Europe, San Francisco show us where America is headed — Hungary PM says Christianity is ‘last hope’

(European People’s Party/Flickr)






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TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, there are three different stories I’d like to cover with you today. The first deals with Victor Orban. Now, a lot of our listeners probably don’t recognize that name — he’s the prime minister of Hungary. His hope for Europe is not in more secularism or a hope for open borders, but a hope for resurgence in Christianity. According to LifeSite News, Orban gave an address to his nation warning that the EU and its open borders policy with Islamic nations has opened the way to the decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam.

DR. REEDER: Tom, basically, what he ended up with was this statement that, “Christianity is Europe’s last hope.” Thank you for the open door, but Christianity is not Europe’s last hope — Christianity is Europe’s only hope.”

And that’s what’s happening in a secularized culture, which is about 20 years down the road from the United States if the continued success of the sexual revolution and the secular elite that promote the sovereignty of man over the sovereignty of God — that man is the measure of all things and what he desires and what he wants — that unrestrained death spiral of a culture.


Now, I don’t know what’s happening in the prime minister’s personal life, but it doesn’t seem to be coming out of a personal spiritual awakening, but just an assessment that the current immigration policies are bringing in waves of Islamic immigrants. It’s not that many Europeans are being converted to Islam, but that they’re being overwhelmed by the immigrants that are coming in. That means the leftover remnants of the effects of Christianity and the culture of Europe, in general, and Hungary, in particular, where he is the prime minister, is such that he sees utter destruction of what is happening in the social fabric of the nation.

I would just say to the prime minister that Jesus does not exist and the Gospel does not exist as a tribal God for any nation or the European Union. Jesus is Lord of all and Jesus is King of Kings and He has proclaimed not as the answer to a nation’s problems so that the nation continues to stand supreme. When the Gospel is proclaimed, it certainly benefits a nation and it certainly benefits a culture, but that’s not its purpose. The purpose of the Gospel is for men and women to be right with God.

Now, by the way, when you get right with God, then God gets right within you. And when God gets right within you with His Word and the Holy Spirit and He begins to change you — and that changes your family and that changes your neighborhood and that changes your city — but that’s the consequence. The purpose of Christianity is not for Christianity to be the handmaiden of a nation to make it a great nation — the purpose of Christianity is for people to worship the great God of glory and grace. When that happens, that brings greatness all around it and that certainly brings the blessings of the Lord’s presence, but that’s not the purpose of it.

Therefore, it’s not simply that Jesus is the answer to a failed immigration policy; it’s Jesus is the answer to sinners and, when sinners are saved, then their lives are changed from the inside out and that changes everything around them.


TOM LAMPRECHT: Well, Harry, the opposite is also true. Fox News is reporting San Francisco, which has a reputation as one of the prettiest cities in the world, in a recent survey of more than 150 downtown blocks in San Francisco has revealed some staggering statistics and some unfortunate findings, including streets covered with garbage, human excrement and hypodermic needles spread across the city.

DR. REEDER: Tom, it’s very interesting. I will not name the three cities, but there are three cities that, as I have to travel various places to fulfill my calling, there are three cities that I utterly feel the oppressiveness of darkness — just moral darkness — when I step into those cities. I will tell you San Francisco’s one of them, which breaks my heart for the city. I want the city to be won to Christ.

I’ve been very disappointed that two church-planting initiatives in San Francisco have actually been absorbed by the culture instead of standing firm for Christ and I see the powerful movement of the secular elite and what they’ve done, but I also see what always happens whenever you elevate rebellion against God, rebellion against God’s Word, rebellion against the sovereign claims of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There will always be the death spiral of that culture and its dissipation and its degradation.


Tom, I know that because it happened in my own life. As I walked away from all that my parents had brought to me in Christ, I saw the dissipation and the despair and the emptiness of my life and God graciously rescued me and brought me to a saving relationship with Christ and then my life goes in the other direction.

Well, what’s true in an individual is also true in a city and in a culture. What you see in the streets of San Francisco is heartbreaking when you see the broken bodies, broken lives, broken lifestyle, the degradation that is all around and the dissipation that is there.

And so, what is needed is a clarion call of the Gospel. We need evangelical churches that are alive for Christ — that aren’t playing secular games, but bringing the testimony of Christ and the glorious message of the Gospel to impact that city. That city’s problems are not going to be resolved by renouncing being a sanctuary city. What we need to see is the movement of the Gospel that enables men and women to renounce sin, and turn from it and trust in Christ the Savior, and live for Christ and then see what will happen in that city by God’s grace.

If I could just draw a parallel, the prime minister of Hungary is turning to Christianity because of the effects of the open borders of immigration policies, but in San Francisco what you see is the attempt to say, “Our lives and our city are going to be open borders to do anything we want. Christianity will confine me.”

Oh, no, no, no. When you come to Jesus and repent of your sins and put your trust in Him, you get the free gift of eternal life and then he sets you free. Here’s what Jesus says in John, Chapter 10: “I am the door. If any man come in by me, he will go in and out and find pasture.”

In other words, “I will not only set you free from sin’s guilt and shame, I’ll set you free from sin,” and there is true liberty that you find in Christ. Apart from Him is desolation — in Him, is glorious liberation, not only from the penalty, but the power and practice of sin.


TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we do know, when churches do stand up for what is right, for example as reported in Breitbart News last week, the Metro City Church, which has campuses in Riverview and Taylor, Michigan, they were putting together a workshop on Biblical sexuality, the pastor there said that the response from the community has been unbridled hate and vitriol.

DR. REEDER: Right. Death threats, threats of lawsuits, assault. This church, I don’t know all of the dynamics of what they’re doing in these seminars that they were offering but, if you attempt to invade the cultural commitment to the sexual revolution and self-gratification and its abuse of sexuality from a gift within marriage to an unbridled commitment to self-gratification, once you do that, you are going to get the ire, anger and focused power not only of the culture, but the fascist power of the state is going to be brought to bear against you.


The Reformers faced the threats of the state and the government and monarchies — so can we — but just remain faithful to Christ. If you’re going to be a Christian in the present sexual revolution that is driving our culture at the moment, if you attempt to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who saves sinners and the love of Christ to them to call them to repentance and to receive the gift of eternal life, unless the Lord goes before you and gives eyes to see and ears to hear, you’re not going to be met with open arms.

There’s nobody going to throw a parade for you. What you need to do is remain faithful, even upon the threats that come against you. And, believe me, you will not be able to hide. If you’re going to be a committed Christian and if you’re going to commit yourself to Jesus Christ and the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, you will be tested to see if you will be faithful. This culture will not tolerate the Gospel of Christ, but that does not stop us — we aren’t asking for toleration. We will simply, even if it costs us our lives, engage in the proclamation to the world, and to our cities and to those who are broken by the sexual anarchy of the sexual revolution.

No matter what is brought against us, we will bring Him to you and, when He is lifted up, He will draw sinners to Himself.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.


11 hours ago

End the shutdown politics

For far too long, Congress has relied on short term, stop-gap funding bills to keep the federal government open and running — and have done so when up against holidays and midnight deadlines.

Take the most recent continuous resolution: last month, as a member of the House of Representatives, I voted around 5:30 AM on a Friday morning against a massive spending bill that raises America’s deficit next year to about $1 trillion.


Yes, you read that right. While you and your family were sleeping, a handful of your duly-elected representatives were making deals in the middle of the night. For the last 40 years — but increasingly more so in the last decade — this has been and is the way Washington operates. It needs to end now.

Put simply, this is how it works: time is running out as Congress approaches a funding deadline. In exchange for their votes, appropriators demand more money for “insert name of pet project” and the spending bill balloons as more and more wish list items are added. Inevitably, one party demands more or they’ll threaten to walk from the deal.

A small leadership team from both sides then hammer out a deal behind closed doors — with Republicans agreeing to spend even more money America does not have, has to borrow to get, and cannot afford to pay back. This is what Washington did in February with its “debt junkie” spending bill and what it’s poised to do again this week.

Moreover, these last-minute side deals for unrelated, often deemed “must-pass” legislation, have no business being in a continuing resolution and should be voted on as stand-alone bills. But because of threatened government shutdown risks, the bulk of Congress is subject to the spending demands of the powerful few.

The party in power almost always loses in the game of shutdown politics, as it suggests the party does not know how to govern and does not deserve to govern. In the late-night rush to negotiate a deal, the powerbrokers eventually concede, bad policy is enacted, and Congress is pressured to vote for the deal to please some segment of their constituency. It’s a loss on both sides of the aisle.

Perhaps even worse, the country loses — big time — as bills are introduced and voted on before the public has time to digest them and submit their views to their elected officials. Transparency in government becomes nonexistent. And the deficit increases exponentially.

Let’s take a quick look at previous short-term continuous resolutions.

Remember the cromnibus back in 2013? At the time, the last-minute Christmas bill seemed monstrous with the approved $63 billion increase in spending authority over two years. That’s pocket change compared to the McConnell-Schumer Deal that passed last month and busted the discretionary budget spending caps by $296 billion over two years. All this adds up to trillions of dollars, and as a result of the February continuous resolution vote, deficits will blow through the $1 trillion mark annually and indefinitely.

While Congress seems hell-bent on passing unaffordable spending bills and adding trillions to America’s debt, eventually the gravy train is going to an end and become a train wreck because America simply can’t afford these expensive deals.

That’s why last week I introduced H.R. 5313: The End Federal Shutdowns Act. This legislation automatically requires continuity of spending at the previous year’s levels should Congress fail to pass spending bills on time. Hence, government shutdowns become a thing of the past.

The concept is simple: whatever the spending level was for the previous year becomes the spending level for such time as it takes Washington to pass legislation that changes priorities and reallocate different spending amounts. If this legislation were enacted, leadership of both parties would have no choice but to aggressively seek timely regular order agreement and passage of appropriations bills to achieve new funding and policy objectives. A flat-spending alternative would be a strong incentive for constructive compromise involving a majority of representatives.

Providing for an automatic continuous resolution should be the easiest vote most of us in Congress make this year. It provides stability for the federal government and prevents rank and file members from being held hostage to the demands of special interest groups, leadership, and powerful appropriators.

I’m urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together and do what’s right for the Congress and for the country. A vote for H.R. 5313 is common sense — something that seems to be lacking in Washington these days.

Let’s stop shutdown politics once and for all.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks is a Republican from Huntsville

11 hours ago

Christy Swaid is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

When pro sports star Christy Swaid first moved to Alabama in 2002, she said she immediately fell in love with her new home, but it broke her heart to learn that the state ranks in the top three nationally for diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and hypertension and that Alabama children are developing type 2 diabetes at one of the fastest-growing rates in the nation.

Swaid, a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, is a six-time world champion professional jet ski racer, the winningest female in the history of the sport, and was twice named “One of the Fittest Women in America” by Competitor Magazine in 2000 and by Muscle and Fitness in 2001.


After years advocating for marine safety, Swaid channeled her extensive fitness experience and passion for service into launching a nonprofit in 2006 named HEAL (healthy eating active living) with a mission to use evidence-based methods and education to “measurably improve children’s health and reverse the growing epidemic of childhood obesity,” according to HEAL’s website.

“My heart and mission is to help children prevent diseases before they get established, but then follow them throughout their school experience with more healthy eating, active living techniques and encouragement,” Swaid said in a January Alabama Public Television interview.

Swaid tested her curriculum-based fitness and nutrition program in a six-month pilot program that measured results in fifth grade PE classrooms at 10 Alabama schools and found promising results among participating children: 75 percent showed improved fitness, 57 percent of overweight and obese children reduced their body mass index (BMI), and all participants reported improvements in healthful eating.

The program has steadily expanded, serving 130 Alabama schools in 27 counties and reaching 27,000 students across multiple grade levels. There are 175 schools on a waiting list pending funding; HEAL raises their own funds to offer the program to schools at no cost.

Last year, four Alabama schools using the HEAL curriculum earned an “America’s Healthiest School Award” from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, whose judging standards include the healthiness of meals and snacks served, how much students move at school, and the quality of physical and health education.

“I am so proud of our state,” Swaid told APT. “Ten years ago, this was a kitchen table conversation, and I was able to glean the brightest and the best minds who also have big hearts to help put their fingerprints in making the most progressive solution to our nation’s worst epidemic, and that is what HEAL is … a genius cluster.”

Swaid developed her research-based curriculum in partnership with professors from UAB and Samford University.

“It is all science-based and it’s friendly, and it includes every child, including children with special needs,” she said.

Swaid will be honored with Gov. Kay Ivey in an awards event March 29 in Birmingham. The Yellowhammer Women of Impact event will honor 20 women making an impact in Alabama and will benefit Big Oak Ranch. Details and registration may be found here.

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

12 hours ago

Alabama eyes potential economic impact of fatal deer disease

A fatal deer disease is inching closer to Alabama, where whitetail deer are the most popular game animal and hunting generates a $1.8 billion yearly economic impact.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that a dead buck tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Mississippi’s Issaquena County last month; until then, the closest state to Alabama with the neurological disease was Arkansas.


Chuck Sykes with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division says it’s unlikely a diseased deer would wander “over an imaginary line on a map,” but that infected meat or animals could be brought in knowingly or unknowingly. Alabama has banned the import of carcasses from states where CWD has been confirmed.

The department says states with CWD have seen an up to 40 percent decrease in hunting license sales.

(Image: Outdoor Alabama)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

12 hours ago

Alabama ranks 4th most federally dependent state

Alabama is the fourth most federally dependent state in the union, according to analysis done by the personal finance website WalletHub.

The details:

Researchers compared the 50 states by examining both the dependency of state governments and of state residents.


To determine state government dependence, researchers looked at federal funding as a share of state revenue in each of the states.

To determine the dependency of residents, researchers used returns on taxes paid to the federal government and each state’s share of federal jobs as metrics.

Alabama’s state government was ranked the thirteenth most federally dependent and Alabama’s residents were ranked fourth most dependent.

New Mexico, Kentucky and Mississippi were ranked the three most federally dependent states.

In January, WalletHub ranked Alabama the tenth most affected state by the federal government shutdown, which was determined by various metrics indicating the state’s dependence upon the federal government.

That analysis examined Alabama’s share of federal jobs and contracts, its access to federal lending programs, and its percentages of children reliant upon the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Click here to read the experts’ analyses.

12 hours ago

Fort Rucker, Maxwell Air Force Base and more recently discussed in House defense appropriations subcommittee hearings

Serving on the House Appropriations Committee gives me a valuable and unique opportunity to participate in the conversations surrounding funding for the various functions of our federal government.

It’s hard to believe it, but the debates on funding for the Fiscal Year 2019 have already begun. I’ve been glad to be part of these important discussions and advocate for programs that are critically important to the State of Alabama and our country as a whole.

Recently the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, on which I’m grateful to serve, held hearings to review the Fiscal Year 2019 budget requests from various services. So far during this budget request season, our subcommittee has heard from the Navy and the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Army.


I was glad to take part in all these discussions for several reasons. I have always been a strong advocate for properly supporting our military so that our men and women in uniform have everything they need when we send them into harm’s way. Secondly, our state and district have a very large military presence, and I consider fighting for our interests one of my greatest responsibilities in Congress.

When the Air Force testified before Defense Appropriations, I was glad to have the opportunity to have a conversation with Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff General David Goldfein. You may remember that Secretary Wilson was the key decision maker for the F-35 mission. We talked about the Air Force’s priorities for the next year, and I thanked her in person for making the decision to send the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery. As I told Secretary Wilson, the men and women of the 187th could not be more thrilled about this extraordinary opportunity, and our entire state and community share in this excitement.

When the Navy and Marine Corps came before the subcommittee to discuss their budget request, I asked Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson about the F-35 mission’s potential to enable the Navy fleet as a whole to be more capable. I was thrilled when he assured me that yes, this would definitely be the case. In my role on the Appropriations Committee, I will also continue to support the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program manufactured in Mobile as well as the other important priorities for our state.

During the Army’s testimony before Defense Appropriations, I reviewed the Army’s budget request with Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper and Chief of Staff General Mark Milley. The people of Southeast Alabama care greatly about the Army, and we are so proud that our very own Fort Rucker is the home of Army Aviation. Unfortunately, the Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for Army Aviation aircraft is significantly reduced from this year, so I pressed Secretary Esper about this. I appreciated his response and his assurance that operations will proceed as usual at Fort Rucker. This news on top of the announcement we recently received that 17 Lakota helicopters will soon be added to the fleet at Fort Rucker are both great indications that this proud military installation in our backyard will continue to excel for years to come. Of course, in my role on the Appropriations Committee, I will continue push for strong Army Aviation funding.

I deeply appreciate these distinguished military leaders for taking the time to review their budgets and priorities with us. Each of these individuals have led lives of dedicated service to our country, and I am grateful to their families for the many sacrifices made on our behalf. I will continue to prioritize the national security of this great nation, and as always, I will never stop advocating for the important work being done in Alabama’s Second District at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base and Fort Rucker.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.