Tennessee’s Governor-elect Bill Lee, a Republican who thinks church/state separation only means government must stay out of a church’s way, is selling preferential seating for the worship service before his inauguration this Saturday.
If you go to Lee’s inauguration website, there’s a section where he’s selling sponsorships. That’s not unusual for a politician. What is strange is how a $2,500 “BRONZE” sponsorship will buy you “Reserved seating at the Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony and the Worship Service” among other things.
Because God doesn’t love you if you’re not sitting right up front…
According to the Nashville Tennessean, it’s clear that this worship service is strictly Christian, too.
There will be an inaugural “celebration of song” worship service at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at the Ryman, which will feature Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nicole Mullen and Matthew West, among others.
Those are all obviously Christian artists. The problem, of course, isn’t that Lee is a Christian, but that events like these suggest a government preference.
As governor-elect, you represent a diverse population that consists of not only Christians but atheists and agnostics, who do not believe in prayer or religious worship, Lending your title and state resources to a government-sponsored Christian worship service unabashedly sends an official message of endorsement of religion over non-religion, and Christianity over all minority religions, to the exclusion of many of your constituents.
Jayne also submitted an open records request regarding money spent on the service.
Will it do any good? Unfortunately, I doubt it. Lee has already made it clear that only one religion will get special treatment in the governor’s mansion and — wait for it — it’s his own.
He’s taking an oath on a Bible and swearing to uphold the Bible. Maybe if someone buys one of the more expensive sponsorships, they can get close to him and give him a copy of the Constitution.