WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - FEBRUARY 12, 2020
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Starbucks Partners with Organization Promoting Sex-Changes for Minors
Starbucks has launched a new transgender-friendly commercial and campaign that will benefit a controversial British charity that supports overturning the age limit when children can receive cross-sex hormones. The #WhatsYourName campaign features an ad showing a transgender boy being called “Jemma” by friends and acquaintances until arriving at a Starbucks, where an employee asks, “And what’s your name?” “James,” the transgender boy answers. The employee then writes “James” on the cup. Starbucks says the campaign “celebrates this signature act” of a name change and “was inspired by real-life experiences of people who were transitioning.” “We discovered that they found Starbucks stores to be a safe space, where their new name was accepted, and they could be recognized as who they are,” a Starbucks press release said. But the #WhatsYourName campaign has drawn criticism for Starbucks’ partnership with Mermaids, a London-based charity that “supports gender-diverse children and young people until their 20th birthday,” according to its website. Starbucks hopes to raise at least £100,000 for Mermaids. read more
Starbucks places a high value on recognizing people as “who they are”, yet what they really mean is recognizing people as whoever they "say they are", as is clear in their commercial. As Christians, we know that God created people male and female--that is an objective truth. Self-identifying as the opposite from a person’s biological gender doesn’t make it true. Such individuals deserve our love, but not our affirmation. Starbucks says their campaign “was inspired by real-life experiences of people who were transitioning.” But what about the real-life experiences of people who now regret their decision to transition, and live with the irreversible physical consequences of their choices that felt right in the past? The UK’s current laws wisely ban children under 16 from receiving opposite-sex hormones. But Mermaids, the group Starbucks is raising money for, actively opposes that ban. In related news, a Medical Journal Urges 'State Intervention' to Override Parents Opposed to Transing their Kids.
A parent from the Kelsey Coalition, an organization formed by parents whose children have been harmed by transgender medical practices, told the Christian Post, "We have received hundreds of testimonials from parents in just the last 11 months, relating stories of how parents have been pressured by medical professionals to start their children on puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, often on the very first visit. These children frequently have comorbid issues which are not explored, such as depression, trauma, and neuro-developmental issues that are ignored while gender treatments are quickly encouraged." Read this article by the Family Research Council to understand how this issue personally affects parents and those who regret their transition. Sadly, our culture is normalizing children choosing “their truth.”. Ideas have consequences, and the idea that a person can transition to the opposite gender can hold very destructive consequences for parental rights, and for the children who choose to change their gender during a critical time in their development.
Ask God to give you wisdom as you make personal decisions on how to best steward the resources he has given you when you make purchases at various companies. Pray that our love for the Gospel and urgency for the Great Commission would include declaring the whole counsel of God, proclaiming what Scripture teaches about God’s design for us as male and female persons created in His image and for His glory.
Bernie Sanders says Being Pro-Choice ‘Absolutely Essential’ to Being Democrat; Critic Calls it ‘Excommunicating’
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stated at a forum in New Hampshire that he believes it is “absolutely essential” for a Democrat to be pro-choice on abortion. Speaking at the “Our Rights, Our Courts” forum in Concord on Saturday, the senator from Vermont was asked by MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle if he believed it was possible to be pro-life and a Democrat. While acknowledging the existence of a few pro-life Democrats in Congress, Sanders nevertheless concluded, “By this time in history, I think when we talk about what a Democrat is, I think being pro-choice is an essential part of that.” In response, Princeton University Professor Robert P. George took to Twitter to denounce Sanders’ comments, believing that the candidate was “officially excommunicating pro-life Democrats.” “So: if you're pro-life you are unacceptable, unwanted, an intruder. Time to go elsewhere,” said George. Nevertheless, George also commended Sanders for showing “superiority to his competitors in terms of honesty and forthrightness.” “His answer was direct and clear. No oiliness. Sanders is a man of principle--I only wish he had the right principles,” he added. The forum was sponsored by the pro-choice groups Demand Justice, Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and All* Above All Action Fund. read more
Senator Bernie Sanders is not the only Democratic candidate answering this question. Presidential Candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg was asked by Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats for Life of America, at a town hall event if he would welcome pro-life Democrats into his campaign. He responded in part saying, “The best I can offer is that if we can't agree on where to draw the line, the next best thing we can do is agree on who should draw the line. And in my view, it's the woman who's faced with that decision in her own life.” You can read more about Pete Buttigieg and his perspective on the sanctity of life in our most recent Election Watch here. In related news, there is great progress for the pro-life movement coming out of Oklahoma. Oklahoma law mandating only physicians can perform abortions and another law banning telemedicine abortions (a practice where doctors guide patients through a medication-induced abortion via video conference) were both upheld by Oklahoma County District Judge Natalie Mai. Last week the Oklahoma House Legislature passed a bill along party lines voting 71-21 to suspend the medical license of any doctors who perform abortions in the state. If the Senate passes the bill and the Governor signs it into law, it’s expected to be challenged in court. The bill would make all abortions illegal in Oklahoma. In the Oklahoma Senate, a pro-life rally was held yesterday in support of the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act (SB13). This bill would outlaw all abortions in the state. The legislation has been introduced in the last four legislative sessions. Proverbs 31:8-10 is a powerful reminder for Christians standing for life, “Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.”
Pray for the sanctity of life to be protected and upheld in our nation. Pray for states to challenge Roe v. Wade by passing bold legislation and following Oklahoma’s lead.
In addition to prayer, there are tangible ways each of us can do to take action to protect unborn babies. If you aren’t sure where to start or how to get involved, we’ve compiled 20 easy ways you can stand for life. Check the helpful free guide here.
Criminals Would be Protected from Deportation Under Bill House Democrats Back
At this moment there is a bill pending in Congress called the New Way Forward Act. It’s received almost no publicity, which is unfortunate as well as revealing. The legislation is sponsored by 44 House Democrats, including Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. At roughly 4,400 words, it’s almost exactly as long as the U.S. Constitution. Like the Constitution, this legislation is designed to create a whole new country. The bill would entirely remake our immigration system, with the explicit purpose of ensuring that criminals are able to move here, and settle here permanently, with impunity. You may think we’re exaggerating for effect. We’re not – not even a little. The New Way Forward act is the most radical single piece of legislation we’ve seen proposed in this country. It makes the Green New Deal look like the status quo. A document produced by Democrats to promote the bill says: “Convictions … should not lead to deportation.” Keep in mind, we’re not talking about convictions for double parking. The bill targets felony convictions – serious crimes that send you to prison for years. A press release from Rep., Jesus Garcia, D-Ill., is explicit about this. Garcia brags that the bill will break the “prison to deportation pipeline.” How does the bill do that? Under current U.S. law, legal U.S. immigrants can be deported if they commit an “aggravated felony” or a “crime of moral turpitude” – that is, a vile, depraved act, like molesting a child. Under the New Way Forward Act, “crimes of moral turpitude” are eliminated entirely as a justification for deportation. And the category of “aggravated felony” gets circumscribed too. read more
The New Way Forward Act would also allow illegal aliens who commit crimes such as car theft, weapons offenses, rape, manslaughter, and child abuse, to stay in the country. These criminals would not face deportation after serving time for their crime. While so many immigrants follow our laws and wait patiently in line for their opportunity to come to America, criminals who come into our country illegally, break our laws, and commit crimes against our people, would be allowed to stay under this new law. The bill even goes a step further to actually decriminalize illegal entry into America by those people previously deported. This system would not be fair or just. We read in scripture, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore, one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” (Romans 13:3-5) This is a valuable reminder of why elections are extremely important. The individuals we elect to Congress are responsible to pass laws that protect American citizens and uphold justice in our nation. Christians must not only vote in every election, but also pay close attention to the introduction of policies, such as this one, that would greatly impact Americans’ lives and shape the future of our nation.
Pray today that your elected leaders in Congress would operate under God’s wisdom. Almighty God, we pray every leader in Washington, D.C. would come to know the true wisdom that comes only from you. We ask for the hearts of government leaders to be humbled, that they would fear you Lord above all and seek you in prayer in scripture to know how to handle the important issues of our day. (Psalm 2:10-11) Download the full prayer guide for elected leaders here.
Did you know an estimated 25 million Christians fail to vote in a presidential election cycle? Christians should be the most consistent voting block in the nation - defending biblical values such as justice and the rule of law. Consider taking just a few minutes today and encourage people in your sphere of influence to sign-up for the Personal Voting Assistant. This powerful tool will help remind them to vote in every election from the local to the federal level. Make sure you’re signed up too!
U.S. Says Two Soldiers Killed, Six Wounded in Afghanistan Attack
Two U.S. soldiers were killed and six wounded in a so-called insider attack in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province late Saturday when an Afghan dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire, the U.S. military said. Afghanistan’s defense ministry said one Afghan soldier was also killed and three injured in the assault. A member of Nangarhar’s provincial council, Ajmal Omer, told The Associated Press that the gunman was killed. Neither the U.S. military nor the Afghan defense ministry have confirmed the attacker’s fate. The U.S. Department of Defense released later in the day the names of the dead American soldiers. They are Sgt. Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28; and Sgt. Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28. read more.
Since the start of 2020, six U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan, including the two who were killed on Saturday. Last year, 22 U.S. service personnel died in combat there. After a temporary build-up, the U.S now has fewer than 9,000 troops in the country. James Carafano, Vice President of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, provided some context to this tragedy when he told Fox News: “The region as a whole has benefited from the American presence in Afghanistan. A more unstable situation there could produce dangerous spillover effects in neighboring countries — including those two nuclear-armed rivals, India and Pakistan.” Sgt. Javier Jaguar Gutierrez and Sgt. Antonio Rey Rodriguez died protecting our freedom, and we should be deeply grateful for their sacrifice. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” President Trump and Vice President Pence visited Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay their respects. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told reporters, “These are terrible sacrifices for the families. And these guys are heroes, they’re real warriors and did a great job for the American people.”
Pray for the families of the six service members who have been killed this year. Pray also for all the U.S. soldiers who are currently stationed in Afghanistan, and the service members who were wounded in the attack.
Terry and Beth Burgess are Gold Star parents whose son, Bryan, was killed in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan. They founded Gold Star Parent’s Retreat as a place to help other grieving parents find healing through fellowship with others who have lost their son or daughter in service to our country. You can watch their powerful interview on the Today Show here. You can also visit their website and consider donating to help cover the parents’ expenses for one of their upcoming weekend retreats.
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.