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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.

 

9 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

9 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

9 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.

10 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