Rutherford County Democratic Party Chairman Jonathon Fagan called the attempt offensive to Christians in Rutherford County and across the state.
“It is fine for Rudd to have this opinion, but he shouldn't use the name of Christ to get his point across,” Fagan said. “Many Christians are understandably upset.”
The e-mail in question is a picture of Sate House Republicans praying before the faiteful meeting where Williams sided with the 49 House Democrats to elect himself Speaker of the House, taking the post from Republican favorite Mumpower.
A caption underneath the picture reads, “The scene is reminiscent of Judas joining hands in prayer with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane moments before the soldiers arrived to arrest him.”
After Williams’ coup at the beginning of the last legislative session, he was expelled from the party and named himself a “Carter County Republican.”
Rudd sent out the e-mail as a growing number of Republicans are calling for Williams reinstatement into the Republican party.
Rudd, a state Republican Executive Committee member and manager of Lou Ann Zelenik’s unsuccessful bid for the seat currently held by state Rep. Joe Carr, said he didn’t mean to compare Mumpower with Jesus, only Williams with Judas.
“This wasn’t about Jason Mumpower as much as it was about the entire caucus and party,” Rudd said in one interview with WKRN Channel 2 News. “Anyone making statements like that is ridiculous and trying to change the subject. He lied to us. He betrayed us. He deceived us. If a man can’t even comprehend that he’s done wrong, how can we trust him to do right?”
He said the scene reminded him with Judas’ betrayal.
“He knew what he was doing while he was praying and that upset me. It’s bad enough to lie, but to lie while you’re praying with your friends it just reminded me of Jesus,” Rudd said to WSMV Cahnnel 4 News.
But Fagan begs to differ and asked for an apology from Rudd.
“There's a difference between dying a horrible death on a cross for the sins of all mankind and not being elected speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives,” Fagan said.
The state Republican Executive Committee met over the weekend to consider policy matters and the issue of Williams’ reinstatement never came up.
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.