When elected officials campaign on promises they don’t keep


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PRO-LIFE POSITIVES BUT OMNIBUS BILL A BIG NEGATIVE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, our friends over at World Magazine recently ran an article with some highlights and lowlights of the pro-life issue. Indiana now numbers among the majority of states that require annual inspections of abortion centers. They join 27 other states.  In the state of Washington, some low news: Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill last week that will force health insurance companies to cover abortion. Down in Louisiana, the Legislature is considering a bill that would protect the lives of the unborn after 15 weeks’ gestation. Now, you might remember we talked about this a couple of weeks ago over in Mississippi, who have the same law that was halted by a federal judge. Out in Hawaii, they’ve legalized assisted suicide, becoming the sixth state in the nation to do so.

However, Harry, the biggest piece of news concerning life is the new Omnibus Bill, that $1.3 trillion bill. Now, we can talk about spending money that we don’t have, but one of the pieces of this bill is $500 million that is allocated for Planned Parenthood.

Now, let’s remember that the Republicans told the White House, the House and the Senate that one of the things they ran on was the fact that Planned Parenthood would be defunded.

DR. REEDER: Tom, from a Christian world and life view, there is not only the sanctity of life that has to be considered and how that’s not just a policy that you can embrace or not embrace as well as the issue of integrity when you say, “Elect me. This is what I will do,” and then you get elected and you do not do that.
POLITICS AT WORK AGAIN — BUT FOR WHOM?

Now, I understand the issue of compromise in a political situation and I understand that, if you want the sanctity of life, you may not be able to get all that you want but, in terms of the sanctity of life, in that bill, they didn’t get simply part of what they want — they got nothing of what they want and there is a direct ignoring of what they said, “Elect us and this is what we will do. We will defund Planned Parenthood.”

You have a victory lap by Charles Schumer afterwards saying, “Even though we don’t control any of the branches of government, we were able to secure what we wanted in this Omnibus bill.”

And then you have the Republicans in government looking for a bag to put over their head because not only the immorality of a plunge into even greater debt… There’s got to be a payday someday on this. You cannot keep spending money that you don’t have. There is an immorality of putting our children and grandchildren into the bondage of debt and under the control of foreign governments and entities that control that debt.

WAS THIS COMPROMISE OR SURRENDER?

Now, the answer-back is, of course, “Well, we had to get advancement in a couple of areas and, most importantly, defense of the country and military spending. Our military is in shambles because of fighting these multiple wars — these lengthy wars — and that sequestration has gutted the military budget and something had to be done.”

Well, I think you can make a case for it and secure that without abandoning the integrity of your commitment “We will defund Planned Parenthood,” without abandoning the commitment to the sanctity of life, which is a non-negotiable. And the incremental step of removing $500 million a year to the funding of an organization that has been exposed as an industry that makes money off of abortion, the emotional, the physical and the psychological impact upon women who are brought into these abortuaries as well as the 100 percent lethal impact upon the children that are lost in these abortuaries, there is no way that we can negotiate that any more than a person of integrity could negotiate the existence of an Auschwitz concentration camp.

Tom, you selected a number of stories that led us into this of, by and large, some significant advances on the sanctity of life at the state level for which we give thanks to the Lord. Now, there are some lessons here from a Christian world and life view. Let me give a couple of them if I can.

SMALLER GOVERNMENTS HAVE MORE POWER AND ACCOUNTABILITY

One of the things that our founding fathers understood is that power corrupts and increasing power increasingly corrupts. And so, Tom, what we see is, the further away power gets, the more insulated it feels. An elected official in Washington’s three phone calls away while an elected official locally is one phone call away. That’s why they put the powers in the state and only had powers for the federal government that were necessary for cohesion of the country, but the greater power was put at the state level because, there, the officials are more readily accountable — not only in the regularity of an election, but also by presence and by proximity.

We also have to affirm, again, the issue of character, Tom. When an elected official tells you, “Elect me. This is what I will do,” again, we see the importance of character and will they do it once they are elected or will, the very position that got them elected, they will negotiate it away in order to accomplish something else that, while is desirable, does not rise to the status of the sanctity of life, particularly, for the defenseless, the innocent and the unborn.

Here’s what I would say to our elected officials in the Senate and in the Congress: What you have done has not gone unnoticed. There are many who are concerned about it. The way that this bill was passed means that they are now confronted with another vote on spending and our budget in September, which is not long before the mid-term elections. There will be many watching to see what you do in that spending bill and will you undo what you’ve done, which is the funding of an institution unalterably committed to the culture of death.

SOME ARE FEELING DISILLUSIONED — WHAT TO DO?

And let me speak just for a moment, Tom, to those who are disillusioned. Don’t be disillusioned from engagement in the political process with a Christian world and life view. Just realize this: Your allegiance and unstoppable affection has to go to your Savior, Lord and King, Jesus Christ, not to political parties. And then you ask the Lord to give you the desire to think Christianly and to live a life that will honor Christ, which means you will stay committed and you will stay engaged.

However, here’s where you need to be disillusioned. The answer to the death spiral of our culture into a culture of death and into a culture of sexual anarchy is not going to be found from the top-down in Washington so stay engaged because the blessing of political integrity is the restraint of sin in society.

As the progressive attempts to make the government its Savior and Messiah, I should never fall into the trap of being disillusioned in that I already know I cannot depend on the government for our salvation. I will stay engaged, though, because I want to elect officials who will protect the inalienable rights of the citizens of a nation who are made in the image of God and elect those who understand what their responsibility is in government.

I also will, again, embrace the notion that the most effective politics is local politics — that’s where you will see the most progression of action. And, finally, I want to engage in that which does change a culture.

POLITICS IS ONLY A TOOL FOR LIVING OUT CHRISTIANITY

Consistency in governing authorities will restrain sin in society, but the only thing that will change a society is when the people in the society have a change in their heart. And the only thing that can change the heart is the glorious Good News that there is a King Who died for His people that they may have eternal life. And I get to proclaim that message, and disciple and win people to Christ that they can grow in grace.

Again, what we need is a culture that values life from the ground-up because it is filled with people who love life and who love the Lord and giver of life because He has given them eternal life and they want to bring that message that affects how you think and how your life and how you love your neighbor. That’s where the change is going to come.

Tom, one time, a guy said to me, “Harry, honesty is the best policy.” I said, “No, it’s not.” He said, “What do you mean?” “I just don’t believe that honesty and integrity are policies. I think they’re principles — that’s the way you live your life,” and that’s what the sanctity of life is.

COMING UP FRIDAY: POPE FRANCIS’ ALLEGED COMMENTS ON HELL

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we’re out of time for today. On Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a story out of CNS News. Pope Francis recently had an interview with his long-time atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari. In this interview, Pope Francis basically said there is no Hell.

DR. REEDER: Tom, I’ve gotten multiple emails, “What do you think about Pope Francis’ declaration there is no hell?” Well, let’s take a little closer look at what he said. Let’s look at it tomorrow.

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.

21 mins ago

Birmingham Business Alliance reveals new mission, economic development approach

The Birmingham Business Alliance revealed a new mission and a new approach to economic development as it heads into 2020.

The BBA’s 2019 Chairwoman’s Annual Meeting was at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham Dec. 11. Chairwoman Nancy Goedecke passed the gavel to Jim Gorrie, president and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie.

Gone is Blueprint Birmingham, which guided the BBA through its first 10 years. In its place is a strategy that keys in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and technology. Those are some of the main industries the Alabama Department of Commerce is expected to emphasize in its revision of Accelerate Alabama, the state’s economic development plan.

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“Those are the three areas that we’re going to focus on,” said Fred McCallum, interim CEO of the BBA. “I will tell you that when you look at our state plan, there are a lot of similarities.”

Birmingham Business Alliance announces new direction from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A main component to Blueprint Birmingham was a set of metrics that measured Birmingham’s success against a cluster of peer cities. Doing so often looked too broadly, McCallum said.

“Blueprint was a good plan at the time,” he said. “It was very wide and in some ways it was successful and in other ways it wasn’t so successful. I think what we’ve come to now is a point in time where we’ve got to focus in on jobs and economic growth.”

There will be a new set of metrics created and benchmarked in a new BBA strategic plan, McCallum said.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin did highlight one comparison between Birmingham and other cities.

“Since the great recession around 2008, 60% of all jobs have only gone to 25 cities in America,” Woodfin said. “You need to know that Birmingham is not on that list.”

Woodfin feels Birmingham should measure itself against its own potential instead of comparing itself to others.

“We don’t have to be like Nashville or Chattanooga or Atlanta or Austin,” he said. “We need to be the best version of ourselves. But that is going to require us to shake off the way we’ve always done things.”

Woodfin said the companies and organizations that make up the BBA should be prepared to take greater risks and push boundaries.

“Being risk-averse at this time as we move into 2020 … will not work for us – as an organization or for our city,” he said. “So the question becomes when you walk out of this room, are we prepared to invest in our competitiveness? Do we want to compete? Do we want to set ourselves apart, not be like any other city in America?”

A primary goal for the BBA is to find a new CEO. McCallum has led the organization on an interim basis after former CEO Brian Hilson stepped down at the end of March. Hilson now works on rural economic development initiatives in the state.

Other changes will include aligning the BBA’s internal strategy to execute the new strategic plan, updating its governance structure to be more effective and efficient and aligning the funding model to support the BBA’s new strategic plan.

“I think the organization will be more focused on specific strategies and focused on doing what we do well,” McCallum said.

McCallum believes Birmingham leaders and economic developers can tell the region’s story more forcefully and proactively.

“We’re on a good trajectory. I feel good about where we are as a community,” McCallum said. “Our leadership is strong. Our public leadership is strong. Our private leadership is strong. I feel good about where the BBA is focused.”

This year’s annual meeting was more a call to action than the rah-rah sessions of the past.

“Usually I would get up here and give you all some stats about what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished,” Woodfin said. “I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a good year for many of your organizations individually and collectively for our Birmingham Business Alliance.”

It was a good 2019 in the Birmingham metro area. Halfway through the year, the region reached and surpassed its pre-recession height of employment. There were 32 projects with 1,180 jobs and $492.2 million in capital investment announced in the region in 2019.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

The biggest birthday party in Alabama history is TODAY!

The biggest birthday party in Alabama’s history is taking place today, December 14, and you are invited! Join us in Montgomery for the grand finale celebration of our state’s 200th birthday.

Watch the parade, listen to concerts and performances, visit open houses and much more.

This is sure to be a day you don’t want to miss. The event is free to the public and lasts all day starting with an elaborate parade at 10:00 a.m. The parade will travel from Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery up Dexter Avenue to the State Capitol. There will be marching bands, city floats and unique displays of Alabama history on wheels, such as the USS Alabama and U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

The parade is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the celebration together – and it’s only the beginning of a packed day. Following the parade, Governor Kay Ivey will dedicate Bicentennial Park. The afternoon will offer performances, exhibitions and open houses throughout downtown Montgomery. The day will conclude with a concert featuring popular musicians from Alabama and the history of Alabama presented in a never-before-seen way.

Visit Alabama 200 Finale for a complete rundown of the day’s events.

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2 hours ago

ADCNR officers help spread Christmas cheer at Academy Sports

Imagine elves filling baskets with goodies to load on Santa’s sleigh and you get a snapshot of what it looked like last week when Academy Sports + Outdoors provided Christmas cheer for numerous youngsters who needed that encouragement the most.

At Academy stores across Alabama, youngsters were chosen to go on shopping sprees with a budget of $150 each, assisted by first responders from the local area. In two locations, Huntsville and Foley, Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) enforcement officers assisted the kids in choosing the items that were loaded into the shopping carts.

Into the baskets went bows and arrows, footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, clothing, athletic shoes, candy canes and more. The youngsters proved more than adept at keeping track of just how far that gift card would go, counting down until the funding was exhausted.

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“Academy Sports + Outdoors is excited to partner with first responders across the state of Alabama to help 150 children enjoy more sports and outdoor fun this holiday season,” said Rick Burleson, Academy’s Regional Marketing Specialist. “As the shopping destination with the most fun gifts and gear, we look forward to making the holidays merry for our local communities across Alabama.”

Chris Blankenship, ADCNR’s Commissioner, said the shopping events presented a special opportunity for outreach to the younger generation.

“I appreciate Academy Sports + Outdoors for sponsoring this program,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “Opportunities like this where enforcement officers can interact positively with citizens, especially youth, are so valuable for building trust on both sides. Our Conservation Enforcement Officers participate in many programs to promote hunting and fishing for youth. This is just another example of the good people we have in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

“In the photos, you can really see the joy in the faces of the kids, the officers and the employees of Academy Sports + Outdoors. The giving spirit of Academy, our officers and the community is evident in the outpouring of support for this program. With this scene replicated at hundreds of Academy stores all over the country, good relations with law enforcement are being built nationwide and will pay dividends for many years to come. My desire to work in conservation came from encounters such as this with Marine Resources conservation officers when I was a kid. You cannot underestimate what effects the little things like this will have on a person and a community.”

At the Foley event, Conservation Enforcement Officers from the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division and the Marine Resources Division aided 10 youngsters from the afterschool program at the John McClure Snook Family YMCA in Foley.

Melissa McGhee, associate branch director of the Foley YMCA, said the youngsters ranged in age from 5 to 13.

“All the kids we chose are highly scholarshipped kids,” McGhee said. “They just don’t have a lot. For three of them, this is their Christmas. This was such an honor to be picked for this. When I talked to some of the parents, they just started crying because this is what their kids are doing for Christmas.”

Jason Ford, Academy Store Director in Foley, said providing a venue for officers and youngsters to interact in a positive way during the holiday season was well worth the effort from Academy and the associates who also assisted during the shopping sprees.

“We love that we can reach out to people in our community who are less fortunate,” Ford said. “But it also strengthens the bonds between our first responders and our community. Right now, we can use that unity more than ever. To be able to impact the community in such a positive way really goes a long way in warming my heart, and hopefully seeing the kids gets some good Christmas presents and develop some goodwill with our law enforcement.”

WFF Conservation Officer Steve Schrader wore a perpetual smile while he helped a young lady fill her basket with gifts from shoes to candy cane-shaped containers filled with M&Ms.

“This has been great,” Schrader said. “My shopper has been very generous and has bought more for her family than herself. I hope she now sees us (enforcement officers) more friendly than the other side of the fence. They can see us as real people, too. I think it went really well.”

At the event in Huntsville, Beth Morring with the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Alabama echoed the need for the sponsored kids to find out more about the ADCNR enforcement officers and what those officers actually do.

“Before they started shopping, we asked the Conservation guys to explain what they do every day,” Morring said. “The officers told them how they protected the wildlife and help those who fish and hunt and enjoy the outdoors. It was neat because our kids probably never knew these men and women existed. It was a learning experience just to meet these officers, which was great.”

Morring said 10 kids from the Seminole Boys and Girls Clubs in Huntsville were chosen for the event.

“These were the kids who needed it the most,” she said. “With $150 to shop, we did kind of steer them during their shopping, as did the officers. We started with shoes first and then went to get some essential clothing. They were able to get a goodie or two as well. It was a great time, and everybody wanted new shoes. These kids were predominantly from the public housing area where the club is located, and they were thrilled to get some new, shiny tennis shoes. In fact, some of them wore them out of the store that day, which was fabulous.”

Morring said the event was much more than just a shopping spree for the kids.

“To watch them interact with the officers and for our children to see men and women who serve and protect us, that they are good people,” she said. “Many of our children don’t have as positive an exposure with first responders sometimes. For them to be able to meet these first responders who can talk to them and realize these are dads and moms and husbands and wives – just regular people even though they might be in a uniform. So that positive interaction was so important. That was really impactful for our children.”

Morring said it was great to see the officers meet the kids on the same level.

“I loved watching these big grown-ups with these little children and them kneeling down on the floor to help them try on shoes,” she said. “Not to mention for our children, it was the first time they were able to walk into a store and have a budget for gifts where they got to make the decisions and choices. To watch these kids whose families struggle financially, for them to have $150 and then think about family members before themselves is admirable and amazing in light of their circumstances.”

David Rainer is an award-winning writer who has covered Alabama’s great outdoors for 25 years. The former outdoors editor at the Mobile Press-Register, he writes for Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

14 hours ago

Ivey visits hometown Camden to commemorate bicentennial — ‘Y’all, Alabama has come a long way’

CAMDEN — On Friday, on the eve of the culmination of Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration set to take place in Montgomery, Gov. Kay Ivey paid a visit to her hometown to take part in an event marking the milestone in her home county of Wilcox.

Not far from where Ivey attended high school as part of Wilcox County High School’s class of 1963, the governor participated in a ceremony that also included Camden Mayor Bill Creswell and Wilcox County Commissioner Bill Albritton.

After offering a list of the state’s achievements, Ivey remarked on how far Alabama had come.

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“During these 200 years, Alabama has celebrated some pretty incredible people and milestones,” she said. “Building a rocket that took a man to the moon, our rich Native American history and culture, becoming the birthplace for civil rights, and becoming an international market for goods and products. Y’all, Alabama has come a long way.”

She also noted that the events leading up to the bicentennial celebration kicked almost immediately after she assumed the role governor in 2017 and led her to make at least one visit in all of Alabama’s 67 counties.

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

While speaking to the press at the return to her hometown, Ivey expressed how great she felt about being back in her hometown and what her goals were as the state heads into its third century.

“We’re proud to be here in Wilcox County and in my hometown of Camden to celebrate the bicentennial of Wilcox County, and tomorrow we’ll celebrate the bicentennial of Alabama. It is sure great to be home,” Ivey stated.

“Certainly, we want to keep the economy going, keep the everybody working, get more people that are not working to work,” she continued. “We just want to make the quality of life in our state really good, so everybody has an opportunity to be and do what they want to do.”

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Ivey also offered some words of advice for her hometown and county in the pursuit of a better quality of life.

“Y’all just make this place an attractive place to live and do business, have a strong education system so people can put their children in schools, then in touch with the Department of Commerce to get prospects to look us over,” she said.

@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.

15 hours ago

Three Crimson Tide players, Auburn’s Derrick Brown named Walter Camp All-Americans

University of Alabama football players Xavier McKinney, Jaylen Waddle and Jedrick Wills, Jr. have been named to the Walter Camp All-America second-team, while Auburn University’s Derrick Brown made the first-team.

McKinney is a safety, Waddle is a wide receiver selected to the team as a returner on special teams, Wills is an offensive tackle and Brown is a defensive tackle.

The Walter Camp Foundation announced the honors Thursday evening at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

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McKinney, a junior, ranked 12th in the SEC in tackles with 85 through 12 games. He was also the Crimson Tide leader in tackles this season, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks. He forced four fumbles and added three interceptions to go with five pass breakups and four quarterback hurries. The star defensive back also returned one of his interceptions for an 81-yard touchdown.

Waddle led the nation in punt return average at 24.9 yards per return with 19 for 474 yards and a touchdown, including a long of 77. The sophomore also returned four kickoffs for 152 yards and one score and added more than 53 yards and six touchdowns on 32 catches at wideout this season. Earlier this week, he was selected as a first team All-American at returner by Pro Football Focus and named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Wills anchored an offensive line that has surrendered only 12 sacks in 381 pass attempts this season. He graded out at over 91% for the Tide along the front allowing only one sack all season and only 3.5 quarterback hurries while missing only seven assignments in 714 snaps for a success rate of 99.9%.

Brown had a monster season on the defensive side of the ball and landed as a finalist for just about every national award possible. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the conference coaches and The Associated Press.

This is the 130th edition of the Walter Camp All-America team, the nation’s oldest such team.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn