Archive for October, 2014

Five days to do what’s right

October 31, 2014

The Oct. 30 issue of The Tennessean in Nashville reported results of a poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro on Amendment 1 to the state constitution.

The poll reveals that 39 percent those polled are for the amendment, 32 percent oppose the amendment, 15 percent are undecided, 8 percent won’t vote at all, and 6 percent did not answer.

Those who oversaw the poll say it “is too close to call.”

Exit polls indicate that some people did not vote on the amendment because they are confused.

That should not come as a surprise. We have published numerous articles and columns, both in the Baptist and Reflector and on the Tennessee Baptist Convention website, urging people not to be misled by ads from those who oppose Amendment 1.

With only five days left until the election ends on Nov. 4, it is imperative that our churches take the lead in educating and encouraging those who have not yet voted to do so. Those who are undecided hold the key to this election. We must convince them to vote “Yes on 1.”

Don’t listen to the misinformation and, in some cases, outright lies by those opposing the amendment. Amendment 1 does not take away a woman’s right to choose and it has nothing to do with rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is at risk.

What Amendment 1 does do is offer a means to provide for informed consent, a waiting period, and inspection of abortion facilities. States surrounding Tennessee already have these common sense restrictions in place. That is why we have become an “abortion destination.” It is too easy to get an abortion in Tennessee and that needs to stop.

We have five days to do what is right for the kingdom of God and what’s right for women and unborn children in Tennessee. If Christians and our churches don’t get it done, it won’t happen.

Let’s get it right. Educate friends and colleagues who may be undecided on the amendment and encourage them to vote “Yes on 1.”  We need to be a shining light in an increasingly dark world.


Ebola: Common Sense, Golden Rule Needed

October 29, 2014

I think most Americans have been reading or watching news reports of the Ebola scare in West Africa. In particular we have paid special interest to the cases that have been reported here in our own country.

First and foremost, I want to say how much I admire health care professionals and others (including our military troops) who have been traveling to West Africa to help Ebola patients. This is a devastating, deadly disease and though they take every precaution possible, they are putting their lives on the line. We have seen both doctors and nurses become infected with the Ebola virus.

As more cases are diagnosed in the United States and as more and more people return from West Africa, people are frightened.

Ebola is deadly. There is no disputing that fact.

Will it spread in the United States as it has in West Africa? Probably not, but precautions must (and are) being taken by the Centers for Disease Control and other governing bodies. Governors in at least three states last week announced they would enforce mandatory quarantines for all travelers who had contact with Ebola-infected patients and who were arriving from various West African countries.

As one might suspect, the quarantine did not set well with some of the returning travelers. One nurse from Maine is trying to fight the edict in her state. She currently has no symptoms.

I can’t say that I blame her or anyone else for that matter. If I had been away from home for a period of time, I would not like it if I were told I was going to be quarantined.

The lawyer for the Maine nurse told that his client “is a very good person who did very good work and deserves to be honored, not detained for it.”

As I said before, I admire all those who have put others before self.

But this nurse is not being “punished” for doing good. Those who are trying to have her quarantined don’t have a quarrel against her. They are simply trying to protect other people.

That leads to this question. If people were willing to put others before self to go to West Africa, why are they not willing to do the same upon returning home?

Yes, it will be inconvenient and a nuisance. Yes, they will not be able to visit with family and friends. But, until I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was disease-free, I would hope that I would be willing to be inconvenienced in order to protect those people I love.

I do understand where this nurse is coming from. No one likes to be “told” you have to do something.

But there are times in our lives when we must use common sense or the Golden Rule. Either one will apply in this situation.

Though the words “Golden Rule” are not found in Scripture, they are the words that have been used to describe Matthew 7:12 which reads “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (KJV).

I would not want to infect anyone with a deadly disease, nor would I want anyone to infect me.

The Ebola scare is not contrived. It is real. Pray for people who have the disease and for those who are providing care to them. Most of all, pray for God’s hand of protection upon our country.

Food for thought

October 15, 2014

I received an interesting news release this week from the Yes on 1 organization in Tennessee. It certainly provides some food for thought.

For those who regularly read my blog and columns in the Baptist and Reflector, it is no secret that I wholeheartedly endorse the support of Yes on 1 which is an effort to educate Tennesseans about the need to vote for Amendment 1 which will appear on the state ballot on election day, Nov. 4. Amendment 1, if passed, can restore some common sense restrictions on abortion that are already in place in states surrounding Tennessee.

According to the news release, the group which opposes Yes on 1 is being funded primarily by eight abortion facilities in Tennessee and even out of state that have given the “No on 1” organization $1.4 million of the $1.5 million they have received. According to their campaign disclosure, only 100 individuals have given more than $100 each.

By contrast, Yes on 1 reports 600 Tennessee donors who have given $455,968 in itemized contributions.

That says a lot. Tennesseans who care about life (both for the mothers and the unborn babies) are putting their money where their mouths are. By contrast, the opposition is relying on the funding of the parties who will benefit monetarily from providing abortions in Tennessee. Some of them don’t even reside in our state.

I hope voters will see through the confusion and misinformation (even lies) that are being spread by those who oppose Yes on 1.

Early voting began on Oct. 15. Vote Yes on 1 during the early voting period or on Nov. 4.

Confusion reigns

October 8, 2014

In the Sept. 24 issue of the Baptist and Reflector we ran a major story about “Yes on 1.”

Yes on 1 is an effort to educate Tennesseans about the need to vote for Amendment 1 which will appear on the state ballot on election day, Nov. 4. Amendment 1, if passed, can eventually provide some common sense restrictions on abortion that already are in place in states surrounding Tennessee.

Because Tennessee currently has no informed consent, no waiting periods for abortion, and no inspection of abortion facilities, women from other states are coming to the Volunteer State in increasing numbers to have abortions.

Tennessee currently ranks third nationally in the percentage of out-of-state abortions. We have become an abortion destination.

In the Sept. 24 article, David Fowler, a former state senator and now president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, observed, “The other side doesn’t have to convince you to vote no. They just have to convince you that you’re not sure of what you know.”

No truer words could have been spoken. In the past week or so, the opposing side has launched its propaganda which indeed is confusing the issue. To hear the “Vote No on 1” supporters, voting “yes” on Amendment 1 will do away with abortions and will take away a woman’s right to choose. That is SIMPLY NOT TRUE.

Voting “yes” on Amendment 1 will not do away with abortions (don’t we wish it could). It will enable legislators to enact some common sense protections that surrounding states wisely have.

Don’t be confused by all the rhetoric you will hear.  You will be bombarded with even more misinformation as Nov. 4 approaches.

It’s really simple. If you vote for a governor, you need to vote “yes” on Amendment 1. If you vote for a governor and choose not to vote at all on Amendment 1, you basically have voted against it. And, that is what the opponents want.

As Christians we must hold to Scripture. Pastor Gerald Bontrager of Tulip Grove Baptist Church took a stand on the issue this past Sunday (Oct. 5), basing his sermon on Ephesians 5. Verses 6-7 caution us: “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. Therefore, do not become their partners.”

And then, verse 11 says it well: “Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Let’s not give opponents of Yes on 1 the satisfaction of winning. Vote Yes on 1, either in the early balloting which begins Oct. 15 or on election day, Nov. 4.

Lives truly hang in the balance.