4 weeks ago

Steve Flowers: Methodists have dominated high offices in Alabama history

Even though there are more Baptists than Methodists in Alabama, historically Methodists have held more of the prominent political posts in the Heart of Dixie. If you look closely at these leaders’ lives, a good many of our leaders have been sons of Methodist ministers.

The most famous Methodist minister in the state over the past 50 years has been the Rev. John Ed Mathison of Montgomery. He has been the confidant and counselor to a great many of Alabama’s leaders, as well as being the greatest inspirational and dynamic speaker of our time. John Ed founded and pastored the Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery. He shepherded his flock in the capital for 36 years.

His younger brother is a remarkable man, very similar to John Ed. The Rev. George Mathison served numerous churches in Alabama. However, he is best known for being the minister of the First Methodist Church of Auburn, where he was their beloved pastor for 26 years. His flock referred to him as Brother George.

John Ed and George were born to be Methodist ministers. Their father was a renowned Methodist minister. They were both athletes in college. John Ed and George are both outstanding tennis players.

The First Methodist Church of Dothan is where many of the leaders of the Wiregrass have attended over the years. Dr. Mike Watson has been a leader in the Methodist Church throughout his illustrious career. He recently retired as a Bishop of the Methodist Church. He and his wife, Margaret, grew up in the First Methodist Church of Dothan. Two Alabama Attorney Generals, Bill Baxley and Richmond Flowers, came from First Methodist in Dothan. Congressional candidate and businessman Jeff Coleman is also an active member of this church.

Our legendary United States Senator and Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Howell Heflin was the son of a Methodist minister. Heflin was a master storyteller and having grown up in the Methodist Church was an active layman in the church. He loved to eat. He would say, “The sacred bird of the Methodist was fried chicken.” The Methodist practice of moving their preachers around caused Heflin to be born out of Alabama. Heflin would say, “My father was over in Georgia doing missionary work among the heathen.”

Alabama’s most prominent and prolific political icon, George Wallace, was a Methodist. Our legendary United States Senators Lister Hill and John Sparkman were both Methodists.

State Rep. Steve Clouse has been a member of First Methodist in Ozark his entire life. State Rep. Bill Poole and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox are members of the First Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle is a Methodist and his grandfather was a Methodist minister.

Former Senator Jeff Sessions is a lifelong, devout Methodist. He even went to the Montgomery Methodist founded college, Huntington. BCA President Katie Britt and her husband Wesley attend the First Methodist Church of Montgomery. Current Chief Justice Tom Parker and his wife Dottie attend Frazer United Methodist of Montgomery, the church made famous by John Ed Mathison.

Congressman Robert Aderholt and his wife, Caroline, met at the Methodist college of Birmingham-Southern College and were married in the Methodist church, but are now Anglicans.

The Baptists have been taking their rightful place at the head of the table in recent years. Our Governor Kay Ivey is a Baptist. She attends First Baptist Church of Montgomery. The legendary pastor there, Jay Wolfe, has been the confidant and pastor to a good many of our recent state leaders. PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh and her husband, Jeff, are also active members of First Baptist Church of Montgomery. Twinkle teaches Sunday School and Jeff is a deacon.

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth is a Baptist and has been a youth leader in his church. Secretary of State John Merrill is an active member of Calvary Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa. State Senator Greg Reed of Jasper is a Baptist. Greg has been a lifelong member of First Baptist Jasper. Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell is a deacon of his church, Hillcrest Baptist of Maplesville, where his family has attended for generations.

We have a couple of state leaders who are Presbyterians. The two most prominent are our Senior United States Senator, Richard Shelby and state Treasurer John McMillan.

We have two token Episcopalians, Mobile/Baldwin Congressman Bradley Bryne and the congressman who preceded him, Jo Bonner, who is currently Governor Ivey’s Chief of Staff.

In bygone days if you wanted to be elected to anything in North Alabama, you had to be a member of the Church of Christ. Not so much today. The only member of that church today, who is a prominent state political leader, is State Senator Jabo Waggoner, Jr., who represents an over the mountain, Birmingham silk-stocking district.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

1 hour ago

Hightower campaign unveils ads featuring the candidate’s faith in God, pro-life values

Bill Hightower’s campaign for Congress released two new ads on Monday that play up the candidate’s conservative values.

One is a 30-second television spot and the other is a one-minute radio spot.

Both ads begin by asserting Hightower’s strong commitment to the sanctity of life, which the candidate believes begins at birth.

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Hightower has long been one of Alabama’s most vocal pro-life politicians. His new television ad mentions pro-adoption legislation he sponsored while a member of the Alabama Senate.

Hightower has also frequently mentioned his pro-life stance on the trail during his congressional run and his unsuccessful pursuit of Alabama’s governorship in 2018.

The radio piece goes deeper into Hightower’s faith in God. The candidate says, “I committed my life to Jesus when I was 16 years old, and since then I’ve been a student of the word.”

Hightower’s main competitors for Alabama’s First Congressional District are Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl and State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile). The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Both Carl and Pringle have released ads recently. All three men have voiced their support of President Donald Trump and the ongoing construction of a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico.

Hightower is alone in choosing to promote his support for term limits in his ads, though Pringle has signed a pledge signaling support for a term limits proposal.

The Alabama Republican primary is March 3.

Listen:

Watch:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 hours ago

Matt Fridy releases ad showcasing citizen testimonials — ‘On Tuesday I’m voting Fridy’

State Representative Matt Fridy’s (R-Montevallo) campaign for the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released an ad Monday that shows Alabama citizens vouching for the candidates’ character and legal abilities.

In the closing moments, the ad also features a clever turn of phrase, “Vote Fridy on Tuesday,” that the campaign hopes will stick with viewers.

The 30-second spot will begin airing on radio and cable this week.

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The individuals featured in the ad, who go unidentified, vouch for Fridy’s “brilliant legal mind” and his “integrity.”

Additionally, one man in the ad lauds Fridy as a “staunch conservative.”

The new piece is more conventional than the campaign’s first advertisement, which went for a humorous tone.

Fridy is widely considered the favorite to win the Civil Appeals Court race. His only opponent in the primary, Phillip Bahakel, has not been able to accrue much money for his campaign and has not released a television ad.

Watch:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 hours ago

Ainsworth to unveil legislation shortening appeals process for capital murder death row inmates

Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth on Tuesday will unveil legislation that will reportedly shorten the appeals process and expedite the death penalty for individuals convicted of capital murder and sentenced to be executed in the state.

Originally inspired by the record number of Yellowhammer State law enforcement officers across the state who have been killed in the line of duty over the past 13 months, the legislation will actually apply to all capital murder convictions resulting in the death penalty that occur in Alabama.

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RELATED: State Rep. John Rogers calls for automatic death penalty with no appeals for convicted cop killers

Ainsworth will be joined by bill sponsors at an 11:00 a.m. press conference in the State House to make the announcement. The Republican lieutenant governor announced two months ago that he was working on this legislation.

“‘Back the Blue’ must be more than just a slogan. Actions must follow words,” Ainsworth has said in a tweet. “Murdering an officer who maintains law and order should quickly cost your own life.”

Last year, the Alabama legislature passed a bill by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville) making it a capital offense to kill any on-duty first responder, not just policemen and corrections officers.

Killing an on-duty police officer has long been a capital offense in Alabama.

In Alabama, capital murder convictions result in either life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty.

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

5 hours ago

7 Things: Byrne throwing haymakers in Senate race, Tuberville says he isn’t for amnesty but there is a tape, Trump plays the race card and more …

7. Bloomberg reportedly has made inappropriate comments towards female employees

  • A report from the Washington Post has shown detailed accounts of inappropriate comments former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made towards women and ways that he’s discriminated against women.
  • One of the accounts in the report was of a female employee who announced that she was pregnant, and Bloomberg responded, “Kill it!” President Donald Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said that the way Bloomberg has treated his female employees creates an “unsafe workplace.” She added, “[T]o feel that you’re being harassed because of your gender, that is problematic.”

6. UAB one of the best hospitals

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  • UAB Hospital has made the cut for one of America’s Best Hospitals based on overall clinical excellence. Only the top 5% of hospitals in the country qualify.
  • There’s a total of 32 conditions and procedures that hospitals are evaluated on to be determined one of the best, including stroke, heart failure and heart attack. If treated at a hospital ranked as one of America’s best, there’s a 26.6% higher survival rate.

5. Every Trump appointee just needs to resign or be investigated?

  • Amid the drama of the Department of Justice getting involved in the case of Roger Stone, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is calling for U.S. Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate while others are calling for resignation or impeachment (which will never happen).
  • Klobuchar wants to ensure that the decision of the Justice Department wasn’t influenced by President Donald Trump with him “constantly tweeting out different requests of the Justice Department.” Barr has already agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

4. Medical marijuana vote expected this week

  • On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a public hearing where the medical marijuana bill will likely be discussed, and a vote on the bill could happen on the same day.
  • State Senator Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) would require that people first get a prescription for medical marijuana from a state-approved doctor before going to a dispensary to purchase their products. Only those with specific conditions would be approved for a medical marijuana card.

3. Trump takes “The Beast” for a spin at Daytona

  • President Donald Trump visited the Daytona 500 on Sunday where he acted as the Grand Marshall for the race and took the presidential limo on a lap around the track while chants of “four more years” and “USA!” filled the track.
  • Obviously, the media and their Democrats were not happy with this and complained that the limo was a government resource being used for campaign purposes, which is the same complaint they make about Air Force One. Even though both parties have complained about this practice in the past, it is clearly permissible.

2. Tuberville isn’t for amnesty

  • In the 2020 U.S. Senate race in Alabama, U.S. Representative Bradly Byrne (R-Fairhope) has released an ad that takes aim at former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, replaying audio from a Shoals Republican Club meeting where Tuberville talks about illegal immigration, saying, “Put the wall up – then let them come in and become citizens like we all became citizens.”
  • The narrator in the ad responds with “Hey, Tommy, that’s amnesty,” but at a campaign stop in Hartselle, Tuberville said that when it comes to amnesty for illegal immigrants, “You have to go and start back the right way.” He added that people saying he’s for amnesty are part of “the swamp. … They can’t run on anything, they don’t do anything. They’ve never done anything.”

1. Byrne throwing punches shows the state of the race

  • Whether he is in second or third is up for debate, but U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is the first candidate to go on the attack in his own name in the 2020 U.S. Senate race, putting out a television ad saying that both former Auburn Football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should’ve stayed fired.”
  • The ad compares Byrne to Tuberville and Sessions, saying that “Bradley is the proven fighter with a track record of defending President Trump and our values.” The Sessions campaign has responded to the ad saying that candidates attack when they’re “desperate and afraid.”

7 hours ago

Montgomery launches ‘Feed the Meter for the Homeless’ project

Under the leadership of Mayor Steven L. Reed, new specialized parking meters were installed last week in downtown Montgomery to provide a quick, convenient way to support locals affected by homelessness.

Reed announced the meters were on the way during a recent city council meeting. Called the “Feed the Meter for the Homeless” project, the City’s new initiative is made possible through a partnership with the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless (MACH).

The special parking meters are green and offer residents a way to donate directly to support MACH and central Alabama agencies working with those experiencing homelessness in Alabama’s capital city. Donations will be accepted in the forms of coins or cash at each specialized meter and by card through the ParkMobile app (zone 36999) or online payment.

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“The Feed the Meter for the Homeless initiative connects compassion with convenience by allowing Montgomery residents and visitors to support our neighbors affected by homelessness and its devastating ramifications,” Reed said in a statement. “Each donation is a hand-up to help those in need and an investment in building a better future for Montgomery and the River Region.”

For more information on Feed the Meter for the Homeless MGM, please click here.

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