By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — In the days leading up to his appearance on the floor of the Tennessee Senate, Randy C. Davis continues to encourage Tennessee Baptists to be active participants in the “I Stand for Life” campaign.
Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, is scheduled to address the Tennessee Senate on Monday, Aug. 12. When he does so, he plans to present the “I Stand for Life” petition to state officials.
The “I Stand for Life” campaign is an effort to let Tennessee’s lawmakers know that Tennessee Baptists would like to see legislation passed that protects the lives of unborn children. The petition officially launched July 23 and can be found at istandforlife.org.
Thus far, several hundred Tennessee Baptists have signed the petition, and Davis is optimistic that the number will continue to increase.
“My hope is that thousands of Tennessee Baptists will sign the petition, and I am especially hopeful that 1,000 Tennessee Baptist pastors will sign it,” Davis said during the July episode of his monthly podcast on B&R Radio (Episode 31).
Davis said he hopes to be able to show the petition and tell the government officials that “here are the names of thousands of Tennessee Baptists” who “are urging you to pass any law that will diminish or do away with abortion in the state of Tennessee.”
Davis said that while the petition is “not like a referendum” in terms of being an issue in which citizens can cast a vote, it still has a chance to make an impact. “It certainly is an opportunity to let those in office know that we want to see legislation that protects lives and that significantly limits or ends abortion.”
Davis said signing the petition takes only a small amount of effort, but can potentially make a big difference on future decisions regarding abortions in Tennessee.
“It really only takes 15 seconds, 20 seconds to sign that petition,” said Davis. “(The signees’) information will not be made public. So, I am hopeful that people will go to the website and sign the petition.
“Our goal, our hope, is that enough Tennessee Baptists and other evangelical Christians and pro-life people around the state are (determined) to let their voices be heard,” he added.
Davis noted that while the debate over abortion is certainly not a new development, the reasons for supporting or opposing abortion seems to be shifting.
“Years ago, the argument (being presented by pro-abortion supporters) was that unborn babies was not a life; it was just a complex collection of cells inside the womb,” said Davis. “Now, it’s all about choice. And really it is the choice to commit murder of a person that is still in the womb.”
Davis said one of the reasons that some of the arguing points in the debate have shifted is because “science has really lined up with the Bible in describing life beginning at the point of conception, in the womb,” he said.
“ ‘My mother conceived me’ is the way the Scripture puts it. There have been some other states that have (passed) laws that are extremely pro-life.”
Davis said it is crucial for lawmakers to hear from Tennessee Baptists even though state representatives won’t have a legislative session until January.
During the podcast, Davis touched on several other topics, including the increasing concern over the high number of pastors who are battling depression. Davis also discussed Cooperative Program giving at “crunch time” – the fiscal year ends in August – and applauded Tennessee Baptists for their generosity.