• Christians are calling for Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton's resignation.
  • A petition gained more than 12,500 signatures after Sexton led a vote that expelled two Black lawmakers.
  • A lone white lawmaker, who stood with the two expelled members, was spared in the expulsion vote.

There's a new Tennessee state lawmaker in the crosshairs.

Thousands of Christians are calling for the resignation of Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, a Republican, who sparked national outrage for heading a vote that expelled two Black lawmakers earlier this month. 

A petition by Faithful America, an online community of Christians focused on social justice issues, had gathered more than 12,500 signatures at the time of publication. The petition demands Sexton step down for his and the Republican caucus' "authoritarian actions." 

"Democracy demands accountability, and we call on Speaker Sexton to resign for his shameful and unlawful power grab," the petition reads.

The overwhelmingly Republican state House, led by Sexton, ousted state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson on April 6 over their calls for action after the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville. As their protest at the Tennessee Capitol made its way to the House floor, Republicans called it a breach of decorum. 

A third lawmaker who stood alongside Jones and Pearson, Rep. Gloria Johnson, narrowly avoided expulsion during the vote, Insider previously reported. Johnson is white while both Jones and Pearson are Black, sparking accusations of racism.

Audio leaked by The Tennessee Holler last week appeared to reveal infighting among Tennessee Republican lawmakers, some of whom complained that they had been labeled racists following the expulsion vote. 

The two Black lawmakers were reinstated a week later after votes by their respective local councils and commissions. 

"The hasty expulsion of two Black men from the chamber for non-violent action is an attack on democracy, a blatant abuse of power, and an embrace of white supremacy. It is also an obvious attempt to distract citizens from the desperate need for new gun-reform laws," the Faithful America petition reads. 

Sexton did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on Saturday. 

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