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.

41 mins ago

Merrill: Alabama’s ‘greatest champion and favorite son’ Richard Shelby delivers once again

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill on Wednesday released a statement praising U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby’s role (R-AL) in the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.

Merrill also touted the overall leadership being provided to the nation by Trump, as well as the work Governor Kay Ivey is doing for the Yellowhammer State.

Shelby is Alabama’s longest serving senator, and his accomplishments for his home state are well recognized by political observers. Merrill outlined that the COVID-19 stimulus package is merely the latest example of Shelby delivering for his fellow Alabamians.

“Our state is incredibly lucky to have leaders who are willing to step up to the plate and go to bat for Alabama, which is precisely what Senator Shelby has done,” Merrill stated.

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“The historic coronavirus relief package recently appropriated to the states would not have been possible without the leadership and guidance of Senator Shelby,” he continued. “How do I know this? I know this to be true because those words came straight from Senator Mitch McConnell and his team. When liberal extremists pushed their agenda, Senator Shelby drew a line in the sand and said, ‘no farther!’”

There were reports that Democrats were trying to insert provisions related to the Green New Deal into the package, as well as voting measures championed by the left that Merrill and others believed could have jeopardized election security and increased voter fraud.

“I am most grateful for the $400 million provided by Congress to protect the 2020 elections. I am also thankful for the provisions that allow each state to do what is best for that state,” Merrill commented.

He said, “Senator Shelby and his team have been receptive and engaged in finding proactive solutions to ensure the safety and security of our elections are not compromised.”

“After countless calls from me and other election officials from across the country, Senator Shelby made it a priority to see that states were granted the flexibility to best accommodate their respective communities under the bill’s stipulations,” the secretary of state added. “Unlike others who have attempted to implement nationwide election changes – many that would increase the likelihood for voter fraud and voter intimidation to be committed – Senator Shelby has proven yet again that federal interference into the elections process in unwarranted and unnecessary.”

Merrill concluded by lauding the stalwart service of Shelby, as well as casting an optimistic and unifying message as the nation continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we work to get through these trying times, we must remember there is much to be grateful for, such as the collaboration of federal, state and local officials across the country who are working together to provide assistance to those who are most in need,” he advised.

“At the forefront of this fight, finding a solution to the problems we face is Alabama’s Senior Senator, our greatest champion and favorite son, United States Senator Richard C. Shelby!” Merrill concluded.

RELATED: ‘From Alabama to the Moon’ — Richard Shelby is the driving force making America’s space dreams a reality

Merrill’s full statement as follows:

As we navigate these unchartered waters, we must remember that Alabama has a lot to be grateful for.

The leadership exemplified by state and national leaders like President Donald J. Trump, United States Senator Richard Shelby and Governor Kay Ivey should not go unnoticed.

Our state is incredibly lucky to have leaders who are willing to step up to the plate and go to bat for Alabama, which is precisely what Senator Shelby has done.

The historic coronavirus relief package recently appropriated to the states would not have been possible without the leadership and guidance of Senator Shelby.

How do I know this? I know this to be true because those words came straight from Senator Mitch McConnell and his team. When liberal extremists pushed their agenda, Senator Shelby drew a line in the sand and said, ‘no farther!’

I am most grateful for the $400 million provided by Congress to protect the 2020 elections. I am also thankful for the provisions that allow each state to do what is best for that state.

Senator Shelby and his team have been receptive and engaged in finding proactive solutions to ensure the safety and security of our elections are not compromised.

After countless calls from me and other election officials from across the country, Senator Shelby made it a priority to see that states were granted the flexibility to best accommodate their respective communities under the bill’s stipulations.

Unlike others who have attempted to implement nationwide election changes – many that would increase the likelihood for voter fraud and voter intimidation to be committed – Senator Shelby has proven yet again that federal interference into the elections process in unwarranted and unnecessary.

While we work to get through these trying times, we must remember there is much to be grateful for, such as the collaboration of federal, state and local officials across the country who are working together to provide assistance to those who are most in need.

At the forefront of this fight, finding a solution to the problems we face is Alabama’s Senior Senator, our greatest champion and favorite son, United States Senator Richard C. Shelby!

RELATED: Keep up with Alabama’s confirmed coronavirus cases, locations here

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

1 hour ago

6 suggestions to protect yourself from stimulus check scams

Congress moved quickly to help the American public with a $2 trillion stimulus bill.

Unfortunately, fraud experts believe scammers will move just as quickly to try to take your share away. The key is to arm yourself with information.

“No doubt, there will be fake messages that will make countless claims,” said Don White, head of Corporate Security at Regions Bank. “Scammers may text, email or call you, asking for your banking information or claiming they can process your stimulus payment for you. Don’t take the bait. Do not, under any circumstance, give away your personal information via text, email or phone to someone you do not know who is soliciting you.”

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The bipartisan legislation to boost the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic includes economic relief for American taxpayers in the form of stimulus checks. Each eligible adult will receive up to $1,200, based on gross income.

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the checks could go out in the next two weeks, although there are still questions as to how the money will be distributed. For example, someone who received a refund on 2019 taxes via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) could receive a direct deposit.

Meanwhile, scammers are ready to take advantage by reaching out and saying your account information is needed, or that you can have their relief check for a small fee.

To avoid fraud, consider these suggestions:

1. Hang up. Don’t reply. The IRS, Treasury Department or other government agencies will not call, email or text message people to collect account information, Social Security numbers or credit card information. Anyone who does is likely a scammer, White said.

2. Do not pay anyone offering to get your stimulus funds early or sell you additional stimulus checks. This is a promise that they will not be able to fulfill.

3. Enroll in your bank’s or credit card company’s online and mobile applications to monitor your account activity frequently, looking for suspicious activity.

4. Avoid clicking on unknown links, which may expose you to viruses or malware.

5. While online, verify the legitimacy of websites you visit.

– Turn on browser tools, which can help identify fraudulent websites.

– Ensure the websites are secure and encrypted with HTTPS.

– Look for links that are broken or take you away from the original website.

– Shop through websites you know and trust.

6. As always, slow down, verify, and verify again the legitimacy of financial transactions before approving. Look for changes to account numbers, phone numbers, email addresses or other identifying information.

“We are seeing a spike in fraud activity during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jon Kucharski, Fraud Strategy Manager at Regions. “No matter what this payment winds up being, only scammers will ask you to pay to get it. Just keep in mind, these unusual times require patience and a little extra vigilance to keep your finances safe.”

(Courtesy of Regions)

2 hours ago

‘Don’t let the corona get on ya!’ — Alabama retirees sing during COVID-19 crisis

An Alabama retirement community shared a helpful message on social media this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a video posted on Facebook, residents of Wesley Gardens Retirement Community in Montgomery joined with facility driver Lee McBryde (while practicing social distancing by staying six steps away) to dance and sing some important lyrics during the COVID-19 crisis such as properly washing hands and covering up when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread.

“Don’t let the corona get on ya!” McBryde sang as residents danced around him while holding containers of disinfectant wipes.

Watch:

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Birmingham meal prep business offers buy one, give one to help feed those in need

During the novel COVID-19 economic and health crisis, one Birmingham based small business has created a way to give back. Mealfit, a catering and meal preparation company, is donating a free meal to someone in need for every meal that is ordered.

Each customer who purchases a meal for themselves will be offered an opportunity to identify someone who may be in need. Mealfit will provide a meal to those in need at no additional costs.

Mealfit founder and CEO Thomas Cox launched the program as a way to help the community during a time of need.

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“I’ve been racking my brain as a small business owner on how I can provide high-quality, healthy food in a time when people are stuck at home, while also helping people who are in need,” said Cox.

“Everyone has someone who is in need whether it be an elderly person, a single parent or someone who has been laid off because of the crisis we are going through. So from now until further notice, every time you order your Mealfit meals, we will give to a family in need,” Thomas stated.

Customers can order through the company website by 12:00 p.m. on Sunday and pick up food between 4:00-5:00 p.m. on Monday at one of 17 different locations in Birmingham. Once an order is placed the customer can simply respond to their confirmation email and identify the name, number of family members, phone number and email of the person they would like to have a free meal. Mealfit will handle the rest.

Cox only has one small request for the greater Birmingham community: “We ask that you spread the word. We can’t reach everyone on our own, but with your help, we can reach more of the people who are in need that we aren’t directly connected with.”

Go to this website and order food for you and your family. 

3 hours ago

Jefferson County: Recovering elderly COVID-19 patients must be returned to their nursing homes

The Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) is asking nursing homes in the area to take back patients still testing positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter brought to light by the Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA).

The leading studies available have shown that COVID-19 is much more deadly for people over 65 than any other age group.

ANHA communications director John Matson told Alabama Media Group that the new county guidelines go “against sound medical advice.”

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The JCDH cites “the possibility that our hospitals will not have the capacity to care for a large number of patients infected with COVID-19” as the reason for nursing homes to take in the coronavirus-positive patients.

According to the department, individuals testing positive for the virus will only be returned to a nursing home if two conditions are both met:

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
  • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

The department added that some patients may be returned before those conditions are met if their facility is able to adopt certain extra precautions.

Because the new guidelines are being issued by the Jefferson County Department of Health, they only apply to nursing homes in Jefferson County.

Additionally, patients hospitalized without COVID-19 symptoms do not have to test negative before being readmitted to their nursing home.

“For weeks we haven’t allowed family members and volunteers to visit our nursing homes, and our families understand why,” Matson told Alabama Media Group.

“Now they can’t visit, but we’re supposed to admit someone that’s COVID-19 positive?” Matson added.

The Jefferson County Health Department is assuring the public that it is following guidelines laid out by the CDC.

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