It’s inexcusable Clinton didn’t personally apologize to Lewinsky


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you back about 20 years ago to a story involving Monica Lewinsky, a 22-year-old intern at the White House, and President Bill Clinton. We know that story, but it recently came up again in an interview by NBC reporter, Craig Melvin. He was interviewing James Patterson and Bill Clinton. They co-authored the new fictional novel, The President is Missing. During that interview, Melvin asked Clinton if he ever apologized to Lewinsky. Let me give you some of that dialogue.

“I apologized to everybody in the world,” Clinton said. “But did you apologize to her,” Melvin said. “I have not talked to her,” Clinton said. “Do you feel like you owe her an apology?” Melvin asked. “No, I do not,” Clinton responded. “I’ve never talked to her, but I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”  Clinton went on to somewhat victimize himself, saying that he left the White House $16 million in debt because of this event.

DR.REEDER: Craig Melvin, I thought that was a good example of journalism in terms of pressing an issue, asking the questions — that is the landscape that is littered by the acknowledged Clinton affairs all the way from his governorship in Arkansas and the relationship that Hillary Rodham Clinton had in the enablement and cover-up of those affairs.
OUR CULTURE HAS GONE OFF THE EDGE

However, I think it does surface a number of things. Right now, within our culture, that interview and the public dialogue is revealing the angst and the chaos that the secular world and life view is producing as it now has risen to transcendency in the culture. Consenting adults can engage in anything that they want to, which has created environments in workplaces in which language is out of control and innuendo has now direct conversation, yet people feel violated when physical actions and verbal statements are being made that are assumptive or that are aggressive.

On the one hand, there is this, “Oh, look how free we are in our language. Look how free we are in our culture. Look at what we can talk about that used to make us blush and used to be off-limits. Now we can talk and say and engage in that kind of raucous — almost what we would have called “locker room” — behavior in the public square.” But there is still this sense of the dignity of the individual and the sanctity of such things as sexuality that people feel violated when you step over the top.

A second thing is this notion that men and women are interchangeable. No, they’re not interchangeable. Women do get offended by certain things, and rightly so, that men would not be offended by — in fact, men would make that a playground conversation and women see that as a violation of their personhood, rightly so, and expect men to have constraint in those areas. And yet we create a culture in the workplace that actually promotes those kind of relationships that are over the top, that are aggressive, that are assumptive and, I think, ultimately destructive.

Is there any place that this is more evident than what happened in the White House? I’ll never forget the moment when I found out about it. I turned on Ted Koppel Nightline and this story is breaking about the President of the United States, a man old enough to be the father of this intern. I’m sitting there at the table thinking, “I cannot even send my daughter into the Oval Office as an intern at 20 years of age with confidence that a president would restrain himself and respect her. I can’t have confidence as a father that would be a safe place for my daughter.”

DOES THIS SOUND LIKE TRUE REPENTANCE?

Then, when we hear President Clinton’s response to these questions, Tom, now that takes on even a different dynamic. What he then begins to respond is, basically, “I’m the victim. I was impeached. I was ridiculed. I was publicly mocked. I came out of the Oval Office and the presidency $16 million in debt.”

He’s presenting himself as a victim and that begins to compare to what is true repentance. First, it requires confession, which means you own the sin — that “I did it.” It’s not like Adam where, “The woman gave me the fruit and I ate,” but it’s, “I ate the fruit.”

Secondly, there is an acknowledgment, not only in the ownership of the commission of the sin, but the sinfulness of the sin. “And it pains me to know the effects of my acts in terms of who God is and in terms of the people who are suffering because of my sinful acts.” And it’s not a penance to be saved; it is just a reality of the sinfulness of sin.

CLINTON NEEDS TO REALIZE HIS RESPONSIBILITY

That leads to the third thing: You are concerned about those who are victims of your sin and you want to do restitution, and restoration and reconciliation. “What has this done to Monica Lewinsky?” is what he ought to be thinking about, not, “What has it done to me? I’m the victim of my own sin.”

There are consequences in our life when we sin, but our focus is on that we have sinned against God and we have sinned against others and the glorious truth that, if I confess my sins and put my trust in Christ, I can be forgiven, and I can also be empowered to move into people’s lives to ask them to forgive me.

And, therefore, it is inexcusable that the president would not come to Monica Lewinsky to apologize. Yes, he would do the broad PR apology that eventually he did on a television program, but if there is a true conviction of sin, you move into the person’s life to ask them to forgive you for what you did against them and the consequences it has had in their life.

Therefore, that’s what we’re wrestling with. We’ve got a pop culture that is promoting sin as normal, that is promoting anarchy — every man does what’s right in his own eyes — but, over here, we’re experiencing the effect of it in the culture and the #metoo movement is a perfect example.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE SHOULD BE DIFFERENT

May I just conclude this way: I believe that this is a great opportunity, not only for us to exhibit true repentance whenever it is required in our life because of the freeing offer of the Gospel of forgiveness and the empowerment to walk away from sin and to kill sin in our life and be restored so that our vices can actually become virtues for the glory of God as he transforms us, but the second thing is this: Christian men and women can move into the public square and create businesses and environments that are different.

Not only the carefulness of who you are with at lunch and all of those things that we’ve talked about in fleeing temptation, but more than that. The positive — the workplace in our community, the workplace in our business, we are going to treat each other with respect. We’re going to recognize our gender, male and female, the particular strengths of each gender, the particular responsibilities of each gender to the other, and then we are going to enter into that with the equality of our inalienable rights before God and that God does His saving work in the lives of men, male and female.

However, we also recognize by creation we are different and that we have different responsibilities, and we’re going to show two things: We’re going to show respect and we’re going to show restraint.

We are not people who are just going to just say what we want to say and create this off-color blue environment in the culture and we’re not going to do what we want to do in order to create an environment of raucousness and vulgarity. What we’re going to do is bring respect and restraint and that will be expected within the culture of this public square where we have responsibilities as Christians.

And dare I say that begins in our families. We begin to set the pace. Young men and young women growing up in homes get the idea of how do you treat someone of the opposite sex? By watching how a father treats his wife and how a mother treats her husband. And what ought to come out of that is men ought to set the environment of respect, restraint and affection. Women set the environment of order and decorum. They bring those dynamics into an environment, whether it’s the family, the community, the church or the home. Those are just some thoughts around what that interview spawned, Tom.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Well, we do invite our listeners to join us tomorrow as we deal with pop culture.

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.

Ledbetter: Alabama’s teachers are standing tall with return to classroom instruction

All of the personality traits, values and life lessons that we carry with us as adults were shaped and instilled in us by the people we encountered in childhood. For many, the strongest influences came from our schoolteachers, who opened new worlds of knowledge and taught us skills that remain with us today.

Consider for a moment the music teacher who taught you to play an instrument, the math teacher who led you to a love of numbers, the history teacher who brought to life the stories of our nation’s past, or the English teacher who inspired you to love great literature.

Teaching is one of the few professions whose impact continues to last for decades after the individual who does the job retires.

As many children across Alabama are preparing to return to school even while the coronavirus pandemic continues, teachers have never been more important or vital or deserving of our deepest appreciation.

513

Returning to brick-and-mortar school instruction will, hopefully, restore a sense of normalcy to our children’s lives in these decidedly abnormal times.

A return to the classroom and even resuming the online instruction that some are adopting will also help our students maintain their education progress and continue the important social and emotional development that interaction with their peers and instructors allows.

Our English second language learners will receive the communication skills they need in order to better assimilate, and many low-income students will receive the healthy nourishment from the school lunch program that might be denied them at home.

Given the current circumstances and environment, I recognize that some of our public school employees may have a sense of trepidation about returning to school, and that is certainly understandable. Wearing a face mask to do something as simple as shopping for groceries, paying for gas or walking into a restaurant offers all of us a constant reminder that COVID-19 is a very contagious virus.

But our teachers and educators are setting their concerns aside and answering the call to duty.

I know that Gov. Kay Ivey, State Superintendent Eric Mackey and the staff of the Alabama Department of Education took great care in developing the “Roadmap to Reopening Alabama Schools,” and local school boards are being equally diligent in creating and implementing their own safety guidelines.

The importance of sanitization will be stressed more than ever before, and billions of dollars made available to Alabama through the federal CARES Act will help ensure that any resources that are needed to reopen schools safely will be readily available.

As the majority leader of the Alabama House, I can also offer assurances that the legislature stands ready to pass legislation or make appropriations that are necessary to ease the return to classroom instruction once we are in session.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an even deeper appreciation of the frontline heroes who have remained on the job and provided the most essential services throughout the crisis.

Doctors and nurses in our hospitals and health clinics; grocery store and other retail employees; law enforcement officers, emergency workers and firefighters; postal workers; sanitation workers; restaurant personnel; and those in dozens of other professions are among those who continued working even when times were their toughest.

I am proud to say that the teachers, school nurses, administrators and support personnel in Alabama’s schools also rank high upon the list of those who have stood tall, and their already invaluable service to our state is even more important to students and parents in each of our cities, towns and crossroads today.

Helen Keller, one of Alabama’s most inspirational figures, once said, “It was my teacher’s genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me.”

As I close by wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy school year, we would all do well to keep Helen Keller’s words in mind.

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) serves as majority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives

5 hours ago

Alabama Ag Commissioner Pate gives update on unsolicited seed packages from China, urges public to stay ‘vigilant’

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) Commissioner Rick Pate gave an update Monday afternoon on the spate of seed packets from China that people across Alabama have received in recent weeks despite never having ordered anything.

Pate said that after the state seed labs had performed tests on the packets they had collected from individuals across Alabama, and none of them proved to be dangerous.

“Right at 50% of them proved be some kind of weed flower … 41% were vegetables, and 9% were herbs … we found no noxious compounds, no dangerous compounds,” said Pate at the event.

However, he warned, “They might send out the first seeds that weren’t treated with anything, have a sense of security come about, and then later send something out that could be harmful.”

285

The commissioner further urged members of the public to refrain from planting any unsolicited seeds and continue to report them to the Department.

“At the very least something criminal has gone on here,” stated Pate, referencing laws that prevent seeds from being moved across state lines without being inspected by the relevant agencies.

Pate said his department had collected 252 seed samples as of Monday morning.

A total of 385 individuals in all but 11 of Alabama’s 67 counties have received one of the packets, according to information relayed at the press conference. State workers will be collecting the remaining samples soon.

(AL. Dept. of Ag/Contributed)

“Because we’ve got such a good food and drug lab, because we’ve got such a good seed lab, we knew this was inside of our comfort zone,” Pate said of the decision to conduct the seed tests in-house as opposed to shipping them to the federal government.

Andy Tipton, division director of Food Safety and Ag Compliance, said that 25 states had reported similar seed packets showing up at consumers’ doorsteps. He added that the ADAI was turning over all relevant info to the FBI, who were monitoring the situation.

Pate further told Yellowhammer News that one of the prevailing theories remained that the cause was an internet seller running a scam to artificially inflate their customer numbers and create opportunities for fake reviews.

He ended his press conference saying, “We have no idea the reason for this happening, but it doesn’t mean we can stop being vigilant.”

Any Alabamian still receiving one of the packets can report it here.

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

6 hours ago

Alabama basketball star John Petty returning for senior season

University of Alabama star forward John Petty, Jr. will return for his senior season, the player announced on Monday.

The Huntsville native was a second-team All-SEC honoree this past season, after leading the Southeastern Conference in three-point percentage.

Petty was considering entering the 2020 NBA Draft, however he decided to return for a final season in Tuscaloosa after evaluating his prospects. Another college season could see Petty lock down his chance at being a first-round pick.

118

Tide head coach Nate Oats released a statement on Monday afternoon celebrating Petty’s return.

“It’s great to have John back for his senior year,” Oats said. “He is certainly one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the country which is extremely important to us with how we play.”

“He’s made it clear that it’s his goal to become a first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and we’re going to work with him to make sure he’s in the best position to reach that goal. Let’s get to work!” the coach concluded.

Follow along with the Bama men’s basketball program here.

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

6 hours ago

State of Alabama, University of Alabama System officials unveil GuideSafe app aiming to keep schools virus-free

Key figures from Alabama’s government and university systems joined to announced the new GuideSafe platform that bills itself as the key for students to safely return to college campuses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The GuideSafe platform will help the state fulfill its promise to test every single college student before they return to campus, and the platform will provide a space for ongoing health monitoring throughout the semester.

The unveiling took place over videoconference, where State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis “Fess” St. John and other key players detailed the importance of GuideSafe to the upcoming semester.

GuideSafe was developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and tech company MotionMobs. It will be provided to any educational institution in the state that wishes to use it.

267

Governor Kay Ivey apportioned some of Alabama’s CARES Act funds for the development of GuideSafe and the universal free testing for college students.

St. John on Monday praised Ivey’s “decisive action to provide funding” for the testing initiative and other campus reopening measures.

(Click for higher resolution version that will open in new tab)

GuideSafe will be accessible via app on smartphones and tablets and via web browser on any computer. Students will be invited to join the platform in the coming weeks.

One of the key features of the GuideSafe app is that it will track the location of students via smartphone and then inform them if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This new app – using Google- and Apple-led technology and created by UAB faculty, staff and MotionMobs for the people of Alabama – is a necessary tool in our effort to return to college campuses safely this fall,” said UAB President Ray Watts.

The app also allows students and faculty to report symptoms as they experience them, and get directed to a nearby testing site if necessary.

“The combination of these tools enables every participating college, university and K-12 school to engage faculty, students and staff regarding on-going monitoring of symptoms, exposure and risks of acquiring COVID-19,” said Sue Feldman, professor and director of graduate programs in health informatics at UAB.

A general factsheet on GuideSafe is available here.

Watch:

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

6 hours ago

Trump fires TVA board chair after outsourcing uproar

President Donald Trump on Monday announced that he was removing the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board chairman, Skip Thompson, an Alabamian.

Thompson, a resident of Decatur, is the president and CEO of Corporate Billing, a subsidiary of Birmingham-based National Bank of Commerce. He previously served as the president and CEO of both First American Bank in Decatur and First Commercial Bank in Huntsville, as well as serving on the board of Decatur Utilities.

Trump appointed Thompson to the TVA board in 2018. He was elected chairman of the board last year.

239

The president on Monday cited TVA’s plan to outsource information technology jobs overseas as the reason for firing Thompson and one other board member. Trump warned the other board members that they would be next if the outsourcing continued. The president also called on them to replace the organization’s CEO, who Trump said was making far too much money.

The president added, “Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

The TVA is the electricity provider for much of North Alabama. Self-described as “a corporate agency of the United States,” it is regulated at the federal level and not under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) applauded Trump’s move on Monday.

“TVA fires AMERICANS & hires cheap foreign labor,” the North Alabama congressman tweeted. “TVA executive salaries EXORBITANT. TVA=NO competition, unlike private sector execs who compete to earn profits to earn pay… WAY TO GO [President Trump]!”

RELATED: Doug Jones: ‘The TVA has lost its way’

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