Reeder: Believers ‘speaking up’ made real difference in adoption tax credit provision


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to go through three stories today which ought to give believers a little ray of hope and to feel optimistic about the sanctity of life issue.

First story up out of World Magazine, “FBI Seeks Documents for Planned Parenthood Probe.” The FBI has requested unredacted documents the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained from abortion providers, signaling a broader probe into the abortion industry according to a report from The Hill.

This all came about through the videos that were done by the Center for Medical Progress that made it very evident that Planned Parenthood was selling aborted baby body parts for profit, which is against the law.

The second story – which we did cover just the other day but, again, it’s a positive story – the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a California case in which pro-life ministries and other organizations must share information with pregnant mothers about their abortion options.

And, lastly, positive news, in the new tax bill, they have reinserted the tax credit related to adoption.

DR. REEDER: Clearly, Planned Parenthood has violated the law. Planned Parenthood has basically become a wholesaler on baby parts in order to enhance its financial status.

It’s big business and, because it’s big business, then it becomes a difficult issue to deal with so the willingness of the FBI to pursue this and to unearth the documents that have been established before the Congress that investigated this in terms of criminal wrongdoing, No. 1, sends a welcome shot across the bow of the abortion industry and this burgeoning profit-seeking industry.

“We can get it done in a way that preserves organs and body parts. By the way, boy, can we make some money off this and you can take the parts and make money off that.” That whole industry now has the scrutiny of the FBI.

Of course, it remains to be seen in terms of the integrity of the probe, but at least there’s a probe, at least that shot went across the bow and this now-exposed development of body part selling, that is a good news factor. The second one that you bring up, Tom – something that we’ve covered not long ago – is this irrational law that was passed and pushed in its implementation in the State of California about these non-profit and religious organizations that are providing crisis pregnancy care, adoption and clinic care for women who are in crisis pregnancy.

However, they are focused upon the sanctity of life and that, “Yes, this is a crisis and, yes, we are here to help you, but the answer is not the killing of the baby. That will produce greater problems in your life in the future emotionally, and spiritually and psychologically. Here’s a better answer. We can nurture you, nurture the life, and if you are not able to take the life of this baby and nurture the baby after its birth, we will provide an avenue toward an adoption instead of the murder of the unborn infant. That is not a solution to the crisis.”

Well, now, the State of California says, “Before you can ever talk to them about their healthcare, the mental, the spiritual, the physical, adoption alternatives – before you can ever do any of that – you have to give them contact information and lay out for them how they can go and get an abortion, a free abortion.

And you have to, as it were, be the initial marketing agent to this woman as to that choice of an abortion, which, in reality, is what they are attempting to eradicate from the American culture – this culture of death that destroys children.

Well, California, of course, is a leading fascist movement as they take the power of the government to enforce the right of abortion.

It is a religious entity for the secular humanists that you must not only provide abortion, you must not only approve abortions and they must not only be legal.

You can forget this legal and rare thing – you must promote them and celebrate them and even those who have a religious conviction based upon the sanctity of life, you must celebrate it, you must propagate it, you must market it and you must propose it.

Thankfully, there have numerous entities that have sued the State of California, that have brought appropriate lawsuits as the fact that this law is in direct opposition against our Constitution, in general, and the Bill of Rights, in particular, and the First Amendment, specifically, in two areas.

One is freedom of speech. Freedom of speech includes not only what you are allowed to say, but that you are not coerced to say.

Secondly, it is also obviously a strike against the freedom of religion in that one’s deeply held religious beliefs on the sanctity of life must not be violated by the power of the state in that they could close the crisis pregnancy center or fine those who are in the crisis pregnancy centers if they do not propagate and market the abortion industry.

And, thankfully, that’s going to the Supreme Court. I have every hope and desire that there will be an appropriate ruling upholding free speech so that they do not have to communicate this under the coercion of the State and the freedom of religion is that they can hold to the sanctity of life.

And then, finally, Tom, another piece of good news: as we have said, the real change in our country is going to be as Christians do evangelism and discipleship and people’s lives are changed by the grace of God and transformed and then that’s what transforms culture, when Gospel transformation takes place.

However, there is a place for Christians to enter the public square for the public good with public policy from the sanity of a Christian world and life view.

In the new tax reform, in an effort to find places to cut down on the deficit, there was a removal of a number of provisions, whereby, you could deduct from your income tax and one of those was you could deduct up to a certain amount the money that you spend on adoption, which is anywhere from $20,000.00 to $40,000.00. And there are many people who could provide a wonderful home but just cannot afford that.

Well, again, that strikes at the sanctity of life if we price out the provision of adoption in our nation so the State has a vested interest in encouraging adoption because, with the option of adoption, then there is a the fact that a number of those facing crisis pregnancies would be more open to hearing the plea for the sanctity of life and carrying their child to birth, knowing that the child would be taken care of by a family that was qualified and ready to provide a nurturing environment, yet, that family, perhaps, doesn’t have the means to do that financially so the adoption tax credit has been something that promotes the sanctity of life.

Well, there was an appropriate, well-constructed communication from many believers –systematically in some cases and spontaneously in others – and both the Senate and the House now agree to reinsert this provision that upholds the sanctity of life by giving relief to those who are in this expensive endeavor of seeking to adopt children that have been unwanted, but are wanted by many. And, therefore, they get some relief through the income tax credit.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, it is so easy to get discouraged and think, “My voice will not matter,” but it does.

DR. REEDER: Many times, when you speak up, you say, “Well, what’s the use? There’s going to be no consequence.” No, if it’s right, do what’s right. Speak up. You never know what God will use.

When you say the truth, say it in love and say it the right way. That includes not only the Gospel of saving grace, but the same thing’s true of your ministry as believers and as the church in the arena of common grace.

Speak up because it’s right and do it in the right way at the right time and for the right reasons. The Lord, many times, surprises us with wonderful consequences such as the ones that we have mentioned today.

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.

1 hour 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

2 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

3 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.”

4 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