Iranian Christians fleeing persecution should get U.S. care and refuge


 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

 

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to give you two stories that made the news this week and get your response. The first was the Golden Globes ceremony and the speech given by Oprah Winfrey. There was a lot of focus on sexual abuse and women being abused. From that speech, a number of individuals are now talking about Oprah Winfrey running for president.

DR. REEDER: It’s kind of the idea, “Well, if a celebrity – Donald Trump, ‘celebrity’ from business and media – can be president, well, here’s a better one, Oprah Winfrey, so we’re going to put up our from-the-left celebrity to run against the populist celebrity of Donald Trump.”

And that’ll be interesting to see how that story unfolds, but, Tom, as you referred to this moment, there are a number of other things that I think bear analysis and elucidation from a Christian world and life view.

Everything was about “the sexual harassment, #metoo will be no more.” And I quote now, “The people that are going to do that are in this room, some absolutely astounding women and even some phenomenal men.” That’s what was said.

Now, when I was listening to the reports of that – I do confess, I was not able to watch it, I wasn’t capable of interacting with it, but I did do my research on it afterwards – and, Tom, first thing that strikes me is the absolute tone-deaf and reality-denying dynamic of the event.

This whole sexual harassment has come to the forefront, highlighted in about three arenas. No. 1 was the government, No. 2 is the news industry, and No. 3 and most prominently was the entertainment industry.

Here’s an entertainment industry that is promoting moral relativism. In fact, that was even revealed in Oprah Winfrey’s speech – the embrace of moral relativism that undergirds the sexual revolution.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, it’s interesting you bring that up. One of her quotes out of the speech was, “I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this. What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

DR. REEDER: She reaches out to a group in which this sexual harassment dynamic has been most prevalent in the news organization – that she now values them – and that the change is going to come from within the room.

And here is a room that promotes the sexual revolution by promoting moral relativism – there are no moral absolutes.

In other words, we have this event because the people in that room make the movies based on moral relativism that celebrates the sexual revolution of sexual promiscuity and sexual perversion and wants to mainstream that through their movies and their storytelling and have been very successful at it and, now without repenting of the moral relativism, you will notice that none of the women who have come forth on the Harvey Weinstein, you’ll notice that none of them were even at the Globe Awards.

You will also notice that no names were mentioned – there was no confession that “we have sinned,” that “we have been part of this – it was, “We are the messiah.”

Not only were they tone-deaf, not only were they reality-denying of their role in this entire process, they also were not able to identify that they have actually mainstreamed this sexual absorption and this sexual saturation and have mainstreamed it with their moral relativism.

She reaffirms moral relativism with this “your truth.” There’s no such thing as your truth – it’s either true or it’s not true. There’s objective truth and the refusal to understand the only answer to this is to, again, according to moral truth, place sex within the bounds of a marriage of one man and one woman.

That’s what ought to be dramatized, is the ability to speak to people concerning their call to restrain sexuality outside of marriage and walk away from it and celebrate sexuality within marriage as the gift of God for initiation of a marriage, for rejoicing in a marriage and for procreation within the context of a marriage between a man and a woman committed for life.

And there was no ability to do that so here is moral relativism that promoted the sexual revolution now declared as the answer to the sexual revolution.

Most of the time, if you understood your role in the problem – you had the major role in producing the problem – you sing in a minor key and say, “Give us a chance to clean up our own house,” – not, “We’re going to clean up America,” but, “We need to clean up our own house.”

And then thirdly there was a clear messianic complex that the people in that room actually believe they are the saviors of society when, in reality, they have produced the blight upon society. Repentance needs to begin within their own household before they claim the role of setting straight America.

They have put western culture into this downward spiral of degradation, and marriage destruction, and family destruction and the objectivization of women as sex objects. They have been the primary propagators and purveyors of this. The need is to confess it and to repent of it, not claim that their moral relativism is the answer and that they are the messiah who will deliver this society from its problems.

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, let me take you to Story No. 2. A number of media outlets have reported on this, including The Washington Free Beacon. 100 Iranian Christians are waiting to enter the United States. However, they could be sent back to Iran this week. Right now, they’re over in Vienna, waiting the okay to come to the United States. There are some homes set up for them in California but, right now, their future is in question.

DR. REEDER: Tom, this is something that we actually have responded to two ways in this program. No. 1 is affirming the fact that America needs to take a good solid look at an immigration policy that is beneficial to the American nation and people and is properly responsive to the refugee issue within our society.

And, if you’ll remember in our program – I think it bears repeating right now – that, while a nation needs to establish national security, and have an appropriate immigration policy and ought to be bringing in some of the best for the benefit of the society, it also ought to provide a place of refuge for the refugees until they can be properly vetted and either restored back into their nation or brought into this nation and, in the vetting, there ought to be a category for religious and political persecution.

Well, if you have that category, these Iranians do fit that category. If they go back to Iran with the publicity around their profession of faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are going to be targeted, there is no doubt about it. This is a life and death issue for them and this is an appropriate portal of immigration into our nation, is that they are truly religious refugees, in general, and Christians, in particular, so I obviously have a special interest.

I do agree that there ought to be clarity of how people brought into this country are going to be cared for and you are correct – there are people who have stepped up. I have actually made communication offering to lead a search for families who would sponsor each one of these families.

And someone said to me, “Harry, do you know what you’re getting into?” I said, “Actually, it would not take long at all.” I think I could get them all settled in Birmingham without a problem. I think the volunteers who would sponsor these families are prolific right now so that would not be a problem at all.

Tom, I do hope and pray that our listeners will bring some pressure to our elected officials to bring the proper pressure upon our State Department that these truly persecuted Christians can have access to coming into this country and I believe they will be of great benefit to our nation. There is no doubt their religious persecution is authentic and there is no doubt that they would be an asset to this nation.

Tom, and whenever we deal with this, I’m always thinking of the fact that we, as Christians, are refugees. The Bible says we are sojourners. We thank the Lord that we, who were the refugees of sin, have found a home in Jesus 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. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

14 hours ago

Goat Island Brewing is an Alabama Maker concocting interesting beers

Their slogan is “Life is too short to drink baaad beer” and Goat Island Brewing Co. is doing its part to produce nothing but good brews in Cullman.

Started by a couple of homebrewing friends, Goat Island has added a head brewer, who is a microbiology major with no homebrewing history. The result is an array of tasty beers that are finding a following in northern Alabama.

“People across the board love all of our beers,” said Mike Mullaney, president and co-founder of Goat Island Brewing. “If you want to come in and have a whole bunch of good, variety of craft beers that have a lot of flavor, try us out.”

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Goat Island Brewing is an Alabama Maker of interesting beers from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The brewery is open to community events and fundraisers in Cullman.

“I like the fact that we are kind of a cultural community center,” Mullaney said.

With seven beers on tap – excluding a seasonal or a small batch – there is always something for any beer drinker. The Blood Orange Berliner Weisse is the bestselling beer on tap, and keeping up with the demand has been a little challenging. A new canning line should help.

The growth is welcome, but the beer has to be the star.

“We always emphasize quality and making sure everything we put out of here is up to the highest standard,” said Paul White, head brewer and operations manager.

Goat Island Brewing Company

The product: Craft beer.

Take home: A growler of Blood Orange Berliner Weisse.

Goat Island Brewing Co. can be found online and on Facebook Twitter and Instagram.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

Renew Our Rivers kicks off 21st year

The third decade of Renew Our Rivers (ROR) gets underway in February with the first of the year’s 32 cleanups of Alabama rivers and waterways. If last year is any indication, there will be more volunteers and more trash removed in 2020, said Mike Clelland, ROR coordinator.

Since 2000, when the program began, 122,000 volunteers have collected almost 16 million pounds from waterways and shorelines in the South. In 2019, more than 5,000 volunteers removed almost 450,000 pounds of trash, including old boats, mattresses, tires, appliances and other unsightly items, a 4% increase over the previous year’s haul.

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“We not only picked up more trash in 2019. We also had more volunteers,” said Clelland, an Environmental Affairs specialist for Alabama Power who helps coordinate the cleanups with multiple partners. “Twenty years in and the enthusiasm and participation remain strong. I fully expect 2020 to be just as successful as 2019, if not more so.”

An Alabama River cleanup in Autauga County on Feb. 15 leads off this year’s schedule, which concludes the first week of November at Lake Martin.

Volunteers elevate Alabama through Renew Our Rivers from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Renew Our Rivers began in 2000 with a cleanup by Alabama Power employees along the Coosa River at the company’s Plant Gadsden. It has grown to become one of America’s largest river cleanup initiatives, with the help of community partners, volunteers and organizations.

“Alabama is a beautiful place with extraordinary natural resources,” said Susan Comensky, Alabama Power vice president for Environmental Affairs. “Protecting those resources, while providing reliable, affordable electricity for our customers, is at the heart of our company’s mission. The commitment by Alabama Power employees to Renew Our Rivers remains strong, but we couldn’t do it without the support of our community partners across the state who support the effort year after year.”

Renew Our Rivers is one of many initiatives in which Alabama Power partners with others to promote conservation and environmental stewardship in communities across the state. The 2020 schedule of Renew Our Rivers cleanups is below. For updates to the schedule, visit alabamapower.com/renewourrivers.

2020 Renew Our Rivers Schedule

Feb. 15: Alabama River

Contact: John Paul O’Driscoll at 334-850-7153

or johnpaulod@juno.com

 

Feb. 29: Bankhead Lake (Warrior River)

Contact: Ronnie Tew at 205-908-4857

 

March 7: Lake Eufaula (Chattahoochee River)

Contact: Brad Moore at bmooreless@gosuto.com

 

March 14: Valley Creek (Spring)

Contact: Freddie Freeman at 205-424-4060, ext. 4188

or ffreeman@bessemeral.org

 

March 21: Lake Mitchell (Coosa River)

Contact: Mike Clelland at 205-354-9348

 

March 28-April 4: Logan Martin (Coosa River)

Contact: Bud Kitchin at 256-239-0242

 

March 28: Minor Heights Community at Village Creek

Contact: Yohance Owens at 205-798-0087

or yohancevilcreek@yahoo.com

 

March 28-April 4: Lay Lake (Coosa River)

Contact: Judy Jones at 205-669-4865

 

April 11: Lay Lake at E.C. Gaston Plant (Coosa River)

Contact: Tanisha Fenderson at tfender@southernco.com

 

April 4: Cahaba River

Contact: David Butler at

info@cahabariverkeeper.org

 

April 14-15: Mobile River (Plant Barry)

Contact: Bo Cotton at 251-331-0603

 

April 18: Lake Jordan (Coosa River)

Contact: Brenda Basnight 334-478-3388

 

Date TBD: Plant Miller (Locust Fork)

Contact: TBD

 

April 22-23: Smith Lake (Winston County)

Contact: Allison Cochran at 205-489-5111

 

April 24: Smith Lake (Cullman County)

Contact: Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981

 

April 25: Weiss Lake

Contact: Sam Marko at 404-626-8594

 

May 1: Plant Gorgas (Mulberry Fork)

Contact: John Pate at 205-686-2324

or johpate@southernco.com

 

May 15: Lake Seminole

Contact: Melanie Rogers at mlrogers@southernco.com

 

May 16: Chattahoochee River (Plant Farley)

Contact: Melanie Rogers at mlrogers@southernco.com

 

May 18-19: Smith Lake (Walker County)

Contact: Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253

 

Aug. 8: Holt Lake (Black Warrior River)

Contact: Becky Clark at 205-799-2449

 

Aug. 14: Plant Miller (Locust Fork)

Contact: Madison Maughon at 205-438-0150

or mtmaugho@southernco.com

 

Aug. 15: Valley Creek

Contact: TBD

 

Aug. 15: Upper Tallapoosa River

Contact: Lex Brown at 256-239-6399

 

Sept: 8-9: Smith Lake (Walker County)

Contact: Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253

 

Date TBD: Village Creek

Contact: Yohance Owens at 205-798-0087

 

Sept.18: Smith Lake (Cullman County)

Contact: Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981

 

Sept. 24: Smith Lake (Winston County)

Contact: Jim Eason at msgjeason@yahoo.com

 

Oct. 2-3: Lake Demopolis

Contact: Jesse Johnson at 334-289-6160 or 251-238-1257

 

Oct. 13: Dog River (Mobile County)

Contact: Catie Boss at 251-829-2146 or clboss@southernco.com

 

Oct.17: Lake Mitchell (Coosa River)

Contact: Dale Vann at 205-910-3713

 

Oct. 20-22: Lake Harris (Tallapoosa River-Lake Wedowee)

Contact: Sheila Smith at 205-396-5093

or Marlin Glover at 770-445-0824

 

Oct. 26-31: Neely Henry Lake (Coosa River)

Contact: Lisa Dover at 256-549-0900

 

Nov. 6-7: Lake Martin (Tallapoosa River)

Contact: John Thompson at 334-399-3289

or 1942jthompson420@gmail.com

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

18 hours ago

Time-lapse video of Birmingham’s new downtown interstate bridges

The new Interstate 59/20 bridges through downtown Birmingham are scheduled to open within the next few days, 12 months after they were closed for replacement.

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) announced Jan. 13 the contractor, Johnson Brothers Corp., would have the bridges completed and ready to open no later than Jan. 21. The interstate bridges were closed to traffic Jan. 21, 2019, as part of ALDOT’s phased repair plan for the more than 45-year-old bridges.

Alabama Power recorded the demolition and construction of the western half of the bridges from a 17th-floor window overlooking the junction of the bridges with I-65. The 12-month recording was condensed into a one-minute time-lapse video.

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Time-lapse video of Birmingham bridges replacement from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony was scheduled for Friday, Jan. 17 at 2:00 p.m. Once the bridges reopen to traffic, ALDOT says crews will spend the rest of 2020 repairing detours and completing work around the bridges. Plans to develop public space underneath the bridges are not yet finalized.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

19 hours ago

Roby: More flexibility for America’s working parents

The American workforce has witnessed considerable change in dynamics during the 21st Century: it is more diverse than ever before.

Statistics consistently show the percentage of U.S. families with at least one working parent is on the rise, and it’s no secret that today’s working parents struggle to balance the demands required of them by their jobs and their children.

Time is the most precious resource, especially for mothers and fathers who are putting forth their best efforts to manage families while simultaneously excel in their careers. These hard-working parents deserve and need more choice and flexibility in their daily schedules in order to accomplish both. As a working mom myself, I understand the challenges parents face in managing these responsibilities. I always say that Congress cannot legislate another hour into the day, but we can update our laws to allow more choice and fairness in how employees choose to use their time.

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As the dynamics of the workplace have changed over time, our policies that govern the workplace have not adapted to keep up with these changes. I am proud to again introduce the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2020. This piece of legislation offers compensatory time, or “comp time,” benefits in lieu of cash wages for overtime, allowing private-sector workers the same opportunity that currently exists in the public sector.

This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and removes an outdated and unnecessary federal restriction on the use of comp time in the private sector for hourly employees. Comp time would be completely voluntary for the employer and employee with strong worker protections to prohibit coercion. This is the same legislation I have introduced numerous times, and it passed the House on several occasions. This change in law would provide more flexibility for working moms and dads who need more time to manage their families.

Think about it this way: should a working dad be forced to use all of his vacation time to be involved in his child’s school? Should a military mom have to take sick leave in order to make sure her child is properly taken care of? Whether it’s a parent coaching a child’s sports team, caring for a sick or elderly family member, or getting children to and from school and extracurricular activities, family responsibilities often require parents to take time away from work.

As times have changed, so have demands on our time. This is one proposal that would offer private-sector American workers more freedom and more control over their time in order to spend it the way they choose. This piece of legislation is about the working moms and dads across the country who value their time. I am honored to introduce this bill again in order to show my support for all of the working parents across our nation and to hopefully make life a little easier for the moms and dads in our American workforce.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

20 hours ago

Alabama hunter grants wishes for kids

Jeff Carter didn’t have a plan in 2011 when he started Pine Hills and Oak Hollars Child Classic, an organization that takes sick kids on a weekend hunting trip in northwest Alabama.

“At that time I really didn’t know what it looked like,” Carter said. “The Lord put it on my heart and he called me to do this. We stepped out on faith.”

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Pine Hills and Oak Hollars Child Classic grants wishes for kids from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Carter’s faith paid off. The event, now in its ninth year, has grown from a hunting trip for one child into an extended weekend experience for three kids at a time. The kids are selected through the United Special Sportsman Alliance, all recovering from a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, or a life-altering disorder like autism.

“This is just an opportunity that God has given us to be able to give these kids and their families a chance to get away and get their mind off of a lot of what they’ve been dealing with,” Carter said.

Beau Terry, 18, is one of the young people hunting in this year’s classic. Terry said he was thrilled to get the chance.

“It’s kind of like having a lot of uncles around,” Terry said. “It means a lot.”

In addition to the hunting trip, the kids are given hunting clothes, a DVD video of their weekend and a canvas picture. Carter said their smiles are a blessing to him and his volunteers.

“It’s awesome,” Carter said. “When God calls us to do something, there’s no sense in worry about how much and how, just step out on faith and roll with it because he’s got it figured out already. He will provide.”

For more information about the Pine Hills and Oak Hollars Child Classic, visit the organization’s Facebook page here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)