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A society that worships the sovereign self will destroy itself, like in Parkland shooting

 

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PEGGY NOONAN DESCRIBES WHY CULTURE HAS BECOME TOXIC

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to a piece written by the columnist Peggy Noonan. The title of the piece is “The Parkland Massacre and the Air We Breathe: What’s Gone Wrong with Our Culture that Produces Such Atrocities.”

It’s a very long list — let me read you just a very small portion of this column. She says, “We’ve been swept by social, technological and cultural revolution. The family blew up — divorce, unwed child-bearing, fatherless sons, fatherless daughters, too. Poor children with no one to love them. The internet flourished. Porn proliferated. Drugs legal and illegal. Violent video games in which nameless people are eliminated and splattered all over the screen.

The abortion regime settled in with its fierce, endless, yet somehow casual talk about the right to end a life. An increasingly violent entertainment culture, hypersexualized, full of weirdness, allergic to meaning and depth. The old longing for integration gave way to a culture of accusation: “You’re a supremist. You’re a misogynist. You are guilty of privilege and you’re defined by your color and class. We don’t let your sort speak here.”

DR. REEDER: Tom, when I was reading her column, I could not help but think two things. First of all, how much I enjoy reading Peggy Noonan. And I don’t totally agree with all of her columns, but she’s usually very insightful and is a wonderful communicator. As many of our listeners may know, President Reagan was called “The Great Communicator,” and I think of the reasons he was the great communicator is he had some great speech writers and she was one of them.

Well, she has put her finger on something but, yet at the same time that she put her finger on the issue that we face today that produces such horrific acts as the Parkland shooting, Columbine shooting, etc., but as she does so, she reveals what I think is an error in her own analysis. And I say this very carefully with great respect for her.

She makes the point that these things are not happening in a vacuum and she uses the metaphor, “Culture is like the air we breathe.” What is the culture of America? What are we constantly breathing in that produces the sickness and the horrific pictures of these slaughters that have taken place?

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHANGE IS FIRST STEP

She makes the point that these eruptions of violence, while it’s fine to look at matters of gun control, to just simply look at that is like looking at an addiction to food, “So, if I outlaw spoons, then somehow that’ll get rid of my problem.” No, what are my predilections and what have I done to embrace this addiction?

Well, she says, “We blew the family up. We blew marriage up. We made no-fault divorce. We produced games for entertainment that are violent — nameless people that you eradicate. We now have the unleashed horror of abortion. We now have moved to infanticide and to euthanasia.”

And she begins to tick these things off but notice how she speaks in the passive voice. It wasn’t the family blew up — no, we blew up the family. We were not victims in this. The air we breathe, that is the culture that we are imbibing from which these horrific acts are now issuing forth in our society, that isn’t something that came to us. That’s something we produced — the air we’re breathing. We’re the ones that produced it, in corporate America, in political America, in entertainment America. In other words, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

NEED TO RETURN TO SOVEREIGN GOD, NOT SOVEREIGN SELF

What is the answer to this? Let me just say very clearly, very plainly what the answer is: a society that produces a culture that glories in the sovereign self will destroy itself. A society that is impacted by the redeeming grace of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the common grace of God through the lives of believers that begin to embrace that which is right before the Lord and articulate clearly a Christian world and life view — not only a life view, but a lifestyle that restrains sin, a life view that speaks to that which is right and good and a life love and that is the love of Christ compels us — that is what is needed in our society. That is what is desperately needed to change the air we breathe.

Tom, when I went to Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, it was called in the early 1970’s “Smog City, USA.” Jokingly, it was said the new Chamber of Commerce promotion moved to Chattanooga. Why? You don’t have to breathe by faith — you know what you’re breathing.

Well, that’s where we are in our culture. The air we breathe in our culture is destroying us, Tom. We breathe sexual anarchy, we breathe in sexual perversion, we breathe in sexual promiscuity. We sell everything from hamburgers to cereals with a hypersexualized society. We have no sense of decorum, no sense of modesty, no sense of humility, no sense of true compassion. We don’t have any of that. We have lost any sense of the sanctity of life.

Here are young men, mostly, who have survived the abortionists: I’m living in a society in which I go into a room, a darkened room, and I play a game of destroying other people and that becomes my self-imposed technological identity. Who am I? I am one of the generation that survived the abortionists. Thankfully, I wasn’t numbered with that 1.5 million that are killed in the womb every year in this country.

And then I survive infanticide. In other words, I looked okay and I didn’t look so inconvenient I was left to die upon my arrival in this world. And then I grow up in a society that is planning on ways to take life when I’m inconvenient at the end of life. I grew up in a society in which I’ve got the pressure to perform and my worth is not that I’m made in the image of God — my worth is my grade point average that makes me someone that my dad and mom can put on the bumper sticker. I now go search for my identity in sexual promiscuity or sexual perversion or I go in searching for my identity by chemical and surgical mutilations of my body to “change gender.”

That’s the despair of the culture that the rising generation is breathing. That’s why it is producing an unbelievable tsunami of depression and proliferation of counseling institutions to get kids off of pornography that are already addicted to it in the elementary ages. That’s the culture we breathe.

GOSPEL MESSAGE RESTORES HOPE AND MEANING

Well, what is the answer? Well, the answer is this culture needs to be eviscerated and that it needs to be eviscerated by this glorious movement of the Gospel. Folks, I don’t have another hope, but I do have a sure hope and that hope is found in Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory and grace and mercy.

I know my own lifestyle culture drastically changed when I was converted and, if God’s people can bring the Gospel to those who are lost and say to them, “There is not only a better way — there is someone who is called the Way, the Truth and the Life and I want to introduce you to Jesus Christ.”

And then, in our life of what we speak, the truth, how we speak it in love, what we believe even in our imperfections and embrace which is absolutely honoring to the Lord — if that becomes burnished within our lifestyle, then the salt of Christianity and the light of the Gospel would shine in the culture and there would be a new air to breathe. And that, by God’s grace, this air would not simply be brought to the nostrils of individuals on the Lord’s Day, but would begin to flow throughout our community every day — not having to go to an air tank to breathe it every once in a while, but we would empty the oxygen of that which is glorious and that which is majestic and that is the glory and majesty of God and that we’re made in His image and that He loves us, He is ready to save us from our sins and has done so through the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That’s what needs to penetrate the culture. That’s the air we need to breathe. And, to my dear friends who are listening, it has occurred by God’s grace. We have seen such movements in the 18th century and in the 19th century and may God give us another in the 21st century.

(Image: CBS Evening News/YouTube)

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. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

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1 hour ago

Great News: Alabama black and white voters have far more in common than not

According to a report issued last week by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, blacks and whites agree on most Alabama priorities with public education being most notable.

“Alabama Priorities,” as it is named by PARCA, stated that most of the people in Alabama had similar concerns in previous surveys.

The report also revealed that Alabamians were not selecting their priorities based on political alliances, ideology, or racial differences.

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While there were many shocking finds within the new report, one thing that perhaps stood out the most was that nine of the top ten priorities for African-American voters were the same as that of white voters.

While there were many agreements on what Alabama deserves most, there were also differences. Higher education, which was the fifth highest priority for black voters, didn’t rank in the top ten for white voters.

While white voters ranked improving the state’s image as their tenth priority, it was not included on the list from black voters.

Included among the top ten priorities were healthcare, poverty and homelessness, crime and public safety, and tax reform.

The PARCA report was compiled of two different surveys. PARCA and Samford University partnered to conduct surveys that received 150 responses. The second survey was conducted through a partnership of PARCA and the University of South Alabama where surveyors took part in 468 interviews.

Alabama must capitalize on this opportunity. This is the perfect time for Alabama to come together as one and serve all communities by focusing on the issues that mean most to almost all of the people in Alabama.

For too long, our country has been divided because of political and personal differences. Race relations in the south have not always been the best, but now the opportunity to unite as one lies in the near future.

Alabama’s elected officials must focus on what means most to the people in this state. These are issues that we ALL can agree on. Alabama ranks 47th in education among other states. That’s terrible. It is time to focus on educating the children of Alabama and ensure that they lead this country to success.

Health and substance abuse also ranked among the top 10 priorities for Alabama voters and I can understand why. Substance abuse is very common in Alabama and that’s something we need to work on correcting. Too many families are being torn about due to the lack of awareness and understanding of what certain substances can do to an individual’s life.

For once, I can say that I am happy to see that Alabama voters, whether white or black, or Republican or Democrat, share similar ideology when it comes to deciding what issues need the most attention in our state.

With the right leadership, changes can occur. Let’s get this fixed so that next year we can produce an extremely different set of top ten priorities.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor

2 hours ago

Alabama watchdog group SPLC to pay anti-extremist UK group in settlement

An American liberal watchdog group apologized and will pay more than $3 million under an agreement announced Monday after labeling a British organization and its founder as anti-Muslim extremists.

The nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery issued written and video statements saying it was wrong to include the London-based Quilliam and Maajid Nawaz in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

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Law center president Richard Cohen said his organization has done additional research and talked with human rights advocates since releasing the publication in 2016.

“We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” said Cohen’s statement. “Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists.”

An agreement released online by Quilliam shows the Alabama-based law center is paying $3.4 million, which Quilliam says will be used to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.

Quilliam had threatened to sue, but its policy director David Toube said in an email the settlement offer came before any suit was filed.

Nawaz was once involved with radical Islamist groups but changed his views and started Quilliam, which describes itself as challenging both Islamist extremism and anti-Muslim bigotry. Nawaz tweeted a video in which he asked the law center to join its cause.

“Too much and for too long … many on the left have been trying to shut down any debate or critique or criticism around Islam especially by Muslims within Muslim communities,” Nawaz said. “Well, this moment should teach us all a lesson and allow us to work together to challenge the triple threat facing the world at the moment and that’s far-right extremism, far-left extremism and, from the heavens above, Islamist extremism.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center is best known for tracking United States-based radical groups including the Ku Klux Klan. Federal tax records show the nonprofit organization reported revenues of $132 million and net assets of $450 million for 2017.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 hours ago

Survey: Electric vehicles make sense for Alabama drivers

As many as 50 million Americans are about to flip the switch over to electric automobiles with their next purchase, according to the American Automobile Association. A recent survey conducted by the AAA found that popularity of electric cars is trending upwards. With infrastructure and availability all here, Alabama can lead the charge toward electric vehicles.

In its survey, AAA asked Americans if they were considering electric vehicles for their next car purchase. The survey found that 20 percent of Americans say their next vehicle will be an electric car – up 5 percent from 2017.

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The Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition encourages Alabamians to make the move to an alternative fuel vehicle, such as an electric car. Electric vehicles offer nothing but benefits, from being more cost-efficient due to cheaper fuel to less expensive maintenance to being environmentally friendly.

Alabama’s relationship with Mercedes-Benz could be a factor in the state’s future with electric vehicles, too. The automaker announced in January it would be rolling out an electric version of each of its vehicles by 2022. With Mercedes – and most other automakers – launching more electric options, there have never been more alternative fuel vehicle options than we have today.

The Tuscaloosa County facility is the only Mercedes plant in the United States, and it will play a central role in the production of these electric vehicles. As these electric vehicles begin to be produced by the people of Alabama, the next logical step is for them to begin driving them as well.

There has never been a better time to switch over to electric. It is a common misconception that it is a hassle to charge your electric car, whether that be at home or on the road. Charging at home can be done through a 120-amp power supply, which is the same three-prong outlet that powers your television.

The Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition is determined to make driving an electric vehicle in Alabama comfortable by assisting in getting proper infrastructure in place. Alabama currently has 84 electric charging stations, and a total of 198 charging outlets scattered across the state in almost all major cities.

More and more charging stations will continue to pop up across the state as more electric vehicles hit the streets. Current electric charging stations can be found at convenient locations in public, and some residential areas. The new Tesla charging stations in downtown Birmingham are just one prominent example. Several online sites, such as plugshare.com, provide charger locations.

The Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition serves as the principal coordinating point for clean, alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle activities in Alabama. The ACFC is part of the national network of nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions that bring together stakeholders in the public and private sectors to deploy alternative and renewable fuels, idle-reduction measures, fuel economy improvements and emerging technologies.

According to Alabama AAA PR and Marketing Director Clay Ingram, our state is warming up to electric vehicles as the technology and infrastructure begins to develop at a rapid pace.

“We have come a long way in accepting this, in a short number of years,” Ingram said. “We love our vehicles in Alabama, and I think there is a lot of room for (electric vehicles) as the technology continues to develop.”

With an average gas price of $2.91 – its highest cost since 2014. Gas prices are expected to increase over time without any anticipation of dropping. The average American spends $1,400 on gasoline a year, while average electric vehicle charging costs are $540 annually. Unlike gasoline cars, electric vehicles don’t typically require oil changes, fuel filters, spark plug replacements or emission checks. In electric vehicles, even brake pad replacements are rare due to the fact regenerative braking returns energy to the battery.

With all the aforementioned factors in mind, it is no surprise that the AAA estimated a below-average cost of ownership with electric vehicles. Electric cars also are the least expensive when it comes to yearly maintenance.

Since the 1970s, lawmakers in the United States have been putting effort into facilitating the research and growth of electric cars. The urge to reduce carbon emissions has given electric car production a lift. Electric vehicles emit an average of 4,500 pounds of CO2, with gasoline cars emitting more than double that.

This current shift to electric will not only have an environmental impact, but also an economic one. According the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States has made progress in importing less oil, but still imports nearly 20 percent of what is consumed. The increasing use of electricity as an alternative fuel will further push the United States toward economic independence from foreign countries.

The benefits to driving an electric car are endless! To learn more about the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition and advice on purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle, please visit www.alabamacleanfuels.org.

Mark Bentley is the executive director of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition.

3 hours ago

The Pauline passage doesn’t address the justice of penalties for breaking laws

Scholars and pundits have made their thoughts well-known on the Trump Administration’s biblical arguments for “zero-tolerence” immigration enforcement.

Here I offer one more targeted to the structure of the argument that Attorney General Jeff Sessions made last Thursday.

For review, here are his words, which have enticed the most responders.

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Sessions shapes up his parameters as “to discuss some concerns raised by our church friends about separation of families.”

He continues: “Illegal entry into the United States is a crime, it should be and must be, if we’re going to have a legal system and any limits whatsoever. People who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. If you violate the law, you subject yourself to prosecution.”

Sessions then invokes St. Paul, whose instructions to the church in Rome he summarizes as to “obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

Here is my primary observation:

The Romans 13 passage is far too broad to address the justness of separating families. St. Paul’s guidance does perhaps provide a defense for the prosecution of illegal immigrants but certainly does not imply that should one break a secular law, any consequence is permissible, simply because a secular authority sanctioned it.

Truly, Paul speaks nothing of the justice of such consequences in this passage. As a result, the only piece of the immigration enforcement puzzle given any measure of justification by St. Paul is the notion that those who have entered illegally have broken a law.

In short, Sessions ventures from making a case for the justness of separating the children from their parents to making a much broader case that laws ought to be applied because God gave secular authority to enlist them.

Sessions’s use of the Pauline passage would not be completely useless for making a broad case for immigration enforcement but considering his starting point, the passage simply does not extend to imply what he implies which is that the result of prosecution, namely the separation of families, is just.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

4 hours ago

Immigration debate: ‘There is no room for them at the inn’ is a better Bible verse to reference

Americans have been told for decades that we need to have a complete and total separation of religion and government, including ignoring your religious beliefs during policy making when it comes to abortion and gay marriage. But when “children are being ripped away from their parents” at the border, the American media and Democrats have found the Bible to be a useful tool for bashing Christians.

Christian leaders were outraged, Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded by referencing his own Bible verse about following the law, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders agreed. Liberals and their media saw an opportunity, and an MSNBC host started quoting the Bible on-air.

The King James Bible has another verse that we can quote out of context for this immigration debate if we are so inclined:

Luke 2:7: “…there was no room for them in the inn.”

Why this matters:

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If Americans, their politicians, and the media, were serious about this debate it would be about how illegal immigrants impact our society.

We’d talk about the crime some of them bring and the resources that they consume.

We’d talk about the impact on wages and the employment market.

We’d talk about how a person making minimum wage can‘t afford an apartment on their own.

But this isn’t about any of that.

It is about fighting President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown, and Donald Trump’s presidency in general. They want more immigrants because they view that as the future of their political power.

This isn’t about reason or even morality, it is about emotional manipulation.

TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN