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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.

24 mins ago

Stray dog finds love and comfort at Alabama Power plant

When a stray dog wandered onto the property at Alabama Power’s Plant Greene County a dozen years ago, workers there had no idea how she would end up touching them all.

They also had no idea the dog was pregnant.

The latter became apparent when she had five puppies a few days later. The former has been firmly established by those who have come to love the dog they call Pup-Pup.

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Initially, they cared for the dog expecting she would find her way back home. It was soon apparent that Pup-Pup was home.

“Little did she know she went from hell to heaven when she showed up here,” said Christopher “Critter” Glass, mechanic-welder at the plant, who gave Pup-Pup her name.

Stray dog Pup-Pup finds loving family at Alabama Power plant from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Pup-Pup’s five puppies were given to contractors and employees. Employees donated to have her fixed and she has been a fixture at the plant ever since.

“An all call will go out and everyone here pitches in for anything she needs, whether it’s food, medicine or a new bed,” said Elaine Fetzer, financial specialist at Plant Greene County.

Recently, Pup-Pup was diagnosed with kidney failure and is no longer able to stay at the plant overnight. Fetzer, who once wanted to be a veterinarian, has tapped into that calling in caring for Pup-Pup away from the plant. She takes Pup-Pup home at the end of the workday and dispenses her medicine twice a day.

“Pup-Pup’s never missed a day until all of this went down (kidney failure), so she’s taking a few vacation days, but she has earned it,” Fetzer said. “Now she is getting her weekends and holidays.”

Even before Pup-Pup’s current health problems, she has had challenges. A vet visit after she was hit by a car revealed she had been shot before her days at the plant. She has always been skittish around flashlights and flashes, possibly because she may have been shot at night when someone shined a light on her.

But at Plant Greene County, Pup-Pup gives and receives love.

The outpouring of love is tinged with sadness as her plant family fears Pup-Pup is facing her final days.

As Plant Greene County Mechanic Chris Cameron put it: “Pup-Pup’s been a great dog, never seen a dog as mighty as her.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 hours ago

Birmingham Iron football team finishes first week of training camp, holds joint practice

The Birmingham Iron has finished its first week of training camp in San Antonio, ending with a joint practice with the Salt Lake Stallions.

Birmingham’s Alliance of American Football team is using the camp to whittle its roster down from the 85 original players to the 52 that will take the field against the Memphis Express at 1 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Legion Field to kick off the inaugural season for the team and the new league.

The Iron released interviews with two players expected to make the final roster – running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Luis Perez.

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Update from Birmingham Iron training camp from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Richardson said the practice with the Stallions showed the progress the Iron is making as a team.

“It shows that we got something special,” the former University of Alabama and NFL running back said. “It shows that both sides still need a lot of work. But we did a lot of great things out there. We showed that team chemistry, too.”

Perez agreed that they are building something with this team.

“As a team, I think we’re doing a very good job,” he said. “We’re stacking those blocks, getting better every single day. Not making the same mistake twice is the end goal. Just getting better, installing all these plays and studying them. Right now we’re all in a learning phase, and I think we’re doing a good job.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

Alabama WFF Ramps Up CWD Sampling Effort

With positive tests for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Tennessee and additional positives in Mississippi, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division has ramped up testing in north Alabama.

WFF officials set up manned sampling stations in Hackleburg the first weekend of the new year and followed with sampling last weekend in Waterloo.

Self-service sampling stations were recently set up by WFF in north Alabama to accommodate drop-offs 24 hours a day.

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WFF Director Chuck Sykes said testing for the always-fatal disease, which is caused by a rogue protein called a prion, has been ongoing since 2002, but the positive tests in neighboring states caused WFF to increase its sampling effort.

“The Mississippi positives made us test more in the areas that joined Mississippi,” Sykes said. “When the deer in Tennessee tested positive, it prompted an increased level of testing where it fell within the response zone. Those positives just prompted us to increase our surveillance in those areas.”

Sixteen deer were brought in for sampling at the Hackleburg station, but Sykes said the interaction with hunters who didn’t harvest deer may have been the most productive aspect of the manned sampling station.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but I consider it a success for a volunteer check station,” Sykes said. “More important than the 16 deer brought in, we had two times that many hunters stop by and ask questions. It was a really good way for our staff to get in front of the public, and the public to be able to ask questions one-on-one.”

Sykes and the WFF staff discovered that, although the Division has been immersed in the CWD Response Plan, it has yet to be widely discussed in the public.

“We (WFF) are up to our eyeballs in CWD,” Sykes said. “Even though we’ve offered seminars, done articles and put up billboards, a lot of people don’t pay attention until it hits close to home. A lot of the questions were just basic CWD knowledge that the average hunter in Alabama doesn’t understand. What is it? Why is it a problem? What makes it different from other diseases? These were very positive interactions. There was nothing negative about it.”

Sykes said the self-service sampling stations are part of the standard protocols of the CWD Response Plan (https://www.outdooralabama.com/deer-hunting-alabama/chronic-wasting-disease-what-you-should-know).

“With the positives in Mississippi and Tennessee within 50 miles of our border, that prompts us to do more testing in those areas,” he said. “It’s been shown time and time again that hunter-harvested deer and road-kills are the best ways to achieve samples and to get the most out of those samples. Just going in and randomly shooting deer is okay, but in areas that have had CWD for a long time, there is a higher predominance in road-kill deer and hunter-harvested deer because they lose their sense of wariness. The most effective way to sample is by hunter-harvested deer and working with ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) to identify road-kills.”

Above all, Sykes said he wants hunters to continue to pursue deer just like they always have.

“Again, this is not something to cause people to quit hunting,” he said. “We need them to become educated on what CWD is. Don’t rely on what they’ve heard at hunting camp or what they saw on Facebook. Talk to us to try to understand the disease and what we’re doing to try to prevent it.”

Sykes reiterated how hunting, especially deer hunting, is a cornerstone in Alabama’s culture and economy. Hunting has an almost $2 billion impact annually on Alabama’s economy.

“This is not a hunter issue,” he said. “This is not even a deer hunting issue. This is a State of Alabama economic issue and a way of life issue. We need people to understand what’s going on, and we need their assistance to gather these samples in the most efficient way so we can stay on top of it. Heaven forbid, if it does get here, we will be prepared to mitigate the risks as much as possible.”

Previously, tissue samples had to be sent out of state to be tested for CWD. In 2018, WFF provided funds for the Alabama Department of Agriculture to purchase CWD testing equipment, which was set up at Auburn University. The equipment and technician have been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and can test up to 90 samples per day.

Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship said the new CWD testing equipment speeds up the state’s response time considerably.

“We don’t have to wait on anybody,” Blankenship said. “We take our samples to the Department of Agriculture lab at Auburn University. We will get those test results quickly and be able to respond as soon as possible.”

The freezers for the self-service sample stations are located in Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Franklin, Lauderdale, and Colbert counties and are available to receive deer head samples 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At the self-service locations, hunters must first remove the deer’s head with 4-6 inches of neck attached. For bucks, antlers can be removed at the base of each antler or by removing the skull plate before bagging the head. Hunters will then place the head in the provided plastic bag and tie it closed. They will need to complete all sections of the Biological Sample Tag, and attach the tag to the bag with a zip tie. Hunters will take the bottom receipt portion of the Biological Sample Tag before placing the bagged head in the freezer. All materials needed to drop off a sample are provided at each freezer location.

Locations of the self-service CWD drop-off sampling sites are:

Fayette County, Fayette County Extension Office, 650 McConnell Loop, Fayette, Ala., 35555

Lamar County, Hunter’s Gold Processing, 11634 County Rd. 9, Millport, Ala., 35576

Marion County, Watson’s Grocery, 5658 State Highway 19, Detroit, Ala., 35552

Franklin County, Fancher’s Taxidermy, 715 Newell Rd., Red Bay, Ala., 35582

Lauderdale County, Florence Frozen Meats, 1050 South Court St., Florence, Ala., 35630

Colbert County, Yogi’s Texaco, 17750 US Highway 72, Tuscumbia, Ala., 35674

Hunters can also have deer sampled at any WFF District Office (www.outdooralabama.com/wildlife-section) or at the WFF office in Marengo County at 1105 Bailey Dr., Demopolis, Ala., 36732, phone number 334-289-8030. WFF offices are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Before dropping off the sample, hunters should call ahead to make sure a biologist is available.

Sykes said the test results will be emailed to the hunter within three to four weeks.

Currently, self-service freezers are located throughout northwest Alabama only because of the increased surveillance samples needed in the response zones of the CWD-positive locations in Mississippi and Tennessee.

David Rainer is an award-winning writer who has covered Alabama’s great outdoors for 25 years. The former outdoors editor at the Mobile Press-Register, he writes for Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

18 hours ago

Mo Brooks to continue key service for Tennessee Valley on House Armed Services Committee

Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) announced he will again serve on the highly influential House Armed Services Committee in the 116th Congress, with increased seniority this time around.

Brooks has served on the important committee for the Huntsville area since taking office in 2011. He will also receive a second committee assignment to be revealed by the House Republican Steering Committee next week.

Among Republican members of the Armed Services committee, Brooks’ seniority has improved to 16th out of 26. His seniority among the full committee membership has officially yet to be determined, but it is expected to improve as well.

In a statement, Brooks emphasized the committee assignment’s importance to his district.

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“The military side of Redstone Arsenal employs roughly 30,000 Tennessee Valley residents,” Brooks said. “In light of the dramatic cut in Republicans on the Armed Services Committee (as we moved from majority to minority status), I am pleased my Republican colleagues chose me to continue serving on Armed Services, where my growing seniority empowers me to better protect America’s national security and promote Redstone Arsenal’s role in providing that security.”

Brooks concluded, “The Tennessee Valley is experiencing rapid economic growth in large part because of Redstone Arsenal’s reputation as a center of excellence. Quite frankly, we often do what no one else in the world can do. Recognizing this, I again successfully competed for a position on Armed Service, which annually produces the National Defense Authorization Act, the primary mechanism whereby Congress authorizes Department of Defense programs.”

Subcommittee assignments for the House Armed Service Committee will be announced in the coming weeks.

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

19 hours ago

Aderholt: ‘Abortion ends a human life, plain and simple’ – ‘Not a matter of religion vs. science’

With the March for Life in full swing in Washington, D.C on Friday, Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) released a statement mourning “the loss of more than 60 million unborn children” since Roe v. Wade became law of the land.

Wednesday, January 22 is the 46th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on abortion.

“Today, thousands of Americans joined together to mark the 46th anniversary of a terrible moment in American history – the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade,” Aderholt said. “Since that court ruling, we have mourned the loss of more than 60 million unborn children. We must continue to fight for these children who do not have a voice of their own.”

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The congressman added, “This is not a matter of religion vs. science. Science itself shows us that these are not just masses of tissue. I feel calling these unborn children a fetus instead of what they are, an unborn child, is simply a measure to ease guilty consciences. Science has proved that an unborn child’s heart begins beating just 18-21 days after fertilization, that an unborn child’s brainwaves can be detected just 6 weeks after fertilization, and that at 10-11 weeks after fertilization, every organ system is in place.”

“These facts add up to one conclusion, abortion ends a human life, plain and simple,” Aderholt concluded.

In the 116th Congress, Aderholt serves as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and Related Agencies for the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

He is also a member of that committee’s Defense Subcommittee and its Agriculture Subcommittee, as well as the Helsinki Commission.

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