Voters side with two mayors, new Council to defeat English Only
An English Only proposal was defeated Thursday night in Nashville after over 40,000 voters stood up in opposition to the measure. The rejection aligns Nashville’s voters with the current Metro Council, current Mayor Karl Dean, and Dean’s predecessor Bill Purcell.
Former Mayor Bill Purcell vetoed a similar measure when it came across his desk in 2007; current Mayor Karl Dean has vigorously opposed this year’s version; and the current Metro Council passed a resolution by a 3-1 margin urging Nashville voters not to sign the petition putting the measure on the ballot in the first place.
English Only was defeated tonight by a margin of 57-43%. Amendment #2 failed by an even larger margin. An unprecedented, citywide coalition formed in opposition to both measures.
Filed under About Nashville for All of Us, Action, Amendment #2, Faith, Freedom, Hospitality, Litigation, Safety, Stewardship, Terminology, Testimonials, The importance of learning English, Who brought this to Nashville?
Image by Alexandre Duret-Lutz. Licensed via Creative Commons.
Even with approximately 70 posts to date, this blog has not reproduced all of the written opposition to English Only in Nashville, nor could it ever. Because today is the day of the special election and the last day to vote, however, the best we can do with the “waiting list” of those comments, letters, columns, blog posts, other statements of support, and news that have so far gone unpublished here is to link to as much of them as we can in list form below.
Our apologies to those whose public statements and endorsements have not been included here – and there are many of you. We know that everyone who has spoken out against the charter amendments in any context is a part of this effort.
Thank you! Continue reading
Filed under About Nashville for All of Us, Action, Faith, Freedom, Hospitality, Litigation, Safety, Stewardship, Terminology, Testimonials, The importance of learning English, Who brought this to Nashville?
Rodney Beard of Living Word Community Church speaks out against English Only in this post on Faith Leaders for All of Us:
I love Nashville! I also understand the frustration surrounding local immigration issues and have even shared some popular sentiments a time or two. But I cannot, in good conscience, support the English Only initiative.
Wouldn’t the money we spend fighting this be better spent by providing more English as Second Language classes in our schools, churches and community centers?
The governing body of the Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville has voted to oppose English Only. From the Church’s statement published on Faith Leaders for All of Us:
The “English only” requirement does not acknowledge the linguistic diversity that has always characterized the U.S. (the result of many factors, including voluntary migration, conquest, employment policies, and compassion toward refugees) and continues today.
Furthermore it does not manifest the hospitality toward immigrants and refugees that we have every reason to expect in our public and private life.
We urge the citizens of Nashville to vote No on Amendment One.
Educators at Belmont University have issued an open letter opposing English Only, with the list of the staff and faculty signing the letter running 10-1/2 pages long. Here are excerpts:
[W]e join our university’s president, Dr. Robert Fisher and the presidents of Nashville’s other universities, in standing against the English Only initiative. We oppose the measure because we believe the initiative will serve to diminish the opportunities for broadening our students’ perspective, which our community now offers in abundance. We believe that the measure and the message its adoption would send to the rest of the world will create a culturally impoverished environment in our city. We are concerned that it will damage our economy by making it much more challenging for our city to attract global investment and to welcome international visitors.
On this issue, we cannot help but be reminded of the admonition to welcome charitably the strangers and to treat them as our own native born (Leviticus 19:33-34) and to practice hospitality as Paul urged the early Christian communities to do (Romans 12:9-13). In our view, by placing barriers to the ability of our visitors to participate in our community, especially when they are first arrived and not yet proficient in our language, the English Only measure is both uncharitable and inhospitable.
Rev. Dennis J. Meaker
Rev. Dennis J. Meaker of the West Nashville United Methodist Church published this message regarding the significance of the English Only referendum from the perspective of the Christian scriptures. Here is an excerpt:
The biblical command to extend hospitality is not limited to those of our faith. It is particularly ironic, however, that self-professed Christians are so willing to exclude their brothers and sisters in Christ by reinforcing the barrier of language. As noted in 1 John 4:20-21:
“Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.”
By the time you read this article, early voting will be open in Davidson County. The English-only referendum is not a political issue that the church is supposed to avoid. It strikes at the heart of what we profess to believe. As you go to vote, and please do vote, remember Christ is present in every person around us, even those who do not speak English.
In this YouTube video published on the home page of Nashville for All of Us, a number of Nashvillians say why they are voting against English Only, including Mayor Karl Dean, Bishop David Choby, Anastasia Brown, Tom Oreck, Rev. Sonnye Dixon, and Buck Dozier.