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Remembering RFK


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WHAT DO WE SAY ABOUT RFK AND THE ‘60s FIFTY YEARS LATER?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, Tuesday, we were talking about pop culture. We mentioned that it was 50 years ago that the Broadway musical, “Hair,” hit the stage. It was known not only for its music, but it also introduced live nudity to Broadway.

Another event from 50 years ago that we’re remembering this month is that it was 50 years ago last week that Robert F. Kennedy, who was 42 at the time, stepped off a dais in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after declaring victory in California’s presidential primary. Moments later, he walked through the kitchen to greet the hotel’s busboys and dishwashers and a lone gunman assassinated the New York senator. Harry, looking back 50 years, your thoughts?  

DR. REEDER: You not only have this shot across the bow in the promotion and acceptance of public nudity in the media, but you also had these signal events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King, then Robert Francis Kennedy. He was and is and was increasingly an impact figure carrying the mantle of his brother, the heir apparent to take this to another level.

Robert Francis Kennedy had become known as a crusader against certain aspects of corruption and racism. Many question whether or not his assassination might have been somewhat tied to the crime world and his enmity against Hoffa. He was quite the crusader against communism in that he had aligned himself with the famed — or infamous, however you see it — McCarthy.

Now, as Lyndon Baines Johnson’s popularity waned, he was being challenged in the primary and RFK saw his opportunity. He quickly rose to the forefront and this signal victory in California seemed to be a declaration that our next president was likely going to be Robert Francis Kennedy.

However, walking through the kitchen, there was a predisposed attempt to assassinate him that was successful and it later became known both the individual that did it and his professed rationale. Sirhan Sirhan was captured and confessed.

RFK IS A MAN TO REMEMBER AS WE HOPE FOR NEW LEADERS

Robert Kennedy had been assigned to John F. Kennedy by his father. In other words, when John F. Kennedy was running for president, Robert Francis Kennedy was the campaign manager. And he was the campaign manager not because he had had experience in running campaigns, but because he had a demonstrated ability of loyalty, a crusader mentality and he also became known as “the fixer” in that he could fix problems and situations. Everyone is fully aware of the documented and acknowledged lascivious lifestyle and all of that needed to be “fixed.”

He was also there because he had some sway, not to change his brother’s behavior, but to restrain his brother’s behavior. In other words, he wasn’t as lascivious as he would have been because RFK was a devoted, practicing Roman Catholic, he was a devoted husband to his wife and he loved his brother so, from their affection and his moral sensibilities, he was a restrainer upon John F. Kennedy.

After the campaign and John Kennedy was elected, he became the attorney general. Recently, in the Trump administration, there’s been a lot of talk about Trump’s family getting positions — well, there was something pretty much unheard of that the president would appoint his brother as the attorney general. And, by the way, his brother, while having legal credentials, had never tried a case in a public court of any significance whatsoever and so he was there pretty much by influence and power of the family and appointment of his brother.

That became the base for his own political ambitions. With that track report as attorney general, his election as senator, he was clearly for the presidential nomination when he was tragically assassinated.

PROTESTS SPURRED RACIAL CHANGE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, looking back to 1968, that was a hard year for America. It was a difficult spring that year. Two months prior to Bobby Kennedy’s assassination — almost to the day — Martin Luther King was shot and killed and that was followed by a number of very intense riots in major cities all across the country.

DR. REEDER: By the way, smaller cities, Tom, you reside in Greenville, North Carolina, which, that year, I resided in Greenville, North Carolina. I remember, as a student at East Carolina at the time, the riots that were breaking out in Greenville.

As you look back on that era, here’s a group of people who the legacy of Jim Crow laws had relegated them into segments of society without being able to participate in society and they had to fight each line of society during that civil rights movement. Therefore, you had the permissiveness that was starting in terms of the sexual revolution, you had the advancements, rightly in terms of constitutional rights for all of the citizens and the dismantling of Jim Crow laws and then you had this violence of assassinations that were taking place and also riots that were taking place.

It was a highly tumultuous time. I was not fully aware of things at that time, but I was enough aware to realize that there are some major fault lines that are either going to be repaired or developed within our society.

JESUS MOVEMENT OF ‘60s TRIED TO ENGAGE BUT WAS NOT DEEP ENOUGH

However, Tom, there was something else that was given birth at that time that provided great hope and it was called “the Jesus movement.” It was birthed, interestingly, in the California area as beach evangelism began to take place, surfer evangelism. And this Jesus movement began that was highly effective and while some of the methodology was interesting of the “evangelists,” most of them were pretty solid in terms of the essentials of the Gospel, itself.

You had this movement of an expansive Christianity, particularly, in the lives of students and all of this was intersecting in the late 1960s and I believe this year, 1968, was crucial. My own evaluation now is that the movement of statism and secularism actually more or less won the day. That was because the movement of the Gospel in the revivals that were taking place did not go deep enough.

It was a good breadth movement of evangelism, but it didn’t go deep enough in discipleship and God’s glorious institution of the church was not engaged and not brought into that revival the way that it should have been — therefore, its effectiveness began to fade even as humanism and statism under a political and moral theology of liberalism continued to expand.

THAT TIME ALSO SPAWNED NEW CHURCHES AND DENOMINATIONS

And, at the same time, Tom, there was the beginning of the death spiral of mainline Protestant denominations as theological liberalism had taken hold. Theological liberalism is never creative, it is never expansive — it is parasitic and it is destructive — and so that was the beginning of the death spiral of the mainline Protestant denominations.

My own Presbyterian Church in America began to be born at that time and, of course, the tragic thing is the influence of a robust evangelical Christianity was lost because now millions of members in Protestant mainline churches were being spiritually starved through theological liberalism and the rise of a “social Gospel” to meet the social needs instead of the Gospel of transforming and redeeming power of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with the full authority of the inerrant Word of God.

That was removed and, in its place was merely a philosophic view of religion that was ultimately destructive to what had been the most powerful force in our culture at the time, the mainline denominations.

THE GOSPEL ENDURES AND STILL CHANGES PEOPLE (AND CULTURES) TODAY

Tom, when you look back at 1968, here we are 50 years later, 2018. As people can see, we are trying to do our best to not simply look at a Christian world and life view, but as you say each week, a Christian world and life view on these issues with Gospel solutions.

Changed cultures are not our objective; it is changed lives by the power of the Gospel. Consequentially, with changed lives comes changed families, changed marriages and changed cultures, but what we want to focus on is not only the power of the Gospel to give you a new heart and a new record, but also to give you a new mind so that your mind can be renewed and transformed to see life to the glory of God because of the power of the grace of God that is found in Jesus Christ.

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.

 

7 hours ago

Geneva County Commission strips funding for school resource officer program

The Geneva County Commission has placed the Geneva County School system in a bind after it pulled funds committed to the school resource officer (SRO) program.

Per a Dothan Eagle report, the county commission voted in June to give $15,000 to the SRO program this year, including an additional $60,000 next year.

After commissioners found that the budget would not balance, they realized that the promised funding for the SRO program could not be provided.

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Fred Hamic, chairman of the Geneva County Commission, sent a letter informing Superintendent Becky Birdsong of the decision and included a $15,000 check.

Birdsong said she was “disappointed,” but assured she will work hard to ensure the SRO program remains in place.

“I am disappointed, but I am still committed to doing what’s right for our students,” Birdsong told Dothan Eagle. “We don’t want parents to be concerned that this is going to make our schools less safe. I’m not saying we have the money now, but I am going to work on this and try to secure funding for this.”

Birdsong said that she is working with parents to increase security on school campuses in the schools she oversees.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

7 hours ago

Steve Marshall talks liberal tech bias, joins select group of national officials tackling the issue

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Tuesday joined a select group of state attorneys general for “a productive dialogue” led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Department of Justice (DOJ) officials regarding perceived discrimination against conservatives by leading tech companies.

Per a DOJ release, “The discussion centered on ways the Department and state governments can most effectively safeguard consumers using online digital platforms. Each state attorney general’s office shared their views of the important issues for federal and state authorities to consider when addressing these evolving technologies. The discussion principally focused on consumer protection and data privacy issues, and the bipartisan group of attendees sought to identify areas of consensus.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Marshall – who joined the meeting by teleconference – made it clear that there was a long way to go before reaching a consensus on how to tackle the complicated issues of tech transparency and bias, saying, “To the degree that there was any consensus, it is that we still have a lot to learn about how to best protect consumer interests in this context.”

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“Today I participated in a bipartisan meeting of several state Attorneys General, hosted by Attorney General Sessions, to discuss consumer protection concerns related to the tech industry. The conversation covered many of the same concerns raised in recent Congressional hearings,” Marshall outlined.

He continued, “I appreciated the invitation to participate and was interested to hear the perspectives of the various states represented. To the degree that there was any consensus, it is that we still have a lot to learn about how to best protect consumer interests in this context.”

The DOJ, which was represented at the meeting by Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore and other senior staff, explained, “Many shared the view that it is essential for federal and state law enforcement authorities to work together to ensure that these challenges are addressed responsibly and effectively.”

Sessions’ DOJ will review the information and insights shared by the state attorneys general and expects the constructive dialogue will continue moving forward. Marshall, in an interview earlier Tuesday morning with Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg, made it clear that he prefers a market-based solution as opposed to stifling government regulation.

“It is a field that I think we need to tread very lightly,” Marshall explained. “You look at the ability of government to regulate – I think we do the military well and everything else is a struggle. So I think we need to be very, very careful in how we tread in that regard.”

The argument from some is that social media platforms are like modern-day utilities.

“You hear it coming more from Democratic AG’s across the country … it’s why, I think, you have to be very careful, because the market itself has the ability to regulate and one of the things that we have to do from the government side is do not tread into the world of antitrust lightly,” Marshall outlined.

Alabama’s attorney general used Google as an example, saying consumers have multiple choices in search engines, free online email providers and the web browsers themselves (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, etc.).

“It is important, however, when you do hear the stories of internally that Google may be directing people for political purposes that otherwise is not disclosed. That is concerning,” Marshall said.

For Marshall, the questions of whether these tech companies should allow their left-leaning biases to affect consumers “need to be asked, whether or not government needs to get involved in that, however, is a different story.”

Marshall summarized that his overall view is the tech services need to be held accountable to being open and honest with what they are doing and then the market can effectively take care of the rest. If consumers do not like what the services are doing, competition, not the government, should be the counterbalance.

“To the extent that there is transparency, I think it’s a good thing. Across the spectrum, whether it be private business or in government, and in this field particularly, if they are able to respond to questions about how it is that they control content and what they do, then I think we all have knowledge and then can make decisions ourselves,” he advised.

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

7 hours ago

Strong like Samson, tough like Benaiah and wise like Solomon -Thomas Cox reveals his plan for himself and raising his kids

Finding the time to do everything in a day is tough, but Thomas Cox shared his secrets on “The Ford Faction.”

In this episode, Thomas Cox from Mealfit.co discussed where his parenting techniques come from and how he finds time to execute them. He breaks down the processes he does with each of his children.

First, he teaches them to be strong like Samson. He wants his kids to be strong in many ways: mentally, physically, socially and spiritually.

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Second, Thomas wants his kids to be tough like Benaiah.

He said, “Toughness is one of the biggest parts of our lives we have to get better at so we can adapt to what’s happening around us.”

Finally, you have to be wise like Solomon.

Thomas told host Ford Brown, “I think if you’re not spending a lot of your day on self-development, you are missing the boat.”

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Rep. Byrne: Breaking down Tax Reform 2.0

Since Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year, the American economy is booming, and Alabama families have more money in their pockets. By lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code, we have unlocked our economic potential and made life better for hardworking Americans.

The economic numbers speak for themselves: higher wages, lower unemployment, more jobs, bigger paychecks, employee bonuses and much more. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the average family in Southwest Alabama will see their tax bill decrease by $2,187 a year.

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The good news is that we aren’t stopping here. This week, the House is expected to vote on additional changes and improvements to the tax code, something we are calling Tax Reform 2.0. Working with President Trump, we will continue to make the tax code even fairer and more competitive.

Tax Reform 2.0 includes three major pieces. Here’s a quick overview.

First, we want to make the tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families permanent. Due to Democrat obstruction and arcane rules in the Senate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was only able to lower taxes for ten years. Under Tax Reform 2.0, we will make the tax cuts permanent.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation found that making the middle-class and small business tax cuts permanent will create 1.5 million new jobs and increase gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.2%. This further expands our economy and makes life even better for families and small businesses.

Making these changes permanent, will also lock-in the simpler tax filing process. As you may remember, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act simplified the tax code to the point where many Americans are now able to complete their taxes on a postcard-style form. A Tax Foundation study shows that this will save Americans between $3.1 to $5.4 billion in compliance costs. Instead of needing an accountant to navigate the complicated code, most Americans will be able to file on their own.

Second, Tax Reform 2.0 promotes family savings and helps more Americans plan for retirement. Currently, too many Americans have been unable to save for retirement or put money aside to cover unforeseen emergencies.

We want to help small businesses provide retirement plans to their workers by allowing small businesses to join together to create a 401(k) plan more affordable and by giving employers more time to put new retirement plans in place. Just as important, we will help more workers participate in retirement plans by exempting small retirement accounts from mandatory payouts and by eliminating the age limit on IRA contributions.

We don’t stop there. Tax Reform 2.0 will create and expand additional programs to help Americans save. For example, our plan creates a new savings account to offer a fully flexible savings tool that families can use at any time right for them, expands 529 education savings accounts, and creates a new baby savings program to help with the birth of a new child or an adoption.

Finally, Tax Reform 2.0 will help grow the economy by promoting start-up businesses and spurring innovation. We do this by allowing new businesses to write off more of their initial start-up costs and by making it easier for start-ups to bring in new investors. America must lead the way on innovation.

As you can tell, Tax Reform 2.0 builds upon our efforts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure the American economy remains strong. We do that by allowing Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. I fundamentally believe our country is the strongest when money is with the people instead of the government.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.

8 hours ago

Ivey, Merrill celebrate National Voter Registration Day – ‘Easy to vote and hard to cheat’

Tuesday is recognized as National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), which Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Secretary of State John Merrill celebrated by encouraging all of the state’s eligible voters to register.

The annual occasion is the largest single-day drive to register voters of the year. Merrill joined hundreds of different partners around the nation to observe NVRD, with Merrill specifically encouraging a “voter refresh” effort to update state voter rolls with correct information about Alabama citizens.

“Since I became Secretary of State, we have registered more than a million new voters who have helped us shatter state records for voter registration and participation in our elections,” Merrill said in a release.

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“But we also want our voter rolls to be up-to-date, so we are urging everyone to take a moment to make sure their current address is correct in the state system. We are pleased to participate in this special day that encourages more participation in our electoral process. We continue to work daily to make sure every eligible U.S. citizen in our state is registered to vote and has a photo ID. We want to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Merrill continued.

NVRD, held on every fourth Thursday of September since 2012, is endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors. Since 2012, more than 1.4 million people around the nation have registered to vote or update their registration as part of this event alone. This year, libraries, schools and other partners will hold local voter registration drives.

Since Merrill took office, Alabama has registered 1,064,616 new voters, bringing the state’s total to 3,418,839 as of September 7. Yellowhammer State residents can update their voter registration information by downloading the “Vote for Alabama” app on a smartphone or visiting the Secretary of State website here.

“There is no freedom more integral to this Republic than the right to vote and participate in our democratic process,” Merrill emphasized. “I am so proud we are able to work with the partners involved with National Voter Registration Day to help make increased participation a reality here in the state of Alabama.”

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