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Should the evil misuse of liberty mean we give up liberty?






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TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, it’s with a great deal of sadness that we must go back to a story — seems like we’ve recounted this issue time and time again. Last Wednesday, an alleged gunman was accused of killing at least 17 people when he opened fire at a Florida high school as panicked students fled in a bloodbath. He was charged Thursday morning with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

DR. REEDER: Heartbreaking situation. I’m sitting here trying to think of parents who sent their kids off to school that day and they just don’t come home. A 19-year-old man comes in, having planned out what he was going to do all the way to the pulling of a fire alarm in order to get as many kids out into the hallway as possible. When I think of the assistant football coach who shielded the students and saved some lives at the cost of his own — cases like that may have been repeated that will yet come out.


And then, on the other hand, you’ve got someone holding a weapon, purchasing a weapon in order to inflict that kind of damage. He had been banned to the point that he was not allowed to come in with a knapsack and others had even made comments, “If there’s ever a shooting at this school, we know who will have done it.” Footprints in his social media showed this fascination with death and violence and weapons. Everybody says, “Well, if you see something, say something.”

Well, the reality is a lot of people have seen it and said it and precautions had been taken, which drives us from a Christian world and life view to try to do what’s inevitable: Because we’re made in the image of God, when something happens of the nature of evil — and that’s what this is — we’re always asking the question, “Why did this happen?” and we’re always wanting to know what can we do to stop it and what happened to cause it.


How should Christians respond to a moment like this? Well, our first moment is to restrain ourselves from asking the “Why?” and the “What do we do?” and the attempt to try to explain it by fixing blame somewhere other than the one who did it. We restrain ourselves from that in order to do what we’re called to do and that is minister to the victims of such a horrific act of brokenness and sin and evil. We want to rush to them to minister to them.

Tom, as you know, I pastored in south Florida. I am aware of the churches in the area and the pastors in the place like Coral Ridge Presbyterian and First Presbyterian Church — Coral Springs, I know you have a relationship with the pastor there as well — and I know they are all responding and all available.

Let me give you three Ps, if I can, that would identify what the Christians there are doing, and should be doing, and what we would want to influence others to do.

  1. Pray for those victims that the God of grace and comfort will come into their life, into a broken world, bring a peace that passes understanding, one that we cannot rationalize or understand that only He can bring in only those places that He can go into the soul and the heart and the depths of someone’s being who has lost a loved one in not only a despicable but seemingly unexplainable act such as this.
  2. The ministry of presence — that you’re there with them. Whenever you’re with people that are hurting, sometimes we feel like we have to start saying something to help them understand it. Many times, that’s really counterproductive. Now, if they ask you a question, certainly you try to respond — because a lot of people, when something like this happens, they want to process it verbally — but I don’t think believers should initiate verbal processing. I think they initiate their presence. The holy hug, the holy kiss, touch upon the arm and the shoulders, and just “I’m here with you.”
  3. Petition: “How can I help you?” Whenever you have that kind of disorder and death and mayhem, the power of the Gospel, the power of prayer, the power of presence and the power of petition, “How can I help you?”


Cain murdered Abel because of his anger, rebellion against God because God did not do what he wanted Him to do. And, in his rebellion against God, attempted to make his own gods and sought his own significance in life, even at the expense of his brother Abel and, therefore, murdered his brother with cold premeditated murder “in the field.”

This young man has a track record of anger, depression, violence, fascination with instruments of violence — that’s indicating what is happening in his heart and the only thing that can retard the evil intentions of a heart is the grace of God.

And the grace of God comes in two streams. One is the redeeming grace of God, whereby people’s lives are changed. Prior to my conversion, I was a blasphemous, profane, immoral and violent person and God graciously changed me by His redeeming grace. But I remember I was never as violent as I sometimes wanted to be and that’s because God’s common grace had restrained me and the instrument of common grace is the lifestyle of believers penetrating a community and its values that retards what people would want to be.


There is no doubt in my mind that a death culture that markets video games, whereby people become coarsened to death; a culture that has comedians who make profane jokes about aborted babies; a culture that is embracing active mandated euthanasia; a culture that despises the imperfect children born with special needs; a culture that is fascinated with the satisfaction and gratification of self at the cost of anybody and everything — that culture cannot retard these kinds of acts and they cannot make these unthinkable. On the contrary, our culture is making these things thinkable and plausible.

We, as Christians, need to ask ourselves, “How do we respond?” Immediately move into the lives of victims in a moment like this, pray for them, be present with them and petition them to find out how you can help them.

Then, secondly, we need to be involved in evangelism and discipleship so that people are brought to Christ and they’re not just professors but possessors of Christ and begin to follow Christ and live for Christ, which then makes the Christian and the Christian church salt and light that would retard the presence of evil, would penetrate the culture of evil and light that would retard and dispel the darkness of evil.


Finally, Tom, let me say the dilemma that we are in in a nation that prizes and embraces certain rights of freedom, you’ll notice that these things don’t happen in cultures of tyranny — government removes all their liberties and controls them. And, when you prize liberty, you open up yourself to these kinds of perversions of liberty where people take their liberties in order to make plans.

This is a evil, senseless act, yet you will note that the man who did this was not stupid — he planned his evil. The evil makes no sense, but senseless evil is done by people who plan it and, when they plan it, they take advantage of their liberties and they take advantage of others who are living in a culture that prizes liberty.

Is the answer for the government to come in and take away liberties for our security? Our forefathers had another answer. It was called the First Amendment of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. That’s why they all said, “We’re a country that prizes liberty governed by law, but only moral people respect the law as king and we need the free movement of the church and religion in order to enhance respect for the law, which is what curtails the liberties from becoming opportunities to promote that which is evil and despicable.”

The church is not a place that you give liberty one hour a week in one place for people to believe something in the privacy of their heart, mind and home. We need the free practice of religion in order to bring a sensibility of morality to curtail the evil that is born into everyone’s heart.

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. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

37 mins ago

Alabama native and former Marshall quarterback Reggie Oliver dead at 66

The Marshall University quarterback who was part of the team’s return after the 1970 plane crash that killed 75 players has died.

Reggie Oliver was 66.


Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert said in a release Tuesday that his “heart is broken” at the loss of Oliver.

He added that Oliver was “an integral piece of the fabric that makes up Marshall’s story.”

Marshall Athletics said in a release that Oliver “was one of Marshall’s true legends.”

The Herald-Dispatch reported Oliver was hospitalized in Huntsville, Alabama, last week after suffering a head injury in a fall.

Oliver grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and became a quarterback for the Young Thundering Herd, as the team was known.

In the school’s first home game after the crash, Oliver connected with freshman fullback Terry Gardner for a 13-yard touchdown on the game’s final play to upset Xavier 15-13.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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15 hours ago

Gov. Ivey appoints interim finance chief — ‘Thorough search’ underway for permanent appointee

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday named longtime state employee Kelly Butler as acting Director of the Alabama Department of Finance to replace outgoing Director Clinton Carter, who resigned this summer to become the Chief Financial Officer for the University of North Carolina System.

According to a press release by the governor’s office, Butler began his career with the Alabama Department of Revenue more than thirty years ago and has since worked for the Legislative Fiscal Office and the Alabama Department of Finance as Assistant State Budget Officer, State Budget Officer and, most recently, Assistant Finance Director for Fiscal Operations.

Now, a “thorough search” is underway for a permanent Finance Director.

Outgoing State Treasurer Young Boozer has emerged as the clear favorite for the appointment, as he leaves office in January due to being term-limited. Former Congressman Jo Bonner, who recently left his role as Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at the University of Alabama System, is also on the shortlist. Another possibility that has been floating around is state Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville).

Until then, the state is in experienced hands with Butler.


His duties as Assistant Finance Director included overseeing the State Comptroller’s Office, the State Purchasing Division, the State Debt Management Division, and the State Business Systems Division.

“Kelly Butler has more than two decades of experience working with the state’s budgets and more than three decades experience as a fiscal analyst,” Ivey said in a statement. “I know he will do an excellent job leading the Alabama Department of Finance during this interim period.

The governor added, “I appreciate him stepping up as acting director and his commitment to my administration.”

In addition to handling his new job responsibilities, Butler will continue to work on crafting the Ivey administration’s budget proposals leading up to the 2019 Legislative Session. He accepted the new role with graciousness and thanked the employees that work with him for making the department run smoothly.

“I am honored that governor Ivey has asked me to lead the Department of Finance,” Butler announced in a statement. “The department has many talented employees who work hard to provide excellent services to other state agencies and to the people of Alabama. I look forward to working with them to continue those excellent services.”

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

16 hours ago

Alabama’s state climatologist John Christy rebuts claims of recent fires, heat waves being caused by human activity in in-depth interview

There is one particular word that Dr. John Christy turns to frequently for describing climate science: murky.

It’s a point of view foundational to his own research, and a message underpinning each of his twenty appearances before various congressional committees.

“It’s encouraging because they wouldn’t invite you back unless your message was compelling and not only compelling, but accurate,” Christy, Alabama’s state climatologist, told Yellowhammer News in an interview.

Christy, whose day job involves doing research and teaching as the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), has gained notoriety over the years for dissenting from mainstream climate scientists and policymakers who argue that climate change is anthropogenic, or man-made, and that something must be done to stop it.


A “working-stiff” scientist

Dissent has gained for Christy the characterization as a “climate change skeptic” or “denier,” as critics refer to him, but he himself rejects those terms.

“I’m a working-stiff atmospheric scientist,” he said, “as opposed to those who support modeling efforts, those who use data sets that other people create and analyze them, but they don’t build them themselves.”

According to Christy, the result of fewer “working-stiff” scientists contributing to the prevailing climate debate is more frequent misuses of data.

“They’re not aware of what goes into it,” Christy said, referring to the data.

“Here we have a science that’s so dominated by personalities that claim the science is settled, yet when you walk up to them and say prove it, they can’t,” he said.

Christy spoke at length about what can be proven and what cannot in his self-described “murky” field, referring often to principles of the scientific method.

“You cannot prove extra greenhouse gases have done anything to the weather,” he said, responding to claims made by many scientists that more greenhouse gases have caused extreme weather patterns to intensify.

“We do not have an experiment that we can repeat and do,” he said.

Christy outlined another problem with attempts to implicate greenhouse gases: a failure to account for things countering trapping effects.

“We know that the extra greenhouse gases should warm the planet,” he said. “The weak part of that theory though is that when you add more greenhouse gases that trap heat, things happen that let it escape as well, and so not as much is trapped as climate models show.”

Economics of climate policy

Though his scientific arguments are primary, Christy also frequently discusses in interviews and testimonies the economic consequences of proposed climate change mitigation policy via carbon reduction.

“Every single person uses energy, carbon energy, and relies on carbon-based energy,” Christy said. “None of our medical advances, none of our technological advances, none of our progress would have happened in the last hundred years without energy derived from carbon.”

Christy contrasts that reality within the modern, developed world with the world he saw working as a missionary teacher in impoverished Africa during the 1970s.

“The energy source was wood chopped from the forest, the energy transmission system was the backs of women and girls hauling wood an average of three miles each day, the energy use system was burning the wood in an open fire indoors for heat and light,” Christy told members of the House Committee on Energy in 2006.

Broad availability to affordable energy enriches countries, Christy said, praising carbon.

“It is not evil. It is the stuff of life. It is plant food,” he said.

What about the fires and heat waves?

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, fires were burning in fifteen states as of Tuesday, August 14.

Alaska reported seventeen fires, Arizona reported eleven, both Oregon and Colorado reported ten, and California reported nine.

Much of the news media’s discussion about these fires over the past few weeks has established a correlation between the many fires and anthropogenic climate change, a correlation that Dr. Christy rejects.

Christy argues that exacerbating fires out west, particularly in California, results from human mismanagement. Such states have enacted strict management practices that disallow low-level fires from burning, he said.

“If you don’t let the low-intensity fires burn, that fuel builds up year after year,” Christy said. “Now once a fire gets going and it gets going enough, it has so much fuel that we can’t put it out.”

“In that sense, you could say that fires today are more intense, but it’s because of human management practices, not because mother nature has done something,” Christy said.

Data from the Fire Center indicates that the number of wildfires have been decreasing since the 1970s overall, though acreage burned has increased significantly.

As for the heat, Christy said there’s nothing abnormal going on in the United States.

“Heat waves have always happened,” he said. “Our most serious heatwaves were in the 1930’s. We have not matched those at all.”

Christy continued, “It is only a perception that is being built by the media that these are dramatic worst-ever heat wave kind of things but when we look at the numbers, and all science is numbers, we find that there were periods that were hotter, hotter for longer periods in the past, so it’s very hard to say that this was influenced by human effects when you go back before there could have been human effects and there’s the same or worse kind of events.”

Though Christy didn’t deny that the last three years have been the hottest ever recorded globally, he doesn’t concede that the changes are attributable to anything other than climate’s usual and historical erraticism.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

16 hours ago

Alabama state Rep. Standridge on ‘In God We Trust’ legislation: ‘It’s a simple message, but I believe it’s a powerful message’

Alabama state Rep. David Standridge (R-Hayden) was interviewed Tuesday on “Fox and Friends First,” where he discussed the state’s new law that allows “In God We Trust” to be displayed in public buildings.

Standridge, who sponsored the legislation in the state legislature, explained that the idea came in part out of recent debate about school safety. He said he views displaying the national motto as a way to bring added comfort to students, teachers and staff while they are at school.

Along the way, Standridge was shocked by the number of people who were afraid to touch the subject, due to what he views as a modern-day culture of hypersensitivity and “political correctness.”

Media outlets like and the Associated Press reported that legal challenges are “expected,” but, like Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Standridge does not see an issue with simply displaying the national motto – which he points out was passed by Congress and is featured on American currency.

“It’s a simple message, but I believe it’s a powerful message,” Standridge said on “Fox and Friends First.”


Standridge’s wife, Danna, is a former teacher at Hayden High School in Blount County, which is being viewed as the guinea pig county for the new law.

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

17 hours ago

The media, including some in Alabama, continue endorsing aggressive action by liberals that will lead to violence

During the rise of the Tea Party, the American media pretended the group was violent and was going to get people hurt. There are multiple instances where the media disingenuously tied violent acts that were unrelated to the group or others on the American right; the facts didn’t matter.

Now, liberals are in the street punching reporters, cutting audio cables, yelling at people while they eat, showing up and screaming at town halls and throwing items at U.S. Senators like Doug Jones over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, while shouting, “You can kiss my ass if you vote yes. You can kiss my ass if you vote yes. You can kiss my ass.”

If the woman who committed this act were Republican, we would know every single thing about her and she would have been fired from her job.

But because she is fighting the liberal’s fight, the Alabama Political Reporter’s Josh Moon praised this ridiculousness:


This comes on the heels of CNN’s Chris Cuomo endorsing violence by Antifa in a “fight between good and evil”:

The violence is going to get worse. It is being fueled by bad people for bad reasons. The cowards in the media will make excuses for these people, and they will tell those who might be considering action that they are morally right. It implies doing nothing is complicit, and that it is more important than ever that Americans resist — even if that means violence.

It is easy to see that Josh Moon and Chris Cuomo aren’t going to get out in the street and start throwing hands, but rather, they will praise violent acts from behind their keyboards and from their televisions studios as they benefit from the carnage.