College class gets it terribly wrong. Christians aren’t privileged — Christianity produces privileges for everyone


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NEW CLASS ON CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE GETS IT ALL WRONG

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, just four days after Easter, George Washington University decided they would host a training session for students and faculty that teaches “Christian privilege” — that Christians receive unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across the country.  

DR. REEDER: It seems a premise that, in this country, Christians enjoy a privileged status and benefits simply by being Christian. Here’s what I think, actually, the workshop ought to be focused on: privileges produced by Christianity for everyone.
In this workshop, one of the principles was the founding fathers were all Christians, weren’t they? And, of course, the answer is no. The point isn’t whether all the founding father were Christians, but the point is did the Christian world and life view affect what they produced as founding fathers?

CHRISTIANITY LED TO FAIRNESS AND WISDOM OF CONSTITUTION

Go look at the Declaration of Independence. What is the dominant worldview that is being expressed in terms of the rights of liberty that were unalienable by those that God gave, not the government. The Constitution, Lex Rex, that was a Christian world and life view. The true king of a nation should not be any individual or any individuals — so no to oligarchies, no to monarchies and no to democracy and yes to a representative government that’s: the king is the law and that the law is the king.

The Bill of Rights, in which the free practice of religion and note the nation could not pick and choose winners since everyone had the inalienable right for the free practice of religion, the government’s job was not to pick the religion, but Christianity had influenced the formation of a government that simply defended the rights to the rights to the free practice of religion.

Christian privilege? Then why would the Christian president, first president, write a letter to a Jewish synagogue that is framed to this day and hangs in that synagogue, in response to their question would this nation — clearly Christian influence, the Jewish congregations saw the influence of Christianity — so they asked the question: Would they be allowed and free to worship within this nation? George Washington, in reference to our founding documents, said yes. Then he corrected them, “You won’t be tolerated. Your right to worship is affirmed.”

Therefore, are there Christian privileges? Yes, if what you understand is not a nation that had a document designed to privilege Christians, but a nation that had documents — founding documents from founding fathers — influenced by a Christian world and life view that produced privileges for citizens of this country, no matter who they are, that were untold in other nations.

OUR HISTORY IS RICH WITH CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE THAT HAS FLOURISHED

Clearly, the festering boil was the inability and/or refusal of the founding fathers to address the evils of chattel slavery although, when you read the founding fathers, they were convinced by what they had established that slavery could not last within this nation. They were pretty sure the founding documents would sound the death knell.

Look at how Abraham Lincoln quoted the founding documents and the founding fathers to oppose slavery. Two of my great heroes, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, continually quoted from the Constitution as well as Biblical principles.

We have just commemorated the horrific death of Martin Luther King by assassination in Memphis 50 years ago. He not only quoted Scripture, but note how often he confronted the injustice of Jim Crow laws from the quotes of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as he would confront those unjust laws in a very powerful manner of debate and protest, claiming the rights of protest that had been built into the Bill of Rights by Christian forefathers and the equality of all citizens and that would include no partiality for racial or ethnic background that everyone was to enjoy those rights as citizens.

Therefore, yes, if you want to have a workshop that says Christianity has produced a nation with an imperfect track record but extraordinary privileges for all of its citizens that have never been known in other nations, I would attend that workshop but, obviously, the point of this workshop is that we have a nation in which Christians are privileged.

CHRISTIANS HAVE LESS PRIVILEGE AS THEY ARE LITIGATED

Well, that would be my second analysis, Tom. You have a hard time selling that premise to some Christian bakers and Christian photographers who are now being told that they are to use their skills and their gifts to support sexual practices that are sinful and destructive in which they cannot, in obedience to the Lord and free practice of religion, support. Talk to Christian counselors who, right now, labor in states that tell them your Christian counseling that identifies sexual promiscuity and sexual perversion as sins from which people can be forgiven through Gospel counseling and set free from Gospel transformation — now they’re in a nation that tells them they cannot give Christian counseling for issues such as sexual anarchy, sexual sins and sexual chaos.

I would suggest the right premise of the class should be what are the extraordinary privileges that the influence of Christianity have brought for all the citizens of this nation, even as you make an honest assessment of the imperfect protection of all of the citizens of this nation that should have been protected under our founding documents by our founding fathers who were influenced by a Christian world and life view?

IS THIS JUST A TACTIC TO DENY CHRISTIANS RIGHTS?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Are they truly thinking that there’s Christian privilege or is this merely a cover because Christians are being targeted?

DR REEDER: Right. This is justifying the targeting. The way that you get rid of Christian privilege is to target Christians and to not simply remove their privilege, but to remove their inalienable rights to practice their God-given rights that should be protected.

Tom, it’s abundantly clear that, in the undaunted and relentless sexual revolution, there is one religion that cannot be tolerated and that is Christianity. Every time you find a Christian speaking to those issues — of course, you and I experience it on a daily and regular basis with this program — there will be profanity, there’ll be name-calling, there’ll be an attempt of shaming one’s Christian ethics.

What we need to do in our generation is to continue to labor for the privileges that everyone can be blessed by and with when a Christian world and life view is applied to public policy. That is something that we labor for and long for. And I think we have to understand that workshops like this are really designed to marginalize Christianity and to silence Christianity within the culture.

And to, finally, this particular workshop grows right out of the textbook of the tactics of Cultural Marxism: you try to create a fractious society, various types of class warfare — whether it’s economic, racial, or religious — in order to elevate the power of the state over its citizens, thereby removing their rights and a limited government which is supposed to protect those rights into a government that will choose to give rights to any group it wants to and, thus, the cultural elite can then control society to the secular progressive sexual revolution anticipated utopian worldwide movement.

SAME TIRED PLAYBOOK, SAME SOLUTION IN CHRIST

But, Tom, there’s nothing new here. Whether it was Assyria or Babylon or Mato-Persian or Egypt or Greece or Roman or Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, there have always been these attempts at various types of empires. Right now, the attempt is based in an ideology that uses governments in order to control people.

What we just need to do is to keep giving ourselves to that glorious, unstoppable and ultimately triumphant movement of the kingdom of God with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we win men and women to a personal relationship with Christ and disciple them so that they not only think with the mind of Christ, but they live with courage and compassion out of a heart for Christ and a life that is like Christ, who would speak the truth in love.

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.

13 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

17 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

18 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

21 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

sylacauga marble

Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

22 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.