WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - APRIL 6, 2022
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Biden Administration Endorses Transgender Youth Sex-Change Operations, 'Top Surgery,' Hormone Therapy
“President Biden's administration has released a series of documents encouraging gender-reassignment surgery and hormone treatments for minors. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Population Affairs released a document Thursday titled ‘Gender Affirming Care and Young People.’ The same day, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Child Traumatic Stress Network – another subset of the HHS – released a parallel document titled, ‘Gender-Affirming Care Is Trauma-Informed Care.’ The HHS documents describe what it calls appropriate treatments for transgender adolescents, including: ‘Top’ surgery – to create male-typical chest shape or enhance breasts;’ and ‘Bottom’ surgery – surgery on genitals or reproductive organs, facial feminization or other procedures.” read more at Fox News
The Office of Population Affairs justifies its stance by stating that “Medical and psychosocial gender affirming healthcare practices have been demonstrated to yield lower rates of adverse mental health outcomes, build self-esteem, and improve overall quality of life for transgender and gender diverse youth.” That emphatic position, however, is disputed by medical professionals elsewhere. The U.K.’s National Health Services (NHS) recently commissioned an independent review to study the best practices for treating children with gender dysphoria. The interim report notes, “Evidence on the appropriate management of children and young people with gender incongruence and dysphoria is inconclusive both nationally and internationally.” (Emphasis mine.) This is due in part because “longer-term follow-up data on children and young people who have been seen by gender identity services is limited, including for those who have received physical interventions…There has been research on the short-term mental health outcomes and physical side effects of puberty blockers for this cohort, but very limited research on the sexual, cognitive or broader developmental outcomes.” According to research from the U.S. and Holland, approximately 20 percent of transgender patients regret transition surgery. Individuals who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely to die by suicide, and they are at a higher risk for anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. Besides the disastrous consequences for young people, how will the Biden Administration’s advocacy affect our society? Women’s rights will continue to take a backseat to transgender “rights.” President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to “standing up for transgender equality in the classroom, on the playing field, at work, in our military, in our housing and health care systems – everywhere." This means laws like California’s that allow men to be incarcerated with women are allowed to stand, while the administration will oppose states like Texas who attempt to classify gender transition of minors as child abuse. Federal support for transgenderism may also tragically sway the opinions of many Christians. Public policy tends to influence public opinion. As Carl Truman noted, “What happens in California doesn’t stay in California,” and the actions of the culture are sadly often repeated in the church. Finally, this is fundamentally a direct attack on the family, which is the bedrock of a flourishing society. Social studies tell us that if we destroy the family, we will destroy our civilization. That is why Focus on the Family warns, “[N]o one can just hope this intentionally confusing gender issue will simply go away. It cannot be politely ignored by anyone who cares about the family. It must be countered with unapologetic truth. It must be confronted with reality. Our collective work for the sake of the family, the well-being of children, and a healthy future for humanity demands nothing less.”
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your love and compassion and Your desire to see every person come to a saving knowledge of the truth. Our hearts are heavy, Lord, for those who are walking in bondage to the lies of this world and believing that sin is the only way to achieve wholeness. God, have mercy on them. Take away distractions and lies that weigh people down and drown out Your voice of truth and order. Fill their hearts and minds with a yearning for what is real. Position us, Lord, to be conduits of Your love and messengers of Your truth.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we know there is still light at the end of this tunnel and hope amid brokenness. It is up to us to carry the message of truth, salvation, and redemption to those who are hurting and confused by the narratives of this world. We can communicate that Adam and Eve’s sin painfully affects our minds and bodies in various ways, but God can redeem all brokenness. (Romans 8) For parents, grandparents, or Christian teachers discipling their children, Mama Bear Apologetics has some good resources and articles we encourage you to dive into. While you’re there, the book, Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality may be a helpful resource to get.
Arizona Will Require Voters to Prove Citizenship, Residency
“Arizona's Republican governor on Wednesday signed a bill requiring voters to prove their citizenship to vote in a presidential election, drawing fierce opposition from voting rights advocates who say it risks affecting some 200,000 people. The bill also requires anyone newly registering to vote to provide proof of their address.” read more at Newsmax
Arizona is being proactive to address a loophole in the voting process. “Central to HB 2492 is what steps the state can take to curb voting by people who have registered using the federal form but not provided evidence of citizenship.” Registered voters who use a form from the federal Election Assistance Commission could potentially be non-citizens voting in elections for president or congress. Arizona has required proof of citizenship when registering to vote since 2004. According to a Supreme Court ruling in 2013, this requirement can only extend to state elections, not federal elections, because federal voter registration forms only require a person to affirm, but not prove, their citizenship. 31,500 registered voters in Arizona have not provided documentation of citizenship and therefore cannot vote for candidates in state elections, only for House, Senate, and US Presidential candidates. This bill would prohibit those voters from voting for president or voting by mail. State Representative Jake Hoffman, the bill’s author, argued that since the Constitution gives states authority to choose how to select presidential electors, the bill’s citizenship proof for the presidential election is completely legal. Arizona’s new proof of citizenship measure is a credible and cost-effective method to ensure valid citizenship for those casting votes in elections. In a state where illegal immigrants are costing state taxpayers roughly $1.3 billion a year for things like education, healthcare, and incarceration, it is no wonder Arizonans have taken a stand to make sure that those who are not fulfilling the responsibilities of citizenship are not permitted to vote. Requiring proof of citizenship frustrates those who turn a blind eye to election fraud. It is no surprise that they are threatening to challenge this law in court. However, Governor Ducey indicates he is more concerned with “counting every lawful vote and prohibiting any attempt to illegally cast a vote.” On a related note, a U.S. District Judge recently struck down portions of a Florida law limiting the use of ballot drop boxes. Surprisingly, he also imposed a ten-year ban on changes to the state’s election law without pre-clearance from the court. The ruling will likely be appealed to the more conservative 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Pray that among the highly charged rhetoric, lawmakers would support measures to ensure free and fair elections. Pray that ordinary citizens would get involved in their local elections this year and be responsible stewards of our freedom. Ask the Lord what you can do personally to leave a better country for your children and grandchildren.
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US Bracing for Influx of Migrants at Southern Border if Title 42 Revoked
“As the Biden administration prepares to remove the use of a public health policy barring migrants from requesting asylum, state and local leaders grow concerned over the financial and public safety implications when the changes are made next month. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced they will be terminating the use of the public health policy known as Title 42, effective May 23. The policy was used about 1.5 million times to turn back migrants at the border, though many ended up staying in Mexico waiting for its reversal. DHS officials explained the changes to immigration processing will be a return to the ‘status quo,’ or the normal, statutory process established for the department before the pandemic, during a media call Friday afternoon. Federal, state and local officials, however, are concerned about a buildup of migrants waiting to enter initially.” read more at The Monitor
The policy, known as the Title 42 authority, was named for a 1944 public health law to prevent communicable disease. It was enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2020 to block migrants from the chance to seek asylum in the U.S. The agency cited controlling the spread of COVID-19 as justification for the order. The concern now is that a broken and overwhelmed immigration system won’t be able to handle the new influx to an already record level of immigration numbers. “When they take away Title 42, there literally will be no defense left down there, and no deportation either in the United States. And asylum will be available to everybody,” said Todd Bensman, national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. “It’ll literally be the truest definition of open borders that we’ve ever had,” he continued. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection source told Fox News when Title 42 is removed, they are bracing for up to 500,000 people to illegally cross within six weeks. Republicans and Democrats are opposing the move. Arizona Senators Mark Kelly (D) and Kyrsten Sinema (D) sent a letter to President Biden last week, stating, "Given the impacts that changes to Title 42 could have on border communities, border security, and migrants, we urge your Administration not to make any changes to Title 42 implementation until you are completely ready to execute and coordinate a comprehensive plan that ensures a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border." Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) said that ending the order "will likely lead to a migrant surge that the administration does not appear to be ready for." If you have flown in an airplane recently you know that President Biden has not lifted covid restrictions off of the American people, yet he is willing to remove restrictions for people crossing the border. The spread of COVID by migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border has "ceased to be a serious danger to public health," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky wrote. As a Christian nonpartisan organization, we are about care and compassion for those in need and realize that orderly processes provide the best opportunity for those immigrating to America to thrive. Unfortunately, our President seeks to sidestep order by reacting to the demands of progressives, immigration activists and institutions, such as the United Nations, who have called Title 42 cruel and illegal. But isn’t safety and law and order good for everyone?
Heavenly Father, we not only have a crisis at the border, but we also have a crisis of faith in this nation. We pray for righteous men and women to rise and to lead us confidently into a society that has compassion with justice. Where we see lawlessness, we pray for obedience and order.
Do you know what each party platform says about the issue of immigration? We’ve created a helpful one-page as well as a more comprehensive guide to view where each party stands on this and other key issues that impact all of us at the voting booth. Learn more and download the guides here.
Finnish MP Is Acquitted of 'Hate Speech' Charges over Biblical Views on Marriage, Sexuality
“A Finnish Parliamentarian has been cleared on all charges after being accused of ‘hate speech’ for expressing her biblical beliefs on marriage and sexuality. Alliance Defending Freedom International, which represented Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola, announced that in a unanimous ruling, a Finnish court concluded that ‘it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts.’ ‘I am so grateful the court recognized the threat to free speech and ruled in our favour. I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders after being acquitted. Although I am grateful for having had this chance to stand up for freedom of speech, I hope that this ruling will help prevent others from having to go through the same ordeal,’ Räsänen said after the ruling on Wednesday.” read more in Christian Headlines
The charges against Räsänen related to her comments in a 2004 pamphlet, her appearance in a 2018 radio debate, and a Twitter post in 2019. The Prosecutor General charged Räsänen, who served as Finland’s interior minister from 2011 to 2015, with incitement against a minority group, arguing that her statements were “likely to cause intolerance, contempt, and hatred towards homosexuals.” The three counts of "ethnic agitation" -- a hate speech provision in Finland's criminal code -- were for simply expressing widely held biblical beliefs. The charge against Pohjola concerned his decision to publish Räsänen’s pamphlet, “Male and Female He Created Them.” This case has been watched around the world. In January, several US Senators wrote a letter addressed to Rashad Hussain, U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom, expressing their concern over the “alarming” prosecution of Räsänen: “We are greatly concerned that the use of Finnish hate speech law is tantamount to a secular blasphemy law. It could open the door for prosecution of other devout Christians, Muslims, Jews and adherents of other faiths for publicly stating their religious beliefs.” Although MP Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjol were unanimously cleared, state prosecutors in Finland have indicated they will appeal the acquittal of the two defendants. What is important to note is this is another picture of things to come for Christians around the world. Historic biblical Christianity and the modern moral revolution of sexuality and gender cannot both peacefully coexist within a culture, because proponents of the sexual revolution won’t let them coexist. The European publication known as Christian Today, reported that during the trial that the prosecution had argued that using the word “sin” could be considered derogatory and harmful, claiming “it was not challenging religious views, but the expression of these views." That is a critical distinction. They were essentially saying, “This is not something that's covered by religious liberty, this isn't about religion. It's about the expression of that religion.” May we take to heart Räsänen’s words when she arrived at the initial court hearing holding a Bible. She said she was “honored to be defending freedom of speech and religion,” and added, “I hope that today it can become clear that I have no wish to offend any group of people, but this is a question of saving people for eternal life.”
Lord, we thank you for the testimonies of those who stand firmly for You in a hostile culture. Instill in us the hope, courage and the conviction to follow You no matter the cost. May we live the words of Titus 2:11-14 which says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
Colorado cake maker Jack Phillip’s testimony of standing firm for biblical truth in the face of years of intense physical, spiritual, cultural and legal opposition is remarkable…all because he wouldn’t “just bake the cake.” Watch our powerful conversation with Jack here and be encouraged.
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