Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone
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Vote Tomorrow: English Only Measure

Tomorrow, January 22nd, the citizens of Davidson County are being asked to go to the polls and vote on an amendment which will (if passed) make English the official language of Nashville. I encourage everyone who lives here to go and make their voices heard.

Voting "no" is a vote against English Only. Voting "yes" is a vote for English Only (or English First as it is also called).

Here is the English First website: http://nashvilleenglishfirst.com/

Here is the Against English Only website: http://www.nashvilleforallofus.org/About.html

If you follow these links, you will be able to read the amendment for yourself, and hear from both sides.

For your information, here are two videos I found on YouTube. The first is only one-minute long, unfortunately, but gives us a chance to hear from the leading proponent of this amendment. The second is a longer video in which some of the possible effects are explored (in a measured, PBS tone).





When I think about this amendment, I ask myself these questions.

  • How does my vote impact Jesus' command to "love my neighbor as myself?"
  • How can my city best fulfill the biblical injunction "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Exodus 22:21)
  • In what way can I best fulfill God's admonition to the people of Israel, who were told "You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land" (Deut. 23:7)
  • Jesus himself was an alien in Egypt, when he was a child. How would I have wished to treat him, if I had been an Egyptian.

I know there are strong Christians on both sides of this issue. And, as a Christian, I believe these spiritual questions trump debate about costs, perception, and programs. It is of great importance to me that I welcome the stranger in the Name of Jesus. And here is a chance to do that with my vote.

The real question, though, is "how can we do that?" I believe that those who are in favor of this amendment might say that English unites people, and that this amendment will help people integrate with society. Folks on the other side will say that this amendment puts up a barrier to others. They will say that it has great symbolic meaning, and that it symbolizes a city that does not want to engage with those who are coming from other cultures.

I welcome your thoughts, and I encourage your vote.