Single parenthood may be a heroic struggle, but it’s not ideal and shouldn’t be promoted


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WHAT DOES CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL SINGLE PARENT DAY SAY ABOUT OUR COUNTRY?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, first there was Mother’s Day, then there was Father’s Day, and now we have Grandparent’s Day. Interestingly, another day has popped up, which I wasn’t aware of until recently, March 21st is National Single Parent Day. That caused somewhat of a debate between The New York Times syndicated columnist, Robert Samuelson, and Tucker Carlson. Harry, the bottom line on this debate is being a single parent — is that a detriment to a family and to a society?

DR. REEDER: Single parenting, in many cases, is heroic. Single parenting is something to be avoided if possible. Here’s the reality: We live in a broken world, so what happens? A spouse dies or a marriage gets broken because someone is unfaithful. And then what happens to the children? Well, they’re in a single-parent home. Then the single parents who remain in that home and faithful to those children are engaged in a heroic struggle.

SINGLE PARENTHOOD IS HEROIC, BUT NOT IDEAL

But why would we say it’s a heroic struggle? Because it is not the created order. The created order is it takes a man and a woman to have a child and God designed that to take place within the covenant of marriage because it takes a man and a woman to raise a child rightly. The child needs a father and mother to be created by the hand of God. We need both a father’s love and direction and a mother’s love and nurture: the teaching of kindness upon the mother’s tongue as Proverbs says, and the direction and empowerment that a father’s exhortation gives to their child.

So now what we’re being told we ought to be celebrating is single parenting and the answer is no. We celebrate the faithfulness and heroic efforts of a single parent and the reason they’re heroic is it is not the best possible solution. They are trying to overcome something that would be better and the better would be for the child to have two parents. While we want to obliterate single parenting, we want to assist and honor single parents unless they are single parents just simply out of rebellion. We need to recognize the consequences of a culture that attempts to normalize and celebrate single parenting and that’s what the article attempted to do.

WHO IS PROMOTING IT AND WHY?

One of my father’s — I’m sure he borrowed it from somebody — “Figures don’t lie, but liars sure do figure,” and that’s what The New York Times opinion piece attempted to do but Mr. Samuelson responds to it and he just points out that this was purely fabrication in an attempt to normalize single parenting and we know that poverty, lack of education, a lack of employment — all of those things skyrocket in the children’s lives that are raised in a single-parent home.

This is why, for instance, in our church whenever we have parents who are faced with single parenting, we try to step in and assist them because we know they’re facing an uphill struggle in what will happen in their children because of the single parenting. However, the answer is not to try to normalize single parenting.

Tom, here’s what’s really interesting: Because of the sexual revolution, in the African-American community, before 1970, the statistics for children born out of wedlock in a single-parent situation were less than 20 percent and now they are up to 72 percent, approaching 75 percent since 2010. And, in the Caucasian community, it was 6 percent and now it’s at 36 percent. The Hispanic community has faced pretty much the same situation.

Tom, what we are attempting to do because of the prevalence of single-parenting, which is promoted through the sexual revolution and which is promoted through the all-out assault upon the nuclear family of one man, one woman for one life — because of that, we have attempted to normalize it so, when an opinion piece comes out, they attempted to fabricate the statistics to lie about the unbelievable challenge of single parenting.

WHO IS REPORTING THE ACTUAL STATISTICS ON LONG-TERM EFFECTS?

Well, thankfully, Mr. Samuelson, who is no conservative at all, just says, “Listen. Let’s be honest about this. It is an undeniable fact that, out of single-parent homes, that the children by no means have the same record of engagement and gainful employment, finishing education, staying out of poverty, staying off of governmental support programs. It is an unbelievable challenge.”

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, indeed. Samuelson finishes his column on single-parenting by saying, “We are condemning more of our children to a precarious upbringing and that’s a problem.” Harry, is this a 21st century example of the sins of the father being visited upon the child?

DR. REEDER: That’s right. And you see what’s happening out of engagement of soft pornography, sexual revolution of the 1950s and the consequences have now arrived in the 21st century and now the attempt to socially approve what we ought to be disapproving of as a cultural value and what we ought to be responding to as a cultural challenge.

Single parenting is a cultural challenge with moral and spiritual implications and we ought to respond to it, not attempt to normalize it and say that it is not a problem and, in fact, ought to be embraced as a way of life. Not if we really have any senses.

AS CHRISTIANS, LET’S PRACTICE WHAT WE PREACH AND PREACH WHAT WE PRACTICE

Let me finish this way, Tom, with two comments. Here’s what’s really interesting: the secular elite, who would celebrate not single parents, but single parenting, actually are the second largest demographic of consistency in marriage. The No. 1 demographic of those who get married and stay married are evangelical Christians. The No. 2 are college-educated, six-figure families.

In other words, college-educated, six-figure families, while in their secularism promote rebellion against God’s creation laws of sex within marriage and marriage between one man and one woman actually, in practice, are the second-largest demographic who embrace God’s creation laws — at least the notion that they get married and stay married more than the cultural norms that they are promoting in the sexual revolution and in their secularism.

In other words, they live differently than what they’re telling others to live and destroying the lives of others while, themselves, embracing God’s order of marriage. The only ones who do so more consistently are those who affirm marriage and staying in marriage as evangelical Christians and are engaged in the local church.

The second thing I would say is this to the church: Let’s respond to the challenge of single-parenting with grace, compassion, and resources in assisting single parents, but let’s not glorify single-parenting. Let’s work hard at pre-marital counseling, marital counseling, Gospel evangelism of men and women and the impact in their marriages. Let’s, in discipleship, reinstitute and burnish brightly the foundational value of marriages that begin in the Lord, that stay in the Lord. And let’s bring the value of marriage as a creation ordinance as we promote it in the ministry of common grace throughout society.

GOD CALLS US TO PROMOTE MARRIAGE FOR ALL PEOPLE’S GOOD

If we love people made in the image of God, we will promote the most foundational institution in society that God has created for the well-being of society, and that is a marriage of a man and a woman that is monogamous, covenantal, heterosexual marriage that makes every effort as the vow says, “for better or for worse,” to stay the course and raise children within the boundaries of a home where they have a father and a mother, both supplying what’s necessary physically, financially, morally, culturally and spiritually in the life of the next generation.

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

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

15 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

19 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

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The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

20 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

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.