Tennessee GOP Rep Calls For National Religious Revival After Nashville Shooting

“I think we really need a revival in this country.”
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A Tennessee congressman responded to the tragic Nashville school shooting by calling for a national religious revival, comments that came a few weeks after a campus revival in Kentucky inspired thousands of people from around the country to gather together in prayer and worship.

GOP Rep. Tim Burchett from Knoxville spoke with reporters near the Capitol on Tuesday. “It is horrendous. I lived in Nashville; I was in the state legislature for 16 years. It’s just a horrible situation,” he stated, then suggested that Congress could not solve the issue of mass shootings and that the nation needed to return to its spiritual roots.

Gesturing toward the Capitol building, Burchett asserted, “We’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals. My daddy, who fought in the Second World War, fought in the Pacific, fought the Japanese, and he told me, he said, ‘Buddy, if somebody wants to take you out and doesn’t mind losing their life, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it.’”

“We’ve got a mental health issue in this country. We need to start addressing it,” he declared.

When a reporter noted his closeness to the issue, since he hailed from Tennessee, Burchett responded, “It doesn’t matter what state it happens in; we’re all Americans. It doesn’t matter the color of their skin. They all bleed red. They’re bleeding a lot.”

“I don’t see any real role that we can do other than mess things up, honestly, because of the situation,” Burchett said. “Like I said, I don’t think a criminal’s gonna stop from [getting] guns; you know, you can print them out on computer now, 3-D printing. I don’t think you’re gonna stop the gun violence. I think you gotta change people’s hearts.”

Then he spoke of his belief that a return to religion was vital. “As a Christian, as we talk about in the church, and I’ve said this many times; I think we really need a revival in this country,” he said. “I think our ministers and our communities of faith need to come together and start preaching about love from the Bible; it’s in the Bible, from the pulpit, and maybe that could go a long ways towards it.”

Last month, a chapel meeting at the Kentucky Christian college of Asbury University spontaneously flowered into a weeks-long prayer and worship session, inspiring students from colleges in other states to travel there just to be a part of it. The revival began on February 8, after some students decided to not leave the service, instead continuing to pray and sing. Within a week, the revival was making national headlines.


The worship service ultimately drew students from Purdue University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Ohio Christian University, the University of Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands, Transylvania University, Midway University, Lee University, Georgetown College, and Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, among others. The revival ended 16 days later after the university announced that it was moving the revival online.

The American founders saw the need for religion. George Washington’s nephew, who served as his private secretary during the first part of his presidency, said he saw Washington, both morning and evening, kneeling with a Bible open before him. John Adams wrote, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

“The Bible was the most referenced work in the founders’ political discourse,” wrote author Daniel Dreisbach. “The Bible figured prominently in the founders’ political project because they thought it fostered the religion and morality essential for republican government.”

“Numerous academic studies have demonstrated that communities with high numbers of religious adherents have lower crime rates,” the Rand Corporation has pointed out. “Other studies also find that more religious individuals are less likely to be involved in criminal behavior.”

Pew Research called the decline in religion in America an “accelerating trend” last September, noting, “Since the 1990s, large numbers of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular,’ adding, “The projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070.”

“I’m idealistic, brother,” Burchett concluded. “I didn’t come up here ’cause I thought I was gonna get my butt kicked. I thought I was gonna do something. I believe in the Scripture and that’s what we’re commanded to do.”

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