and remain silent unless we wish to follow in the footsteps of Judas and allow our leaders to sell Christ and his teachings to the highest contributor.
Greta McClain of Murfreesboro is a sexual assault survivor and former police officer.