WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - August 28, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Free Speech or Forced Speech? Christian T-Shirt Printer’s LGBT Case Heads to KY Supreme Court
Two years ago, a Kentucky appeals court ruled in favor of Hands On Originals, a printing company which refused to print gay pride t-shirts because it goes against the owner's religious beliefs. However, because the county human rights commission appealed the case, owner Blaine Adamson has to go back to court again. This time, his continuing battle over his First Amendment rights will be heard in the Kentucky Supreme Court. Back in 2012, Adamson refused to print a t-shirt design for the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO), which promoted the group's pride festival. As CBN News reported, Adamson explained that he could not print a shirt bearing a message that conflicts with his faith. He then offered to connect the GLSO to another printer who would create the shirts for the same price that he would have charged. The GLSO rejected Adamson's offer and filed a discrimination complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission. The commission declared Adamson was guilty of illegal discrimination and ordered him to print shirts with messages that conflicted with his religious beliefs. In May of 2017, the Kentucky Court of Appeals rescinded the commission's findings, ruling that Adamson is free to decline orders that would require him to print messages that conflict with his religious beliefs. Then the human rights commission appealed the decision to the Kentucky Supreme Court. read more
Two lesbian business owners publically sided with the Christian T-shirt printer. Kathy Trautvertter and Diane DiGelormo said, “when I put myself in his shoes I could see it from his side.” They continued by saying, “we feel it’s not a gay or straight issue, it's a human issue and no one should be forced to do something against what they believe in." Despite legal victories for cases such as Jack Phillips and Christian filmmakers from Minnesota, legal battles such as this one continue to find their way into our state and federal courts. In another recent news, the Virginia Real Estate Board filed a complaint against a Christian real estate agent for including a Bible verse and Christian themed messages in her email signature and business website. The State Board is now prohibiting her from including religious messages in her business. The American Center for Law and Justice has filed suit on the agent’s behalf to protect her first amendment rights. Where freedom of religion exists, prosperity abounds. But where Christianity is lived out, persecution will follow. Jesus promised it, Paul highlighted it, and Peter said don’t be surprised by it (John 16:33, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 4:12).
Pray for Christian T-shirt printer Blaine Adamson and for real-estate agent Hadassah Carter, as they emotionally, financially and spiritually face these legal battles to defend their First Amendment rights not only for themselves, but more importantly, for other Christians across the nation. Pray for God to grant the attorneys wisdom as they defend religious freedom, and pray for the judges to rule in favor of religious liberty.
Both of these stories should remind us that our identity is first found in Jesus Christ, not our work. Adamson and Carter were willing to risk their businesses for the sake of their faith. An inspiring Christian movie is out in theaters called Overcomer, reminding viewers to put their identity in Christ. We encourage you to see this great film!
Led By Millennials, Americans Value Patriotism, God, Children Less Than Ever
According to a new national survey from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, younger Americans' core values differ sharply from their countrymen of earlier generations. While some similarities on key fronts remain intact, dramatic gaps have opened up on the questions of patriotism, belief in God, and the importance of having children. The majorities of all four generations polled cite community involvement as critical, with supermajorities placing a strong emphasis on tolerance for others. Literally the only value listed that attained 'very important' status among eighty-plus percent of all age demographics is hard work. Suffice it to say that the impact on American culture and politics will be profound when these rising generations take the helm; the numbers quoted aren't static, of course, but it's a safe bet that America's future will be less confident in (and enthusiastic about) our country, and far less religious -- with a population potentially in literal decline. read more.
Eighty-five percent of Americans over the age of 65 are “extremely” or “very” patriotic. Among Millennials, that number drops to 50 percent. Regarding religion, 34 percent of Millennials consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. Among Boomers, that number stands at only 17 percent. And concerning children, 48 percent of Millennial women were moms between the ages of 20 to 35. Among Boomers, that number was 58 percent. The average age of first-time mothers is 26, up from age 21 in 1972. What accounts for these changes? Some call it the “Woodrow Wilson phenomenon” When Wilson was campaigning for office in 1912, he promised “to make the young gentlemen of the rising generation as unlike their fathers as possible.” With the advent of mechanical transportation and communication, Wilson knew the nature of the nation was changing, and he planned on leading that change. Today, Wilson is gone and so are the fathers. Forty percent of children are born into unwed families. When the family falters, our values shift. Research clearly concludes family serves as the primary conduit for the transmission of values, “and no system of public education and training can completely neutralize this form of inheritance.” Though our nation has changed, our God has not. How do we, like Paul, teach the same godly values to an increasingly diverse populace? Our methods may change, but our values do not (1 Corinthians 9:19-24).
Pray today for the next generation. Ask God to open their eyes to His truth that they would pursue a relationship with Christ and biblical community. Pray for young families to seek the Lord, set aside their selfish ways, and build a marriage that’s founded in Christ.
We recently sat down for a conversation with Pastor Jonathan Pokluda, author of the book Welcome to Adulting. Pastor Pokluda sheds light on the next generation’s view of religion, the church, and what matters most to them. Watch the interview and learn more about Millennials in order to understand their views of life and to be able to effectively disciple this critical generation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Makes Surprise G-7 Appearance in France
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid an unannounced visit Sunday to the G-7 summit and headed straight to the buildings where leaders of the world's major democracies have been debating how to handle the country’s nuclear ambitions. France's surprise invitation was a high-stakes gamble for French President Emmanuel Macron, who is the host of the Group of Seven gathering in Biarritz. Zarif's plane left Tehran on Sunday morning and touched down a few hours later at Biarritz airport, which has been closed since Friday to all flights unrelated to the official G-7 delegations. Zarif, who is under U.S. sanctions, had been scheduled to go to Asia as part of a tour to seek support for Iran amid the American campaign against it since President Trump withdrew the U.S. from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal. read more
Henry Kissinger asserted that the task of the leader is to guide people from where they are to places they have not been . Consider some of the world events which took place over the weekend. North Korea tested a new “super-large” rocket launcher. South Korea staged military exercises on a set of islets that are the source of a territorial dispute with Japan. Hong Kong police deployed water cannons on protesters as young as 12-years-old. Israeli warplanes shot down Iranian “killer drones” in Syria. There's plenty of news from the G7 Summit as President Trump met with World Leaders to discuss a number of items on the agenda. As Christians we must remember that God holds the world, and He is the true ruler (Colossians 1:17, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, 1 Peter 2:17).
Pray for our world leaders. The God of the world holds all things together but we can prayerfully petition God to direct the hearts of the leaders in this world to bring about peace and follow where He leads them (Proverbs 21:1).
If you haven’t already, we encourage you to download the prayer guide for President Trump. Meetings like the G-7 Summit should remind us of the great need to faithfully pray for President Trump as he represents the American people and works to ensure peace in America and around the world.
Trump Signs Executive Order Cancelling Student Loan Debt for Disabled Veterans
President Trump signed an executive order that forgives all student loan debt for any permanently disabled U.S. military veterans. The order, which Trump signed following a speech at the American Veterans National Convention in Louisville, Ky., also clears those eligible veterans from having to pay any federal income tax on the loans. Trump added that he is pressuring individual states to follow suit. “The debt of these disabled veterans will be completely erased,” Trump said. “That’s hundreds of millions of dollars of student loans debt for our disabled veterans that will be completely erased.” The memo Trump signed directs the government to develop an "expedited" process so veterans can have their federal student loan debt discharged "with minimal burdens." Currently, just half of the roughly 50,000 disabled veterans who are qualified to have their federal student loan debt forgiven have received the benefit because of a burdensome application process. Under the current process, disabled veterans can have their debt forgiven under a loan forgiveness program, called Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, or TPD, as long as they have a VA service-connected disability rating of 100 percent. As of July, however, only about 20 percent of the eligible pool of veterans had taken advantage of the program due to the complicated nature of the application and other factors. read more
President Trump’s Executive Order accomplishes a task that should have been completed long ago. Our country should make it the utmost priority to care for men and women who have risked their lives to defend our country. This decision comes at a time when the national discussion surrounding forgiving student loan debt is at an all-time high. Americans today hold roughly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have both put forward plans that would completely forgive student loan debt, not just for veterans, but for everyone across the country. Although handouts sound nice, we know that the economic consequences must be accounted for. Many believe the message of “more government, less capitalism, and more socialism” is gaining popularity. This week Senator Warren and Senator Sanders have risen in a new national poll that puts both candidates ahead of the former front runner, Vice President Joe Biden, a far more moderate candidate compared to the other two. On the Republican side, this week former IL Representative, Joe Walsh, announced he is running for President, giving President Donald Trump another primary challenger as several other Republicans weigh jumping into the race.
While the 2020 presidential election still seems so far away, begin to pray for our country and those in your community watching the presidential race and considering their choice. Pray they would seek to understand the principles that have led to America’s prosperity and freedom, and pray that they would base their vote on the Word of God.
Consider getting involved with a veterans organization to help care for our men and women who have served our country. Check out the Lone Survivor Foundation and the various opportunities to take action and give back to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for us all.
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.