Despite what Washington Post writer says, Down Syndrome children are only undesirable to selfish, arrogant people


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EDITORIAL SAYS ABORTING DOWN SYNDROME CHILDREN IS “FOR THEIR OWN GOOD”

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, just this past weekend, The Washington Post ran an editorial. It was written by abortion advocate, Ruth Marcus. She argues in this piece that women should have the right to abort a baby with Down Syndrome. “Those babies need to be eliminated because they are, through bad eugenics, undesirable humans from the gene pool. It’s for their own good,” she says.

Marcus is being heralded as brave and thought-provoking for her approach, which argues that both families and those with Down Syndrome would be better off if the condition was simply eradicated through selective termination.

DR. REEDER: Tom, this follows on some other programs that we’ve done where we’ve noticed that Denmark, and Iceland and other places are heralding the fact that they have eradicated Down Syndrome in their population. What they’re saying is, with the screening process in pregnancy, when they spot the possibly Down Syndrome child, now the social pressures and desires are, “Just go ahead and eradicate the child.” Just as this Ruth Marcus says, “The child is ‘undesirable.’” Undesirable because of its median cognitive ability.

DOWN SYNDROME CHILDREN ARE HAPPY PEOPLE DESPITE DELAYED COGNITION

I have to confess that I have asked the Lord continually in my life, “Please allow me to hate sin but never hate sinners; to go after the issues in public policy in a way that exalts what is right and good and beautiful and true, but to do so in as much of a loving way as possible.” At Briarwood, where I serve the Lord, I had the opportunities in the hallways in the lobby to speak to three Down Syndrome children.

One of them is a boy that comes up to me almost every Sunday and, yes, cognitively, there are some serious challenges, but when I talk to him about Jesus, he understands. It’s hard for me to tell you how loving this young boy is.

I’m just going to be blunt on this: they’re undesirable for only selfish, arrogant people. Is it a challenge? Yes. Would anyone choose to want the challenge? Not necessarily, but when it comes in the hands of a sovereign God, we find out that God is actually doing something in us greater than what He’s doing in that child.

I love to see the 26 high school kids who volunteer to be a buddy to one of them so these children can go to a Sunday School. And I watch what happens in those high school kids’ lives. I watch what happens in the lives of parents when they finally found out, “Oh, the church really does make room for us.” I watch what they do as they work through, “How am I going to take care of this child in their older age? How are we going to work out their situation and begin to solve those problems together as a family?”

WHO DECIDES WHAT HUMANS ARE DESIRABLE?

I am fully aware of the challenges. I am also fully aware of the unbelievable blessings that I have seen occasioned by the presence of these children and literally brought by the way they live their lives in the sweetness, the insights and the beauty that they bring. And this notion that, “We need to eradicate them; they are undesirable,” probably those that don’t desire them are much more undesirable to me than these children are.

These children are desirable. They are not something that should be cast off due to the imperfections in a fallen world that has shown up in their physical makeup. And it’s amazing now what has been done so that these Down Syndrome children can function but, beyond that, these are children made in the image of God.

I pity the nation that has killed them out of their demographic population. In fact, I would find such a nation undesirable to live in.

WRITER CLAIMS “BETTER OFF DEAD” DESPITE OVERWHELMING LIFE SATISFACTION?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, Ruth Marcus goes on to say that these individuals with Down Syndrome, they would be better off — let me put it bluntly — she’s saying they would be better off dead. And yet a 2011 study found that 99% of people with Down Syndrome over the age of 12 said they were happy with their lives, 99% said they loved their families, 97% said they liked their brothers and sisters, 86% felt they could make friends easily.

DR. REEDER: Tom, go and take those percentages where they’ve talked to these Down Syndrome children — 95%, 97%, 99% love my siblings, love my parents, love my family — now go ask those same questions to the “desirable” family.

I would say to you someone that loves their siblings, loves their parents, loves being in the family, well, I would suggest to you that person is desirable, maybe more desirable than the mentality and the hardness of heart of those who would be in a family and want to kill such children.

By the way, I will give her credit for being honest — she has said, “We need to kill them. For their own sake, we need to kill them because they are not desirable and they don’t have lives worth living.” Well, I would suggest to you they have enormously blessed lives and they are an enormous blessing in the lives of others, but that’s not why I argue it.

DIGNITY IS GOD-GIVEN

I argue it because here is exactly where we’ve come to in a secular society in which the sovereign self decides what is right and what is wrong instead of a society that is “under God” and a sovereign God gives us His ethical absolutes which is “You shall not murder,” which is “Every man and woman, boy and girl are made in the image of God.” And no matter what they are facing — spiritually, socially, psychologically, physically, medically — they are made in the image of God and their dignity is intrinsic because of that.

Their dignity is not assigned by an editorial writer who determines who is desirable and who is not desirable based upon the metrics that she has embraced in the arrogance of the sovereign self. Folks, that’s what you’re facing. That’s why we do Today in Perspective. Are we going to have a world and life view that you read through the lenses of sovereign God with ethical absolutes that are consistent with the character of God and are consistent with the law of God or are we going to have a society of secular humanism where the sovereign self will make the determination what is desirable and what is not desirable?

She’s actually as honest as Margaret Sanger, who wanted to eradicate the population of the unwanted minorities. “We don’t need them. We don’t want them. They’re not desirable. And, by the way, we really don’t think their life is worth living so let’s remove them.”

“Yes,” she said, “You may think me selfish; you may think me evil,” — yes, ma’am, I do believe what you’re saying is selfish; I do believe what you’re saying is evil. I will take the rationality of a Down Syndrome child the way that person treats other people as opposed to the way you treat other people. Watch them run up and hug you. Watch as you would have them destroyed in the womb.

REST OF THE WORLD SEES RESULTS OF “ELIMINATING” LESS DESIRABLE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, is it much of a leap: let’s get rid of people that we think are less desirable who perhaps don’t share the same convictions we have?

DR. REEDER: Before long, you’ve got the “choice” that you may eradicate the undesirable to the fascist mandate. For instance, China — China mandates the one-child policy. In China, guess what? Women are not as desirable, girls are not as desirable as boys.

Right now, Armenia, one study has said that we have lost 200 million more girls to abortion screening than boys that have been put to death because the boy was considered, in most of these cultures, more desirable. Now you’ve got cultures in which you’ve got all these guys but there’s nobody for them to married because the undesirable ones, the women, have been destroyed.

I’m sure that Ruth Marcus would not call women undesirable. You have exalted the sovereign self over life and you can take the life that you deem undesirable, then why can’t they do it?

But I would prefer a Biblical world and life view that says this: every life is desirable. These lives are made in the image of God. Now we need to bring the providential blessings of God into those lives and you will find out those lives will probably bring providential blessings to you.

THESE CHILDREN, LIKE ALL PEOPLE, ARE GIFTS FROM GOD

Those Down Syndrome kids, I’ll tell you what they are — they are a gift from God. I have seen the blessing in the lives of families when these children that they would not have chosen to be born in terms of how they would have designed their child, but when God’s design showed up and the sovereign hand of God, I have seen the blessing that these Down Syndrome children bring.

Grace is greater than sin and the grace of God can overcome even the challenging effects of sin in a broken world.

(Image: Public Domain Pictures)

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

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

23 mins ago

Ex-Auburn assistant basketball coach Chuck Person pleads guilty

Former Auburn University assistant coach and 13-year NBA veteran Chuck Person pleaded guilty Tuesday to a bribery conspiracy charge in the widespread college basketball bribery scandal, ensuring that none of the four coaches charged in the probe will go to trial.

Person, 54, of Auburn, Alabama, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court, averting a June trial.

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He and his lawyer declined to speak afterward and made a quick exit from the courthouse.

Prosecutors said Person accepted $91,500 in bribes to steer players with NBA potential to a Pittsburgh-based financial adviser.

As part of the plea, he agreed to forfeit that amount.

Person said he committed his crime in late 2016 and early 2017.

The plea deal has a recommended sentencing guideline range of two to 2½ years in prison, though the sentence will be left up to Judge Loretta A. Preska.

The sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Person “abused his position as a coach and mentor to student-athletes in exchange for personal gain.”

“In taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes, Person not only placed personal financial gain above his obligations to his employer and the student-athletes he coached, but he broke the law,” he said.

Person’s plea falls in line with those recently entered by three other former assistant coaches at major college basketball schools.

Tony Bland, a former Southern California assistant coach; ex-Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson; and former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans are awaiting sentencing.

Their prison terms are likely to be measured in months rather than years.

Person, former associate head coach at Auburn, was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1986 and played for five NBA teams over 13 seasons.

In court papers, prosecutors said Person arranged multiple meetings between the financial adviser and Auburn players or their family members.

Prosecutors said he failed to tell families and players that he was being bribed to recommend the financial adviser.

In one recorded conversation, the prosecutor said, Person warned an Auburn player to keep his relationship with the financial adviser a secret.

According to prosecutors, Person said: “Don’t say nothing to anybody. … Don’t share with your sisters, don’t share with any of the teammates, that’s very important cause this is a violation … of rules, but this is how the NBA players get it done, they get early relationships, and they form partnerships.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Marsh bill to repeal Common Core approved by Senate committee

MONTGOMERY — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) bill to eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama was given a unanimous favorable recommendation by the Senate’s Education Policy Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, SB 119, is now set to be debated and considered on the Senate floor Thursday.

Marsh spoke about this bill during Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “News Shaper” event in Montgomery Tuesday evening after he filed the bill earlier that day.

He acknowledged that he has been a proponent of letting the state school board set education curriculum and standards policy in the past and even stopped an effort to repeal Common Core a few years ago. However, in Marsh’s view, Common Core has been given a chance now and it is time for the legislature to step in.

“It’s not working. I think we have to have some radical change with education policy in this state. And y’all know me, I’ve pushed a lot of things –  public charter schools, the Accountability Act. We’ve got to address this issue and it’s critical for this state,” Marsh said.

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He said eliminating Common Core would “clear the field” so the state could then move forward to better education outcomes.

Alabama would come up with its own high standards, premised on local control, under Marsh’s proposal.

He said his bill is cosponsored by all 27 of his Republican Senate colleagues and he expects SB 119 to pass the chamber and then receive similarly strong support in the House.

“I am committed to moving to a different standard that’s right for Alabama and moves us forward,” Marsh emphasized.

He also advised that there is a high level of politics involved in education decisions in the state but that sound policy must come first.

“[T]he education community, who I’ve asked to get this fixed, who have not addressed this, quite honestly I don’t think has put us in shape to move forward to address the problem at present. But I’m going to do all I can to see that it happens,” Marsh added.

Democrats on the Senate Education Policy Committee spoke in favor of keeping Common Core on Wednesday.

A career public school teacher from Lee County spoke in favor of eliminating Common Core at the hearing, while representatives from the state school superintendents association and the school boards association had concerns about the implementation of new standards.

Marsh said his bill will be amended before final passage to allow another national standard to be used if found to be best for Alabama, as the current language in his bill would ban any national standard from being adopted by the state school board.

Update, 11:35 a.m.:

State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) released a statement in support of Marsh’s bill.

“I strongly support Senator Marsh’s bill,” Givhan said. “The Common Core standards just haven’t worked for Alabama’s students, and the proof is evident in the data. In 2017, Alabama’s 8th grade math scores ranked 49th among the 50 states, and math scores for 4th grade students were 45th in the nation, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Common Core’s curriculum standards and guidelines have been in place for nine years, and they have failed Alabama’s students. It’s clear we need to look at alternative educational methods, with an emphasis on returning as much control as possible back to the local school districts.”

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

2 hours ago

Marsh, McCutcheon talk lottery, ethics clarifications at Yellowhammer ‘News Shaper’ event

MONTGOMERY — Speaking Tuesday evening at Yellowhammer Multimedia’s first “News Shaper” event of 2019, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) provided their insight on some of the hot-button topics expected to be debated during the legislature’s ongoing regular session.

Yellowhammer owner and editor Tim Howe, who moderated the discussion, outlined uncertainty in the state’s ethics laws brought on by recent court and ethics commission decisions. Howe then asked the two leaders how they think the legislature can provide certainty and codified clarification moving forward, especially when it comes to defining a “principal.”

“There is no doubt that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the ethics legislation,” Marsh said. “The [Alabama Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission] was set up to look over this, but in addition to that, both the Senate and the House – in the Senate you have Greg Albritton and in the House [you have] Mike Jones – working throughout the entire break on how we address this.”

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“And remember,” Marsh continued, “it’s not about 140 legislators, there are 50,000 people in the state of Alabama affected by the ethics law. I’m going to make a plea to my colleagues, some of whom are in this room tonight: If it’s going to be fixed, we’ve got to fix it.”

He emphasized, “[I]t’s not going to get any easier. You’ve got to face the issues. You’ve got to address it and realize this is about much [more] than the legislature. So, I’m hopeful.

Marsh also noted that the uncertainty in the ethics law has “affected economic development.”

“There’s a section there where the economic developers are having problems keeping the [confidentiality] in the process of recruiting industries. We’ve got to address this,” he advised. “And I’m hopeful that we will address it this year.”

Marsh added, “I know that both Senator Albritton and Representative Jones have been in conversation with the attorney general and the ethics commission, as well. So we’re going down a path to try and get everybody on the same page. But we have got to -trust me, ladies and gentleman – we have best fix this. It’s got to be done.”

Howe then asked Marsh to articulate why certainty in the ethics law for economic development professionals is important not just for them, but for the entire state and each of its residents.

“[I]t’s important for the state, because we’re competing with all of the other states,” Marsh said.

He used the example of a piece of legislation passed out of committee that very day largely dealing with Polaris vehicles built in north Alabama and explained that the site selection process requires confidentiality, with most economic development recruitment projects being given code names.

“Because we’re competing against other states. And if we’re not able to keep that degree of secrecy at that stage of the game, we’re at a disadvantage to our neighbors,” Marsh explained.

He concluded, “So this is something that we have got to address. But I’m going to say this: that’s [only] a piece of it. And there’s going to be an attempt by the business community and economic developers to pass the piece. But I think it’s [incumbent] upon us to pass the big picture, solve all the problems, because you want as many people with you, supporting you, to make the changes. Every time you carve off a little piece, you lose some support. So, as I said, I want to help everybody, but I’m committed to the big picture.”

Lottery

Howe later asked the speaker if the time has come for a lottery proposal to pass the legislature and reach a referendum of the people.

“I think so,” McCutcheon responded. “I think it’s been coming for several years. I know that the districts, House districts, that are [bordering other states], most of those districts have seen a significant shift over the last seven or eight years because they see Alabamians driving across the state line to buy lottery tickets.”

He continued, “And people are starting to talk about it, and they’re starting to make it part of their discussion around the dinner table. … At the end of the day, there’s a good push from the people.”

McCutcheon did emphasize what he viewed as key to a successful lottery discussion.

“If we’re going to put this to a vote of the people, and I think it has a good chance of passing, we need to make sure that people understand what they’re voting on,” he outlined. “That’s very, very important. We don’t want to cloud the issue with the definition of a ‘lottery’ and try to sneak something in the back door. Let’s make sure the people understand in their minds what a lottery is and we define it in such a way that they know what they’re voting on.”

“Then, I think the next big debate will be, ‘Where’s the money [lottery revenue] going to go?’ And that will be something that we’ll have to contend with,” McCutcheon concluded.

This came the same day that Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) filed a lottery proposal that was soon after called not “clean” by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who said McClendon’s legislation would legalize slot machines in a select few places in the state.

Watch the entire discussion:

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

After 133 launches, Alabama built rockets boast 100% mission success

Thank you to the United Launch Alliance team and the entire workforce surrounding another successful launch.  Alabama’s Decatur based facility brings the utmost precision, passion and purpose to one of the most technically complex, critical American needs: affordable, reliable access to space.

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3 hours ago

Bipartisan bill to regulate vaping set for House committee hearing

MONTGOMERY — Alabama is currently one of only three states to not regulate vaping, but that could soon change.

HB 41, sponsored by Republican Rep. Shane Stringer and Democrat Rep. Barbara Drummond, both of Mobile County, is on the House Judiciary Committee’s agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

The bill would regulate the sale, use and advertisement of vaping – or “alternative nicotine products” – in the state.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, both Drummond and Stringer emphasized that their bill is intended to protect the health and wellbeing of Alabama minors.

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“The motivation is simple,” Drummond emphasized. “We are trying to safeguard the teens in the state of Alabama.”

She outlined, “Vape shops, as it stands right now, are not regulated at all… And the bill came about because our drug education council locally brought it to our attention, but [Stringer and I] have both seen ourselves, as well as throughout the whole state, the rise of vape shops. They’re popping up everywhere in the state of Alabama.”

While it is too early to tell what vaping is directly doing to users’ health, Stringer and Drummond emphasized there is an objective gateway effect from vaping use and to smoking traditional cigarettes.

“Right now, there is no data that says what is the [direct] effect that these products are having on our young people. What we are seeing, and this is a national trend, is that you’re seeing smoking not going down, but increasing, among young people,” Drummond explained.

Stringer, a career law enforcement officer with stints as chief of multiple local police departments, said educators from every corner of Mobile County have voiced their concerns with the lack of state oversight on vape products and retailers “saying this is an epidemic and a problem what we need to address.”

“The products haven’t been out long enough to know the problems we could face in five, ten, 15 years from now,” he said. “It’s pretty similar to when smoking came out. There was basically no risk at that time, according to everyone. Now, look at all the data that we have to go with smoking… this is a new product we’re learning every day about.”

Stringer said statistics they were shown from the drug education council show an approximately 34 percent increase in children under 19-years-old that tried smoking after vaping.

“In Alabama, we don’t want to wake up one day and see the effects, negative effects on our kids,” Drummond added. “Right now, we’re trying to be responsible legislators to make sure that we look out for the welfare of our children.”

The two lawmakers also stressed that not only do vape shop operators have no restrictions on them, but the state has no way to even keep track of them currently.

Their bill would make it illegal to sell or give vape products to anyone under 19-years-old. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would regulate retail sales of the products, just as they do tobacco products. Retailers would have to obtain an annual permit, which includes an application fee of $300. Retailers would also have to comply with relevant FDA regulations and post signage warning of the dangers of nicotine usage.

Using vape products in certain places, including schools and child care facilities, would be prohibited.

‘This is something that is nonpartisan, it’s not anything that is about Republican or Democrat. This is something about our young people,” Drummond said. “Because if you look at the amount of nicotine that is showing up in these products, when they first hit the market, the nicotine levels were very low – like five percent. Now, it’s gone up to about ten percent. They’ve got other chemicals in there, like formaldehyde. What is the effect of that upon the brains of our kids? So, this is more of a public wellbeing bill for us.”

Stringer advised that he foresees widespread support in the legislature for the bill.

“Everyone agrees that there has to be some checks and balances [oversight] in place,” he concluded.

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