Tell me things that matter



Art Parker,
Managing Editor

By Art Parker

They engage in worthless conversation. They lie. They are more concerned about money than they are about solving problems. Who are these despicable characters?

   Party political candidates and politicians. And rest assured, they reside in both major political parties, and the political parties are public enemy number one. It’s not the media as President Trump claims.

   The parties want power and a politician wants power. They hitch their mule teams together and go to work, usually by raising money, telling lies and spewing rhetoric only to gain a vote.

   The real hope of someone running for office, especially in Alabama, rests upon their ability to rise to even higher office. To do that they often try to convince voters that they are a bigger Christian than their opponent, they are pro-life and are fully against abortion, they have a bigger idealistic relationship with President Trump than their opponent, and of course they will make sure no one monkeys with our gun rights by protecting the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

   Political parties want you to believe things that will put them in power. They will not tell you this but actually they want you to trust the party and vote that way…all of the time. In other words be stupid, do not pay attention and let us solve all of your problems. 

   And how has that worked out for us? 

    Not very well.

   Let’s examine how much of this plays out in Alabama. I quickly make up my mind not to vote for a candidate for office in Alabama if they make a big deal about the Second Amendment and gun rights. I’m not against guns. I love the Second Amendment. But what I do not like is someone running for office on the state level saying they will take care of our gun rights. Why? Because it is red meat for the GOP base. Issues about our gun rights and the Second Amendment will not be determined on Union Street in Montgomery. The Federal courts will decide those issues. Any candidate that uses this tactic is either really ignorant when it comes to the law or is intentionally trying to bamboozle us into voting for them. Whatever the case they do not deserve our vote and we obviously cannot trust them.

   You can say the same about abortion. State legislatures can dance around the issue and come up with all kinds of laws regarding this subject. But the instant their effort encroaches upon Roe vs. Wade, or other similar cases, such as Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, then the U.S. Supreme Court will make all decisions. There are only nine folks that have the power and ability to determine a woman’s right to an abortion and they wear black robes and do business at One First Street in Washington D.C.

   We have already seen the Trump factor in Alabama. Those running for office claim to support Trump more than the other guy. Almost one-hundred percent of these candidates do not know Trump and never will, but they are quick to act as if they possess a “buddy-buddy” relationship with the President. Using President Trump as an election tool does nothing more than perpetuate the dependency of the electorate upon others to make their voting decisions. It is no different than someone entering the voting booth and pulling a straight ticket, thinking that is the truth, the light and the way. 

   I won’t even begin to tell you how my Christian faith is insulted when a politician tells me he/she deserves my vote because they are a Christian. We should be mindful that some of the biggest Christians in Alabama history have been convicted of corruption, especially in the last ten years.

    To all of the candidates and politicians in Alabama, especially this year, I say: Don’t tell me what a big Christian you are, or that you protect gun rights and all the other bull you have been telling us. Tell me how you will solve the problems of state government, such as the problems with Medicare, corrections and the lack of state troopers on the road.

   Tell me about those things. If you have any answers at all.    

There ought to be a law



By Jeff Martin

Often times the things that appear simple to do and make the most sense are the toughest to get accomplished and there’s no better example than in the Alabama Legislature.

 It isn’t any wonder that almost a dozen legislators, a governor and a sitting chief justice have been indicted, convicted or removed from office in just the last couple of years. Alabama elected officials mimic the fox guarding the hen house and more often than not they devour the hens.

 Unfortunately, it is pretty easy to legally purchase a sitting legislator if you have the means to do so. Take for instance former Rep. Oliver Robinson, who we learned during the recent corruption trial in Birmingham had been receiving ‘six figures’ from Regions Bank for ‘consulting,’ while serving in the legislature. Coincidentally before his resignation, Robinson sat on the House Financial Services Committee, which deals with banking and lending legislation. Robinson testified Regions never asked anything of him, but somehow I don’t imagine Robinson ever considered anything other than what benefited his ‘consulting’ client, as opposed to what benefited his constituency.

   State Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills), who has served in the legislature for half a century, has 11 consulting contracts with various businesses that pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, but current laws don’t even require him to tell us who is paying him or exactly how much for his ‘consulting’ services.

  And I could go on and on with examples of legislators who have financially benefited by serving in this part-time public service position. And it is often legal by keeping it simple with just winks and nods.

  Every elected official should be in favor of the strongest of ethics laws, yet somehow the legislature, the governor, the attorney general; all never find a way to get us there.  And those occasional times when they do provide a dog and pony show as election time nears, we later learn the devil is in the details and they’ve fooled us again.

  There ought to be a law requiring candidates to disclose every campaign donation received. Who would be against such a law? Insert laughing emoji. 

  All campaign contributions should be reported and available to the public. Our own attorney general and countless other elected officials are supported financially by who knows who because they even find ways to circumvent what current laws we do have that require disclosure and transparency.

  There ought to be a law that requires political candidates to remove campaign signs from public property and right-of-ways after elections.

 There ought to be a much stronger Open Meetings and Open Records Law.

  There ought to be a law requiring political advertising to be truthful.

  There ought to be a law requiring the inspection of dams.

  Did you know there are more than 2,200 dams in Alabama and we are the ONLY state that does not require dams to be inspected? It isn’t a matter of if, but when a major dam will fail and potentially killing those in its path. But, I’m here to tell you that no such law will pass in my lifetime.

 There ought to be a law preventing a child from riding in the back of a pickup truck on public streets. It makes absolutely no sense, considering our current seat belt laws. But, believe it or not, there are some lobbying interests, with big wallets, that don’t want such a law to exist. And so it doesn’t.

  And finally, there ought to be a law that Chick-fil-A is open on Sundays. But, somethings can’t be legislated.

 In a perfect world, all politicians would be required to embark down the Yellow Brick Road. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy meets and befriends the Scarecrow, who wants a brain, the Tin Woodman, who desires a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, who is in need of courage. All characteristics found lacking by many Alabama politicians.

  But, what I desire most from decision makers is character. Because character is determined by how you treat those who can do nothing for you. And it’s something that should be exemplified by everyone elected to public office.

How to deal with death



Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

One subject that most people avoid is the subject of death.  People are reluctant to talk about it, but we better understand what it means and what its implications are because it will happen to each of us.  Occasionally someone will say to me, “If I die…”  I usually interrupt and remind them that the question is not “If I die, but when I die.”  The death rate always has been and still is 100%! 

   There are a lot of answers offered for how to deal with death and what the results will be.  This is one question every person had better get right because we don’t get a second chance to answer it!  

My friend, John Geiger, has the right answer.  In June 2017 he was diagnosed with ALS and doesn’t have long to live.  Recently a large group of people gathered at our office to pray for revival.  John was there.  It took a lot of effort for him to make it.  His contagious smile, deep faith, strong spirit, and confident witness verified that he knew the right answer about death.

   John says, “As we fight death, whether it’s 1 year, 10 years, or 50 years, we all have final breaths.  We can spend our time talking about ourselves – that’s a waste of breath.  We can spend it grumbling and complaining – that’s a sad use of air.  Or we can spend it in praise and thanksgiving proclaiming the truth in all circumstances.”

   He rightly contends that “Jesus has solved the problems of mankind, especially our final enemy – death.  And He didn’t do it with just a positive philosophy.  He did it Himself by coming and taking the form of a man, dying a death, and rising from the death with witnesses.  This is a message that changes the world and changes my attitude for being faithful with whatever breaths I have left.”

   John relates how a skeptical person confronted him about his attitude.  John said he told the man about his ALS and the man looked at him and said, “Oh, everybody needs something to comfort them – something to believe in.  I’m so glad you have those nice thoughts.”  John then looked at the man and replied, “Comfort?  I don’t want comfort.”  The man was shocked.  John said, “I want truth.  If Jesus Christ came out of the grave – His body rose – I want to know because there is hope for mankind and hope for death.  But if he’s still in the grave, I don’t care what you try to comfort yourself with, there is no comfort.”

   John has spent his life teaching students how to live – now he is teaching all of us how to die.  He knows who holds the keys to death.  He knows the truth! 

   A lot of people are very fearful today, especially with all the talk about nuclear weapons.  Bunkers are being designed that might help people survive a nuclear attack.  Properly stocked and built, these bunkers might keep you alive for a few months.  Some will cost you a billion dollars – but you will eventually die.  A billion dollar bunker won’t help you when you die – but a bunker that was briefly occupied for 3 days 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem is empty, and that’s the bunker that makes an eternal difference! (Tweet this!)

That’s why Paul said, “O death, where is your sting?  O grave where is your victory?  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (1 Cor. 15:55)  Death is the victim, not the Victor.  The victory has already been won! 

   Please get the answer right about dealing with death!