11 months ago

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


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

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.

 

10 mins ago

Ex-Auburn assistant basketball coach Chuck Person pleads guilty

Former Auburn University assistant coach and 13-year NBA veteran Chuck Person pleaded guilty Tuesday to a bribery conspiracy charge in the widespread college basketball bribery scandal, ensuring that none of the four coaches charged in the probe will go to trial.

Person, 54, of Auburn, Alabama, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court, averting a June trial.

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He and his lawyer declined to speak afterward and made a quick exit from the courthouse.

Prosecutors said Person accepted $91,500 in bribes to steer players with NBA potential to a Pittsburgh-based financial adviser.

As part of the plea, he agreed to forfeit that amount.

Person said he committed his crime in late 2016 and early 2017.

The plea deal has a recommended sentencing guideline range of two to 2½ years in prison, though the sentence will be left up to Judge Loretta A. Preska.

The sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Person “abused his position as a coach and mentor to student-athletes in exchange for personal gain.”

“In taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes, Person not only placed personal financial gain above his obligations to his employer and the student-athletes he coached, but he broke the law,” he said.

Person’s plea falls in line with those recently entered by three other former assistant coaches at major college basketball schools.

Tony Bland, a former Southern California assistant coach; ex-Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson; and former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans are awaiting sentencing.

Their prison terms are likely to be measured in months rather than years.

Person, former associate head coach at Auburn, was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1986 and played for five NBA teams over 13 seasons.

In court papers, prosecutors said Person arranged multiple meetings between the financial adviser and Auburn players or their family members.

Prosecutors said he failed to tell families and players that he was being bribed to recommend the financial adviser.

In one recorded conversation, the prosecutor said, Person warned an Auburn player to keep his relationship with the financial adviser a secret.

According to prosecutors, Person said: “Don’t say nothing to anybody. … Don’t share with your sisters, don’t share with any of the teammates, that’s very important cause this is a violation … of rules, but this is how the NBA players get it done, they get early relationships, and they form partnerships.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Marsh bill to repeal Common Core approved by Senate committee

MONTGOMERY — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) bill to eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama was given a unanimous favorable recommendation by the Senate’s Education Policy Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, SB 119, is now set to be debated and considered on the Senate floor Thursday.

Marsh spoke about this bill during Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “News Shaper” event in Montgomery Tuesday evening after he filed the bill earlier that day.

He acknowledged that he has been a proponent of letting the state school board set education curriculum and standards policy in the past and even stopped an effort to repeal Common Core a few years ago. However, in Marsh’s view, Common Core has been given a chance now and it is time for the legislature to step in.

“It’s not working. I think we have to have some radical change with education policy in this state. And y’all know me, I’ve pushed a lot of things –  public charter schools, the Accountability Act. We’ve got to address this issue and it’s critical for this state,” Marsh said.

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He said eliminating Common Core would “clear the field” so the state could then move forward to better education outcomes.

Alabama would come up with its own high standards, premised on local control, under Marsh’s proposal.

He said his bill is cosponsored by all 27 of his Republican Senate colleagues and he expects SB 119 to pass the chamber and then receive similarly strong support in the House.

“I am committed to moving to a different standard that’s right for Alabama and moves us forward,” Marsh emphasized.

He also advised that there is a high level of politics involved in education decisions in the state but that sound policy must come first.

“[T]he education community, who I’ve asked to get this fixed, who have not addressed this, quite honestly I don’t think has put us in shape to move forward to address the problem at present. But I’m going to do all I can to see that it happens,” Marsh added.

Democrats on the Senate Education Policy Committee spoke in favor of keeping Common Core on Wednesday.

A career public school teacher from Lee County spoke in favor of eliminating Common Core at the hearing, while representatives from the state school superintendents association and the school boards association had concerns about the implementation of new standards.

Marsh said his bill will be amended before a vote by the full Senate to allow another national standard to be used if found to be best for Alabama, as the current language in his bill would ban any national standard from being adopted by the state school board.

Update, 11:35 a.m.:

State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) released a statement in support of Marsh’s bill.

“I strongly support Senator Marsh’s bill,” Givhan said. “The Common Core standards just haven’t worked for Alabama’s students, and the proof is evident in the data. In 2017, Alabama’s 8th grade math scores ranked 49th among the 50 states, and math scores for 4th grade students were 45th in the nation, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Common Core’s curriculum standards and guidelines have been in place for nine years, and they have failed Alabama’s students. It’s clear we need to look at alternative educational methods, with an emphasis on returning as much control as possible back to the local school districts.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Marsh, McCutcheon talk lottery, ethics clarifications at Yellowhammer ‘News Shaper’ event

MONTGOMERY — Speaking Tuesday evening at Yellowhammer Multimedia’s first “News Shaper” event of 2019, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) provided their insight on some of the hot-button topics expected to be debated during the legislature’s ongoing regular session.

Yellowhammer owner and editor Tim Howe, who moderated the discussion, outlined uncertainty in the state’s ethics laws brought on by recent court and ethics commission decisions. Howe then asked the two leaders how they think the legislature can provide certainty and codified clarification moving forward, especially when it comes to defining a “principal.”

“There is no doubt that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the ethics legislation,” Marsh said. “The [Alabama Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission] was set up to look over this, but in addition to that, both the Senate and the House – in the Senate you have Greg Albritton and in the House [you have] Mike Jones – working throughout the entire break on how we address this.”

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“And remember,” Marsh continued, “it’s not about 140 legislators, there are 50,000 people in the state of Alabama affected by the ethics law. I’m going to make a plea to my colleagues, some of whom are in this room tonight: If it’s going to be fixed, we’ve got to fix it.”

He emphasized, “[I]t’s not going to get any easier. You’ve got to face the issues. You’ve got to address it and realize this is about much [more] than the legislature. So, I’m hopeful.

Marsh also noted that the uncertainty in the ethics law has “affected economic development.”

“There’s a section there where the economic developers are having problems keeping the [confidentiality] in the process of recruiting industries. We’ve got to address this,” he advised. “And I’m hopeful that we will address it this year.”

Marsh added, “I know that both Senator Albritton and Representative Jones have been in conversation with the attorney general and the ethics commission, as well. So we’re going down a path to try and get everybody on the same page. But we have got to -trust me, ladies and gentleman – we have best fix this. It’s got to be done.”

Howe then asked Marsh to articulate why certainty in the ethics law for economic development professionals is important not just for them, but for the entire state and each of its residents.

“[I]t’s important for the state, because we’re competing with all of the other states,” Marsh said.

He used the example of a piece of legislation passed out of committee that very day largely dealing with Polaris vehicles built in north Alabama and explained that the site selection process requires confidentiality, with most economic development recruitment projects being given code names.

“Because we’re competing against other states. And if we’re not able to keep that degree of secrecy at that stage of the game, we’re at a disadvantage to our neighbors,” Marsh explained.

He concluded, “So this is something that we have got to address. But I’m going to say this: that’s [only] a piece of it. And there’s going to be an attempt by the business community and economic developers to pass the piece. But I think it’s [incumbent] upon us to pass the big picture, solve all the problems, because you want as many people with you, supporting you, to make the changes. Every time you carve off a little piece, you lose some support. So, as I said, I want to help everybody, but I’m committed to the big picture.”

Lottery

Howe later asked the speaker if the time has come for a lottery proposal to pass the legislature and reach a referendum of the people.

“I think so,” McCutcheon responded. “I think it’s been coming for several years. I know that the districts, House districts, that are [bordering other states], most of those districts have seen a significant shift over the last seven or eight years because they see Alabamians driving across the state line to buy lottery tickets.”

He continued, “And people are starting to talk about it, and they’re starting to make it part of their discussion around the dinner table. … At the end of the day, there’s a good push from the people.”

McCutcheon did emphasize what he viewed as key to a successful lottery discussion.

“If we’re going to put this to a vote of the people, and I think it has a good chance of passing, we need to make sure that people understand what they’re voting on,” he outlined. “That’s very, very important. We don’t want to cloud the issue with the definition of a ‘lottery’ and try to sneak something in the back door. Let’s make sure the people understand in their minds what a lottery is and we define it in such a way that they know what they’re voting on.”

“Then, I think the next big debate will be, ‘Where’s the money [lottery revenue] going to go?’ And that will be something that we’ll have to contend with,” McCutcheon concluded.

This came the same day that Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) filed a lottery proposal that was soon after called not “clean” by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who said McClendon’s legislation would legalize slot machines in a select few places in the state.

Watch the entire discussion:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

After 133 launches, Alabama built rockets boast 100% mission success

Thank you to the United Launch Alliance team and the entire workforce surrounding another successful launch.  Alabama’s Decatur based facility brings the utmost precision, passion and purpose to one of the most technically complex, critical American needs: affordable, reliable access to space.

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3 hours ago

Bipartisan bill to regulate vaping set for House committee hearing

MONTGOMERY — Alabama is currently one of only three states to not regulate vaping, but that could soon change.

HB 41, sponsored by Republican Rep. Shane Stringer and Democrat Rep. Barbara Drummond, both of Mobile County, is on the House Judiciary Committee’s agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

The bill would regulate the sale, use and advertisement of vaping – or “alternative nicotine products” – in the state.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, both Drummond and Stringer emphasized that their bill is intended to protect the health and wellbeing of Alabama minors.

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“The motivation is simple,” Drummond emphasized. “We are trying to safeguard the teens in the state of Alabama.”

She outlined, “Vape shops, as it stands right now, are not regulated at all… And the bill came about because our drug education council locally brought it to our attention, but [Stringer and I] have both seen ourselves, as well as throughout the whole state, the rise of vape shops. They’re popping up everywhere in the state of Alabama.”

While it is too early to tell what vaping is directly doing to users’ health, Stringer and Drummond emphasized there is an objective gateway effect from vaping use and to smoking traditional cigarettes.

“Right now, there is no data that says what is the [direct] effect that these products are having on our young people. What we are seeing, and this is a national trend, is that you’re seeing smoking not going down, but increasing, among young people,” Drummond explained.

Stringer, a career law enforcement officer with stints as chief of multiple local police departments, said educators from every corner of Mobile County have voiced their concerns with the lack of state oversight on vape products and retailers “saying this is an epidemic and a problem what we need to address.”

“The products haven’t been out long enough to know the problems we could face in five, ten, 15 years from now,” he said. “It’s pretty similar to when smoking came out. There was basically no risk at that time, according to everyone. Now, look at all the data that we have to go with smoking… this is a new product we’re learning every day about.”

Stringer said statistics they were shown from the drug education council show an approximately 34 percent increase in children under 19-years-old that tried smoking after vaping.

“In Alabama, we don’t want to wake up one day and see the effects, negative effects on our kids,” Drummond added. “Right now, we’re trying to be responsible legislators to make sure that we look out for the welfare of our children.”

The two lawmakers also stressed that not only do vape shop operators have no restrictions on them, but the state has no way to even keep track of them currently.

Their bill would make it illegal to sell or give vape products to anyone under 19-years-old. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would regulate retail sales of the products, just as they do tobacco products. Retailers would have to obtain an annual permit, which includes an application fee of $300. Retailers would also have to comply with relevant FDA regulations and post signage warning of the dangers of nicotine usage.

Using vape products in certain places, including schools and child care facilities, would be prohibited.

‘This is something that is nonpartisan, it’s not anything that is about Republican or Democrat. This is something about our young people,” Drummond said. “Because if you look at the amount of nicotine that is showing up in these products, when they first hit the market, the nicotine levels were very low – like five percent. Now, it’s gone up to about ten percent. They’ve got other chemicals in there, like formaldehyde. What is the effect of that upon the brains of our kids? So, this is more of a public wellbeing bill for us.”

Stringer advised that he foresees widespread support in the legislature for the bill.

“Everyone agrees that there has to be some checks and balances [oversight] in place,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn