Should sex offenders be able to adopt?


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

PEDOPHILE ADOPTION RULES FOR SEX OFFENDERS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, today, I’d like to take you to an article out of the U.K. Telegraph. An individual who’s in academia in England at the London School of Economics, one Helen Reece, had a personal encounter with Theresa May in which she asked the prime minister to relax rules which automatically ban sex offenders from caring for children, saying this could be a breech of their human rights.

In an article in the respected Child and Family Law Quarterly, Ms. Reece suggested that reoffending rates were not high among sex criminals, adding that, despite growing public concern over pedophilia, the number of child sex murders are actually very low. In her article, Ms. Reece suggested that the review should also introduce an assumption that sex offenders, including child abusers, pose no threat once they had served their sentence.

DR. REEDER: Tom, when we were considering the programs that would be appropriate for us to deal with, this was one that was very difficult for me on a couple of bases. First is just the absurdity of the petition from this “law reader,” Mrs. Reece, to the prime minister, Theresa May. I hate to even give it any airtime, to tell you the truth but there are some things revealed in this and the way it is gaining traction in the news media in the United Kingdom and knowing that we basically are tracking about 10 to 15 years behind the cultural disintegration of Europe, we probably need to deal with it.

THREE MAJOR FLAWS 

There are a number of things that she asserts that need to be taken on. The first is the notion that, if someone commits a crime, if they go to prison and/or pay a fine, that will rehabilitate their heart. Prison is not rehabilitation — prison is there to protect the public from people who do certain types of crimes, secondly, to isolate them from the culture and then, thirdly, to become a process whereby reparations to victims can take place.

The fact that someone serves their time is not an assumption that they’re rehabilitated unless they prove otherwise. No, on the contrary, whenever someone engages in sexually perverse activities and they have been convicted of them, the assumption is that is a heart-soul issue and that doesn’t change without a heart-soul change and that needs to be demonstrated.

Secondly, there are certain crimes that everyone understands that suspend certain human rights. This “human right” to adopt is not an unalienable right — it is a right of privilege and it is something that is given to people when they demonstrate the trust factor that you are willing to put the life of a child into their hands. And someone with a record of pedophilia and someone with a record of sexual perversion is not someone that you put the life of a child into their hands unless there is longevity and demonstration of changed lives.

Thirdly, we again see our culture’s view of children — we already have the evidence with abortion — that, “Children are there for my fulfillment. If we are pregnant with a child and that child is not going to be fulfilling by its imperfections or its untimeliness, then I have a right to kill that child in the womb.”

You see that cavalier, irrational, nonsensical view of children and, now, if we would like to experiment with a child to put them into the hands of a convicted pedophile, that pedophile’s human rights and desire for adoption surpasses the child. The child again is just a commodity.

That brings me to another thing: this absurd state that we need to relax the rules prohibiting pedophiles from adopting children because the rates of pedophiles killing children are amazingly low. Well, I would love to know what is amazingly low? “Pedophiles only kill this many children so, I’ll tell you what, since they only kill this many children and we only lose that many, that’s a sufferable loss. We can take a chance on that.” Even if you have any evidence that pedophilia can lead to the destruction of a child’s life, then we should never expose any children to such a precarious existence.

A RIDICULOUS ARGUMENT

Finally, I would say, in response to this, while the argument is an acceptable low number of children are murdered by pedophiles that we can take a chance, why is that metric being used? What we’re looking for is not, “Hey, by the way, they’ve got a good chance of surviving and not being killed,” but we want to put children in homes that are going to nurture them, develop them, grow them and raise them up where we have every confidence in our vetting that this child’s life isn’t going to simply possibly survive.

Instead, this child is being placed in a home in which they’re going to be nurtured and developed because this child is made in the image of God and defenseless and when we put them somewhere, it’s not to fulfill the wishes of someone who is a convicted pedophile. This child is going to be placed where they will have the best opportunity to grow and develop.

Therefore, Tom, if I can just merely sum this up, for those whom have been convicted of pedophilia, that is a deeply ingrained and entangling sin that has so many facets to it. It desperately calls out, first of all, for the work of the Gospel that you can be forgiven of your sins and you can be transformed. Secondly, it calls for the focus of society to make sure that, while you want people to be liberated from such practices, you also must protect society from those practices because they find their fulfillment in the most defenseless people of all, children, and you certainly do not want to expose any children to the possibility of the trauma of such acts and then even to the loss of their life because of where these acts can lead to.

BELIEVERS SHOULD CONSIDER ADOPTION  

And then the last thing I’ll say is this: I want to say to any and all out there, pray through whether God would have you as someone who might open up your home to adoption. Even as we do this program, just two Lord’s Days ago, this wonderful couple in our family, an interracial marriage, they have opened up their heart and their life and they’re bringing in these children and they’re adopting them. They brought them forward for covenantal baptism just a couple of Sundays ago. And I’ve watched what they do and then I’ve watched the other families that are doing that.

Now, listen, not everybody is called to adopt — not everybody is called to do that, I’m fully aware of that so don’t, out of any false guilt, go do that — but if the Lord places that within your heart and if we as a church can support such people that are doing that foster care and adoptive parents, then we need to do that. Why? Because we need children to be placed in the best possible homes if they are orphaned by virtue of the death of their parents, or by the abandonment of their parents or by the incarceration of their parents. If these children need a home, then let’s provide the best possible home. And I appeal to the church of Jesus Christ, let’s all of us pray through how we can, as churches, support adoption and fostering and pray through if God would call you and your family to do that.

LET’S CUT THE APPEAL IN THE U.K, REHABILITATE THE OFFENDERS AND BRING ADOPTION TO THE CHURCHES

That’s the bigger deal for me in all of this. Certainly, I want to address this other initiative that seems to be gaining some traction in the United Kingdom — that it would not gain traction here and at least raise up my simple voice from a Christian world and life view — and also calling for the Gospel ministry to pedophiles on a one-to-one relationship and protect them from themselves by not extending what is not an unalienable right but a privileged right of adoption to them. There’s too much that they already need to work on in their life and then let’s bring the Gospel ministry of truth and love to them.

And, since we’re talking about adoption, may the church of Jesus Christ raise up a wonderful representation of God’s love to us in that, when we were orphaned by sin, He adopted us into His family through the grace of the Lord Jesus. And those families that can and are called to do it, then prayerfully consider it. And, by God’s grace, may our churches surround those who take on this adoptive and foster care ministry.

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.

5 mins ago

Van Smith scores impressive victory in Alabama’s HD 42 primary, advances to November general

Autauga County Commissioner Van Smith is the presumed winner of the Republican special primary election in House District 42.

The primary to fill the vacancy left by the the death of State Rep. Jimmy Martin (R-Clanton) occurred on Tuesday in parts of Autauga and Chilton Counties.

According to the Alabama Republican Party, unofficial results of the primary were as follows:

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Van Smith – 2,237 (56.85%)
Jimmie Hardee – 686 (17.43%)
Allen Caton – 622 (15.81%)
Shannon Welch – 390 (9.91%)

While provisional ballots will be counted on August 27 and the certification of votes will occur on August 28, a statement from the ALGOP stated that Smith is seemingly the Republican nominee for HD 42, impressively avoiding a runoff in a very competitive race.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “I offer my congratulations to Van Smith on his apparent victory in the Republican Special Primary Election for Alabama State House District 42.”

“While this district is considered a solid Republican area, we will not take anything for granted and plan to work hard to ensure we hold this seat,” she concluded.

Smith was endorsed by the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Forestry Association in the primary.

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

14 hours ago

Birmingham’s new Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema is ready for its premiere

The new, permanent home of Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival will open its doors this weekend, just in time for this year’s event.

Chloe Cook, executive director of the Sidewalk Film Festival, said the 11,500 square-foot facility is not complete, but is far enough along to be used as a festival venue this weekend.

“After the festival we will go dark for a week,” Cook said. “Then we will have a soft opening Labor Day weekend before our grand opening September 13-15. We’re very excited.”

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Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema a dream come true from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The cinema, located in the basement of the Pizitz building on 2nd Avenue North, features two 89-seat theaters and an education room for special events. Outside of the festival week, it will function very much like a typical movie theater, operating seven days a week on a year-round basis, screening the latest independent feature films on one of two screens.

“We’re excited to have something slightly larger than a jewel-box movie theater, but not a huge multiplex-type facility where we can carefully curate the programming for our community,” Cook said. “When I took the job in 2009 I did not imagine this would come to fruition. I really think a lot of redevelopment in the north side of downtown Birmingham has happened around our annual festival and it continued happening to the point that we felt like the timing was right to pursue this project and fill that cultural void.”

Cook said the $4.9 million facility would not have happened without the generous support of a variety of contributors.

“We have been so fortunate to receive generous support from our corporate community, including Alabama Power (Foundation)Regions BankBlue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, as well as our foundation community,” Cook said. “We’ve seen support from the Hugh Kaul Foundation, The Stephens Foundation, The Daniel Foundation, but we’ve also seen a lot of individuals who are not people who could start a foundation but they can send in a check for $250 or $25. That’s been really rewarding.”

To learn more about the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema, visit MakeMovieMagic.com. To learn more about the Sidewalk Film Festival, visit SidewalkFest.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

SchoolFest sets the stage for Alabama children

The following is the latest installment of the Alabama Power Foundation’s annual report, highlighting the people and groups spreading good across Alabama with the foundation’s support.

 

Plato said art imitates life. Oscar Wilde said it was the other way around. It’s an argument that continues. However, one art form brings us face to face with the connection between art and life, perhaps better than any other: theater. It’s here people act out stories, hoping their audience forgets for a moment that it’s all make-believe. Were it not for the SchoolFest program of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF), many Alabama children might never be exposed to the magic of theater.

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Every year, 40,000 students attend SchoolFest in Montgomery. From the professional actors to the costume and set design, the productions are the same as those presented to other ASF audiences. Thanks to grants from the Alabama Power Foundation and others, ticket prices are discounted and many schools attend for free, exposing students from all walks of life to art.

For some, it’s an experience they’ll never forget. For others, like Emily Prim, it’s life-changing. Prim is assistant wardrobe supervisor at ASF. She remembers distinctly when the “theater bug” bit her. “I was in seventh grade at St. James School in Montgomery. We had a field trip to SchoolFest, where we saw ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ I remember it so well, because there was a Ferris wheel on stage that was the peach, and I thought that was so cool. I was sorta thinking about theater, because of shows we had done in school and stuff, but when I came to see ‘James’ here, it made me start thinking that this is something I could do after I graduate,” Prim said.

Prim’s experience is what ASF is all about. Executive Director Todd Schmidt put it this way: “It’s really a bedrock of our mission at ASF, which is to create communities through transformative theatrical experiences. It’s a lot of kids’ first introduction to theater. It’s important to do that, especially in this time of continued cuts in arts funding.”

Shakespeare Festival’s SchoolFest puts the arts at center stage for Alabama students from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Just in the past year, students have seen productions of “The Sound of Music,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Our Town,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.” The latter featured 24 students from Montgomery Public Schools in the cast. Schmidt chooses shows that are appropriate for audiences of all ages. SchoolFest builds many of these productions around school curricula.

“We put our programming out to schools, and then they select what they think is relevant to what they’re doing and what they want their kids to be exposed to,” Schmidt said.

What started decades ago as productions appropriate for students has continued to expand. In addition to SchoolFest, ASF offers educational programs. There are theater classes for adults and children, and summer theater camps for students. ASF has hosted a series of conversations that are tied – at least in part – to the shows. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell spoke alongside a cast member from “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.”

“These are not about our productions, but they focus on themes of the productions,” Schmidt said. “There’s one coming up that talks about women dealing with glass ceilings, working in fields normally dominated by men, which ties somewhat into the production of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and a new production, ‘Into the Breeches.’”

Lonny Harrison, director of theater at St. James School in Montgomery, has been bringing students to see productions at ASF for 21 years. “We have some students who, up to the point they’ve hit SchoolFest, have never seen a live production outside of a school play. This definitely helps get them more into the arts.

It seems like kids respond differently to every show, but whether it’s something that’s the most amazing thing to them, or something that makes them think more critically, it at least makes them think about it. When we left ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the other day, kids were saying, ‘Let’s do some Shakespeare!’ I had to tell them, ‘Small steps.’”

Harrison has a long history with SchoolFest. He saw stage productions at ASF when he was in school. His experience echoes that of many Alabamians. Were you to poll the state, you’d likely be amazed at the number of people of all ages who’ve shared the marvel of live performance in a theater at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

In Alabama, it’s a generational thing. When it comes to the art imitating life vs. life imitating art question, perhaps Shakespeare got it right when, in the second act of “As You Like It,” the character Jaques said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The parts being played by the men and women of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival are a rich and vital service to the people of our state. These are the people who transform our children, who show them a new and lively way to understand stories, and life – its comedies and tragedies. These are the “players” who expand the minds of our young people, and show them a world that lives within their own ability to imagine.

For more information on the Alabama Power Foundation and its annual report, visit here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

18 hours ago

Aderholt’s advice for Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate candidates: ‘Make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president’

Although it is still the early going of the 2020 U.S. Senate Republican primary election campaign, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) has some advice for the handful of candidates seeking the GOP nod.

When asked what he saw as important to him and his constituents in Alabama’s fourth congressional district, he said it was support for President Donald Trump.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump dominated Aderholt’s district by winning more than 80% of the vote and was the only district in the country to break the 80% threshold.

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“They’ve clearly got to make sure that they make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president,” Aderholt said. “I mean, this president has as much support of any since I have been in office. I have never seen a president that has the support this president has. He has, everywhere I go, people are very optimistic that they are very positive about what he is doing. And they’re optimistic about the future. So I would first of all — they need to let their constituents, future constituents that are voters, know that they’re someone who would stand with the president.”

“As someone who is in another branch of government, we always want to make sure we don’t do just exactly like the executive or the president wants to do regardless of who it is,” he continued. “The Founding Fathers wanted the different branches to be a watchdog on each other. But, as I have seen from this president, the things that he is doing is consistent with what the voters want and what has been good for America. I’m fully supportive of this president. I think they need to communicate they’re supporting the president. I think that is probably the biggest thing right now. Alabama is a very pro-life state, and I think they need to communicate that, which again is consistent with the president’s message.”

Aderholt also suggested the Senate candidates should be supportive of Trump’s efforts to renegotiate NAFTA.

“I am also getting the feedback that the Mexican-Canadian trade agreement that the president is trying to negotiate — to redo NAFTA, people are very supportive of that,” Aderholt added. “But again, the president has been very supportive of these issues. What the president is doing, I’m very supportive of. I don’t see any issue as far as supporting what the president’s issue is.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

19 hours ago

Georgia-based Colonial sues contractor over Alabama spill

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Co. has sued an Alabama contractor over a spill that threatened gasoline supplies along the East Coast three years ago.

The pipeline operator contends faulty work by the Birmingham-based Ceco Pipeline Services caused a crack that spilled at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline in rural Shelby County in September 2016.

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The spill shut down a major pipeline for weeks, tightening gasoline supplies along the Eastern Seaboard.

The pipeline carries fuel from Houston to metropolitan New York.

With headquarters near Atlanta in Alpharetta, Colonial Pipeline filed the federal lawsuit Friday seeking an unspecified amount of money.

Ceco Pipeline Services has not filed a response in court, and general manager Luke Hotze declined comment Monday, citing the lawsuit.

Hired to replace coatings that protect the pipeline’s exterior, the contractor failed to adequately replace dirt around the pipeline after maintenance work, the suit said.

The failure left a void beneath the pipe, which bent as it sagged.

The bend caused cracks that led to the breach, according to the suit.

The failure cost Colonial Pipeline lost income, plus money spent on repairs and cleanup, the lawsuit said without specifying an amount.

The lawsuit said Colonial Pipeline transports an average of 100 million gallons (378 million liters) of refined petroleum products daily through a system that includes more than 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of pipeline.
(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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