Reeder: Australian same-sex marriage survey a ‘profile in cowardice’ not courage


 

 

 

 

 

 

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TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, let’s go Down Under. Australia World Magazine is reporting Australians have voted in favor of same-sex marriage in a postal survey that could lead to legal reforms before the end of the year.

Australia’s Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday of last week announced 61.6 percent of voters supported same-sex marriage while 38.4 percent voted against it. Nearly 80 percent of the more than 16 million registered voters cast ballots on the mail-in referendum.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on lawmakers to heed the overwhelming result and commit to passing a same-sex marriage bill by the end of next month.

Liberal senator, Dean Smith, on Wednesday introduced a bill, but conservative lawmakers are pushing to amend the bill to allow businesses the right to refuse services such as photography, wedding cakes, etc.

DR. REEDER: It’s interesting, the two contrastive points of leadership. One is the present prime minister, Turnbull, who was an advocate of same-sex marriage but, instead of introducing the policy, having it debated and then voted on, he decided to go the route of opening up this for a referendum.

It was billed as a, quote, “survey,” but he said, “Let’s do it in such a way that we can get a sense of what the people want.” The leadership of today’s progressives is pretty much, “Let’s influence the culture, get the drumbeat of the culture, put our finger in the wind to get the direction of the culture and then get on the trajectory in order to profit from the direction of the culture.”

Of course, great leaders do not ride the trajectory of the culture to where it’s going – great leaders will get engaged in the culture to lead it where it ought to go.

At least Prime Minister Turnbull should have come out and said, “I believe that thousands of years of Western civilization was dead wrong when it said, A.), sex belongs in marriage and, B.), marriage is one man and one woman for one life. That actually, all of those years, we were closet bigots so now we have come to this enlightened position in life where we can call something a marriage when, in reality, by definition, that’s a myth.”

By definition, a marriage is a covenantal, monogamous, heterosexual, conjugal relationship designed to encourage the procreation and nurture of the next generation providing both a father and a mother.

You can’t have good families without a solid definition and practice of marriage. By the way, we have a lot of broken families where people are heroically attempting to do the best that they can and churches and individuals and extended families surround them to assist them.

However, still, the ideal is to pursue that which God has created: to function in a family foundationally secured by a marriage between a man and a woman that then sets up a father and mother relationship that every child needs to develop physically, socially, mentally and spiritually in a healthy way.

At least Prime Minister Turnbull should say, “All of that was bigotry. We are now enlightened so that we now have a marriage where conjugal cannot take place and procreation cannot take place without medical and cosmetic machinations. So now that we have redefined everything, we are the enlightened ones.”

At least he should have come out and tried to make the irrational rational in his leadership. On the contrary, he went to a survey.

Now, why did he do that? He knew that all the resources from outside of Australia and it’s documented, the unbelievable resources that were poured into Australia with one basic message, “Don’t be on the wrong side of history.

Look at the European nations, look at the United States, look at all of these countries that have now approved the irrational act of declaring same-sex relationships can be fulfilled in a marriage and that marriage can be defined as a same-sex relationship.”

They did all of that, they knew the resources would come, they came in, and, sure enough, they focused in the right areas demographically. In the rural areas and in the religious areas, they didn’t do much because they knew they were going to lose that vote and they did, about 30 to 40 percent of Australia has some profession of a sober commitment to a religious world and life view and that showed up in the vote.

Now, you have the movement legislatively covered by the, quote/unquote, “survey,” and this is a profile in cowardice, not a profile in courage.

And, in contrast to that is a previous prime minister, whose name was Tony Abbott, who came out and said, “If you vote for this, be assured you have just destroyed two things in our country. One will be freedom of speech and the other will be freedom of religion.”

Not only will churches be coerced to engage in this – and they will use government pressure to make churches instruments of conspiracy to make the unthinkable thinkable and then doable – and that is same-sex marriage. But they will also then bring it to bear upon people attempting to live out their faith in their lives such as photographers and bakers, as we have seen here in America.

They will now have to participate in what they believe is evil and sinful, and that is the blasphemy of reconstructing marriage into a mythical definition of same-sex marriage. Now, the power of the state will be brought to bear.

Finally, let me say this, Tom: this is exactly what the trajectory of the Western civilization is. It’s on a trajectory of God’s judgment as blasphemy continues and the sanctity of life being destroyed in the culture of death, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of sexuality within marriage.

God is very clear about this. In the Book of Leviticus, Chapters 18 and 19, God says this to his people: “Do not become like the nations that surround you.” The pressure on Australia was, “The other nations have done it. Now you need to do it.” God said to his people, “Don’t become like the other nations and don’t engage in their sexual immorality and perversion.”

And He says this, “If you become like the other nations and men lie with men and women lie with women,” – and this is His language – “I will, like a feather tickles the throat, I will tickle the land to vomit you out.” And that is God’s promised judgment upon those who say, “We will be like the other nations and abandon the underpinnings of Christian ethics throughout the culture.”

If you look globally, you can see where this is happening: Europe, North America and now in Australia. Those are nations that, at one time, had been rescued from sexual barbarity and had been blessed with a Biblical ethic of family, marriage and sexuality and God had blessed those nations with stability and continued growth.

Now, these nations have returned to barbarity and why? Because of an impotent, illiterate, and apathetic church that no longer is salt and light. The very areas where you see the cultural demise of marriage and sexuality and family are the areas that it is documented the lack of impact of the church.

In opposition, take a look in Africa and take a look in South America. In those areas where the church is growing, and burgeoning, and staying on-mission and on-message and on-ministry, these movements have no foothold.

On the contrary, they refuse to embrace same-sex marriage. They refuse to undergird abortion in their cultures. It is no accident that Australia is going the way of the other nations and it is no accident that, in the church and the nations that are perverting marriage, sexuality, family and life, the church is impotent and illiterate.

Oh, dear Lord, please grant us a movement of the Gospel. Reclaim your people to vitality and send a message of life into the culture as we go and make disciples of all the nations.

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

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is 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.

Ledbetter: Alabama’s teachers are standing tall with return to classroom instruction

All of the personality traits, values and life lessons that we carry with us as adults were shaped and instilled in us by the people we encountered in childhood. For many, the strongest influences came from our schoolteachers, who opened new worlds of knowledge and taught us skills that remain with us today.

Consider for a moment the music teacher who taught you to play an instrument, the math teacher who led you to a love of numbers, the history teacher who brought to life the stories of our nation’s past, or the English teacher who inspired you to love great literature.

Teaching is one of the few professions whose impact continues to last for decades after the individual who does the job retires.

As many children across Alabama are preparing to return to school even while the coronavirus pandemic continues, teachers have never been more important or vital or deserving of our deepest appreciation.

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Returning to brick-and-mortar school instruction will, hopefully, restore a sense of normalcy to our children’s lives in these decidedly abnormal times.

A return to the classroom and even resuming the online instruction that some are adopting will also help our students maintain their education progress and continue the important social and emotional development that interaction with their peers and instructors allows.

Our English second language learners will receive the communication skills they need in order to better assimilate, and many low-income students will receive the healthy nourishment from the school lunch program that might be denied them at home.

Given the current circumstances and environment, I recognize that some of our public school employees may have a sense of trepidation about returning to school, and that is certainly understandable. Wearing a face mask to do something as simple as shopping for groceries, paying for gas or walking into a restaurant offers all of us a constant reminder that COVID-19 is a very contagious virus.

But our teachers and educators are setting their concerns aside and answering the call to duty.

I know that Gov. Kay Ivey, State Superintendent Eric Mackey and the staff of the Alabama Department of Education took great care in developing the “Roadmap to Reopening Alabama Schools,” and local school boards are being equally diligent in creating and implementing their own safety guidelines.

The importance of sanitization will be stressed more than ever before, and billions of dollars made available to Alabama through the federal CARES Act will help ensure that any resources that are needed to reopen schools safely will be readily available.

As the majority leader of the Alabama House, I can also offer assurances that the legislature stands ready to pass legislation or make appropriations that are necessary to ease the return to classroom instruction once we are in session.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an even deeper appreciation of the frontline heroes who have remained on the job and provided the most essential services throughout the crisis.

Doctors and nurses in our hospitals and health clinics; grocery store and other retail employees; law enforcement officers, emergency workers and firefighters; postal workers; sanitation workers; restaurant personnel; and those in dozens of other professions are among those who continued working even when times were their toughest.

I am proud to say that the teachers, school nurses, administrators and support personnel in Alabama’s schools also rank high upon the list of those who have stood tall, and their already invaluable service to our state is even more important to students and parents in each of our cities, towns and crossroads today.

Helen Keller, one of Alabama’s most inspirational figures, once said, “It was my teacher’s genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me.”

As I close by wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy school year, we would all do well to keep Helen Keller’s words in mind.

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) serves as majority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives

5 hours ago

Alabama Ag Commissioner Pate gives update on unsolicited seed packages from China, urges public to stay ‘vigilant’

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) Commissioner Rick Pate gave an update Monday afternoon on the spate of seed packets from China that people across Alabama have received in recent weeks despite never having ordered anything.

Pate said that after the state seed labs had performed tests on the packets they had collected from individuals across Alabama, and none of them proved to be dangerous.

“Right at 50% of them proved be some kind of weed flower … 41% were vegetables, and 9% were herbs … we found no noxious compounds, no dangerous compounds,” said Pate at the event.

However, he warned, “They might send out the first seeds that weren’t treated with anything, have a sense of security come about, and then later send something out that could be harmful.”

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The commissioner further urged members of the public to refrain from planting any unsolicited seeds and continue to report them to the Department.

“At the very least something criminal has gone on here,” stated Pate, referencing laws that prevent seeds from being moved across state lines without being inspected by the relevant agencies.

Pate said his department had collected 252 seed samples as of Monday morning.

A total of 385 individuals in all but 11 of Alabama’s 67 counties have received one of the packets, according to information relayed at the press conference. State workers will be collecting the remaining samples soon.

(AL. Dept. of Ag/Contributed)

“Because we’ve got such a good food and drug lab, because we’ve got such a good seed lab, we knew this was inside of our comfort zone,” Pate said of the decision to conduct the seed tests in-house as opposed to shipping them to the federal government.

Andy Tipton, division director of Food Safety and Ag Compliance, said that 25 states had reported similar seed packets showing up at consumers’ doorsteps. He added that the ADAI was turning over all relevant info to the FBI, who were monitoring the situation.

Pate further told Yellowhammer News that one of the prevailing theories remained that the cause was an internet seller running a scam to artificially inflate their customer numbers and create opportunities for fake reviews.

He ended his press conference saying, “We have no idea the reason for this happening, but it doesn’t mean we can stop being vigilant.”

Any Alabamian still receiving one of the packets can report it here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

6 hours ago

Alabama basketball star John Petty returning for senior season

University of Alabama star forward John Petty, Jr. will return for his senior season, the player announced on Monday.

The Huntsville native was a second-team All-SEC honoree this past season, after leading the Southeastern Conference in three-point percentage.

Petty was considering entering the 2020 NBA Draft, however he decided to return for a final season in Tuscaloosa after evaluating his prospects. Another college season could see Petty lock down his chance at being a first-round pick.

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Tide head coach Nate Oats released a statement on Monday afternoon celebrating Petty’s return.

“It’s great to have John back for his senior year,” Oats said. “He is certainly one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the country which is extremely important to us with how we play.”

“He’s made it clear that it’s his goal to become a first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and we’re going to work with him to make sure he’s in the best position to reach that goal. Let’s get to work!” the coach concluded.

Follow along with the Bama men’s basketball program here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

State of Alabama, University of Alabama System officials unveil GuideSafe app aiming to keep schools virus-free

Key figures from Alabama’s government and university systems joined to announced the new GuideSafe platform that bills itself as the key for students to safely return to college campuses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The GuideSafe platform will help the state fulfill its promise to test every single college student before they return to campus, and the platform will provide a space for ongoing health monitoring throughout the semester.

The unveiling took place over videoconference, where State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis “Fess” St. John and other key players detailed the importance of GuideSafe to the upcoming semester.

GuideSafe was developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and tech company MotionMobs. It will be provided to any educational institution in the state that wishes to use it.

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Governor Kay Ivey apportioned some of Alabama’s CARES Act funds for the development of GuideSafe and the universal free testing for college students.

St. John on Monday praised Ivey’s “decisive action to provide funding” for the testing initiative and other campus reopening measures.

(Click for higher resolution version that will open in new tab)

GuideSafe will be accessible via app on smartphones and tablets and via web browser on any computer. Students will be invited to join the platform in the coming weeks.

One of the key features of the GuideSafe app is that it will track the location of students via smartphone and then inform them if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This new app – using Google- and Apple-led technology and created by UAB faculty, staff and MotionMobs for the people of Alabama – is a necessary tool in our effort to return to college campuses safely this fall,” said UAB President Ray Watts.

The app also allows students and faculty to report symptoms as they experience them, and get directed to a nearby testing site if necessary.

“The combination of these tools enables every participating college, university and K-12 school to engage faculty, students and staff regarding on-going monitoring of symptoms, exposure and risks of acquiring COVID-19,” said Sue Feldman, professor and director of graduate programs in health informatics at UAB.

A general factsheet on GuideSafe is available here.

Watch:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

6 hours ago

Trump fires TVA board chair after outsourcing uproar

President Donald Trump on Monday announced that he was removing the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board chairman, Skip Thompson, an Alabamian.

Thompson, a resident of Decatur, is the president and CEO of Corporate Billing, a subsidiary of Birmingham-based National Bank of Commerce. He previously served as the president and CEO of both First American Bank in Decatur and First Commercial Bank in Huntsville, as well as serving on the board of Decatur Utilities.

Trump appointed Thompson to the TVA board in 2018. He was elected chairman of the board last year.

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The president on Monday cited TVA’s plan to outsource information technology jobs overseas as the reason for firing Thompson and one other board member. Trump warned the other board members that they would be next if the outsourcing continued. The president also called on them to replace the organization’s CEO, who Trump said was making far too much money.

The president added, “Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

The TVA is the electricity provider for much of North Alabama. Self-described as “a corporate agency of the United States,” it is regulated at the federal level and not under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) applauded Trump’s move on Monday.

“TVA fires AMERICANS & hires cheap foreign labor,” the North Alabama congressman tweeted. “TVA executive salaries EXORBITANT. TVA=NO competition, unlike private sector execs who compete to earn profits to earn pay… WAY TO GO [President Trump]!”

RELATED: Doug Jones: ‘The TVA has lost its way’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn