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Do we really want a society that says ANY sexual behavior is fine?


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SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF CHRISTIAN BAKER

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, earlier this week, after six years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 ruling, favored a Christian cake baker, Jack Phillips, in the case Masterpiece Cake Shop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

This case was one of the most watched of the term. It was the first big showdown between gay rights and religious freedom since the court forced states to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015. The headline said it was a very narrow ruling. It was not narrow in the sense that it was a 7-2 vote, but it was narrow in how they framed their debate and argument.

DR. REEDER: What they did was slap the hand of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission because of their engagement, their animus to religion, etc. The point that many journalists have rightly made that this was not so much on the merits of Jack Phillips’ decision that, in light of his religious liberty, he should not have to participate in something that he disagrees with because of a sincerely held religious view that marriage is between a man and a woman. They did not go directly to that issue.

Now, there’s another case coming up that they’re probably going to have to deal with that, so it’s said as a narrow decision and those who are fighting for religious liberty should not take great heart in this. I would disagree. I agree with what they’re saying in that they didn’t go after the merits of Jack Phillips’ claimed exemption from participating because of religious liberty, but they did make a very significant statement.

THE COURT WALKS A FINE LINE

We cannot miss a couple of facts here, Tom. Fact 1: the same court that is pushing this notion that sexual activity and sexual practices have civil rights has now taken a pretty aggressive statement that the government cannot determine what someone’s religious convictions are in light of their validity or not. What they’ve basically said is this — they even used the language that was used by this civil rights commission in that they said that Mr. Phillips was claiming a rhetorical religious conviction, not a sincerely held religious conviction and that his conviction was “despicable to use such rhetoric as religious liberty to masquerade his clear discrimination against homosexual marriage.”

It shouldn’t escape our notice that not only did we have a court here that, on the one hand, has been pushing sexual anarchy under civil rights and now has pushed back on the government acting with animus toward religion through the activity of the civil rights commission. But the same person who wrote the majority opinion for the Obergefell decision that sought out the right to redefine marriage as two consenting adults whether they’re the same sex or not and leaving the historic definition of marriage of a man and a woman — the same guy who wrote that opinion now writes this opinion and his key word was “tolerance” and that we have to find a way in which those who are pushing for what has previously been known as sexual aberration, now that that is “protected behavior,” then you’ve got to find a way to tolerate those who, because of religious convictions, cannot participate or support in such behavior.

It’s been abundantly clear as this case has unfolded that Jack Phillips has friendships with those who claim homosexual orientation and his products have been available to everybody — he makes a cake — if you buy it, you buy it — but what he was asked to do here is to participate with his artistic ability in the celebration and implementation of a same-sex marriage and he said, “By religious conviction, I can’t do that.”

THE FIRST AMENDMENT MUST BE PRESERVED

There is no doubt that the First Amendment is the First Amendment. There’s a reason it is the First Amendment and the first of the First Amendment is religious liberty. There’s a reason why that’s important in terms of what it means to be an American and what has been crucial in the maintaining of the American experiment that has been unparalleled throughout history. And so, what you need to do is aggressively go after it and, to some degree, the Supreme Court did that, and you cannot miss a 7-2 vote.

In the majority opinion, he says that the civil rights commission is out of bounds when it calls someone’s religious beliefs as despicable. The government is not in the business of determining what religious beliefs are acceptable and not acceptable. The government protects the right of the practice of religion, but it does not pass judgment on what religions are right. That is not its job and that is one of the unique dynamics of the country. Then, when they use the word “despicable” because someone holds to a historic position of marriage, in other words, it’s telling every court and every government agency, “Get out of the business of passing judgment on religious belief.”

REACTIONS VARIED — SOME SATISFIED, OTHERS VOW TO DOUBLE DOWN

There are multiple responses to this. Some people were happy, some people were upset, but there were also some things that came out. The leader of the Democratic Party clearly came out in total opposition to this ruling, no protections of religious liberty cross the lips of the Democratic Party spokesman. It was an all-out assault on religious liberty and whatever Jack Phillips claims should not even be considered in light of the importance of pressing the issue of sexual anarchy in the name of sexual liberties. Now, the Republican Party has not spoken directly to this and it’ll be interesting to see how they do.

Also, what came out is those who want to press this matter said, “Our only answer now is we have got to move for a ‘human dignity amendment’ to the Constitution that protects sexual identity and that protects sexual practices.”

TOLERATION AND DISCRIMINATION

Well, let me just say that there’s two words here that I want to address: toleration and discrimination. Toleration is, ultimately, the resort of the arrogant. “I’m going to tolerate you.” While I am opposed to homosexuality, I don’t tolerate homosexuals — I am called to love them in a Christian world and life view.

I am called to love people made in the image of God, but that doesn’t mean I have to love their behavior. I’m not called to tolerate; I am called to actively, aggressively develop relationships that exhibit grace and mercy and dignity toward person — not toward their behavior, necessarily, but toward persons.

Secondly, this notion that we want a non-discriminatory society, no, please think through that. Even to this day, thankfully, there’s some sexual behavior we discriminate against. It’s wrong. Discrimination against people and their dignity is what must be affirmed, but discrimination on behavior is constantly practiced: “This is right; this is wrong. This is right; this is wrong.” Therefore, discriminating considerations are absolutely crucial in a society that is ordered by law that something is right and something’s wrong. Now, the question is is sexual activity outside of marriage — promiscuity, sexual activity that is abnormal between men and men and women and women — is that to be declared right and normal and acceptable or is there to be a discriminatory fact that, no, sex is between a man and a woman and sex belongs within the context of marriage?

That is the inevitable collision course in our culture and, while this case did not directly go to that issue, it did fire a shot across the bow to the government that you are here to protect the First Amendment and the free practice of religion, but you are not here to pass judgement and call someone’s free practice of religion “mere rhetoric,” when in reality it was a sincerely held belief.

COMING UP MONDAY: ANOTHER RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COURT CASE DECIDED

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Monday’s edition of Today in Perspective, there’s actually another case that came out the same day as the Jack Phillip’s case. It was Azar vs. Garza.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, and here’s one that goes to the issue of sanctity of life and, by the way, has implications on religious liberty again. It’s kind of gotten lost in the shuffle, but there’s something insightful. And, by the way, there’s some other things that are taking place around it concerning the ACLU and Planned Parenthood that this case highlights and we need to address that on Monday.

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.

41 mins ago

WATCH: ‘Billboard King’ Alexander Shunnarah sheds tear at the sight of unused billboards

Alabama personal injury attorney Alexander Shunnarah on Friday released a new video poking fun at his unparalleled billboard empire across the state and the southeastern United States.

In the video, the sight of unused and neglected billboards causes the “Billboard King” to shed a tear.

“Not on my watch!” Shunnarah says.

WATCH:

 

NOT ON MY WATCH! #BillboardKing

A post shared by Alexander Shunnarah (@alexander_shunnarah) on

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

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1 hour ago

Mobile Mayor Stimpson’s do-or-die ultimatum jeopardizes city funding for University of South Alabama stadium

Mobile’s University of South Alabama first opened its doors in 1963, but it didn’t play a varsity football game until 2009.

In the span of the nine years since, the urgency for South Alabama Jaguar football has gone from decades to days – a message conveyed by Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. On Wednesday, Stimpson issued an ultimatum to the Mobile City Council: Vote of South Alabama stadium funding or the deal was off.

“At that point, [the University of] South Alabama withdraws their offer to put $2.5 million into Ladd[-Peebles Stadium],” Stimpson said on Mobile’s FM Talk 106.5, reiterating a point he made a day earlier in a press conference. “And neither [USA President] Dr. [Tony] Waldrop nor Sandy Stimpson will sign the letter of intent if it comes up in the future.”

As one might expect, that tack didn’t sit well with members of the council, who saw Stimpson’s gesture as burning a bridge.

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“The mayor burned a bridge,” Mobile Councilman John Williams said Thursday on WNSP 105.5 according to Alabama Media Group’s Mark Heim. “And he did so at the lead of the South Alabama leadership. I think everyone misstepped on this one. This was not a time to kick us in the pants. They simply threw fuel on the fire.”

It’s a curious situation. The proposal first made it to the city council’s agenda on June 22 according to Stimpson. That’s about a two-month window for elected members of the council to consider not just funding for a stadium but to make a decision that could change the entire landscape of the city of Mobile.

If Ladd-Peebles Stadium ceases to be the primary venue for big events in Mobile, which it appears that will be the case whether the city gives to the University of South Alabama, then there is less of a focus on Mobile east of Interstate 65.

Perhaps the biggest question is if the University of South Alabama will be a responsible arbiter of the venue. If it is 2015 and we’re talking about Donald Trump coming to Alabama, does the University of South Alabama allow Trump to have a rally there?

Given how left-of-center academia is and the possibility of a revolt from the faculty if the institution granted permission (the University of South Alabama is no exception to the diehard liberal politics residing on college campuses), why should the public not be wary of this deal?

If Mobile reduces Ladd-Peebles Stadium to a facility geared for just high school football games, suddenly the City of Mobile has ceded a monopoly on big venues to the University of South Alabama. In addition to that, the taxpayers are subsidizing this monopoly.

This isn’t just about South Alabama football. To say opposition to this proposal means you are against the success of USA’s football program is a demagogic talking point.

The rush to do this is suspicious. If it were supposed to be easy to get $10 million from a municipal government, there would be some other questions about the fiscal responsibility of Mobile’s city government.

There are also questions about the surrounding infrastructure and if the roads can handle traffic for these events. The City of Mobile hasn’t exactly pulled it off with Ladd-Peebles. According to Stimpson, a request to widen nearby Cody Road, one of the major thoroughfares near the proposed site of the USA stadium, had not been requested to be on the list of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s long-range plan for significant infrastructure improvements until “four or five months ago.”

These obstacles can be overcome, but it takes some foresight. Asking these questions and others like it warrant more time if the council so desires it.

Threats from Mayor Stimpson and the University of South Alabama only stand to jeopardize cooperation between city government and the University of South Alabama on this project and future projects as well.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 hours ago

Rep. Martha Roby comments on infrastructure priorities, new interstate proposal

A grassroots push to build a new interstate stretching from West Texas to East Georgia has gained significant media attention over the last few weeks, and now Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is talking about it.

Roby recently discussed with the Dothan Eagle her vision for broad infrastructure investments, saying those investments could include the new interstate, known as I-14, or a resurgence of the I-10 Connector.

“I want nothing more than the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District to see their federal tax dollars at work for them,” Roby told the Eagle’s Jeremy Wise. “Where there are opportunities for infrastructure improvements, whether it would be a new proposed interstate or any other (idea), I will advocate and fight every time for the district. If there are opportunities there, I will seek those opportunities out.”

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Roby stopped short of explicitly endorsing the new interstate project, suggesting rather that she will wait to hear back what level of support it has among her constituents.

“It’s my job that to make sure the southeast corner of our state has the appropriate infrastructure in place,” Roby also told the Eagle. “Having reliable roads, bridges, ports, and railways are vital for our ability to grow our economy in Alabama. That certainly applies to the more rural parts of our district in order to recruit the interest of job creators.”

A group called the Youth Infrastructure Coalition is leading the campaign to see the new interstate built.

According to Tony Harris, government relations manager for ALDOT, the proposal isn’t seriously being considered.

“There has been no discussion about a proposed Interstate 14 involving state transportation officials in Alabama and the advocates for this idea,” Harris recently told AL.com. “In today’s funding climate, this proposal isn’t likely to get serious consideration.”

3 hours ago

Another record broken: Alabama posts highest ever employment numbers for third month in a row

Alabama is working again.

The state’s Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday that Alabama has shattered its employment record for the third month in a row.

“We continue to break employment records in Alabama,” Washington said in a statement. “Nearly 30,000 more people are working now than they were last year. The message is clear, Alabama: we have jobs!”

In July, 2,105,513 Alabamians were logged as employed, which represents a yearly increase of 28,107.

Washington explained that wages and salaries are increasing with the employment gains.

“Those jobs are coming with higher wages,” he continued. “We’ve seen wages increase both over the month and over the year. In fact, workers in Alabama are earning more weekly than they have in the past 11 years.”

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Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates for July include: Vestavia Hills at 2.7 percent, Hoover at 3 percent, and Homewood and Alabaster both at 3.1 percent.

See county-by-county unemployment rates below:

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

4 hours ago

New details emerge on Calera teacher held on child porn charges

An Alabama kindergarten teacher jailed on child pornography charges had been approved by the state to provide therapeutic foster care, authorities said Thursday.

Daniel Prentice Donaldson, 26, of Montevallo, received the foster care certification in June through the United Methodist Children’s Home, which acts as a contractor to provide care for the state, said Barry Spear, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

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Spear cited confidentiality laws in declining comment on whether Donaldson was caring for a 9-year-old boy who authorities described as being with the man at the time of his arrest at his home on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the United Methodist Children’s Home said in a statement Thursday that Donaldson had met all DHR training and licensing requirements prior to being licensed by UMCH.

“Since 1890, UMCH has been dedicated to the highest standards in caring for vulnerable children, and will fully cooperate with all law enforcement in the investigation of Mr. Donaldson,” said Rebecca Morris, the group’s vice president of external affairs.

The church-affiliated organization recruits and trains foster parents under its license, Spear said.

Donaldson, who taught at Calera Elementary School, was jailed with bail set at $600,000 on 40 counts of possession of child pornography.

Court records don’t show whether he has a defense lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

Maj. Ken Burchfield, a spokesman with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said an investigation began with a tip.

He said there was no evidence Calera students were victims in the child pornography cases.

Donaldson has worked for Shelby County schools since 2015, when he began the first of two years as an aide under the guidance of a classroom teacher.

He was beginning his second school year as a kindergarten teacher at the time of his arrest.

Donaldson passed a criminal background check and has had no prior incidents of misconduct, officials said.

“These charges are very serious in that they indicated alarming behavior by this teacher,” said Shelby County Superintendent Randy Fuller.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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