Ahead of Easter, MSNBC hosts and commentators used Christianity to attack the recent vote to expel Tennessee House Democrats for storming the state Capitol with gun control protesters.
Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Pearson and Justin Jones all faced votes of expulsion on Thursday after leading and participating in the protest that disrupted House proceedings last week. After each representative spoke on their behalf, the GOP-dominated House voted to expel Pearson and Jones while falling short of the votes needed to expel Johnson.
Ahead of the vote for Pearson, Rev. Mark Thompson spoke on “The ReidOut” with Joy Reid to blast Tennessee Republicans, comparing the situation of the three Democrats to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ alongside two criminals on Good Friday.
“We’ll see what happens with Justin Pearson, but for these Republicans in Tennessee to do this, and for them to be so evangelical and as Bible-thumping as they are, to not realize the irony in trying to expel three today on the eve of the day when tomorrow, when three were crucified, simply for standing up for what is right and trying to end gun violence in this country,” Thompson said.
Reid was more combative after Thompson’s comment, attacking Republicans as apostates for calling themselves Christians while supporting the Second Amendment.
“I will just close on his behalf by saying it is apostasy to call yourself a Christian and claim you believe in God and Jesus when what you believe is in death, what you believe in is distributing as much death as possible to as many people as possible, even your own children, because you don’t love them like you love firearms. You don’t love them like you love the NRA,” Reid said.
She added, “Don’t go to church on Sunday and put, you know, your money in the basket hoping that it will grow as a seed and multiply because, literally, all you are multiplying, Republican Party, is death and eventually you’re also going to multiply your own destruction because those young people are going to figure out one day they can vote you out they’re going to vote you out. Your own children are going to vote you out, watch it happen. Watch God work.”
On “The Beat with Ari Melber,” guest host Jason Johnson referenced Easter along with the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination on April 4 to remind viewers that governments tend to “kill Black men” fighting oppression.
“You know, between the anniversary of MLK’s assassination and Easter, this is a time of year we have to remember that governments have a tendency to kill Black men who stand up against oppression and violence on behalf of the underprivileged and underserved,” Johnson said.
During the House vote, Rep. Pearson also invoked Jesus’ crucifixion and death on Good Friday in response to Tennessee Republicans’ actions.
“I remember that on Friday, the government decided that my savior, Jesus, a man that was innocent of all crimes except fighting for the poor, fighting for the marginalized, fighting for the LGBTQ+ community, fighting for those who are single-minded mothers, fighting for those who are ostracized, fighting for those who are pushed to the periphery. My savior, my Black Jesus, he was lynched by the government on Friday. And they thought that all hope had been lost,” Pearson said.
He added, “I don’t know how long this Saturday in the state of Tennessee might last. But, oh, we have good news, folks. We’ve got good news, that Sunday always comes. Resurrection is a promise and it is a prophecy. It’s a prophecy that came out of the cotton fields. It’s a prophecy that came out of the lynching tree. It’s a prophecy that still lives in each and every one of us in order to make the state of Tennessee the place that it ought to be And so I’ve still got hope, because I know we are still here and we will never quit.”