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Gender chaos leads to societal chaos


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WHY HAS PERSONAL IDENTITY BECOME SUCH A BIG PROBLEM IN SOCIETY?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, I’d like to take you to an in-depth article written by a friend of yours, Dr. Peter Jones. It deals with personal identity. He writes, “If personal identity becomes one of the areas of human rights to be defended with moral passion, then there can be no universal moral standards.” What does he mean by that?

HARRY REEDER: Peter has appropriately addressed this from Romans 1:18 through the end of the chapter, the three-fold death spiral of a culture that denies God and the worship of God and institutes the worship of the creature and the worship of the creation.

In other words, instead of what he calls “two-ism” — the majestic God and then, secondly, His creation — there is now the creature made in the image of God who is to oversee God’s creation that God made for him — the creation is the home of humanity made in the image of God and humanity is called to be a good steward of that home and to fill it for His glory and to use it for His glory — man says, “There is no Creator. Everything exists out of a materialistic explanation,” thus atheistic evolution. Therefore, man is God and we are not here in the image of God, but we are God.
DENYING GOD AS CREATOR LEADS THE CREATURE ASTRAY

And he makes the point, whenever that happens, there is a downward spiral. Today, it is the universally acclaimed “right” of personal identity: “I am who I say I am.” You now have actually taught, in academic circles with academic respectability, statements such as this: When you are born, it is valid to put on the birth certificate your “biological sex” male or female, but it is not valid to put gender because gender is a matter of social construct.

There is a direct denial that God says, “No, there is male; there is female.” Now, do we want socially attached directives to define gender? No, but we do want the Word of God that reveals to us that we are made in the image of God and the image of God requires male and female. And there is something distinctive about male and female and distinctive about how you live out your masculinity and your femininity in life and the three spheres of life: the civil arena of life, the sacred arena of life of the church, and the foundational arena of life which is marriage and family. There is a denial of that and says yes, there is a biological sex, but gender is a social construct and it awaits the person’s identification of their gender. That is, you personally identify.

ACADEMIA IS SPREADING POST-MODERN THEORIES ON IDENTITY

It was very interesting, if you’ll remember, the young lady, the president of an African-American organization in the state of Washington that claimed that she was African-American but we found that was cosmetic and the reality is she is not. And her family spoke up and then the outcry from the academic circles, “Well, yes, she is African-American if she identifies as African-American.” That now leads to men who say, “I identify as a female,” winning 100-yard dashes with male testosterone outgunning the hormones of the females in the race — “Oh, well, biologically, he may be a he, but he identifies as a she” — and so you now have chaos in sports and chaos in the military and chaos everywhere in the trans ideology, which is based upon personal identity.

Society was based upon premodernity, which is God has revealed truth in creation and in Scripture and you now function based upon what God has revealed — that is, reason is used on the foundation of revelation.

Well, now we have moved to modernity, which says no, revelation is mythological and man’s reason is the foundation of life and that’s modernity. It was captured most clearly by Descartes, who said, “I think; therefore, I am.” Up until then, it was “I am; God has revealed I am made in the image of God. Being made in the image of God, I can communicate and think.”

Therefore, up until Descartes, academia was built upon “I am; therefore, I can think. I am made in the image of God; therefore, I can think. I am a rational creature. I’m not an animal. There’s something different about humanity made in the image of God, male and female.”

Now we move to the Descartes declaration embraced by academics, which is “I think; therefore, I am.” Well, the fallibility of our thinking has attacked the veracity of our existence. Thus, now modernity has moved to post-modernity so we’ve moved from “I am; therefore, I think,” to “I think; therefore, I am,” now we have moved to “Whatever I think I am is what I am.”

HOWEVER, CHAOS OF IDENTITY LEADS TO CHAOS OF SOCIETY

And that, of course, leads to utter chaos as we’re seeing, but man’s rebellion and idolatry of self says, “I will not reason from God’s revelation. My reason is going to be supreme and, if my reason is supreme, then I am sovereign and there is no God who made me what I am. I am what I think I am and whatever I think I am, I must be treated that way in society. So, if I say I’m an African-American but I’m Caucasian, it doesn’t matter. You have to treat me that way because that’s what I think I am.”

And that’s where the trans ideology has extended into the gender confusion arena and so, instead of seeing gender confusion as an adolescent issue, it has now become a “cause celeb” whereby, “These are not people confused, but these are people telling you who they really are inside of themselves.” And you go back and say, “Well, if you go inside of them and we take the DNA out, guess what? They’re male. They’re a female. That’s who they are. You dig them up after they die, 500 years, do a bone test, they’re going to say, ‘That was a man. That was a woman.’”

THE GOOD NEWS IS OUR IDENTITY IN GOD IS UNCHANGEABLE

My identity is not derived from who I say I am, and what I do and what the culture affirms. I am what I am, first of all, because God made me in His image and, secondly, I am what I am by the grace of God. Tom, we now have a generation of children who have no meaning except what they say is their meaning and what the world affirms as their meaning instead of an intrinsic dignity.

Tom, I just finished a couple of hours last night working on a chapter in my commentary that I’m doing on the Book of James, which says to us this glorious truth: How can you say you love God and don’t love your brother? If you can’t love your brother, who is made in the image of God, how can you say that you love God? And notice our relationships with each other are built on the relationship and dignity of who God is and how God made the people around me. I can’t say I love Him and then have people around me who are made in the image of God and not properly love them.

And what is that declaring? That’s declaring, everybody you meet — I don’t care if they’re Black, white, rich, poor, North American, South American — I don’t care who they are or where they are in terms of their intrinsic worth. Everybody has intrinsic worth, not assigned to themselves by themselves or assigned to themselves by the culture, but they have an intrinsic worth assigned to them by God. It is not an assigned worth and dignity, but it is an intrinsic worth and dignity. God made them in His image; male and female He made in His image; old and young; rich and poor; in the womb, outside of the womb — there is the dignity of humanity.

God made you in His image and, if you come to Jesus, you can be conformed to the image of Christ and you can say with men who are changed like the apostle Paul, who was Saul of Tarsus and a religious terrorist until the grace of God met Him and then he says this: “I am what I am, not only because of how God made me, but what God is doing in me. I am what I am by the grace of God in Christ.”

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.

6 hours ago

The surprising link between Alabama seafood, timber and U.S. national security, and how Shelby is leading the way

There are plenty of areas of debate over exactly how and where the U.S. should spend its foreign aid dollars. But for Alabamians in particular — and the entire Gulf Coast region more broadly — the international assistance that flows into cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking is paying massive dividends, both economically and, perhaps more surprisingly, in terms of national security.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans grossly overestimate the amount the federal government spends on foreign aid.  The average answer was foreign aid accounts for a whopping 31 percent of spending. Fifteen percent of respondents actually thought it represented over half of the U.S. budget.

In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, it accounts for about 1 percent total when military, economic development and humanitarian efforts are combined.  And it is paying massive dividends for Alabama.

Here’s how:

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First, foreign aid dollars fund multi-nation efforts to combat illegal trade in timber and fish. These illicit practices cost U.S. foresters and fishers billions of dollars in lost revenue every single year by flooding the market and driving down prices.

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, “Alabama has the second largest commercial timberland base in the U.S., with 23 million acres. Forestry is the state’s second largest manufacturing industry, producing an estimated $14.8 billion worth of products in 2013, the latest data available.” Alabama also ranked second in the country in fish production. By cracking down on the black-market trading of timber and fish, our foreign aid dollars are protecting Alabama jobs.

Second, foreign aid that flows into international conservation efforts, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, helps countries manage their natural resources sustainably. This prevents the scarcity of water, food or forests that often contributes to instability and sparks regional conflicts.

Third, cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking cuts off a major source of income for armed groups and organizations with terrorist ties throughout the world, many of which pose a direct threat to American interests.

A report by the United Nations and Interpol found that the “illegal wildlife trade worth up to $213 billion a year is funding organized crime, including global terror groups and militias.” Additionally, “the annual trade of up to $100 billion in illegal logging is helping line the pockets of mafia, Islamist extremists and rebel movements, including Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab.”

Fortunately, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who recently rose to the powerful post of Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has remained a staunch supporter of ensuring that resources continue to flow into efforts to combat the illegal trade in timber and fish.

“The Committee has worked together to strike the appropriate balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, scientific advancement, and economic development,” Shelby said after announcing critical funding for Fiscal Year 2018. “Additionally, the measure includes necessary oversight provisions to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. This is a step forward in maintaining critical funding for core programs and addressing the needs of our nation while staying within our spending boundaries.”

The move did not go unnoticed by leaders in the seafood industry, a major source of economic activity in all Gulf States, including Alabama.

“We cannot thank Senator Shelby enough,” said Southern Shrimp Alliance Executive Director John Williams after fiscal year 2018 appropriation. “Their extraordinary efforts ensure the survival of the domestic shrimp fishery in the face of what has been an endless stream of illegal shrimp imports.”

Support for foreign assistance and international conservation is smart domestic policy. It protects our economy and cuts off the flow of cash to criminals and terrorists. Sen. Shelby and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from whom he has helped rally support deserve recognition and praise for their leadership.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

 

 

7 hours ago

What’s wrong with Calhoun County’s economy?

Earlier this week, Zippia, one of the many job search websites out there, released its list of 2018’s 50 worst job markets in America. Only one in Alabama made the list: Anniston-Jacksonville, AL, which came in at number 43.

That’s not bad given what we’re told about Alabama and poverty. But it does raise one question: Why are Anniston and its surrounding areas struggling compared to other similar places in the state?

Although unemployment in Calhoun County is not nearly as high as counties in the Black Belt, compared to other quasi-urban areas of Alabama, Calhoun has the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 5.9 percent according to data posted recently on the Alabama Department of Labor’s website.

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That far exceeds the seasonally adjusted numbers for the state of Alabama, at 4.1 percent, and nationally, at 4 percent.

So, what gives? Why does Calhoun County struggle economically?

“It’s a good question,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said in response to that in an interview with Yellowhammer News back in April. “I saw those numbers come out for my congressional district and Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate, still. It is better than it has been, but I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Rogers said part of the answer to that question may be tied to military spending during the Obama administration and its impact on the nearby Anniston Army Depot.

“[T]here was a real downsizing at the Depot,” he added. “They had had a couple more thousand employees than they have now at the height of the war and there had been a downsizing since the drawback from Iraq and Afghanistan. You don’t need to refurbish as much equipment. But now they’re trying to ramp back up as we try to rebuild our military.”

He credited the potential for a turnaround in that trend to President Donald Trump’s commitment to the military.

Beyond that, why isn’t Calhoun County booming? It seems like every other day, Gov. Kay Ivey is announcing a new addition or manufacturing facility in the Huntsville area that includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Let’s compare the Anniston-Oxford area to another economic hot spot in Rogers district, the Auburn-Opelika area.  Although Lee County isn’t quite enjoying the successes of Madison and Limestone Counties, it seems to be growing. Its unemployment rate is 4.7 percent – a little higher. But when you look around Auburn and Opelika, there are all kinds of new commercial and residential construction projects.

That doesn’t seem to be a trend in Anniston and Oxford.

Both Lee and Calhoun Counties have some similarities. Having Auburn University in Lee County is a big difference. Besides that, the two approximately the same distance from Atlanta and its international airport. The two are served by the Interstate Highway System – I-20 in Calhoun County and I-85 in Lee County.

If Lee County can make it work, then why not Calhoun County?

Getting to the bottom of determining what is ailing Calhoun County is not an easy chore. Although reading the pages of The Anniston Star is not quite the adventures of “Alice in Wonderland” it was when H. Brandt Ayers was in charge, under Josephine Ayers and Anthony Cook, it still tends to dwell in the politics outside of Calhoun County.

Addressing Calhoun County’s struggles is a politically worthwhile endeavor. While Kay Ivey is patting herself on the back for economic prosperity in north Alabama at plant-opening ceremony number 105, and Walt Maddox is championing his heroics in Tuscaloosa post-2011 tornado devastation, what about Anniston? What about Oxford? What about Jacksonville?

From an outsider’s perspective, there seems to be a presentable case for manufacturing to make Calhoun County a home given its infrastructure and proximities it Atlanta and Birmingham. But first, we need to determine what’s behind its current struggles.

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

7 hours ago

Six vote difference: Republicans Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood in tight race for House District 38

Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood are in a tight race to become the Republican nominee for House District 38, where only six votes separate the two candidates. Wood has 2,165 votes to Rauch’s 2,159 votes.

The number is well within Rauch’s reach considering there are still votes to be counted.

A winner won’t be declared until at least next Tuesday, July 24, when provisional ballots are officially counted and even then, it could take longer for Secretary of State John Merrill to certify the results officially declaring a winner.

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“There’s never a winner until everything is certified,” Secretary of State John Merrill told Yellowhammer News.

Even in the case of such a wide margin as Attorney General Steve Marshall has over Troy King – 62 to 38 percent – there is still no official winner because it hasn’t been certified, Merrill said.

Provisional ballots are provided to those whose names do not appear on the voter roles when they show up to vote but who insist they belong, and still want to vote.

In order to have their votes counted, those who participate in the provisional process must prove to the board of registrar’s office that they ought to be on the roles.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

8 hours ago

Alabamians less likely to be understood by ‘Alexa’ and other ‘smart’ tech because of southern accents

The remarkable drawl that embodies Southern culture may be responsible for the frustration many Alabamians feel when trying to get their smart tech to answer a question. The repeated “Sorry, I didn’t get that” can lead people with accents to underutilize voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home that are rapidly growing in popularity.

study conducted by the Washington Post and two research groups revealed people with Southern accents were three percent less likely to get accurate responses from a Google Home device than those with Western accents.  Foreign accents face the largest challenge with 30 percent more inaccuracies.

But, help is on the way.

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According to the study, the artificial intelligence used in programming the technology is taught to comprehend different accents by processing data from a variety of voices.  The more it learns, the more accurate the programming will become.  Even though these tools may be more useful for some people at the moment, Amazon, the maker of the smart home product Alexa, says to keep trying.

“The more we hear voices that follow certain speech patterns or have certain accents, the easier we find it to understand them.  For Alexa, this no different,” Amazon said in a statement.  “As more people speak to Alexa, and with various accents, Alexa’s understanding will improve.”

Over 20 percent of U.S. households with WiFi utilize smart speakers, and the number of users is growing.  Hopefully, for the benefit of Alabamians, that growth will happen in the South.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

Learning from President Trump: Words matter

“I don’t see any reason why it would be”.

Those words, voiced by President Trump when asked whether he believed it was true that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, set off a media firestorm early this week.

Trump, of course, is used to media criticism, but this time was different. Joining the normal critics were a multitude of Fox News hosts including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Dana Perino, and even Brian Kilmeade of the oft-lauded by Trump Fox and Friends.

The morning after Trump’s press conference with President Putin, Kilmeade spoke in second person “you” language and pleaded for President Trump to clarify his statement and his belief in our intelligence agencies over Russians who, as Kilmeade said “hate democracy.”

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To his credit, Trump – who had previously agreed that Russian meddling existed – corrected his statement within twenty-four hours.

Regardless of whether his clarification was believable or timely, this episode reminds us that in politics and government – and in everyday life – words matter.

19thcentury German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the power of words. Nietzsche wrote, “All I need is a sheet of paper, and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down”.

Nietzsche’s statement wasn’t merely hypothetical. His declaration that “God is dead” shattered worldviews across western civilization into pieces that PureFlix (the movie company behind God’s Not Dead and its sequels) is still trying to pick up.

Even so, it seems that many have forgotten the power of words and have embraced the idea that simply being heard, regardless of content, is of utmost importance.

In NBC’s hit show The Office, Michael Scott tells viewers, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” I think a lot of us are more like Michael Scott than we’d like to admit.

We might do well to envision more intentional dialogue from ourselves and from our elected officials, especially our state and local representatives.

In an environment where soundbites are everything, Trump’s statements in Helsinki and the backlash that ensued ought to prompt Alabama officials and candidates to rethink any “wing it” sympathies they may have towards public statements, press conferences, or tweets.

This is even more important in the post-primary period of our election cycle.

Now that the nominees are chosen, we must remind each of their responsibility as leaders to use words, strategies, and express differences in a way that is less divisive and more unifying, less bombastic and more genuine. Our officials and candidates should think twice before resorting to name-calling or vilifying their opponents, as doing so endorses that type of behavior and lowers the standard of Alabamians for those who represent them.

We should also expect, now that the in-fighting of our primary process is over, nominees to run thoughtful campaigns where issues, not personalities, are articulately debated.

Candidates and regular Alabamians alike must remember that words yield tremendous power. Therefore, as Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, and Matilda, suggests, “Don’t gobblefunk around with words”.

Parker Snider is Manager of Policy Relations for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.