Reeder on Roy Moore chaos: ‘Do the next right thing’


 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10-min. audio

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you today to a story that has been making the headlines the last several days. It’s taking place in your backyard, the state of Alabama and it actually involves some people that you have some relationships with.

It’s the story of Judge Roy Moore, who’s running for the U.S. Senate and it’s also the story of these women who have come forward, saying that, when Roy Moore was 32 and they were teenagers, he approached them and had relationships with them that were improper.

Harry, for many evangelical Christians, it puts them in somewhat of a quandary, that is, “Do I vote for a man who espouses a Christian world and life view, who espouses Christian values, but yet there’s this question mark next to his moral past? Or do I vote for someone who does not espouse Christian values in their political ideology, but yet seems to have a moral lifestyle?”

DR. REEDER: Tom, I have been inundated with people asking me about this. When I first came to Briarwood, a young man, 34-years-old, on a Sunday afternoon, his heart exploded and he died.

The resulting funeral, the sanctuary’s filled with about 3,000 people from all over the world because of his reputation as a businessman.

His partner stood up at the eulogy and said, “There’s two things you need to know. All of you are here because you esteem him as a businessman. What you don’t know is why you esteemed him, perhaps – at least some of you don’t. You esteem him because of his personal relationship with Christ, which leads me to No. 2.

Whenever we had business decisions, it was never a discussion ultimately and finally about what would make the most money. He always looked at me and said, ‘Let’s do the next right thing.’”

So, to my evangelical friends and others who are looking on, “What do I do now? How do I handle this?” Well, you got to do the next right thing.

“Pastor, wasn’t this a hit piece?” Answer: Yes, this was a hit piece and the person that wrote it has said, “I was paid to come and find dirt on Roy Moore.” And, yes, that paper has endorsed his opponent.

It is undoubtedly a hit piece but, for us as believers, it can’t simply be dismissed. We have to deal with the truthfulness of what is being said or not said. It can be a hit piece, but still make a difference if the hit piece is presenting something that is true.

Statute of limitations would render it not a legal issue, so this is a moral and now political issue that faces us.

“Pastor, what about you’re innocent until proven guilty?” Absolutely. Now, of course, that’s in the courtroom that is to be established, but it is fair, also, in the court of public opinion.

We are called, Biblically, to give the judgment of charity, that is, we want to believe the best, but we have to deal with the issue. That doesn’t mean, to believe the best, you dismiss the allegations. It does mean that you want the best and you want to believe the best, but the issues have to be either adjudicated if it’s legal or, in this case, have to be aired out since it is political.

Well, then, what are the choices? Well, I would say, first of all, the choices are with Judge Roy Moore and his team and I have prayed not only for these women, but also for Judge Roy Moore and his team and I’ve prayed for the voters of Alabama and will continue to do so.

But the filters that I would use is Judge Roy Moore has got three choices before him. If these things are true, while as a believer you can be forgiven of that – because, as a believer, you can actually be changed and what would have been a vice in your life before Christ can actually become a strength in your life after Christ – but that does not mean that the consequences of previous behavior might mitigate against future decisions in your life.

For instance, if you go and get drunk and you have a car wreck and you cut your arm off and, the next day, you ask God to forgive you, yes, you’re forgiven of your sin. Yes, you can be transformed and never drink again but, also, you don’t have an arm.

And, if sexual predatory behavior is there and with a minor, then that, I would say, would cause a candidate for the Senate to recuse himself. That would be the next right thing to do.

Well, what if it’s not true? Then you have to fight it and you have to fight it in a way that makes it clear. And, if it is not true, then that will usually be manifested in both the confidence and the passion with which you fight it.

That would bring me to the interview that was done on “The Sean Hannity Show.” With most everybody else, I believe it was less than satisfying on the denials. They were much more Clintonian and much more parsed than it was passionate and clear and categorical.

But, on the other hand, he does deny that it ever happened so what should he do? Well, then you’ve got to mount a defense that gives your voters confidence.

If you can’t, that leads you to a third decision. If they’re not true and you cannot mount a defense, for the sake of the state, for the sake of the Senate, for the sake of the future of the country, I would suggest that you have to withdraw and help the party and the state find a solution.

There are a number of solutions being proposed and I am not a political expert so I am not advising. I’ve been told that the governor could just maintain the appointment of Luther Strange because the special election was not mandated and it was done out of response to the questions about the appointment from Governor Bentley of Luther Strange.

However, this present governor, I understand, could maintain the appointment and, I understand, could change the date of the election. All of that would be politically fraught with controversy, but that could be done.

Or, thirdly, the Republican Party could disavow the candidate and that would disavow the election and nullify it and/or bring forth a write-in candidate for the State of Alabama.

My decision as an Evangelical, it is not framed simply by the political considerations – “What’s my political way out of this?” That’s a second decision. My first decision is, “What is the next right thing to do?”

The next right thing for me to do is to work through it and come to a personal conviction. “Are these allegations true and where does this lead me?”

I may come to the conclusion that the allegations are not true. Well, then, you’re in the position of a Clarence Thomas, who fought back, and fought clearly and was able to mount a defense that disproved the claims of Anita Hill. And the result was we have had a wonderful Supreme Court justice because the allegations were untrue.

So, I have to make that decision and, if they’re true and they have been denied as untrue, then that would further my inability to vote for the candidate because I want my candidate to be transparent and honest.

Now, if they’re untrue and I believe they’re untrue, then I’ve got another whole decision to make and that comes down to two, “They’re untrue and I’m going to vote for him,” or, “They are untrue but I believe that I would encourage my candidate to step aside so that we can bring clarity to the race and the race will not be about your past behavior, but about the positions and the platform of the candidates.

And, therefore, your viability as a candidate and as a future senator has been compromised. Until these allegations can be dismissed, then I would encourage you to step aside and my vote will reflect what I would encourage you to do.”

Finally, as a believer, I am going to pray diligently – diligently – for God’s intervention, providentially, to protect the voters of Alabama in the senatorial context.

As a believer, I am not going to become a pragmatist. “Pastor, don’t you see the Democrats? They surround their candidate and they defend them to the end.”

Well, my issue is not, “Am I a Democrat or a Republican?” I’m a believer and I have to do the next right thing.

And I know, whenever you have a candidate who embraces an ethical platform, then that candidate is going to come under ethical scrutiny. I can’t simply be governed by, quote/unquote, “party loyalty,” even though that’s not applicable to me, personally.

I would say to my friends, “You have, first of all, an allegiance that governs every allegiance and that’s your allegiance with Christ.”

So, in the Word of God and with thoughtfulness and prayer, do the next right thing.

And, Judge Moore, do the next right thing.

And, to the citizens of Alabama, I pray that God will do a glorious thing in our lives and in this wonderful state.

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.

10 hours ago

UA System chancellor featured at White House Summit on Safely Reopening America’s Schools

University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis “Fess” St. John IV continues to be one of America’s foremost leaders on safely and responsibly getting the nation’s students back in classrooms this upcoming academic year.

As reported previously by Yellowhammer News, St. John is part of an exclusive national group of education leaders who have consulted with Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force, and other key administration officials on an all-of-America approach to respond to COVID-19 and drive a phased national economic revival.

St. John’s status was elevated even further this week, as he was chosen to represent all of the nation’s public four-year university systems and flagships at the administration’s Summit on Safely Reopening America’s Schools.

Held at the White House on Tuesday, the summit focused on “reopening America’s schools in safe ways that respect the holistic health and learning needs of America’s students,” an email from the administration said.

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The summit was live-streamed, featuring expert insight and best practices from state, health and education officials from across the country.

Trump administration officials such as White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Education Secretary DeVos participated in the summit, which included panel discussions on “the ABCs of reopening schools safely and implementing safe school reopenings.”

The summit concluded with a roundtable discussion with President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, VP Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and top stakeholders from K-12 and higher education institutions, including St. John.

The UA System is comprised of the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), UAB Health System and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

St. John delivered a statement approximately three minutes in length during the roundtable.

He highlighted the four pillars of the UA System’s return-to-campus plan: testing, tracking, tracing, and treatment. St. John also thanked the president and the administration for their support of federal COVID-19 relief programs made available to higher education and health care institutions nationwide.

“Our students are yearning to come back to campus,” St. John noted. “[The pandemic] has reaffirmed the value of on-campus instruction at our institutions of higher learning.”

The chancellor explained that expert medical input and research went into the system’s return plan, emphasizing that the board of trustees has already committed to in-person instruction being available at all three campuses to begin the fall semester. The goal of this plan, as the system previously announced, is for its three campuses to be the safest universities in America when on-campus instruction resumes.

On Tuesday, St. John advised that “keeping” campuses open after reopening them will be “the hardest part.”

“I want to thank you and the vice president for the assistance that we’ve received through these federal programs,” he told Trump. “Without those, it would have been difficult for our medical center to continue [and] for our campuses to make it through these difficult times.”

The chancellor further noted these federal programs afforded them the ability to test every single student for COVID-19 before they return to campus.

“We promise to do our best to provide this essential service to our students and our citizens, and we greatly appreciate the assistance you’ve given us,” St. John concluded.

Trump then responded to the chancellor.

“Thank you very much,” the president said. “It’s a great place, a great state. And you’re right about one thing [especially], there’s nothing like a campus.”

Trump continued to extol the benefits of utilizing traditional in-person instruction versus solely remote instruction.

“That’s great, great statement actually,” Trump concluded to St. John.

Watch:

At a different point during the roundtable, the topic of college football also came up. Trump again turned to St. John for his input.

The president asked if the Crimson Tide will be playing football this year.

“Mr. President, that’s not the first time we’ve heard that question, I can promise you,” St. John quipped, drawing a round of laughter from the room.

“We are planning to play the season at the University of Alabama,” he added, with the president interjecting, “Good.”

St. John then continued to acknowledge “great difficulties and complexities” involved with playing the season.

“[W]e are hoping for [the season to be played],” he said. “It’s important to a lot of people, but we’re doing our best on that one, too.”

Trump responded, “Say hello to the coach, great coach.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Byrne: Our common defense

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee, which I’m proud to be a member of, passed and sent to the full House the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. This is the 60th year in a row that we have passed this act out of Committee, and since we passed it unanimously, we are optimistic it will pass the full House later this month. This year’s version is named after a longtime member of the Committee and former Chairman, Mac Thornberry of Texas. Mac led the charge to increase defense funding when President Trump took over. He is also a personal friend of mine and a true friend to the people of Southwest Alabama.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution empowers Congress to “provide for the common defense … of the United States,” “declare war,” “raise and support armies,” and “provide and maintain a Navy.” It’s our most important power, and the hard work of exercising that power is carried out by our Committee. We pass only one bill each year, but in my judgment, it, along with the bills appropriating money for operating the government, comprise the biggest legislative job of Congress each year.

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The NDAA authorizes the defense of the country and the operations of the Department of Defense and the respective service branches. It’s one of the few bills that enjoys broad bipartisan support year after year because our Committee’s members are committed to bipartisan support for the men and women who wear the uniform and defend the nation. We hold numerous hearings, classified and unclassified, before the bill is written. Our subcommittees do the same for their respective parts of the bill. And we really legislate, that is we work through differences and address the nitty gritty details with the seriousness they deserve. The bill is hundreds of pages long and takes an enormous amount of work.

This is my seventh and last year to participate in the process and I am proud of the work the Committee has done even though there are some parts I personally would have done differently. For example, I don’t agree with the topline spending we authorized because I think we have shortchanged some important defense endeavors like shipbuilding. But, I understand that the number was negotiated last year by President Trump and Congressional leadership as part of a two-year spending plan. Our Committee had no choice but to honor that agreement, but I know it’s too low.

We also had a protracted debate on military bases named after former Confederate generals. We Republicans backed an amendment to require the service secretaries responsible for those bases to review the use of those names going forward but did not want to dictate to them what their decision should be. The Democrats on the Committee wanted to require them to change the names but didn’t dictate what the new names would be. I couldn’t support the Democrats on this point because I don’t like usurping the service secretaries’ authority on operational details and I also wanted stronger input from the local communities where the bases are located. As they form the majority on the Committee, the Democrats’ version prevailed.

We also had a long discussion regarding the Insurrection Act. Passed in 1807, and amended twice, in 1861 and 1871, the Insurrection Act empowers a president to use active and national guard personnel under very exceptional circumstances, such as an armed uprising. It was last used in 1992 to quell riots in Los Angeles. President Trump talked about using the Insurrection Act when the protests around the country turned violent in late May and June, and that set off the national news media and the Democrats who wanted to limit his authority to do so. As it turned out, President Trump did not invoke the law at all, but that didn’t stop the Democrats from offering an amendment that would have substantially limited a president’s authority. I took the lead for the Republicans on the Committee as we didn’t want to limit that authority any more than it is already limited by the Posse Comitatus Act. Fortunately, we won the debate, and the amendment to limit a president’s authority was defeated.

Most importantly for our area, the Committee added an Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship at my request and with the blessing of the Navy. The EPF is an aluminum-hulled catamaran capable of transporting 600 short tons of cargo 1200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in Sea State 3. It has a roll on/roll off capability for things like the Abrams Main Battle Tank, and a helicopter flight deck. Its shallow draft dramatically expands the ports and waterways it can operate in. It’s made at Austal USA in Mobile, and I’m very proud of the work the great shipbuilders there do. I predict you will be hearing more about varied uses for the EPF in the future.

The American people deserve the peace of mind a strong national defense brings. The men and women who wear our uniform and provide that defense deserve the Congressional authority to carry out their important jobs. I have not hesitated to be critical of Congress when we have all too often failed to do our job in the past year and a half. But, this time we did our job and passed a bill out of Committee which, while not perfect, fulfills Congress’s responsibility to provide for the common defense of our country.

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

11 hours ago

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian undergoes successful heart surgery

Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian underwent a “successful” heart procedure in recent days, according to a statement released by the University of Alabama Athletics Department on Tuesday afternoon.

The statement outlined that Bama’s football coaching staff participates in an annual executive physical.

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“During Coach Sarkisian’s physical last week, it was determined that he needed a procedure to correct a congenital cardiovascular anomaly before it became an issue,” the statement explained. “Coach Sarkisian underwent a successful procedure this past Thursday (July 2) in Birmingham. He is back home in Tuscaloosa and is expected to make a full recovery.”

Sarkisian, 46, was hired as the Tide’s offensive coordinator in January 2019, following a stint with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Before that, his coaching experience included serving as an offensive analyst for Alabama during the 2016 season, culminating in Sarkisian being interim offensive coordinator in the National Championship game against Clemson. He was previously the head coach at the University of Washington and the University of Southern California (USC).

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

Battle officially qualifies for reelection as Huntsville mayor

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle officially filed for reelection on Tuesday, just five minutes after qualifying opened.

First elected in 2008, Battle is seeking his fourth term as mayor of Alabama’s fastest-growing big city.

The Huntsville mayoral election will be held on August 25.

Candidates do not run as a member of any political party; though Battle is known across the state as a Republican after seeking that party’s nomination during the 2018 gubernatorial election.

In an email to supporters, Battle said that in the last 12 years, “Huntsville has grown into the shining star of Alabama. Our teamwork with Huntsville’s city council and our partners across Madison County and North Alabama has resulted in nearly 30,000 jobs, more efficient infrastructure, excellent quality of life amenities, and fiscal responsibility.”

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Battle was joined for the signing of the official papers by his wife, Eula, a former teacher who runs a lauded charity called Free2Teach that gives classroom supplies to public school teachers so they do not have to pay out of their own pocket.

“We are living in unprecedented times. There is no playbook for the current crisis. But because of solid leadership, we will move forward together,” Battle said with regards to his case for reelection.

“I am running for reelection because proven leadership is important in times like these,” he added.

The mayor is expected by most observers to receive only token opposition; he won his two most recent municipal campaigns with 80% of the vote.

According to census estimates, Huntsville’s population grew from around 180,000 in 2010 to around 200,000 in 2020. The Rocket City became the state’s second-largest in that time period and is expected to pass Birmingham before the year 2025.

The mayor often says he is very proud of his city’s growth, but is quick to also point out the infrastructure improvements he has championed to keep the city’s average commute time under 20 minutes.

Battle counts among his successes the recruitment of tens of thousands of jobs to the area, including the massive Mazda-Toyota manufacturing plant currently under construction in the westernmost portion of the city.

“It has taken a lot of work to get to this point and there is still much to be done,” Battle continued in his remarks on Tuesday.

“Let’s continue to improve Huntsville. I’m ready to keep working for you,” he concluded.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

12 hours ago

Either put the mask on for America, or donate to my GoFundMe and we’ll test the constitutionality of these mandatory mask rules

I oppose mandatory mask orders and ordinances, but there is no question that we are going to see more of them.

They can’t be enforced in any real way, but they will lead to more people masking up.

They will work.

Are they illegal? No. Bear with me here.

People will gripe, but most will begrudgingly mask up.

People should begrudgingly mask up on their own, whether it be for our nation’s health, for the economy to recover, for President Donald Trump’s reelection, so we don’t get U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and so the next Supreme Court justice is more like Brett Kavanaugh and less like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Those are the stakes.

The latest order in Alabama comes from the health department of Madison County.

But they can’t do that! They did. If you don’t like it, keep reading.

This will not be the last order in the state. Governor Kay Ivey will probably get in on the action at some point, and many will be infuriated by it.

Much of the response to almost any order by the government in this regard is being met with two responses: “Yay! Government!” or, “How dare they? This is a violation of my rights.”

Both responses are wrong.

It is odd to ask the government to implement these rules that will be almost impossible to enforce. The enforcement tasks retail employees with being forced to ask customers to mask up or leave.

And, imagine if the government did send in the police to enforce these rules. These same people think cops are killing African-Americans for sport.

So, what are these cops to do when someone refuses and becomes belligerent? Arrest them? Use force?

One of the hot takes right now is that people shouldn’t call the cops on black people at all because it could be a death sentence.

Should the stores call the police on people who refuse? Because 80-year-old Mabel greeting customers at Walmart isn’t going to stop a rampaging herd of women who won’t mask up.

We will not see that.

The correct answer is the same answer we have had for months. More people should mask up on their own, and those who oppose it should stop and think about what they are doing by running their mouths online.

The more you go off about how your freedoms are under assault, the more restrictions we are seeing. It seems counter-productive.

If you want a more normal society, put on a stupid mask.

Even Donald Trump agrees.

But if you really believe this is an affront to your very freedoms, do something about it.

I will even provide you the venue to do so.

Let’s fight one of these ordinances and get it knocked down.

Donate to my GoFundMe campaign that will help me fund a lawsuit against the tyrannical government of Madison County. I will hire lawyers to fight this battle in court and if we win, the orders shall crumble before our feet as we ride to freedom mask-less.

The Madison County Health Department has taken a step many people have informed me is unconstitutional, they are mandating that citizens wear masks in public.

If this is so unacceptable, let’s put our money where our mouth is and hire a legal team to take down this tyrannical local government.

Donate now and I will hire attorneys and fight this fight for you.

Or, you can comment on social media and tell everyone how in 1930 they found masks don’t stop the flu or how the government said masks were not needed in February.

This stuff is foolish and gets us nowhere. Recent studies show that face coverings do not stop anything 100%, but it is better than nothing.

I have already explained that your social media griping has not worked, so try something else.

https://business.facebook.com/TheDaleJackson/posts/10157590173486270

But understand this: there will be no “herd immunity,” there will be no “let it burn through the population,” and we will not “just learn to live with it.”

If you push those narratives, you have lost embarrassingly.

The battle is over. Your “no mask” position is a fringe position.

Keep this up and it will impact the 2020 presidential election.

The worst this coronavirus pandemic is, the less-likely Trump wins the election.

He knows it, they know it.

You can incorrectly believe the data is fake. You can share obvious fake stories about your neighbor’s friend’s cousin’s gardener who waited in line for a test but never got one and how they got positive results if you need to (yes, I read this all over the internet last week and heard this on my radio show today).

Or you can help us take whatever precautions we can that will help us get back to normal, get the economy going again and work to “Keep America Great.”

You cannot do both.

The only path to normal at this point is that we stop the numbers from going up. We need to do what we can to make that happen.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.