Clergy Testimonials

Every person has been created in the image of God and nothing a person does changes that. Slavery, in any form, is an attack on the image of God. There should not even be a hint of slavery in our State Consitution. Vote ‘Yes’ on Amendment 3.

Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs

Senior Pastor, Franklin Community Church (Franklin)

Our state constitution should reflect our belief that every member of society is to be treated with dignity and equity. As people of faith, we also believe that all people are made in God’s image and loved by God without condition. These beliefs, as both citizens and people of faith, necessitate our support of Amendment 3, removing any exceptions to slavery in our state constitution.

Rev. Stacy Kay Rector

PCUSA (Nashville)

As people of faith and conscience, we have a responsibility to ensure that the systems and policies in our state do not inhibit people’s freedom and ability to thrive. We have the chance to take an incredibly important step in this direction in November by voting yes on 3!

Rev. Lindsey Krinks

Open Table Nashville

God help us to make right the things that have wronged so many and help us to unify our world one city at a time. Amen.

Pastor Hugh Dixson

Lanes Chapel (Niota)

It is past time to support the worth of every human being in this important document.

Priest Carol Westpfahl

The Episcopal Church (Lenoir City)

My faith as a believer in Jesus Christ teaches that all people are created in the image of God, hold sacred worth and dignity, and are endowed with natural rights. Slavery and involuntary servitude are repugnant to these teachings. The themes of atonement and redemption are central to my faith, which many Tennesseans share. Now is the time for us to live what we believe and right our historical wrongs. That is why I am compelled to support Amendment.

The Rt. Rev. Josie Claire Russell, D.D.

Bishop Emeritus, Anglican Diocese of Tennessee

My great-great-grandfather who was enslaved was killed in the Civil War. Five years after the war ended, the Tennessee Constitution was amended to prohibit slavery — but one exception remained: Article 1, Section 33 of the Constitution still says, “That slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime…”. It is most unfortunate that although slavery was abolished the TN Constitution does not reflect this hard-fought battle. Voting yes on 3 is the opportunity for us to get it right.

Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings

Retired Pastor, Christian Church-Disciples of Christ (Nashville)

As a person of faith, I walk with the conviction that God desires freedom and dignity for each person, and that slavery and involuntary servitude have no place in the liberation-creation God desires for us all.

Interim Pastor Larissa Romero

Downtown Presbyterian Church (Nashville)

I will vote yes on 3 because I haven’t always been a Pastor. I came to the Lord as a result of being incarcerated at age 24. After 13 months and 22 days, I was released and went to church like I told God I would. Two years after my release, I became a licensed missionary, and in 2016, I was ordained as a Pastor. In the eyes of God, I am His child and servant, and that is what I will be. I will never a slave to anyone or anything, especially not my past, and removing the slavery exception from Tennessee’s Constitution on November 8th is a step in the right direction for all Tennesseans.

Pastor Tiffany Terrell Tipton-Boyd

Turning Point Ministries (Dyersburg)

We know better.  We can be better than this. Anything that suggests enslavement in any form is acceptable is destructive not only to those bearing the brunt of it but also to the souls of those supporting it and to the soul of our life as a community.

Rev. William M. Vaughan III

Binghampton United Methodist Church (Memphis)

I will, with God’s help, strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. – Book of Common Prayer Baptismal Covenant

Rev. Jonathan Hermes

St. Christopher's Episcopal Church (Kingsport)

I didn’t realize (and you probably didn’t realize) that there was an “exception” clause that still considers the men and women in our penal system “slaves.” A person convicted of a crime may be a prisoner, but no one should ever be a slave. How many more years does it take for us to finally get the message that people are free and that one person cannot own another, regardless of what they have ever done.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth H. Saunders III

Rector, St. James Episcopal Church (Greeneville)

We can’t erase slavery from our nation’s history, but we can declare that we will no longer allow it to be a part of who we are now. Amendment 3 is a simple and straightforward path toward doing just that. Let your heart and voice for justice be loud and clear.

Rev. Todd Jenkins

Pastor, First Presbyterian Church (Greeneville)

As a pastor and community leader, I believe we must take a deeper look at all statutes and laws of our past and be certain to never allow any wording or verbiage that even hints toward the possibility of slavery in any context. Yes on 3 is just another step in learning from our failures and moving forward in unity!

Pastor David Morgan

United Church (Lawrenceburg)

Incarceration should not be used to excuse or justify the enslavement or forced servitude of any human being.

Rev. Dr. Brian Wyatt

First Presbyterian Church (Elizabethtown)

Slavery has absolutely no place in God’s kingdom as a gross violation of the image of God in each person. I will vote yes on amendment 3 and advocate that others do so, too.

Rev. Claire Berry

UKirk Nashville, Presbyterian Campus Ministry (Nashville)

For Tennessee to fully be governed by the principles of Democracy and justice for all persons, the historical vestiges of slavery and the proceeding Jim Crow era systems of exploitation, structural racism as a form of punishment and imprisonment must be removed from the State Constitution of Tennessee. I encourage all Tennesseans to Vote Yes in support of Amendment 3. 

Dr. Forrest Harris

President, American Baptist College, Professor/Director of Vanderbilt Divinity School's Black Church Studies Institute

#DontSkipIt #VoteYesOn3TN