Month: April 2015

Should we allow abortions across the street from a school?

Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue rally outside of the Alabama Women's Center on Madison Street Wednesday, June 25, 2014 in Huntsville, Ala. Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville has notified the state health department that it will surrender its license "before the close of business on Monday, June 30," said Brian Hale, the agency's deputy general counsel. State inspectors had determined the clinic, located on Madison Street near Huntsville Hospital, would need "moderate to significant alterations" to comply with the new Women's Health and Safety Act that goes into effect July 1, said Hale.(Eric Schultz / eschultz@al.com)Eric Schultz The view from the sidewalk of 4831 Sparkman Drive in Huntsville is a typical cross-section of honest American life. If you stand there, across the street and to your left is Woody Anderson Ford with its rows of shiny new F-Series pickups. Across the street and to your right you'd see the former Ed White Middle School, which is currently being renovated to house a magnet school. Some of our communities best and brightest will soon use this sidewalk on their way to class there. Around the corner from where you'd stand is Highlands Elementary School. On a calm day you can hear those kids playing; sounds of laughter carry over the rooftops of neighborhood homes. And just down the street is Our Lady Queen of the Universe Catholic Church. Its parishioners would pass you on their way to mass. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper…

Is defending the flag worth breaking the law? Maybe

We've all seen burning American flags on television, but what would you do upon seeing Old Glory desecrated before your very eyes, with its broad stripes and bright stars trampled underfoot or set ablaze? It's a difficult question; particularly for conservatives because it places three of our principles at odds -- tradition, liberty and the rule of law. That conflict of conscience was recently on display at Valdosta State University in Georgia where demonstrators were walking on the American flag during a protest. That ended after Michelle Manhart, a U.S. Air Force veteran, showed up on campus, snatched the flag and walked away. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com.. More opinion on AL.com "The flag in an iconic symbol for freedom ... It was tattered and torn, covered with mud and dirt," Manhart said in an interview. "I told the demonstrators that it needed to be properly disposed of." The resulting altercation was captured on video. The clip first shows Manhart surrounded by screaming protestors and then by police demanding she release the flag. She refused, and it eventually took several officers to pry the flag from her grip. Good for her. Sure, she broke the law -- it was theft, basically -- but the deep currents of tradition compel some to respect and defend what our society holds sacred, regardless of law, and the flag is indeed sacred. We believe it's…

Do we dare defend our rights? opinion

J. Pepper Bryars Conservatives in Alabama love our motto, "We dare defend our rights." It reflects our admiration of both courage and principle, and calls us to remain vigilant. But our voice has been noticeably silent during the debate about the religious freedom measures in Indiana and Arkansas. Some expected our conservative leaders to clearly see the revolutionary-era "unite or die" nature of the situation and stand alongside our embattled sister states. Yet our conservative leaders in the State Legislature have said, at least until now, that they see no reason "to get involved in that fray" and said not to expect a similar religious freedom bill filed this year. They point to the ongoing battle over the budget as the primary focus of their attention. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at¬†jpepperbryars@gmail.com¬†and jpepperbryars.com. More opinion on AL.com Sure, our budget is a mess and requires a great deal of debate before our differences are settled, but we should expect our lawmakers to handle several issues simultaneously (isn't that the purpose of legislative committees?) Besides, first things first. Religious freedom has long held the distinction of being the "first freedom" in American society. It's what our nation was founded and built upon. Our forefathers endured immeasurable hardships to secure its promise for us and our children. It's both our birthright and our legacy, and it's under assault. If now isn't the time for its…

Alabama should enact the fetal heartbeat law: guest opinion

J. Pepper Bryars Alabama lawmakers are again working on legislation to make it illegal to kill unborn children if doctors detect one of the defining indications of human life - a beating heart. Abortion rights supporters are attacking the bill, of course. They point to the fact that an unborn child's heart can start beating as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, so the proposal would effectively end most abortions in Alabama. "This proposed bill makes it quite obvious that the Alabama Legislature is once again trying to eradicate a woman's constitutional right to obtain a safe, legal abortion," read a statement issued by Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com and More opinion on AL.com Most pro-life supporters have never recognized any such "constitutional right" to kill an unborn child, but we do admit that our movement is trying to eradicate abortion. We make no apologies for defending innocent human life anywhere, anytime and with any legal means available. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, would require physicians to check for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion. If one is detected, then silencing that sound would be officially called what we already know it is - a crime. A similar bill was introduced last session but failed. After a strong Republican showing in last year's elections there's no reason why the bill shouldn't now…