Subscription Preferences:

Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh responds to Alabama lieutenant governor candidate questionnaire

Twinkle Cavanaugh, president of the Alabama Public Service Commission and a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor, recently responded to the questionnaire prepared by the Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer News. Her answers are below.

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND PRINCIPLES

Question: What is your political philosophy and, if elected, how would it shape the way you lead as lieutenant governor?

Cavanaugh: Since casting my first vote for Ronald Reagan in 1984, I’ve embraced the conservative principles of smaller government and fiscal responsibility. As a born-again Christian, I believe that elected officials are called to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.  There is no higher calling in public service than keeping a careful watch over every single cent sent to the government.  I want all state agencies to follow the example we set at the Public Service Commission by examining their budgets line by line and eliminating wasteful spending.

Since last January, I have traveled well over 50,000 miles on my personal vehicle while meeting, speaking with, and listening to thousands of Alabamians. I strongly believe that Alabama’s brightest days are ahead and am firmly committed to bringing this positive vision to fruition.

How have you demonstrated your commitment to your political philosophy?

I brought my conservative principles to the PSC where I led by example, cutting staff by 38% without firing anyone, reducing the number of state cars by 59%, turning down a state car for myself, and shrinking my personal office space by 2/3. Over the past 7 years, I have “rightsized” the PSC and reduced overall spending by 30%. This has saved the taxpayers over $50 million and will continue to save our state over $10 million annually. In 2017 alone, the PSC returned a record $13 million to the general fund.

No one knows the true magnitude of wasteful spending across state government right now.  As Lieutenant Governor, I will make it my mission to give the people of Alabama a full accounting of all state agencies.  Once we know where we stand, we can go in and rightsize like we did at the PSC.  We have critical challenges facing our state, and we must ensure we are spending all tax dollars properly.

What should be the role of the lieutenant governor?

I understand the role of the Lieutenant Governor in helping move our state forward.  Besides calling the balls and strikes in the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor’s job is much like being a second-string quarterback.  I am committed to helping the leadership triangle of the Governor, Senate President Pro Tem, and Speaker of the House succeed.  We need someone that will work with these leaders to advance a conservative, pro-jobs agenda.  Whether it is going on a 67-county tour to speak in support of the conservative agenda or assisting the governor with industrial recruitment, I will help the team move our great state forward.

What is the most challenging social issue facing families in Alabama? Does government have a role in helping to solve that problem, and if so, what would you propose?

Abortion is the most heinous social problem of our time. I am staunchly pro-life and strongly believe that abortion is murder. I went door-to-door campaigning for President Trump because I knew that the balance of the Supreme Court and the lower appellate courts was at stake. By defeating Hillary Clinton and ensuring conservative, pro-life judges are appointed, we are close to Roe v. Wade being a thing of the past. We, as conservatives, must continue to proudly fight for the unborn, from grassroots activism all the way to public policy changes. I support legislative and executive actions that reduce and ultimately end abortion; we must continue to think outside of the box to save lives.

I am proud to have the endorsement of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List and view it as a moral duty to stand up for my pro-life values at every opportunity.

ETHICS

According to the Center for Public Integrity, Alabama receives a D+ grade for integrity. When the state is in the national news, it is often because of a lack of ethical behavior by state officials or candidates. How would having you as Lieutenant Governor improve our state’s image nationally and, more generally, what suggestions do you have to ensure integrity throughout the state government?

First, Governor Ivey should be applauded for steadying the ship of state and making us proud of our leadership team once again. I want to help continue the charge to restore Alabama’s image and rebuild trust in state government. We live in a state brimming with potential, full of smart, hardworking, God-fearing people; and there isn’t anything we can’t do when we put our minds to it. But people are tired of the surprises and embarrassments from politicians who say one thing and then do another. We deserve leaders who don’t just talk the talk- we need leaders who prove themselves through their actions.

I have led by example at the PSC, where we passed the strongest ethics package in commission history right after I was first elected (before the state legislature took up ethics changes). Public servants are elected to serve, not be served. That’s the philosophy I have followed and will continue to follow. Ultimately, it is hard to fully legislate ethics; you need to have trust in the elected person’s intentions. I still remember what my dad told me when I was first elected: “Twinkle, you’ve always paid your own way. You buy your own breakfast and your own supper. You pay for your own car and expenses. Don’t let being elected change anything about you or how you live your life.” I’ve taken that to heart, and to this day, I don’t accept anything from anyone except publicly disclosed campaign contributions- not even a cup of coffee.

Strong ethical leaders are also key for economic growth. Businesses need integrity, predictability, and certainty to succeed, not instability.

As Lieutenant Governor, you will be responsible for appointing more than 400 people to state positions. How can Alabamians be sure that you will appoint qualified and experienced candidates and not simply supporters from current or previous electoral campaigns?

Through my experience serving as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, along with my time spent fighting in the trenches for conservative causes, I have developed relationships in all 67 counties. It is important that the next Lieutenant Governor have statewide networks to lean on when vetting and ultimately selecting people for these hundreds of important boards and commissions. We have a big state, full of knowledgeable stakeholders. Our leaders have a responsibility to pick candidates who will help move our state forward, and I am committed to utilizing my background in small business and public service to accomplish this.

EDUCATION

PUBLIC EDUCATION

Alabama is ranked number forty-seven on U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best States for Education, and ranked number 1 in Pre-Kindergarten quality. As far as public education reforms, there have been many suggestions for improvement including increased investment in STEM education, distance learning, and reforming teacher tenure. What reforms would you propose or support to improve public education and prepare Alabama’s children for school success and lifelong learning?

We’ve made progress in some areas, but there’s so much more to do when it comes to education. We aren’t just competing against other states anymore.  We must continue investing in pre-K and early elementary education while at the same time giving our children a strong finish.

By 2020, 62% of available jobs in Alabama will require some type of post-secondary education.  I like to call this the “13thgrade.”  Whether it is a certificate, credential, 2-year college degree, or a 4-year degree, our children will need to compete for quality, high-paying jobs.  Right now, only 37% of our workforce meets this criterion.  This is nowhere near good enough, so focusing on a strong finish to our children’s education is much-needed for not only our families but Alabama’s economy, too.

For some of our students, that means a college degree from one of our world-class colleges or universities, but for many, it means getting a technical certification or job training. Workforce development programs, technical schools, public-private partnerships, and dual enrollment programs with local community colleges will prepare our children for good, high-paying jobs and make Alabama an attractive place to start or grow a business. The bottom line is that each child should be equipped for and allowed to choose his or her own path to success.

EDUCATIONAL CHOICE

In 2015, Alabama became the 43rd state to approve legislation to authorize charter schools. Many states now allow parents to transfer their child from a failing public school to a non-failing public school, to utilize education savings accounts or school vouchers, or to send students to alternative schools using tax-credit scholarships, allowing parents greater control in their child’s educational endeavors. How should educational choice fit into Alabama’s education system?

For far too long, Alabama has ranked nearly last in the country in education.  Our children are our most valuable resources, and they deserve nothing less than the absolute best.  As a former teacher, I know that it is well past time that we turn things around and compete for number one instead of settling for forty-seventh.  We need an educational renaissance in our state, and every option at our disposal should be utilized- including school choice.  We need to ensure that our public education system is top-notch. Public education must be properly funded, including treating and paying our teachers as the true professionals they are. However, when an area’s public school is failing the community and its students, we cannot let a generation of children suffer. School choice is a vital safety net- an oasis in the system in which at-risk students can excel. The competition that charter, private, parochial, and vocational schools provide is also useful in pushing public schools to higher standards.

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

TAX CODE

In Alabama, the bottom 20% of earners pay 10% of their income in state and local taxes while the top 1% only pays 3.8% of their income in the same taxes. If elected, what would you propose be the future of the state income tax and do you see this disparity as a problem?

My background in public service informs my core belief that government should do the best job with the least amount of money. Having owned a small business, I have signed both sides of a paycheck and understand that Alabamians already send enough of their hard-earned money to Montgomery.  I served as the State Director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, helping to push President George W. Bush’s tax cuts through Congress. Alabama families can, and deserve to, spend their own money better than Montgomery can.

I’m also proud of my work over the last seven years at the PSC in helping to keep taxes low. I work with great commissioners and employees who are as dedicated as any public servants and employees I’ve ever known.  I’ve asked a lot of them as we’ve trimmed the fat in our budget and slashed expenses by 32% – or $3.2 million annually. Every dollar we save at the PSC allows the state legislature to appropriate those dollars to other areas of need, like infrastructure, education, mental health, and law enforcement.  As a result, our savings at the PSC help keep taxes and fees as low as possible in Alabama.

STATE AND LOCAL TAXES

According to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, Alabama boasts the 12th most regressive state and local tax system in the nation. One contributor to this ranking is our combined 9% grocery tax (only four states tax groceries more than Alabama). In 2017, Governor Bentley proposed decreasing the grocery tax by 4%. If you are elected, would you suggest changes to the grocery tax?

I’ve said it before, but I cannot stress enough how much President Trump’s tax cuts are helping our state.  This is one of the core reasons why I went door-to-door campaigning for him. Recently, these massive tax cuts allowed us at the PSC to return $337 million back to Alabama Power ratepayers over the next two years alone. I will support tax cuts whenever possible. The more money back in the pockets of hardworking Alabamians, the better.

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT

US News ranks Alabama’s roads and bridges as the 16th and 21st best in the country, respectively. Even so, every neighbor of ours—except Mississippi – has roads and bridges that rank in the top 10. Alabama also ranks 45th in terms of broadband access. If elected, what would you prioritize as the most important infrastructure investment projects, and what innovative options would you propose to fund such projects?  

Infrastructure is the backbone of commerce.  So many of our roads and river ways need work.  And it is our duty to provide job creators with high speed connectivity, low-cost electricity, and a dependable network of roads, bridges, and waterways, so they can thrive and create new jobs.

When I grabbed the reins of the PSC, we had 119 employees. I undertook a careful analysis and learned we could do the same job, probably better than ever before, if we sharpened our staff and reduced the headcount. Without firing a single employee, the PSC now has 72 employees, down more than 39% from when I got there. As employees retired or took other positions outside of the commission, we reorganized, retrained, reduced our numbers, and remained laser focused on making sure the commission continued its inspections and regulatory functions without missing a beat. We are saving $10 million annually because of the rightsizing we’ve done at the commission, without sacrificing our pipeline and railway safety duties.  Imagine the money we can save throughout state government if all agencies did the same thing- there is untold money being wasted every year that should be going to much needed priorities like infrastructure. Until we do a full accounting throughout state government, we will not know how much money we have in Montgomery to invest in infrastructure.

STATE-RUN LOTTERY

Most states resort to installing a state-run lottery to increase revenue and pay for government projects. Do you support a lottery to solve the state’s fiscal woes? Why or why not?

As Lieutenant Governor, I believe that my role in the State Senate is to be the “umpire” calling the balls and strikes. People across Alabama elect their legislators to represent them in the House and the Senate, and their voices deserve to be heard fairly and fully on all issues.  If the legislature votes to send a lottery bill to the people as a constitutional amendment, it will be the people of Alabama who get the final say.

FEDERAL DEPENDENCY

Alabama is currently the fourth most federally dependent state in the country. What do you think should be the federal government’s role in our state finances?

Federal funding is extremely important to our state, but we cannot allow ourselves to be tied into knots by the strings often attached to these funds.  I believe that we need to take full advantage of the Trump Administration’s conservative policies, including any matching money that could soon become available for infrastructure. It is our tax dollars that help fund the federal government, so we need to do everything possible to bring this money back to Alabama from D.C.

THE RIGHT TO WORK

JOB CREATION

The Census Bureau suggests that Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee are creating more jobs than Alabama. As lieutenant governor, how would you foster job creation that rivals our neighbors to the north, east, and south?

As your Lieutenant Governor, I will make job creation my number one priority and do everything I can to create an environment where small businesses, farmers, and large corporations can grow and thrive, so that everyone can get a quality, high-paying job of their choice.

By focusing on these five pillars of growth, we will grow our economy and build a brighter future for Alabama families.

First, we need honest, capable leadership in government.  Businesses need integrity, predictability, and certainty to succeed, not instability.

Second, we need to fix Alabama’s infrastructure.  Infrastructure is the backbone of commerce.  So many of our roads and river ways need work.  And it is our duty to provide job creators with high speed connectivity, low-cost electricity, and a dependable network of roads, bridges, and waterways, so they can thrive and create new jobs.

Third, Alabama must offer high-quality, affordable healthcare.  We do this by fully repealing Obamacare, eliminating waste and fraud, and putting doctors and patients in charge, not bureaucrats.  We must end healthcare mandates and continue to push back on federal over-reach, because Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t tell a doctor in Clarke County how to do his or her job.

Fourth, we need regulatory reform.  Government doesn’t create jobs, businesses do. So, government needs to get “out of the way” and let job creators do what they do best.  Government needs to start moving at the speed of business and end burdensome regulations.

Finally, we must fix our education system.  We’ve made progress, but there’s so much more to do. We aren’t just competing against other states anymore, we are part of a modern economy.  We must invest in pre-K and early elementary education while at the same time giving our children a strong finish.  Workforce development is absolutely key to economic development.

ROLE OF LABOR

Alabama is a right-to-work state. In your opinion, what is the proper role of organized labor and should Alabama remain a right-to-work state?

Simply put, I want Alabama to be the most business-friendly and worker-friendly state in America. We currently have tremendous working relationships between organized labor and business management, and we need to keep it that way.

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING IN ALABAMA

The state of Alabama licenses 151 different occupations and over 20% of Alabama workers need a license to work. If elected, how would address these regulations—regulations that both the Obama and Trump administrations have regarded as problematic?

We need a one-by-one audit of all occupational licenses in our state. Frivolous regulation hinders job creation and economic growth, holding our state back. President Trump understands this, and that’s why our national economy is booming.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

OPIOID EPIDEMIC

According to the CDC, Alabama is the state highest-prescribed with opioids, with more prescriptions than people. Opioids are the main driver of overdose deaths and, in 2016, 756 Alabamians died from drug overdoses. As lieutenant governor, how would you help the governor tackle Alabama’s share of this national crisis?

The Lieutenant Governor should work with the Governor and the Attorney General at every turn to help end this devastating epidemic. We have seen constructive initial steps with informed stakeholders putting their heads together on the Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council. Now, we must keep pushing and change the culture in our state regarding opioids. I will support the Council’s efforts in every way possible as Lieutenant Governor.

CRIME PREVENTION

Alabama has the third highest murder rate in the country. As lieutenant governor, how would you address crime and what policies, specifically, would you propose? 

I strongly oppose sanctuary cities and illegal immigration and support securing our border- including President Trump’s Wall. As a mom and a grandmother, safety is at the top of my priority list. Our children and grandchildren deserve the best, and safety must come first. We need to hold dangerous criminals responsible to the fullest extent of the law, and rehabilitate non-violent offenders who can become productive citizens instead of a drain on our tax money.

print

2 hours ago

The racist history of gun control

Frequently we see the case against gun control entirely grounded upon a Constitutional defense of the Second Amendment. While the Founding Fathers’ warnings about the importance of defending liberty with an armed populace are as important today as they have ever been, this approach has some flaws.

For one, the Constitution was not meant to grant positive rights to citizens but rather was intended to recognize the natural rights and restrict the ability of the federal government to limit them. The Founding Fathers did not believe that these rights could not be limited, however. Instead, they saw that legislation that restricted one’s natural rights should be handled by governments closer to the people themselves, including states and localities.

699

This is why the Bill of Rights was not intended to apply to state government.

Though many state constitutions shared similarities with the Bill of Rights, by 1820 only 9 of 22 states had language explicitly protecting the right to bear arms: Massachusetts (1780), Pennsylvania (1790), Kentucky (1792), Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1801), Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Connecticut (1818), Alabama (1819), and Maine (1819). (The number was 18 of 33 by 1886.)

Of course that lack of state constitutional protection did not mean that states were necessarily hostile to gun rights – at least, for white citizens.

The same could not be said for “Indians,” “Free Negroes,” “Mulattos” and certainly not slaves.1

Prior to the passing of the 14th Amendment, eight states2​ had gun control legislation that criminalized the possession of fire arms by non-white free citizens. Virginia required such individuals to receive government permission. Three additional states3​ had constitutional language that specified that gun rights were reserved exclusively for white men.4

In order to maintain the horrific institution of slavery, the state had to disarm those most likely to empathize with its victims.

While the “peculiar institution” was ended as a result of the Civil War, racially motivated gun control laws were not.

While the 14th Amendment prevented states from explicitly mentioning race in legislation, state governments still managed to find ways to disarm black citizens.

As David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee have noted, these included laws that banned pistols that were not used by former Confederate officers, severe racial discrepancies in the penalty for unlawfully concealed carrying, as well as gun licensing requirements  that, in the words of a future Florida Supreme Court Justice, were “passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers” and “was never intended to apply to the white population.”

The racial motivation behind gun control did not end in the 19th Century either.

One of the most obvious examples was California’s Mulford Act, signed in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The law was a direct response to the Black Panthers’ open-carry patrols of Oakland neighborhoods, and banned the carrying of loaded weapons. It is also worth noting that the NRA, who for all the attention given to them by the media has often promoted the growth of government restrictions on gun rights, actively supported the legislation.

Of course, the outcome of gun control policies continues to have a disproportionate effect on minority communities. Every government hurdle placed on legal gun ownership renders citizens more dependent upon the state for their own protection. As we have seen, not all police response is equal.

For example, in Chicago the ACLU has found that:

African American and Latino neighborhoods wait much longer for a police officer to be dispatched after an emergency 911 call, have fewer officers assigned to minority districts for each emergency call than predominantly white neighborhoods and that minority neighborhoods continue to have more violent crimes per officer than white neighborhoods.

Justice Clarence Thomas also noted the unique experience of black Americans in his opinion on McDonald v. Chicago.

The use of firearms for self-defense was often the only way black citizens could protect themselves from mob violence. As Eli Cooper, one target of such violence, is said to have explained, “ ‘[t]he Negro has been run over for fifty years, but it must stop now, and pistols and shotguns are the only weapons to stop a mob.’ ”

So while it is easy for well-protected politicians, celebrities, and billionaires to champion the cause of gun control, it’s important to remember that the history of such legislation has come at the expense of those most vulnerable in society.

An unarmed populace is always easier to victimize than an armed one.

1. As Chris Calton informs me “the first colonial statute that specifically targeted black people (not just slaves, not Indians, and not white servants) was a Virginia law prohibiting gun ownership for blacks in 1639. ”
2. Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, and North Carolina
3. Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee
4. Frassetto, Mark, Firearms and Weapons Legislation up to the Early 20th Century (January 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2200991 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2200991

(Courtesy of Mises Institute in Auburn)

Conservatives must not leave the culture war battle to ‘summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots’

There are certain fundamental truths in life that neither the liberal elite nor the left-wing media nor the activists federal courts can change no matter how hard they try.

For example, I know that marriage ordained by God can only occur between a man and a woman. I know that individuals should use the rest room correlating to the gender they were born with and not the one they pretend to be. And I know that tearing down all of the historic statues, memorials, and markers in the world will not erase our history – it simply prevents future generations from learning the lessons it offers.

The fact of the matter is that our nation is engaged in a prolonged culture war in which the liberals extremists on the east and west coasts of the United States want to dictate the morals, values, and bedrock beliefs of everyone who lives in-between.

605

We must not let them win.

The Declaration of Independence says that our rights are endowed by our Creator and that the freedom for independence is entitled by the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”

I believe the Creator referenced in this revered document is the God to whom we, as Christians, devote our lives and spirits and the same God the founders worshipped when they held regular prayer and church services in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber, a practice that continued until after the Civil War.

If you agree, as the founders did, that God is the basis of our nation, we need only to look at Genesis to see His original plan for marriage – one man represented by Adam, and one woman represented by Eve.

Marriage is an institution created and ordained by God. It was not created by man, government, or an activist federal judge.

Every society that has allowed the marriage covenant to be destroyed eventually withered away and vanished. Our society is slipping away, and it is time to take a stand.

We must also hold the line against those who are working to mainstream crossdressers and transvestites by making accommodations that include allowing them to use the public restrooms of their choice. Even worse, some school systems across the nation are allowing minors who claim to be “transgender” to shower in facilities reserved for the opposite sex.

Gender is not a choice. It is a fact that is determined by biology and by God, not by how masculine or feminine you feel when you wake up in the morning. Dressing like a pirate doesn’t make you a pirate, dressing like an astronaut doesn’t make you an astronaut, and dressing like the opposite sex doesn’t make you a man or a woman.

For that same reason, I fully support President Trump’s ban on allowing “transgender” soldiers to serve in the U.S. armed forces. The purpose of the military is to protect our national interests, repel attacks on our country, and preserve peace through strength. Accomplishing these missions becomes infinitely more difficult when military leaders must worry about G.I. Joe demanding to be treated like G.I. Jane.

The culture war has prompted liberals to reach into our nation’s history and demand the removal of any statue, marker, or relic that offends their delicate sensibilities. Colleges have painted over murals of our founding fathers and other groups are vandalizing statues relating to Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, and the Buffalo Soldiers, an African-American military regiment that fought against Native Americans who resisted the settlement of the Great Plains.

Demanding that men and women born more than two centuries ago must strictly conform to the accepted traditions and social structures of today is patently unfair and intellectually dishonest.

Because radical liberal elements are working to tear down monuments to our past and erase entire sections of our shared American history, I was proud to join my fellow lawmakers in passing the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which prevents the removal of any memorial that is at least 40-years-old,.

If conservatives are going to win the culture war, we must elect public officials who are willing to speak the truth, abandon political correctness, and stand toe-to-toe against the liberals who attack us. I think this column proves I am willing to do all of those things.

The consequences of losing the culture war are too dire to leave the battle to what Thomas Paine called “summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots.”

If elected your lieutenant governor, I will shoulder the conservative fight and preserve the Alabama values that make our state such a great place to live, work, and raise our children.

Will Ainsworth is a Republican from Guntersville. 

When did marriage, parenthood become about self-fulfillment?


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

AMERICAN BIRTHRATE AT ALL-TIME LOW

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, headline out of The Wall Street Journal, “American women are having children at the lowest rate on record with the number of babies born in the United States last year dropping to a 30-year low.”

Some 3.85 million babies were born last year and that’s down 2 percent from 2016 and the lowest number since 1987. The general fertility rate for women from ages 15 to 44 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate since government began tracking it more than a century ago.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THE VALUE OF PARENTHOOD?

DR. REEDER In a Christian world view, the having of children was seen as a calling from the Lord and that, actually, procreation was not only a blessing, but it was, in a sense, a vocation, a desire, a calling.

Now, that comes, of course, from the fact that when God made us — male and female, Adam and Eve, the first parents — He then gave us three commands:

— Be fruitful and multiply.

— Subdue the earth.

— Rule over the creation.

1420


Note that, subdue the earth, that’s the sanctity of work; rule over the creation, that’s the sanctity of stewardship of God’s creation; and then be fruitful and multiply, that’s the sanctity of sexuality within marriage, not only for the recreational blessings in each other’s life, but also for the purpose of procreation that we are to be fruitful and — not add — but multiply.

Well, now we are following the pattern of Europe in America and now we’re not even replacing ourselves. In fact, if America was not even a desirable place to be for immigration, then we would not even be growing at all as a society. Our growth is significantly reliant upon immigration — we’re not even replacing ourselves.

SHAME-CULTURE

This all began with the notion of Planned Parenthood — two parents and have two children to replace yourself — and so now we’re about to 1.78 children per marriage, not even a replacement rate. When you begin to do that, you lose the sense of the blessing of children, the blessing of the multiplication of the legacy of families, the joy of having children as well as the challenge that comes.

And why is that happening? Well, if you have more than two children, you’re being marginalized and shamed. Now, one of the great challenges is the notion that you have children for self-fulfillment — not to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with those who are raised in the home with a proper nurturing atmosphere from a father and a mother, but now you can have children for your own fulfillment.

CHILDREN AND MARRIAGE HAVE BECOME AFTERTHOUGHT

I remember after a wedding one time, a mother came up to me and she said, “I just think my daughter have children.” I said, “Well, that’s wonderful.” She said, “Well, she’s not married,” and I said, “Well, then she needs to be married.” And she said, “Why should they? If my daughter wants children to be fulfilled, why should she have to be married?”

And I said, “Well, to begin with, you don’t have children to be fulfilled. It is fulfilling to have children, but you don’t have children to be fulfilled. You have children to be fruitful and multiply. And, when you have children, you’re supposed to be responsible and part of the responsibility is to provide a covenant home that is a covenant of marriage whereby the child knows there’s two people committed to each other which means, ‘When I wake up in the morning, I’m going to have a daddy and mama.’ The father providing what only a father can provide and the mother providing what only a mother can provide.”

And so now it was, “Let’s get married and let’s discuss whether we want to have children for self-fulfillment.” Now, it’s, “Let’s connect.” We used to call it “shacking up.” “Let’s cohabitate.” And then it’s, “You know what? Why don’t we have a child?” And then, after they have a child, just like you’ve got to have a dog for a while and then, “We’ll have a child for a while. And then, now that we have a child, do we want to be married or not?”

The statistics are astounding. Those who are having sex outside of marriage and the child is sitting here like a pawn. That child was brought into this world simply as an item to be displayed and enjoyed in life. It’s all about my comfort, my nurture and my self-fulfillment.

You remember the song, Tom, sung on the playground — a taunting song — “There’s Sally and Jack, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Jack with a baby carriage,” but at least in the taunting they got the order right.

If we have the right view of marriage and the right view of procreation and that children are not a burden but a blessing from the Lord and the Lord’s given us a covenant promise, “I’ll be a God to you and to your children after you,” if that is true, there’s a great opportunity for us, as the world starves itself by its lack of procreation, we can be fruitful and multiply and, by the way, covenantal evangelism and bringing forth children who know Christ can be a great impact in a society, in a community and in a neighborhood.

PARENTHOOD LOW, SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES HIGH

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me bring up a sidebar issue. As you know, California often leads the rest of the nation in statistics and California officials recently said cases of sexually transmitted diseases reached a state record high last year, more than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in 2017, a 45 percent increase in the last five years.

DR. REEDER: Amazingly, we’ve got these unbelievable advances in medicine that stem the tide, but it won’t get rid of it. Here’s the fact: sex belongs within marriage. If we could take an entire generation and, if in the providence of God, instead of acting like animals in heat, but we were to put sex within marriage defined by one man and one woman for one life, if we could do that for one generation, after that generation is through, give us 25, 30, 40 years. After that generation faithfully puts sex within marriage, then all sexually transmitted diseases would be gone.

However, vaccines are not going to get rid of them. I’m not saying to not get the vaccines — we need to always try to alleviate suffering — but I will tell you that prophylactics, vaccines, and all of the behavior modification theories will not get rid of the fact that, when you break God’s law and you decide to have sex outside of a Biblically defined marriage, then sexually transmitted diseases will rise.

Here we are looking at a state that flaunts its rebellion against God’s law and the result is skyrocketing sexually transmitted diseases. That doesn’t even give us a glimpse of what is happening emotionally in people’s lives.

SEXUAL SIN HAS LIFETIME CONSEQUENCES

Everybody thinks, when they look at the movies and they look at the pornography and all of that, by the way, after everybody’s jumped around in bed to bed with each other, show’s over and let’s just go on with life.” No, let me tell you what happens in real life: broken homes, broken bodies, and broken lives.

GOD’S LAW BRINGS TRUE FREEDOM FROM TEMPTATION AND SIN

However, let me tell you what can happen that is true life and that life comes in Jesus Christ, Who can forgive us of the shame and guilt of our sin and, even more than that, can transform us so that we can delight in His law and we love to do that which pleases Him,

And we love not only the Lord, to obey him with all of our heart, soul and mind because He has saved us from sin at the cross, but we also love our neighbor enough so that no longer will we covet our neighbor’s wife, no longer will we covet those relationships that lead to sexual activity outside of marriage and produce children who do not have the benefit of a father and mother and will likely seek out some kind of a gang as a substitute before long.

That’s what happens in real life so I would like to encourage everyone to come to the true life of the Savior, Who loves you and will set you free from sin’s guilt and power. And, in that glorious freedom comes the great transforming grace that we can begin to walk in life and, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you can do to the glory of God, not the idolatry of sin.

COMING UP MONDAY:

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Monday’s Today in Perspective, we’re going to have a good follow-up program to what we talked about today. Christianity Today recently combed through some research by Pew Research, who found that evangelical mothers score high for balance and satisfaction in parenting but, at the same time, these evangelical women struggle with “mom guilt.”

DR. REEDER: Yeah, mom guilt: “Am I spending enough time with my child? Can I work outside the home?” Let’s take a look at that from a Biblical world and life view.

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.

6 hours ago

Greens file lawsuit to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline from being built

Environmental groups have taken to the judicial system in their latest attempt to derail construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

TransCanada Corporation has dealt with years of delays and stonewalling from those opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline project. The Calgary-based energy company was relatively unknown until it proposed to make an additional line to its extensive pipeline system that runs through the U.S. and Canada. TransCanada entered the national spotlight ever since opposition to Keystone XL became a rallying cry for climate change activists, with numerous protests organized to halt the project.

The Obama White House officially rejected the pipeline in 2015, claiming it wouldn’t do much for the U.S. economy or energy security. But not long after entering office, President Donald Trump reversed this decision and gave Keystone the green light to begin construction.

375

The president’s support for Keystone has not scuttled activists’ hopes of preventing it. Environmental organizations — such as Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and others — initiated a lawsuit in March 2017, claiming Trump’s approval of Keystone was unlawful. Their case is being held in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

Attorneys for the Trump administration on Thursday defended approval of the project in a Montana courtroom. Environmentalists and some Native American groups are asking U.S. District Judge Brian Morris to overturn the pipeline’s approval decision.

“In approving Keystone XL, the Trump administration unlawfully ignored that it would be a disaster for our climate, wildlife and clean water,” senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity Jared Margolis said in a statement released Thursday. “Regulators failed to fully consider this pipeline’s profound threats to the environment and endangered species, including the iconic whooping crane, which would be devastated by the project’s power lines. The government failed to do its job, and this terrible project must be stopped.”

In another Thursday statement, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council appeared to say her organization would oppose Keystone no matter where on the map it was placed.

“The Trump administration barreled into office eager to appease big polluters, and fast. So fast it acted illegally by approving the KXL project even before it had an approved route,” stated Jackie Prange, a senior attorney at the NRDC. “But no route will ever be safe. Wherever it goes, this dangerous pipeline will always pose an unacceptable risk to water supplies for farmers, ranchers, indigenous people, and communities. We intend to stop it once, and for all.”

Keystone is also battling a separate legal challenge in Nebraska. Landowners are challenging the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s approval of a route through the state.

Keystone is expected to cost around $8 billion to complete. Beginning in Alberta, it will extend through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, and will transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

7 hours ago

VIDEO: Alabama may lose a congressman — Ainworth’s ‘blood on [Gov. Ivey’s] hands’ comment — run-offs in the governors’ races … and more on Guerrilla Politics!

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories including:

— Is Alabama going to lose a Congressional seat and can it be stopped?

— Did State Representative Will Ainsworth go too far with the way he asked the governor to call a special session?

— Will there be run-offs in the races for governor?

54

Attorney General Steve Marshall joins Jackson and Burke to discuss his re-election and his lawsuit with the federal government over counting illegals in the census.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at NFL players who are doing all they can to help Republicans hang on to Congress.