What You Need to Know About the ‘Nashville Statement’

Evangelical leaders continue to pursue their goal of returning the United States to laws based entirely on “Biblical principles,” emboldened by a pandering commander-in-chief and an extremely conservative Christian vice president.

Their latest decree? The controversial “Nashville Statement,” a manifesto of dos and don’ts for their flock when it comes to topics of marriage, gender and sexuality.

Here is what you need to know:

What is the Nashville Statement?

“The aim of the Nashville Statement is to shine a light into the darkness – to declare the goodness of God’s design in our sexuality and in creating us as male and female,’” reports Fox News. “The document includes 14 points on issues such as gay, lesbian and transgender rights, and marriage — rejecting what the signers describe as an attitude of ‘moral indifference’ toward those issues.”

It specifically rejects the morality of same-sex marriage and the possibility that a person could be transgender, all while reaffirming a commitment to traditional gender roles for men and women.

Why “Nashville”?

The statement sprung out of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference recently held in in Nashville, Tennessee.

Who wrote the statement?

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood allegedly drafted the 14-point declaration. The group was founded by Wayne Grudem, an influential evangelical and early Donald Trump supporter. According to the Atlantic, “Grudem argues that wives stand under their husbands’ authority and owe them ‘joyful, intelligent submission.’”

The Washington Post reports:

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was founded in 1987 to “to help the church defend against the accommodation of secular feminism,’ according to its website. The council focuses on outlining the differences between male and female roles in the home and church. It supports the biblical teaching that men must be Christlike leaders at home and in the church, and upholds wives’ submission in marriage.

So what does the city of Nashville think of the document?

Well, they aren’t big fans. “The @‘s so-called ‘Nashville Statement’ is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville,” tweeted Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

How many people endorsed this statement?

More than 150 conservative religious leaders reportedly signed onto the manifesto. And that includes some powerful evangelical heavy hitters.

“Among the signers who have been involved in national politics: James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in the District of Columbia,” USA Today reports. “Dobson and four others — Senior Pastor Ronnie Floyd of Cross Church, which has four campuses in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri; Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; President Richard Land of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C.; televangelist James Robison, founder of Fort Worth-based Life Outreach International — also are members of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board.”

Does the president support this “statement”?

It’s difficult to say. At this point, no one in the administration has officially commented on it. But signer Tony Perkins does claim that he was the one to convince President Trump to ban transgender members in the military — and just last week, the president once again called to have the ban implemented.

If President Trump isn’t actively supporting the Nashville Statement, well, he sure seems to be using similar values to craft his political agenda.

What does the Nashville Statement mean for the future?

The biggest takeaway from the document is that evangelicals are even more determinedly waging their social conservative culture war — and that’s nothing new.

In some ways, the “manifesto” shows how isolated evangelicals have become as the rest of the U.S. aims to embrace all faiths, genders and sexualities.

But one ominous outcome of the Nashville Statement cannot be ignored: It was embraced and endorsed by multiple members of the president’s advisory board. These are the same advisors who have also urged the president forward on religious liberty policies, including expansive conscience protections for those who claim their actions are based on their Christian faith.

The Nashville Statement serves as a point-by-point declaration of faith and beliefs that evangelicals are likely to take to the courts, should they be accused of violating the civil rights of others due to their gender, sexual orientation or marital status. In essence, the document is a laundry list of what far-right conservatives will accept in their business, community and social interactions — and it will likely be referenced in every future religious liberty case.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

138 comments

Stephanie s
Stephanie s24 days ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s24 days ago

Thank you

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Sarah Hill
Sarah H25 days ago

All of society's laws are based on Biblical principles.

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Amanda M
Amanda Mabout a month ago

Sharon Tully, you can let Jesus into your life (if he'll agree), but you and the others who agree with this Religious Reich manifesto have no right to force the rest of us to live by your religion's rules or worship your deity, and it's high time you learned that. Freedom of religion not only means ANY religion, but freedom FROM imposed religion as well! As one of the pins I have says: Stop using Jesus as an excuse for being a close-minded, bigoted rectal sphincter! If you don't get it, think about it.

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Karen H
Karen H2 months ago

I wonder how these people would react if the shoe was the other foot. After all, their Jesus told them to treat others as they want to be treated.

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Ian Crory
Ian C2 months ago

TY :)

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Sue M
Sue M2 months ago

Thanks for the informative piece

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F site probs F
Fran SiteIssues F2 months ago

Thanks for posting this Robin. The manifesto is deeply troubling as the gang who wrote and signed onto it seek to overturn the separation of church and state, crucial to human freedom, and a founding principle of the U.S.

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Stanley S
Stanley S2 months ago

tyfs

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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