WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – Apr 10, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Kirstjen Nielsen, The Secretary of Homeland Security, Resigns
Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversaw President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration policies as secretary of Homeland Security, is leaving her post amid tensions with some in the White House who felt she hasn't done enough to stem border crossings. Trump tweeted Sunday that Nielsen is leaving the post she has held since the end of 2017. Nielsen's departure comes as a surge of migrants has overwhelmed the U.S. immigration system in recent months. Nielsen has voiced increasing frustration at the situation, which the administration considers a national security crisis, and last week she compared it to a Category 5 hurricane. read more
Over the weekend President Trump tweeted, “Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service.” He continued, “I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for DHS. I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!” Officials are on track to arrest more than 780,000 illegal immigrants this year. Border crossings are at a 12-year-high. For context purposes, border officials apprehended almost twice as many migrants (268,044) in the first 5 months of the fiscal year than were detained in the same period the previous year. At the end of the day, Nielsen served at the pleasure of the President. While Cabinet officials serve at the pleasure of the President, we all serve to please the King (Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 5:10-11).
Pray for Kevin McAlennan as he begins his new role leading the Department of Homeland Security. Pray for everyone in the administration to have wisdom as they deal fairly with people crossing the border while also working to keep Americans and our borders safe and secure.
Read this informative and thought provoking article from Pastor Todd Wager on what it means to bring a biblical worldview to the immigration issue. Do we have to choose between love and the law?
Mike Huckabee Identifies 'Biggest Threat' to Moral Fiber of US, Why It's The Church's Fault
Redefining gender and sexual identity is the “greatest threat” to the moral fiber of America, said former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and the fault lies with the Church. “The biggest threat to biblical principles today is the failure to apply a biblical standard of maleness and femaleness. We are creating this illusion that there is no gender, there is no identity, and I'm blaming the Christian Church.” The 2008 and 2016 Republican presidential candidate explained that California’s introduction of “no-fault divorce” in 1970 created the mindset that marriage “wasn’t really that important” and that one “could go in and out of it without a second thought.” Prior to that time, some kind of marital fault had to be demonstrated before a divorce could be granted. “That’s when we first started losing that sense of sacredness of what marriage meant,” he argued. “So I'm not really that surprised that same sex-marriage has become in vogue because the Christian Church were the ones who essentially abdicated a strict responsibility about what biblical marriage should look like. Once you've destroyed that, why can't you have any and everything?” he continued. “The gender dysphoria we're seeing today is largely due to the fact that the Church has failed to present very clearly the words of Jesus and Genesis 5:2: ‘Male and female He created them.’” read more
Huckabee, who serves as our Honorary National Chairman, pointed out that people are afraid to be truly biblical for fear of alienating people, and it appears church leaders have that same fear too. Although pastors feel they play an important role to help their members understand cultural issues like these, according to a recent Barna Survey, pastors feel limited on the issues they can address. While the concern has decreased, many still feel constrained on what they can teach based on pressures from their members. John Bevere once said, “We lack true love when we avoid addressing issues that are destroying people.” And while many biblical truths aren’t the popular choice, they are a lifesaver for everyone. “We need to be bold and say, ‘It doesn't matter what you feel. It doesn't matter what you think, or what you believe; what matters is truth,’” Huckabee said. “Real truth is objective; it’s not subjective. We may see things differently, but there's only one truth” (John 17:17).
Pray for an awakening throughout the churches of this nation. Pray that God would continue to use pastors as instruments for His Word, and pray that pastors would not shy away from the truths in scripture out of fear of discomfort or offense.
Read Pastor J.D. Greear’s blog post, When Should Churches Make A Political Statement, to further explore this important issue.
FBI and Louisiana Authorities Investigate 3 'Suspicious' Fires at African American Churches
The FBI, the ATF, and Louisiana state authorities are investigating a string of "suspicious" fires at three historic African American church buildings in Louisiana's St. Landry Parish. The first fire occurred on March 26 at the St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, and the second happened Tuesday when the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas caught fire. Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas caught fire on Thursday. All three buildings, home to African American congregations, are located in rural areas and the fires happened at night. They were uninhabited at the time the fires occurred and no injuries were reported. Pastors from 10 area churches gathered Thursday to discuss the fires and show support for the affected churches, The Advocate newspaper reported. The pastors said all of the three buildings damaged by the fires were each over a century old. read more
Church fires have been declining over the years but this recent stretch is discouraging. In 1996, arsonists intentionally torched 296 houses of worship. In 2015, that number had dropped to 29. But why go after African-American churches? David Love observed that these churches serve as the epicenter of survival in the African-American community. They are “a pillar of the black community, the center for leadership and institution building, education, social and political development and organizing to fight oppression. Strike at the black church, and you strike at the heart of black American life.” These arsonists can burn the building, but they cannot touch the spirit. If the past is any indication, their malicious efforts only fan the flame of God within the church (2 Timothy 1:6). Rev. Gerald Toussaint of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church said, "The church is still alive. The building is gone, but we'll be back because we can't let the enemy win."
Pray for these three church communities as they seek to rebuild and learn the truth of what happened. Pray for the faith community in Louisiana to emerge from this stronger and bolder for the Gospel.
If you live in Louisiana near one of these churches, consider reaching out to see how you can help them. If you live in a different state, set aside time this week to check in with your church to see how you might be able to serve. When we are connected to a local body when tragedy strikes, we are stronger and able to come together quickly as a community to heal and recover.
Senator Ted Cruz Threatens Legal Action Against Yale Law School for Policy that Blacklists Christian Organizations
Sen. Ted Cruz is opening an investigation into Yale Law School for what he claims is discrimination against students with "traditional Christian views" and threatened legal action if they do not cooperate. The Texas Republican sent a letter to Yale Law School Dean, Heather Gerken, notifying her that he will investigate a new law school policy which Cruz said stems from “unconstitutional animus and a specific discriminatory intent both to blacklist Christian organizations and to punish Yale students whose values or religious faith lead them to work there.” Cruz believes that Yale's policy change could deny financial assistance to students based on the religious affiliation of the organization for which they choose to work. read more
First amendment freedoms are under fire on college campuses more than ever as institutions become more liberal - even those who identify as Christian. Bullying against conservative students has increased, and protests against conservative speakers have even become violent. Students and college faculty have become wary of conservative Christian speakers and unfairly labeled their topics as “bigoted”. Just last month, a Christian institution in Minnesota, barred pro-life speaker and Christian activist, Star Parker, from addressing a student-led campus chapter due to her “radical” views. Conservative commentator Matt Walsh has recently come under fire from students at Baylor University for his upcoming speech. The increase in discrimination and pushing of one-sided views is making for a flaw in our educational system and infringing upon our First Amendment freedoms. Our Founding Fathers were God fearing men who knew God’s intention for government was simply to protect good and punish evil (Romans 13:3-4).
Pray for the name of Jesus to be advanced throughout campuses across the nation, and pray that the Lord would capture the hearts of the students and faculty that do not know Him. Pray that students would continue to stand boldly for their Christian faith on college campuses.
While Universities should be a place of critical thinking and a place to engage with opposing point of views, discrimination continues to increase. Learn how Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting to ensure the freedoms of Christian college students in three key areas.
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.