Invoking his faith, Commissioner Hearn must answer to its tenets
It’s discouraging to find myself in a dilemma where I’m personally watching one of my elected officials, chosen to represent my best interests, someone who even claims to share my faith and values, tarnish Christianity in public meetings and in the newspapers.
Many in this room are not of the Christian faith, but you, Commissioner Hearn, personally informed me after a candidates’ debate that you share my faith as a born-again Christian believer.
During the April 19 Fayette County Commission meeting, Commissioner Hearn, made a public apology for his suggestion and ultimate appointment to the Fayette County Elections Board, namely, Mr. Addison Lester III.
I quote, “After enduring criticism from a handful of residents Thursday night, Fayette County Commissioner Lee Hearn apologized for not previously disclosing that the commission’s appointee to the Fayette County Elections Board was in fact his second cousin.” Since this time we have learned that Mr. Addison Lester III is not your second cousin but rather your first cousin on your mother’s side.
Three years ago Commissioner Hearn took a solemn oath as a Fayette County Commissioner announcing, “I, Lee Hearn, do swear that I will well and truly discharge the duties of Commissioner for Fayette County, in all matters which require my official action, to the best of my knowledge and skill, and I will so act as in my judgment will be most conducive to the welfare and best interests of the entire county.”
This evening, I and many other Fayette County residents find you in “contempt,” to paraphrase an often used legal term.
The appointment of a relative to the Board of Elections and revelation of your family owning land near the West Fayetteville Bypass without the slightest hint of disclosure when those issues appear on an agenda is disappointing, especially considering the obligations we have to God and the oath you swore to the citizens of Fayette County.
Does David Barlow have the right to come here this evening and criticize Commissioner Lee Hearn? That’s a good question and one deserving a proper answer.
In all honesty, when the dealings are just between the two of us, I don’t have that right. Matthew 7:1, states, “Judge not, that ye not be judged.” However, when Commissioner Hearn uttered the statement, “The good Lord in heaven knows my heart and knows my intentions are good,” you opened the door to be challenged as a publicly professing Christian should be.
I hold myself to the same standard. Matthew 7:20 states, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” For the record, good intentions alone don’t make for success.
October 17, 1987, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My life as I knew it, changed dramatically, as it should. As you know, Commissioner Hearn, this commitment carries with it a higher standard, one that transcends human nature.
We are not only called to observe the laws of this great country, but also obey the commandments and carry the mantle of Jesus Christ and be a reflection of His love and mercy.
In all sincerity, Commissioner Hearn, as a brother in Christ, you have openly sinned against the citizens of Fayette County and you should be held accountable. The scriptures tell us that a brother who sins against a brother must be dealt with in private.
However, sins of a public nature are handled in a different manner. I believe your apology to the citizens of Fayette County for not disclosing a familial relationship was sincere. But consider that true repentance is a turning 180 degrees from one’s wrong doing.
My understanding of repentance further requires that we make every effort to not only reconcile with whom we’ve injured but that we “make whole” our transgressions whenever possible.
In my opinion, Commissioner Hearn, you should request that your appointment of Addison Lester III be set aside. Quite frankly, Mr. Lester, whom you identified as a deacon in your church, should voluntarily refuse the appointment, demonstrating his faith as well.
Please make your previous apology whole and announce a new more democratic search and approval process to the Fayette County Elections Board.
We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but it’s how we respond to those moments that make the difference between living in the Word and those who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.