Opinions

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Legislators Are Not Stupid People. So What’s Behind Their Stupid Behavior?
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 18 March 2019

The 111th General Assembly of Tennessee convened on Jan. 8, and it will disperse on April 26, not a moment too soon. Already, its Republican supermajority has introduced bills that would further weaken lax gun laws, increase campaign-donation limits and undermine a progressive Nashville law passed by public referendum, among other assaults on democracy and good sense. (more….)


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A Slow-Motion Coup in Tennessee
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 5 November 2018

Emblazoned on the front page of the website for Vote.org, there’s a quotation from Ronald Reagan: “For this Nation to remain true to its principles, we cannot allow any American’s vote to be denied, diluted, or defiled. (more….)


Image: Andrew Nelles for The Tennessean, via Associated Press

America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 12 August 2018

On Thursday morning, The Knoxville News Sentinel published a front-page story by Matt Lakin about the imminent execution of Billy Ray Irick. The inmate had been on death row since 1986, a year after he confessed to raping and murdering a 7-year-old child left in his care. The little girl was named Paula Dyer. She called her murderer “Uncle Bill.” The print headline read, “Paula Dyer’s last day on Earth.” (more….)


Image: Mark Humphrey for the Associated Press

An American Tragedy in Nashville
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 23 April 2018

There is something fundamentally democratic about a Waffle House restaurant in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a place where people working the late shift can stop for a hot meal on the way home, where high school kids can extend prom night just an hour longer, where 20-somethings jazzed on live music can wind down after a night on the town. It’s a uniquely American place. (more….)


Image: William Widmer for The New York Times

Christians Need a New Right-to-Life Movement
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 24 December 2017

At least since Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door in 1517, Christians have disagreed on what Jesus calls them to do in the name of faith. There are nearly 34,000 Christian denominations worldwide, a number that doesn’t account for American Christians — nearly one in six, according to a Gallup poll last summer — who belong to no denomination at all. (more….)


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The Raw Power of #MeToo
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 19 October 2017

A few years back, when there were still three teenagers in this house, I got a little wound up at supper one night and kept going on and on about the brilliance of a novel I was reading by an Irish-born writer. “I can’t believe you’ve never been there,” one of my sons said. “As much as you love this stuff, I can’t believe you’ve never been to Ireland or England.” (more….)


Image: Chip Somodevilla

The Passion of Southern Christians
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 9 April 2017

NASHVILLE — In the world of apostolic betrayals, it’s Judas who gets the headlines, but the everyday believer is more apt to fall in line behind Peter. Coldly handing Jesus over to his death in exchange for 30 pieces of silver was an over-the-top, cartoon-level move, but Peter’s terrified denial of the man he believed to be the savior of the world? That one seems immensely human to me. (more…)


Image: Maddie McGarvey

Good Neighbors, No Politics
By Margaret Renkl
The New York Times, 22 October 2016

A few years ago an app surfaced on Facebook that could identify how many of your friends were liberal and how many were conservative. One of my real-life friends clicked the button to see how her Facebook list stacked up and was shocked by the result. “I had no idea I liked so many Republicans,” she said. (more….)