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


 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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