This week the Hamilton County Commission was faced with what I believe may be one of the most important votes they have cast during their tenure. Granted, the vote was over a “mere” Resolution that resulted in no overt action or new law in our county. But there are times when simply speaking Truth and taking a stand on a foundational Principle is paramount and as such required.
The Resolution which was voted on this week addressed Amendment 1 to the Tennessee Constitution – an Amendment which if passed in November will likely result in the saving of untold hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives each year in our state and it’s reasonable to assume that some of those children will reside in Hamilton County. Without Amendment 1, these thousands of defenseless children will most assuredly face an untimely and violent death, not of their choosing but rather because of the “choice” of their biological parent(s).
I must personally thank Commissioner Randy Fairbanks for making the motion and Commissioner Marty Haynes for seconding the motion to bring the Resolution to a vote. Additional Commissioners who voted with them for the Resolution were Chester Bankston, Jim Fields and Sabrena Smedley. Surprisingly, several other “pro-life” Commissioners (which I am not questioning their personal pro-life positions) found reasons why they shouldn’t or couldn’t vote for the resolution, some citing protocol, precedent or it was none of the Commission’s business. Naturally, I would take exception to their rationale.
Back to my premise though that this Resolution was perhaps one of the most important votes each of the Commissioners have cast during their tenure on the Commission (including those who chose to abstain — which is a vote). I believe that there are times when leaders are called to lead. Those to whom others look for guidance must be willing to take a public stand on critical issues. Cetainly Life is one such critical issue.
I shared with several Commissioners prior to the vote one of my favorite verses from God’s Word: “To whom much is given, much is required.” Leadership requires and demands more than simply performing a defined duty or fulfilling a job description.
I’m reminded of Queen Esther in the Old Testament who when faced with simply fulfilling her role as the Queen or moving beyond that pre-defined role in order to save the lives of the entire Jewish population, chose the more difficult path, even risking her own safety and life. Queen Esther’s commitment to Life trumped “protocol, tradition and precedent.” And the Queen’s personal advisor challenged her that perhaps she was brought to the kingdom “for such a time as this.” Likewise, I believe that our Commissioners should consider that they may have been elevated to their positions “for such a time as this” in our county and state.
This week our Commissioners were confronted with the same ethical decision that Queen Esther faced: whether to stand for Life publicly or cite protocol, tradition, precedent or some other reason for voting no or abstaining. Of course, our Commissioners risked very little with their vote in comparison to Queen Esther, but they did speak volumes to the citizens of Hamilton County.
So I want to again thank Commissioners Haynes, Fairbanks, Bankston, Fields and Smedley for standing at such a critical time as this in our county and state. I’m convinced that there is One who is pleased with their vote — whether or not their support for the Resolution influences any other citizens to vote in favor of Amendment 1.
Leaders lead. This week five Commissioners led…