Sen. Booker’s grilling of Pompeo prime example of ‘religious test’ to exclude evangelical Christians from office


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CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON  POMPEO TURNS SOUR AND PERSONAL

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to an article that a number of media outlets covered. This particular article is out of The Washington Examiner, going back and taking a look at Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be the Secretary of State. As we’re recording this, he was just approved by the committee and will now go to the full Senate for their vote.

It appears that the approval of Mike Pompeo will go forward, but let’s go back to when the hearing was actually taking place in the committee. There was one particular line of questioning that many people say was way over the line and way out of place. It was when Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey was questioning Mike Pompeo and he asked him his views on homosexuality and was it a perversion.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, he said something like: You have stated that you oppose same-sex marriage and you’ve stated that sexual activity among same-sex couples is a ‘perversion.’ Mike Pompeo basically said in return: My record speaks for itself in terms of how I treat people and what are my stances on ethics and they remain unchanged. I believe marriage is one man and one woman. I believe that sexuality belongs within marriage.

Senator Booker immediately went to the matter of his sanctity of life position as well. Some do not know this, but Mike Pompeo is a professed Christian. He’s an Evangelical Christian and he actually participates in a conservative Presbyterian church that is well-known for its being faithful to the Word of God, its preaching ministry and its discipling ministry.

And he reflects the thoughtfulness of that church’s ministry as well as the sincerity and singularity of his commitment to Christ. Mike Pompeo, recently we talked about his foray as a secret envoy over to North Korea and, through his labors, these recent talks have developed. He is well-known, well-liked, well-loved and very effective and seems to have the ear of President Trump.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER GRILLS POMPEO ON HIS FAITH

However, he certainly doesn’t have the ear of Senator Booker, the senator from New Jersey. These were not only questions that I’m sure he sincerely holds, but they were also questions that gave signals to his base of where he is and where they could expect him to be as brought direct focus upon Mike Pompeo’s sanctity of life, sanctity of sexuality and sanctity of marriage positions.

Mike Pompeo made it very clear that he has never made any public statements to change the Roe v. Wade interpretation and “law of the land” but he has stated his position on the sanctity of life. He also has run entire departments for the federal government. As most of us know, his leadership in the CIA stands paramount in terms of how he treats people with respect and dignity, which he assured Senator Booker: My positions on ethics does not prevent — on the contrary, it undergirds — my desire to treat each and every person with dignity, and honor and respect, which I have done and which I would continue to do.

Mr. Booker makes it very clear and he basically said — I’m a Christian and you’re a Christian — it’s just that I believe in ‘Love thy neighbor,’ and I believe love thy neighbor is everyone.

Well, what’s behind that statement from a Christian world and life view? There are two things behind that statement from a Christian world and life view we need to see. No. 1 is that Mr. Booker’s view of ‘Love thy neighbor’ is that you love all your neighbor’s behavior.

YOU CAN LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR BUT NOT SUPPORT THEIR ACTIONS

Recently, I had the chance to speak to an organization in which I called them to the matter of repentance and reconciliation and I loved those people made in the image of God. When you love somebody, that doesn’t mean you accept their behavior — that means you address their behavior.

And there’s such a thing as right behavior and wrong behavior and, if there’s wrong behavior, then that needs to be identified and challenged. That doesn’t mean you don’t love the person. Anybody who’s been through Parenting 101 knows you love your children but you don’t love their behavior. You accept your children but, to accept your children, you don’t have to accept their behavior.

What Senator Booker has now declared is that, if you love your neighbor, then you have to love the behavior of your neighbor. Then his further conclusion is, if you don’t love their behavior and accept their behavior, then you can’t love them and fight for their constitutional rights.

Well, the fact is that the inalienable rights of God belong to everyone and Mr. Pompeo said that he would observe that he would honor them as made in the image of God, but that does not mean that you have to embrace their behavior. And, if you don’t embrace your behavior, that does not mean you don’t love them. On the contrary, it can be the greatest evidence of your love for them.

NOW IT’S FAIR GAME TO DECLARE BIBLICAL CHRISTIANS UNFIT TO LEAD?

Senator Booker has made the declaration — and all who agree with him — that Biblical, faithful Christians who believe in the fifth commandment, the sixth commandment and who believe in the seventh commandment — in other words, those who believe in Biblical marriage and Biblical sexuality are now unapproved by Senator Booker and his cohorts.

You are not qualified, as an Evangelical Christian holding to Evangelical ethics of marriage and family and sexuality and you’re no longer invited, you are no longer allowed, you are no longer declared fit to lead in the government of the United States of America.

And then the third and final thing I want to mention in this is that he has committed what I think is an egregious violation of the law in that it is abundantly clear that there is to be no religious test and he has already declared his religious test. He says, basically, well, you’re a Christian and you don’t believe in same-sex marriage; I’m a Christian and I believe in ‘Love thy neighbor.’ My version of Christianity will be accepted so I am questioning you on your version of Christianity which includes sexual ethics and marital ordinances.

CLEARLY, CONGRESS NOW GIVES RELIGIOUS TESTS THAT EVANGELICALS WILL FAIL

And, therefore, he is now applying a religious test and he makes it clear — Anyone who holds your position as a Christian, I cannot vote for. That’s a religious test that has declared his vote. And so those are the three things that come out with amazing clarity in this exchange between Senator Booker and Mike Pompeo.

Now, with unabashed transparency, our Senate is now applying a religious test and the religious test targets consistent Evangelical Christians who believe in the rule of the Ten Commandments in their life as to life, as to marriage, as to family and as to sexuality. And they are now being declared, with that religious test, unwanted and unqualified to serve in the government of the United States.

They’ve just outlawed and removed many of our greatest presidents such as Washington and Lincoln and others, they have outlawed many of our greatest leaders who were profound Evangelical Christians and they have outlawed the most influential in the founding of this country and who believed in life and liberty and did not believe that liberty was anarchy, but it was rule of law and that law declared some things right and some things wrong.

POMPEO, A COURAGEOUS MAN OF SUBSTANCE

Those things that are right and wrong need to be identified and upheld and Mike Pompeo believes that every life is to have the liberty of protection. He believes that every marriage is one man and one woman committed for one life and that alone will suffice the very definition of a monogamous, heterosexual, conjugal relationship within the covenant of marriage.

Again, Tom, we’re back where we were even yesterday, aren’t we? There’s going to be no place to hide. I would like to thank Mike Pompeo for not hiding. And I am grateful that, even though it was close, there was an 11-9 vote that moves his nomination forward.

Now I am praying that the Senate will do its correct job and give us this man who seems to be highly qualified and who treats all people fairly but understands that there are ethical boundaries in life by which he’ll conduct his life and by which he will promote that which is good, and that which is true and that which is beautiful in our culture.

And I look forward to seeing how his leadership as Secretary of State might benefit the president whom, in light of my concerns for the president, I keep praying to allow people of substance around him and Mike Pompeo is certainly a man of great substance, competence and character as far as I can see in every respect.

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.

 

11 hours ago

Are you afraid to answer the phone?

Millions of Americans fear answering their phone due to a plague of billions of robocalls. These calls have made a mockery of the national Do Not Call Registry and touch on several public policy questions.

We had seemingly ended the problem of unwanted telemarketing calls. Congress authorized the Do Not Call Registry in 2003 after more than a decade of calls disrupting the peace and quiet of our homes. Fines of $11,000 per violation largely put telemarketing companies, with hundreds of thousands of employees, out of business.

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Why have unwanted calls returned? VOIP technology (voice over internet protocol) allowed anyone with a computer and an internet connection to make thousands of calls. A handful of responses can make thousands of calls worthwhile when the cost is almost zero. Furthermore, technology makes robocallers mobile and elusive.

By contrast, telemarketing firms employed hundreds of people at call centers. The authorities could find and fine telemarketers. Firms had to comply with the Do Not Call registry, even if forced out of business.

Technology further frustrates the control of robocalls. Spoofing makes a call appear to be from a different number. Spoofing a local number increases the chance of someone answering, defeats caller ID, and makes identifying the calls’ source difficult.

By contrast, technology allowed the elimination of spam email. It’s easy to forget that fifteen years ago spam threatened the viability of email. Email providers connected accounts to IP addresses and eventually identified and blocked spammers. Google estimates that spam is less than 0.1 percent of Gmail users’ emails.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned almost all robocalls in 2009 (political campaigns and schools were excepted). Yet the volume of calls and complaints from the public rise every year. And the “quality” of the solicitations is lower: legitimate businesses employed telemarketers, while most robocalls seem to be scams.

Telephone companies and entrepreneurs are deploying apps and services to block robocalls. The robocallers then respond, producing a technological arms race. The technology of this arms race, however, is beyond me.

I’d rather consider some issues robocalls raise. The root of the problem is some people’s willingness to swindle others. Although we all know there are some bad people in the world, free market economists typically emphasize the costs and consequences of government regulations over the cheats and frauds who create the public’s demand for regulation. People can disagree whether a level of fraud warrants regulation, but free marketers should not dismiss the fear of swindlers.

Robocalls also highlight the enormous inefficiency of theft. Thieves typically get 25 cents on the dollar (or less) when selling stolen goods. Getting $1,000 via theft requires stealing goods worth $4,000 or more. In addition, thieves invest time and effort planning and carrying out crimes, while we invest millions in locks, safes, burglar alarms, and police departments to protect our property. America would be much richer if we did not have to protect against thieves or robocallers.

Finally, having the government declare something illegal does not necessarily solve a problem. Our politicians like to pass a law or regulation and announce, “problem solved.” Identifying and punishing robocallers is difficult; the FTC had only brought 33 cases in nearly ten years. And less than ten percent of the over $300 million in fines and relief for consumers levied against robocallers had been collected. Government has no pixie dust which magically solves hard problems.

The difficulty of enforcing a law or regulation does not necessarily imply we should not act. The Federal Communications Commission, for instance, recently approved letting phone companies block unwanted calls by default, and perhaps this will prove effective. We should weigh the costs of laws and regulations against a realistic projection of benefits and laws failing to solve problems as promised should be revised or repealed.
Still, a law that accomplishes little can have value. Cursing robocalls accomplishes little yet can be cathartic. A law that costs little might provide us satisfaction until technology solves the problem.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

12 hours ago

VIDEO: Culverhouse vs. UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Why did the media get the story with Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. and Alabama so wrong?

— Is the Iowa slap-fight between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden a 2020 preview?

— Now that former ALEA head Spencer Collier has settled his case with the state over his firing, is the sordid Bentley saga over?

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Jackson and Burke are joined by State Representative Mike Ball (R-Madison) to discuss medical marijuana, the prison special session and the lottery.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” that calls out Joe Biden for lying about the lack of lies and scandals in the Obama administration.

VIDEO: Culverhouse/UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics

Posted by Yellowhammer News on Sunday, June 16, 2019

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

13 hours ago

Alabama team targets international connections at SelectUSA Investment Summit

Alabama is home to a diverse lineup of international companies, and the state’s business recruiters are looking to expand those ranks.

The economic development team is in Washington D.C. at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which starts today and is the premier foreign direct investment (FDI) event in the U.S.

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FDI is a significant part of Alabama’s economy. Last year alone, it came from 16 different countries, for a total of $4.2 billion in investment and 7,520 new and future jobs.

Since 2013, the state has attracted $12.8 billion in FDI, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. It’s spread across a variety of sectors, including automotive, aerospace and bioscience.

“Team Alabama is looking to capitalize on a record-breaking year for FDI in the state, by continuing to build partnerships with world-class international companies looking to grow in the U.S.,” said Vince Perez, a project manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

SHOWCASING ALABAMA

SelectUSA is led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and its annual summit regularly attracts top industry leaders and investors from around the globe. This year’s event is expected to draw more than 2,800 attendees from more than 70 international markets and 49 U.S. states and territories.

Participants of the past five summits have announced $103.6 billion in greenfield FDI in the U.S. within five years of attending, supporting more than 167,000 U.S. jobs.

“We are excited to have another opportunity to showcase Alabama’s vibrant business climate that’s been cultivated over the years through business-friendly policies,” Perez said.

“This year’s Investment Summit is very timely as we will be armed with the recently passed Incentives Modernization Act, which upgraded our already-strong incentive tool kit, making us more marketable than ever.”

The measure targets counties that have had slower economic growth. In particular, it expands the number of rural counties that qualify for investment and tax credit incentives. It also enhances incentives for technology companies.

Joining the Commerce Department at the SelectUSA Summit are PowerSouth, the North Alabama Industrial Development Association, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Alabama Power Co., and Spire.

Speakers at the summit will include key government and industry leaders who will discuss opportunities in a broad range of areas and industries, such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture and technology.

FDI supports nearly 14 million American jobs, and it is responsible for $370 billion in U.S. goods exports. The U.S. has more FDI than any other country, topping $4 trillion.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

A ‘Story Worth Sharing’: Yellowhammer News and Serquest partner to award monthly grants to Alabama nonprofits

Christmas is the season of giving, helping others and finding magic moments among seemingly ordinary (and occasionally dreary) days. What better way to welcome this season than to share what Alabamians are doing to help others?

Yellowhammer News and Serquest are partnering to bring you, “A Story Worth Sharing,” a monthly award given to an Alabama based nonprofit actively making an impact through their mission. Each month, the winning organization will receive a $1,000 grant from Serquest and promotion across the Yellowhammer Multimedia platforms.

Yellowhammer and Serquest are looking for nonprofits that go above and beyond to change lives and make a difference in their communities.

Already have a nonprofit in mind to nominate? Great!

Get started here with contest guidelines and a link to submit your nomination:

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Nominations are now open and applicants only need to be nominated once. All non-winning nominations will automatically be eligible for selection in subsequent months. Monthly winners will be announced via a feature story that will be shared and promoted on Yellowhammer’s website, email and social media platforms.

Submit your nomination here.

Our organizations look forward to sharing these heartwarming and positive stories with you over the next few months as we highlight the good works of nonprofits throughout our state.

Serquest is an Alabama based software company founded by Hammond Cobb, IV of Montgomery. The organization sees itself as, “Digital road and bridge builders in the nonprofit sector to help people get where they want to go faster, life’s purpose can’t wait.”

Learn more about Serquest here.

15 hours ago

Alabama Power wins Electric Edison Institute awards for power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) awarded Alabama Power with the EEI “Emergency Assistance Award” and the  “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after Hurricane Michael hit Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in October 2018.
The Emergency Assistance Award and Emergency Recovery Award are given to EEI member companies to recognize their efforts to assist other electric companies’ power restoration efforts, and for their own extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.

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Alabama Power received the awards during the EEI 2019 annual conference.

Alabama Power’s extraordinary efforts were instrumental to restoring service for customers across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida quickly and safely,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We are pleased to recognize the dedicated crews from Alabama Power for their work to restore service in hazardous conditions and to assist neighboring electric companies in their times of need.”

Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to make landfall during the 2018 hurricane season, was a Category 5 hurricane with peak winds of 160 mph. The storm hit Mexico Beach, Fla., on October 10 before being downgraded to a tropical storm and traveling northeast through Georgia and several Mid-Atlantic states. Alabama Power sent more than 1,400 lineworkers and 700 trucks to help restore service to customers over the course of two and a half months.

Hurricane Michael also resulted in 89,438 service outages in Alabama Power’s territory. Due to their tireless work, Alabama Power’s crews restored power to 100 percent of customers within four days after the storm, dedicating more than 124-thousand hours to the recovery.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)