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.

33 mins ago

Racers coming to Alabama for world’s longest annual paddle race

Paddlers from across the United States will be racing each other down 650 miles of Alabama’s scenic rivers later this month in the Great Alabama 650, the world’s longest annual paddle race.

The second annual Great Alabama 650 begins Sept. 26 on Weiss Lake in Centre. Racers will have 10 days to reach Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay via the core section of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, the longest river trail in a single state. Laura Gaddy, communications director of the trail, said this year’s race will be different.

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“In 2019, racers with a wide range of skill level and paddling experience competed in the Great Alabama 650, but just three boats made it to the finish line,” Gaddy said. “Even advanced paddlers had to drop out of the race before finishing, underscoring that this race is best suited for paddlers with a proven record. Therefore, this year we limited registration to paddlers who have competed in previous races. As a result, this year’s class of entrants is even more competitive than the inaugural class.”

Paddlers compete in nation’s longest state river trail from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The field features 16 racers, including 2019 overall winner Bobby Johnson, as well as female solo winner Sallie O’Donnell and Alabama native Ryan Gillikin. Johnson covered more than 85 miles per day to finish the race in seven days, 8 hours, 1 minute and 55 seconds.

“Several of our racers have not only completed some of the toughest paddle races in the world, they have won them,” Gaddy said. “Some are or have been professional paddlers. Others have represented the United States in paddling competitions abroad.”

Alabama’s diverse habitats are on full display during the race as competitors experience rushing whitewater, ambling river delta and everything in between. The course includes portages around several Alabama Power dams.

“The Great Alabama 650 elevates our state to the international stage and points to the 600-plus-mile Alabama Scenic River Trail as one of the premiere paddle destinations in the United States,” Gaddy said. “Even the most competitive athletes can be encumbered by the unpredictable challenges presented by the natural world. This is a race to watch.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced race organizers to restrict portages to race staff, crews and racers. Gaddy said there are still plenty of ways for fans to cheer on the racers.

“There are several ways to track the progress of the competitors without leaving your home,” Gaddy said. “Race updates are reported on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and viewers can visit AL650.com to see our live map, which is updated at least every 2 minutes.”

Viewers can also track the race on social media using the race hashtag #AL650, which may link viewers to behind-the-scene photos posted by racers and their crew members.

“Last year several people with a waterfront property also stood out on their piers to cheer the racers,” Gaddy said. “Some even made signs. When the racers made it to the finish line, they said that the support they received from these spectators helped them to keep going when the race got tough.”

The race, which is sponsored this year by Cahaba BrewingMustang SurvivalMammoth Clothing and Alabama Power, begins Sept. 26 on Weiss Lake in Centre. The prize purse will be awarded across three categories: Male Solo, Female Solo and Team. To follow the progress of the competition or to learn more, visit al650.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 hours ago

Nick Saban: Time for Crimson Tide to flip switch from practice to game mode

Alabama coach Nick Saban said his Crimson Tide football team is showing the right effort and intensity in practice, but it’s time to flip the switch and start finishing plays like they would in a game.

“We haven’t played a game in a long time,” Saban said. “We’ve got to get out of practice mode and make sure we’re practicing to develop the habits that are gonna become a part of our DNA as competitors in terms of how we play in a game.”

Alabama opens the season on the road against Missouri at 6 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Nick Saban: Crimson Tide focuses on finishing as season kickoff approaches from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

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3 hours ago

College football picks — SEC week 1 and more

The Season of Sankey officially gets underway today. The SEC takes the field for the first time this fall as a result of conference commissioner Greg Sankey’s well-planned approach to playing football amid COVID-19 conditions.

During the last two weeks, a parade of conferences have backtracked on plans to cancel their seasons and put in place schedules set to kick off beginning next month. If only they had followed one simple rule: be more like Sankey.

No doubt the season will be unusual. Expect the unexpected. And, as always, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are a few picks.

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THE BASICS

No. 2 Alabama (-29) at Missouri: The Crimson Tide have the fewest non-COVID questions of any team in the country. They also have the most talented roster. Missouri will have a tough time scoring while Nick Saban gets to pick his team’s score.

The pick: Alabama 41, Missouri 9

No. 4 Georgia (-28) at Arkansas: Not a lot of intrigue here, either. The D’Wan Mathis era begins. Georgia wins. Maybe the only real question is: how will Kirby Smart handle dipping and wearing a mask at the same time?

The pick: Georgia 34, Arkansas 7

No. 5 Florida (-14) at Ole Miss: Everyone loves Lane. We get it. But there is a difference in these rosters. Through rain, sleet or snow — or direct deposit — Kiffin will recruit better talent to Oxford in the coming years. Right now, Florida is a markedly better team top-to-bottom.

The pick: Florida 52, Ole Miss 20

No. 8 Auburn (-6.5) at Kentucky: Everyone and their momma is taking Kentucky and the points in this game, not to mention the number of people picking the outright upset. Is it bowl game fatigue? Is it Auburn’s losses on the defensive line? We don’t know. What we do know is that Chad Morris may be the best offensive coordinator in the country if Gus Malzahn lets him cook.

The pick: Auburn 35, Kentucky 24

BUYER BEWARE

No. 16 Tennessee (-3.5) at South Carolina: This is a “the barely proven head coach got a raise the week before playing the first game” pick. Plus, South Carolina finally has some actual structure on offense with the addition of Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator and a serviceable starter at quarterback in Collin Hill.

The pick: South Carolina 20, Tennessee 16

West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma State (-6.5): This pick breaks two important rules: 1) don’t make a pick because of a coach, and 2) be very wary of the heavily public side. Neal Brown is a rising star. Mike Gundy is something other than that. Neither team has played a game that matters yet, but they looked very different in their respective first weeks. Let’s join the crowd.

The pick: West Virginia 30, Oklahoma State 21

BONUS

Mississippi State at No. 6 LSU (-16.5): How can we not make a pick in the first-ever SEC game coached by two non-English speakers? All offseason we have heard people ponder about whether Mike Leach’s system will work in the SEC. Any system will work if you have good enough players. The Bulldogs currently do not. On the other hand, one can only imagine the carnage in Baton Rouge post-national championship. At least Coach O gave us this gem.

The pick: LSU 33, Mississippi State 16

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

4 hours ago

Gus Malzahn: Auburn ready to host Kentucky, kick off delayed season

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he is happy game week has finally arrived, even though he knows his Auburn Tigers football team will be tested by the visiting Kentucky Wildcats.

“It’s been a long time coming to get to this point,” Malzahn said. “We’re playing a really good Kentucky Wildcat team. When you look at them offensively, last year they were one of the best rushing teams in all of college football. To be able to do that in this league says a lot.”

But Malzahn said he is also impressed by his own squad.

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“Overall, I’m really excited about this year’s team,” he said. “We have all kinds of new faces out there. I believe we have 13 new starters, so I’m really excited to watch this team grow. I really feel that if we stay healthy, we’ll have a chance to improve each game, and of course with 10 SEC games, it’s important for teams to improve throughout the year. I’m really looking forward to watching our guys play. I’m excited.”

Auburn hosts the Wildcats at 11 a.m. Sept. 26 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Gus Malzahn: Kentucky presents a challenge for Auburn’s opener from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 hours ago

Gulf State Park section succumbs to Sally’s surge

One aspect of living on Alabama’s beautiful Gulf Coast is the realization that the best-laid plan is no match for Mother Nature.

The original plan was to gather on September 16 at the Gulf State Park Pier to celebrate the grand reopening of the 1,542-foot pier after a $2.4 million renovation.

Although I’m a veteran of many tropical storms and hurricanes in my 28 years on the Gulf Coast, including back-to-back hits by Ivan and Katrina, the system that turned into Hurricane Sally threw me and many Gulf Coast residents a wicked curveball.

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Off to bed with a predicted peak of 85 mph winds, I was awakened by an ominous roar. With one peek through the high windows on our vibrating front door, it was obvious this was not a clone of Hurricane Danny from 1997 that dumped copious amounts of rain on the area but did not have the wind-damage potential of Sally.

As Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said, “Sally sucker-punched us.”

Sally made landfall in Gulf Shores in the early hours of September 16 as a strong Category 2 hurricane with winds clocked at 105 mph. A wind-speed detector on a nearby tower clocked a 121-mph gust.

However, Sally’s brutality was magnified by her crawling forward speed of 2 mph, which made the incessant winds seem to last forever. Like my friend Dwight Lores said, “A human can easily walk at 3 miles per hour. That’s why Sally did so much damage.”

When the first hint of sunrise allowed a minimal assessment through the aforementioned door, trees were down in every direction. Unlike many Baldwin County homes, thankfully ours was not damaged by any of the falling trees, but it was almost three days before we could even leave our driveway. On the fourth day, a utility crew from Warren County, Kentucky, restored our power, a remarkable feat considering the extent of the damage. All hail to a hot shower.

Of course, I prayed for the best for everybody on the Alabama coast, but I feared it was not going to be the outcome we wished, especially for those structures vulnerable to storm surge.

I soon got word through the little cell service available that the northern Gulf Coast’s premier fishing and educational pier, which opened in 2009 after Ivan razed the previous pier, had succumbed to the constant battering of Sally’s surge.

The section of pier closest to the end octagon was gone. The majority of the blowout deck panels were scattered all along the sugar-sand shoreline.

The good news is the new Lodge at Gulf State Park and nearby structures were relatively unscathed because those buildings were designed to withstand winds of up to 150 mph.

Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), and Greg Lein, Alabama State Parks Director, were able to perform cursory assessments late last week.

“We had damage in places we didn’t expect, and in other places where I expected to have a lot of damage, it turned out to be not as bad,” said Commissioner Blankenship, who toured the area with Governor Kay Ivey last Friday. “The damage to the pier is the most obvious that everybody has seen on TV and had the most questions about. We were very surprised by the amount of damage to the pier. The cabins at Gulf State Park on Lake Shelby took a beating. I’m afraid a lot of them will be total losses. But I was pleasantly surprised by how the dune system held up on the beach. And the Lodge at Gulf State Park, which was built to fortified building standards, fared very well during the storm. The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) administrator was there, and we showed him the Lodge. He was very impressed with the resilience of the Lodge and how building to that standard has a big impact on the recovery.”

Commissioner Blankenship said divers are scheduled to assess the damage to the pier and determine the structural integrity of the remaining pilings.

“After that is finished, we will be able to make plans to get the pier reopened at least to the part where it broke off while we repair the entire structure back out to the octagon,” he said.

Director Lein said the campground at Gulf State Park suffered quite a bit of damage.

“It wasn’t until Friday that staff was able to access all of the park and assess the damage because of the water and downed trees,” Lein said. “A lot of the electrical distribution panels in the campground were impacted. That system will have to be assessed by an electrician to see what repairs are needed. Now that the conditions have improved, we’ve been able to clear all the campsite pads. All the modern buildings at the park appear to be okay. A couple of campers that were left on the site were tipped over by the wind. A few of the campers in the storage area were pushed together, but only one was overturned.”

The cabins and cottages on Lake Shelby highlighted how construction standards can make a big difference in potential damage.

“The cabins suffered major damage,” Lein said. “They lost portions of their roofs. Some of the walls collapsed. It appeared the wind got under the roofs in the porch areas and ripped them off. On the cottages, the roofs are intact. The older cabins had significant damage, but the modern cottages were not as affected.”

Lein said the good news about the pier is that the staff has been able to recover more than 200 of the deck panels that are designed to blow out to protect the infrastructure.

“They found some about 4 miles down the beach,” Lein said. “A couple were found in swimming pools down there. It’s amazing our crew has been able to recover so many panels. The pier will be inspected. If it’s structurally okay, we’ll be able to put a lot of those panels back, and we may be able to reopen a portion of the pier. The pier house appeared to not have any damage.”

Lein said strike teams were formed several years ago in each district of the State Parks system to assist in natural disasters. The teams are comprised of employees capable of running chainsaws, skid steers, backhoes and tractors.

“We had more than a dozen strike team members down there to join the men and women from Gulf State Park, working together as one team to clear roads and paths so support personnel had access to all of the park,” Lein said. “They achieved a huge amount of relief to the park in three days. They brought generators with them to power part of the Lodge and the park office. I can’t say enough about the strike teams and how successful their deployment was in supporting the Gulf State Park staff. The crews were all fed by the chef and staff at the Lodge’s Food Craft restaurant, and that was such a morale booster for the teams to get a warm meal.”

Commissioner Blankenship said he has been impressed by the spirit of cooperation and willingness of folks who don’t live on the Gulf Coast to lend a helping hand.

“I appreciate our strike teams that came down to assist at Gulf State Park,” he said. “They have done a great job of cleaning up the park. It will help us get the park reopened a lot quicker, and it allows for some of our employees who rode out the storm to take care of their families and limit the damage done to their homes. That’s extremely important. Every single employee was without power for a certain amount of time and had damage at their residences they needed to attend to. Having people come in from areas that weren’t impacted helped those affected people. It is very important to me to have our employees taken care of.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Blankenship said the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD) facilities in Dauphin Island sustained significant damage. The MRD office building suffered roof damage, and the docks at the office were destroyed.

“But Meaher State Park on the Causeway and 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center seemed to do okay,” he said. “There were trees down but not a lot of other damage.”

David Rainer is an award-winning writer who has covered Alabama’s great outdoors for 25 years. The former outdoors editor at the Mobile Press-Register, he writes for Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.