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.

 

2 hours ago

Mo Brooks: Stopping H.R. 1, amnesty keys to winning in 2022 midterms — ‘Then we will be able to neuter Joe Biden’

FLORENCE — With the third month of the 117th Congress now underway, House Democrats have pushed forward in their efforts to pass H.R. 1, which would impose so-called reforms to the country’s voting system.

Also among the priorities for Democrats, who control the White House, House and Senate, are immigration measures that could include amnesty for illegal aliens.

During an appearance at the Shoals Republican Club on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) panned those efforts and said he hoped to stymie the progress of House Democrats on those two fronts.

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Brooks told those in attendance that if Republicans could prove successful in those efforts, it would set the GOP up for wins in the 2022 midterm elections and hamstring President Joe Biden’s push to promote a left-of-center agenda.

“We’ve got to stop H.R. 1, and we’ve got to stop the amnesty and citizenship that Joe Biden has promised,” he said. “If we do those two things, then we’re going to take back the House in 2022. I hope we will take back the Senate in 2022. And then we will be able to neuter Joe Biden over the next two years if we control the House and Senate and set the stage as well for us taking back the White House in 2024 with whoever our nominee may be.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

4 hours ago

2021 Birmingham Heart Walk goes virtual

COVID-19 has forced many nonprofits to shift gears in their fundraising efforts and the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception. The AHA’s 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk has been reimagined as a digital experience this year to maintain necessary safety protocols due to the ongoing pandemic.

Through the event design, AHA is striving to get more people moving in Birmingham while continuing to raise life-saving funds and keep participants safe in the process. The Birmingham Heart Walk is Saturday, June 12, from 9-11 a.m. and participants can walk from anywhere.

Leading up to the event, participants are encouraged to track their activity through the “Move More Challenge” using the free Heart Walk activity tracker app that can be downloaded from Apple or Google Play. Once registered, users have 30 days to log minutes, and any activity counts. Top movers and fundraisers will be recognized on Heart Walk day.

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“The American Heart Association holds a special place in my heart,” said Southern Company Vice President of Technology David Coxwho will chair the walk for the second time. “They have done so much for my family and for my daughter, Emily, who was born with multiple congenital heart defects. I’m pleased to partner with this outstanding organization in their efforts help our community connect and stay active as we adapt to this virtual world.”

More than 600,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, and the risks have only been compacted by the pandemic. Among COVID-19 hospitalizations, 40% are heart or stroke patients, so this year, donations from the Heart Walk will help fast-track COVID-19 research and train front-line workers in addition to the many other research projects and resources funded by the AHA.

Fundraising and activities for the Heart Walk are beginning to ramp up as the warmer months approach.

“Now is the time to sign up, lace up and start fundraising for the 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk,” said Hannah Carroll, Heart Challenge director of the Birmingham AHA. “Signing up now ensures you won’t miss any of the fun this year, like Rally Days and our new activity tracker.”

On Feb. 18, Cox hosted a virtual kickoff for business leaders in the Birmingham area who will be fielding teams at this year’s Heart Walk. He encouraged counterparts to begin their fundraising efforts by saying, “We’re here for a reason – to fight for a world of longer, healthier lives.”

To view Emily’s story, click here. To learn more about the 2021 Birmingham Heart Walk or to create a team, click here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

7 hours ago

Schoolyard Roots growing stronger, smarter kids in Alabama

When kids participate in the life of a garden, they see the complete cycle of growing food, cooking and preparing it to eat. School gardens are exciting places for kids to learn basic academic subjects, too.

The Tuscaloosa community came together more than 10 years ago to develop a garden-based learning program called the Druid City Garden project, now called Schoolyard Roots.

Schoolyard Roots employs a full-time teaching staff that provides garden lessons for students, as well as professional development training for teachers. The school gardens provide an outdoor experience rare to many students. They are more likely to make healthy choices and try new foods. Students gain a sense of responsibility, to collaborate and work together as a team.

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“When we see a child’s health and education improve, we know that we’re not only investing in that child’s life today – we’re helping them build a better future,” said Nicole Gelb Dugat, interim executive director. “Schoolyard Roots builds community through food. By increasing access to fresh, locally grown produce, we empower our community to make healthy and sustainable food choices.”

In March 2020, the impact of COVID-19 significantly affected the teaching community. Almost immediately, the Schoolyard Roots team began distributing produce from its gardens directly to local families. By the end of last year, the program had distributed more than 750 pounds of fresh garden vegetables to the community.

“We stewarded our gardens as fresh-air sanctuaries, where children and adults could relax, refocus and reconnect,” said Dugat. “Through it all, we shared vegetables and flowers. We cultivated moments of peace and learned together. We could not have done any of it without our incredible community of supporters.”

They found hope and inspiration in the small miracle of seeds planted by the students. Gardens bring joy, peace and courage in times of struggle. And gardens remind us to have hope for new growth and what is to come.

Schoolyard Roots partners with Tuscaloosa-area elementary schools to bring learning to life through teaching gardens. The nonprofit works in 11 elementary schools across Tuscaloosa County.

Its mission is to build healthy communities through food with the Gardens 2 Schools program.

Gardens support and encourage healthful eating as a key component of children’s physical wellbeing, which can aid their academic and social success, too. The garden is woven through many aspects of a school’s curriculum and adapted for different grade levels.

“The Gardens 2 Schools program cultivates curiosity,” Dugat said. “The program teaches the students how to work together (and) learn self-reliability and compassion.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

8 hours ago

Has Washington’s stimulus measures saved our economy?

Congress is expected to soon pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, the fourth major response to the pandemic. Did these measures save our economy from a protracted recession?

Our initial response might be yes because of last spring’s economic free-fall. The stock market declined 20%. Unemployment jumped from 3.5% in February to 14.8% in April, the highest level since the Great Depression. GDP fell 10% in the second quarter.

The economy stopped collapsing and began regaining ground. The stock market hit new record highs. Unemployment fell to 6.3% in January and inflation-adjusted GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020 was within 2% of the 2019 level. Post hoc ergo prompter hoc, however, is a logical fallacy.

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Macroeconomists disagree over whether government spending can lift an economy out of recession. Keynesians, following John Maynard Keynes’ analysis of the Great Depression, see a role for government stabilization. Austrians in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek argue that government often causes recessions. New classical analysis has blown many holes in Keynesian theories.

Regardless of the efficacy of a fiscal stimulus, our economy may not have faced a recession in 2020. The COVID-19 slump arguably resembled an off-season shutdown in a resort community more than a recession. Except that the pandemic shutdown was unexpected while seasonal closures are planned.

The economy could have been expected to bounce back on its own if the business closure and stay-at-home orders did not last too long. And this seemingly happened during the summer and fall.

How can we assess the stimulus spending? The Payroll Protection Plan and augmented unemployment likely kept some persons employed and softened the financial blow for idled workers. These programs could also be viewed as compensation owed by the government for business closure orders, not a stimulus. Personal saving has risen sharply, so many households’ stimulus checks produced little spending.

Unemployment programs have been beset by fraud. The Foundation for Government Accountability estimates that fraudulent schemes siphoned off $36 billion, more than the $26 billion in unemployment compensation paid out in all of 2019. Do Keynesians think fraud is a fiscal stimulus?

One trillion stimulus dollars were unspent as of January 2021. While some Republicans argued that we should spend this money before approving President Biden’s proposal, the unspent money was in the process of being spent. Still, money not yet spent did not stimulate the economy in 2020.

Proponents of fiscal stimulus warned that the economy would sputter without a fall stimulus. One forecast warned of a five percentage point increase in unemployment and 5% decline in GDP. The House and Senate did not agree on an encore to the CARES Act until December. And yet unemployment fell and GDP grew in the fourth quarter.

Even if some spending helped in 2020, the current stimulus package is almost certainly unnecessary. The Congressional Budget Office was already expecting growth to recover “rapidly,” with GDP surpassing the pre-pandemic level by mid-year and unemployment returning to its prior level by early 2022. For comparison, after the Great Recession unemployment did not reach its 2007 level until 2016.

President Biden’s package includes $500 billion to stabilize state budgets. States operate under balanced budget rules, so revenue declines due to the pandemic would trigger spending cuts potentially slowing the recovery. The $500 billion was based on an 8% decline in state revenues; the Wall Street Journal reports that revenues will be down only 1.6%.

Whatever the verdict on the stimulus spending, it worsened the national debt by about $3 trillion. The long-term debt impact may easily offset any short-term boost to the recovery.

The economic case that government spending can prevent or end a recession is weak. Fortunately, the COVID-19 shutdowns did not trigger a prolonged recession. While we might say, “Better safe than sorry,” the cost of the stimulus will be with us for years to come.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

8 hours ago

Packaging Corp. of America plans $440 million project at Alabama mill

JACKSON, Alabama – Packaging Corp. of America (PCA) plans to launch a three-year, $440 million project to permanently convert a paper machine at its mill in Clarke County to produce linerboard used for corrugated packaging.

Lake Forest, Illinois-based PCA announced that it discontinued the production of uncoated freesheet, used for copy paper and other applications, on its No. 3 paper machine at the Jackson mill in late 2020.

After a temporary switch to produce linerboard, PCA is now making preparations to convert the mill’s paper machine into a 700,000-ton-per-year high-performance, virgin kraft linerboard machine in a phased approach over the next 36 months.

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PCA said key elements in the conversion project include the installation of an OCC plant for recycling old corrugated containers and various pulp mill modifications. In addition, modifications and upgrades will be made to critical sections of the paper machine.

PCA Chairman and CEO Mark Kowlzan said the project will enable the company to meet strong packaging demand and to optimize the Alabama mill’s profitability and viability. The capital cost of the conversion is expected to be approximately $440 million.

“We are appreciative of the continued support from the State of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Commerce, the City of Jackson and Clarke County to help us continue providing quality jobs and a positive economic impact in the Jackson community,” Kowlzan said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

Governor Kay Ivey said the project represents a positive development for the Jackson mill, a major industrial employer with more than 500 workers.

“Packaging Corp. of America’s reinvestment in its Jackson manufacturing facility will solidify the plant’s future by enhancing its competitiveness,” Governor Ivey said.

“This decision underlines the company’s confidence in its Alabama operation while also preserving jobs and safeguarding local education tax dollars. It’s a win for the company, the community and the state.”

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said PCA’s project will increase the efficiency of the Clarke County plant while providing a long-term economic boost to Jackson, a city with a population of around 5,300.

“We’re committed to helping existing businesses grow and thrive in Alabama, and the impact of a major investment is always magnified when in happens in rural communities,” Secretary Canfield said.

“With this project, PCA is positioning its Jackson mill for the future, which will significantly benefit the city and the region for years to come.”

‘LONG-STANDING RELATIONSHIP’

Jackson Mayor Paul R. South said the project will allow PCA to continue providing quality jobs while securing a positive economic future for Clarke County.

“The City of Jackson looks forward to working with the corporation as the project moves forward,” South said. “In my opinion, they couldn’t have selected a better community.  Jackson is a safe and peaceful city full of great people, with good schools and recreation and a strong work force, along with extensive natural resources.”

“This is wonderful news for Clarke County and the City of Jackson,” said Stan Hutto, chairman of the Clarke County Commission. “We have a long-standing relationship with this outstanding company, and we are committed to helping them achieve their goals to ensure a bright, successful future.”

PCA is the third largest producer of containerboard products and the third largest producer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America. PCA operates eight mills and 90 corrugated products plants and related facilities.

The Jackson mill’s No. 1 paper machine will continue to produce uncoated freesheet products.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)