WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – Apr 3, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Chick-fil-A Loses Two Airport Locations in Less Than Two Weeks
The Chick-fil-A fast-food chain has been disinvited from opening a location at the Buffalo airport, its second local snafu in two weeks. The decision was due to the company's "long history of supporting and funding anti-LGBTQ organizations," according to New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, who had fought having Chick-fil-A at the airport. Just last week, the San Antonio City Council also declined to approve plans by Chick-fil-A to open at the local airport because of the company's "legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior." But Chick-fil-A sought to clarify the rhetoric by stating that “Recent coverage about Chick-fil-A continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about our brand. We want to make it clear that our sole focus is on providing delicious food and welcoming everyone – not being a part of a national political conversation. We do not have a political or social agenda. More than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand. We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.” read more
First Liberty Institute wrote a letter to the Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, alleging the San Antonio City Council may have exercised religious discrimination against Chick-fil-A by blocking them from the airport only for their religious beliefs. Despite Chick-fil-A being closed on Sundays, airports blocking Chick-fil-A locations, and some boycotting Chick-fil-A because they stand for Christian values, they are expected to be the third largest fast food chain by 2020 in sales coming in only behind McDonald’s and Starbucks. Polling indicates that younger audiences favorably view same-sex marriage. Among Christian millennials, 53 percent support same-sex marriage. Among the general millennial demographic, that number is 74 percent. If the trend lines continue, these numbers will only increase. As Christians we are to both love those of the LGBT group but also stand for biblical truth. John 15:18 says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” And Matthew 5:10 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Pray for the executives of Chick-fil-A that they would continue to stand boldly for Christian values. And pray specifically for San Antonio and New York, that local politicians would come to understand the importance of the First Amendment and religious freedom. Pray for the protection of religious liberty in our country.
We encourage you to put your money where your beliefs are! Support Chick-fil-A with your purchases to stand with them. Find a Chick-fil-A near you and make sure that your City Council or elected officials protect religious freedom.
'Unplanned' Box Office: Controversial Pro-Life movie Surprises With Strong $6M Debut
The R-rated pic scored the second-best start ever for faith-based distributor Pure Flix; tracking had suggested it would only earn around $3 million. Graced with a coveted A+ CinemaScore, Unplanned opened to a strong $6.1 million from 1,059 theaters at the U.S. box office despite a relatively modest footprint. The Christian pic did its biggest business in the Midwest and South. Generally, theaters in New York City and Los Angeles populate the list of a film's top 20 grossing theaters. In this case, there were none. Instead, the top theater was the AMC Northpark 15 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, followed by cinemas in St. Louis; Detroit; Wichita, Kansas; Temecula in Southern California's Riverside County; Salt Lake City; Orange County, California; Kansas City; Odessa, Texas; and Nashville. "We are thrilled, gratified and humbled," co-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman said Sunday in a statement. "We are so pleased that the American people have responded with such an enormous outpouring of support at the box office. It humbles us and we look forward to seeing what happens in the weeks ahead." read more
Dumbo failed to meet expectations but Unplanned exceeded expectations despite setbacks. Box office trackers only expected the pro-life film to bring in $3 million. However the film succeeded despite numerous obstacles, including the freezing of its Twitter account and a number of channels declining to air their TV commercials. Despite the impediments, the power of this story persevered and revealed the significance of this issue in our culture. One side believes women should have a voice and limiting abortion silences their voice. The other side refuses to allow the child in the womb to have no voice. The former attempted to silence the movie while the latter came out in droves to lift their voice for the voiceless (Proverbs 31:8-9). In his book Culture Making, Andy Crouch contends that we change culture by making cultural goods that “reshape the way people imagine and experience their world.” While the research suggests information has the ability to sway a mother from going through with an abortion, information alone is not sufficient in this post-truth culture. We must continue to make logical arguments for life, share powerful stories about life, and extend loving support to every life – both the mother and child (1 John 3:18).
Pray that this film would continue to reach more people, and that the hearts of those watching would be transformed. Pray that God would use every obstacle that comes in the way of this film for His glory alone.
If you haven’t had a chance to go see Unplanned yet, make plans to go see it! Unplanned is expected to release in 700 more theaters this upcoming weekend. Find a theater near you.
A Tale of Two Prayers in PA State House: 'Jesus' Prayer Blasted as 'Islamophobic', Quran Prayer Applauded
A Christian prayer given by a state representative this week at the start of a swearing-in ceremony for Pennsylvania's first Muslim representative has drawn backlash from some of her colleagues. State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz led the state house chamber in prayer Tuesday before the swearing in of Democratic Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell of Philadelphia. The freshman lawmaker, who's also a Christian and the wife of an associate pastor, mentioned Jesus Christ 13 times in her prayer. She also gave thanks for President Donald Trump for standing behind Israel during her prayer. State Democratic Whip, Jordan Harris, said her many mentions of Jesus before the ceremony to swear in Pennsylvania's first Muslim woman representative Movita Johnson-Harrell of Philadelphia was inappropriate. "I am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ, but more than anything I believe in his teachings of love, compassion and most of all unity," Harris told ABC News. read more
Another Muslim lawmaker, Representative Jason Dawkins, opened a Tuesday session by reading from the Quran. Yet his invocation was followed by applause. Even a fellow representative who claims Christianity accused Borowicz of using her prayer to attack the new representative saying, “a rambling, at times incoherent prayer that consisted of weaponizing the name of Jesus while dipping into partisan rhetoric on President Donald Trump.” Borowicz claims she was simply overcome with the Lord's presence as she took the podium. The Pennsylvania State Capital has over 60 Bible references throughout the building. Jesus was the most tolerant and open-minded man who ever lived (John 3:17), but he was also the most intolerant about many things, including salvation (Acts 4:12). For Christians, the name of Jesus cannot be kept quiet. For our nation, this is one of our most basic freedoms. "If a lawmaker who is a Christian can no longer stand in a General Assembly in America and pray to Jesus without ridicule,” Borowicz said, “then we are no longer free."
Pray that Borowicz’s prayer and stance, unashamedly and unapologetically proclaiming the name of Jesus, would encourage others to be bold in their own situations. Pray that other Christians would come to understand and exhibit the balance of tolerance and intolerance that Jesus gave all people.
Throughout our nation’s history prayer has played an important role to help guide our country. Read about the times that our founding fathers humbled themselves before the Lord in prayer to seek God’s wisdom for our nation.
Georgia House Passes 'Heartbeat Bill' Outlawing Most Abortions After 6 Weeks
The Georgia House of Representatives has approved HB 481, better known as the “Heartbeat Bill.” The controversial bill outlaws most abortions as soon as a doctor can detect a heartbeat in a fetus. Doctors say a heartbeat is typically detected when a fetus reaches six weeks' gestation. Current Georgia law allows abortions up to 20 weeks. Opponents of the bill gathered outside the House chamber Friday, waiting on word one way or the other over the bill’s passage. When the bill passed, protesters could be heard inside the chamber yelling "Shame!". Ahead of Friday’s vote, more than 50 Hollywood celebrities signed a letter sent to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (who is expected to sign the bill), saying they will push TV and film production companies to abandon Georgia if the bill is signed into law. Executives from Coca-Cola, Amazon and 90 other Georgia business leaders — signed a separate letter saying the measure would “take the state in the wrong direction.” Republican state Rep. Ed Setzler, of Acworth, who sponsored the bill, said the passage of the bill was one step closer to recognizing unborn babies as Georgia citizens. “The importance of this cannot be overstated,” Setzler said. “All along, this is a very important substantive issue where we’re carefully balancing the very difficult circumstances women find themselves in with the basic right to life of a child. That’s what this is.” read more
Dozens of celebrities have spoken out against the bill in Georgia, including Actor Alec Baldwin. Stephen Baldwin, Alec’s pro-life brother, spoke out on twitter saying “Avoided tweets like this long as I could now too overwhelming, Love will ultimately win Jesus, but for so long I’ve sat back & trusted God as my own family members have perpetrated the spirit of hate … through abortion Mockery & blindness. #sad #Alec #hates #pray.” The public disagreement between Alec and Stephen highlights what many families experience when it comes to the issue of abortion. But as believers, the passage of the Heartbeat Bill in Georgia is a huge victory for life worth celebrating (Psalm 139). In related news, House Democrats have blocked a vote for the 25th time this past week to make infanticide illegal and require medical care to be provided for babies who are born alive. And the Governor of Virginia signed into law a new bill that will make animal cruelty a felony in Virginia. Ironic, because this is the same Governor who defended infanticide and said he would allow babies to be aborted past the point of birth.
Pray for more states to follow Georgia’s lead and pass laws to protect the sanctity of life. Pray for women who are considering abortion to choose life for their baby.
We all can play an important role in the pro-life cause. We’ve outlined five ways for you to get involved in the pro-life cause. Take a look at the list and pray about how God may be leading you to stand for life in your community!
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.