WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - DECEMBER 22, 2021
The world will continue to throw headlines at us, but it’s important to take time to reflect on His eternal truth this Christmas. We're taking a short break and will be back with the Intersect on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022.
From all of us at My Faith Votes, Merry Christmas!
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Sen. Joe Manchin Says He Won't Support Biden's Build Back Better Social Spending Bill
“Sen. Joe Manchin said he won't support President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill, a potentially fatal blow to the president's signature domestic policy plan to expand the social safety net and tackle climate change. The announcement drew a sharp response from the White House: Press secretary Jen Psaki called it a ‘breach of his commitments.’ The West Virginia Democrat, who has been negotiating with the White House, told Bret Baier on Fox News Sunday that he is a no vote on the legislation. ‘I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there,’ Manchin said. ‘This is a no.’” read more at USA Today
After Manchin’s Sunday announcement, there was a war of words between White House staff, other democrat leaders and Manchin. In a radio interview Monday, Manchin was careful not to blame President Biden but had strong words about Biden's staff. “They figured surely to God we can move one person. We surely can badger and beat one person up. Surely, we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough that they'll just say, 'OK I'll vote for anything,'" he said. "Well, guess what? I'm from West Virginia. I'm not from where they're from and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they'll be submissive, period," Manchin added. Where do things go from here? In a letter to Democratic colleagues on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote, "We are going to vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act — and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.“ Schumer notified colleagues they would also discuss whether to change filibuster rules in order to allow yet another vote on sweeping legislation aimed at expanding “voting rights.” Senate Democrats have a majority of votes to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, but Republicans are using the filibuster to prevent both bills from coming to a vote. Ending the filibuster would require 50 votes, which Democrats don't currently have. Schumer made it clear the Senate would hold that vote, forcing Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who also supports the 60-vote threshold, to make their position known on the floor. "Members will be given the chance to debate on the Senate floor and cast a vote so that their choice on this matter is clear and available for everyone to see," Schumer wrote in the letter. Also, in his letter Schumer quoted Robert C. Byrd, the former senator whose seat Manchin now holds, saying that Senate rules that previously made sense "must be changed to reflect changed circumstances." According to the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation the current Build Back Better bill would make the United States the highest-taxed country in the developed world, it would lead to the highest debt load in US history as well as higher inflation. It is unjust and immoral to threaten the financial freedom and prosperity of future generations by burdening our country’s children with unsustainable debt today. Who we elect to serve us really does matter because they are the ones making these decisions on our behalf.
Prince of Peace, we specifically pray for the Senate and Houses of Representatives as they make laws to govern our land and delegate our nation’s resources. Grant them wisdom to allocate our resources wisely. Please raise up people who will make laws to protect our freedoms so that we can live peaceful, quiet lives in godliness and dignity.
All those who have been elected to serve “we the people” need our prayers. Take a moment today to pray for them and send a message with our easy-to-use tool to your specific elected officials, letting them know you are praying for them, here.
Texas Gov. Abbott Shows Completed Section of State-made Border Wall, Pledges to Protect State's Sovereignty
“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott debuted the first part of the state-made border wall Saturday, which he labeled a sharp rebuke of Biden’s ‘failure to do his job.’ Abbott authorized the building of the wall six months ago, and then authorized $3 billion funding for the Texas Facilities Commission to bolster the building effort. Abbott stressed that the wall stands on either state land or land that private owners agreed to hand over for the wall. ‘Texas is taking what truly is unprecedented action: A state to build a wall on our border, to safeguard the sovereignty of our state and of our nation,’ Abbott said during Saturday's press conference. ‘Already this year there have been over 1.2 million people apprehended coming over the border illegally,’ Abbott said, noting the number did not include those who entered undetected. He also raised the fentanyl crisis, saying that state authorities have seized ‘enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in Texas, California, New York, Illinois, and Florida combined.’” read more at Fox News
Abbott announced in June that the state would build a wall along the Texas-Mexico border using state money and crowdfunded private donations. The governor’s office appropriated $250 million of state money as a down payment for the wall-building effort, and lawmakers appropriated an additional $750 million for border barriers during one of the legislative sessions this year. A website was set up to take private donations for the wall construction and as of Dec. 13, more than $54 million had been collected for the project. According to Kinney County Texas attorney Brent Smith in an article for The Center Square, Texas has the Constitutional right to protect its borders since the federal government won’t acknowledge there is a crisis. New Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Chris Magnus sent a welcome email to staff on Tuesday, omitting any mention of illegal immigration, choosing instead to mention in passing that CBP's work includes "welcoming and vetting travelers." The controversial Biden appointee was confirmed by the Senate last week. In a recent My Faith Votes “State of the Nation” survey, the number one issue on the list of policy concerns is illegal immigration. Rapid decline of progress and worsening conditions day by day has captured attention. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. has gone from a near all-time low in 2020 of migrant encounters at the U.S./Mexico border to a 21-year high in 2021. With such a dramatic shift, it is no surprise that this issue is the most concerning to our readers. A recent Wall Street Journal poll found the same results, with immigration as the number one issue that most voters wanted Congress and/or the president of the United States to address. Our “State of the Nation” survey also shows that only 6% of respondents consider the United States to be in good or excellent condition, and 68.8% rate the current state of the nation as poor. While opinions are low, hope is not lost. There is ample opportunity for Christian voters to make their voices heard in the midterm elections of 2022.
Lord, give our government officials wisdom in dealing with this crisis at the border. The Bible tells us that governments are ordained by You to punish the wrongdoer and to commend those who do right (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). Lord, you know the problems with our immigration system. We pray the human trafficking and drug trafficking will be stopped. Father, You know each person at the border who is trying to come into the US illegally and legally, and their reason for coming. Give our Border Patrol agents Your wisdom on how to handle each person.
Do you know what each major party says about the issue of immigration? Read through their position in the party platform guide we’ve created here.
White House Ripped for Doomsday Winter Message of 'Severe Illness and Death' for Unvaccinated People
“The White House was viciously mocked over the weekend after pushing the message that unvaccinated Americans would experience a winter of ‘severe illness and death’ due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. President Biden, as well as White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients, each pushed the messaging last week, with the former issuing the stark and gloomy warning to Americans following a Thursday White House briefing on the pandemic. ‘I want to send a direct message to the American people: Due to the steps we've taken, omicron has not yet spread as fast as it would have otherwise done,’ Biden said. ‘But it's here now, and it's spreading, and it's going to increase...We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated – for themselves, their families and the hospitals they'll soon overwhelm,’ he added. ‘But there's good news: If you're vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you're protected from severe illness and death.’” read more at Fox News
President Biden also gave remarks on Tuesday regarding the Omicron variant stating that getting vaccinated was an obligation to the country. Action steps being taken by the federal government include the set-up of new testing sites in various locations, and the provision of half a billion free at-home tests. He made no mention of other medical treatments for COVID-19 that have been shown to be effective in preventing infection or reducing symptoms. In addition, Biden reminded the public about his vaccine/testing mandate for employers, which he justified as an effort “not to control your life, but to save your life, and the lives of others.” It is ironic for the federal government to urge (and attempt to coerce) people to be vaccinated under the justification of saving lives, while scaling back regulations on the abortion pill Mifeprex—which not only results in the death of an unborn baby, but is known to carry significant risk to the women who take it. Meanwhile, Fentanyl overdoses are now the leading cause of death for eighteen to forty-five-year old’s, having killed more people in that age bracket during 2020 than COVID-19. One major cause appears to be the record levels of Fentanyl illegally trafficked into the country. James Rauh, founder of Families Against Fentanyl, called the overdoses “a national emergency,” and President Biden authorized sanctions against the trafficking and production of illegal drugs. Overdoses are also caused by addiction to prescription opioids, which the CDC describes as the “worst drug overdose epidemic in [US] history.” Amid these heightened messages of fear and death, we cannot waste any time sharing the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ. Consider Ronald Reagan’s first Christmas Eve message to the nation in December 1981, “Through a generous Heavenly Father’s gift of His Son, hope and compassion entered a world weary with fear and despair and changed it for all time. On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow men… Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year.”
Heavenly Father, we praise Your name, and thank You for sending Your beloved Son to be born as a human more than two thousand years ago, “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14-15) Help us die to ourselves so we will be unashamed to share this wonderful message with our dying world during Christmas and in the coming year. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For a bit of encouragement, watch this brief message from our Honorary National Chairman, Gov. Mike Huckabee, as he reminds us that the Christmas carols we sing are not just simple songs of celebration, they are songs of victory. He explains that the lyrics of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” hold a timely message for the state of the nation today.
12 Missionary Hostages in Haiti Made Escape After Receiving Sign from God
“The final 12 missionaries who remained captive in Haiti executed a daring escape plan to free themselves from their captors after they were ‘nudged’ by God, officials from Christian Aid Ministries said at a press conference on Monday. The final group of captives – a married couple, four single men, two women and four children, including a baby and three-year-old – had agreed that they would make an attempt to escape if they were given a sign from God, CAM spokesman Deston Showalter said. On two occasions, he said the group received divine signs to stay put, but after receiving a sign to flee, they snuck out under the cover of nightfall following a sign on Dec. 15.” read more at the New York Post
Their dramatic story is remarkable to hear, as the remaining group of 12 made a daring overnight escape, eluding their kidnappers and walking for miles over difficult, moonlit terrain with an infant and other children in tow. The group said they used the stars as their guide to reach freedom after a two-month kidnapping ordeal. David Troyer, general director of Christian Aid Ministries stated, “A word to the kidnappers: We do not know all of the challenges you face. We do believe that violence and oppression of others can never be justified. You caused our hostages and their families a lot of suffering,” he said. “However, Jesus taught us by word and by his own example that the power of forgiving love is stronger than the hate of violent force,” he said. “Therefore, we extend forgiveness to you.” Troyer said the hostages had “prayed for their captors and told them about God’s love and their need to repent.” Let’s emulate the missionaries’ courage with our own obedience. When last did God call you to pay a price for your faith? Will you follow Him today wherever he leads, whatever it takes, whatever the cost? Martin Luther King Jr. prayed, “Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”
We praise you, Lord, for this good news! Continue to lead and guide these missionaries, as You have so faithfully done. We pray for missionaries who are serving You all around the world. Give them strength and the continued resolve to bring Your Word to those who do not know You.
There are an estimated 400,000 full time missionaries serving throughout the world. Rift Valley Academy is a Christian boarding school located in Kenya which serves about 500 missionary children (K-12), representing 30 nationalities and 80 mission organizations and churches. They have an immediate need to fill staffing positions to serve those missionary children. Would you or someone you know be interested in working in Africa? You can learn more and apply here.
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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.