WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - DECEMBER 14, 2022
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Kyrsten Sinema Leaves Democratic Party, Adding Drama to Tight Senate Margin
“U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent, she said on Friday, just days after Democrats won a Senate race in Georgia and secured 51 seats in the 100-member chamber riven by deep political divisions. ‘Like a lot of Arizonans, I have never fit perfectly in either national party,’ Sinema said in an article for the Arizona Republic newspaper. An aide would not say whether Sinema would continue to caucus with Democrats.” read more at Reuters
- What will this mean for policy in the Senate? Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that Democrats will still hold majorities on committees and have the ability to more quickly confirm President Biden’s judicial nominees. In an op-ed for the Arizona Republic, Sinema affirmed her continued support for abortion and LGBTQ policies, as well as tax cuts and border security. Sinema has had a reputation for acting independently on some key issues. Because they would not agree to waive the filibuster, Sinema and her colleague Joe Manchin (D-WV) stymied Democrat attempts to pass the infamous voting bill earlier this year that was opposed by My Faith Votes and many others concerned about election integrity.
- What caused Sinema to formally leave the Democratic Party? It appears to be a mixture of political practicality and ideology. Or more precisely, Sinema’s ideology did not conform closely enough to the Democratic Party, which made her unpopular with her democratic constituents back in Arizona. Since independents make up a larger share of registered voters in her state than democrats, she may have a better chance at reelection in two years as an independent.
- What can we learn from this? Every office holder must deal with the pressure of their own convictions, their party leaders, and the desires of the people who elected them. When these three are in conflict, the strength of their character will determine whether they make their decision based on what is right or based merely on political advantage. A Christian officeholder gets to bring these three pressures under submission to the Lord and His principles as revealed in the Bible. (Romans 12:2)
- It’s the content of someone’s character, not their party affiliation, that matters. But men and women of character are rare, which is why it is said that most politics involves not persuading good people to the right thing, but bad people to do the right thing. That is why we are bold about the fact that biblical beliefs guide our vote and our political beliefs. If a greater number of Christians do this and communicate with their officeholders, it may be that more officeholders will vote for better policy or refrain from bad policy.
- To emphasize the power of a vote, a state House election in Massachusetts was initially called for the Republican who won by ten votes. The recount which just concluded was called for the Democrat by a margin of only one vote, which is now being challenged by the Republican. Interestingly, 638 voters left that race blank on their ballots, making you wonder what would have happened if they’d weighed in.
“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15) The Lord, in His wisdom, knows how our nature works. Let’s pray for patience as we enter a year where we will need to persistently persuade our elected officials to do what is right and just. As you communicate with them, remember to pray for them as well, that they will be strengthened in good character. Pray that the good character of many Christians would convince them to do the right thing.
Now more than ever, we need elected officials and their constituents to possess strong, godly character. Our partner, Patriot Academy, is dedicated to training biblically minded citizens and future leaders with an emphasis on character, courage, and purpose. They accomplish this through mock legislative sessions for students, combined with leadership training, during the summer in Arizona, Idaho, Florida, Delaware, Texas, and soon, Indiana. If you know of a young person in your life who would benefit from this experience, sign up to be notified as soon as applications for 2023 open.
Biden Signs Respect for Marriage Act into Law
“President Joe Biden formally signed H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, into law. In a White House ceremony on the South Lawn, Biden was joined by several hundred LGBT activists and supporters and preceded by speeches from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) and House Speaker (for a few more weeks) Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) and musical performances from the likes of Sam Smith and Cyndi Lauper. The president took note of the historic moment. "Deciding whether to marry and who to marry is one of the most profound decisions a person can make," Biden said, ‘Marriage is a simple proposition: Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? It should not be more complicated than that. Everybody should have the right to make that decision for themselves, without government interference.’” read more at Reason
- Fast-tracked through Congress, the misnamed legislation federally codifies the legalization of same-sex marriage, officially overturning the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which recognized marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." Last Thursday, the bill passed 258-169 in the House, with every Democrat voting in its favor as well as 39 Republicans. 169 Republicans voted against the bill with one voting “present” and four not voting. Seven Republicans who voted in favor of the bill in July voted against it last Thursday.
- The legislation came about after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in a concurring opinion to Dobbs - which overturned Roe v. Wade in June - said that other cases based on the precedent that had been established in Roe should be revisited, including the 2015 landmark gay marriage decision Obergefell v. Hodges. Democrats were quick to put forward the legislation and solidified the vote in the lame duck session before Republicans control the House in January.
- In a tearful speech to the House of Representatives before the vote, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) implored her colleagues to vote against the bill because it seeks to “further demonize biblical values” and “drive people of faith out of the public square.” Sadly, her own nephew, an LGBTQ activist who’s been a vocal plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit to strip faith-based colleges of federal funding, publicly ridiculed her speech, calling her a “homophobe”. His response went viral, causing the President to invite him to attend the bill signing yesterday.
- In a display of just how far we’ve fallen as a nation, in attendance at the White House ceremony, at the President’s request, was drag queen Marti G. Cummings who frequently performs at “drag queen story hours” for children.
- In a statement released Monday, Liberty Counsel argued that the bill’s passage “can actually create the perfect scenario to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 5-4 opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges regarding same-sex marriage.” Additionally, the group cited the 2013 case of United States v. Windsor, which ruled in part that, in general, “the states, not the federal government, have the right to regulate marriage.” But is a Supreme Court scenario too risky for fear of which justices will be sitting on the court should such a case arise?
- No redefinition of marriage can change the fact that submission to God’s design for marriage as one man and one woman committed in a life-long, covenant relationship of Christ-like love for each other is the foundation of a thriving and fulfilled society. This foundational truth will always remain: God created marriage between one man and one woman. No act of Congress can change that.
Download this helpful one-page prayer guide as you pray for God’s design of true marriage and family. Persevering in prayer is critical for marriages and families worldwide. The enemy is working to destroy marriage because it is the foundation of strong families. When families fall, society falls. As His church, may we pray for biblical marriage to be held in high regard, for unity in families, and for God’s word to be honored and obeyed.
The quote, “If we don't teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to” rings true. This article, “When Adam and Steve come to Dinner” can help you discuss the difference between biblical and civic marriage, so your kids know that there’s a difference between the two. Point out how words like “love” and “equality” are being misused. Ask your kids why accurate definitions are necessary for truth. You can use silly examples like switching the definitions of cake and broccoli to show how words matter. For older kids, ask what a false understanding of words (like “love” being only affirming the LGBTQ ideology, and “hate” being those who don’t) can lead to, especially regarding the church and the Gospel.
California Pushes Assisted Suicide, Christian Physicians Object
“In a disturbing trend, proponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are increasing their efforts to legalize the practice across the country. Unfortunately, 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) now allow some form of physician-assisted suicide, and hundreds of patients have died by PAS in recent years. California is one of those states. And—as if California’s dark embrace of death as an aspect of “health care” wasn’t bad enough—state leaders have taken things to a new low. In October 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 380 into law, reducing the waiting period for physician-assisted suicide from 15 days to just 48 hours. But this law doesn’t just affect patients and their families. California is now requiring health-care professionals, regardless of their conscience or religious beliefs, to actively facilitate the process of ending a patient’s life.” read more at Alliance Defending Freedom
- Look no further than Canada as a disturbing indicator of where these laws can logically lead us. Canada’s laws are so progressive that 3.3% of all deaths in 2021 were due to physician-assisted suicide–that’s nearly one out of every thirty. Since legalized, over 31,000 people have died by this practice.
- We should be rightly horrified by such news yet advocates of assisted suicide paint it as a moral and compassionate choice. A fashion retailer in Canada aired a shocking commercial in which they portrayed a woman’s choice to commit suicide as positive. The company’s chief merchant justified it by saying, “At some point I think you have to decide in life what you want to do and is your heart in a generous place—and then you have to create a new reality,” he said. “But if your heart is in our right place then I think you just have to forge forward.”
- Note the worldview revealed by his words. It glorifies personal autonomy and doing what your heart wants. This same worldview is pervasive in America and has been used to justify another kind of physician-assisted death–abortion.
- If we are to effectively combat this evil worldview, we must address the root of the desire for legalized assisted suicide. French philosopher Albert Camus said, “Dying voluntarily implies that you have recognized, even instinctively … the uselessness of suffering.” We need to adopt a proper theology of suffering which is radically different. The Bible does not shrink from acknowledging the suffering that makes us groan here on the earth because of the fall, and because Jesus has not yet returned to make all things new, including our bodies. (Read Romans chapter 8 and 2 Corinthians 5.)
- Yet, suffering is not meaningless, but an opportunity to receive and give God’s grace as we weep with those who are suffering (Romans 12:15), help those in need (James 1:27), and remember that our Lord was described as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)
- When we live this out, it will be strange to the world that we not only value others who are suffering, but also rejoice (God’s choice of words; not mine) amid our own suffering for making us rely on God’s grace. (James 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:8-9) It might look strange but can also be the very thing that attracts people to Christ. The world is desperate for hope, trying to find hope through taking control of our own lives and even deaths. But we can point them to the God who holds our days in His hands, has shared our grief, and has the scars to prove it
Dear Lord Jesus, this is such a heavy issue. I pray that You will help anyone who is hopeless to find hope in You. Thank You for understanding our troubles and helping us in our trials. Use our suffering to increase our faith in You and produce more endurance through Your power which works mightily in us. Thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf according to Your will with groans that words cannot express. (Romans 8:26) Most of all, thank You that nothing can separate us from Your love.
You can find out whether your state allows, bans, or is silent on physician-assisted suicide here. Politically and personally, what can you be doing to cultivate a culture of life in your community?
Kirk Cameron Denied Chance to Bring His New Children’s Book to Public Library Story Hours
“Kirk Cameron became a household name during his run on the show Growing Pains. However, he has remained in the spotlight for his faith as much as his acting in the years since. Now he is making headlines again with a new children’s book titled As You Grow. The book ‘teaches the biblical truths of the Fruit of the Spirit’ as you ‘follow Sky Tree’s journey from a small acorn to a mighty tree that provides shade, sustenance, and lodging.’ As many authors do, Cameron and Brave Books—the story’s publisher—were hoping to increase interest by engaging with local libraries and their story-hour programs. So far, more than fifty of those asked said no.” read more at The Denison Forum
- The saying “rules for thee but not for me” comes to mind in this news story. As Cameron said, "Publicly funded libraries are green-lighting ‘gender marker and name change clinics’ while denying a story time that would involve the reading of a book that teaches biblical wisdom. How much more clear can it get?"
- Kirk’s book, As You Grow, is the 8th book in a series of children’s books published by Brave Books. Each book in the Freedom Island Saga series is written by various influencers to teach “a pro-God, pro-America value.”
- There is a targeted worldwide push by a non-profit organization called "Drag Story Hour" that seeks to “use the art of drag to read books to kids in libraries, schools” to “capture the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models” so “kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where everyone can be their authentic selves.” They state that their mission is to help kids “express their authentic selves and become bright lights of change in their communities.”
- How are public libraries funded? They receive a large majority of their revenue from local government. These funds are gathered from local taxes, library fines, parking tickets, and other tools used to generate revenue for a city or town. On the state and national level, funding is determined by budget allocation, and professional organizations of librarians usually heavily lobby for more library funding to purchase books, pay staff, expand libraries, and other support services. All this to say that We the People should have a voice in what our tax dollars go towards. Why is it okay for a library to promote “Drag Story Hour” under the guise of love, acceptance and inclusion but not “Brave Books Story Hour” which promotes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control?
- Paul powerfully contrasted the natural works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. How can we avoid the first and grow in the second? What pleases the Lord in our lives is not a “work” but a “fruit” that the Spirit alone can produce. We can avoid works of the flesh by staying continually submitted to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to direct every aspect of our lives.
- Kirk has been a great friend to My Faith Votes over the years, recently featuring our CEO on his November election special on TBN. Stay tuned for an upcoming My Faith Votes conversation with Kirk about this story and how he’s navigating standing for faith in an increasingly anti-faith culture.
“If Psalm 1 is to be believed, we must not allow our children to stand, sit or walk with those who deny biblical truth and morality. Instead, we must place them in situations that will aid them in meditating on the law of the Lord 'day and night.'” ― Voddie Baucham. Lord help us to guide the children in our lives to not just know about You but to know You with their whole heart and mind. May it start with us, that we are living examples of what it looks like to have the Fruit of the Spirit.
Just because these libraries wouldn’t let Kirk Cameron read his book doesn’t mean that you or I can’t try in our own local library. In fact, Kirk and Brave Books are not calling for people to boycott these libraries or protest those who have chosen not to allow him to read his book. Rather, they encourage believers to reach out to their local libraries and ask for the chance to read a favorite children's book or book of the Bible at an upcoming story hour.
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.
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