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.

 

27 mins ago

Birmingham’s new Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema is ready for its premiere

The new, permanent home of Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival will open its doors this weekend, just in time for this year’s event.

Chloe Cook, executive director of the Sidewalk Film Festival, said the 11,500 square-foot facility is not complete, but is far enough along to be used as a festival venue this weekend.

“After the festival we will go dark for a week,” Cook said. “Then we will have a soft opening Labor Day weekend before our grand opening September 13-15. We’re very excited.”

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Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema a dream come true from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The cinema, located in the basement of the Pizitz building on 2nd Avenue North, features two 89-seat theaters and an education room for special events. Outside of the festival week, it will function very much like a typical movie theater, operating seven days a week on a year-round basis, screening the latest independent feature films on one of two screens.

“We’re excited to have something slightly larger than a jewel-box movie theater, but not a huge multiplex-type facility where we can carefully curate the programming for our community,” Cook said. “When I took the job in 2009 I did not imagine this would come to fruition. I really think a lot of redevelopment in the north side of downtown Birmingham has happened around our annual festival and it continued happening to the point that we felt like the timing was right to pursue this project and fill that cultural void.”

Cook said the $4.9 million facility would not have happened without the generous support of a variety of contributors.

“We have been so fortunate to receive generous support from our corporate community, including Alabama Power (Foundation)Regions BankBlue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, as well as our foundation community,” Cook said. “We’ve seen support from the Hugh Kaul Foundation, The Stephens Foundation, The Daniel Foundation, but we’ve also seen a lot of individuals who are not people who could start a foundation but they can send in a check for $250 or $25. That’s been really rewarding.”

To learn more about the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema, visit MakeMovieMagic.com. To learn more about the Sidewalk Film Festival, visit SidewalkFest.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

SchoolFest sets the stage for Alabama children

The following is the latest installment of the Alabama Power Foundation’s annual report, highlighting the people and groups spreading good across Alabama with the foundation’s support.

 

Plato said art imitates life. Oscar Wilde said it was the other way around. It’s an argument that continues. However, one art form brings us face to face with the connection between art and life, perhaps better than any other: theater. It’s here people act out stories, hoping their audience forgets for a moment that it’s all make-believe. Were it not for the SchoolFest program of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF), many Alabama children might never be exposed to the magic of theater.

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Every year, 40,000 students attend SchoolFest in Montgomery. From the professional actors to the costume and set design, the productions are the same as those presented to other ASF audiences. Thanks to grants from the Alabama Power Foundation and others, ticket prices are discounted and many schools attend for free, exposing students from all walks of life to art.

For some, it’s an experience they’ll never forget. For others, like Emily Prim, it’s life-changing. Prim is assistant wardrobe supervisor at ASF. She remembers distinctly when the “theater bug” bit her. “I was in seventh grade at St. James School in Montgomery. We had a field trip to SchoolFest, where we saw ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ I remember it so well, because there was a Ferris wheel on stage that was the peach, and I thought that was so cool. I was sorta thinking about theater, because of shows we had done in school and stuff, but when I came to see ‘James’ here, it made me start thinking that this is something I could do after I graduate,” Prim said.

Prim’s experience is what ASF is all about. Executive Director Todd Schmidt put it this way: “It’s really a bedrock of our mission at ASF, which is to create communities through transformative theatrical experiences. It’s a lot of kids’ first introduction to theater. It’s important to do that, especially in this time of continued cuts in arts funding.”

Shakespeare Festival’s SchoolFest puts the arts at center stage for Alabama students from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Just in the past year, students have seen productions of “The Sound of Music,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Our Town,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.” The latter featured 24 students from Montgomery Public Schools in the cast. Schmidt chooses shows that are appropriate for audiences of all ages. SchoolFest builds many of these productions around school curricula.

“We put our programming out to schools, and then they select what they think is relevant to what they’re doing and what they want their kids to be exposed to,” Schmidt said.

What started decades ago as productions appropriate for students has continued to expand. In addition to SchoolFest, ASF offers educational programs. There are theater classes for adults and children, and summer theater camps for students. ASF has hosted a series of conversations that are tied – at least in part – to the shows. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell spoke alongside a cast member from “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.”

“These are not about our productions, but they focus on themes of the productions,” Schmidt said. “There’s one coming up that talks about women dealing with glass ceilings, working in fields normally dominated by men, which ties somewhat into the production of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and a new production, ‘Into the Breeches.’”

Lonny Harrison, director of theater at St. James School in Montgomery, has been bringing students to see productions at ASF for 21 years. “We have some students who, up to the point they’ve hit SchoolFest, have never seen a live production outside of a school play. This definitely helps get them more into the arts.

It seems like kids respond differently to every show, but whether it’s something that’s the most amazing thing to them, or something that makes them think more critically, it at least makes them think about it. When we left ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the other day, kids were saying, ‘Let’s do some Shakespeare!’ I had to tell them, ‘Small steps.’”

Harrison has a long history with SchoolFest. He saw stage productions at ASF when he was in school. His experience echoes that of many Alabamians. Were you to poll the state, you’d likely be amazed at the number of people of all ages who’ve shared the marvel of live performance in a theater at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

In Alabama, it’s a generational thing. When it comes to the art imitating life vs. life imitating art question, perhaps Shakespeare got it right when, in the second act of “As You Like It,” the character Jaques said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The parts being played by the men and women of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival are a rich and vital service to the people of our state. These are the people who transform our children, who show them a new and lively way to understand stories, and life – its comedies and tragedies. These are the “players” who expand the minds of our young people, and show them a world that lives within their own ability to imagine.

For more information on the Alabama Power Foundation and its annual report, visit here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

Aderholt’s advice for Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate candidates: ‘Make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president’

Although it is still the early going of the 2020 U.S. Senate Republican primary election campaign, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) has some advice for the handful of candidates seeking the GOP nod.

When asked what he saw as important to him and his constituents in Alabama’s fourth congressional district, he said it was support for President Donald Trump.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump dominated Aderholt’s district by winning more than 80% of the vote and was the only district in the country to break the 80% threshold.

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“They’ve clearly got to make sure that they make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president,” Aderholt said. “I mean, this president has as much support of any since I have been in office. I have never seen a president that has the support this president has. He has, everywhere I go, people are very optimistic that they are very positive about what he is doing. And they’re optimistic about the future. So I would first of all — they need to let their constituents, future constituents that are voters, know that they’re someone who would stand with the president.”

“As someone who is in another branch of government, we always want to make sure we don’t do just exactly like the executive or the president wants to do regardless of who it is,” he continued. “The Founding Fathers wanted the different branches to be a watchdog on each other. But, as I have seen from this president, the things that he is doing is consistent with what the voters want and what has been good for America. I’m fully supportive of this president. I think they need to communicate they’re supporting the president. I think that is probably the biggest thing right now. Alabama is a very pro-life state, and I think they need to communicate that, which again is consistent with the president’s message.”

Aderholt also suggested the Senate candidates should be supportive of Trump’s efforts to renegotiate NAFTA.

“I am also getting the feedback that the Mexican-Canadian trade agreement that the president is trying to negotiate — to redo NAFTA, people are very supportive of that,” Aderholt added. “But again, the president has been very supportive of these issues. What the president is doing, I’m very supportive of. I don’t see any issue as far as supporting what the president’s issue is.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

5 hours ago

Georgia-based Colonial sues contractor over Alabama spill

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Co. has sued an Alabama contractor over a spill that threatened gasoline supplies along the East Coast three years ago.

The pipeline operator contends faulty work by the Birmingham-based Ceco Pipeline Services caused a crack that spilled at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline in rural Shelby County in September 2016.

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The spill shut down a major pipeline for weeks, tightening gasoline supplies along the Eastern Seaboard.

The pipeline carries fuel from Houston to metropolitan New York.

With headquarters near Atlanta in Alpharetta, Colonial Pipeline filed the federal lawsuit Friday seeking an unspecified amount of money.

Ceco Pipeline Services has not filed a response in court, and general manager Luke Hotze declined comment Monday, citing the lawsuit.

Hired to replace coatings that protect the pipeline’s exterior, the contractor failed to adequately replace dirt around the pipeline after maintenance work, the suit said.

The failure left a void beneath the pipe, which bent as it sagged.

The bend caused cracks that led to the breach, according to the suit.

The failure cost Colonial Pipeline lost income, plus money spent on repairs and cleanup, the lawsuit said without specifying an amount.

The lawsuit said Colonial Pipeline transports an average of 100 million gallons (378 million liters) of refined petroleum products daily through a system that includes more than 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of pipeline.
(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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‘School choice’ also means ‘tax choice’ in Alabama

It’s back-to-school season and for some parents, this is a happy time.

But for those whose children are stuck in underperforming schools, or schools where they are bullied or are in danger, this is a heartbreaking time, especially if they cannot afford to move or go to private school.

“There was fighting every day. People wanted to shoot me, kill me, and everything,” said Calvin Coleman in a speech about his experiences at his Mobile public high school.

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Did you know that you, or your company, can help students like Calvin by donating a portion of what you already owe in state income taxes to a program that funds scholarships for low-income families in Alabama?

“When my son Carlos was in the fifth grade, he was constantly bullied and I wanted to desperately put him into a private school,” wrote Nyenya Webster of Montgomery in Alabama Daily News. Every day was a struggle, she added. “I was at a loss as to what to do to help my son.”

Then Webster learned about the tax-credit scholarship program created in 2013 by the Alabama Accountability Act that serves roughly 4,000 low-income, mostly minority Alabama students.

She applied, and Carlos received a scholarship to attend Success Unlimited Academy in Montgomery.

“Success Unlimited has been a lifesaver for my son,” Webster wrote. “He … is now considering college. My son never talked about going to college before Success.”

For those who want to help other Alabama families break the cycle of poverty through education, it’s a no-brainer.

“For a donor, it doesn’t cost them anything,” said Warren Callaway, executive director of Scholarships For Kids, one of the scholarship granting organizations funded by the program.

That’s because a tax credit is different from a charitable contribution. When you make a charitable contribution to a non-profit organization, you deduct a portion of that on your income tax. However, a tax credit allows you to take a dollar for dollar reduction in your state income tax.

“Basically, donors are redirecting some of their state income tax liability to a [scholarship granting organization],” Callaway said. “So, if you give $100 to us, you can reduce your state income tax by $100.”

Who benefits from the donation?

“The average household income for these students is under $30,000 so these are families that would have no other way of choosing the school that is best for their child,” said Ryan Cantrell, director of state strategy and political affairs for the American Federation for Children, during an interview of the 1819 podcast.

Higher-income families have always had school choice, Cantrell said, but “it’s the low-income families who get stuck with no options in under-performing schools or schools that don’t work for their child.”

There are $30 million in tax credits available and, so far, only about a third have been claimed, according to the Department of Revenue’s My Alabama Taxes website.

Here’s how you can reserve your tax credit before the December 31, 2019, deadline:

Step 1: Estimate how much income tax you or your business will owe Alabama next year by checking how much you paid last year. Individuals and corporations can donate up to 50 percent of their tax bill, and while individuals are limited to $50,000, corporations are unlimited.

Step 2: Visit the My Alabama Taxes website and follow instructions for reserving an Alabama Accountability Act tax credit.

Step 3: Send a check to one of the seven scholarship granting organizations in Alabama within 30 days.

Step 4: When you do your taxes next year, fill out an Alabama Department of Revenue Schedule AATC form to reduce your income tax bill by the amount you donated.

For more help, individuals may call the Alabama Department of Revenue at 334-353-0602 or 334-353-9770, and corporations may call 334-242-1200.

You’re already going to have to write a check for your state income taxes. Why not control where some of that money goes, especially when it has the power to change lives?

“It was a relief that nobody would understand,” said mother-of-five Alleane West in an Alabama Opportunity Scholarship video about the program’s impact on her family. “You know, you’re a single mom with boys trying to not make them a statistic.”

Watch:

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is a senior fellow at the Alabama Policy Institute. Connect with her at rachel@alabamapolicy.org or on Instagram @RachelBlackmonBryars.