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.

20 mins ago

Birmingham Business Alliance reveals new mission, economic development approach

The Birmingham Business Alliance revealed a new mission and a new approach to economic development as it heads into 2020.

The BBA’s 2019 Chairwoman’s Annual Meeting was at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham Dec. 11. Chairwoman Nancy Goedecke passed the gavel to Jim Gorrie, president and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie.

Gone is Blueprint Birmingham, which guided the BBA through its first 10 years. In its place is a strategy that keys in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and technology. Those are some of the main industries the Alabama Department of Commerce is expected to emphasize in its revision of Accelerate Alabama, the state’s economic development plan.

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“Those are the three areas that we’re going to focus on,” said Fred McCallum, interim CEO of the BBA. “I will tell you that when you look at our state plan, there are a lot of similarities.”

Birmingham Business Alliance announces new direction from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

A main component to Blueprint Birmingham was a set of metrics that measured Birmingham’s success against a cluster of peer cities. Doing so often looked too broadly, McCallum said.

“Blueprint was a good plan at the time,” he said. “It was very wide and in some ways it was successful and in other ways it wasn’t so successful. I think what we’ve come to now is a point in time where we’ve got to focus in on jobs and economic growth.”

There will be a new set of metrics created and benchmarked in a new BBA strategic plan, McCallum said.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin did highlight one comparison between Birmingham and other cities.

“Since the great recession around 2008, 60% of all jobs have only gone to 25 cities in America,” Woodfin said. “You need to know that Birmingham is not on that list.”

Woodfin feels Birmingham should measure itself against its own potential instead of comparing itself to others.

“We don’t have to be like Nashville or Chattanooga or Atlanta or Austin,” he said. “We need to be the best version of ourselves. But that is going to require us to shake off the way we’ve always done things.”

Woodfin said the companies and organizations that make up the BBA should be prepared to take greater risks and push boundaries.

“Being risk-averse at this time as we move into 2020 … will not work for us – as an organization or for our city,” he said. “So the question becomes when you walk out of this room, are we prepared to invest in our competitiveness? Do we want to compete? Do we want to set ourselves apart, not be like any other city in America?”

A primary goal for the BBA is to find a new CEO. McCallum has led the organization on an interim basis after former CEO Brian Hilson stepped down at the end of March. Hilson now works on rural economic development initiatives in the state.

Other changes will include aligning the BBA’s internal strategy to execute the new strategic plan, updating its governance structure to be more effective and efficient and aligning the funding model to support the BBA’s new strategic plan.

“I think the organization will be more focused on specific strategies and focused on doing what we do well,” McCallum said.

McCallum believes Birmingham leaders and economic developers can tell the region’s story more forcefully and proactively.

“We’re on a good trajectory. I feel good about where we are as a community,” McCallum said. “Our leadership is strong. Our public leadership is strong. Our private leadership is strong. I feel good about where the BBA is focused.”

This year’s annual meeting was more a call to action than the rah-rah sessions of the past.

“Usually I would get up here and give you all some stats about what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished,” Woodfin said. “I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a good year for many of your organizations individually and collectively for our Birmingham Business Alliance.”

It was a good 2019 in the Birmingham metro area. Halfway through the year, the region reached and surpassed its pre-recession height of employment. There were 32 projects with 1,180 jobs and $492.2 million in capital investment announced in the region in 2019.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

The biggest birthday party in Alabama history is TODAY!

The biggest birthday party in Alabama’s history is taking place today, December 14, and you are invited! Join us in Montgomery for the grand finale celebration of our state’s 200th birthday.

Watch the parade, listen to concerts and performances, visit open houses and much more.

This is sure to be a day you don’t want to miss. The event is free to the public and lasts all day starting with an elaborate parade at 10:00 a.m. The parade will travel from Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery up Dexter Avenue to the State Capitol. There will be marching bands, city floats and unique displays of Alabama history on wheels, such as the USS Alabama and U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

The parade is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the celebration together – and it’s only the beginning of a packed day. Following the parade, Governor Kay Ivey will dedicate Bicentennial Park. The afternoon will offer performances, exhibitions and open houses throughout downtown Montgomery. The day will conclude with a concert featuring popular musicians from Alabama and the history of Alabama presented in a never-before-seen way.

Visit Alabama 200 Finale for a complete rundown of the day’s events.

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2 hours ago

ADCNR officers help spread Christmas cheer at Academy Sports

Imagine elves filling baskets with goodies to load on Santa’s sleigh and you get a snapshot of what it looked like last week when Academy Sports + Outdoors provided Christmas cheer for numerous youngsters who needed that encouragement the most.

At Academy stores across Alabama, youngsters were chosen to go on shopping sprees with a budget of $150 each, assisted by first responders from the local area. In two locations, Huntsville and Foley, Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) enforcement officers assisted the kids in choosing the items that were loaded into the shopping carts.

Into the baskets went bows and arrows, footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, clothing, athletic shoes, candy canes and more. The youngsters proved more than adept at keeping track of just how far that gift card would go, counting down until the funding was exhausted.

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“Academy Sports + Outdoors is excited to partner with first responders across the state of Alabama to help 150 children enjoy more sports and outdoor fun this holiday season,” said Rick Burleson, Academy’s Regional Marketing Specialist. “As the shopping destination with the most fun gifts and gear, we look forward to making the holidays merry for our local communities across Alabama.”

Chris Blankenship, ADCNR’s Commissioner, said the shopping events presented a special opportunity for outreach to the younger generation.

“I appreciate Academy Sports + Outdoors for sponsoring this program,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “Opportunities like this where enforcement officers can interact positively with citizens, especially youth, are so valuable for building trust on both sides. Our Conservation Enforcement Officers participate in many programs to promote hunting and fishing for youth. This is just another example of the good people we have in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

“In the photos, you can really see the joy in the faces of the kids, the officers and the employees of Academy Sports + Outdoors. The giving spirit of Academy, our officers and the community is evident in the outpouring of support for this program. With this scene replicated at hundreds of Academy stores all over the country, good relations with law enforcement are being built nationwide and will pay dividends for many years to come. My desire to work in conservation came from encounters such as this with Marine Resources conservation officers when I was a kid. You cannot underestimate what effects the little things like this will have on a person and a community.”

At the Foley event, Conservation Enforcement Officers from the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division and the Marine Resources Division aided 10 youngsters from the afterschool program at the John McClure Snook Family YMCA in Foley.

Melissa McGhee, associate branch director of the Foley YMCA, said the youngsters ranged in age from 5 to 13.

“All the kids we chose are highly scholarshipped kids,” McGhee said. “They just don’t have a lot. For three of them, this is their Christmas. This was such an honor to be picked for this. When I talked to some of the parents, they just started crying because this is what their kids are doing for Christmas.”

Jason Ford, Academy Store Director in Foley, said providing a venue for officers and youngsters to interact in a positive way during the holiday season was well worth the effort from Academy and the associates who also assisted during the shopping sprees.

“We love that we can reach out to people in our community who are less fortunate,” Ford said. “But it also strengthens the bonds between our first responders and our community. Right now, we can use that unity more than ever. To be able to impact the community in such a positive way really goes a long way in warming my heart, and hopefully seeing the kids gets some good Christmas presents and develop some goodwill with our law enforcement.”

WFF Conservation Officer Steve Schrader wore a perpetual smile while he helped a young lady fill her basket with gifts from shoes to candy cane-shaped containers filled with M&Ms.

“This has been great,” Schrader said. “My shopper has been very generous and has bought more for her family than herself. I hope she now sees us (enforcement officers) more friendly than the other side of the fence. They can see us as real people, too. I think it went really well.”

At the event in Huntsville, Beth Morring with the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Alabama echoed the need for the sponsored kids to find out more about the ADCNR enforcement officers and what those officers actually do.

“Before they started shopping, we asked the Conservation guys to explain what they do every day,” Morring said. “The officers told them how they protected the wildlife and help those who fish and hunt and enjoy the outdoors. It was neat because our kids probably never knew these men and women existed. It was a learning experience just to meet these officers, which was great.”

Morring said 10 kids from the Seminole Boys and Girls Clubs in Huntsville were chosen for the event.

“These were the kids who needed it the most,” she said. “With $150 to shop, we did kind of steer them during their shopping, as did the officers. We started with shoes first and then went to get some essential clothing. They were able to get a goodie or two as well. It was a great time, and everybody wanted new shoes. These kids were predominantly from the public housing area where the club is located, and they were thrilled to get some new, shiny tennis shoes. In fact, some of them wore them out of the store that day, which was fabulous.”

Morring said the event was much more than just a shopping spree for the kids.

“To watch them interact with the officers and for our children to see men and women who serve and protect us, that they are good people,” she said. “Many of our children don’t have as positive an exposure with first responders sometimes. For them to be able to meet these first responders who can talk to them and realize these are dads and moms and husbands and wives – just regular people even though they might be in a uniform. So that positive interaction was so important. That was really impactful for our children.”

Morring said it was great to see the officers meet the kids on the same level.

“I loved watching these big grown-ups with these little children and them kneeling down on the floor to help them try on shoes,” she said. “Not to mention for our children, it was the first time they were able to walk into a store and have a budget for gifts where they got to make the decisions and choices. To watch these kids whose families struggle financially, for them to have $150 and then think about family members before themselves is admirable and amazing in light of their circumstances.”

David Rainer is an award-winning writer who has covered Alabama’s great outdoors for 25 years. The former outdoors editor at the Mobile Press-Register, he writes for Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

14 hours ago

Ivey visits hometown Camden to commemorate bicentennial — ‘Y’all, Alabama has come a long way’

CAMDEN — On Friday, on the eve of the culmination of Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration set to take place in Montgomery, Gov. Kay Ivey paid a visit to her hometown to take part in an event marking the milestone in her home county of Wilcox.

Not far from where Ivey attended high school as part of Wilcox County High School’s class of 1963, the governor participated in a ceremony that also included Camden Mayor Bill Creswell and Wilcox County Commissioner Bill Albritton.

After offering a list of the state’s achievements, Ivey remarked on how far Alabama had come.

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“During these 200 years, Alabama has celebrated some pretty incredible people and milestones,” she said. “Building a rocket that took a man to the moon, our rich Native American history and culture, becoming the birthplace for civil rights, and becoming an international market for goods and products. Y’all, Alabama has come a long way.”

She also noted that the events leading up to the bicentennial celebration kicked almost immediately after she assumed the role governor in 2017 and led her to make at least one visit in all of Alabama’s 67 counties.

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

While speaking to the press at the return to her hometown, Ivey expressed how great she felt about being back in her hometown and what her goals were as the state heads into its third century.

“We’re proud to be here in Wilcox County and in my hometown of Camden to celebrate the bicentennial of Wilcox County, and tomorrow we’ll celebrate the bicentennial of Alabama. It is sure great to be home,” Ivey stated.

“Certainly, we want to keep the economy going, keep the everybody working, get more people that are not working to work,” she continued. “We just want to make the quality of life in our state really good, so everybody has an opportunity to be and do what they want to do.”

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Ivey also offered some words of advice for her hometown and county in the pursuit of a better quality of life.

“Y’all just make this place an attractive place to live and do business, have a strong education system so people can put their children in schools, then in touch with the Department of Commerce to get prospects to look us over,” she said.

@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.

15 hours ago

Three Crimson Tide players, Auburn’s Derrick Brown named Walter Camp All-Americans

University of Alabama football players Xavier McKinney, Jaylen Waddle and Jedrick Wills, Jr. have been named to the Walter Camp All-America second-team, while Auburn University’s Derrick Brown made the first-team.

McKinney is a safety, Waddle is a wide receiver selected to the team as a returner on special teams, Wills is an offensive tackle and Brown is a defensive tackle.

The Walter Camp Foundation announced the honors Thursday evening at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

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McKinney, a junior, ranked 12th in the SEC in tackles with 85 through 12 games. He was also the Crimson Tide leader in tackles this season, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks. He forced four fumbles and added three interceptions to go with five pass breakups and four quarterback hurries. The star defensive back also returned one of his interceptions for an 81-yard touchdown.

Waddle led the nation in punt return average at 24.9 yards per return with 19 for 474 yards and a touchdown, including a long of 77. The sophomore also returned four kickoffs for 152 yards and one score and added more than 53 yards and six touchdowns on 32 catches at wideout this season. Earlier this week, he was selected as a first team All-American at returner by Pro Football Focus and named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Wills anchored an offensive line that has surrendered only 12 sacks in 381 pass attempts this season. He graded out at over 91% for the Tide along the front allowing only one sack all season and only 3.5 quarterback hurries while missing only seven assignments in 714 snaps for a success rate of 99.9%.

Brown had a monster season on the defensive side of the ball and landed as a finalist for just about every national award possible. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the conference coaches and The Associated Press.

This is the 130th edition of the Walter Camp All-America team, the nation’s oldest such team.

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