Pastor Harry Reeder: Our military is weakening and here’s why we need it strong


 

 

 

 

 

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Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I’d like to cover two stories with you today. The first, out of World Magazine, “Navy Calls Off Search for Missing Sailors.” “The U.S. Navy, last Friday, ended the search for three sailors missing since that Wednesday when a transport plane crashed in the Philippine Sea.”

Harry, this is the third fatal accident for the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet in 2017.

DR. REEDER: Right. There have actually been a number of non-combat deaths, in general, in our military and also a number of non-combat deaths, in particular, as to the 7th Fleet, which has had numerous issues from collisions to the inability to respond to particular situations.

Tom, I think what is pretty evident here is, for the last ten years, we have attempted to fight a two-front war in the Middle East, we have attempted to respond to the growing tensions in the Pacific, we have attempted to respond to a number of other situations with a volunteer Army and Navy and Marine Corps – a volunteer military service – and we have attempted to do it without proper funding.

Now, many people can remember the sequestration debates in which mandatory cuts were going to take place across the board in the budget and that would apply to the military and I think we’ve now got the consequences of it.

Our technology is starting to lag behind. We’ve all read the stories of how they’re having to, basically, scavenge certain planes in order to keep other planes in the air and we have a shortage of fighter jets, transport planes, etc.

And then there is just a lack of dependability in terms of the mechanical abilities of our ships, our planes, our tanks, everything and the result has been the loss of life.

This last year, the number of non-combat deaths in the 7th Fleet has more than doubled. It is an astounding number that’s absolutely unnecessary.

In a Christian world and life view, you are ready to deal with the issues of the sovereignty of God – the Lord gives life and the Lord takes away life – but you also have the responsibility of man and that is to not unnecessarily expose our military personnel.

We have these fine young men and women who volunteered to serve our country and, well, we have a responsibility, Congress, in particular, has a responsibility, and the president, as commander-in-chief, has a responsibility to properly fund their equipment and their training.

Some of this is traced back to lower standards of training – they don’t have the equipment for the training – and there has been the lowering of standards of training because of social experimentation that’s taking place in the military.

All these things are now distilling into, first, the unnecessary loss of life due to maintenance issues, due to training issues, due to the decision to not properly fund our military. And then, secondly, that affects our readiness.

With the increasing threats of China and its significant buildup of its navy, with what is happening in Asia with North Korea and China, as well as the issues that continue to face us in the Middle East, and the fact that we have a volunteer army demands that we give proper training and proper maintenance.

One final thought on this is you have to realize we’re in a fallen world. A Christian world and life view affirms the role of government to protect its citizens. The best way to protect its citizens is to make peace whenever possible.

And I know people do not believe this because it seems to be counterintuitive, but a nation’s commitment to have a clearly superior military force available that is properly trained and properly armed, that becomes the greatest deterrent to other people bringing war against you.

Now, as the Book of Proverbs says, “The mighty have to have a restrained spirit.”

We’re not having a strong military to be imperialistic, but we’re having a strong military so that others would not provoke or do anything that would cause us to have to respond militarily because of the overwhelming force.

Then, we need character-based leadership that always uses the military appropriately and not indiscriminately and not imperialistically.

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, let me take you to Story No. 2, a federal judge, last week, blocked a Texas law protecting unborn babies from dismemberment abortions. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel placed a permanent injunction on Senate Bill 8, calling the legislation “unconstitutional.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to appeal Yeakel’s decision. “We will defend Senate Bill all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary,” he said. Before the ruling, Texas was the eighth state to block the procedure.

DR. REEDER: Yes, our own state of Alabama has such a law and, as was mentioned, eight other states have that law. And I have tried to understand the judge’s reasoning. He basically says it’s unconstitutional in that it imposes limits that should not be imposed upon abortion.

The whole ludicrous thing is that abortion ought to be illegal but, instead, it has been legalized in our society and its legalization is responsible for 60 million deaths of unborn infants on the altar of inconvenience and in service to the sexual revolution of trying to get rid of what sexual promiscuity produces, and that is the consequences of, “unwanted pregnancies.”

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, this is not just about abortion, but it is dealing with how the abortion takes place in a most cruel and unusual way. We have legislation that says certain execution forms are cruel and unusual punishment, but yet look what we’re applying here.

DR. REEDER: Exactly, Tom, and that brings us to the second element of it: In trying to understand this ruling, the question becomes, “Why would you make this ruling because the law has protected what needs to be done in the context of abortion in terms of the saving of the mother’s life?”

However, the other aspect of this, Tom, is we already have a law declaring that you cannot sell body parts, so other than the protected practice of dismemberment for the purpose of saving the mother’s life, why would you declare unconstitutional a law that affirms a present law which is abortion cannot be done to sell body parts and, therefore, dismemberment should not be a part of the process unless it is a strictly medical necessity in the midst of the abortion to protect the life of the mother?

There is no sense in what he has done other than a backdoor protection of Planned Parenthood that has, as it has been revealed, an internal industry going on of doing certain abortions in a certain manner to deliver the body of the child to be able to sell the body parts, themselves, at a later date.

I’m glad to see that the State of Texas is going to appeal it and, hopefully, the Court of Appeals will remove this irrational ruling by this judge, as well as affirm what now stands in place for eight other states.

Tom, the thing that ultimately strikes us in this is the utter confusion and chaos that comes when you abandon a basic principle of a Christian world and life view, which is the sanctity of life.

Why are we even having this conversation except that we have descended into a culture of death and the most fundamental right of the religion of the sexual revolution and secular progressivism is to protect abortion as the instrument to erase unwanted consequences to the sexual revolution that’s taking place?

And the callousness that we now express concerning life – first, the life of the unborn, then the life of the born that are unwanted that continue to be unwanted, and then those at the end of life who also have become inconvenient – anyone that becomes inconvenient, no longer is there the call to uphold the sanctity of life.

Instead, there is the increasing movement in the culture to develop the progressive world and life view in which any life is expendable, ultimately, if it gets in the way of the sovereign self and my own gratification and convenience in life.

But, praise the Lord, Tom, we’re moving into a season in which One came to give His life so that we could have life – not only a physical life, but life eternal. We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is 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.

2 hours ago

Tuberville backs Alabama legislator’s bill making murder of on-duty first responder a capital offense

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville is backing HB 59, the bill passed by the Alabama Senate on Thursday that would make killing an on-duty first responder a capital offense.

The bill as amended and passed by the Senate names the proposed law in honor of slain Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.

Sponsored by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville), HB 59 passed the House previously. The amended version goes back to the chamber for expected concurrence next week.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Tuberville applauded the legislature for the bill, especially thanking the Senate for the amendment in Buechner’s memory, which was put onto the legislation by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn).

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“I commend the Alabama Senate on their bill which makes the murder of an on-duty first responder a capital offense,” Tuberville said. “Murdering a first responder in Alabama should be classified as a capital offense. Not just police officers are covered in this bill all first responders are covered!”

The bill adds on-duty first responders to the list of murder victims that constitutes a capital offense. State law already makes the murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer or prison guard a capital offense.

Note the difference between a Class A felony murder charge and a capital murder charge: capital offenses in Alabama are punishable (unless the defendant was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime) by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. Class A felonies are punishable by 10-99 years in prison, with stricter guidelines for offenders with prior criminal convictions.

Sells’ bill would also add on-duty law enforcement officers, prison guards and first responders as victims in the list of aggravating circumstances to a capital offense. This would make the death penalty more likely in the sentencing phase of this kind of capital offense.

In HB 59, first responders are defined as emergency medical services personnel licensed by the Alabama Department of Public Health and firefighters and volunteer firefighters as defined by existing state law.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has said he will seek the death penalty if the man charged with Buechner’s death is convicted on a capital murder charge.

Tuberville’s vocal support for the bill came the same day as Buechner’s funeral.

“Today, as Officer William Buechner is laid to rest, we celebrate his heroic life and the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect our citizens,” Tuberville emphasized.

On Friday, Tuberville also visited Auburn Police Department Officer Webb Sistrunk, who was critically wounded in the shooting that killed Buechner.

(T. Tuberville/Facebook)

“It was such an honor for me to visit with Webb Sistrunk, one of the brave Auburn police officers who was shot earlier this week,” Tuberville shared.

Tuberville with Mark Sistrunk, the officer’s father (Contributed)

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

3 hours ago

‘Our hero’: Slain Auburn officer’s neighborhood lights up blue to honor him

Neighbors of murdered Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner are backing the blue in a very visible way, honoring the fallen hero’s life of selfless service.

As reported by WSFA, the Opelika subdivision that Buechner and his family lived in is showing their solidarity en masse.

In a moving tribute, many of the neighborhood’s homes have replaced their regular porch lights with blue lights, shining proudly in Buechner’s memory.

Tracy McDaniel is among those neighbors paying tribute to the officer and beloved community member.

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Tracy McDaniel’s home, as contributed by her. (Sally Pitts/Facebook)

McDaniels’ home is far from the exception. One photo shows an entire street the neighborhood turned blue to honor the fallen officer.

Photo by Samantha Xaysombath Smith (WSFA/Twitter)

“William was a lot of great things. A great man, friend, husband, and father, police officer, neighbor, the list goes on,” Smith explained. “His son will grow up to learn that his daddy was a hero, and we will forever remember that he was our hero too.”

Another woman in the neighborhood, who asked to remain anonymous when speaking with WSFA, said she was aware of at least 15 homes participating in the special tribute but expected that number to increase.

“We all have rallied to find each other more lightbulbs,” the woman said, “and contact those who have been out of town or may need assistance reaching their fixtures. It’s been a true team effort.”

The lights are reportedly expected to remain on at least through Saturday, the day after Buechner’s funeral.

Buechner is survived by his wife of three years, Sara; son, Henry; and step-daughter, McKenna.

“This village we speak of, he knows we will take care of Sara and the family,” Smith added. “After all, it does take a village. We back the blue.”

There has been a GoFundMe set up for Buechner’s family.

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

3 hours ago

Palmer introduces bill to stop federal funding of anti-ICE ‘sanctuary airports’

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) is taking a major stand against airports in liberal strongholds that try to subvert federal law.

Palmer’s office on Thursday announced that the Birmingham-area congressman has introduced the PLANE Act, the Prohibiting Local Airports from Neglecting Enforcement Act (H.R. 2955).

In April, an airport in Seattle, Washington, banned flights known collectively as “ICE Air,” which included flights that deported illegal immigrants or transported detainees to the appropriate detention center.

If passed, the PLANE Act would withhold federal grants from airports that violate grant agreements by attempting similar action, such as imposing unreasonable conditions or restrictions on airplanes operating under ICE or other contracted government agencies.

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“Airports that refuse to cooperate with ICE should not receive federal grants,” Palmer said in a statement.

“The rule of law must not be thwarted by so-called ‘sanctuary airports,’ especially when they potentially delay the removal of people accused of crimes like human trafficking and rape,” he added. “Political posturing cannot be permitted when an airport has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in exchange for federal funds.”

Palmer is now serving as the chair the Republican Policy Committee, which is the fifth highest ranking leadership role amongst Republicans in the United States House of Representatives.

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

4 hours ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. VIII

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

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1. Hey Arnold! State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) caused a bit of a stir this week when he introduced a request to censure State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) for comments Rogers made during the chamber’s debate of the abortion bill. Numerous GOP House members were upset by the move, not so much for the substance of the request as much as for the timing — and the perceived motivation behind it.

The request came as the body was attempting to address a “ten-minute” calendar of bills. The aim of a ten-minute calendar is to quickly dispose of some of the more mundane pieces of legislation with the idea being that each member gets ten minutes to pass their bill or else the House moves on to the next item. As soon as Mooney introduced his letter of censure, the environment in the chamber became hostile, resulting in an adjournment and the end of the calendar. Dozens of members lost the opportunity, at that point at least, to pass their individual pieces of legislation, including an anti-human trafficking bill and legislation to help feed needy children in the state.

Some members wondered why Mooney waited nine days to introduce his letter. His letter was dated May 13 and not introduced until May 22. This event came on the heels of Mooney previously sending out a campaign letter to supporters questioning the ideological bearings of his fellow Republican legislators. When asked if Mooney had expressed any of these concerns to the GOP caucus at-large prior to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, one member responded, “No. He had not.”

2. A tale of two cities. As Mooney spent the week trying to burnish the type of outsider credentials attractive to Club for Growth, another one of his colleagues spent his week in D.C. trying, presumably, to lay a similar foundation. State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) was boots on the ground in the nation’s capital this week. Dismukes has let it be known that he was contemplating his own run for the U.S. Senate. He has done a fair job of keeping those cards close to the vest, although his trip to Washington would lend to the notion that he continues to have interest in a federal office.

The mathematical side effect of Dismukes’ absence nearly reached a heightened level of consequence. Consideration of any legislation prior to the passage of both budgets requires a 3/5 vote of those in the body voting. The lottery failed this week because it did not receive the required 3/5 threshold of those voting. In Dismukes’ absence from the state, someone voted his machine on his behalf as an abstention rather than simply not voting at all. He was the only legislator to vote to abstain. This still raises the threshold of required votes.

There were 90 total members that voted — which means the lottery needed 54 votes to proceed. It only received 53. Had someone not voted Dismukes’ machine and 89 members had voted, the lottery would still have needed 54 votes but by a much slimmer margin since 3/5 of 89 equals 53.4. That’s how close the lottery came to advancing to full consideration by the House.

3. Is broadband really a priority for members of the Alabama House? While the state legislature’s budget negotiations have been relatively smooth so far this session, there is one major issue that has seemingly popped up at the last minute.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Senate Finance and Taxation Education Chairman Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) put $30 million in the Senate-passed Education Trust Fund Budget for the state’s rural broadband grant program established last year by State Senator Clay Scofield’s (R-Guntersville) landmark legislation.

As the legislature continues to work on beefing up last year’s legislation through Scofield’s SB 90 this year, the House is now seemingly set to slash the broadband funding approved by the Senate. The House Ways and Means Education Committee this week approved an education budget that cut the broadband funding by 73%, dragging the total down from $30 million to only $8 million.

Proponents of the larger number have said that there is not a better use of one-time money than to expand broadband services across the state. Will Chairman Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) and the House at-large work with the Senate and restore the important broadband funding?

4. Art of the Deal. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) once again proved his master negotiating skills this week, securing a crucial disaster relief package deal against seemingly insurmountable differences between the increasingly polarized factions in Washington, D.C.

This package will provide much-needed aid to many in the Yellowhammer State, including those in southeast Alabama devastated by Hurricane Michael.

Shelby bridged the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, while even managing to get President Donald Trump to drop his demands to include non-disaster related earmarks in the package — a concession that was key to getting enough votes in the Senate and House. The legislation quickly passed the Senate 85-8 Thursday before a lone House member objected to its unanimous passage on Friday. The House can take the legislation up after Memorial Day on Tuesday, when it is expected to overwhelmingly pass that chamber and then be signed into law.

One keen observer told Yellowhammer News that this type of achievement will not make nearly the number of headlines it should back at home, but once again Shelby has delivered for his state as he continues to cement his legacy as “Alabama’s greatest statesman.”

5 hours ago

Alabama legislature passes bill to ensure accuracy in meat labeling

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate on Thursday took steps to ensure that the definition of “meat” when applied to food labeling should only apply to products sourced from livestock on farms and ranches and harvested through processing; the bill clarifies that laboratory-grown products may not be labeled as meat, protecting Yellowhammer State consumers from potentially misleading packaging.

In a unanimous vote, the Senators passed HB 518, sponsored by State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens) and State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay). The bill was previously passed by the House 97-2 and now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk.

“This is proactive legislation to ensure clarity in food labeling. Around the country, there are more and more companies trying to market lab-grown products as meat, which is misleading since they aren’t derived from actual livestock production,” Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions pointed out that the nutritional and safety risks of foods developed in labs from animal cell cultures are still unknown.

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“These new lab-produced foods are, at best, synthetic meats, and their nutritional effects are unknown right now. Let’s see how the science develops through further research, and make a clear distinction between meat that is farm-raised on the one hand, and lab-based products on the other,” he advised.

The beef cattle industry represents a $2.5 billion industry in Alabama and is the number two agricultural commodity in the Yellowhammer State, with over 20,000 cattle farms. Beef continues to be a favorite protein among consumers worldwide, with exports of American beef representing an $8 billion industry by itself.

“The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association represents over 10,000 members across the state. As alternative proteins enter the marketplace in coming years, we think it is imperative that the integrity of all meat labels are protected and clear for consumers when they go to the meat case,” Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattleman’s Association, commented.

She concluded, “The passage of this bill is a win-win for the consumers who love to buy beef, and the cattlemen who work hard to produce a high-quality product. We would like to thank the Alabama Legislature for the support of this bill, and especially Senator David Sessions and Representative Danny Crawford for carrying the bill.”

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