WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - DECEMBER 8, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Bob Dole to Lie in State at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday
“Congressional leaders announced Monday afternoon that former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Dole, 98, passed away Sunday following a battle with lung cancer. Dole fought in World War II and ran for president as the Republican nominee in 1996. The last person to lay in state was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September 2020. The honor is traditionally reserved for American politicians, judges and military leaders.” read more at Just the News
He didn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but his wife did tuck Bible verses into his shirt pockets. Sen. Bob Dole was allergic to self-revelation, but his actions spoke louder than his words. When his father-in-law was suffering heart problems, he took him to see Billy Graham to be sure he was “prepared to meet God.” After they prayed, Dole “wept tears of joy.” During WWII, Dole was shot down on a hill in northern Italy in 1945. The former star athlete was forced into various body casts for the next 3 years, fighting off killer infections. "I prayed a lot of silent prayers in those days, at least some of them tinged with initial bitterness," Dole wrote in his memoir. "Why me? I demanded. Why hadn't someone been watching out for me. In time, I came to realize that someone was watching out for me and had been from the morning of April 14 . Maybe it was all part of a plan, a test of endurance and strength and, above all, of faith." Once out of office, Dole dedicated his time to helping veterans and pushed for the construction of the World War II Memorial. He regularly met with veterans well into his 90s. The U.S. lost another living link to World War II history with the death of the last surviving officer of the U.S. military regiment that inspired HBO's award-winning Band of Brothers. Edward Shames, a member of the Easy Company unit whose actions formed the basis of the miniseries died Friday at the age of 99. 80 years ago this week, an unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II. Pearl Harbor Survivors, veterans, and visitors came together to honor and remember the 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. A further 1,178 people were injured in the attack, which permanently sank two U.S. Navy battleships (the USS Arizona and the USS Utah) and destroyed 188 aircraft.
Pray for the families of Bob Dole and Edward Shames, as they mourn and honor these men's lives. Pray for those serving in the military, as well as their families, as they protect and defend our nation.
Consider supporting a military family this Christmas by providing groceries or gift cards. Soldiers’ Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides aid, comfort, and resources to the military, veterans, and their families, has an adopt-a-family program you can be a part of. To be matched with a family in time for Christmas, you must sign up by this Friday, December 10th. Learn more here.
Just 18% of US Households are 'Nuclear Families' with a Married Couple and Children
“The number of homes in America with the traditional 'nuclear family' of a married couple with children is now the lowest it has been since 1959, according to Census data. The Census Bureau's count showed that 17.8 percent of the United States' 130 million households featured married parents with children under the age of 18. That's only down from 18.6 percent from last year but down much more significantly from over 40 percent in 1970. There are currently just 23.1 million American homes with those 'nuclear families,' which is the fewest since 1959. The reasons given for the drop include the pandemic delaying marriage and a continued decline in birth rate.” read more at the Daily Mail
The concept of family is extremely important in the Bible, both in a physical sense and in a theological sense. But as Jefferson Bethke discusses in his recent book, Take Back Your Family, “Nothing has done more damage to Scripture’s vision of family than the ideal of the nuclear family.” A concept born from postwar prosperity that peaked in the 1950s and ‘60s, the nuclear family consisted of a mom, a dad, and two kids as the social unit. It generally centers itself on consumption, safety, and individual happiness. In a 2020 article, David Brooks suggested, “People who grow up in a nuclear family tend to have a more individualistic mind-set than people who grow up in a multigenerational extended clan. People with an individualistic mind-set tend to be less willing to sacrifice self for the sake of the family, and the result is more family disruption.” The concept of family was introduced in the very beginning of time, as we see in Genesis 1:28, God’s plan for creation was for men and women to marry and have children. A man and a woman would form a "one-flesh" union through marriage (Genesis 2:24), and they with their children become a family, the essential building block of human society. But the Bible has a more communal sense of family than is generally held in Western cultures today, where citizens are more individualized. For example, when God called Abraham out of Haran, He called him and his family (Genesis 12:4-5). The sign of the Abrahamic covenant (circumcision) was to be applied to all males within one’s household, whether they were born into the family or are part of the household servant staff (Genesis 17:12-13). In other words, God’s covenant with Abraham was familial, not individual. Is our Western concept of family missing God’s beautiful design to be multi-generational teams on a mission? The good news is that multigenerational family living appears to be on the rise. From 2011 to 2021, there was a 271 percent increase in multigenerational households with three or more generations, in the US. Among those living in a multigenerational household, nearly 57 percent say they started or are continuing to live together because of the pandemic. When we discuss all the problems confronting our nation, we don’t talk about the importance of family enough. As Brooks says, “For decades we have been eating at smaller and smaller tables, with fewer and fewer kin. It’s time to find ways to bring back the big tables.”
Father, help me to speak blessing over my children and to pass down blessings, extending from generation to generation. As the words of Numbers 6:24-26 say, “The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.”
If your family didn’t exist, how would this world be different? It’s a question posed by Lindsey Bell to help encourage families to become more intentional by creating a “family mission statement.” Use her helpful tools to guide you in creating a mission statement, grounded in scripture, to inspire purpose and vision for your family here.
Top Four Takeaways for Christians from the Dobbs Oral Arguments
“For approximately two hours, the fate of millions of future lives hung in the balance as oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization were made before the Supreme Court. As a way of brief background, the Dobbs case is the single greatest challenge to Roe v. Wade since the Planned Parenthood vs Casey decision in 1992, the subsequent ruling that affirmed the core holdings of Roe, that is, the “right” for a woman to have an abortion. The Dobbs case will decide the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi state law that banned abortions after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. The 15-week ban has been struck down by two lower federal courts. The Supreme Court is the final stop and the last chance for this life-saving law to be upheld.” read more at Standing for Freedom Center
The four takeaways from the arguments were (1) the pro-life arguments made by Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart were strong. “Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey haunt our country,” he plainly stated. (2) The pro-abortion arguments were mainly based in the fact that the Court should be unwilling to go against precedent–despite the fact that the Supreme Court has reversed over 250 cases in its history. (3) Pro-life legal scholars seemed very optimistic about the chances of upholding the Mississippi law, and quite possibly overturning Roe v. Wade. (4) There is a very real danger that Chief Justice Roberts will persuade the conservative justices to find some middle ground that doesn’t overturn Roe. That last possibility is cause for great prayer. Consider what Roe v. Wade permitted in half a century: Between 1973 and 2017, according to numbers published this year by the Guttmacher Institute, doctors killed 58,177,540 babies in the United States. The National Right to Life Educational Foundation estimates that from 1973 and 2020, the number is 62,502,904. The sheer number is staggering, but it’s very personal for Melissa Ohden, who survived an abortion forty years ago. You can watch our interview with Melissa, who was on the steps of the Supreme Court and learn about her amazing ministry, The Abortion Survivors Network. Survivors like Melissa testify to the consequences of what happens when the Court justifies its overreach by thinking it was for the greater good. However, the Supreme Court cannot entirely be blamed for the millions of lives killed over the decades. The decision would not have come about if our culture hadn’t believed that women’s right includes the ability to kill her preborn child. And we wouldn’t have believed this faulty view of women’s rights if we hadn’t bought the lies of the sexual revolution, which proclaimed that true freedom means complete autonomy. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, we will still have much work to do in lovingly calling out this deceptive lie and pointing to the truth which sets us free.
In the words of Dr. Michael Brown, even though the arguments were very encouraging, “rather than feeling self-assured, we need to give ourselves to prayer like never before, saying, ‘Father, turn the hearts of these justices to Your heart, and give them the courage and integrity to do what is right in Your sight. Give them a heart for ‘the least of these!...“So, let us press into God like never before, also asking for His mercy on our land after the shedding of so much innocent blood and after so much indifference from so many of us. Let us seize this holy, historic moment and not let it go — for the ultimate good of all Americans.”
Did you know the Supreme Court allowed audio of the oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization to be livestreamed? It’s a historic case worth listening to–which you can do on our website: myfaithvotes.org/dobbs
New York City Announces First-In-The-Nation Vaccine Mandate For Private Companies
“Mayor Bill de Blasio announced what he called a first-in-the-nation vaccine mandate for private companies Monday. He said the combination of the Omicron variant and holiday gatherings forced him to take “bold” steps. He’s giving businesses just three weeks to make sure their workers are vaccinated. ‘We in New York City have decided to use a preemptive strike to really do something bold to stop the further growth of COVID and the dangers it’s causing to all of us,’ he said in an interview on MSNBC. De Blasio said the city will release specific rules on Dec. 15, before the mandate takes effect Dec. 27. He said it will apply to in-person employees, but would not provide any details about enforcement. He also said there will not be a weekly testing option.” read more at CBS New York
One lesson we can keep in mind heading into next years’ election season is that municipal elections certainly have hard-hitting consequences. Joe Borelli, a New York City council member who plans to bring a lawsuit against the mandate, pointed out the consequences for residents: “In the Bronx, with 15% unemployment, 28% of residents will no longer be able to work on Dec. 27, including 44% of Black young adults, as a result of de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for the private sector,” he tweeted. Children will also be greatly impacted in their ability to participate in usual activities. Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi announced that “Children ages 5 to 11 will be required to get vaccinated to participate in high-risk extracurricular activities, including sports, band, orchestra and dance.” This is especially concerning in light of reports that young people are struggling with depression and anxiety from effects of the pandemic. In Australia, where measures include placing potentially infected people in a quarantine camp, an authority acknowledged that quarantine can be "pretty hard for some people ... used to being close to family and community." Three teenagers were recently apprehended after escaping from a quarantine camp in Howard Springs. Although the teenagers tested negative, they may be required to stay in quarantine longer as a consequence for escaping. Albert Mohler notes that each time a new perceived threat from COVID is revealed, we can recognize a “cultural pattern.” In a recent edition of the Briefing, he states, “this predictable political response tells us a great deal about our culture.” The response of Australia and New York City indicates a belief that we can totally control this virus. Germany has just announced a new policy that prohibits unvaccinated people from activities like going to the movies and dining indoors unless they have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months. And European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has suggested mandatory vaccinations for member countries. For any governing authorities who believe that human progress will enable us to control our destiny and ultimately lead to utopia, such measures make sense. But what happens when, to perfect human society, we lose sight of individual humans, and start viewing them simply as helpful contributors to the goal of utopia, or dangerous problems that stand in the way?
In light of lost jobs, canceled plans, uncertainty, isolation, and illness, it only seems natural to be anxious. How then, can we obey Scripture’s clear command to “be anxious for nothing?” The answer is found in the verse beforehand: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” (Philippians 4:4) When you pray, turn your concerns into honest, earnest petitions to our Sovereign Lord, the King of kings, who watches over the affairs of humanity. Remember His goodness and set your hope on the fact that He will return one day soon to rule in perfect justice, righteousness, and truth.
Hope for the Heart is a ministry offering free resources on numerous life struggles, including anxiety and depression. You can download the resources on their website, and consider recommending them to a loved one.
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.