WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - December 11, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Supreme Court Leaves in Place Kentucky Abortion Law Mandating Ultrasounds
The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky law, mandating doctors perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before they can perform abortions. The high court declined, without comment, to hear an appeal brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the state's lone abortion clinic. The Kentucky law, which requires a doctor to describe an ultrasound in detail while a pregnant woman hears the fetal heartbeat, was passed in 2017. It was signed by Gov. Matt Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican who lost his bid for re-election last month. "This is a HUGE win for the pro-life movement!" the Kentucky GOP tweeted on Monday, thanking Bevin and Republican lawmakers. "This decision by SCOTUS to allow the lower court ruling to stand is a victory for the unborn!" read more
The Supreme Court’s ruling allows the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling in the case to stand despite the ACLU’s argument that the law was designed to coerce a woman to opt-out of having an abortion. Information is power. Ensuring a woman sees her unborn child before she terminates her pregnancy and ends a life should be common sense. This ultrasound law, Kentucky argued, is a "simple and straightforward" part of an" informed-consent process" and it simply requires that women who are considering an abortion be provided with information that is truthful, non-misleading and relevant to their decision of whether to have an abortion. In other news, the legal teams Thomas More Society and the Liberty Counsel secured the dismissal of five more felony counts (six in total) at the preliminary hearing in the California criminal case against undercover journalist David Daleiden who secretly recorded and exposed Planned Parenthood operatives discussing, even bragging about how to maximize the sale of aborted baby parts. This case includes the first undercover journalist to be criminally prosecuted in the history of California. Last month, the court awarded Planned Parenthood an excess of $3.2 million, but these legal teams are working hard to dismantle this unprecedented political prosecution piece by piece. In the meantime, we boldly continue the fight for biblical truths. Scripture tells us “whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them” (Proverbs 24:24-25 ).
Thank God for this victory for life at the Supreme Court. Pray for this new Kentucky law to open the eyes of women considering abortion and pray for other states to adopt similar legislation.
Our good friend Abby Johnson has launched “Love Line”, a crisis call line for women who are facing unplanned pregnancies who feel they have exhausted resources in their area. See how you can roll up your sleeves to help these women in need and get involved here!
YouVersion Announces Most Read Bible Verse of 2019, Stunning Increase in Number of People Reading Scriptures
As 2019 comes to a close, popular Bible app YouVersion has revealed the most-read Bible verse of the past 12 months, and it is an extraordinarily poignant one considering the tumultuous times in which we live: Philippians 4:6 reads, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” “We’re encouraged to see so many people turning to the Bible in response to their worries, remembering what God has done in their lives, and choosing to trust in His faithfulness,” the app’s founder, Bobby Gruenewald, said in a press release. Incredibly, YouVersion saw a 30% increase in the amount of Biblical content being consumed by its users — some 5.6 billion chapters were listened to and a stratospheric 35.6 billion chapters read. In addition, around 478 million verses were shared and 1.1 million Bible plan days were completed. The app, which was originally developed by Oklahoma megachurch Life.Church, has enjoyed some staggering growth since being launched back in 2008. An astonishing 400 million people have installed it across the globe, with a further 50 million unique downloads being added to the total over the course of this year alone. read more
YouVersion shared that many of the new users on the app are from countries where Christians experience extreme persecution. For example, in Algeria Christianity has been under attack yet engagement on the YouVersion Bible app increased 219 percent in the country. Other countries with a marked increase of time spent reading the Bible were Morocco, India, Nepal, Zambia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Chad. “What we are seeing in global engagement is exciting to us,” Gruenwald added, “because with every verse highlighted, plan day completed, or audio chapter listened to, that’s a person who is being transformed by knowing God more intimately through spending time in the Bible.” The YouVersion Bible is now available in 1,343 languages and 2,013 different versions. Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Technology has made it possible for the Word of God easily accessible by people across the world now more than ever before. We praise God for this report from the YouVersion Bible app. And this encouraging information is a reminder to us of Mark 16:15 which commands us to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” We have the Word of God, daily devotionals and verses, all at our fingertips on our mobile devices. How can we use this powerful tool? We can quickly look up a verse of encouragement to share with someone who needs it, or open up the scriptures right on our phones and share the Gospel with an unbeliever. Let’s not take for granted this blessing.
Pray and ask the Lord how you can do a better job of using His Word to speak hope and life to others. And if you are not spending time daily in God’s Word, pray for God to give you a hunger in your heart for His truth found only in the Bible.
Set aside time this month to go through the Christmas advent calendar with your family to be reminded of the real reason for the season and the hope we have in Christ. At My Faith Votes, we are reading a chapter a day from the Gospel book of Luke this month. The book of Luke has twenty-four chapters so when we finish on Christmas Eve, we’ll have read about the life of Jesus and have a greater appreciation for the reason we celebrate His birth. You can watch the live stream every day on My Faith Votes' Facebook page, or if you are not able to watch on Facebook, we have on-demand videos available on our website.
The Two Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump Explained
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – are charges of wrongdoing that lay out specific assertions of how the president violated the U.S. Constitution and the oath of his office. Each of the articles will be voted on separately by the Judiciary Committee later this week, possibly Thursday. Those the panel approves will go to the full House for a vote, probably with a simple majority in the Democratic-controlled body on each article. Those that pass will be sent on to the Senate, which must hold a trial. If two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 senators, vote to convict, Trump would be removed from office and Vice President Mike Pence would become commander in chief. The articles are drawn from the work of the House Intelligence Committee, which released a 300-page report on the investigation last week. read more
The first allegation against President Trump is abuse of power. The House Intelligence Committee based this allegation on Trump’s decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine until the nation investigated Vice President Joe Biden and his son who worked for a Ukraine energy company. Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, claimed Trump sought "to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest." The second allegation against President Trump is obstruction of Congress for defying subpoenas for documents and testimony. White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Speaker Pelosi that the inquiry is being conducted in a manner that "violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process." According to a recent survey, ninety percent of Americans believe it’s important for the United States to try to reduce divisiveness in the nation. And Four in ten Republicans and nearly half of Democrats said they would be “tempted” to vote for the opposing party’s nominee if they had the best shot at unifying the country. In Federalist No. 65, Alexander Hamilton explained that impeachment “will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community.” It “will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other.” The fruit of the spirit will serve as a feast to malnourished spirits in this highly partisan era (Galatians 5:22-23).
We encourage you to pray daily for our nation. We live in a challenging time of moral confusion, spiritual chaos and political division. We must hold to the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 if we desire to see our nation uphold biblical values.
It’s tempting to want to shove this issue aside and chalk it all up to partisan politics. However, now that Articles of Impeachment have been issued, Christians must be informed and committed to faithfully praying for our nation during this process (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Download the free My Faith Votes Impeachment Prayer Guide to help inform your prayer time.
629 Pakistani Girls Sold as Brides to China
Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China. The list, obtained by The Associated Press, was compiled by Pakistani investigators determined to break up trafficking networks exploiting the country’s poor and vulnerable. The list gives the most concrete figure yet for the number of women caught up in the trafficking schemes since 2018. But since the time it was put together in June, investigators’ aggressive drive against the networks has largely ground to a halt. Officials with knowledge of the investigations say that is because of pressure from government officials fearful of hurting Pakistan’s lucrative ties to Beijing. China’s Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of the list. “The two governments of China and Pakistan support the formation of happy families between their people on a voluntary basis in keeping with laws and regulations, while at the same time having zero tolerance for and resolutely fighting against any person engaging in illegal cross-border marriage behavior,” the ministry said in a statement faxed Monday to AP’s Beijing bureau. read more
The one-child policy has created a child bride epidemic. According to a recent report, China’s now abolished one-child policy serves as a major cause of the current trafficking crisis because it created a gender imbalance in China. Some estimates indicate that the policy resulted in a 30 to 40 million shortfall in the female population. Men pay anywhere between $3,000 to $13,000 for one of these girls. One official explained that trafficking was not the problem, but the women were the problem because they “don’t know the Chinese culture.” He concluded: “Once they learn Chinese language and culture, their marriages are fine.” In other international related news, A Chinese-American Princeton scholar held for three years in Iran on widely criticized espionage charges was freed Saturday as part of a prisoner exchange that saw America release a detained Iranian scientist, a rare diplomatic breakthrough between Tehran and Washington after months of tensions. One lawyer involved in his case tweeted out a Bible verse about an angel freeing the apostle Peter just hours before Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the news in his own tweet. Trump shortly after acknowledged Wang was free in a statement from the White House, thanking Switzerland for its help. We do not live in an ideal world but we have read about one. In this world, mercy triumphs over judgment, love never fails, and no one is enslaved. Jesus went to great lengths to set us free and we should do the same for those in captivity. (Micah 6:8, 1 John 4:21).
Pray Psalm 82:3-4 over these young girls being sold into sex trafficking. Pray for their deliverance from the hand of the wicked. Pray for governments to take action and for the world to take notice.
There are many great organizations working to rescue people out of sex trafficking and human trafficking all over the globe, and they need our support and prayers. Operation Underground Railroad is one organization we encourage you to learn more about as you consider how God might call you to take action.
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.