WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - FEBRUARY 24, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Bay Area School Board Members Resign After Making Disparaging Comments About Parents in Virtual Meeting
“An entire San Francisco Bay Area school board resigned this week for making disparaging comments about parents during a virtual meeting the officials didn’t realize was being broadcast to the public. Four members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees had stepped down by Friday, following an outcry from parents who obtained thousands of signatures on a petition calling for their resignations. It comes amid heightened tensions across the state regarding reopening schools. In a letter to parents, Oakley Union District Supt. Greg Hetrick said that Contra Costa County education board members would be serving as interim board members for the district until official ones were selected. ‘As a district, we will continue to proceed with the work that we are engaged in to bring our students back to school,’ Hetrick said. The trouble began on Wednesday, during the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, which was announced on the board’s website along with a link for the public to join. ‘Are we alone?’ questioned Kim Beede, one of the board members, before giving her take on a critic: ‘B—, if you’re going to call me out, I’m going to f— you up.’ The other members laughed, before board President Lisa Brizendine chimed in, calling it unfortunate that parents “want to pick on us because they want their baby-sitters back.” read more at LA Times
The school board members from the San Francisco Bay District issued an apology upon giving their resignations stating in part, “We deeply regret the earlier comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week. As trustees, we realize it is our responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff, and it is our obligation to build confidence in district leadership; our comments failed you in both regards, and for this we offer our sincerest apology.” While the school board members have resigned, the school superintendent who was present for the virtual meeting when the disparaging comments were made, has not resigned at this point. It’s vital to note that while no election was being held for these school board positions, the parents choose to vote these members out. Through a petition, and an overwhelming number of messages to the board members, parents created powerful political pressure and made their voices heard. This should be a lesson to all of us that we hold tremendous power at the local and state level to ensure our elected leaders are working on behalf of the people they represent. We can’t forget that we can hold our elected officials accountable, to make sure they operate with integrity, character, and most importantly, that they listen to the sincere concerns of their constituents. The issue to reopen schools has been debated across the nation for months. School boards and teachers’ unions in many areas seem to be dragging their feet. Politicians are calling for additional COVID safety protocols, and parents are urging leaders to open schools for the sake of their children. They have not only suffered in their education, as many students struggle to learn virtually, but also mentally as isolation takes a toll on their mental health. In related news, parents are also pushing back and advocating on behalf of their children in Utah where a third grade teacher read a book to her class about a transgender student. The book is endorsed by the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign. A student initially brought the book to school and asked the teacher to read it. After outrage from parents, the district is now reviewing the book.
Pray for your local school board members by name. Pray for them to make decisions that are in the best interest of the children that they serve. Also, pray for Christian parents to faithfully live out Proverbs 22:6 to “train up a child in the way he should go.”
We encourage you to take a few minutes to learn when your school board election will be held. You can check here on Ballotpedia. In local elections, voter turnout is significantly lower than general elections--roughly only 10% of the local voting population. This means your involvement and vote carries even more power. We encourage you to begin tracking your local school board elections to make sure that students in your district have the very best people working on their behalf.
Catholic League: Pro-Trans ‘Equality Act’ the ‘Most Comprehensive Assault on Christianity Ever Written into Law’
“Catholic League president Bill Donohue warned Monday that the Equality Act would ‘promote the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law.’ While its proponents insist that the Equality Act is about ‘ending discrimination,’ it would in fact fundamentally alter the legal definition of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity, Dr. Donohue argues. The Act would also undermine the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by conferring special status on gay rights, prioritizing them over religious freedom and conscience rights, he added. The Equality Act would also require healthcare providers to provide “hormone therapies and surgical procedures that are required to change the physical characteristics associated with sex changes,” Donohue observes, without regard for the beliefs of healthcare workers. ‘It has become increasingly clear that the expansion of rights to transgender women — really biological males who identify as female — has come at the expense of rights for biological females,’ Donohue adds. ‘Boys and men would be allowed to compete in sports with girls and women, thus unfairly altering women’s athletics,’ he writes. Moreover, ‘biological males can use the locker rooms, restrooms and shower facilities that have always been reserved for females.’ This would also mean that ‘Catholics, evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and many other religious communities could not raise religious liberty objections to any of the aforementioned rights of transgender women,’ Donohue warns.” read more at Breitbart News
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the House of Representatives is planning to vote this week on the Equality Act (H.R. 5), a cornerstone of President Biden’s legislative campaign promises to enact in his first 100 days if brought to his desk to sign. In addition to the explicit declaration that LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination in employment, education, housing, jury service and credit, the Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and LGBTQ status in public accommodations and federal programs. The legislation would also establish that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1994 law aimed at protecting religious liberty, can’t be used to enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Some are saying the legislation would essentially “criminalize Christianity.” Under the legislation, disagreement is considered discrimination. It’s always insightful to see who does and who doesn’t endorse legislation being proposed. We learned that one of the most liberal women’s rights groups as well as one of the most conservative women’s groups have joined forces against this legislation because of the detrimental effects this would have on women. The Equality Act was originally introduced in the US House of Representatives as H.R. 5 in 2019 and passed 236-173. The Senate did not act on it. Now, with a Democrat-led Senate, the chances of it passing in both chambers look more likely. The Senate has already announced the legislation will be brought forth for a vote soon. We highlighted some of the critical issues with this legislation back in 2019 here.
Lord, You alone can bring sanity into the legislation that is before Congress. May truth rise up, that our Representatives would open their eyes to what has evil potential. Lord, where a sense of helplessness wants to creep in, give us courage to stand firm on Your Word. Our nation is dependent on You, Your mercy and Your Grace. Show us Your glory. We call upon the Name of the Lord.
Writing to your Representative is an incredibly effective way to make your voice and your opinion heard. And it works. We know because we’ve had many congressional aides who work for Representatives tell us your communication has power. Send a message to your elected representative right now with our easy-to-use-tool. Tell them to vote no on the Equality Act.
Democrat Ron Kim Calls for Cuomo to be Impeached Over Nursing Home Scandal
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be impeached over the nursing home scandal that saw state officials intentionally obscure the extent of the coronavirus’ death toll on the facilities, frequent critic and state Assemblyman Ron Kim wrote in an opinion piece published Monday. The Democrat-on-Democrat broadside came less than a week after Kim, of Queens, alleged that Cuomo called him while at home, threatening to “destroy” his political career unless he helped mitigate damage from the ballooning scandal. “It is time to be brave, to hold him accountable, to investigate his cover-up of nursing home information,” wrote Kim — whose uncle’s death in a New York City nursing home is suspected to be tied to the pandemic — in the piece for Newsweek. “It is time to undo the bad policies that led to unnecessary deaths. And it is time to start the impeachment process,” Kim wrote. The latest layer of the long-simmering scandal came to light earlier this month when The Post exclusively reported that top Cuomo aide Melissa De Rosa, in a conference call with Democratic state lawmakers, acknowledged the administration covered up the extent of the nursing home death toll because they feared a probe by the administration of now-former President Donald Trump.” read more at the New York Post
The State Assembly is able to impeach a governor with a simple majority; a trial would then be held in the state Senate. In March of 2020, the New York State Department of Health issued an advisory forcing nursing homes to admit people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and prohibited them from requiring a COVID test from any resident returning from the hospital. Governor Cuomo’s administration denied that this policy led to more deaths, even though the virus was not present in hundreds of nursing homes before they were forced to admit potentially infected residents, and many patients were returned to their nursing homes while still infectious. A report issued last month by New York Attorney General Letitia James notes that at least 4,000 elderly residents died after this directive went into effect. Since last summer, state lawmakers have been calling on the Department of Health to release an honest count of the death toll in nursing homes, since the DOH was only reporting the number of residents who died in the homes, excluding those who died after being transported to a hospital. The Health Commissioner finally released a shocking report placing the total number of nursing home resident deaths at 13,432 as of February 22. This is 56% higher than the DOH previously acknowledged. After Governor Cuomo’s aid confessed that they had withheld the full count due to fear of a Justice Department investigation, nine Democrat state legislators released a letter seeking to repeal the emergency authority given to the governor last year. “It is now unambiguously clear that this governor has engaged in an intentional obstruction of justice, as outlined in Title 18, Chapter 73 of the United States Code,” the letter states. What can we learn from these horrific revelations? First, a true leader always takes responsibility for his actions. Governor Cuomo and those under him have shifted or denied blame at every turn. As a result, the citizens’ trust in their government is fractured. Second, too much power in one person’s hands easily results in bad decisions with disastrous consequences. “It’s not safe to have someone like Cuomo have extraordinary powers,” State Assemblyman Kim said. A biblical perspective would note that humanity’s sinful nature and lack of complete wisdom dictates that no one should have extraordinary powers. This isn’t just a problem for Governor Cuomo, it’s a problem for anyone. Third, occupying a position of power is not the same as exercising true leadership. While Governor Cuomo had the appearance of a leader and even received an Emmy award for his daily COVID briefings, his actions are not those of a true servant leader.
Father reveal truth to our nation and its leaders. Guide our government officials with Your wisdom in their decisions and protect our nation from evil. Please comfort those who have lost loved ones to this deception and lack of moral leadership. May those who participated in this “cover-up” be brought to justice.
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to visit my 109-year-old great grandmother over the weekend. The Senior Living home in which she has independently lived for the past 20 years is finally allowing 1 hour, in-person visits. Outside contact had been closed since last March due to COVID. Upon giving her a big hug, she broke down in tears saying how much she’s missed family, a simple hug, and she has been so lonely. Dr. Jill Harrison, executive director for the National Institute on Aging recently stated of the COVID restrictions and the elderly, “I always call it surplus safety. It’s essentially like, we are going to keep you safe, even if it kills your spirit.” My heart broke for the loneliness my grandma has been faced with for almost a year. So today, if you can visit someone who is alone, who lives in a nursing home or elderly care facility, go see them. Don’t wait. We can’t keep killing people’s spirits (James 1:27).
Fleeing Tyranny for Freedom: 500 UK Churches Welcoming Thousands Fleeing Hong Kong Escaping Communism
“More than 500 churches in the United Kingdom have joined a nationwide initiative welcoming immigrant from Hong Kong. The legal immigrants are fleeing a Chinese communist crackdown which has taken away the freedom of speech and religious liberties and has landed pro-democracy activists in prison. A website, UKHK.org, has been created to help the estimated 130,000 people expected to seek refuge in Britain this year. The website can be read in English or Cantonese and will help the new arrivals with navigating schools, finding jobs, health care, and even finding good restaurants that serve Cantonese food. Hundreds of churches signed up to be ‘Hong Kong Ready’ through the website which was launched after the UK government opened the door to Hong Kong holders of the British National Overseas (BNO) passport, according to Christian Today. Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years until it was returned to mainland Chinese control on July 1, 1997. China formed the special administrative region of Hong Kong, which had maintained governing and economic systems separate from those of China’s communist regime. As CBN News reported last May, pro-democracy protestors took to the streets after communist leaders enacted a national security law over the Hong Kong region that cast a wide net over anything that could be viewed by Beijing as anti-government. The law has led to the arrest of several pro-democracy leaders, including Christian Joshua Wong.” read more at Faithwire
In a letter written from prison, 24-year-old Joshua Wong urged, ‘We rejoice in our sufferings,’ Romans 5:3-4 reads, ‘knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.’ Once sown, seeds will one day sprout. Weary and distraught as some of you might feel, please have each others’ backs. Cages may lock up our bodies, but never our unwavering souls." In news closer to home, Calvary Chapel of Bangor, Maine, is suing the state over their worship restrictions. The church runs an addiction recovery ministry, called Calvary Residential Discipleship (CRD). The men and women who participate in this program also join the church members for Sunday worship services. Governor Janet Mills’ orders do not limit attendance at substance abuse treatment centers such as the one Calvary Chapel runs, but any worship services are restricted to no more than fifty people. “The CRD residents can receive counseling, but as soon as the Bible is opened and they worship, the assembly becomes illegal,” writes Liberty Counsel, the legal organization defending the church and ministry. Their pastor is faithfully continuing the worship services. "As a pastor who has firsthand experience with the evils of substance abuse and who has worked nearly my entire life to help people trapped in bondage by their addictions," he wrote, "I know that Bible studies and worship are essential. In Canada, similar resistance to government orders has cost one pastor his freedom. The pastor of GraceLife Church, James Coetes, has been in jail for over a week because his church is meeting at more than the 15% capacity restriction mandated by the government. He is scheduled to appear in court this Wednesday. Coetes’ attorney stated, “The congregants of GraceLife refuse to accept the Alberta government’s dystopian ‘new normal. Their first loyalty is to obey their God, not government. They are committed to gathering, as they always have, for in-person worship services. They will challenge this excessive and unlawful government oppression rather than turn their back on their beliefs.” What would you do if you had to choose between obeying God or obeying men? (Acts 5:29) Resolve now to remain obedient to God; the time to have to choose may come sooner than you think.
Lord, what the enemy means for evil against the church body, we believe You can use for good. Remind our hearts of this. When we are being attacked and crushed from all sides, remind us of Your faithfulness to use everything for Your good and Your glory. May we not fear but trust in Your provision. May we not only be readers of Your Word but believers and doers. Increase our faith, Lord. May the opportunity in the UK to preach the Gospel to all those coming from Hong Kong be fruitful.
Listen to this insightful conversation from a pastoral perspective called “Suffering for Christ’s Sake Under Governmental Tyranny.” In it, Pastor Rob McCoy from California answers questions we are facing such as, “How do Christians suffer well and contend for the faith against governmental tyranny? Are we willing to count the cost for Christ even if it means being fined weekly and going to jail? How should pastors lead their churches during this critical moment in the United States?”
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.