When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law one of the nation’s most comprehensive abortion laws earlier this year, he “woke a sleeping giant,” declared Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
Davis was one of five pro-life proponents who appealed to a nine-member Tennessee Senate Judiciary Summer Study Committee Monday (Aug. 12) to join thousands of Tennessee Baptists and other evangelical Christians in standing for life in the Volunteer State. Longtime observers of the Tennessee Baptist Convention believe it may be the first time that a representative of the convention has addressed Tennessee senators on a major legislative issue.
The Senate committee heard testimony from both pro-life and abortion advocates concerning the Tennessee Heartbeat Bill. Davis observed that the bill before the Senate committee is much stronger than a similar bill passed by the House of Representatives during their last session. The House bill outlawed abortion once a heartbeat was detected while the proposed Senate bill is an amendment to the House bill that recognizes that life begins at conception and thus outlaws abortion on that basis.
“I’ll never forget the disbelief, the devastation, and the disgust I felt in that moment,” Davis said in his senate statement. He said he realized that Cuomo had “just signed the death sentence of thousands upon thousands of children.”
He told the senators, “I believe what happened in New York woke a sleeping giant. Life-loving Tennesseans, including nearly a million Tennessee Baptists, have just begun to rally for life. I stand before you today representing those Tennessee Baptists. We want you to know that we stand for life.”
Davis informed the senate committee that three weeks ago, the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board launched a petition initiative called “I Stand for Life.” Holding a stack of petitions in the air, Davis said, “Thousands of Tennessee Baptists — and almost a thousand pastors to date — have indicated their support for legislation protecting Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens.
“I believe the bill before you today does just that, and on behalf of those million Tennessee Baptists living in your voting districts and scattered from Memphis to Mountain City and from Dyersburg to Ducktown, I encourage you to move this bill forward to the next legislative session for approval and then to Governor Lee for signing into law,” Davis said.
“As the chosen stewards of the great state of Tennessee, I encourage you to send a clear and convictional message to the people that you represent, that, you too, stand for life in Tennessee,” he continued.
Bills such as the one under consideration, Davis noted, are significant “because they come down to two fundamental issues: life and our collective responsibility to protect it.
“The degree to which we as a people value life — all life — determines the strength of the society in which we live,” he said.
Roe v. Wade “was the fulcrum upon which our society tipped into becoming a culture of death. Let’s be honest. Abortion is largely a violent form of birth control,” Davis told senators.
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Source: Baptist Press