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.

3 mins ago

Preventing death by allowing ‘essential’ murder

We live in wild times.

I’ve watched people all across the political spectrum in recent days deliver impassioned speeches about the need to take extraordinary measures to preserve human life. They say they believe the elderly and vulnerable are just as deserving of a chance to live as any other.

They are right.

Human life is sacred and should be treated as such from the womb to the tomb.

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But since we live in an age of cognitive dissonance and crumbling reason, the same people who will gladly burn the economy to the ground to save grandpa will sue you for the right to keep killing unborn children, even amid this crisis.

In Alabama, it looks like this: on March 27, Governor Kay Ivey issued an order suspending nonessential medical and dental care as part of a comprehensive effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Temporarily eliminating procedures that are not medically necessary reserves scarce PPEs for use where critically needed and reduces the number of people gathering in clinics and potentially spreading the virus.

State Health Officer Scott Harris stipulated that abortion clinics were providing an essential service and could continue to operate.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that he believed that the original order applied to all elective medical and dental procedures. And as elective abortion is not emergency care and treats no disease process, they should not be exempt from the order.

Enter the ACLU, which filed a petition on behalf of abortion providers with the federal courts, asking for an emergency order to prevent state authorities from closing them down; they want abortion classified as an “essential” service.

They don’t believe that abortion clinics should have to live up to the same deal that thousands of other medical providers and citizens are currently living up to, for the greater good. United States District Judge Myron Thompson issued just such an injunction late on March 30, keeping abortion clinics open and temporarily exempting them from the standards of the governors’ mandate. The court will hear arguments on the matter in full on April 13.

Where do I even begin?

Under the law, women currently have a right to abortion services. Likewise, I have the right to seek all manner of medical and dental procedures, many of which are essential preventative care: pap smears, mammograms, dermatological cancer screenings, x-rays, etc. Under normal circumstances, I even have the right to seek all sorts of nonessential medical procedures that improve the quality of my life: therapies or cosmetic procedures for a variety of conditions and complaints.

But these are not normal times, and pregnancy is not an illness.

And our government – for better or for worse – has the power to temporarily restrain ordinary civil liberties to respond to a crisis, as the Governor has in this case.

Pregnancy may be unplanned or undesired. But it is not a disease.

The vast majority of Americans understand that our resources must, for the near future, be prioritized for the treatment of actual disease processes and emergency healthcare that won’t wait.

But if you say something – no matter how divorced from facts – enough times, you start to believe it. And in this case, the abortion industry mantra that “abortion is healthcare” has been repeated so often that a significant number of activists and their acolytes believe it.

Those of us who think that children in utero are just as sacred as the elderly and the frail would point out that abortion is a kind of “healthcare” that always leaves one of its two patients dead.

The feminist in me is sickened of the degrading presumption that lives inside of the abortion-as-healthcare mentality: that women lack the agency and the intelligence to prevent pregnancy in the first place. That pregnancy is something that just spontaneously happens to us without our consent or participation because the basics of biology are just too hard for little ole us.

Victims of rape or abuse are obvious exceptions to this rule, and only a tiny percentage of elective abortions, so save yourself the pithy email.

It’s a pitifully low view of women. It’s a tragically low view of life.

And now, the abortion industry wants to be held out as exceptional and granted exclusive rights. They want their elective procedure deemed more important than all the other elective procedures and more important than the fight to save their neighbors’ lives.

It is not.

Because of this pandemic, there are people from all walks of life on hold for medical care that is far more consequential to their ongoing physical health than the potential abortion of a healthy pregnancy.

Why must heart patients, diabetics, and cancer patients put skin in the game of achieving our collective good while abortion seekers break the social contract and go right on with their desires?

Whether you think abortion should generally be legal or not, it’s certainly no more essential than a million other types of medical care that Alabamians are doing without in this moment of crisis.
Providers of elective abortion are not deserving of special consideration.

No one can honestly argue we are protecting at-risk people from death by allowing the murder of babies as an “essential” service.

Dana Hall McCain, a widely published writer on faith, culture, and politics, is Resident Fellow of the Alabama Policy Institute; reach her on Twitter at @dhmccain.

API is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to free markets, limited government, and strong families, learn more at alabamapolicy.org.

52 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

2 hours 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.