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Christian voters faced 4 options in Senate race … only 1 is inexcusable, says Evangelical pastor


 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I’m sure you and your fellow citizens of Alabama are somewhat pleased that Alabama is no longer in the headlines of the national news night after night. Of course, I’m referring to the Doug Jones/Roy Moore senatorial race.

It’s interesting to see the response to that race. Chuck Schumer said that this was a rejection of Donald Trump. The Washington Post declared that Trump-ism has bottomed out in the Moore candidacy. The New York Times counted it among examples of stark repudiations of the first-term president.

As we look at the post-mortem of this senatorial race, no doubt, right within Briarwood Church, you have people that are highly disappointed with the outcome of the race and you have other people who think this is a good thing.

What should our response be to one another as there’s probably a diversity of opinions of who to vote for and how it turned out?

WHY I DON’T ENDORSE

DR. REEDER: I do not support candidates or parties and I do not oppose candidates or parties. I do address platforms, I do address policy, I do address positions. I don’t think it’s fair to my congregation for me to take a public position on a party or a candidate because that automatically transfers to them, whether they vote that direction or not.

Jesus said, “You are to teach all that I have given to you.” That means that a Christian is to think through how to function as a citizen of the state.

I don’t want Christians to get lazy and say, “Well, who’s the pastor voting for? That’s who I’ll vote for.” I want them to develop a Christian world and life view to own their process and own their vote before the Lord. But then, now, how can I cast my vote in a way that honors the Lord? And then you get to a vote like this and, Tom, it’s tough.

CHRISTIAN VOTERS SHOULD CONSIDER 5 THINGS

I think it was going to be a close election – everybody predicted that because of the Moore candidacy, in general, and then came all of these allegations. And, when that happens, the believer has got to do two things at a moment like that.

Tom, you will remember, back in the presidential election, you and I did a couple of programs on what is the paradigm that a Christian prayerfully goes through and we actually did a program on “the next right thing” after these allegations came out. Therefore, we’ve done programs on this and tried to lay out the Biblical principals to prayerfully come to a voting decision: character first, No. 2, content of the positions of the candidate, No. 3 competency, No. 4, conviction, and No. 5. community witness.

We’ve worked our way through that and we revisited that when the allegations came out. When the allegations came out, a Christian who takes character as No. 1 has got to consider these things. Are they credible and are they true? To find out if they’re true, you go through a process – we call it “the court” and people are innocent until proven guilty. But, now, you’ve got a situation where you’ve only got a couple of weeks and you can’t determine if they’re going to be true or not, so are they credible?

And then, when a Gloria Allred shows up, the allegations then become less than credible. And then, when one of the individuals says, “Well, I forged this,” then they become less credible. But then you have other individuals that speak so all of those things are impinging upon people as they work their way through it.

EVANGELICALS HAD 4 OPTIONS

I believe evangelicals came to four possibilities, four options.

Option No. 1: “Do I vote in order to express my support of the allegations and the fact that I think that renders a candidate inappropriate for the office? I’m going to vote for Doug Jones.”

When people came to me with that, I said, “Forget Doug Jones as a person. Let me tell you his platform.” Can an evangelical vote for somebody who actually supports the killing of the unborn all the way up to birth – no restrictions – supports Planned Parenthood and supports the fabrication of same-sex marriage? Is that really an option for a believer?

Anybody that takes a whole class of human beings and puts them in jeopardy by public policy – including tax-payer funding for abortions – to me, that platform is no option whatsoever.

Option No. 2 is: “I’m not sure about the allegations. If I elect him and they do an ethics probe, then we’ll find out if they’re true or not. If they’re true and they don’t seat him, then the governor can appoint someone. Because of the platform of the Republican Party, I am going to go ahead and vote for Roy Moore. I’m just going to do it because the issues of a Supreme Court justice appointment, a correct vote on Planned Parenthood, which is now being investigated, all of that’s just too important. I do not want a senator from Alabama who is indistinguishable from a senator from Massachusetts who is fully committed to the secular progressive agenda embraced by the state – not all of the citizens, but the state of Massachusetts.” I don’t accuse them of being insensitive to the allegations.

The No. 3 option is: “I’m not going to vote,” and that’s a tough one for evangelicals. Evangelicals highly value the sacrifice that men and women have made to give us the right to vote and that is a very difficult decision.

And then the No. 4 decision was a write-in candidate and, as you know, there are 20,000 people that made that decision, which would have taken the election the other direction. Basically, what they were saying was this: “I will not vote for Doug Jones and his platform and I cannot, at this point in time, vote for Roy Moore, but I am going to vote. I am not going to sit it out because, if you sit it out, how can you critique what takes place later because you didn’t vote, period. I am going to vote so I’m just going to write in a candidate.”

THE ONLY INEXCUSABLE OPTION

Here’s what I’m telling my brothers and sisters, evangelicals. First of all, I thank the Lord for you. I have grown to love Alabama so much. I love my home state, North Carolina, but I have grown to love this state and the people in it and I realize the angst that they went through.

And I will say this: If you voted for the platform represented by the Democratic candidate, I want to come and tell me how, as a believer, you can vote for someone who, intentionally, is going to legislatively and with your tax money, kill a class of people. To me, that is Hitler-ian. I do not think that that is a choice for a believer.

But the other three choices: “I’m sitting it out,” I don’t agree with that, but I understand how you got to that. “I’m going to do a write-in candidate,” that could be criticized by political science, but I understand why you say, “I cannot vote for this one and I will not vote for the other one.”

Then those who said, “I’m going to go ahead and vote and let this ethics investigation find out if these allegations are not only credible, but are actually true. And, if that’s true, then we’ll be able to send somebody else to the Senate seat,” I understand how they could arrive at that.

GOING FORWARD

But, now that the results are in, how should believers respond to it? Tom, I want to talk about how believers must respond on the Wednesday program, but I also want to say this, Tom: I believe, as believers, you’ve got to give the judgment of charity to other believers in this process. Please understand that, for committed, engaged, evangelical believers who are serious about what they believe, they did not have choices that they could go and join a parade.

This was a tough process so I understand all of those difficulties. Now, I am praying for how we respond to it and how we respond to each other. Now, where can we go from here?

Tom, and I also want you to know this and I want my brothers and sisters to follow along with me: I am now praying for Roy Moore that, if these allegations are not true, he will be able to take a course to get the honor of his name back and, if they are true, then the victims will be properly cared for and have the issue of justice and come to a point where they can forgive and rise above those things.

I am praying for them, I’m praying for Roy Moore, and I am also praying for our elected senator, Doug Jones, that the Lord will thwart the platform he ran on and I will pray that the Lord will work in his life, even as He has worked in the life of many who have been elected who have stood against a Biblical world and life view but, in the providence of God, He uses them to advance His kingdom.

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

8 hours ago

The surprising link between Alabama seafood, timber and U.S. national security, and how Shelby is leading the way

There are plenty of areas of debate over exactly how and where the U.S. should spend its foreign aid dollars. But for Alabamians in particular — and the entire Gulf Coast region more broadly — the international assistance that flows into cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking is paying massive dividends, both economically and, perhaps more surprisingly, in terms of national security.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans grossly overestimate the amount the federal government spends on foreign aid.  The average answer was foreign aid accounts for a whopping 31 percent of spending. Fifteen percent of respondents actually thought it represented over half of the U.S. budget.

In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, it accounts for about 1 percent total when military, economic development and humanitarian efforts are combined.  And it is paying massive dividends for Alabama.

Here’s how:

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First, foreign aid dollars fund multi-nation efforts to combat illegal trade in timber and fish. These illicit practices cost U.S. foresters and fishers billions of dollars in lost revenue every single year by flooding the market and driving down prices.

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, “Alabama has the second largest commercial timberland base in the U.S., with 23 million acres. Forestry is the state’s second largest manufacturing industry, producing an estimated $14.8 billion worth of products in 2013, the latest data available.” Alabama also ranked second in the country in fish production. By cracking down on the black-market trading of timber and fish, our foreign aid dollars are protecting Alabama jobs.

Second, foreign aid that flows into international conservation efforts, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, helps countries manage their natural resources sustainably. This prevents the scarcity of water, food or forests that often contributes to instability and sparks regional conflicts.

Third, cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking cuts off a major source of income for armed groups and organizations with terrorist ties throughout the world, many of which pose a direct threat to American interests.

A report by the United Nations and Interpol found that the “illegal wildlife trade worth up to $213 billion a year is funding organized crime, including global terror groups and militias.” Additionally, “the annual trade of up to $100 billion in illegal logging is helping line the pockets of mafia, Islamist extremists and rebel movements, including Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab.”

Fortunately, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who recently rose to the powerful post of Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has remained a staunch supporter of ensuring that resources continue to flow into efforts to combat the illegal trade in timber and fish.

“The Committee has worked together to strike the appropriate balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, scientific advancement, and economic development,” Shelby said after announcing critical funding for Fiscal Year 2018. “Additionally, the measure includes necessary oversight provisions to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. This is a step forward in maintaining critical funding for core programs and addressing the needs of our nation while staying within our spending boundaries.”

The move did not go unnoticed by leaders in the seafood industry, a major source of economic activity in all Gulf States, including Alabama.

“We cannot thank Senator Shelby enough,” said Southern Shrimp Alliance Executive Director John Williams after fiscal year 2018 appropriation. “Their extraordinary efforts ensure the survival of the domestic shrimp fishery in the face of what has been an endless stream of illegal shrimp imports.”

Support for foreign assistance and international conservation is smart domestic policy. It protects our economy and cuts off the flow of cash to criminals and terrorists. Sen. Shelby and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from whom he has helped rally support deserve recognition and praise for their leadership.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

 

 

8 hours ago

What’s wrong with Calhoun County’s economy?

Earlier this week, Zippia, one of the many job search websites out there, released its list of 2018’s 50 worst job markets in America. Only one in Alabama made the list: Anniston-Jacksonville, AL, which came in at number 43.

That’s not bad given what we’re told about Alabama and poverty. But it does raise one question: Why are Anniston and its surrounding areas struggling compared to other similar places in the state?

Although unemployment in Calhoun County is not nearly as high as counties in the Black Belt, compared to other quasi-urban areas of Alabama, Calhoun has the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 5.9 percent according to data posted recently on the Alabama Department of Labor’s website.

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That far exceeds the seasonally adjusted numbers for the state of Alabama, at 4.1 percent, and nationally, at 4 percent.

So, what gives? Why does Calhoun County struggle economically?

“It’s a good question,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said in response to that in an interview with Yellowhammer News back in April. “I saw those numbers come out for my congressional district and Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate, still. It is better than it has been, but I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Rogers said part of the answer to that question may be tied to military spending during the Obama administration and its impact on the nearby Anniston Army Depot.

“[T]here was a real downsizing at the Depot,” he added. “They had had a couple more thousand employees than they have now at the height of the war and there had been a downsizing since the drawback from Iraq and Afghanistan. You don’t need to refurbish as much equipment. But now they’re trying to ramp back up as we try to rebuild our military.”

He credited the potential for a turnaround in that trend to President Donald Trump’s commitment to the military.

Beyond that, why isn’t Calhoun County booming? It seems like every other day, Gov. Kay Ivey is announcing a new addition or manufacturing facility in the Huntsville area that includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Let’s compare the Anniston-Oxford area to another economic hot spot in Rogers district, the Auburn-Opelika area.  Although Lee County isn’t quite enjoying the successes of Madison and Limestone Counties, it seems to be growing. Its unemployment rate is 4.7 percent – a little higher. But when you look around Auburn and Opelika, there are all kinds of new commercial and residential construction projects.

That doesn’t seem to be a trend in Anniston and Oxford.

Both Lee and Calhoun Counties have some similarities. Having Auburn University in Lee County is a big difference. Besides that, the two approximately the same distance from Atlanta and its international airport. The two are served by the Interstate Highway System – I-20 in Calhoun County and I-85 in Lee County.

If Lee County can make it work, then why not Calhoun County?

Getting to the bottom of determining what is ailing Calhoun County is not an easy chore. Although reading the pages of The Anniston Star is not quite the adventures of “Alice in Wonderland” it was when H. Brandt Ayers was in charge, under Josephine Ayers and Anthony Cook, it still tends to dwell in the politics outside of Calhoun County.

Addressing Calhoun County’s struggles is a politically worthwhile endeavor. While Kay Ivey is patting herself on the back for economic prosperity in north Alabama at plant-opening ceremony number 105, and Walt Maddox is championing his heroics in Tuscaloosa post-2011 tornado devastation, what about Anniston? What about Oxford? What about Jacksonville?

From an outsider’s perspective, there seems to be a presentable case for manufacturing to make Calhoun County a home given its infrastructure and proximities it Atlanta and Birmingham. But first, we need to determine what’s behind its current struggles.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

9 hours ago

Six vote difference: Republicans Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood in tight race for House District 38

Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood are in a tight race to become the Republican nominee for House District 38, where only six votes separate the two candidates. Wood has 2,165 votes to Rauch’s 2,159 votes.

The number is well within Rauch’s reach considering there are still votes to be counted.

A winner won’t be declared until at least next Tuesday, July 24, when provisional ballots are officially counted and even then, it could take longer for Secretary of State John Merrill to certify the results officially declaring a winner.

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“There’s never a winner until everything is certified,” Secretary of State John Merrill told Yellowhammer News.

Even in the case of such a wide margin as Attorney General Steve Marshall has over Troy King – 62 to 38 percent – there is still no official winner because it hasn’t been certified, Merrill said.

Provisional ballots are provided to those whose names do not appear on the voter roles when they show up to vote but who insist they belong, and still want to vote.

In order to have their votes counted, those who participate in the provisional process must prove to the board of registrar’s office that they ought to be on the roles.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

10 hours ago

Alabamians less likely to be understood by ‘Alexa’ and other ‘smart’ tech because of southern accents

The remarkable drawl that embodies Southern culture may be responsible for the frustration many Alabamians feel when trying to get their smart tech to answer a question. The repeated “Sorry, I didn’t get that” can lead people with accents to underutilize voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home that are rapidly growing in popularity.

study conducted by the Washington Post and two research groups revealed people with Southern accents were three percent less likely to get accurate responses from a Google Home device than those with Western accents.  Foreign accents face the largest challenge with 30 percent more inaccuracies.

But, help is on the way.

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According to the study, the artificial intelligence used in programming the technology is taught to comprehend different accents by processing data from a variety of voices.  The more it learns, the more accurate the programming will become.  Even though these tools may be more useful for some people at the moment, Amazon, the maker of the smart home product Alexa, says to keep trying.

“The more we hear voices that follow certain speech patterns or have certain accents, the easier we find it to understand them.  For Alexa, this no different,” Amazon said in a statement.  “As more people speak to Alexa, and with various accents, Alexa’s understanding will improve.”

Over 20 percent of U.S. households with WiFi utilize smart speakers, and the number of users is growing.  Hopefully, for the benefit of Alabamians, that growth will happen in the South.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

Learning from President Trump: Words matter

“I don’t see any reason why it would be”.

Those words, voiced by President Trump when asked whether he believed it was true that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, set off a media firestorm early this week.

Trump, of course, is used to media criticism, but this time was different. Joining the normal critics were a multitude of Fox News hosts including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Dana Perino, and even Brian Kilmeade of the oft-lauded by Trump Fox and Friends.

The morning after Trump’s press conference with President Putin, Kilmeade spoke in second person “you” language and pleaded for President Trump to clarify his statement and his belief in our intelligence agencies over Russians who, as Kilmeade said “hate democracy.”

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To his credit, Trump – who had previously agreed that Russian meddling existed – corrected his statement within twenty-four hours.

Regardless of whether his clarification was believable or timely, this episode reminds us that in politics and government – and in everyday life – words matter.

19thcentury German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the power of words. Nietzsche wrote, “All I need is a sheet of paper, and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down”.

Nietzsche’s statement wasn’t merely hypothetical. His declaration that “God is dead” shattered worldviews across western civilization into pieces that PureFlix (the movie company behind God’s Not Dead and its sequels) is still trying to pick up.

Even so, it seems that many have forgotten the power of words and have embraced the idea that simply being heard, regardless of content, is of utmost importance.

In NBC’s hit show The Office, Michael Scott tells viewers, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” I think a lot of us are more like Michael Scott than we’d like to admit.

We might do well to envision more intentional dialogue from ourselves and from our elected officials, especially our state and local representatives.

In an environment where soundbites are everything, Trump’s statements in Helsinki and the backlash that ensued ought to prompt Alabama officials and candidates to rethink any “wing it” sympathies they may have towards public statements, press conferences, or tweets.

This is even more important in the post-primary period of our election cycle.

Now that the nominees are chosen, we must remind each of their responsibility as leaders to use words, strategies, and express differences in a way that is less divisive and more unifying, less bombastic and more genuine. Our officials and candidates should think twice before resorting to name-calling or vilifying their opponents, as doing so endorses that type of behavior and lowers the standard of Alabamians for those who represent them.

We should also expect, now that the in-fighting of our primary process is over, nominees to run thoughtful campaigns where issues, not personalities, are articulately debated.

Candidates and regular Alabamians alike must remember that words yield tremendous power. Therefore, as Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, and Matilda, suggests, “Don’t gobblefunk around with words”.

Parker Snider is Manager of Policy Relations for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.