Youth Minister Jonathan Johnson of Church of the First Born in St. Elmo addressed the media Monday afternoon, saying, "We are here to show our moral stance against Councilman Chris Anderson." He spoke for his father, Pastor Alfred Johnson, in a news conference of several District 7 church leaders discussing their support for the recall of Chris Anderson.
George Clay, the pastor of New Beginnings Church of East Brainerd, said, "I don't know him personally and I'm not here to criticize him personally."
He said, "It doesn't only affect people of the 7th District, it affects all of us as Christians and as children of God. It seems like Mr. Anderson is more concerned about chickens in the backyard than he is about our children being shot in the backyards."
Pastor Clay continued, "He's openly admitted that he's homosexual and that's fine with me. I'm not here to choose his lifestyle." However, he said, "It's a bad example for children, not only in the 7th District but all over the city of Chattanooga."
Pastor Clay said, "Whatever is an abomination to God is an abomination to me. We're going to have to take a stand. Our children are being shot down; they don't have a chance."
He said, "We need to be concerned with more important things than chickens. We have children that need our protection."
Pastor Clay said, "The reason why we want to recall Mr. Chris Anderson is we're trying to do preventative maintenance. We're trying to stop something before it gets started. If you stop a leak, it will never start to run. If we stop Mr. Anderson, it won't be widespread. If we stop it right here and nip it in the bud, we won't have to worry about it later."
Another member of a local church said, "As a church, we want to stand in unison to protect the ordinance of marriage to preserve our society."
Gary Hickman and his wife Rosalyn, the founders of a marriage ministry program called Covenant Keypers, also spoke. Mr. Hickman said their ministry included four churches within District 7.
He said, "Our position is that marriage is between a man and woman," and "We uphold godly marriage."
Rosalyn Hickman said, "Mr. Anderson is very bold and has let us know where he stands. We feel like the church has to take a bold stance as well."
She also said, "This is not an opportunity to hate on people, but an opportunity to have our voices be heard."
Mrs. Hickman emphasized that whatever happened in District 7 would also affect the rest of Chattanooga.
Mr. Johnson was asked, "if the ballot initiative to reverse the City Council's vote on giving benefits to unmarried couples of whatever sex, if that initiative passes when everybody votes on it in August, would that not make recalling Chris Anderson, based on this issue, a moot point?"
Mr. Johnson replied, "There are some other issues that will surface. Seeing our faith background, this is our stance that this is one of our main problems, his moral agenda. His moral agenda is really going to affect us and our faith."
He said, "He has the right to believe what he believes, he has the right to say what he wants to say. But we also have the right to believe what we believe and stand where we stand."