States are trying to criminalize the free speech of those seeking to protect unborn life


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PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT IN THE COURTS, TESTING CONSTITUTIONALITY

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, we talked about the California case that had their oral arguments before the Supreme Court. It’s a situation where pro-life centers in California were being forced to say certain things in promoting state-supported abortion facilities, telling women that they had that as an option. Obviously, that is something that goes contrary to what the pro-life centers wanted to promote. Harry, today, I’d like to take this a step further and talk about the bias that’s going on in certain cases in courts and in the media that perhaps are trying to influence what’s going on at the Supreme Court level.  

DR. REEDER: You and I have noticed that there is an upsurge in judicial and governmental silencing, shaming and marginalizing of the pro-life movement. You have to realize that the secular elite, which affect so much of the government and so much of the media, has a vested interest in promoting abortion and the murder of unborn children in the womb.

What we’re talking about is the 99% of abortions that are there because the child is less than perfect, is not wanted, is a consequence of the sexual revolution, “I don’t want another mouth to feed,” or, “I don’t want to be bothered” — therefore, we now have a culture that says the woman has a right to kill the child.

In reality, what we’re doing is actually creating a culture to tell women not simply, “You can kill the child” — as horrific as that is — “You actually ought to kill the child.” And, Tom, this is what we’re talking about today, now the secular elite, through governmental pressure and media persuasion, is attempting to silence those who would say, “Hold it. Time out. This is a life. You cannot constitutionally take the life of a person. There is a right to life, not a right to murder a life in the Constitution.”

The Constitution knows no such legal right to kill children, whether they’re in the womb or in the arms of the mother and now that those who are being either motivated because of a Christian world and life view that every life is sacred, made in the image of God and deserves to be protected by society, and those who are motivated simply on a Constitutional basis, they are now attempting to be silenced by the secular media, the secular elite, and now by a secularist fascist government.

COURT CASES CAN BECOME UNFAIR PLAYING FIELDS FOR PRO-LIFERS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, in fact, let me take you to a situation up in Michigan where Michigan District Judge Marc Barron sentenced activists last week to 12 months’ probation, eight days of community service in court fines and restitution to an abortion center where they were doing a protest. He also ordered them to stay 500 feet away.

That kind of sentencing isn’t a really big surprise, but what is interesting is a spokesperson for the activist made this statement: “During the trial, the judge prohibited the defendants from mentioning abortion or their pro-life views, something he said is standard practice for trials involving pro-lifers at abortion centers. Why? As long as the unborn are not recognized as persons, pro-lifers who defend them are basically hung out to dry.”

DR. REEDER: There’s two things: one is these exorbitant punitive steps to criminalize those who are exercising free speech to protect the life of the unborn and the other is these extraordinary measures to curtail free speech in order to eviscerate the argument of the pro-life activist in the court. In other words, “We’re not going to let you mount your defense that you are protecting life because we’re not going to allow you to say that the unborn child is a person.”

Therefore, when you rule out someone’s defense, then they can’t have a defense and, therefore, the jury can be persuaded in the direction of the predisposed commitment of the judiciary, which means governmental power to thwart the purposes of justice and the constitutional arguments of those who are appealing into the right to life in the Constitution and the fact that the child is a person and, therefore, has a life and, therefore, has a right to life.

THIS EMPHASIS IN THE MEDIA SEEKS TO CURTAIL FREEDOM

And, again, Tom, you, I think rightly, connected this upsurge of media focus, governmental intrusion, and judicial prejudicial action. You are seeing this curtailing the freedom of those who are motivated by religious purposes and those who want to defend themselves and, therefore, curtailing their freedom of speech because those ideas will win the day in the public square and in the court when there’s a jury present and, therefore, the court is attempting to keep the status quo of a culture of death as a legal and accepted practice and even try to assign morality to the killing of children instead of allowing those who would argue for the morality of a right to life.

Tom, I believe you’re seeing this because the reality is I think the argument for the right to life is beginning to win the day throughout the culture, particularly, toward the millennial generation and the generation coming up under the millennial generation.

GUN VIOLENCE WALK-OUTS NOW BECOMING ABORTION WALK-OUTS?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Many people are familiar with the fact there was the walkout over the shooting that took place down in Florida. What’s happening right now, students are beginning to launch a campaign to start a pro-life walkout using the hashtag #life on social media. We don’t know yet whether the school administrators will allow this to happen or not. We do know that a principal at Rockland High School out in Sacramento California was planning to sit down and have a conversation with the student that’s heading this up.

DR. REEDER: By the way, there’s another one in Minneapolis I’m aware of. Out of the concern of gun violence, also just simply pointed out that there is violence against life including abortion and was addressing the sanctity of life across the board in terms of a student response. On the same day that students were walking out over the issue of gun violence, they just broadened it to the sanctity of life.

So, Tom, there are a number of situations that are happening. When the secular elite see that, what they want to do because they want to preserve this right to kill children… Let’s remember that abortion is the sacrament of the sexual revolution.

And I think there’s something else that needs to be understood. Because this sanctity of life issue is in the final analysis a moral and therefore religious issue that all life is sacred because life is created in the image of God and because of that motivation, the reality is I want to send a message to the secular elite to the judicial demagogues and fascist governmental attempts to intimidate the sanctity of life movement: it’s not going to work.

INTIMIDATION BECOMES INSPIRATION

For those of you who think you can kill the consequence of a Christian world and life view such as the sanctity of life by intimidation, attempting to silence and shame Christians, you actually provide a motivation for Christians. If you go to the nations who have attempted to not just kill Christian ideals, but kill Christians, look at the explosion of Christianity in China and go look at the explosion of Christianity in India right now.

I can promise you that you are actually engaged in a tactic that, throughout 2,000 years, has been used in the hands of a sovereign God to actually accomplish the opposite of what you think it will accomplish. Therefore, when you bring the power of the press and the power of the state to shame and silence Christianity and a Christian world and life view, what you’re actually going to do is motivate Christians to faithfulness.

Because, when it finally becomes clear: are we to obey God or men, there is no doubt what we will do. We will both live and speak to men the truth of God. We’ll do it in love, but we won’t stop doing it out of fear. Therefore, your intimidation actually becomes an inspiration.

COMING UP TUESDAY: FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGION INTERTWINED

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I would look at the connection between the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. We saw it in the California Supreme Court case and we’re seeing it around the world as well.

DR. REEDER: And, tomorrow, I think we’re going to see the ingenuity and the wisdom of the Christian world and life view on our founding fathers in the development of our Constitutional documents.

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

9 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.

13 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)

14 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.

17 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

sylacauga marble

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)

18 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.