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National

TN: Tennessee bill would allow sex offenders to attend churches under certain conditions

[komonews.com – 1/27/20]

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) –Legislation proposed in the Tennessee General Assembly on Monday would allow sexual or violent sex offenders to attend church or another house of worship under certain circumstances.

HB 1922 was filed by Representative Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain). Under the bill, the offender would be allowed to attend houses of worship for religious services or to receive educational or social support services.

Read the full article

 

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  1. NorthEastPENN

    I am a bit confused here. Watching some youtube videos showed church leaders discussing how they must deal with registrants and not allow them to attend church services or having them escorted every step of the way while in the church. Their biggest concern is the insurance company and the fact that allowing a registrant to attend the church is a liability to the church.

    So let me ask you – what church leader if that is who will have to allow the registrant to attend the church service will take on the personal liability of having a registrant in their church. Also I am sure that many of the followers in the church will not like the fact that a registrant is attending services.

    This stinks all together in every aspect. I think the church should worry more about who may start shooting people in the church instead – which as happened already.

    This is a bunch of bull – I am not a religious person but I am sure that there are others that find being in church very comforting. But how can you feel comforted if you have this feeling that everyone in the church is staring at you?

    • Eric

      @Northeastern Penn…the entire purpose of the church is directing people to a relationship with their creator. Every human has been tempted and fallen short in this life, only the greatest hypocritical church leader would think otherwise. I have been in my church for five years. Some were a little cautious at first, but I have proven myself and am a respected member, and like all other members I made a mistake in my past. A true church should welcome people who have fallen short as they can help us onto a new path. As Christ said, he didn’t come to preach to the church leaders but to the sinners. If someone is disruptive or shows antisocial behavior then there are appropriate ways the church can address that. But as we know, most people on the registry are good, law abiding citizens who only want a second chance.

  2. Worried in Wisconsin

    Interesting that they’ve created a situation which requires a bill and new law to permit what the constitution would seem to already permit – freedom of religion.

  3. Tim in WI

    So much for separation of church and state. This Republican should know better than to regulate worship opportunity. Hypocrisy!

    • Lynn Smith

      I live in Missouri and we had to jump through many hoops to be able to attend church. We had to meet with the head pastor several times and my husband had to sign an agreement that he would only go to certain places in the church, etc. It is a large church in downtown Kansas City and I am not sure who knows. This church was recommended to us by my therapist who had heard good things about the church and had other clients attend it. I can honestly say that I saw no judgement at all from the two pastors I met with (and they did not know why we were meeting). I honestly thought I would never go to a church again, but this church is truly all about accepting everyone (I know that is very rare).
      I also have a personal agenda: I plan to start speaking about our experience in the future and tying in how damaging the registry is and I plan to start in our church. I have to wait until my spouse is off probation and until I retire from public education (few more years). Our pastors had no idea of all the restrictions we face. I am going to use it as an opportunity to educate.

      • R M

        “We had to meet with the head pastor several times and my husband had to sign an agreement that he would only go to certain places in the church, etc.” Do other people who have sinned have to do the same?

        You say you saw no judgement from the pastors… guess what, you were judged.

        • Lynn Smith

          R M,
          First, this is a large church with five campuses. The policy was not the policy of the pastor for that campus.
          Second, I don’t recall you being at the table or in the office when I met with either pastor.
          Third, stop judging me and the church (which has been very accepting) when you aren’t familiar with them.
          Last, I don’t agree with the policy because, as you said, others do not have to tell of their sins. Going to church at the cost of an agreement may not be right for you but I did what was right for me.

        • R M

          @Lynn Smith: I didn’t judge you or your church. You were judged by the pastors.

  4. Harry

    I do believe there will be more Baptist in Hell, than they realize.

    • AJ

      @Harry:
      “I do believe there will be more Baptist in Hell, than they realize.”
      —–
      Having read some of your other posts, I’m confused. You claim to be Christian, but then lash out in such un-Christian ways. To which denomination do you subscribe? I can’t figure it out because I’m unaware of any that are so “anti” other denominations.

      As for your above statement, it’s impossible. For someone to be a true Christian, whether Baptist or otherwise, one has to have followed some semblance of the “ABC of Salvation.” Admit you have sinned. Believe in Jesus. Confess Jesus as Lord. If the person hasn’t done that, not only is s/he not a Baptist (nor any other “flavor” of Christianity), s/he is not a Christian. If truly a Baptist (or other denomination), they won’t be in hell. If in hell, they were not truly a Baptist (or other denomination).

      If you believe certain sins by those who have received salvation can send them to hell, then you and I have a vastly different understanding of Christianity. your position also throws a monkey wrench in Jesus’ promise to one of the thieves on the cross.

      I pray–truly I do–that your anger and derision towards Christian theologies different than yours ceases and you find, and practice, the love Christ espoused and commanded. I also hope you review Matthew 22:36-40.

  5. Eric

    Oh, how thoughtful, they are considering allowing us the freedom to practice religion. Perhaps they can consider legislation that would give God permission to forgive me of my derelictions.

  6. Tp

    Does anyone know if there has never been a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of laws that prohibit registered citizens from attending church? At the most basic and fundamental level that is a violation of their 1st amendment rights.

    • Worried in Wisconsin

      There have been more than a few lawsuits about restrictions on church attendance. Not sure of the outcomes, but I have been able to find many articles online about the cases.

  7. Facts should matter

    The trouble with America is that it takes “One nation under God” literally. Anything “UnGodly” must be dealt with or cast out in their narrow worldview.

    You could not PAY me to attend church and be forced to sit on a pew with those hypocritical, two-faced Christians. I don’t need their approval, acceptance or validation. EVER.

  8. kat

    Isn’t this “compelled speech”, making a registrant write a notice to the worship leader announcing that they are a registrant.? How about the wife/husband beaters. the thieves and murders, the adulterers. Shouldn’t they be required to give notice that they are attending the church?
    This is just as bad as Halloween signs in the front yards in Georgia. That ended badly for the sheriff.

    • Tim in WI

      Kat,
      Carrying a gov message? Absolutely. Resistance to data collection is futile you must comply.
      Registrant must not remain silent to get he demands for personal data from the gov database is a loss the the right to remain silent.

  9. JoeHillsGhost

    Does this actually require registrants to get permission to attend church services? Reading the law, it seems this amendment only applies to services held in places such as schools. This seems to give registered sex offenders a right to be in a school under those circumstances.

    It’s still not good that this is necessary, but I don’t think this is as horrible as it seems from the headline. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. Dustin

    I wonder how/why this passes the separation-of-church-and-state thing. If a church excludes someone for whatever reason, that’s their right. But I don’t see how the government has any say in it. Since when can the state tell anyone what churches they may or may not go to?

  11. USA

    First, the make you register? Put you online? Ban you from parks and beaches? Ban you from traveling? Prohibit you from living near schools? You must register if attending school? You can’t go onto a school campus unless given permission? Now, you can’t go to Church? What’s next! They keep adding more and more? Halloween? This is out of hand!

  12. Rob

    I’ll just share my story. One day this friend of mine invited me to join his christian church. He is a good friend who knows I am on the registry. If i agreed, I would have to require my presence known to the church elder. I would be banned from podium speaking, from being a usher, running the bookstore or teaching of any kind. Plus there is a good chance the whole congregation will find out about you eventually. Will I get up every Sunday morning for this? No thanks.

    • AJ

      @Rob:
      What’s your point? Are you blaming Christians, that church, or something or someone else? I attend a Christian church without a problem. To my knowledge, nobody knows my status–if they do, they’re staying quiet about it. I take part in worship activities in the pew, from the stage, and in the production booth.

      Why did you feel the need to point out that it is a “christian [sic] church” that demanded such? Do you have reason to believe a house of worship for a faith other than Christianity would let you run free and without any restrictions? Do you have reason to believe *all* Christian houses of worship are like this one?

  13. Mike

    What happened to separation of church and state??

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