Should sex offenders be able to adopt?


Listen to the 10 min audio

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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.

35 mins ago

Marsh bill to repeal Common Core approved by Senate committee

MONTGOMERY — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) bill to eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama was given a unanimous favorable recommendation by the Senate’s Education Policy Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, SB 119, is now set to be debated and considered on the Senate floor Thursday.

Marsh spoke about this bill during Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “News Shaper” event in Montgomery Tuesday evening after he filed the bill earlier that day.

He acknowledged that he has been a proponent of letting the state school board set education curriculum and standards policy in the past and even stopped an effort to repeal Common Core a few years ago. However, in Marsh’s view, Common Core has been given a chance now and it is time for the legislature to step in.

“It’s not working. I think we have to have some radical change with education policy in this state. And y’all know me, I’ve pushed a lot of things –  public charter schools, the Accountability Act. We’ve got to address this issue and it’s critical for this state,” Marsh said.

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He said eliminating Common Core would “clear the field” so the state could then move forward to better education outcomes.

Alabama would come up with its own high standards, premised on local control, under Marsh’s proposal.

He said his bill is cosponsored by all 27 of his Republican Senate colleagues and he expects SB 119 to pass the chamber and then receive similarly strong support in the House.

“I am committed to moving to a different standard that’s right for Alabama and moves us forward,” Marsh emphasized.

He also advised that there is a high level of politics involved in education decisions in the state but that sound policy must come first.

“[T]he education community, who I’ve asked to get this fixed, who have not addressed this, quite honestly I don’t think has put us in shape to move forward to address the problem at present. But I’m going to do all I can to see that it happens,” Marsh added.

Democrats on the Senate Education Policy Committee spoke in favor of keeping Common Core on Wednesday.

A career public school teacher from Lee County spoke in favor of eliminating Common Core at the hearing, while representatives from the state school superintendents association and the school boards association had concerns about the implementation of new standards.

Marsh said his bill will be amended before a vote by the full Senate to allow another national standard to be used if found to be best for Alabama, as the current language in his bill would ban any national standard from being adopted by the state school board.

Update, 11:35 a.m.:

State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) released a statement in support of Marsh’s bill.

“I strongly support Senator Marsh’s bill,” Givhan said. “The Common Core standards just haven’t worked for Alabama’s students, and the proof is evident in the data. In 2017, Alabama’s 8th grade math scores ranked 49th among the 50 states, and math scores for 4th grade students were 45th in the nation, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Common Core’s curriculum standards and guidelines have been in place for nine years, and they have failed Alabama’s students. It’s clear we need to look at alternative educational methods, with an emphasis on returning as much control as possible back to the local school districts.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Marsh, McCutcheon talk lottery, ethics clarifications at Yellowhammer ‘News Shaper’ event

MONTGOMERY — Speaking Tuesday evening at Yellowhammer Multimedia’s first “News Shaper” event of 2019, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) provided their insight on some of the hot-button topics expected to be debated during the legislature’s ongoing regular session.

Yellowhammer owner and editor Tim Howe, who moderated the discussion, outlined uncertainty in the state’s ethics laws brought on by recent court and ethics commission decisions. Howe then asked the two leaders how they think the legislature can provide certainty and codified clarification moving forward, especially when it comes to defining a “principal.”

“There is no doubt that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the ethics legislation,” Marsh said. “The [Alabama Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission] was set up to look over this, but in addition to that, both the Senate and the House – in the Senate you have Greg Albritton and in the House [you have] Mike Jones – working throughout the entire break on how we address this.”

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“And remember,” Marsh continued, “it’s not about 140 legislators, there are 50,000 people in the state of Alabama affected by the ethics law. I’m going to make a plea to my colleagues, some of whom are in this room tonight: If it’s going to be fixed, we’ve got to fix it.”

He emphasized, “[I]t’s not going to get any easier. You’ve got to face the issues. You’ve got to address it and realize this is about much [more] than the legislature. So, I’m hopeful.

Marsh also noted that the uncertainty in the ethics law has “affected economic development.”

“There’s a section there where the economic developers are having problems keeping the [confidentiality] in the process of recruiting industries. We’ve got to address this,” he advised. “And I’m hopeful that we will address it this year.”

Marsh added, “I know that both Senator Albritton and Representative Jones have been in conversation with the attorney general and the ethics commission, as well. So we’re going down a path to try and get everybody on the same page. But we have got to -trust me, ladies and gentleman – we have best fix this. It’s got to be done.”

Howe then asked Marsh to articulate why certainty in the ethics law for economic development professionals is important not just for them, but for the entire state and each of its residents.

“[I]t’s important for the state, because we’re competing with all of the other states,” Marsh said.

He used the example of a piece of legislation passed out of committee that very day largely dealing with Polaris vehicles built in north Alabama and explained that the site selection process requires confidentiality, with most economic development recruitment projects being given code names.

“Because we’re competing against other states. And if we’re not able to keep that degree of secrecy at that stage of the game, we’re at a disadvantage to our neighbors,” Marsh explained.

He concluded, “So this is something that we have got to address. But I’m going to say this: that’s [only] a piece of it. And there’s going to be an attempt by the business community and economic developers to pass the piece. But I think it’s [incumbent] upon us to pass the big picture, solve all the problems, because you want as many people with you, supporting you, to make the changes. Every time you carve off a little piece, you lose some support. So, as I said, I want to help everybody, but I’m committed to the big picture.”

Lottery

Howe later asked the speaker if the time has come for a lottery proposal to pass the legislature and reach a referendum of the people.

“I think so,” McCutcheon responded. “I think it’s been coming for several years. I know that the districts, House districts, that are [bordering other states], most of those districts have seen a significant shift over the last seven or eight years because they see Alabamians driving across the state line to buy lottery tickets.”

He continued, “And people are starting to talk about it, and they’re starting to make it part of their discussion around the dinner table. … At the end of the day, there’s a good push from the people.”

McCutcheon did emphasize what he viewed as key to a successful lottery discussion.

“If we’re going to put this to a vote of the people, and I think it has a good chance of passing, we need to make sure that people understand what they’re voting on,” he outlined. “That’s very, very important. We don’t want to cloud the issue with the definition of a ‘lottery’ and try to sneak something in the back door. Let’s make sure the people understand in their minds what a lottery is and we define it in such a way that they know what they’re voting on.”

“Then, I think the next big debate will be, ‘Where’s the money [lottery revenue] going to go?’ And that will be something that we’ll have to contend with,” McCutcheon concluded.

This came the same day that Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) filed a lottery proposal that was soon after called not “clean” by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who said McClendon’s legislation would legalize slot machines in a select few places in the state.

Watch the entire discussion:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

After 133 launches, Alabama built rockets boast 100% mission success

Thank you to the United Launch Alliance team and the entire workforce surrounding another successful launch.  Alabama’s Decatur based facility brings the utmost precision, passion and purpose to one of the most technically complex, critical American needs: affordable, reliable access to space.

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2 hours ago

Bipartisan bill to regulate vaping set for House committee hearing

MONTGOMERY — Alabama is currently one of only three states to not regulate vaping, but that could soon change.

HB 41, sponsored by Republican Rep. Shane Stringer and Democrat Rep. Barbara Drummond, both of Mobile County, is on the House Judiciary Committee’s agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

The bill would regulate the sale, use and advertisement of vaping – or “alternative nicotine products” – in the state.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, both Drummond and Stringer emphasized that their bill is intended to protect the health and wellbeing of Alabama minors.

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“The motivation is simple,” Drummond emphasized. “We are trying to safeguard the teens in the state of Alabama.”

She outlined, “Vape shops, as it stands right now, are not regulated at all… And the bill came about because our drug education council locally brought it to our attention, but [Stringer and I] have both seen ourselves, as well as throughout the whole state, the rise of vape shops. They’re popping up everywhere in the state of Alabama.”

While it is too early to tell what vaping is directly doing to users’ health, Stringer and Drummond emphasized there is an objective gateway effect from vaping use and to smoking traditional cigarettes.

“Right now, there is no data that says what is the [direct] effect that these products are having on our young people. What we are seeing, and this is a national trend, is that you’re seeing smoking not going down, but increasing, among young people,” Drummond explained.

Stringer, a career law enforcement officer with stints as chief of multiple local police departments, said educators from every corner of Mobile County have voiced their concerns with the lack of state oversight on vape products and retailers “saying this is an epidemic and a problem what we need to address.”

“The products haven’t been out long enough to know the problems we could face in five, ten, 15 years from now,” he said. “It’s pretty similar to when smoking came out. There was basically no risk at that time, according to everyone. Now, look at all the data that we have to go with smoking… this is a new product we’re learning every day about.”

Stringer said statistics they were shown from the drug education council show an approximately 34 percent increase in children under 19-years-old that tried smoking after vaping.

“In Alabama, we don’t want to wake up one day and see the effects, negative effects on our kids,” Drummond added. “Right now, we’re trying to be responsible legislators to make sure that we look out for the welfare of our children.”

The two lawmakers also stressed that not only do vape shop operators have no restrictions on them, but the state has no way to even keep track of them currently.

Their bill would make it illegal to sell or give vape products to anyone under 19-years-old. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would regulate retail sales of the products, just as they do tobacco products. Retailers would have to obtain an annual permit, which includes an application fee of $300. Retailers would also have to comply with relevant FDA regulations and post signage warning of the dangers of nicotine usage.

Using vape products in certain places, including schools and child care facilities, would be prohibited.

‘This is something that is nonpartisan, it’s not anything that is about Republican or Democrat. This is something about our young people,” Drummond said. “Because if you look at the amount of nicotine that is showing up in these products, when they first hit the market, the nicotine levels were very low – like five percent. Now, it’s gone up to about ten percent. They’ve got other chemicals in there, like formaldehyde. What is the effect of that upon the brains of our kids? So, this is more of a public wellbeing bill for us.”

Stringer advised that he foresees widespread support in the legislature for the bill.

“Everyone agrees that there has to be some checks and balances [oversight] in place,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

House Majority Leader Ledbetter predicts Alabama to ‘move to number one’ nationally in automotive production after Port of Mobile expansion

Tuesday on Huntsville’s WVNN radio, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said he did not think it would be very long before Alabamians started to see tangible benefits of the Rebuild Alabama Act.

The legislation that was recently signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey after she called a special session will raise the gasoline tax six cents in September, then add an additional two cents in 2020 and 2021.

According to the DeKalb County Republican, road projects could start as early as the summer given the bill will allow for counties to bond half of the revenue the additional tax will generate that is distributed to the counties.

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“I really think it will be this summer,” Ledbetter said. “I think we’ll see it immediately, and the reason I say that is inside that bill there is a mechanism that the counties can use half of their money to bond with. So, I know there’s mine – I talked to the president of my county commission, and we’re looking at bonding half of that money. So if that happens, you’re going to see a lot of paving going down, and I think it will be significant, especially on those roads we can’t get buses across, or you know, the transportation has been limited due to the fact of the road conditions.”

Ledbetter also predicted one of the aspects of the law, which is to expand the Port of Mobile, will generate a positive impact statewide, especially with regards to the automotive industry.

“I don’t think there is any question about that,” he said. “The thing I think we’ll see – Alabama rank third as far as automotive manufacturing in the country. I think we’ll move to number one. I really do. I think this is that big of a game changer. I think aerospace engineering, and some of those jobs going to the port, building airplanes and building the ships – we’re going to move up the ladder because we got availability in the port to bring the ships in and out, the post-Panamax ships we hadn’t seen.”

“You know, the sad part about it is we build all these automobiles in Alabama – a lot of those were being shipped out of Savannah because we can’t get them out of our port,” Ledbetter added. “I think once this happens, we’ll see the roll off-roll on where we’ll be carrying cars to Mobile from Huntsville, from Lincoln, from here in Montgomery to see them delivered, or shipped out from Mobile.”

@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.