Clemmons Responds to Ramsey Fear Mongering and Religious Crusading


Ron Ramsey: Christians should consider arming themselves

The Tennessean by Joey Garrison - Responding to a mass shooting at an Oregon community college that left 10 people dead, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on Friday encouraged fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to consider getting a gun.

Ramsey, R-Blountville, made those remarks in a Facebook post Friday, one day after a shooting atUmpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., left 10 people dead. The suspect, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, reportedly asked victims to name their religious affiliation during the massacre.

In his Facebook post, Ramsey links to a New York Post article with the headline "Oregon gunman singled out Christians during rampage." Ramsey groups the Oregon shooting with other recent mass shootings in the nation. "Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West," Ramsey said.

"While this is not the time for widespread panic, it is a time to prepare," he later adds. "I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.

"Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise."

His comments elicited a written statement from Tennessee Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, who said Ramsey's comments "reek of fear-mongering and religious crusading."

"Rather than lead the General Assembly’s bipartisan efforts to improve public safety by removing guns from the hands of criminals and addressing the serious mental health issues confronting many in our state, Senator Ramsey unfortunately chose the road most traveled by the radical right," said Clemmons, who introduced a bill earlier this year that sought to amend the state's "guns-in parks" legislation.

"Senator Ramsey’s inciting statements in the face of a national tragedy are all the more alarming when you consider them in their historical context," he added. "Things have never ended well when any leader has asked people to take up arms in the name of their religious faith. This type of rhetoric is counter-productive to our efforts on so many levels."

Ramsey's entire Facebook post reads:

As I scroll through the news this morning I am saddened to read the details of the horrible tragedy in Oregon. My heart goes out to the citizens of Roseburg — especially the families and loved ones of those murdered.

The recent spike in mass shootings across the nation is truly troubling. Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West.

While this is not the time for widespread panic, it is a time to prepare. I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.

Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise.

Tennessee Rep. John Ray Clemmon's full statement:

Lt. Governor Ramsey's comments reek of fear mongering and religious crusading.  Rather than lead the General Assembly’s bipartisan efforts to improve public safety by removing guns from the hands of criminals and addressing the serious mental health issues confronting many in our state, Senator Ramsey unfortunately chose the road most traveled by the radical right.
 
There is an eerie absence of logic in his statement that ties one’s Christian faith to firearms ownership that is offensive to all religions.  Senator Ramsey is essentially saying that we should all run out and get a handgun carry permit to prove how serious we are about our Christian faith.  Not only must we have a state-issued ID to vote, must we now have one to prove our religious faith?
 
Senator Ramsey’s inciting statements in the face of a national tragedy are all the more alarming when you consider them in their historical context.  Things have never ended well when any leader has asked people to take up arms in the name of their religious faith.  This type of rhetoric is counter-productive to our efforts on so many levels.
 
In the end, I am sure Sen. Ramsey will get the national headlines he was seeking, but it will be the rest of us Tennesseans who will suffer the humiliation and pay the price for his words.