Tennessee Pastors Call on Senators to Support American Jobs Plan

Andy Spears
3 min readJun 16, 2021

The Southern Christian Coalition noted today that affiliated pastors in Tennessee are calling on Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to support the American Jobs Plan as a way to address affordable housing and homelessness.

“I can see right in my community in the Nashville area how affordable housing and homelessness are growing problems and are interconnected,” said Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs, Pastor of Franklin Community Church in Franklin. “Home prices have nearly doubled just in the past five years. As Americans, we define ourselves by who we are and how we treat others, not by what we look like or what’s in our wallets. But today, we see corporations and lobbyists who try to divide us by making it impossible for many of us to afford any place to live. Corporate developers rig the rules to jack up our rents, build only for the wealthiest few, and hoard even more profits for themselves. This is why I support the affordable housing subsidies in the American Jobs Plan. When our federal leaders partner with our local elected officials and community organizations, together we will ensure all of us have a home to raise our kids, pursue our dreams, and make our memories. Like Jesus says in Matthew, it is our call as Christians to house the homeless and those struggling to get by. ‘When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.’”

“Home is where we lay our heads, hug our loved ones, make our memories. But today, this most basic of human needs — shelter — is often put out of our reach to turn a quick profit for the wealthiest 1%,” said Rev. Billy Vaughn, retired United Methodist Pastor and Professor at Memphis Theological Seminary. “A handful of lawmakers and the real estate speculators, corporate developers and landlords that fund their campaigns have handed themselves kickbacks while jacking up rents, peddling faulty mortgages and destroying affordable options. As working people we must come together to rewrite the rules, regulate rents, and build options people can actually afford. We can see examples in Nashville, like the Commons tiny housing project by Glencliff United Methodist Church who is building tiny homes for the homeless. As we read in Hebrews ‘Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for, in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.’ So this is why I call on our elected leaders across Tennessee, including Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to support the American Jobs Plan. It will help bridge the gap between individual capacity and housing prices, stop applying bandaids to try to fix the housing crisis, and instead put action to the call of Jesus to care for and provide hospitality to the most vulnerable in our communities.”

The coalition made the announcement as President Biden is attempting to build broad support for his initiative.

Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .