Veteran Tennessee lawmaker shunned by Democratic party now running as independent

"I've never had a Republican opponent. My opponents have always been those of my own party who refuse to allow me to have my own opinions, my own beliefs and to make my own stands," John DeBerry Jr. said.

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Donkey symbol of Democratic Party in 2016
Donkey symbol of Democratic Party in 2016
(Leigh Vogel/WireImage via Getty Images)
Updated: September 3, 2020 - 11:14pm

Tennessee state Rep. John DeBerry Jr. has served as a Democrat representing the Memphis area in legislature for 26 years. But now for the first time in more than a quarter century he's running as an independent after the Tennessee Democratic Party's executive committee earlier this year kicked him off the House District 90 primary ballot.

"I've never had a Republican opponent. My opponents have always been those of my own party who refuse to allow me to have my own opinions, my own beliefs and to make my own stands. If I don't walk the chalk line, talk like they tell me to talk, then I am therefore not a Democrat," he said during an interview on the John Solomon Reports podcast.

The veteran state lawmaker said that the party took issue with his biblical values, including his "belief in the Scriptures, a biblical standard of morality, a biblical standard of ethics, in life, in marriage, in parental responsibility and parental authority."

"It was not surprising that they wanted me out of the party," he said.

When asked whether the Democratic Party was formerly more accepting of his views, he said that "it wasn't as militant and adversarial back then." 

"It was a different world. I think that the media was different. I think that the world was different to the extent that folks were not trying to throw God out of the marketplace, compromise the authority of parents, compromise the institution of marriage—all of these things while they were there, while these issues were there, they were not placed on the forefront by the popular media," he explained.

DeBerry said that an entire generation of people has arisen during his tenure in office whose levels of historical and religious ignorance exceed any prior American generation.

"So we have a whole generation of children, we have the most spiritually illiterate generation, the most historically illiterate generation in the history of our nation. They don't know who Jesus is, they don't know who George Washington is either," he remarked.

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