WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - FEBRUARY 28, 2024
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Trump and Biden Win Michigan, but ‘Uncommitted’ Votes Demand Attention
Conflict and confusion "President Biden and former President Donald Trump won the Michigan primaries on Tuesday, further solidifying the all-but-certain rematch between the two men. Biden defeated Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, his one significant opponent left in the Democratic primary. But Democrats were also closely watching the results of the 'uncommitted' vote, as Michigan has become the epicenter for dissatisfied members of Biden’s coalition that propelled him to victory in the state - and nationally - in 2020. The number of 'uncommitted' votes has already far surpassed the 10,000-vote margin by which Trump won Michigan in 2016, a goal set by organizers of this year’s protest effort." read more at The Washington Times
- As of press time, former President Trump held 66% of the vote to Haley's 29% in the Michigan primary. But the GOP contest isn't finished in the state. Due to conflict and confusion within the Michigan GOP, this Saturday, 13 separate congressional district caucus meetings will be held at a statewide convention to award the remaining 39 delegates.
- In Saturday's South Carolina Primary Election, 23.34% of the state’s registered voters cast ballots, which was slightly higher than those seen during the state’s GOP primary in 2016. The former President defeated Nikki Haley in her home state, 59.8% to 39.5%. Exit polls made something clear: 37% of voters listed immigration as their top priority. Of those voters, 82% backed Trump and just 18% supported Haley. Despite the loss with voters and of one of her major donors, Haley vowed to keep running. After her defeat in SC she said, “Voters have the right to a real choice, not a Soviet-style election with only one candidate. I have a duty to give them that choice.”
- Next up, Super Tuesday on March 5. Fifteen states and one U.S. territory will hold primaries, the biggest day of voting this election season. On the Republican side, 874 of 2,429 delegates will be up for grabs, including from the two most populous states, California and Texas. At least 1,215 delegates are needed to win the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July.
Lord, “We thank you for Your law, which our Founding Fathers acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law. We thank you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us, to exercise our solemn duty not only to vote, but to influence countless others to vote and to vote correctly.” Download the rest of this Election Day Prayer to use as you vote.
Do you live in one of these states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont or Virginia? Make sure you have voting information for Tuesday. Bookmark this page and then click on your state to find voting resources specific to your address. Don’t forget to share it with others!
IVF Embryos are Protected Children Under State Law, Alabama Supreme Court Rules
“The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that embryos created through in vitro fertilization and kept frozen are protected by state law, overturning a lower court decision. In a decision released last Friday in the case of James LePage and Emily LePage, et al v. The Center for Reproductive Medicine, the high court determined that frozen embryos were protected by Alabama's Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.” read more at The Christian Post
- What happened? An unauthorized person entered the freezers at an Alabama fertility clinic and accidentally disturbed several embryos, leading to their death. These embryos belonged to three different couples who had received IVF (In vitro fertilization) treatment at the clinic. The couples sued the clinic invoking Alabama’s wrongful death statute which specifically allows the parents of a “minor child” to bring a lawsuit if the child is wrongfully or negligently killed. The trial court dismissed their claims, saying that the embryos were not “children” within the meaning of the statute. The Alabama Supreme Court disagreed and said that the word "child" includes unborn children, so this falls within the scope of the statute.
- What now? The case will go back to the trial court to let the couples try to prove their case. The court’s 8-1 ruling does not prohibit IVF, nor does it directly prohibit the destruction of embryos. It does, however, extend personhood to embryonic children. The Alabama legislature has already introduced legislation to “protect” IVF. Some are saying the ruling will impact 2024 politics. President Biden called the ruling “outrageous and unacceptable,” framing it as a “disregard for women's ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families.” But, like abortion, Democrats see individual choice as the highest virtue and the rights of children are not considered.
- The wild, wild west. Fertility clinics are a big business in the US with little to no oversight, unlike some European countries. Right now, there are an estimated 1 million embryos - children - being cryogenically preserved. Even more troublesome is that popularized reproductive technologies like IVF intentionally create more embryos than needed, which allows for the destruction of hundreds of millions of embryos each year due to not being “wanted” or selectively reduced to avoid genetic disorders or the wrong gender. Very few embryos are adopted, but that option can be available.
- This story is personal. Years ago, due to infertility, my husband and I were well on our way to using IVF to become parents. A providential adoption stopped that process. Sadly, it wasn’t until recently that I really began to think more deeply about the moral and ethical challenges of IVF. My unexpected and visceral reaction to a friend’s irreverent comment that she was discarding her 5 frozen embryos due to the cost of preserving them made me see the severity of the situation. On the other hand, I rejoice that I have incredible family members and friends born through IVF technology. What I do know is that these things need to be thought through a biblical lens with great care. Ultimately, we should be ever so careful not to play God or destroy those made in His image.
Lord, You are the creator and author of all life…from fertilization until we take our last earthly breath. Help us to approach critical issues like this with humility, wisdom, curiosity, grace and discernment. Help us to be rooted in Your Word, understanding that even an embryo, a child, is created in Your image.
Topics like this can bring a range of emotions, uncomfortable questions and sometimes a lack of understanding. It’s so important to be able to think critically and biblically because the world is searching for understanding and truth. We as the Church can bring that light! A helpful video that sparks good questions about Christians and IVF can be listened to or watched here.
Republicans Call for Immigration Crackdown After College Student’s Death
“Republicans are renewing their calls for stricter immigration rules following the death of University of Georgia student Laken Hope Riley after reports that the suspect in her murder entered the U.S. illegally from Venezuela. Former President Donald Trump said in a social media post Monday that if he’s voted back into the White House later this year, he would ‘immediately seal the border, seal the border, stop the invasion and, on day one, we will begin the largest deportation operation of illegal criminals in American history.’” read more at Politico
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that the suspect in Laken Riley’s murder is a Venezuelan national who entered the U.S. illegally near El Paso, Texas, in 2022 and was “paroled and released for further processing.” He was arrested in 2023 in New York City for endangering a child and driving without a license, but was not charged, and police did not notify ICE. He was released before ICE could request to detain and possibly deport him. Georgia Republicans are now proposing legislation that could charge local sheriffs if they fail to report illegal immigrants in their jails to ICE.
- In October of 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation remembering Americans who have been killed by illegal immigrants. You can read some of the “Angel Family” stories here and here. Every one of these crimes was preventable. While President Biden expressed his condolences to Laken’s family, it’s worth asking why the outrage over her death has been largely confined to Republicans.
- President Biden and former President Trump both plan to visit the southern border this Thursday. As I said last week, from the local to the national level, we need elected leaders who have a biblical understanding of justice, who know that it is neither merciful nor kind to allow their fellow Americans to be repeatedly harmed by unrepentant lawbreakers.
- I can’t imagine what this young woman’s family is going through. In a tragedy like this, truly our only hope is Christ. Laken’s family issued a statement highlighting her faith: “Laken was an amazing daughter, sister, friend and overall person in general. Her love for the Lord was exemplified in every aspect of her life.” Her close friend said that while mourning her death, “I find peace in knowing how strong your faith was in God and how your actions reflected him in everything you did.” May that be said of each of us.
“[W]eep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) Pray for the Lord to comfort Laken Riley’s family and give them His peace. (John 14:27) Pray for our federal and local governments to enforce the law and fulfill their God-given duty to justly punish evildoers so we can live in peace. (Romans 13:1-4, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, 1 Peter 2:14)
The President needs to hear from you. A few weeks ago, over 1,200 My Faith Votes readers contacted President Biden urging him to enforce our immigration laws and deter illegal immigration. If you have not yet taken action, use this simple tool to send a message to President Biden, urging him to follow through on his duty and responsibility to secure the border now.
Believing in God-given Rights Indicates 'Christian Nationalism,' Politico Journalist Says
“An award-winning investigative journalist for Politico claimed during an MSNBC panel on Thursday that believing rights come from God is a marker of ‘Christian nationalism.’ Heidi Przybyla also claimed on ‘All In with Chris Hayes’ that former President Donald Trump is surrounding himself with an ‘extremist element of conservative Christians’ who are misusing ‘so-called natural law’ in their attempt to roll back abortion and LBGT rights.” read more at the Christian Post
- Rights given by God—also called natural rights—are revealed in the Bible and in nature. If the government has the authority to give rights, it can also take them away. But if God is the source of our rights, no government has the authority to take them away. This is not a radical new idea; it is the belief that founded our country. You can explore the biblical principles which influenced the formation of our country in our Monument Teaching Series—a series of short videos with an e-book explaining how a little-known national monument overlooking Plymouth Harbor in Massachusetts demonstrates how faith influenced the formation of our nation.
- Przybyla claimed that God-given rights are being used for a “man-made policy agenda.” As an example of a man-made policy, she cited the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are human beings. It looks like we are facing a culture where anti-biblical policies (like a “right” to abortion or a “right” to force a Christian to celebrate a same-sex wedding) are counted as legitimate rights, while those who uphold biblically based policies (like protecting the right to life and religious liberty) are accused of twisting God-given rights into a man-made agenda.
- How did we get here? As belief in God declines among young people and political liberals, belief in God-given rights—and a correct understanding of such rights—is increasingly seen as an extreme view rather than basic truth. This affects the decisions people make in the voting booth. How can we respond? I appreciate the advice of one pastor who advised, “If you’re a Christian who’s voting or advocating for God’s values in the public square and somebody calls you a ‘Christian Nationalist,’ … you just need to say, ‘Yep, I’m a Christian, and I love my nation.’”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Lord Jesus, help me to make sure my beliefs and my actions in the public square are founded on Your wisdom and instruction. Help me not to be discouraged from loving my neighbor through voting according to biblical principles, which You have revealed for our good.
Across the country, students in higher education are being taught that there is no God, and therefore, have no understanding of God-given rights. What can we do? Tomorrow, Thursday, February 29, is the Collegiate Day of Prayer, and I can think of nothing better than to pray for revival in our colleges. Over 1,000 campuses have not been adopted–meaning no one has signed up to pray for those students! Click here to see the map and adopt a campus to pray for 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.