Harry Reeder on sexual reckoning: Our conscience tells us ‘something’s wrong here’ even while our culture promotes sin


 

 

 

 

 

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Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I’d like to take you to a number of stories today. I’m going to highlight it with a story out of The Washington Examiner.

Of course, our listeners are probably, no doubt, familiar with the situation with Roy Moore down in Alabama and the accusations about him dating underage girls. Now we have Al Franken in the news and his situation, groping an individual on a Middle East USO Tour for our military.

Now, The Washington Examiner is reporting an individual by the name of Bill O’Neil, who is an Ohio Supreme Court justice and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and last weekend he came out on Facebook and said, “Hey, I’m going to save my political opposition some research time. I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that I’ve had illicit affairs with over 50 beautiful women.” There was a lot of pushback and he offered an apology.

The odd thing about this is an individual would have been ashamed about this behavior just a few years ago, but now we have a gubernatorial candidate that, in a sense, he’s bragging about it.

DR. REEDER: Tom, this cascade – what did one commentator say – it’s raining evil men in the culture who are doing these things, but the fact is there’s clearly this bubbling up – almost shouting out, now – sexual orgy cultural behavior patterns that all of us feel a right revulsion to.

From a Biblical world and life view, I want to point out three things.

It is very clear that, while this is throughout the culture, notice where all of these reports are coming from: They’re coming from the seats of political power in our governments, state and federal. And the second arena from which they’re coming is the entertainment celebrity culture.

Our forebears understood this from their Christian world and life view: Those positions have power and prominence and prestige.

And, whenever you begin to accumulate power and prominence and prestige and you do not put in a structure in your life to hold you accountable and to keep your life transparent, the power, the money, the prestige and the prominence begins to almost numb your brain to sensibilities and you begin to think whatever you want, you deserve. Your appetites can be gratified in any way you want them to be gratified.

Therefore, we’re in a culture where the powerful and the prominent have been running rampant with a thinly veiled façade over the top of their behavior and now it is coming out.

Secondly, we are in a culture that has fostered that. Recently, Hugh Hefner died and all of the accolades came out. Well, what is the “Hefner Playboy Culture?” One of self-gratification and self-absorption and a predominant attention is given to gratification of one’s sexual desires with the result that women are objectified, marital boundaries are erased and sexual ethics are destroyed.

We then embrace, in the name of self-gratification, the “Hefner Playboy Culture,” now we’re getting the results of it. Back during the Clinton episode and the Monica Lewinsky affair in the Oval Office and the things that took place, instead of dealing with them and addressing them for what they were, we absorbed them into the culture, making certain practices the norm in the culture and certain considerations that the prominent and the powerful get a wink and a nod.

That’s even been built into the culture of our Senate and they do not actually exist under the same consequences of sexual harassment laws that the rest of the population – they have their own set – and they even have an ability to pay off any settlements using taxpayer money so they have no personal liabilities in those areas.

Here is the celebrity culture of Hollywood, here is the powerful culture of government and it is no accident that that acts almost like an anesthesia and a stimulant at one and the same time for behavior like this because there is no salt and light being spoken to it with clarity.

The prophetic ministry of the people of God and the lifestyle of the people of God, instead of standing distinct and calling people to a way of life that honors what God has created to be sacred, such as sexuality within the bounds of marriage and marriage, itself, as sacred, the church has lost its voice and has lost its impact.

The third thing I want to mention, the only ethic our culture now embraces concerning sexual behavior is the ethic of consent and that is erased very easily.

The reason this is bothering everybody is that, in our God-given conscience, even though our conscience is not an infallible guide – God’s word is an infallible guide – but our conscience tells us something’s wrong here.

Romans 1 describes the pagan lifestyle of sexual immorality, sexual perversion and social approval of it and then it makes the comment, “Even though they do these things,” – they know the sinfulness of these things – “and the work of the law is written on their hearts.”

In other words, the Ten Commandments and all of their sanctities – the sanctity of God, the sanctity of worship, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of life, the sanctity of work, the sanctity of sex– all of those are covered in the Ten Commandments – and the work of that, the ethics of God’s law, deep down inside, we know that that is what is right and what we’re doing is wrong.

Therefore, what you’re seeing is a culture now in revulsion against the very thing that promotes it. And there’s a revulsion, why? The revulsion is there because the work of the law is upon our heart and we know this is not right. There’s something wrong here, but it’s not only wrong because of its effect upon the victims, it’s wrong because it’s wrong.

Because it’s wrong, it will have deleterious effects, it will bring destruction to the culture and it will bring a sense of vileness and a feeling of filth that just pervades everything. And, inside, our conscience is saying, “This isn’t right,” but, at the same time, in our rebellion against God, we promote it and the powerful and the prominent, they have the avenue to do what they want whenever they want it with a thinly veiled cover over top of it.

And then, when this erupts out of it, we know it’s wrong, and we know why it’s there and we know that there’s really only one answer and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Victims can be reclaimed, violators can be brought to repentance and a Savior can save us not only from the penalty of our sins, but the power and the practice of our sins.

We have to keep speaking prophetically into the public square. We have to keep promoting that which is good and right for public policy if we love our neighbors.

I am being propelled back to the Great Commission of making disciples and of evangelizing and discipling so that men and women of God know how to speak truth into the culture and, more importantly, will embrace truth in their life so there’s something different about them.

And, because of that difference, they become salt and light and this evil becomes restrained and the antidote to evil, which is the power and the grace of God in Christ, is proclaimed.

Tom Lamprecht: Harry, you’ve laid out an accurate sequence of how we’ve had this cascading, as you’ve said, of the sexual sin. Can we see a cascading of righteousness?

DR. REEDER: To use the cascade metaphor, then we just desperately need a Heaven-sent revival. If that happens, what you will then see – can I use another metaphor – you’ll see an artisan well.

You know, Tom, when you and I get together in Greenville and do some taping, we slip over to the golf course. When I had my dreams of golf at East Carolina, we would play that golf course, and I think it’s the 14th hole is that artisan well that just keeps bubbling up, and we would drink from it and how refreshing it was. Now, 40 years later, I go there and, instead of that water bubbling up and running off, they have captured it and now there is a beautiful lake that just keeps getting filled with this artisan water.

And that’s what I’d like to see in my country and throughout the whole world, is the cascading down of the rain captured into the hearts of the church of Jesus Christ bubbling up and filling the world with the truth.

Tom, I love a passage in Acts Chapter 5 when Peter and John are arrested and the charge is this: “You have filled all of Jerusalem with this Gospel of Jesus Christ.” That’s what I would love to happen again with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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

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

2 hours ago

Tuberville backs Alabama legislator’s bill making murder of on-duty first responder a capital offense

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville is backing HB 59, the bill passed by the Alabama Senate on Thursday that would make killing an on-duty first responder a capital offense.

The bill as amended and passed by the Senate names the proposed law in honor of slain Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.

Sponsored by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville), HB 59 passed the House previously. The amended version goes back to the chamber for expected concurrence next week.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Tuberville applauded the legislature for the bill, especially thanking the Senate for the amendment in Buechner’s memory, which was put onto the legislation by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn).

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“I commend the Alabama Senate on their bill which makes the murder of an on-duty first responder a capital offense,” Tuberville said. “Murdering a first responder in Alabama should be classified as a capital offense. Not just police officers are covered in this bill all first responders are covered!”

The bill adds on-duty first responders to the list of murder victims that constitutes a capital offense. State law already makes the murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer or prison guard a capital offense.

Note the difference between a Class A felony murder charge and a capital murder charge: capital offenses in Alabama are punishable (unless the defendant was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime) by life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. Class A felonies are punishable by 10-99 years in prison, with stricter guidelines for offenders with prior criminal convictions.

Sells’ bill would also add on-duty law enforcement officers, prison guards and first responders as victims in the list of aggravating circumstances to a capital offense. This would make the death penalty more likely in the sentencing phase of this kind of capital offense.

In HB 59, first responders are defined as emergency medical services personnel licensed by the Alabama Department of Public Health and firefighters and volunteer firefighters as defined by existing state law.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has said he will seek the death penalty if the man charged with Buechner’s death is convicted on a capital murder charge.

Tuberville’s vocal support for the bill came the same day as Buechner’s funeral.

“Today, as Officer William Buechner is laid to rest, we celebrate his heroic life and the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect our citizens,” Tuberville emphasized.

On Friday, Tuberville also visited Auburn Police Department Officer Webb Sistrunk, who was critically wounded in the shooting that killed Buechner.

(T. Tuberville/Facebook)

“It was such an honor for me to visit with Webb Sistrunk, one of the brave Auburn police officers who was shot earlier this week,” Tuberville shared.

Tuberville with Mark Sistrunk, the officer’s father (Contributed)

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

3 hours ago

‘Our hero’: Slain Auburn officer’s neighborhood lights up blue to honor him

Neighbors of murdered Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner are backing the blue in a very visible way, honoring the fallen hero’s life of selfless service.

As reported by WSFA, the Opelika subdivision that Buechner and his family lived in is showing their solidarity en masse.

In a moving tribute, many of the neighborhood’s homes have replaced their regular porch lights with blue lights, shining proudly in Buechner’s memory.

Tracy McDaniel is among those neighbors paying tribute to the officer and beloved community member.

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Tracy McDaniel’s home, as contributed by her. (Sally Pitts/Facebook)

McDaniels’ home is far from the exception. One photo shows an entire street the neighborhood turned blue to honor the fallen officer.

Photo by Samantha Xaysombath Smith (WSFA/Twitter)

“William was a lot of great things. A great man, friend, husband, and father, police officer, neighbor, the list goes on,” Smith explained. “His son will grow up to learn that his daddy was a hero, and we will forever remember that he was our hero too.”

Another woman in the neighborhood, who asked to remain anonymous when speaking with WSFA, said she was aware of at least 15 homes participating in the special tribute but expected that number to increase.

“We all have rallied to find each other more lightbulbs,” the woman said, “and contact those who have been out of town or may need assistance reaching their fixtures. It’s been a true team effort.”

The lights are reportedly expected to remain on at least through Saturday, the day after Buechner’s funeral.

Buechner is survived by his wife of three years, Sara; son, Henry; and step-daughter, McKenna.

“This village we speak of, he knows we will take care of Sara and the family,” Smith added. “After all, it does take a village. We back the blue.”

There has been a GoFundMe set up for Buechner’s family.

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

4 hours ago

Palmer introduces bill to stop federal funding of anti-ICE ‘sanctuary airports’

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) is taking a major stand against airports in liberal strongholds that try to subvert federal law.

Palmer’s office on Thursday announced that the Birmingham-area congressman has introduced the PLANE Act, the Prohibiting Local Airports from Neglecting Enforcement Act (H.R. 2955).

In April, an airport in Seattle, Washington, banned flights known collectively as “ICE Air,” which included flights that deported illegal immigrants or transported detainees to the appropriate detention center.

If passed, the PLANE Act would withhold federal grants from airports that violate grant agreements by attempting similar action, such as imposing unreasonable conditions or restrictions on airplanes operating under ICE or other contracted government agencies.

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“Airports that refuse to cooperate with ICE should not receive federal grants,” Palmer said in a statement.

“The rule of law must not be thwarted by so-called ‘sanctuary airports,’ especially when they potentially delay the removal of people accused of crimes like human trafficking and rape,” he added. “Political posturing cannot be permitted when an airport has agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in exchange for federal funds.”

Palmer is now serving as the chair the Republican Policy Committee, which is the fifth highest ranking leadership role amongst Republicans in the United States House of Representatives.

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

4 hours ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. VIII

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

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1. Hey Arnold! State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) caused a bit of a stir this week when he introduced a request to censure State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) for comments Rogers made during the chamber’s debate of the abortion bill. Numerous GOP House members were upset by the move, not so much for the substance of the request as much as for the timing — and the perceived motivation behind it.

The request came as the body was attempting to address a “ten-minute” calendar of bills. The aim of a ten-minute calendar is to quickly dispose of some of the more mundane pieces of legislation with the idea being that each member gets ten minutes to pass their bill or else the House moves on to the next item. As soon as Mooney introduced his letter of censure, the environment in the chamber became hostile, resulting in an adjournment and the end of the calendar. Dozens of members lost the opportunity, at that point at least, to pass their individual pieces of legislation, including an anti-human trafficking bill and legislation to help feed needy children in the state.

Some members wondered why Mooney waited nine days to introduce his letter. His letter was dated May 13 and not introduced until May 22. This event came on the heels of Mooney previously sending out a campaign letter to supporters questioning the ideological bearings of his fellow Republican legislators. When asked if Mooney had expressed any of these concerns to the GOP caucus at-large prior to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, one member responded, “No. He had not.”

2. A tale of two cities. As Mooney spent the week trying to burnish the type of outsider credentials attractive to Club for Growth, another one of his colleagues spent his week in D.C. trying, presumably, to lay a similar foundation. State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) was boots on the ground in the nation’s capital this week. Dismukes has let it be known that he was contemplating his own run for the U.S. Senate. He has done a fair job of keeping those cards close to the vest, although his trip to Washington would lend to the notion that he continues to have interest in a federal office.

The mathematical side effect of Dismukes’ absence nearly reached a heightened level of consequence. Consideration of any legislation prior to the passage of both budgets requires a 3/5 vote of those in the body voting. The lottery failed this week because it did not receive the required 3/5 threshold of those voting. In Dismukes’ absence from the state, someone voted his machine on his behalf as an abstention rather than simply not voting at all. He was the only legislator to vote to abstain. This still raises the threshold of required votes.

There were 90 total members that voted — which means the lottery needed 54 votes to proceed. It only received 53. Had someone not voted Dismukes’ machine and 89 members had voted, the lottery would still have needed 54 votes but by a much slimmer margin since 3/5 of 89 equals 53.4. That’s how close the lottery came to advancing to full consideration by the House.

3. Is broadband really a priority for members of the Alabama House? While the state legislature’s budget negotiations have been relatively smooth so far this session, there is one major issue that has seemingly popped up at the last minute.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Senate Finance and Taxation Education Chairman Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) put $30 million in the Senate-passed Education Trust Fund Budget for the state’s rural broadband grant program established last year by State Senator Clay Scofield’s (R-Guntersville) landmark legislation.

As the legislature continues to work on beefing up last year’s legislation through Scofield’s SB 90 this year, the House is now seemingly set to slash the broadband funding approved by the Senate. The House Ways and Means Education Committee this week approved an education budget that cut the broadband funding by 73%, dragging the total down from $30 million to only $8 million.

Proponents of the larger number have said that there is not a better use of one-time money than to expand broadband services across the state. Will Chairman Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) and the House at-large work with the Senate and restore the important broadband funding?

4. Art of the Deal. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) once again proved his master negotiating skills this week, securing a crucial disaster relief package deal against seemingly insurmountable differences between the increasingly polarized factions in Washington, D.C.

This package will provide much-needed aid to many in the Yellowhammer State, including those in southeast Alabama devastated by Hurricane Michael.

Shelby bridged the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, while even managing to get President Donald Trump to drop his demands to include non-disaster related earmarks in the package — a concession that was key to getting enough votes in the Senate and House. The legislation quickly passed the Senate 85-8 Thursday before a lone House member objected to its unanimous passage on Friday. The House can take the legislation up after Memorial Day on Tuesday, when it is expected to overwhelmingly pass that chamber and then be signed into law.

One keen observer told Yellowhammer News that this type of achievement will not make nearly the number of headlines it should back at home, but once again Shelby has delivered for his state as he continues to cement his legacy as “Alabama’s greatest statesman.”

5 hours ago

Alabama legislature passes bill to ensure accuracy in meat labeling

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate on Thursday took steps to ensure that the definition of “meat” when applied to food labeling should only apply to products sourced from livestock on farms and ranches and harvested through processing; the bill clarifies that laboratory-grown products may not be labeled as meat, protecting Yellowhammer State consumers from potentially misleading packaging.

In a unanimous vote, the Senators passed HB 518, sponsored by State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens) and State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay). The bill was previously passed by the House 97-2 and now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk.

“This is proactive legislation to ensure clarity in food labeling. Around the country, there are more and more companies trying to market lab-grown products as meat, which is misleading since they aren’t derived from actual livestock production,” Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions pointed out that the nutritional and safety risks of foods developed in labs from animal cell cultures are still unknown.

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“These new lab-produced foods are, at best, synthetic meats, and their nutritional effects are unknown right now. Let’s see how the science develops through further research, and make a clear distinction between meat that is farm-raised on the one hand, and lab-based products on the other,” he advised.

The beef cattle industry represents a $2.5 billion industry in Alabama and is the number two agricultural commodity in the Yellowhammer State, with over 20,000 cattle farms. Beef continues to be a favorite protein among consumers worldwide, with exports of American beef representing an $8 billion industry by itself.

“The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association represents over 10,000 members across the state. As alternative proteins enter the marketplace in coming years, we think it is imperative that the integrity of all meat labels are protected and clear for consumers when they go to the meat case,” Erin Beasley, executive vice president of the Alabama Cattleman’s Association, commented.

She concluded, “The passage of this bill is a win-win for the consumers who love to buy beef, and the cattlemen who work hard to produce a high-quality product. We would like to thank the Alabama Legislature for the support of this bill, and especially Senator David Sessions and Representative Danny Crawford for carrying the bill.”

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