Proposed California law will lead to persecution of Christians, possible outlawing of Bible sales


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PROPOSED CA BILL WOULD MAKE SEXUAL ORIENTATION COUNSELING AND BOOKS ILLEGAL

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an article by David French, who writes for The National Review. He’s writing on a state bill out of California, AB2943. This is a bill that purports to declare sexual orientation change efforts to be an unlawful business practice.

Harry, in other words, if you are a counselor or a minister or, for that matter, if you’re a bookseller and if any of your Christian books on counseling were to somehow directly or indirectly encourage people to follow the Biblical mandates on marriage, it could be deemed illegal in California.

DR. REEDER: This bill now puts in jeopardy and under the crosshairs and the power of the state of California, financially and even with criminal charges — to declare consumer fraud on anyone who purports to declare the need or the ability to help people deal with their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual that calls them to repentance and anything that you sell or any goods that you provide.

And now, on the floor of the assembly, as the article references, this bill and its broad application would include ministers. Ministers receive salaries and they are declaring that, if they’re preaching from God’s Word, for instance, 2 Corinthians 6: 6-10, which declares that, “Effeminate, homosexuals, drunkards, murderers, etc. etc., will not enter the kingdom and such were some of you.”

In other words, the offer that God not only forgives us of our sexual sins and addictions as well as other sins against us and all sin against us if we will put our trust in Christ alone and that, not only will He forgive, He will change us so that the promiscuous no longer have to be promiscuous.

NO LAW CAN CHANGE THAT GOD CALLS SEXUAL SINNERS TO REPENTANCE

No matter what you declare as your bent and your desire, you can, by the power of God through the grace of God, bring your sexuality to bear within its proper arena of blessing from the Lord as a gift and that’s within marriage.

Also, unnatural sex, which would include same-sex — whether a state makes a marriage compact or not, the Bible’s very clear. In fact, the Bible says that, if a man preaching from the Bible is going to say, “This is God’s will for you that you flee sexual immorality.” That presupposes you can flee, that presupposes you can change and that presupposes you can repent by the power of God’s grace and that there is something in need of repenting.

Therefore, not only would the books that say that and the counseling services that are offered with financial remuneration, now declared as subject to charges of consumer fraud, but that would clearly extend itself to pastors who are supported by their congregation and that would mean the Bible.

COULD THE BIBLE BE BANNED FROM SALE AND PREACHING?

The Bible says that sexual sins are sins and that’s any sexual activity outside of the boundaries of marriage between a man and a woman. The First Amendment gives us the freedom to preach that and disciple our people. And not only should books in the free practice of religion that is faithful to the Biblical orthodox historic view be allowed to be published in the state of California and any other state and the sermons that would call people to repentance and offer them the hope of the Gospel that you can change by God’s grace — not only would the books provide a chargeable offense, the preachers and the counselors provide chargeable offenses against them in this law.

And this was acknowledged in the debate but they pressed on with an overwhelming vote. It was even further affirmed that the Bible, itself, would fall into this category of a book that would not be allowed to be put up for selling if someone wanted to press the case. If you can ban the book that’s written from the Bible, why not ban the Bible which says the same thing?

And, if this piece of legislation is allowed to stand, then it would become grounds to bring convictions, not only against counselors and Christian bookstores who carry books on sexual purity, but conferences that would be advertised to come and deal with the matters of sexual purity. And not only conferences, but actual worship services when the preacher is preaching on texts that declare “You shall not commit adultery” and that commandment calls us to the repentance of all sexual sins.

Nor are we going to conform to the teachings of the Church to the dictates of the California state legislature with its sexual revolution affirmation, zeal, and agenda that it is promoting with bill after bill that is coming out.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR BILL AND LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES?

Now this one heads to the Senate but the Senate is firmly in the hands of the Democratic Party from which this bill had originated so I fully expected it to get affirmed in the Senate. Now, what happens in the eventual and, I would think, inevitable appeal to the Supreme Court? Every believer’s hope that there will be an upholding of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights for the free practice of religion that addresses the sanity of the Bible’s teaching concerning gender orientation, sexual orientation, sexual practice and the sanctity of marriage.

This is another evidence that the sexual revolution, in general, and now certain states are not looking for any matter of toleration, “Live and let live,” and, “You’ve got a position that you’re able to promote in terms of sexual purity and sexual morality as a Christian. We’ve got our own neopagan view of sexuality that we believe needs to be affirmed.” What is now being said, “If you don’t celebrate, teach and affirm our position and if you teach anything opposite of it, we are now going to bring the full weight of the state to bear upon you.”

DO BELIEFS EVOLVE OR DO PEOPLE LET THEIR FAITH DEVOLVE?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, so often when you see these kinds of bills pass, up until now, there’s usually a carve-out for religious organizations and faith-based groups. However, as one assembly member, Al Muratsuchi, declared, “It’s time for the faith community to evolve with the times.”

DR. REEDER: That’s right and we’ve heard it before. We heard President Obama say he had evolved in his position. We heard Mrs. Clinton say the same thing as she was running for president, that she had also evolved into the acceptance of same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

Well, first of all, as you know, I do not believe that is evolving — I believe that is devolving. That is a movement back into the pagan practices of sexuality that when the Gospel came to our barbarian ancestors it freed them from that and brought into a culture the foundational blessing of marriage, and then the foundational institution of the family, and then, of course, the blessing of sexuality within the boundaries of marriage and then the identification of those things that would be unlawful sexually such as sexual relationships from adults to children, sexual relationships of same-sex, adulterous relationships outside of marriage.

That brought sanity and stability to our culture. Tom, what is obvious now is the unraveling of culture with the chaos of the sexual revolution. The only voices that are going to be raised against the sexual revolution are those faithful to Biblical orthodoxy on the matters of marriage and sexuality. We put them literally under the gun of financial ruin or the gun of criminal charges if you promote or produce any services or any books in transaction that involves any sale or any contract that calls for the necessity and offers the possibility of sexual orientation repentance and change and transformation.” This means the Bible, itself, and this means pastors, in particular.

Tom, there’s going to be no place to hide. We’re about to find out are we willing to go anywhere and for any cost, stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we will not be silent — we will publish our books, we will have our conferences, we will teach the text of the Bible — and then we will be ready to face the consequences in this nation even though this nation has a Bill of Rights that is supposed to affirm the free exercise of religion.

COMING UP FRIDAY: SENATE HEARINGS BECOME MORE CONTENTIOUS

TOM LAMPRECHT: On tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to the Mike Pompeo hearing. As we record this, Mike Pompeo was just approved out of the Foreign Relations Committee that will be sent to the full Senate, but his hearing was quite partisan and some would say vile.

DR. REEDER: In the space of about a year, we have seen the violation by a senatorial inquisitor. What was that violation of the law? What does it portend for the future, at least from a Christian world and life view?

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

 

6 mins ago

Wetlands, crops can mitigate storm damage to coastal cities, study led by UAH finds

Coastal cities can be spared some wind destruction from intensifying hurricanes or tropical storm systems if they have functional wetland ecosystems and agricultural croplands in the area, according to new computer modeling research led by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

“Our study was about how changing land cover in coastal areas affects rain from tropical storms,” says Emily Foshee, co-author of the research and a research associate at UAH’s Earth System Science Center who analyzed the models. Dr. Eric Rappin from Western Kentucky University ran the numerical model experiments.

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The paper was published in Scientific Reports in November. UAH teamed with Western Kentucky University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Georgia, the University of Colorado Boulder, Purdue University, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to conduct the study.

Scientists used the model with a simulation of a flooding storm over Baton Rouge as a control and then modified the type of land the storm passed over to assess the effect. They modeled three land types: healthy coastal marshland, marshland that had become saturated or turned to open water and coastal land that had been converted mostly to agricultural use.

The ground moisture and vegetative buffering of healthy marsh impede storm intensification but increase rainfall in the model.

“If you want to keep the marsh ecology intact because you don’t want to lose all the other benefits of marshland such as preventing soil erosion and the wildlife and aquatic life benefits, and if you are concerned about how to have less damage from storm winds, then you must keep the wetlands,” says Dr. Udaysankar Nair, UAH associate professor of atmospheric science and the paper’s lead author, whose research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

“When you have a landfalling hurricane, if you have wetlands there, then there is a greater chance that the storm or hurricane will weaken,” Dr. Nair says.

Scientists modeled the effects on the Baton Rouge, La., region by using NASA land surface model data and data from an actual large flooding storm. Study findings, which support preservation and restoration of healthy marshes, may be especially important in Louisiana, which loses the equivalent of a football field of land to water every hour.

Agriculture continues to convert wetland in Louisiana to crop uses, and those practices tend to dry soils. Cut off from a source of water vapor, storms in the model that passed over cropland were less intense and windy. But there’s a tradeoff. Single crop agricultural lands don’t possess the erosion control and biodiversity benefits of marshland, Dr. Nair says.

The combined effect of healthy wetlands transitioning to cropland reduced storm intensity in the model no matter what soil moisture conditions were present.

The research says that if current trends continue, a substantial portion of Louisiana wetlands will transition to open water in coming decades, likely making the studied region even more vulnerable to heavy rain events from future tropical systems.

Marsh that has become super-saturated or has turned to open water, known as a brown ocean, produces the most damaging winds in the model, while at the same time spreading out rainfall. That’s because saturated wetlands or open water continue to feed energy into a hurricane’s system.

Air spirals in toward the eye of a hurricane, and as it does it has a tendency to cool, Dr. Nair says. While the storm is over warm open ocean, over open water resulting from conversion of wetlands, or over the brown ocean of a saturated marsh, the energy from the wet and warm surface offsets the cooling effect with warm humid air and the storm can continue to grow stronger.

“What happens when a hurricane comes ashore is that the land cuts off that source of energy,” Dr. Nair says. “Different forms of land cover affect the storm. What we found out is that it’s not just the water vapor that affects storms.”

The natural vegetation in healthy marsh has more buffering friction than if it has been converted to open water or agriculture, he says.

“If all these marsh regions are instead filled with water, essentially that is like the open ocean coming right to land,” Dr. Nair says. “Then you see more wind and more spread out rain, and more damage out of the storm. The storm will continue to intensify as it comes in.”

The work points to other areas for further study.

“If we do more of these kinds of studies,” Dr. Nair says, “then we can potentially be able to say something about how the patterns of land use change and land management affect landfall in hurricanes.”

(Courtesy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville)

1 hour ago

Watch: Bicentennial video tells the stories of Alabama’s great people

The finale of the ALABAMA 200 bicentennial celebration is on Saturday, with the public celebrating with elected officials, celebrities and dignitaries in the state’s capital.

However, even if you cannot make the festivities in person, you can still take time remotely to honor Alabama becoming a state 200 years ago to the day.

A video put together by WBRC and posted by Governor Kay Ivey is a great way to relive the state’s vibrant history.

Entitled, “Alabama Bicentennial: The Stories of Our People,” the approximately 50-minute special looks back on the state’s past 200 years, hearing from some of its most memorable voices in the process.

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In an introduction to that video, Ivey says, “As we celebrate our state’s bicentennial, I want to recognize my fellow Alabamians. As governor, I’m proud to be from a state that has remained steadfast through good times and bad.”

“Our resiliency and southern spirit have allowed us to grow and become the great state we are today,” she continues. “To put it simply, Alabama is defined by its people, and we have some of the best. I look forward to the future generations of Alabamians who will help take us to even greater heights. Happy birthday, Alabama!”

Watch:

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

4 hours ago

Alabama’s ‘white gold’ draws worldwide interest

Ruth Beaumont Cook’s latest book started 10 years ago as a brochure request from Sylacauga‘s B.B. Comer Memorial Library in advance of the city’s first marble festival.

“They asked me to put together a brochure about the history of the marble,” Cook said. “It was overwhelmingly successful, so the next year they asked to me write a book.”

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New book celebrates Sylacauga’s marble legacy from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Nearly nine years and dozens of interviews later, Cook celebrates the natural resource that nurtures both the economy and the cultural heritage of Alabama’s “Marble City” in her new book, “Magic in Stone: The Sylacauga Marble Story.”

“Whenever you start working on a book, you have all of this information but you look for a story thread through it,” Cook said. “I had no clue when I started what that was going to be.”

Cook said the clues starting coming together as she started talking to people who grew up mining marble.

“There are so many people who grew up in Gantts Quarry,” Cook said. “Most people have good memories of growing up there and work they are proud of. Telling those stories was the most interesting part of it.”

Commercial marble quarries began in Sylacauga in the late 1800s. Cook said the marble was initially used by sculptors such as Giuseppe Moretti, the Italian who created the Vulcan statue on Red Mountain in Birmingham.

“His Vulcan won gold prize at the 1904 World’s Fair, but what most people don’t know is he also took another piece with him, ‘The Head of Christ,’ which he had carved from Sylacauga marble,” Cook said. “It won a silver medal.”

The notoriety caught the attention of construction managers around the world who were seeking dimension marble for their projects. By the 1930s, Sylacauga’s creamy white marble had been used in hundreds of buildings, including the U.S. Supreme Court building and the ceiling of the Lincoln Memorial.

“It was chosen for the Lincoln Memorial because it can be cut very thin and still be strong,” Cook said. “They cut it thin enough to be translucent and then rubbed it with beeswax and put it in the ceiling.”

Despite the marble’s beauty and strength, Cook said the demand for dimension marble in construction dropped dramatically by the 1950s.

“It became obvious that granite was much easier to withstand pollution than marble,” Cook said. “Marble is still great if it’s thick enough, but if you make a facade of it on a building, it’s probably not going to last because it deteriorates from the pollution.”

Instead of closing the mines and laying off employees, Cook said the Sylacauga marble companies survived and thrived thanks to a growing need for calcium extracted from marble deposits and used in hundreds of products, such as cosmetics, paints and glue.

“They turned to industry and began to grind up the marble into fine powder – called GCC, ground calcium carbonate – which industry had a strong demand for,” Cook said.

Cook said Sylacauga continues to be a rich marble resource more than 70 years later.

“I’ve been told there’s enough marble there for sculpture and industry for at least another 200 years,” Cook said. “The vein of marble is 35 miles long, a mile and a half wide and goes down quite a ways — 300 or 400 feet I believe. It’s a very valuable resource.”

Sylacauga Marble Festival

Since 2009, the city has celebrated its heritage through the Sylacauga Marble Festival, a 10-day event drawing sculptors from around the world to work alongside an Italian master sculptor. Visitors can watch, tour local quarries and purchase sculptures. Cook said the festival brings Sylacauga’s rich heritage full circle.

“It came from art, up through all of these others, and now you have this wonderful balance,” Cook said. “You still have major industry but you also have major art appreciation. It’s a great story.”

The 12th annual Marble Festival will be March 31 to April 11, 2020.

The 2019 Marble Festival, which was one of several events highlighted by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission as part of the state’s 200th birthday celebration, was sponsored by the Alabama Power FoundationAlabama State Council on the ArtsAlabama Tourism DepartmentAmerican Legion Post 45 SylacaugaArchitectural Stone ImportsB.B. Comer Memorial LibraryBlue Bell CreameriesBlue Horizon TravelCity of Sylacauga, Conn Equipment, Coosa Valley Medical CenterCurtis and Son Funeral HomeImerysIsabel Anderson Comer Museum and Arts CenterJ. Craig Smith Community CenterMiller Lumber CompanyMorris Custom Marble & GraniteNemakOmya, Inc.Pizza & Pint, Representative Ron Johnson, SouthFirst BankSylacauga Arts CouncilSylacauga Chamber of CommerceSylacauga Housing Authority, Sylacauga Marble Quarry, Towne Inn, 21st Century Signs and Utilities Board of Sylacauga.

To learn more about “Magic in Stone: The Sylacauga Marble Story,” visit newsouthbooks.com/magicinstone.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 hours ago

Birmingham Business Alliance reveals new mission, economic development approach

The Birmingham Business Alliance revealed a new mission and a new approach to economic development as it heads into 2020.

The BBA’s 2019 Chairwoman’s Annual Meeting was at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham Dec. 11. Chairwoman Nancy Goedecke passed the gavel to Jim Gorrie, president and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie.

Gone is Blueprint Birmingham, which guided the BBA through its first 10 years. In its place is a strategy that keys in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and technology. Those are some of the main industries the Alabama Department of Commerce is expected to emphasize in its revision of Accelerate Alabama, the state’s economic development plan.

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“Those are the three areas that we’re going to focus on,” said Fred McCallum, interim CEO of the BBA. “I will tell you that when you look at our state plan, there are a lot of similarities.”

Birmingham Business Alliance announces new direction from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A main component to Blueprint Birmingham was a set of metrics that measured Birmingham’s success against a cluster of peer cities. Doing so often looked too broadly, McCallum said.

“Blueprint was a good plan at the time,” he said. “It was very wide and in some ways it was successful and in other ways it wasn’t so successful. I think what we’ve come to now is a point in time where we’ve got to focus in on jobs and economic growth.”

There will be a new set of metrics created and benchmarked in a new BBA strategic plan, McCallum said.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin did highlight one comparison between Birmingham and other cities.

“Since the great recession around 2008, 60% of all jobs have only gone to 25 cities in America,” Woodfin said. “You need to know that Birmingham is not on that list.”

Woodfin feels Birmingham should measure itself against its own potential instead of comparing itself to others.

“We don’t have to be like Nashville or Chattanooga or Atlanta or Austin,” he said. “We need to be the best version of ourselves. But that is going to require us to shake off the way we’ve always done things.”

Woodfin said the companies and organizations that make up the BBA should be prepared to take greater risks and push boundaries.

“Being risk-averse at this time as we move into 2020 … will not work for us – as an organization or for our city,” he said. “So the question becomes when you walk out of this room, are we prepared to invest in our competitiveness? Do we want to compete? Do we want to set ourselves apart, not be like any other city in America?”

A primary goal for the BBA is to find a new CEO. McCallum has led the organization on an interim basis after former CEO Brian Hilson stepped down at the end of March. Hilson now works on rural economic development initiatives in the state.

Other changes will include aligning the BBA’s internal strategy to execute the new strategic plan, updating its governance structure to be more effective and efficient and aligning the funding model to support the BBA’s new strategic plan.

“I think the organization will be more focused on specific strategies and focused on doing what we do well,” McCallum said.

McCallum believes Birmingham leaders and economic developers can tell the region’s story more forcefully and proactively.

“We’re on a good trajectory. I feel good about where we are as a community,” McCallum said. “Our leadership is strong. Our public leadership is strong. Our private leadership is strong. I feel good about where the BBA is focused.”

This year’s annual meeting was more a call to action than the rah-rah sessions of the past.

“Usually I would get up here and give you all some stats about what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished,” Woodfin said. “I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a good year for many of your organizations individually and collectively for our Birmingham Business Alliance.”

It was a good 2019 in the Birmingham metro area. Halfway through the year, the region reached and surpassed its pre-recession height of employment. There were 32 projects with 1,180 jobs and $492.2 million in capital investment announced in the region in 2019.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

The biggest birthday party in Alabama history is TODAY!

The biggest birthday party in Alabama’s history is taking place today, December 14, and you are invited! Join us in Montgomery for the grand finale celebration of our state’s 200th birthday.

Watch the parade, listen to concerts and performances, visit open houses and much more.

This is sure to be a day you don’t want to miss. The event is free to the public and lasts all day starting with an elaborate parade at 10:00 a.m. The parade will travel from Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery up Dexter Avenue to the State Capitol. There will be marching bands, city floats and unique displays of Alabama history on wheels, such as the USS Alabama and U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

The parade is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the celebration together – and it’s only the beginning of a packed day. Following the parade, Governor Kay Ivey will dedicate Bicentennial Park. The afternoon will offer performances, exhibitions and open houses throughout downtown Montgomery. The day will conclude with a concert featuring popular musicians from Alabama and the history of Alabama presented in a never-before-seen way.

Visit Alabama 200 Finale for a complete rundown of the day’s events.

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