WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - FEBRUARY 26, 2020
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Bernie Sanders Calls Criticism of Fidel Castro’s Communist Cuba ‘Unfair’
Democratic Presidential Primary candidate Bernie Sanders, an unashamed socialist, has lept into the pole position after a big win in the Nevada Caucus. Sanders was grilled by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about a number of issues, namely past comments praising Fidel Castro. Instead of backtracking the comments, which eerily mirrored communist propaganda, Sanders chose to double down and say things weren’t all bad: “It’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders complained. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?” Cooper quickly interjected and said “a lot of dissidents in prison” weren’t big fans of Castro simply because he had a literacy program. Perhaps proponents of socialism and communism (and Castro) need a fresh reminder that literacy programs don’t mean anything when you’re murdering people for disagreeing politically. read more
Senator Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucuses, is leading the delegate count and appears to have momentum on his side. He is now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, so his comments praising a communist dictator has drawn the attention of many. CNN called Sanders’ answer “disastrous,” but it wasn’t a disaster. Rather, it shed light on his plan and the truth came out. The potential for Senator Sanders to be the Presidential candidate for a major party, and therefore to be elected President, is a serious threat to religious freedom in our nation. During a Senate confirmation hearing meeting in 2017, Senator Sanders said Russell Vought, a nominee for Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, was unqualified because Mr. Vought believed Jesus was the only way to God. The Senator’s view was that because Mr. Vought thought Mohammad’s teachings were not an equal way to God, he should not serve in the U.S. government. A self-described secular Jew, Bernie Sanders has been described by some election watchers as one of the least religious presidential candidates. During his first presidential campaign, it was revealed that Sanders did not belong to a prayer group and was not a member of any synagogue, saying, "I am not actively involved in organized religion.”
Pray that Sen. Bernie Sanders has a “Damascus Road” encounter with our Risen and Resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Pray that Sen. Sanders is profoundly convicted of his sins and that he turns and repents. Pray for our nation during this critical election season. Pray for voters to have the wisdom to choose candidates that uphold our Constitution and place their fear in God and not in man (Proverbs 22:4).
In presidential elections, a stunning 25 million Christians who are registered to vote don’t even show up. It’s the equivalent of 83,000 churches across the nation checking out, and that’s a massive amount of influence we are leaving on the table. Make sure you’re ready to vote in every election by receiving election reminders with our free and simple tool here.
Disney-Pixar featuring first LGBT character in ‘Onward’
The upcoming film “Onward,” which will be in theaters on March 6, will feature a self-identified lesbian heroine with a girlfriend, the first-ever animated LGBT character in the Disney-Pixar universe. The character, named Officer Specter, will be a Cyclops cop, voiced by openly gay screenwriter and actress Lena Waithe, Yahoo Entertainment reported. “It just kind of happened,” the film’s producer, Kori Rae, was quoted as saying. “The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted.” Director Dan Scanlon stated, “It’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world.” read more
“What’s the big deal?” some might say. After all, the movie doesn’t put a huge emphasis on the fact that the character is a lesbian, as she simply references her girlfriend in a conversation. The reason this is significant is that it presents the LGBT lifestyle as normal--just as normal as a man mentioning his girlfriend. And the fact that it occurs in a children’s movie shows that the creators want children to accept it as normal, too. Christian parents have to be prepared and willing to talk with their children about the things that are portrayed in movies and TV shows: “What were some good things in the movie? How do we know what is good? What were some bad things? How do we know that is bad?” It provides an opportunity to point our children to God as the standard of goodness, who has revealed right and wrong through the Bible and our consciences. (Romans 1:19-20, 2:14-15) A LifeWay study conducted last year shows that 47% of mainline Protestant pastors say they support same-sex marriage, an increase from 32% in 2010. This underscores the fact that parents must take seriously the responsibility to equip their children to distinguish truth from error as they face conflicting views from the culture and even perhaps fellow Christians.
The culture is changing but God’s Word is not. Pray that as Christians we will be united, “contending as one man for the faith of the gospel” and demolishing arguments that are against the knowledge of God, with gentleness and respect. (Phil. 1:27-28, 2 Cor. 10:4-5, 1 Peter 3:14-17.)
Natashia Crane is a Christian mom, blogger, and author of several books, including “Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side.” In this interview with Focus on the Family, she discusses answering your kids’ tough questions on faith. Also, the “What Would You Say?” YouTube channel produces short videos that answer common objections to Biblical principles and help Christians think through tough issues in our culture today. Check out a recent video answering the claim: Jesus Never Condemned Homosexuality.
Evangelical Christian Sues US Postal Service Over Mandatory Work on Sundays
An evangelical Christian in Pennsylvania has taken legal action against the U.S. Postal Service for forcing him to quit by requiring him to work on Sundays after the USPS partnered with Amazon for delivery. Gerald Groff, a former mail carrier in Lancaster County who didn’t want to miss church or to observe Sunday as the day of worship, filed a motion for summary judgment before a federal district judge against the USPS earlier this month for not accommodating his religious beliefs, Independence Law Center, which is one of the law firms representing the Christian, said in a statement. The USPS had never required Groff to work on Sundays until it started parcel delivery in partnership with Amazon. Initially, the Post Office accommodated Groff’s religious beliefs for not working on Sundays, as he worked on holidays, in the evenings and on Saturdays when other carriers weren’t willing to work. However, later, the USPS started enforcing a mandatory Sunday policy on Groff and disciplined him. read more
Jeremy Samek, a lawyer for the Independence Law Center, said that “Employers are actually required to provide reasonable accommodations” for their employees who request them on the grounds of religious beliefs. The U.S. Post Office had other options for delivering the packages on Sunday without forcing an employee to violate his conscience. “It’s important for him, but it’s also important for lots of other people who work for the federal government or the post office that they be able to continue their employment and to continue to observe their religious beliefs”, Samek continued. In other news, two victories for religious liberty were achieved this past week. In a Pensacola, Florida park, a historic 34-foot cross will remain standing as a result of a ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last Wednesday. The cross was erected in 1969 to replace a WWII-era wooden one, and is a traditional site for Easter, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day services. And in Chicago, a federal judge ruled that Wheaton College Students who were banned from sharing the gospel in Millenium Park, which is a city park, must be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights while their case is being resolved.
Thank God for the victories in the courts that allow us to “let our light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16). Pray for our judges, that they will uphold the Constitution and protect our rights so that we can “lead a peaceful and quiet life” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
If you want to know more about your religious liberty rights in the workplace, you can download this free booklet by First Liberty Institute.
President Trump Announces Advisory Board to Expose Research Using Aborted Baby Parts
The Trump administration took another step to defend unborn babies Wednesday when it announced the formation of a new ethics board to look into the use of aborted baby body parts in government-funded research. The new National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board is one of several ways the Trump administration has been working to end the unethical practice of using aborted baby body parts in taxpayer-funded scientific research. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar is overseeing the creation of the board, which will be made up of 15 non-government employees, including doctors, scientists, ethicists, attorneys and theologians. The ethics board is tasked with researching the use of aborted baby body parts in scientific research and determining whether it is ethical. The board will create a final report to recommend whether HHS should stop funding such research. “In providing advice and recommendations on these matters, the Ethics Board will consider, among other things, the use of alternative models, and review and verify the core ethical principles and procedures used in the process to obtain written voluntary informed consent for the donation of tissue,” the HHS announcement states. read more
Pro-life members of Congress and leaders nationwide have urged the Trump administration to end funding of research using aborted baby body parts. If they do, it will be another step toward making abortion unthinkable in our society, since it will remove some of the incentive to use baby body parts for research. Scholars at the Charlotte Lozier Institute say that such research has not proven successful, and there are ethical alternatives that have contributed to successful treatments. In 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services created a 20 million dollar grant to invest in research that develops ethical alternatives to using aborted baby parts. This underscores the importance of Christians holding jobs in a variety of different vocations, being careful to carry out their work in an ethical manner according to what God has revealed in his Word and in nature. In related news, on Tuesday the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act both failed to pass in the U.S. Senate. This clearly exposes the extreme ideology that the majority of Senators hold when it comes to human life--both inside the womb and outside.
Pray for an end to abortion, and that God would change hearts and minds so that we would become a culture of life. Pray for Secretary Alex Azar as he chooses who will be on the Ethics Advisory Board. Pray that the people who are chosen will protect the rights of the unborn and be given wisdom as they conduct their research.
Take a few minutes to watch this informative Prager U Video answering the important question politicians and Americans should be asking, “Is ending the life of a human fetus moral?” While our nation debates if ending the life of a human fetus is legal, we should first make the case that it is not even moral.
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.