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Alabama pastor’s analysis of immigrant parent-child border separation controversy


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

BORDER IMMIGRATION SITUATION? WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN VIEWPOINT?

(Editor’s note: This transcript is edited to reflect Wednesday’s news that President Trump signed an executive order meant to keep families together and stop border separation.)

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, immigration is back in the headlines. It now appears there are illegal immigrants coming across with their families — at least there’s an appearance that they’re a family unit. If they’re seeking asylum and they don’t come in through a legal port of entry, the parents were being separated from the children. Individuals on one side are saying such a practice is cruel and inhumane and individuals on the other side said the U.S. was following the law.

Washington Free Beacon senior writer, Elizabeth Harrington, said that the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy was simply enforcing laws already on the book and meant to disincentivize people from entering the U.S. illegally.

DR. REEDER: From a Christian world and life view, you’ve got the necessity and the call to submit to lawful laws so is the immigration lawful? Secondly, you’ve got the institution of the family that is foundational to culture and that is foundational to the well-being of individuals so the separation of children from parents is never to be thoughtlessly embraced.

Is it right for a nation to determine its borders and immigration policies? Well, of course it is. We would say that about families, wouldn’t we? When you have a house, it’s okay to have doors and walls. The name of hospitality does not require you to abandon security for your family.

Well, the same thing is true for a nation. We are to be an immigration-friendly country. That has been our policy from the very beginning and that’s why we’ve got that Statue of Liberty — “Give me your poor, give me your helpless.” We’ll take them and we will see what the American culture can do in their lives with its Constitution, its Bill of Rights and its values.

REVISITING ELLIS ISLAND IMMIGRATION AND THAT MINDSET OF FAIR REFUGE

TOM LAMPRECHT: When immigrants came in and saw the statue of liberty, they did have to go through a process at Ellis Island.

DR. REEDER: Exactly, Tom, and that was in the era from the 1830s all the way to the mid-20th century when this nation had a very inviting immigration policy — but it did have a policy, it did have a process. There was and Ellis Island that you went to.

Is that valid from a Christian world and life view? Yes. Should we be immigrant friendly? Yes. Should we be welcoming? Yes. That is Biblical and it is historical for this nation. It’s good for the nation and it’s good for the immigrants to have a policy and a process.

Now, a second observation that I would make, when you violate the law, does it affect your personal life and your family? Yes. There are multiple laws that, when you violate those laws, it separates your family. There are people that go off into prison and their children are left behind.

THERE IS AN IMPORTANT ROLE OF THE CHURCH: SERVE THE PEOPLE IN CHARITY

That gets me to a third observation: What should the church do in cases like that? In this situation right now, we should bring analysis to the policy and the process and we should insist and speak to public policy and tell our government to have a welcoming but thoughtful immigration policy and process. In the present situation, the church of Jesus Christ should be reaching out to these individuals on a personal basis of ministry and on a personal basis, particular ministry, in the lives of families that are undergoing this separation — we need to be there. We’re going to minister to people — that’s what we’re going to do.

IMMIGRATION LAWS ARE A MESS, BUT DO FAMILIES NEED TO SUFFER TO PROVE A POINT?

Now, do I believe you need to have a law and a process? Absolutely. Will we submit to it? Yes, but the church is going to do its job of ministering to people made in the image of God. We’re going to feed people, we’re going to clothe people, we’re going to share the Gospel with people and we’re going to love people.

We have to ask ourselves a question: Do we have to separate families? I am fully aware that there is a tactic that is being used by the traffickers of illegal immigrants that says that the previous administration had set up a process so that, if you show up on the border, you’re not at a port of entry but you claim asylum and if you have children, they will let you in, tell you to report on a monthly basis and then you can kind of blend in. It became known as a tactic so, “Bring your children.” And then also the tactic of make up families that actually weren’t families, but actually the kidnapping of children, to put with adults to say that they’re families in order to gain this tactic.

Then our present administration is saying we are trying to do this to show people how horrific our lack of a policy is. This is a tactic to try to stop people from bringing children and it’s a tactic to try to get the Congress to come up with a policy so we don’t do this anymore.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, to that end, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, said this: “Surely, it’s the beginning of the unraveling of democracy when the body who makes the laws, rather than changing them, asks the body who enforces the laws not to enforce the laws. That cannot be the answer,” she said.

DR. REEDER: And I agree with her on that. I also think that you can think through how to enforce the laws in the least unnecessarily punitive way for the well-being of the defenseless, which I see as the children in this situation.

CALL TO ACTION FOR LAWMAKERS TO ACT IMMEDIATELY AND WISELY

Finally, let me just say this, as a pastor, from a Christian world and life view, not only am I pleading with the lawmakers of this nation to bite the bullet politically and do what needs to be done to get a welcoming yet clear policy and process of immigration in place and a resolve to enforce that policy through its laws.

Not only am I pleading with you to do that, but right now I’m asking you to find something else to do rather than separating children from their parents. I understand there are a number of these families that aren’t true families, but they are true children. My heart just goes out to these children and something has to be done.

What I find interesting is looking at the people who are appealing to the Bible to “let the children come unto me,” who are the same people who are supporting policies to kill those children in the womb. When I see that contradiction, Tom, I am overwhelmed. I see a politician politically grandstanding, quoting the Bible — “Suffer the children to come unto me” — and, at the same time, promoting a policy to kill children in their most defenseless place, which is in the womb. I find it so hard not to say, as the current generation says, “Just blow up my head,” at that moment. That’s exactly what it feels like to me.

THIS IS A SANCTITY OF LIFE ISSUE, TOO

However, on the other hand, to those who hold to the sanctity of life of children in the womb, you’ve got to find a way to affirm the sanctity of life of those children. Those are real children. Yes, they may be pawns and, yes, they may be being used by adults — yes to all of that — but they are still children and they cannot be taken away from parents unless it is absolutely essential. If we can find another way to do it, we’ve got to find another way to do it and I appeal to you to find another way to do it. Even if it’s creating a bigger and better funded Ellis Island approach, you’ve got to find a way to do that. That would be my exhortation.

Therefore, to our politicians: grow up and fix this thing. Fix it so that we are a refuge nation yet we are a nation that is secure and properly managing its borders. Secondly, affirm the sanctity of the family, and the sanctity of life and the sanctity of these children and find a way to do that while you uphold the law.

COMING UP MONDAY: POLITICANS QUOTING SCRIPTURE FOR OWN PURPOSES BUT WHAT DID IT REALLY MEAN?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let’s take one of our upcoming programs and go back to something you mentioned towards the close and that is politicians using the Bible both on the left and on the right to further their agendas, which is something we haven’t seen in awhile.

DR. REEDER: Am I glad to hear our politicians and elected officials using the Bible? Absolutely. But how do you use the Bible and what was Jesus saying when he said, “Suffer the children to come unto me,” and what was Paul saying when he said to be submissive to the governing authorities?

Is that a blanket obedience of every law as the Nazi regime said when it quoted that passage or is it a thoughtful call to always being under a governing authority, yet that does not mean the acceptance of unjust law and there comes a time you must obey God rather than man? Let’s talk about that in our next program.

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, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

1 hour ago

Christmas with Can’t Miss Alabama has spectacular entertainment with ZooLight Safari and Galaxy of Lights

It’s that time of year to eat, drink and be merry.

ZooLight Safari

Christmas magic is at the 25th annual ZooLight Safari with seasonal songs and holiday classics. Celebrate with writing letters to Santa, crafts, ornament decorating, train and carousel rides and holiday games. Join in the fun Dec. 14-23 and Dec. 26-31 from 5-9 p.m. Admission is $10 and ride tickets are $3.50. Parking is free.

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Learn more at https://www.birminghamzoo.com/.

Holiday Spectacular 2018

Enjoy holiday songs at the Red Mountain Theatre Company (RMTC) through Sunday, Dec. 16. Conservatory students will perform at the Holiday Spectacular with local artists to warm your heart and set the stage for a magical season. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Free parking is available on the street in front of the theater and the Park Rite deck, or on the corner of Fourth Avenue North and 19th Street. Paid parking is available in front of the building on 19th Street.

The RMTC is at 301 19th St. N. in Birmingham.

Tickets are available at RMTC.

Christmas at the Falls

It is a wonderful time of the year at Noccalula Falls. Regular park activities are closed to accommodate nightly Christmas entertainment through Sunday, Dec. 30. Festive holiday lights with a visit from Santa will create a magical adventure for all. Admission is $15 and children 3 and under are free. The venue is at 1500 Noccalula Road, Gadsden, 35904.

Call 256-549-4663 or visit www.noccalulafallspark.com.

Galaxy of Lights

Drive through Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden through Monday, Dec. 31. The light display and other traditional holiday scenes will be enjoyable from the comfort of your car. Admission is $25 for up to 10 people. Information about vans, buses and discounts are found here.

For details, go to Driving Night FAQ.

The venue is the Huntsville Botanical Garden at 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.

Just Josh – A Chili Country Christmas

Grammy-award nominee Josh Goforth will be in concert at the annual Chili Country Christmas at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge Dec. 14-15. Goforth is a traditional musician and one of the finest fiddle, banjo and guitar players in the country. Audiences will stomp and clap to his fiddle with stories of his grandpa and life in Appalachia. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, throughout Europe and Japan and every state except Hawaii. Tickets are $20, which include the pre-show and chili supper.

Doors open at 6:20 p.m.

For tickets or more information, call 334-685-5524 or 334-670-6302.

Santa’s Underground Workshop at Rickwood Caverns

Santa’s Underground Workshop is underway through Sunday, Dec. 23 from 2-8 p.m. at Rickwood Caverns State Park. Visitors can experience the magic of the season, by viewing over 30,000 colored lights and holiday ornaments, as they walk 175 feet down into the cave. “We had a wonderful time last year with our first Santa’s Underground Workshop,” said Rickwood Caverns State Park Manager Amanda White. “We’re looking forward to sharing the amazing cave with our friends who are regular visitors, as well as those who may have never been here before. Admission is $10 per person, ages 4 and older. Groups of 20 or more can get tickets for $8 each.

For more information visit: https://www.alapark.com.

Lawson State Community Choir in concert

The Lawson State Community College (LSCC) Quartet Christmas Concert is Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. at the Birmingham Public Library downtown in the East Grand Reading Room. The performers include the LSCC Quartet, comprised of Kayla King, Heavyn Leigh Whiteside, Javaris Williams, and Jemanuel Pullom. The choir will perform popular Christmas songs and carols, such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Silent Night.” LSCC is led by Dr. Jillian Johnson.

For more details, call 205-226-3746 or visit www.bplonline.org.

2018 Governor’s Mansion Christmas in Montgomery

The Alabama Governor’s Mansion holiday tour is Monday, Dec. 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Visitors will view the holiday décor, listen to live choir performances and have access to Alabama-made goods in the gift shop.

Call 334-242-7100 to inquire about free tickets.

Enjoy an evening with ‘Dancing with the Stars’

“Dancing with the Stars: Live!” returns to Birmingham Tuesday, Dec. 18 featuring Bobby Bones.  Enjoy everything from ballroom to jazz to modern to hip-hop dance styles. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents “The Sound of Music” through Sunday, Dec. 30 as a part of its 2018-19 season. The production tells the beloved story of Maria, a young and spirited nun-turned-governess, and the Von Trapp family. The 1965 film adaption starring Julie Andrews won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Other adaptions have won Tony and Grammy awards.

For tickets, click here.

Ice Skating

Ice skating at Railroad Park continues through Sunday, Jan. 6. The 50-by-80-foot rink will open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.. Ticket prices include skate rental, tax and unlimited time on the ice. Children 12 and under are $10, adults are $12 and groups of 20 or more skate for $9 per person. Tickets are available online or at the rink. Tickets are valid for the entire day. Although skates are included in the ticket price, individuals are welcome to bring their own skates. The rink will be closed Christmas Day.

Visit www.railroadpark.org/iceskating for season passes.

For details, email info@railroadpark.org or call 205-521-9933.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 hours ago

On this day in Alabama history: Alabama admitted to the Union

December 14, 1819

Alabama became the 22nd state on Dec. 14, 1819, the only state added to the United States that year. The young United States acquired the British claims to all lands east of the Mississippi River, including present-day Alabama, as part of the treaty that ended the American Revolution. Alabama was originally part of the Mississippi Territory, which up until then was claimed by the colony of Georgia. Under pressure from white Southerners to see two slave states emerge, Congress created the Alabama Territory out of the eastern half of the Mississippi Territory on March 3, 1817. William Wyatt Bibb was named governor. The population grew rapidly, which led to petitions for statehood, which was granted two years later.

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Read More at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 hours ago

Ivey’s inaugural events to promote children’s literacy

In keeping with the theme “Keep Alabama Growing,” Governor Kay Ivey’s inaugural committee on Friday announced plans to promote children’s literacy throughout the January 2019 inaugural festivities.

“Investing in the next generation is critical to our ability to keep Alabama growing,” Ivey said in a press release. “As we prepare for four more years of growing opportunities for Alabamians, I can’t think of a better place to begin than with our children’s literacy, ensuring they get a strong start.”

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As part of this effort, the governor’s inaugural committee will be hosting book drives at the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration on January 12 and the Inaugural Gala in Montgomery on January 14. The books collected will be donated to the Alabama Literacy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in communities across the state.

Tickets to the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration are available to the general public here. The $25 ticket price will be waived for attendees who bring four children’s books to the celebration.

The Inaugural Gala in Montgomery is invitation only.

More details will be announced in the coming weeks and posted here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Ohio-based Gregory Industries set to invest $4.21 million in Decatur steel plant

Ohio-based galvanized steel company Gregory Industries plans to make a $4.21 million capital investment in a Decatur steel plant, according to Decatur Daily.

The investment will consist of the purchasing of 100,000 square feet of the Willo Products building and 13 adjacent acres at the site for a galvanized steel tubing plant.

Gregory Industries recently purchased Mid-Ohio Tubing. Once the Morgan County plant undergoes renovations and begins operations, it will carry the name Mid-Ohio Tubing.

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Company officials hope to have the plant open by June. The plan is to hire 20 employees at an average annual wage of $47,000 and add four more employees by the end of the third year.

According to Mike Rothacher, the Gregory vice president of corporate services, the company will hire a plant manager, maintenance workers, machine operators and general laborers.

The Industrial Development Board of Decatur approved $172,400 in state, city and Morgan County tax abatements for the company.

Morgan County Economic Development Association president and CEO Jeremy Nails connected with Gregory officials after Nucor found out the Ohio company was looking to expand by venturing into the south.

“We rely on existing industries to put us in contact with companies that they deal with,” Nails said. “We don’t have a lot of available buildings so we were fortunate that this building was available. It’s a win-win for Gregory and Willo.”

The Gregory plant will produce galvanized steel tubing that will be used in material called G-street metal framing. The plant will feature a tubing mill and a roll-forming mill.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

4 hours ago

Alabama House Speaker McCutcheon hospitalized with heart issue, expects to be released following treatment

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) announced on Friday that he has been hospitalized with a heart issue but expects to be released following treatment over the weekend.

“Deb and I appreciate the prayers of healing that so many have made on my behalf, and I am well on the road to recovery,” McCutcheon said in a press release.

“Tests indicated that I had a blocked blood vessel in my heart, which resulted in the fatigue and shortness of breath that I felt, and the issue will be treated with simple medication,” he explained.

While returning home from the legislative orientation session at the Alabama State House on Thursday, the speaker suffered mild chest pains and shortness of breath and was driven to an emergency room for examination.

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McCutcheon outlined that he first assumed he was suffering from a case of bronchitis, but an EKG indicated a heart issue, which blood tests later confirmed.

His physician recommended a heart catheterization, and those results showed a blood vessel that had closed but did not require a stent and could be treated with medication.

During his recovery, the speaker said he will continue working on House committee assignments and other legislative issues in preparation for the upcoming organizational and regular sessions of the Alabama Legislature. The organizational session begins on January 8.

During the 2014 legislative session, McCutcheon underwent heart bypass surgery and returned to work before the session ended.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn