Should the evil misuse of liberty mean we give up liberty?






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Read the transcript:


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, it’s with a great deal of sadness that we must go back to a story — seems like we’ve recounted this issue time and time again. Last Wednesday, an alleged gunman was accused of killing at least 17 people when he opened fire at a Florida high school as panicked students fled in a bloodbath. He was charged Thursday morning with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

DR. REEDER: Heartbreaking situation. I’m sitting here trying to think of parents who sent their kids off to school that day and they just don’t come home. A 19-year-old man comes in, having planned out what he was going to do all the way to the pulling of a fire alarm in order to get as many kids out into the hallway as possible. When I think of the assistant football coach who shielded the students and saved some lives at the cost of his own — cases like that may have been repeated that will yet come out.


And then, on the other hand, you’ve got someone holding a weapon, purchasing a weapon in order to inflict that kind of damage. He had been banned to the point that he was not allowed to come in with a knapsack and others had even made comments, “If there’s ever a shooting at this school, we know who will have done it.” Footprints in his social media showed this fascination with death and violence and weapons. Everybody says, “Well, if you see something, say something.”

Well, the reality is a lot of people have seen it and said it and precautions had been taken, which drives us from a Christian world and life view to try to do what’s inevitable: Because we’re made in the image of God, when something happens of the nature of evil — and that’s what this is — we’re always asking the question, “Why did this happen?” and we’re always wanting to know what can we do to stop it and what happened to cause it.


How should Christians respond to a moment like this? Well, our first moment is to restrain ourselves from asking the “Why?” and the “What do we do?” and the attempt to try to explain it by fixing blame somewhere other than the one who did it. We restrain ourselves from that in order to do what we’re called to do and that is minister to the victims of such a horrific act of brokenness and sin and evil. We want to rush to them to minister to them.

Tom, as you know, I pastored in south Florida. I am aware of the churches in the area and the pastors in the place like Coral Ridge Presbyterian and First Presbyterian Church — Coral Springs, I know you have a relationship with the pastor there as well — and I know they are all responding and all available.

Let me give you three Ps, if I can, that would identify what the Christians there are doing, and should be doing, and what we would want to influence others to do.

  1. Pray for those victims that the God of grace and comfort will come into their life, into a broken world, bring a peace that passes understanding, one that we cannot rationalize or understand that only He can bring in only those places that He can go into the soul and the heart and the depths of someone’s being who has lost a loved one in not only a despicable but seemingly unexplainable act such as this.
  2. The ministry of presence — that you’re there with them. Whenever you’re with people that are hurting, sometimes we feel like we have to start saying something to help them understand it. Many times, that’s really counterproductive. Now, if they ask you a question, certainly you try to respond — because a lot of people, when something like this happens, they want to process it verbally — but I don’t think believers should initiate verbal processing. I think they initiate their presence. The holy hug, the holy kiss, touch upon the arm and the shoulders, and just “I’m here with you.”
  3. Petition: “How can I help you?” Whenever you have that kind of disorder and death and mayhem, the power of the Gospel, the power of prayer, the power of presence and the power of petition, “How can I help you?”


Cain murdered Abel because of his anger, rebellion against God because God did not do what he wanted Him to do. And, in his rebellion against God, attempted to make his own gods and sought his own significance in life, even at the expense of his brother Abel and, therefore, murdered his brother with cold premeditated murder “in the field.”

This young man has a track record of anger, depression, violence, fascination with instruments of violence — that’s indicating what is happening in his heart and the only thing that can retard the evil intentions of a heart is the grace of God.

And the grace of God comes in two streams. One is the redeeming grace of God, whereby people’s lives are changed. Prior to my conversion, I was a blasphemous, profane, immoral and violent person and God graciously changed me by His redeeming grace. But I remember I was never as violent as I sometimes wanted to be and that’s because God’s common grace had restrained me and the instrument of common grace is the lifestyle of believers penetrating a community and its values that retards what people would want to be.


There is no doubt in my mind that a death culture that markets video games, whereby people become coarsened to death; a culture that has comedians who make profane jokes about aborted babies; a culture that is embracing active mandated euthanasia; a culture that despises the imperfect children born with special needs; a culture that is fascinated with the satisfaction and gratification of self at the cost of anybody and everything — that culture cannot retard these kinds of acts and they cannot make these unthinkable. On the contrary, our culture is making these things thinkable and plausible.

We, as Christians, need to ask ourselves, “How do we respond?” Immediately move into the lives of victims in a moment like this, pray for them, be present with them and petition them to find out how you can help them.

Then, secondly, we need to be involved in evangelism and discipleship so that people are brought to Christ and they’re not just professors but possessors of Christ and begin to follow Christ and live for Christ, which then makes the Christian and the Christian church salt and light that would retard the presence of evil, would penetrate the culture of evil and light that would retard and dispel the darkness of evil.


Finally, Tom, let me say the dilemma that we are in in a nation that prizes and embraces certain rights of freedom, you’ll notice that these things don’t happen in cultures of tyranny — government removes all their liberties and controls them. And, when you prize liberty, you open up yourself to these kinds of perversions of liberty where people take their liberties in order to make plans.

This is a evil, senseless act, yet you will note that the man who did this was not stupid — he planned his evil. The evil makes no sense, but senseless evil is done by people who plan it and, when they plan it, they take advantage of their liberties and they take advantage of others who are living in a culture that prizes liberty.

Is the answer for the government to come in and take away liberties for our security? Our forefathers had another answer. It was called the First Amendment of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. That’s why they all said, “We’re a country that prizes liberty governed by law, but only moral people respect the law as king and we need the free movement of the church and religion in order to enhance respect for the law, which is what curtails the liberties from becoming opportunities to promote that which is evil and despicable.”

The church is not a place that you give liberty one hour a week in one place for people to believe something in the privacy of their heart, mind and home. We need the free practice of religion in order to bring a sensibility of morality to curtail the evil that is born into everyone’s heart.

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.


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35 mins ago

AlabamaWorks! is holding a career event for students to learn about jobs in the state

Edie Gibson and Antiqua Cleggett talk “Worlds of Work at SkillsUSA” which will be held April 24-25 at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Complex.

Worlds of Work at SkillsUSA is designed to help 8-12th grade students “connect the dots” and clearly identify steps toward a college or career pathway as they enter their high school education.

More information is available here.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

2 hours ago

Wounded Warrior running for Alabama State House representing Chambers and Lee Counties

Back in 2003, while U.S. Army Specialist Todd Rauch and his buddies were patrolling the streets of Abu Ghraib, an Iraqi city made famous by its notorious prison, a remotely-detonated mortar exploded near his patrol. His right shoulder and hand were severely injured in the blast.

Rauch was eventually flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and endured 12 surgeries to save his limbs from amputation.

He is now running as a Republican for the State House of Representatives district representing Chambers and Lee Counties.

So how did this Illinois-native find himself running for office in Alabama?

While recovering at the hospital, Rauch’s roommate was from Fort Payne and “all he talked about was Auburn and Auburn and Auburn,” Rauch told Yellowhammer News.


Rauch soon recovered from his injuries, and then his plans for a transition to civilian life became all about … Auburn, Auburn, Auburn.

“I applied to Auburn and felt like it was a good place to get a fresh start,” he said

Rauch studied psychology at Auburn University, with the intention of working in veteran services or military intelligence. He then worked for a time as an intelligence analyst and then began working in veterans’ services, helping his brothers and sisters in arms receive the benefits they were promised.

He’s running on a platform strengthening communities.

Rauch has a firm conviction that a community’s representative ought to be more present in the community itself, something he said he hasn’t seen much at the 75 city and county commission meetings he has attended over the last few years.

“I realized that there was no one there who was representing us in Montgomery to take those voices and those issue and those problems to Montgomery,” he said.

Rauch has put improving jobs and education among his platform principles.

He is a stanch supporter of the community college system, of which both he and his wife are products.

“It’s a good and affordable way to get your education and to get experience in college without jumping into a four-year university,” he said.

Rauch also supports expanding broadband access to rural areas. He said it is critical to the development of rural areas that have little internet and cell service.

“You’re not able to do your banking,” he said. “Some of these people aren’t even able to have home security systems because some of that works off of cell service.”

With the campaign motto, “Community. Country. Service,” Rauch said he wants to work to improve life for his constituents, and by extension, the rest of the state and country.

“Focusing on the community creates better environment for the kids, inspires better leaders, and provides better community for our state, and provides a better state for our country,” he said.

The GOP primary is June 5.

(Image: Todd Rauch for Alabama/Facebook)

The conservative alternative to Martha Roby gains momentum as Terry Everett, lawmakers endorse Barry Moore

State Rep. Barry Moore’s campaign for Congress recently received strong endorsements from the district’s former congressman and a dozen of Alabama’s most conservative state lawmakers.

“Since I left Congress, government has grown, our representation has wavered, and District 2 values have been casted aside,” said former Republican Congressman Terry Everett, who represented the district from 1993-2009. “We need to make a change, and I am privileged to support Representative Barry Moore for Congress.”

Everett’s powerful endorsement comes days after 12 of the state’s most conservative lawmakers gathered in Montgomery to endorse Barry Moore, whose conservative record they witnessed firsthand while working alongside him in the State Legislature.

Wetumpka State Rep. Mike Holmes told reporters that the district has “an opportunity to send a strong, unapologetic conservative to Washington,” and Montgomery State Rep. Dimitri Polizos agreed, saying that Moore is a “proven conservative leader” who will “stand with President Trump and give our district the representation it deserves.”

Visit Barry Moore’s website, his Facebook page and @RepBarryMoore on Twitter to learn why Terry Everett and others believe in his vision to Make Alabama Great Again!

(Paid for by Barry Moore for Congress)

5 hours ago

David Limbaugh: Hillary’s hateful harangue

Hillary Clinton’s abhorrent remarks in Mumbai, India, last week warrant our attention because, like it or not, they represent the thinking of a large swath of the modern Democratic Party.

But my aim is not to highlight Clinton’s never-ending catalog of excuses for losing the presidential election, except to note that rather than blame everyone and everything but herself, she should apologize for stealing the nomination. If she hadn’t done that, she wouldn’t have to blame anyone.


She should also have to answer for FISA-gate, but I don’t want to waste space demonstrating Clinton’s unfitness for office — because I have little fear she’ll run again, and Democrats surely aren’t crazy enough to indulge her if she tries.

Instead, let’s review her disgraceful tirade in Mumbai, in which she blamed Americans’ racism and misogyny for her election loss.

“We do not do well with white men, and we don’t do well with married white women,” said Clinton. “And part of that is an identification with the Republican Party and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.”

Hold the phone. Do you see the rich irony here? “Hear me roar” Hillary is impugning the independence and courage of women — the very people she is pretending to defend against our GOP misogyny? Seeing as she is maligning men, wouldn’t it be prudent not to insult the other half of the human race at the same time? I know few men who don’t have a higher opinion of women than this female liberal icon is displaying here.

You know darn well that Bill Clinton has a devil of a time persuading Hillary to do what she doesn’t want to do — unless it will advance her interests. So why would she assume that other women would be any less independent?

Sure, you can say she isn’t talking about all women — just white wives of Republican men — but what difference, at this point, does it make? There are way too many white GOP wives to pretend they are an exception to the norm. If GOP men are so evil, why did so many women marry them? Are they evil themselves, Mrs. Clinton? Or are they just gullible, malleable, soulless or weak? Choosing any of those options would reveal egregious disrespect for millions upon millions of women, which shatters Clinton’s argument to smithereens.

The India Today interviewer asked Clinton why 52 percent of white women voted for Trump despite the “Access Hollywood” tape showing him using vulgar language about women. I guess that even though the host is balding and graying, he is too young to realize how awkward this question was for the spouse of our former commander in heat, Bill Clinton. Then again, Hillary didn’t flinch before launching into her next set of progressive talking points.

“I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product,” she said. “So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards.”

Not only is Clinton doubling down on her “deplorables” slander of Trump supporters. She is confirming the Obama-Clinton progressive view of America: Its best days are in the past. Settle in for economic malaise, because that’s the best you’re going to get. For if you want a government that isn’t hostile to business and entrepreneurship and that will reduce the tax and regulatory burden on America and unleash its engine of free market growth, you are “backwards.”

But the real kicker was Clinton’s summary of Trump’s supposed message to voters: “You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights. You didn’t like women, you know, getting jobs. You don’t want (to), you know, see that Indian-Americans (are) succeeding more than you are.”

You know, you know, you know? No, we don’t know. You ought to be ashamed, Mrs. Clinton, especially for lying when you apologized for calling us deplorables and said we are driven by “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” beliefs. You meant it then, and you mean it now.

But again, my beef isn’t with Clinton. It’s with the Democratic Party proper, which has long been cynically peddling this very message in direct and subtle ways to alienate minority voters from the Republican Party, whose policies are manifestly more conducive to their economic well-being. For starters, go back and look at the racially charged statements Obama sprinkled throughout his terms in office.

Sadly, this messaging works; I have seen too much evidence of it in my adult life to rationally deny it. The Democratic Party is running out of effective ideas, so it increasingly resorts to race baiting, gender shaming and other forms of intentionally divisive identity politics.

The racism smear is an evil cousin of racism itself because it falsely and negatively stereotypes groups of people and demeans their human decency and dignity. It does incalculable damage to the groups it vilifies and is corrosive to our society because it subverts racial harmony. And it certainly does minorities no favors to deceive them into suspecting that half the people in the country are somehow prejudiced against them.

But I have a feeling this shtick is losing its mojo. Under President Trump, the Republican Party is finally learning to fight back and defend itself against such slurs and showcase the superiority of its policies for all people, including minorities.

(Image: Fox News/YouTube)

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. 

(Creators, copyright 2018)

6 hours ago

Alabama’s civil asset forfeiture reform effort takes a turn towards creating a public database on property seizures

Last week State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham) introduced the Forfeiture Database and Reporting Act to create a central repository of data on asset forfeitures to provide lawmakers and citizens with easily accessible information on the practice.

The bill would require law enforcement to report information about the seizures that include, among others, the date of property seizure, the type of property seized, the location of the seizure, and the type of underlying criminal offense that led to the seizure.

Mooney’s bill is the culmination of months-long efforts by concerned lawmakers, the Alabama Policy Institute (API) and other state and national organizations to reform civil asset forfeiture in Alabama. 


Last November, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) invited Jordan Richardson of the Charles Koch Institute and Lee McGrath of the Institute for Justice – two individuals working nationally on asset forfeiture reform – to take part in a a bi-partisan, roundtable discussion on this issue of asset forfeiture for lawmakers and others interested in the issue.

“API and SPLC don’t agree on 99 percent of stuff, but we do agree that we need to monitor civil asset forfeiture,” said Leigh Hixon, Alabama Policy Institute’s senior director of policy relations, in an interview with Yellowhammer News.

Cases like that of Frank Ranelli, who had 130 computers seized from his Birmingham computer repair business in 2010 on suspicion that he was dealing in stolen merchandise, have spurred bipartisan efforts to reform the asset forfeiture practice. Ranelli proved that the merchandise was not stolen, but his property was never returned to him.

In January, State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) introduced the Alabama Forfeiture Accountability and Integrity Reform Act to prevent such cases from happening. The bill received bipartisan support but was rejected by groups alligned with Alabama’s law enforcement community.

The presidents of the Alabama District Attorneys Association and the Alabama Sheriffs Association pushed back against Orr’s legislation earlier this legislative session, penning an op-ed at Yellowhammer News which said that the legislation would “essentially gut” one of law enforcements best tools used for fighting crime.

Defending the practice of asset forfeiture against charges of seizing the property of innocents, they wrote, “Law enforcement uses civil asset forfeiture only to go after criminals, and state law already guarantees a process that is clear and fair for any person to challenge forfeiture in court.”

Leigh Hixon said sponsors of the legislature were not comfortable with passing legislation without the support of law enforcement, so they began crafting a proposal in consort with law enforcement that would create a state-wide repository of data on forfeitures.

“To maintain the public’s trust in law enforcement, the government’s power to seize and forfeit private property must be exercised with transparency,” Alabama District Attorneys Association said in a statement on Friday expressing its support for Mooney’s bill.

The Southern Poverty Law Center does not support Mooney’s bill, which it argues does not do enough to reform the practice of asset forfeiture.

Conservative legislators and policy experts clearly have some disagreement with law enforcement about asset forfeiture, but some agree that creating a data system will help maintain public trust in law enforcement, as well as make data available to better inform arguments about the practice.

“Citizens and politicians will have that data available to make the determination for how to move forward on policy in the future,” Hixon said.