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.

59 mins ago

Birmingham’s new Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema is ready for its premiere

The new, permanent home of Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival will open its doors this weekend, just in time for this year’s event.

Chloe Cook, executive director of the Sidewalk Film Festival, said the 11,500 square-foot facility is not complete, but is far enough along to be used as a festival venue this weekend.

“After the festival we will go dark for a week,” Cook said. “Then we will have a soft opening Labor Day weekend before our grand opening September 13-15. We’re very excited.”

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Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema a dream come true from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The cinema, located in the basement of the Pizitz building on 2nd Avenue North, features two 89-seat theaters and an education room for special events. Outside of the festival week, it will function very much like a typical movie theater, operating seven days a week on a year-round basis, screening the latest independent feature films on one of two screens.

“We’re excited to have something slightly larger than a jewel-box movie theater, but not a huge multiplex-type facility where we can carefully curate the programming for our community,” Cook said. “When I took the job in 2009 I did not imagine this would come to fruition. I really think a lot of redevelopment in the north side of downtown Birmingham has happened around our annual festival and it continued happening to the point that we felt like the timing was right to pursue this project and fill that cultural void.”

Cook said the $4.9 million facility would not have happened without the generous support of a variety of contributors.

“We have been so fortunate to receive generous support from our corporate community, including Alabama Power (Foundation)Regions BankBlue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, as well as our foundation community,” Cook said. “We’ve seen support from the Hugh Kaul Foundation, The Stephens Foundation, The Daniel Foundation, but we’ve also seen a lot of individuals who are not people who could start a foundation but they can send in a check for $250 or $25. That’s been really rewarding.”

To learn more about the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema, visit MakeMovieMagic.com. To learn more about the Sidewalk Film Festival, visit SidewalkFest.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

SchoolFest sets the stage for Alabama children

The following is the latest installment of the Alabama Power Foundation’s annual report, highlighting the people and groups spreading good across Alabama with the foundation’s support.

 

Plato said art imitates life. Oscar Wilde said it was the other way around. It’s an argument that continues. However, one art form brings us face to face with the connection between art and life, perhaps better than any other: theater. It’s here people act out stories, hoping their audience forgets for a moment that it’s all make-believe. Were it not for the SchoolFest program of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF), many Alabama children might never be exposed to the magic of theater.

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Every year, 40,000 students attend SchoolFest in Montgomery. From the professional actors to the costume and set design, the productions are the same as those presented to other ASF audiences. Thanks to grants from the Alabama Power Foundation and others, ticket prices are discounted and many schools attend for free, exposing students from all walks of life to art.

For some, it’s an experience they’ll never forget. For others, like Emily Prim, it’s life-changing. Prim is assistant wardrobe supervisor at ASF. She remembers distinctly when the “theater bug” bit her. “I was in seventh grade at St. James School in Montgomery. We had a field trip to SchoolFest, where we saw ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ I remember it so well, because there was a Ferris wheel on stage that was the peach, and I thought that was so cool. I was sorta thinking about theater, because of shows we had done in school and stuff, but when I came to see ‘James’ here, it made me start thinking that this is something I could do after I graduate,” Prim said.

Prim’s experience is what ASF is all about. Executive Director Todd Schmidt put it this way: “It’s really a bedrock of our mission at ASF, which is to create communities through transformative theatrical experiences. It’s a lot of kids’ first introduction to theater. It’s important to do that, especially in this time of continued cuts in arts funding.”

Shakespeare Festival’s SchoolFest puts the arts at center stage for Alabama students from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Just in the past year, students have seen productions of “The Sound of Music,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Our Town,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.” The latter featured 24 students from Montgomery Public Schools in the cast. Schmidt chooses shows that are appropriate for audiences of all ages. SchoolFest builds many of these productions around school curricula.

“We put our programming out to schools, and then they select what they think is relevant to what they’re doing and what they want their kids to be exposed to,” Schmidt said.

What started decades ago as productions appropriate for students has continued to expand. In addition to SchoolFest, ASF offers educational programs. There are theater classes for adults and children, and summer theater camps for students. ASF has hosted a series of conversations that are tied – at least in part – to the shows. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell spoke alongside a cast member from “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.”

“These are not about our productions, but they focus on themes of the productions,” Schmidt said. “There’s one coming up that talks about women dealing with glass ceilings, working in fields normally dominated by men, which ties somewhat into the production of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and a new production, ‘Into the Breeches.’”

Lonny Harrison, director of theater at St. James School in Montgomery, has been bringing students to see productions at ASF for 21 years. “We have some students who, up to the point they’ve hit SchoolFest, have never seen a live production outside of a school play. This definitely helps get them more into the arts.

It seems like kids respond differently to every show, but whether it’s something that’s the most amazing thing to them, or something that makes them think more critically, it at least makes them think about it. When we left ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the other day, kids were saying, ‘Let’s do some Shakespeare!’ I had to tell them, ‘Small steps.’”

Harrison has a long history with SchoolFest. He saw stage productions at ASF when he was in school. His experience echoes that of many Alabamians. Were you to poll the state, you’d likely be amazed at the number of people of all ages who’ve shared the marvel of live performance in a theater at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

In Alabama, it’s a generational thing. When it comes to the art imitating life vs. life imitating art question, perhaps Shakespeare got it right when, in the second act of “As You Like It,” the character Jaques said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The parts being played by the men and women of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival are a rich and vital service to the people of our state. These are the people who transform our children, who show them a new and lively way to understand stories, and life – its comedies and tragedies. These are the “players” who expand the minds of our young people, and show them a world that lives within their own ability to imagine.

For more information on the Alabama Power Foundation and its annual report, visit here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 hours ago

Aderholt’s advice for Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate candidates: ‘Make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president’

Although it is still the early going of the 2020 U.S. Senate Republican primary election campaign, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) has some advice for the handful of candidates seeking the GOP nod.

When asked what he saw as important to him and his constituents in Alabama’s fourth congressional district, he said it was support for President Donald Trump.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump dominated Aderholt’s district by winning more than 80% of the vote and was the only district in the country to break the 80% threshold.

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“They’ve clearly got to make sure that they make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president,” Aderholt said. “I mean, this president has as much support of any since I have been in office. I have never seen a president that has the support this president has. He has, everywhere I go, people are very optimistic that they are very positive about what he is doing. And they’re optimistic about the future. So I would first of all — they need to let their constituents, future constituents that are voters, know that they’re someone who would stand with the president.”

“As someone who is in another branch of government, we always want to make sure we don’t do just exactly like the executive or the president wants to do regardless of who it is,” he continued. “The Founding Fathers wanted the different branches to be a watchdog on each other. But, as I have seen from this president, the things that he is doing is consistent with what the voters want and what has been good for America. I’m fully supportive of this president. I think they need to communicate they’re supporting the president. I think that is probably the biggest thing right now. Alabama is a very pro-life state, and I think they need to communicate that, which again is consistent with the president’s message.”

Aderholt also suggested the Senate candidates should be supportive of Trump’s efforts to renegotiate NAFTA.

“I am also getting the feedback that the Mexican-Canadian trade agreement that the president is trying to negotiate — to redo NAFTA, people are very supportive of that,” Aderholt added. “But again, the president has been very supportive of these issues. What the president is doing, I’m very supportive of. I don’t see any issue as far as supporting what the president’s issue is.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

6 hours ago

Georgia-based Colonial sues contractor over Alabama spill

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Co. has sued an Alabama contractor over a spill that threatened gasoline supplies along the East Coast three years ago.

The pipeline operator contends faulty work by the Birmingham-based Ceco Pipeline Services caused a crack that spilled at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline in rural Shelby County in September 2016.

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The spill shut down a major pipeline for weeks, tightening gasoline supplies along the Eastern Seaboard.

The pipeline carries fuel from Houston to metropolitan New York.

With headquarters near Atlanta in Alpharetta, Colonial Pipeline filed the federal lawsuit Friday seeking an unspecified amount of money.

Ceco Pipeline Services has not filed a response in court, and general manager Luke Hotze declined comment Monday, citing the lawsuit.

Hired to replace coatings that protect the pipeline’s exterior, the contractor failed to adequately replace dirt around the pipeline after maintenance work, the suit said.

The failure left a void beneath the pipe, which bent as it sagged.

The bend caused cracks that led to the breach, according to the suit.

The failure cost Colonial Pipeline lost income, plus money spent on repairs and cleanup, the lawsuit said without specifying an amount.

The lawsuit said Colonial Pipeline transports an average of 100 million gallons (378 million liters) of refined petroleum products daily through a system that includes more than 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of pipeline.
(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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‘School choice’ also means ‘tax choice’ in Alabama

It’s back-to-school season and for some parents, this is a happy time.

But for those whose children are stuck in underperforming schools, or schools where they are bullied or are in danger, this is a heartbreaking time, especially if they cannot afford to move or go to private school.

“There was fighting every day. People wanted to shoot me, kill me, and everything,” said Calvin Coleman in a speech about his experiences at his Mobile public high school.

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Did you know that you, or your company, can help students like Calvin by donating a portion of what you already owe in state income taxes to a program that funds scholarships for low-income families in Alabama?

“When my son Carlos was in the fifth grade, he was constantly bullied and I wanted to desperately put him into a private school,” wrote Nyenya Webster of Montgomery in Alabama Daily News. Every day was a struggle, she added. “I was at a loss as to what to do to help my son.”

Then Webster learned about the tax-credit scholarship program created in 2013 by the Alabama Accountability Act that serves roughly 4,000 low-income, mostly minority Alabama students.

She applied, and Carlos received a scholarship to attend Success Unlimited Academy in Montgomery.

“Success Unlimited has been a lifesaver for my son,” Webster wrote. “He … is now considering college. My son never talked about going to college before Success.”

For those who want to help other Alabama families break the cycle of poverty through education, it’s a no-brainer.

“For a donor, it doesn’t cost them anything,” said Warren Callaway, executive director of Scholarships For Kids, one of the scholarship granting organizations funded by the program.

That’s because a tax credit is different from a charitable contribution. When you make a charitable contribution to a non-profit organization, you deduct a portion of that on your income tax. However, a tax credit allows you to take a dollar for dollar reduction in your state income tax.

“Basically, donors are redirecting some of their state income tax liability to a [scholarship granting organization],” Callaway said. “So, if you give $100 to us, you can reduce your state income tax by $100.”

Who benefits from the donation?

“The average household income for these students is under $30,000 so these are families that would have no other way of choosing the school that is best for their child,” said Ryan Cantrell, director of state strategy and political affairs for the American Federation for Children, during an interview of the 1819 podcast.

Higher-income families have always had school choice, Cantrell said, but “it’s the low-income families who get stuck with no options in under-performing schools or schools that don’t work for their child.”

There are $30 million in tax credits available and, so far, only about a third have been claimed, according to the Department of Revenue’s My Alabama Taxes website.

Here’s how you can reserve your tax credit before the December 31, 2019, deadline:

Step 1: Estimate how much income tax you or your business will owe Alabama next year by checking how much you paid last year. Individuals and corporations can donate up to 50 percent of their tax bill, and while individuals are limited to $50,000, corporations are unlimited.

Step 2: Visit the My Alabama Taxes website and follow instructions for reserving an Alabama Accountability Act tax credit.

Step 3: Send a check to one of the seven scholarship granting organizations in Alabama within 30 days.

Step 4: When you do your taxes next year, fill out an Alabama Department of Revenue Schedule AATC form to reduce your income tax bill by the amount you donated.

For more help, individuals may call the Alabama Department of Revenue at 334-353-0602 or 334-353-9770, and corporations may call 334-242-1200.

You’re already going to have to write a check for your state income taxes. Why not control where some of that money goes, especially when it has the power to change lives?

“It was a relief that nobody would understand,” said mother-of-five Alleane West in an Alabama Opportunity Scholarship video about the program’s impact on her family. “You know, you’re a single mom with boys trying to not make them a statistic.”

Watch:

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is a senior fellow at the Alabama Policy Institute. Connect with her at rachel@alabamapolicy.org or on Instagram @RachelBlackmonBryars.