WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - APRIL 28, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Supreme Court to Take Up 1st Major Gun Rights Case in More Than A Decade
“In a major foray into gun rights, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review a case testing how far states may go in regulating whether an individual may carry a gun outside the home. More than a decade ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms guarantees the right to own a gun in one's home for self-defense. But since then, despite repeated pleas from gun rights' advocates, the court majority has declined to make any further decision about how far states may go in regulating gun rights. Now, however, the court, in NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett, will review a New York law, upheld by the lower courts, that requires individuals to get a license to carry a concealed gun outside the home. The case will likely be argued in the fall.” read more at NPR News
Except in limited circumstances, New York state law prohibits the possession of a firearm without a license. Petitioners Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, members of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, both applied individually for a license to carry a firearm pursuant to New York Penal Law article 400.00. In both cases, a licensing officer issued restricted licenses allowing petitioners to carry firearms for the specific purpose of hunting and target shooting only. To receive an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm outside the home, a person must show “proper cause” – meaning a special need for self-protection. Nash and Koch subsequently requested that the licensing officer remove the restriction from their licenses so that they could carry a firearm for the general purpose of self-defense. In support of his request, Nash cited several recent robberies in his neighborhood and his completion of an advanced firearms safety course. Likewise, in support of his request, Koch cited his experience in safely handling firearms and the completion of various firearms safety courses. The case concerns a person's right to carry a firearm for self-defense under the Constitution's Second Amendment. New York is one of eight states that block residents from carrying a weapon for self-defense. The other states include California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional right of Americans to keep a gun at home for self-defense, but the court has not said whether the Second Amendment applies outside the home. Now, many are looking to the newest justice and how she may rule on the case. While serving as a judge on the federal appeals court in Chicago, Amy Coney Barrett previously indicated her support for the right to bear arms. Barrett had criticized a separate gun rights ruling, saying it treated the Second Amendment as a “second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” Recently the governors of North Dakota and Nebraska signed proclamations declaring their states a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State” and Oklahoma made it law on Monday. The moves come after President Joe Biden on April 8 announced a series of new gun control measures via executive action. Federal legislation affecting guns is one of the nation’s most partisan, politicized issues, as evidenced by the two Democratic-backed gun control bills adopted by the House but which will face opposition in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority. Christians fall on both sides of the debate about self-defense. As always, when we think, pray, and vote on this issue, let our guide be God’s Word, not a political party.
Heavenly Father, we ask that You help us to maintain a free society. Let our nation’s leaders be granted the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that true freedom comes only from You. In the effort to control guns to stop tragedies, we realize that the real issue is the lack of the knowledge of You as Lord and Savior. Turn our hearts back to You. (Acts 3:19)
Is it okay for a Christian to have a concealed handgun license? Our friend, Todd Wagner, helps to answer this very question from a biblical perspective in a 6 minute “Real Truth, Real Quick” video. Watch here.
Texas Will Gain 2 Congressional Seats. Seven States to Lose 1 Seat, Census Bureau Data Shows
“Texas will gain two more congressional seats and seven states will each lose a seat as a result of population shifts recorded in the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau said Monday in the release of its first round of data from the survey taken last year. In total, seven seats shifted affecting 13 states. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained one seat in addition to Texas. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one seat. The shift could affect the 2022 midterm elections and whether Democrats can hold onto control of the House, where they hold a narrow majority. It's also part of a broader shift to the South and West of the U.S., with 84 seats shifting toward those states since 1940. The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 seats, based on population. Every decade, as population shifts, the allotment of seats for each state may change based on updated data collected by the Census Bureau. States that grow may gain House members, at the expense of shrinking states. New congressional districts would take effect for the 2022 election. That puts added pressure on Democrats, who control the house by the slim margin of 218-212, with five seats vacant. The size of the House has not changed since 1913.” read more at USA Today
Who gets to redraw the congressional districts in each state? In many states, the state legislature controls how the district lines are drawn. Often, the majority party will shape a district’s boundaries to favor their party’s candidate based on the political demographics of the people in that area. This is yet another affirmation of the impact of state legislative elections. Why should Christians care about the redistricting of Congress? An insightful answer comes from one of our recent interviewees, John Cooper. He said, “All politics is religious. At some point, there will always be a god of the system, whatever law people believe in... So, we need to speak into it. If Jesus is Lord, he's got to be Lord of everything. So, he needs to be Lord of the ethical realm, of the civil realm, of the realm of laws.” The platforms of the two main parties advocate for two different worldviews, which determines the kinds of bills that are introduced and passed by the majority party in Congress. Recent bills such as the “Equality Act” reflect an unbiblical view of human sexuality, and the “For The People Act” would jeopardize the integrity of our elections, which is reflective of “unequal weights and unequal measures” which are detestable to God (Proverbs 20:10). There is no area of society which Jesus does not have authority over. Just as we seek His will in other areas of our life, we must also seek to do His will in our political involvement. One additional census fact worth noting is that the total population grew by only 7.4% in the last ten years, the second-slowest increase in history. Part of this may be due to our declining birth rate. A recent study conducted by the Institute for Family Studies found that high-income countries become “workist” and experience declining birth rates: “As societies emphasize personal meaning and value through work, people find less meaning and value in families.” Many Christians don’t know how to apply a Biblical worldview to politics; could it be that we don’t know how to apply it to the family as well?
Pray for states as they draw new district lines and pray that Christian candidates who hold a robust Biblical worldview will decide to run for elected office, including in the 2022 elections. Also, keep praying that ungodly bills in Congress will be stopped, and that more Christians seek to obey Jesus in every area of life.
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most successful Christian rock stars. John Cooper has been entertaining audiences for more than two decades as the lead singer of the popular rock band Skillet. Now he is adding a new mission to his platform: combating post-modernism and cultural relativism. He shares his thoughts on why many Christians don’t want to engage in politics, how to recognize Jesus’ authority over all of life, and much more. We encourage you to watch our interview here.
Idaho Senate Passes Bill banning Teaching of Critical Race Theory in Schools
“The Idaho Senate on Monday approved legislation aimed at preventing public and charter schools and universities from teaching critical race theory, which examines the ways in which race and racism influence American politics, culture and the law. The measure has already passed the House and now heads to the governor's desk. The measure, which passed the Senate with a 27 to 8, would prevent educators from making students ‘affirm, adopt or adhere to’ belief systems claiming individuals of any race, sex, ethnicity, religion, or national origin are responsible for past actions done by members of the same group. It also would prohibit teachers from forcing students onto belief systems that claim a group of people as defined by sex, race, ethnicity or religion are inferior or superior to another.” read more at Idaho News
What is Critical Race Theory? Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the opposite of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision--it advocates judging people based on the color of their skin instead of the content of their character (Contrary to 1 Samuel 16:7). In this theory, a person’s ethnicity, sex, socio-economic status, and religion automatically determine whether they are an oppressed person or an oppressor, regardless of their life experiences. For example, according to CRT, a white Christian male belongs to an oppressor group, and is therefore inherently an oppressor, regardless of his actions. Similarly, a black non-Christian woman automatically belongs to an oppressed group, and is therefore inherently an oppressed person, regardless of her personal experiences. This contradicts Biblical teaching. Jesus is clear that a person’s sin proceeds from their heart, not from their external characteristics. In Matthew 15:18-20, He states, “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.” We are all guilty of sin, and we all need a savior. Our identity is not rooted in our skin color; our identity is found in Christ alone when we trust in Him as our Savior. Critical Race Theory may be coming to a school near you if it isn’t already. In Nevada, the mother of a 12th-grade charter school student filed a lawsuit on behalf of her son, who was forced to take a civics class which labeled him as an oppressor because of his light skin. Her son, who is biracial, was given a failing grade and suspended because he objected to this audacious ideology. The Federal Department of Education is proposing a new rule that would prioritize grants for American History and Civics Education programs. Such programs would “incorporate culturally responsive teaching”, which is the same term used by a radical new policy in Illinois that requires teachers to “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives”. The federal education policy would likely pave the way for a bill called the Civics Secures Democracy Act, which advocates for “Action Civics” --essentially a code word for teaching leftist activism to students. The Idaho legislation and similar bills are a proactive measure to prevent the prospect of federal grants influencing school curriculum to adopt Critical Race Theory. But most importantly, parents and school board members must be aware of what is already being taught in their local classrooms.
Father, help us to love you with all our minds, and teach our children to do the same. It grieves us to see how an ideology that is labeled ‘anti-racist’ actually encourages division and resentment. Above all, it discourages people from seeing their need for a Savior who can take their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36) May your Holy Spirit go before us to open people’s eyes to the truth and help us to speak the truth! In Jesus’ name, amen.
If you’re looking to learn more about Critical Race Theory--what it is, how it manifests, and how to fight it, check out this article by Hillsdale College. If you are concerned that CRT might be in your local school, you can use this checklist by School House Rights to spot many of the telltale signs.
Newsom Recall Officially Triggered as Verified Signature Threshold Met
“The effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom has received the necessary number of verified signatures to trigger a recall election later this year. The California Secretary of State said on Monday that the threshold of verified signatures reported by counties, which was set at 1,495,709, had been met. The campaign collected more than 1.6 million verified signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office. ‘This now triggers the next phase of the recall process, a 30-business-day period in which voters may submit written requests to county Registrars of Voters to remove their names from the recall petition,’ Secretary Weber said in a statement. ‘A recall election will be held unless a sufficient number of signatures are withdrawn.’ If after those 30 days the effort retains enough signatories, the Department of Finance will be given 30 days to estimate the cost of the recall election, and after that a budget committee will have 30 calendar days to review those estimates before the Lieutenant Governor sets the date for the election. The recall ballot would ask voters to choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the question of removing Newsom from office, followed by a selection of replacement candidates. More than 50% of voters would be required to ‘yes’ to remove him. Then, the candidate with the most votes is elected governor.” read more at Fox News
Newsom won his election in 2018 with support from more than 60% of voters and he is up for reelection in 2022. Recalling him will be a tough sell in the heavily Democratic state where just a quarter of the state’s registered voters are Republicans, about the same number as those who identify as “no party preference.” But Newsom’s handling of the covid pandemic may be shifting the CA political landscape. California is one of 19 states that allow voters to remove state officials before the end of their term. No reason is necessary — the only requirement to put a recall on the ballot is enough voter signatures. There’s no limit on the number of candidates who can run to replace an official on a recall ballot. And whoever gets the most votes wins, even without a majority. That’s what happened in 2003, when then-Gov. Gray Davis was recalled by 55% of voters. More than 125 candidates ran to replace him, carving up the votes and allowing action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger to win with 48.6% support. So far, no Democrats have given mention of a possible run but former Olympian and transgender reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, businessman John Cox (who lost to Newsom in 2018), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Rep. Doug Ose have all said they’ll run. If the recall passes all the upcoming hurdles, it would largely be conducted through vote-by-mail ballots. Newsom earlier this year signed Senate Bill 29, which will automatically send California voters a ballot in the mail for 2021 elections, similar to the way in which the state conducted the 2020 election. The effort to recall Newsom was launched last June and supporters turned in 2.1 million signatures by the March 17, 2021, submission deadline. As of April 26, the California Secretary of State had deemed 1,626,042 of those signatures valid. We can be thankful for the privilege of being able to organize ourselves politically and of knowing that political loyalty does not have to mean disloyalty to God.
O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord, Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments. We thank You for the opportunity that these elections put before us, to exercise our solemn duty, not only to vote, but to influence countless others to vote. Lord, we pray that Your people may be awakened. Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation, their response to You requires that they be politically active. Awaken Your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world but rather a community of faith renewing the world.
Even in “off election” years, there are still thousands of elections happening across the country. Texas: many of you have critical elections happening across your state this Saturday, May 1st. Find out if elections are happening in your district here and view a helpful voter guide here.
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.