WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - AUGUST 2, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
VA Reverses Course, Won’t Force Doctors and Nurses to Perform Abortions
“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is doing an about face, announcing it will not force doctors and nurses to perform abortions that violate their religious views. The news comes because of a lawsuit, filed by Stephanie Carter, who is a nurse practitioner at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas.” read more at Daily Citizen
- After the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) decided to perform abortions for veterans and their beneficiaries at VA facilities, Nurse Practitioner Stephanie Carter filed two requests for religious accommodation, both of which were denied by the VA due to their inability to process such requests, essentially forcing her to participate in abortions at her clinic. When Carter filed a federal lawsuit against the VA to obtain a religious accommodation, the VA reversed course and stated that any medical professional with religious objections would not be required to perform or participate in abortions.
- Our government’s largest institutions are bowing to secularism and attempting to force Christians to do the same. The VA is the second largest department in our government—the Department of Defense being the largest. They employ around 400,000 people and have hundreds of medical and administrative facilities across the country. They are responsible for the care of over 9 million of our nation’s veterans. The fact that they reversed course on forcing their medical professionals to perform abortions is a step in the right direction, but what does it say that they were going to force them to participate in the first place?
- Roe v. Wade—the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in 1973—may have been overturned last year with the Dobbs decision, but the fight for the unborn is far from over. The Bible is clear that every human life is intricately designed by God in the womb (Psalm 139). Yet the United States’ government’s second largest department is advocating for those lives to be taken and attempted to force medical professionals to participate in the murder of innocent life. This begs the question: what is the next step that we can take in the fight for life?
Lord, we thank You that the VA chose to protect the religious liberty of Christian medical professionals across America with this reversal. We thank You for nurses like Stephanie Carter who have refused to participate in the egregious act of taking an innocent life, a life that You created in Your image. And we continue to pray that we would see the eradication of abortion in America and beyond. Amen.
Often, when we are facing what we perceive to be an attack on our religious liberty, we don’t take action because we don’t know what our rights are. Thankfully, First Liberty Institute—the law firm who handled Stephanie Carter’s case—has put together nine different Religious Freedom Protection Kits that walk you through your rights whether you are serving in the U.S. military, teaching at a public high school, or working for a religious nonprofit. Visit their website here to download your FREE kit today, and become educated on your rights!
America's Aging Leaders on Display
“American leadership is getting older. With baby boomers making up half of Congress, the conversation on aging and health in public office from the Capitol to the White House isn't going away. The 118th Congress is one of the oldest in U.S. history — and drives debates about fitness for office, term limits and ageism.” read more at Axios
- “There’s no question the Lord uses people of all ages and in all stages of life to accomplish His purposes,” Paul Batura writes. “Whether young or old, it seems we should be first seeking the Lord’s direction, and examining our motivation for serving at all. If a representative is serving or holding on because they’re addicted to power and prestige, even one day in elected office is too many.”
- When we elect our leaders, no matter their age, Exodus 18:21 provides good qualities to search for: “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain …”
- These qualities come to mind when thinking about recent news regarding congressional oversight–a tool that, when used with discretion, is an important check on the executive branch’s power. On Monday, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer, testified to the House Oversight Committee—a committee established to investigate actions within other branches and agencies—which is investigating President Biden’s possible involvement with his son’s business dealings while Vice President.
- Archer’s sworn testimony provides more information that seems to conflict with Joe Biden’s past claims of having no knowledge of his son’s financial dealings. Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) vowed the congressional panel will continue investigating to determine whether the president “is compromised and corrupt,” possibly leading to an impeachment inquiry.
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure…But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:4-5,7) Like King David, pray that the Lord will help you fix your hope on Him, so you can be free to serve Him and make a difference for eternity.
How will the next generation develop the knowledge, wisdom, and moral character they need to be effective servant leaders? The Constitution Coach program by our friends at Patriot Academy provides an answer. Through their in-person or online Constitution Alive courses, you can understand our Constitution and the biblical principles upon which our nation was built. Then you can teach it to others!
Biden Administration Launches New Income-driven Student Debt Repayment Plan
“The Biden administration is launching a beta website for its new income-driven student loan repayment plan today, officials told CNN, allowing borrowers to begin submitting applications for the program as federal student loan payments are set to resume in October. The SAVE, or Saving on a Valuable Education, plan was finalized after the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s student debt forgiveness initiative in June. It marks a significant change to the federal student loan system that could lower monthly loan payments for some borrowers and reduce the amount they pay back over the lifetime of their loans.” read more at CNN
- What does it do? The SAVE plan, which applies to current and future federal student loan borrowers, will determine payments based on income and family size, and some monthly payments will be as small as $0. The income threshold to qualify for $0 payments has been increased from 150% to 225% of federal poverty guidelines, which translates to an annual income of $32,805 for a single borrower or $67,500 for a family of four. The Education Department estimates this means more than 1 million additional borrowers will qualify for $0 payments under the plan.
- “We’ve long had in place programs that protect borrowers from facing unaffordable student loan payments in times of depressed earnings (even granting forgiveness for long standing unaffordable debts.),” Beth Akers of the American Enterprise Institute points out. “These programs are collectively referred to as Income Driven Repayment Programs … But what Biden is doing would undermine the purpose of these programs as a safety net for borrowers truly in need and turn the system into a de-facto grant program that disproportionately benefits a set of already-privileged Americans.”
- What will it cost? The plan is estimated to cost American taxpayers a net amount of $475 billion over ten years, but it may cost borrowers more. By encouraging borrowers who are able to fulfill their promise to pay their debt to instead hand the cost over to the rest of society, is the administration costing them their integrity?
Heavenly Father, help me to seek Your kingdom first, look to You for provision, and be generous to help those in need. Let the Body of Christ support one another when we face hard times economically and spiritually. Help us honor You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
We have the opportunity to love our neighbor by influencing the policies that affect them. Bring the impact of your faith into your communities this summer. We’re activating people of faith to make a difference, and we want YOU to join us! Visit our Summer of Action page to get equipped to host a voter registration event or meet with an elected official in your state. Many members of Congress are back in their districts for the month of August; now is the time to act!
U.S. Hunts Chinese Malware That Could Disrupt American Military Operations
“The Biden administration is hunting for malicious computer code it believes China has hidden deep inside the networks controlling power grids, communications systems and water supplies that feed military bases in the United States and around the world, according to American military, intelligence and national security officials.” read more at The New York Times
- At the end of May, Microsoft detected the first signs of the malware within the telecommunications systems in Guam—the U.S. territory in the Pacific that is home to two American military bases. As investigations into the malware continued, U.S. officials and experts found that “the Chinese effort goes far beyond telecommunications systems and predated the May report by at least a year.” If these reports are accurate, it means that our U.S. military bases and personnel have been vulnerable to Chinese interference for over a year.
- China has a history of surveilling the United States, but this malware goes beyond surveillance. If it works the way U.S. officials believe, its purpose is to disrupt the American military’s ability to respond to threats by interfering with their ability to communicate and shutting down their electrical grids and water supplies. China would be able to drastically slow down or delay the American response, all without stepping foot in American territory.
- If China controls critical pieces of our infrastructure, what could they manipulate the United States to do or to allow? It is no secret that the Chinese Communist Party desires to expand its sovereignty beyond China. With this leverage over America, we would be increasingly vulnerable to its influence—a horrifying thought when you consider that China is home to the world’s largest persecuted church. As our friend Jim Denison put it, China views “’right’ as whatever advances their interests and ‘wrong’ as whatever impedes them. Thus implanting malware is ‘right’… even if it is ‘wrong’ for the rest of the world.”
Lord, we ask that our country would be protected from malicious attacks by China and hostile nations all around the world. We pray that the malware would be disabled and ineffective in corrupting our military’s infrastructure. But we also pray that the church in China would continue to boldly proclaim the gospel. We pray that Chinese leaders would be redeemed out of their brokenness and consequently, China as a whole would be restored to You. Amen.
During the month of August, all United States representatives and senators travel home to spend time within their districts. Often, they will host Town Hall meetings with their constituents during this time. As part of My Faith Votes’ Summer of Action, we are encouraging everyone to meet with an elected official of their choosing, and a Town Hall with your representative or senator would be a great way to do that. To find a meeting near you, simply search for your representative here, and then migrate to their website where all of their upcoming events will be listed.
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.