WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - FEBRUARY 16, 2022
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Indiana City Scuttles Proposed “Conversion Therapy” Ban
“The City Council of West Lafayette, Ind., abruptly withdrew a proposed ban on conversion therapy at a meeting on Monday evening. A co-sponsor of the ordinance, which would have barred unlicensed counselors from talking with minors who sought help for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, said he was pulling the controversial proposal in the face of threatened litigation. Instead, the council passed a nonbinding resolution against conversion therapy on an 8-1 vote.” read more at WORLD
A resolution simply conveys the city’s position but is not binding on the citizens. If the ordinance had passed, pastors, parents, lay counselors, and Christian friends would have been at risk of a one thousand dollar fine every time they gave such Biblical advice to someone under eighteen years old regarding their gender identity or sexual attractions. However, the ordinance explicitly allows any counseling that affirms a person’s same-sex attraction or gender identity. Therefore, the official position of the city of West Lafayette is that (1) gender dysphoria is normal and should be affirmed, and (2) same-sex attraction is normal and should be affirmed. “Essentially they’re saying the only acceptable worldview is that if you feel these impulses, you must act on them,” said Brad Jacob, professor at Regent School of Law. If the ordinance had passed, it would have enshrined that belief into law. The surprising–and encouraging–aspect of this situation is that it was pastors who stood against this to protect their flock. Rejecting the notion that churches should avoid engagement in public policy, a group of pastors led by Steve Viars, pastor of Faith Church in West Lafayette, organized the effort against the ordinance through petitions and a potential lawsuit. Pastor Viars said, “We’re not people who are just looking to get into it with somebody. We want to love our community, and Biblical counseling is one of the ways that we’ve chosen to do that.” Faith Church provides a large Biblical counseling ministry that would have been affected. The ordinance was clearly at odds with the First Amendment–both freedom of religion and freedom of speech. “The Proposed Ordinance thus chills expression of its disfavored views by the very individuals whom the person seeking counseling may trust the most, and who in turn may have the deepest concern for that person’s happiness and well-being,” the lawyers for Faith Lafayette church argued. The churches’ opposition, however, comes at a cost. Because the ordinance justified itself by claiming “These provisions are exercises of the police power of the City of West Lafayette, Indiana for the public safety, health, and welfare,” the Christians who opposed it had to be willing to be framed as people who were endangering “public safety, health, and welfare.” But Jesus told His disciples to expect such shaming, and to rejoice. (Matthew 5:11)
Praise the Lord for this victory and for the faithfulness of Christians in West Lafayette. Ask Him to help you seek the welfare of your own community: to stand against evil, to fill a need, or to advance something good.
We see the impact that a few city council members can have on our religious liberty…for good or ill. Do you know when your next city council election is occurring, and who is running? Have you considered serving your community by running for local office? Your city is likely in need of individuals who view the world through a biblical lens, possess godly character, and are equipped to serve and protect people’s freedoms. One way or another, prepare to engage in your local elections this year.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Allows Ballot Boxes to be Banned for April Election
“The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that it will allow a ban on the use of ballot drop boxes for the upcoming April election, though the ruling will not affect primaries scheduled for next week, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. In a 4-3 ruling, the state’s high court allowed a ban that will prohibit ballot drop boxes from being used in the upcoming April election, upholding a lower court’s ruling from January, the news outlet noted. The challenge to the use of ballot drop boxes came from the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of two voters from Waukesha County last summer, contesting the use of absentee ballot drop boxes.” read more at The Hill
To protect election integrity, the Heritage Foundation advises, “The use of drop boxes should be severely limited. If authorized, states should require that drop boxes be located in secure settings where they are under 24-hour security, under video surveillance, and located in government buildings.” However, the lawsuit by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) argues that state law does not permit ballot drop boxes in the first place. “There are just two legal ways in Wisconsin to submit an absentee ballot. When voting by absentee ballot, state law says ‘[t]he envelope [containing the ballot] shall be mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots,’” they stated. Therefore, WILL is alleging that the Wisconsin Election Commission issued “unlawful guidance to clerks, in 2020, encouraging the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, and telling voters that others can return their ballot for them.” One thing we can take away from this is the impact that judges have on election integrity. In Wisconsin, judges for the state Supreme Court are elected by the voters, rather than appointed. The court is expected to issue a final ruling on the use of ballot boxes in the next few weeks or months, since this decision simply upheld the ban issued by a lower court while the case is ongoing. Hans Von Spakovsky pointed out that more election-related lawsuits were filed in 2020 than in any previous year in American history. And the lawsuits continue. Several citizens of New York City are suing the Board of Elections for violating both the 15th Amendment and the state constitution by allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. Also, in Compton, California, three people pled guilty to illegally registering to vote in a city election. What’s the big deal? The race was decided by one vote. We need to restore trust in our election system, otherwise our representative republic will continue to lie on shaky ground.
Heavenly Father, we know You love justice and hate bribes. Let corruption be exposed and justice be accomplished so the citizens of this country can be confident that their voice is accurately represented. And help us, as we prepare to vote in these midterm elections, discern the candidates “who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe.” (Exodus 18:21)
Early voting is underway in Texas for the March 1st primaries! The primary election is a unique opportunity to choose a candidate who more closely reflects Biblical values. However, in the 2018 midterm primary, only 17% cast a ballot out of 15.2 million registered voters. Visit our Voting Resources and Assistance page for important information or forward it to your Texas friends.
Trudeau Announces Unprecedented Action, Freezing Bank Accounts Of ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protesters
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday in an effort to crack down on protesters that have shut down parts of Ottawa and various border crossings with the U.S. Trudeau informed his cabinet and Canada’s premiers of his intent Monday morning. The prime minister’s announcement marks the first time the act, which replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, has been employed.” read more at the DailyWire
Trudeau’s emergency powers allow the government to seize cars and trucks, suspend insurance, and even freeze the truckers' personal and corporate bank accounts. Trudeau threatened truckers saying, "You don't want to end up losing your license, end up with a criminal record, which will impact your job, your livelihood, even your ability to travel internationally, including to the U.S." Some are calling Trudeau a "totalitarian" and a "tyrant” for his move and several Canadian premiers came out against the Act as well. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe stated, “Saskatchewan does not support the Trudeau government invoking the Emergencies Act.” Quebec Premier Francois Legault also warned that he did not want the Emergencies Act to be applied to his province, stating he thought such a measure would be divisive. "It's not time to throw fuel on the fire," he said. Even the liberal Toronto Star is questioning Trudeau’s' actions saying, “Federal emergency powers may now be necessary as a last resort, but going that route is a shocking admission of failure by governments at all levels.” Watching what is happening in Canada should be something to keenly observe. Even though our cultures have many similarities, our political systems have vast differences. Canada, for example, is a constitutional monarchy governed by a prime minister and a parliament. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State of Canada. In contrast, the United States is a republic governed by a president and Congress. These political systems function in contrasting ways that create unique differences between the two governments. Another difference is that Canadians don't typically protest, and Americans do. As Albert Mohler points out, “It's not so much that Canadians don't get outrage. It's just that they channel that through other forms and protests are considered…just too American.” The Wall Street Journal editorial board speaking about the developments in Canada wrote this, "The lesson for the COVID-19 police is that when you've lost even Canadians, arguably the most law-abiding people on the planet, you've lost the political plot. Time to adopt a new strategy, more tolerant of the need to return to life not dominated by pandemic fear and government commands."
Lord, we pray for our North American neighbors in Canada. We pray that Canada will be a country that honors and serves You, that it will be a nation which demonstrates righteousness, justice, compassion, and generosity and that the Holy Spirit will bring renewal across its land. As Christianity declines, we pray for a renewed hunger for You and Your Word.
Christian conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey recently interviewed Christian blogger Samuel Sey and his fiancée, Annie, who managed to find each other despite living in different countries, and the harsh restrictions Canada imposed on its people as a response to the pandemic. Be encouraged as they discuss their story of overcoming both personal struggles and a near-tyrannical government over the past few years to make their relationship work.
Durham Report: Clinton Campaign Paid to 'Infiltrate' Trump Tower, White House Servers
“A filing from Justice Department special counsel John Durham says Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign paid a technology company to infiltrate Trump Tower servers, and later the White House, Fox News reports. Durham in a motion filed Feb. 11 said the purpose of the surreptitious intrusion was to establish a ‘narrative of collusion between then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia. Durham, appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr to lead a review into the Russia investigation, made the claim in his investigation that brought charges against an FBI attorney and former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman, who is currently charged with making a false statement to a federal agent.” read more at NewsMax
“What did they know and when did they know it?” That’s the question asked in a Washington Times article that also suggests this news is worse than Watergate in 1972. Electronic political espionage that allegedly infiltrated White House computer servers “should shock everyone regardless of who controls the White House,” and the crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He went on to say: “The burglary and wiretapping that occurred in Watergate were criminal violations of the law. The type of unauthorized access to computer systems as described by Durham is also a criminal violation of the law. If found to be true, this would be the worst political scandal since Watergate, which resulted in the downfall of a president. But what makes it arguably worse is that 1) they infiltrated the White House, 2) the amount of data they gathered was potentially voluminous and sensitive, and 3) the Watergate burglars were caught in the act before they could install their bugging equipment; these guys succeeded in getting the information they sought, using it to smear a president and get an extensive federal law enforcement investigation against the [Trump] administration that caused it all kinds of problems.” Once again, the media is largely silent on the story.
Heavenly Father, we ask You to expose corruption and bring wrongdoers to justice. Help those who are seeking justice and bring to justice those who are subverting it. Lord, presidents are ultimately appointed by You (Romans 13:1). We pray for those who hold this office, that they would seek You first. Surround the president with godly counselors, give him accountability to the people he serves, but first and foremost to You.
Monday is George Washington’s birthday, the day we now know as Presidents’ Day. One of the longest-running yet little-known traditions in our nation is the reading of George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address in the United States Senate chamber to celebrate the day. In the letter, Washington warned that the forces of political factionalism threatened the stability of the Republic and repeatedly called for unity. Washington also recognized, as do we at My Faith Votes, that faith is the central foundation of this sacred unity and our best hope for the nation. In honor of our first president’s birthday, take time to read his charge to the nation that can still be applied today.
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.