Disturbed by the use of their city's name in an anti-LGBTQ document signed by more than 180 conservative Christian leaders, hundreds of Nashville residents have signed a counter-argument to clarify the true values of the Tennessee city.
Residents Corey Pigg, Melissa Greene, and Matthew Paul Turner were inspired to write a statement that represented a city "where everyone is loved, known, and valued regardless of their gender or sexual orientation," after the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a document on Tuesday called "the Nashville Statement," which argues against the acceptance of gay, lesbian, and transgender people.
"We created this page to stand with those affected negatively by this statement and to make it known that this statement is not our city," wrote the residents.
Within a couple of hours of the establishing the domain name NashvilleStatement.co, the three organizers say at least 500 people had added their names to the Accurate Nashville Statement.
The statement in full reads:
On behalf of those that are religious—we want you to know that you are created in the image and likeness of God (however you define it)—and that there is nothing wrong with you. God does not need you to change. God loves you just the way you are—no matter where you land on the spectrum of the LGTBQIA+ continuum. There is great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide array of unique sexualities and gender identities.
On behalf of those who are not religious—we want you to know that you are full of beauty, inherent worth and full of love, and that there is nothing wrong with you. We do not need you to change. We love you just the way you are—no matter where you land on the spectrum of the LGTBQIA+ continuum. There is great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide array of unique sexualities and gender identities.
If you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you are welcome in our city, our universities, our businesses, our churches, our mosques, our temples, etc. You belong here.
If you would like more information on where to find safe communities, we will be adding that information in the coming days.
In an interview with the Tennesseean, Pigg spoke about the city's enthusiastic response to the Accurate Nashville Statement.
"I am filled with a sense of wonder and reverence for the people of our city. I can’t keep up with the signatures," said Pigg. "What strikes me the most is that these are normal, everyday people. I flip through their names and occupations and this means more to me than big names. This says so much about the interconnectedness of our city."
Recent polls have shown that attitudes toward the LGBTQ community are rapidly becoming more inclusive in the U.S., despite the assertions of the right-wing Christian group. Sixty-two percent of Americans support marriage equality according to a Pew Research poll taken in June, up from forty-two percent only seven years ago.
Even groups that have historically opposed marriage equality reported increased acceptance, including African Americans, Republican voters, and—contrary to what the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood would have one believe—young white Evangelicals.