INTERSECT | WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – Jan 9, 2019

In this week's Intersect, read about:


Trump Urges Wall Funding to Fix Border Crisis

President Donald Trump made a televised plea for border wall funding Tuesday night, seeking an edge in the shutdown battle with congressional Democrats as he declared there is “a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.” Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued for funding on security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid an extended partial government shutdown. Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was “immoral” for “politicians to do nothing.” read more

THINK.
If you missed President Trump’s live address yesterday, take a few minutes to read the full transcript of Trump’s speech to the nation from the Oval Office as well as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s response. President Trump called on Democrats in Congress to provide $5.7 billion to fund the border wall. He explained a physical barrier was necessary to stop illegal drugs and criminals from crossing the border. Trump said, “In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now. This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.” In response, Speaker Pelosi said, “Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice.” And Minority Leader Schumer said, “There is an obvious solution: separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security.” It’s fair to say that many – not all – Trump critics, and many – not all – Trump defenders, are more interested in scoring political points than doing the right thing. As Christians, we can agree that Christians can advocate for strong border security and the right of a nation to enforce its laws, while still demanding our government treat people in a way that respects the sanctity and dignity of the human person.

PRAY.
Pray for our leaders in Congress to find common ground to solve both the government shutdown and the security crisis at the border. Pray they would put any pride, or efforts for political gain aside and instead act in the best interest of the American people.

ACT.


Pennsylvania High School’s ‘Bible Ban’

A group of Christian students at a Pennsylvania high school said they are fighting for their right to free speech after being told they cannot hand out Bibles to their friends during lunchtime.

In November, the Bible club at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School was denied a request to pass out Bibles at school. The club said the school has until Monday to rescind the ban. "We're hoping not to sue," said Jeremy Samek, senior counsel for the Independence Law Center, which is representing the students. Samek said the school's ban is unconstitutional. This isn't the first time the Bible club has clashed with Davis Harris, the school's principal. FOX 43 reports this is the third time in the last two years the club has asked the law center for help to resolve problems at the school. Samek called it a "concerning" pattern. The Bible club said it followed school policy and submitted a written request to hand out Bibles. The school responded that it could not do so during school hours. read more

THINK.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says clearly, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” But we see the lie of “separation of church and state” (a phrase not found in the U.S. Constitution) widely misunderstood. It’s a phrase taken out of context from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. Jefferson was responding to the Danbury Baptists concern that some might interpret religious expression to be a government given right instead of a God-given inalienable right. And they feared that the government would attempt to regulate their religious freedom. Jefferson responded by assuring them the government would not mandate a state-wide religion and would in no way interfere with religious expression saying the First Amendment builds a “wall of separation between the church and state.” Americans have sadly twisted the original intention of Jefferson’s words. The founders greatly supported religion in the public square. In fact, the first textbook ever printed in America, The New England Primer, used Bible lessons to help teach children how to read. This was a textbook many founding fathers used in public school classrooms to teach their children. It’s evident that Americans’ view on religious expression in schools has changed drastically since our nation’s founding.

PRAY.
Pray for the students, parents, and attorneys who are standing up for their right to have Bibles at school and share it with others. And pray for the principal of Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School to have a change of heart in his decision.

ACT.
We encourage you to check out a great organization called Gateways to Better Education. They equip public school educators, leaders, parents and students to protect and promote religious and academic freedom regarding the Bible and Christianity in the classroom.


GOP Sen. Cruz, Rep. Rooney Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Impose Term Limits on Congress

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Republican Rep. Francis Rooney proposed a Constitutional amendment that would impose term limits on members of both houses of Congress. The amendment, co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and David Perdue (R-Ga.), would restrict senators to two six-year terms and House members to three two-year terms. A similar amendment was proposed by Cruz in January of 2017. "For too long, members of Congress have abused their power and ignored the will of the American people," Cruz said. "Term limits on members of Congress offer a solution to the brokenness we see in Washington, D.C. It is long past time for Congress to hold itself accountable. I urge my colleagues to submit this constitutional amendment to the states for speedy ratification." read more

THINK.
Both Republicans and Democrats have supported the idea of term limits at times. Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke called for term limits on Congress when he ran against Senator Ted Cruz in Texas in the 2018 elections. And President Trump has also said he supports term limits. Yet despite some political support, this Constitutional Amendment will have a long journey if it is to be added to our U.S. Constitution. There are two ways the Constitutional Amendment of term limits could be enacted. The first is with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate. This is the method Senator Cruz and Representative Rooney are pursuing with their introduced legislation. But there is also a second option, where two-thirds of state legislatures (34 states) could pass bills applying for the Term Limits Convention. This would force Congress to call the Convention. The states would then send delegates who would propose term limit amendments. Lastly, three-quarters of the states (38 states) would have to ratify the amendment.

PRAY.
Let’s continue to pray for our elected leaders that they would govern wisely and justly as long as they are in public office whether they have been there for one term or for decades (Proverbs 29:2).

ACT.
If you are interested in taking action to enact term limits check out the organization U.S. Term Limits where you can track the term limits convention progress map and see where your state falls on this issue.


House Democrats Seek to Restore Abortion Group Funding

The newly sworn-in Democrat-led House of Representatives voted Thursday on a spending bill to end the federal government shutdown that included a provision to provide funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups. The House voted 241 to 190 for the bill with all Democrats voting for it and all but 7 Republicans voting against it. Pro-life groups and prominent conservatives are speaking out against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats for slipping language into the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 that would, among other things, restore federal funding to overseas organizations that provide and promote abortion. Such funding was stripped from organizations like International Planned Parenthood by one of President Donald Trump’s first acts as president when he expanded what was known as the Mexico City Policy preventing foreign aid dollars from being used to fund organizations that perform abortions overseas. Trump’s policy is called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance and forces NGOs to agree as a condition of receiving federal funding that they will not “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” read more

THINK.
We are only about one week into a new Congress and already the debate is raging on the issue of the sanctity of life. President Trump put in place some very important protections for the unborn, and if we do not keep a careful watch on Congress, then these advancements could be undone. I’m reminded of Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” There is a spiritual battle between life and death and as followers of Christ we must do everything we can to uphold human life. It’s important to remember the battle is not just in the United States - it’s a global struggle. The Mexico City Policy funded abortions all over the world. And thanks to President Trump’s new policy, Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, Americans are no longer funding abortions overseas.

PRAY.
Pray today not only for those considering abortion in the U.S. that they would choose life, but pray especially for all those women abroad who may be considering abortion because they have no other options or support. Pray for God to meet every one of their needs and for lives to be protected despite difficult circumstances.

ACT.
Abortion persists because of ignorance, apathy, and confusion. Abort73 is an organization working to change that by highlighting the truth about abortion and providing global statistics and facts. They offer simple ways for you to learn and share with others the facts about abortion!