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.

14 hours ago

Goat Island Brewing is an Alabama Maker concocting interesting beers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goat Island Brewing Company

The product: Craft beer.

Take home: A growler of Blood Orange Berliner Weisse.

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

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

Renew Our Rivers kicks off 21st year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Renew Our Rivers Schedule

Feb. 15: Alabama River

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

or johnpaulod@juno.com

 

Feb. 29: Bankhead Lake (Warrior River)

Contact: Ronnie Tew at 205-908-4857

 

March 7: Lake Eufaula (Chattahoochee River)

Contact: Brad Moore at bmooreless@gosuto.com

 

March 14: Valley Creek (Spring)

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

or ffreeman@bessemeral.org

 

March 21: Lake Mitchell (Coosa River)

Contact: Mike Clelland at 205-354-9348

 

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

Contact: Bud Kitchin at 256-239-0242

 

March 28: Minor Heights Community at Village Creek

Contact: Yohance Owens at 205-798-0087

or yohancevilcreek@yahoo.com

 

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

Contact: Judy Jones at 205-669-4865

 

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

Contact: Tanisha Fenderson at tfender@southernco.com

 

April 4: Cahaba River

Contact: David Butler at

info@cahabariverkeeper.org

 

April 14-15: Mobile River (Plant Barry)

Contact: Bo Cotton at 251-331-0603

 

April 18: Lake Jordan (Coosa River)

Contact: Brenda Basnight 334-478-3388

 

Date TBD: Plant Miller (Locust Fork)

Contact: TBD

 

April 22-23: Smith Lake (Winston County)

Contact: Allison Cochran at 205-489-5111

 

April 24: Smith Lake (Cullman County)

Contact: Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981

 

April 25: Weiss Lake

Contact: Sam Marko at 404-626-8594

 

May 1: Plant Gorgas (Mulberry Fork)

Contact: John Pate at 205-686-2324

or johpate@southernco.com

 

May 15: Lake Seminole

Contact: Melanie Rogers at mlrogers@southernco.com

 

May 16: Chattahoochee River (Plant Farley)

Contact: Melanie Rogers at mlrogers@southernco.com

 

May 18-19: Smith Lake (Walker County)

Contact: Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253

 

Aug. 8: Holt Lake (Black Warrior River)

Contact: Becky Clark at 205-799-2449

 

Aug. 14: Plant Miller (Locust Fork)

Contact: Madison Maughon at 205-438-0150

or mtmaugho@southernco.com

 

Aug. 15: Valley Creek

Contact: TBD

 

Aug. 15: Upper Tallapoosa River

Contact: Lex Brown at 256-239-6399

 

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

Contact: Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253

 

Date TBD: Village Creek

Contact: Yohance Owens at 205-798-0087

 

Sept.18: Smith Lake (Cullman County)

Contact: Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981

 

Sept. 24: Smith Lake (Winston County)

Contact: Jim Eason at msgjeason@yahoo.com

 

Oct. 2-3: Lake Demopolis

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

 

Oct. 13: Dog River (Mobile County)

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

 

Oct.17: Lake Mitchell (Coosa River)

Contact: Dale Vann at 205-910-3713

 

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

Contact: Sheila Smith at 205-396-5093

or Marlin Glover at 770-445-0824

 

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

Contact: Lisa Dover at 256-549-0900

 

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

Contact: John Thompson at 334-399-3289

or 1942jthompson420@gmail.com

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

18 hours ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

19 hours ago

Roby: More flexibility for America’s working parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 hours ago

Alabama hunter grants wishes for kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)