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


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

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.

44 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.”

290

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.

792

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.

342

“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.

5 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.

186

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)

Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

‘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.

642

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.