NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Three Democrats are demanding that a Republican state lawmaker be disciplined after she distributed a video on Muslims that the General Assembly's legal offices have said is so inflammatory that it could be viewed as religious discrimination.
On Thursday, Reps. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville and Johnnie Turner and Barbara Cooper, both of Memphis, wrote a letter questioning why the lawmaker wasn't punished for distributing the video. They want action taken against Susan Lynn, R- Mount Juliet.
The directors of the Legislature's Office of Legal Services and the Office of Administration warned Lynn in a letter earlier this week about her distribution of a video entitled "America's Mosques Exposed! Video Evidence They are War Factories."
The letter from Doug Himes, the director of the Office of Legal Services, and Connie Ridley, director of the Office of Administration, said they were responding to a complaint from the three Democrats of workplace harassment and hostile work environment as a result of the DVD Lynn distributed. The letter was sent to Lynn after the officials met with her.
"As we discussed, the inflammatory religious imagery and content of the DVD could create a hostile work environment based on religious discrimination for anyone who has seriously held religious beliefs contrary to the DVD," the letter to Lynn from Himes and Ridley said. Federal civil rights law protects all aspects of religious beliefs in the work place, the letter said.
The three Democrats responded by questioning why Lynn wasn't punished.
"No less than the integrity of our legislative body is at stake, and your response leaves the impression that Representative Lynn and her colleagues may continue their pattern of inappropriate and unacceptable behavior with no repercussions," the Democrats said in their written response. They called on Himes and Ridley, as well as top lawmakers to take action against the Republican.
Lynn said the Democrats were playing politics.
"I'll tell you this: they're playing political hijinks. It's an election year."
Lynn said a voter who could not make it to Legislative Plaza asked her to distribute the video, and she went through the proper channels to get authorization to distribute it to fellow lawmakers.