A society that worships the sovereign self will destroy itself, like in Parkland shooting


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to a piece written by the columnist Peggy Noonan. The title of the piece is “The Parkland Massacre and the Air We Breathe: What’s Gone Wrong with Our Culture that Produces Such Atrocities.”

It’s a very long list — let me read you just a very small portion of this column. She says, “We’ve been swept by social, technological and cultural revolution. The family blew up — divorce, unwed child-bearing, fatherless sons, fatherless daughters, too. Poor children with no one to love them. The internet flourished. Porn proliferated. Drugs legal and illegal. Violent video games in which nameless people are eliminated and splattered all over the screen.

The abortion regime settled in with its fierce, endless, yet somehow casual talk about the right to end a life. An increasingly violent entertainment culture, hypersexualized, full of weirdness, allergic to meaning and depth. The old longing for integration gave way to a culture of accusation: “You’re a supremist. You’re a misogynist. You are guilty of privilege and you’re defined by your color and class. We don’t let your sort speak here.”

DR. REEDER: Tom, when I was reading her column, I could not help but think two things. First of all, how much I enjoy reading Peggy Noonan. And I don’t totally agree with all of her columns, but she’s usually very insightful and is a wonderful communicator. As many of our listeners may know, President Reagan was called “The Great Communicator,” and I think of the reasons he was the great communicator is he had some great speech writers and she was one of them.

Well, she has put her finger on something but, yet at the same time that she put her finger on the issue that we face today that produces such horrific acts as the Parkland shooting, Columbine shooting, etc., but as she does so, she reveals what I think is an error in her own analysis. And I say this very carefully with great respect for her.

She makes the point that these things are not happening in a vacuum and she uses the metaphor, “Culture is like the air we breathe.” What is the culture of America? What are we constantly breathing in that produces the sickness and the horrific pictures of these slaughters that have taken place?


She makes the point that these eruptions of violence, while it’s fine to look at matters of gun control, to just simply look at that is like looking at an addiction to food, “So, if I outlaw spoons, then somehow that’ll get rid of my problem.” No, what are my predilections and what have I done to embrace this addiction?

Well, she says, “We blew the family up. We blew marriage up. We made no-fault divorce. We produced games for entertainment that are violent — nameless people that you eradicate. We now have the unleashed horror of abortion. We now have moved to infanticide and to euthanasia.”

And she begins to tick these things off but notice how she speaks in the passive voice. It wasn’t the family blew up — no, we blew up the family. We were not victims in this. The air we breathe, that is the culture that we are imbibing from which these horrific acts are now issuing forth in our society, that isn’t something that came to us. That’s something we produced — the air we’re breathing. We’re the ones that produced it, in corporate America, in political America, in entertainment America. In other words, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.


What is the answer to this? Let me just say very clearly, very plainly what the answer is: a society that produces a culture that glories in the sovereign self will destroy itself. A society that is impacted by the redeeming grace of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the common grace of God through the lives of believers that begin to embrace that which is right before the Lord and articulate clearly a Christian world and life view — not only a life view, but a lifestyle that restrains sin, a life view that speaks to that which is right and good and a life love and that is the love of Christ compels us — that is what is needed in our society. That is what is desperately needed to change the air we breathe.

Tom, when I went to Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, it was called in the early 1970’s “Smog City, USA.” Jokingly, it was said the new Chamber of Commerce promotion moved to Chattanooga. Why? You don’t have to breathe by faith — you know what you’re breathing.

Well, that’s where we are in our culture. The air we breathe in our culture is destroying us, Tom. We breathe sexual anarchy, we breathe in sexual perversion, we breathe in sexual promiscuity. We sell everything from hamburgers to cereals with a hypersexualized society. We have no sense of decorum, no sense of modesty, no sense of humility, no sense of true compassion. We don’t have any of that. We have lost any sense of the sanctity of life.

Here are young men, mostly, who have survived the abortionists: I’m living in a society in which I go into a room, a darkened room, and I play a game of destroying other people and that becomes my self-imposed technological identity. Who am I? I am one of the generation that survived the abortionists. Thankfully, I wasn’t numbered with that 1.5 million that are killed in the womb every year in this country.

And then I survive infanticide. In other words, I looked okay and I didn’t look so inconvenient I was left to die upon my arrival in this world. And then I grow up in a society that is planning on ways to take life when I’m inconvenient at the end of life. I grew up in a society in which I’ve got the pressure to perform and my worth is not that I’m made in the image of God — my worth is my grade point average that makes me someone that my dad and mom can put on the bumper sticker. I now go search for my identity in sexual promiscuity or sexual perversion or I go in searching for my identity by chemical and surgical mutilations of my body to “change gender.”

That’s the despair of the culture that the rising generation is breathing. That’s why it is producing an unbelievable tsunami of depression and proliferation of counseling institutions to get kids off of pornography that are already addicted to it in the elementary ages. That’s the culture we breathe.


Well, what is the answer? Well, the answer is this culture needs to be eviscerated and that it needs to be eviscerated by this glorious movement of the Gospel. Folks, I don’t have another hope, but I do have a sure hope and that hope is found in Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory and grace and mercy.

I know my own lifestyle culture drastically changed when I was converted and, if God’s people can bring the Gospel to those who are lost and say to them, “There is not only a better way — there is someone who is called the Way, the Truth and the Life and I want to introduce you to Jesus Christ.”

And then, in our life of what we speak, the truth, how we speak it in love, what we believe even in our imperfections and embrace which is absolutely honoring to the Lord — if that becomes burnished within our lifestyle, then the salt of Christianity and the light of the Gospel would shine in the culture and there would be a new air to breathe. And that, by God’s grace, this air would not simply be brought to the nostrils of individuals on the Lord’s Day, but would begin to flow throughout our community every day — not having to go to an air tank to breathe it every once in a while, but we would empty the oxygen of that which is glorious and that which is majestic and that is the glory and majesty of God and that we’re made in His image and that He loves us, He is ready to save us from our sins and has done so through the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That’s what needs to penetrate the culture. That’s the air we need to breathe. And, to my dear friends who are listening, it has occurred by God’s grace. We have seen such movements in the 18th century and in the 19th century and may God give us another in the 21st century.

(Image: CBS Evening News/YouTube)

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.


array(1) {

11 hours ago

Longtime journalist, Tuscaloosa native and Pulitzer Prize winner Les Payne dies

Longtime New York journalist and Tuscaloosa native Les Payne has died at age 76.

Payne’s family confirmed his death to Newsday, where he worked for nearly four decades, rising through the ranks from reporter to associate managing editor. The newspaper reports Tuesday that Payne died unexpectedly Monday night at his home in Harlem.


Newsday Editor Deborah Henley says Payne established a standard of journalistic excellence that has been “a beacon for all who have come after him.”

Payne oversaw foreign and national coverage, was an editor of New York Newsday and wrote a column. He was part of a Newsday reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for a series titled “The Heroin Trail.”

He also was a founding member and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

(Image: Darlene Lewis/Vimeo)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

11 hours ago

Peggy Sutton is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

Peggy Sutton did not start out wanting to create a powerhouse food business. She just wanted to eat like her grandparents did.

Sutton, a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, planted grains at her home in Fitzpatrick about 15 years ago and waited for them to sprout. Before the Industrial Revolution, most people made flour from spouted grains, not from crops harvested with a combine.

Sutton soaked the grains in mason jars in 2005, dried them and then ground them into flour with a small mill in her home.

“I was blown away by the taste,” she told Kitchn.com in 2015. “It was so good, and I was hooked. And to me, that’s actually the most important thing.”


The real benefit, the secret to Sutton’s commercial success, were the health features. She told Kitchn.com that flour from sprouted grains preserves vitamins and minerals that are eliminated in modern farming. Those nutrients produce naturally fortified flour.

At first, Sutton tried to spread the gospel of sprouted grains, but friends and relatives asked Sutton if she could just make the grains for them. She did, and To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. was born, according to the company’s website. More than a decade later, Sutton’s idea has grown into a business that produces more than 3.6 million organic whole-grain sprouted flour a year and is the largest supplier of organic sprouted flours in the world.

The production moved from her home kitchen to a commercial kitchen inside a barn in 2006 and four years later moved up to a 7,200-square-foot facility. The company added a second facility in 2013 and expanded again in 2015. To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. employs more than 30 people and ships grains, flours, legumes, seeds, nuts and other snacks to 14 different countries.

Sutton touts the not-too-subtle differences between her flour and the products on sale at the local supermarket.

“It’s the difference between eating a tomato and a potato,” she told Alabama Power’s Alabama NewsCenter last year. “Sprouted flour tastes better, is easier to digest, has more enzymes and is just more nutritious than regular flour.”

Sutton did not just luck into the business. She had spent three decades working in marketing and management positions in Montgomery, Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia. She returned home to Fitzpatrick, a rural community south of Montgomery, to take a job as director of the Alabama Hospice Organization.

Then, the flour business started to take off. Orders grew so fast that she decided to stop making baked goods and concentrate full time on producing flours. It was a call from Whole Foods that kicked the business to a different level. The chain grocery store wanted 10,000 pounds.

“At that time, we were only making about 1,000 pounds a week, but I knew we could do it,” she told Alabama NewsCenter. “Unfortunately, we live at the end of a dirt road, and the trucks couldn’t get in to pick up all that flour. So we had to expand.”

Sutton’s business even has landed her picture on the back of Kashi cereal boxes. She told This is Alabama last year that Kellogg’s, which makes the organic cereal, contacted her in 2014 and decided to use her image after hearing her company’s homegrown story and coming away impressed with the quality of the grain.

“I told my husband, it’s not the front of the Wheaties box, but I’m not complaining!” Sutton told the website.

Sutton 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.

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at LifeZette.com and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the author of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter.

BCA endorsement is a real head-scratcher

Campaign season is officially upon us.  Yard signs are popping up at every street corner and on trees along our roadways, the monthly FCPA reports showing candidate fundraising activity are on full display and endorsements are being rolled out by groups across the state.  While there has been an age old debate about the true value of endorsements, especially from elected officials, there is no question that an endorsement from the likes of ALFA, the Business Council of Alabama, the Realtors Association, just to name a few, can prove to be a major shot in the arm for a candidate seeking statewide office in Alabama.


Aside from the very large campaign checks they can dole out at a moment’s notice, these groups have a strong network of very politically active members across the state who ban together to turnout the vote for candidates who align with their interests.  The endorsements, on many levels, can provide a little-known candidate instant “street cred” and very quickly propel their candidacy to new heights.  So, it is no mystery as to why potential candidates can spend more than a year ahead of an election cycle traveling to local ALFA meetings and visiting with key business leaders to lay the groundwork for just the opportunity to win a coveted endorsement.  Quite simply, being shunned by one of these groups may not break one’s campaign but receiving their blessing can certainly make one’s campaign.

The Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee, or ACJRC to the Montgomery insiders, was established in the 1990s by a wide range of business associations banding together to recruit and finance conservative judicial candidates to put an end to the “tort hell” environment created over the years by the trial lawyers that had embedded itself inside of the Alabama Court System.  The effort, conducted by none other than famed political consultant Karl Rove, was wildly successful and, over time, turned the state’s court system from one of the least business-friendly in the country into one of the most.  This feat was not easy and the ACJRC continues to work to build a wall around the court system to protect it from anti-business forces.

So, when the Business Council of Alabama made the decision to endorse Mobile County Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart in the race for Supreme Court, to say the other business associations in Montgomery were stunned would be an understatement.  It could be likened to Tua Tagovailoa shedding his Alabama jersey in the National Championship game, walking to the Georgia sideline and lining up at quarterback for them on the next series.  Those who had worked so hard to preserve the coalition were angered because they fully understand the aforementioned benefits that come with a major endorsement.

According to the ACJRC, one should look no further than a case involving South Alabama Brick to understand that Stewart’s judicial record is far from business-friendly.  Her ruling, eventually overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court, would have required business and property owners to warn independent contractors along with their employees of any potential hazards, no matter how large or small, they could encounter while on the job site even if the contractor had more expertise regarding the issue.  Furthermore, the burden of making sure the contractor’s employees were operating in a safe manner would have been unduly placed on the business owner regardless of whether or not the contractor had implemented his or her own operational safety standards.

However, the specifics of this particular endorsement aside, the more important issue may be the fracturing of the coalition on this race and the Business Council’s unwillingness to explain the endorsement to us and others. The civil justice arm of the business community is now pitted against what used to be its single strongest member. These groups have held the line and worked arm in arm for years. The fact that the Business Council would change jerseys on this one is truly a headscratcher.

The Yellowhammer Multimedia Executive Board is comprised of the owners of the company.

(Image — Yellowhammer News Graphic)

12 hours ago

Auburn takes part in urban tree canopy study

Auburn will take part in an urban tree canopy study.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports the city of Auburn and the Green Infrastructure Center entered an agreement to evaluate the canopy, which is layered with leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. The study looks to improve the planning of any future reforestation efforts.


Recommendations for tree removal will focus on elimination of exotic invasive trees to reduce over-competition, increase diversity and increase forest health.

The Green Infrastructure Center is a non-profit organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The organization will use satellite imagery to map the land cover of Auburn.

“The study will also help create healthier communities by realizing the many benefits that trees provide other than just clean air and shade,” said Karen Firehock, executive director of Green Infrastructure Center.

Firehock said Auburn is one of 11 cities chosen for the study. Other cities include Charleston, South Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida, Norcross, Georgia, and Lynchburg, Virginia.

The Alabama Forestry Commission is administering a grant to fund the project.

“We’ve been trying to work with the Alabama Forestry Commission for the last couple of years on a variety of projects focusing on green infrastructure,” said Daniel Ballard, watershed division manager for the city of Auburn’s water resource management team. “Trees are the original green infrastructure. They have a few different programs that they manage and one of these being this federal grant that they administer that focuses on urban forests for the specific purpose of improving storm water management.”

Ballard said Auburn was a good fit, because of the city’s continuous growth. He said the city’s impaired watersheds, which are water quality areas of concern, will be part of the study and are always a priority for the city.

“There are areas within the Parkerson Mill Creek watershed, the Saugahatchee Creek watershed, or the Moores Mill Creek watershed that are all priorities for our department,” he said.

Ballard said Auburn was already pursuing a green infrastructure master plan, which will integrate parks and natural areas, greenways, bike paths, sidewalks and habitat corridors.

“This project filled in a gap in that master planning process,” Ballard said. “Although we’re not evaluating urban tree canopy in our green infrastructure master plan, we are in that process looking holistically at the way we manage storm water and not just trees.”

(Image: Auburn University)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

13 hours ago

Alabama Sheriff’s Association director: Jail food allowance reform ‘should have been done 50 years ago’

Reforming what county sheriffs do with unspent jail food allowances should have been accomplished a long time ago, Robert Timmons, Executive Director of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, told Yellowhammer News on Tuesday.

“It should have been done 50 years ago,” Timmons said. “It’s an antiquated law.”


Timmons pointed to a 2009 article in the Montgomery Advertiser, which reported on some of the controversy around the jail food allowance issue. He went back even further to demonstrate how long this conversation has been going on, pointing to a special report published in 1919 about how the Jefferson County Sheriff was managing such allowances.

Several counties have taken the initiative, not waiting for the legislature to make broad and binding reforms.

Randolph County requires the sheriff to deposit unspent fund into a surplus account. In Russell County, the sheriff is still responsible for feeding prisoners but the county buys the groceries and any excess money goes into the general surplus fund.

Until change comes to all counties, though, Timmons defends the sheriff’s prerogative to keep unspent allowances because it is allowed by law.

“Everything that the Alabama sheriff does has to be administered by an act of legislature. He cannot receive money, he cannot spend money, he cannot create policies outside of his procedure manual.”

As for the quality of inmate food, Timmons challenged the charge that inmates aren’t well-fed.

“Everybody uses day old bread,” he said. “You probably have day old bread at your house right now. They’re eating better than they do on the outside. Most of the inmates will tell you that.”

(Image: National Sheriff’s Association/Facebook)