Devon Heinen

Devon Heinen

Devon Heinen is a journalist covering U.S. national affairs and specializes in writing long-form features. His reporting on the U.S. Indigenous suicide epidemic as well as on the aftermath of the 2018 mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, won him national awards in narrative feature writing from the Society for Features Journalism. Devon lives in New York City. You can follow him on Threads (@heinendevon) and on Twitter (@DevonHeinen).

(Illustration: John Partipilo)

Series: A darker shade of red

By: and - August 7, 2023

In 2022, Tennessee became fertile ground for far-right activity and the launch of groups on the right wing of the political spectrum, an outgrowth of former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and anti-COVID-19 measures that sparked conspiracy theories. In the five-part series, “A darker shade of red,” writer Devon Heinen unpacks how such groups have proliferated […]

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park Sept. 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Biden spoke on “the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In Tennessee, far-right groups flex newfound muscle

By: - August 4, 2023

Night had fallen at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was Sept. 1, 2022. President Joe Biden was about to deliver a televised national primetime address there regarding the condition of the U.S.’s democracy. Independence Hall’s bricks were awash in red light, giving the president a red-and-shadow backdrop. A U.S. flag hung over his left shoulder, […]

A Thursday rally outside the Tennessee Capitol was staged to urge Lt. Gov. Randy McNally to call a special legislative session. (Staff photo)

“Medical freedom” at the forefront of 2022 Tennessee elections

By: - August 3, 2023

Tennessee Stands — its founder and executive director is Gary Humble — didn’t slow down. It pumped out social-media posts and email newsletter updates. The group tried to shape state legislation; some of its targeted priorities in 2022 included “medical freedom” and so-called “election integrity.” It used a far-right view of Christianity as a driving […]

Dr. Michelle Fiscus was fired from her role as Tennessee's chief immunization official amid fallout over COVID-19 vaccines. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Muzzled: COVID-19 and controversy in Tennessee

By: - August 2, 2023

Around 8, maybe 8:30 a.m. on July 6, 2021, Dr. Michelle Fiscus got to her office at the Tennessee Department of Health. She was running late. Normally, Fiscus would get there around 7 a.m., but that morning, she had a doctor’s appointment. It was her first day back in the office after visiting family out […]

Evolution of the Christian right in Tennessee

By: - August 1, 2023

Part of the far right in the U.S. is the Christian far right. According to Philip Gorski, chair of Yale University’s sociology department — political sociology and social movements as well as religion are areas of interest for him — the Christian far right in the U.S. has evolved over hundreds of years. Its basic […]

(Illustration: John Partipilo)

Part one: A darker shade of red

By: - July 31, 2023

It was dark by the time Michael Miller left the Williamson County Administrative Building on West Main Street in Franklin on Aug. 10, 2021. “Will not comply!” shouted a throng of angry far-right protesters in the parking lot as Miller stepped into the warm, Middle Tennessee night. “Will not comply!” Miller, masked and wearing a […]