WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - FEBRUARY 3, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Biden to Sign Executive Orders that Undo Trump Immigration Policies
“Dubbing illegal immigration ‘irregular migration,’ President Joe Biden on Tuesday will sign three executive orders aimed at undoing the immigration policies of former President Donald Trump. A White House ‘fact sheet’ that outlined the plan claimed Trump’s policies to limit illegal immigration at the nation’s southern border ‘caused chaos, cruelty, and confusion.’ ‘Those policies have undermined the safety of our communities, penalized asylum seekers fleeing violence, and destabilized security across the Western hemisphere,’ the document claimed.” read more at Western Journal
President Biden issued a handful of immigration-related executive actions on his first day in office, several of which quickly reversed major Trump administration policies. Yesterday’s executive orders, however, focus more on laying down a framework for future actions and reviewing current policies rather than immediately undoing them. One of the orders will create a task force to push forward with the reunification of children who were separated from family members at the border during the "zero tolerance" policy put forth by the Trump Administration. That policy stopped the practice of adults being admitted to the U.S. when claiming asylum if they were accompanying a child. The Trump administration eventually reversed the policy amid tremendous media backlash, and activists have been calling for those who were removed to be allowed back in to be reunited and even given green cards as compensation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) previously confirmed that human smuggling rings are exploiting children to prevent the detention of the undocumented immigrants they’re smuggling into the United States. They are pairing children with unrelated adults, knowing adults who enter the United States with children won’t be detained. Under the new administration, this horrific trafficking problem may only intensify. Because of fraudulent documentation, profits to smugglers, and false asylum claims, there is essentially no way to prove or verify adults traveling with children are indeed their parents. This week, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to postpone coming oral arguments on two pillars of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, construction of a wall along the southern U.S. border and the “Remain in Mexico” program that barred U.S. entry to many asylum applicants while their cases were considered. Recently, the departments of Defense and Homeland Security have stopped construction work on the southern border according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Yesterday the Senate confirmed, 56 to 43, Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security. His confirmation was met with much reservation since while serving under former President Obama in DHS, Mayorkas was found to have given “favoritism and special access” to Democratic donors and stakeholders. Obama’s own Inspector General found Mayorkas to be guilty of such corruption. Mayorkas was a crucial player in the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that sidestepped Congressional authority. Many are certain of the clear signs of the coming migration surge in the U.S. With the new administration’s proposed changes to immigration policies, especially with respect to asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, migrating families and unaccompanied minors, and with the pandemic still affecting the entire globe, a big migration inflow along the U.S southern border should not come as a surprise.
Lord, God, give our government officials wisdom in dealing with this explosive issue and setting forth policies. The Bible tells us that governments are ordained by You to punish the wrongdoer and to commend those who do right (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). Lord, you know the problems with our immigration system. We pray the human trafficking and drug trafficking will be stopped. Father, You know each person at the border who is trying to come into the US illegally and legally and their reason for coming. Give our Border Patrol agents Your wisdom on how to handle each person. Let Thy will be done in each case.
What does the bible say about border control and immigration? Our friend, Dr. Jim Garlow, has great insight in this short video.
International Leaders Condemn Myanmar Coup
“President Joe Biden on Monday threatened to impose sanctions on Myanmar, also known as Burma. The Burmese military arrested government leaders and seized control earlier in the day. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized the coup, and Britain said the UN Security Council would likely hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday. In addition to government head Aung San Suu Kyi, the military detained President Win Myint, members of the ruling party’s Executive Committee, lawmakers, and other senior leaders, party spokesman Myo Nyunt told The Irrawaddy news site. Television signals across the country and phone and internet access in the capital of Naypyitaw were cut. The coup leaders also grounded passenger flights. The military said it plans to hold an election in a year and would give power to the winner.” read more at World News Group
What implications does the military takeover hold for the church in Myanmar? Open Doors USA, a ministry to persecuted Christians, gave a report from a local partner. “Military rule could mean reinforced power for the dominant religion,” says Brother Lwin*. “The military government of the past has always been protective of their Buddhist culture and tradition. This may have serious implications for the church. We are expecting restrictions upon the church to happen once again, though we are unsure of the extent and the form it will take as of yet.” While some citizens of Myanmar are beginning to protest the takeover, Russia is experiencing the most widespread protest against its government that it has seen in recent years. Over 5,100 people were jailed for protesting the arrest of Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator who is an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Navalny, who survived a poison attempt last August, has also spoken out against Twitter’s ban of President Trump’s account. Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears to be concerned by the rapid growth of the Christian population, which is estimated to reach 300 million people by 2030. Open Doors director of strategic research, Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, says this could mean that the CCP might have to share some of its power in the future. In an attempt to control the beliefs of its citizens, China is cracking down on the publication and distribution of religious materials, including Christian materials. “They checked my storehouse, scrutinized all records, and even looked at paper sheets on the floor, to see if they have prohibited content,” a printing house manager in Luoyang City reported. “Although banners on the streets say people are allowed religious beliefs, the only faith they can practice freely is that in the Communist Party,” he continued. In other news, twenty-seven Scottish churches are taking legal action against their government, the only nation in the United Kingdom currently banning church services. The church leaders argued that “in the absence of the gathered people of God, there is effectively no ‘church.” One reverend stated that those in his congregation who can’t access the online services are “excluded completely from the possibility of Christian worship, and the comfort and encouragement in life and death only this can give.” As we observe world events which are beyond our control, let’s keep in mind the comforting words of Psalm 2, which foretells the future reign of the Messiah. “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear...Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”
Pray for the Christians in Myanmar. Open Doors reports that they have been targeted for their faith under civilian and military leadership, but there is a fear the coup could raise persecution even more. Pray that Christian ministry in Russia can continue despite the unrest. Pray for our brothers and sisters in China to have access to God’s Word and be able to share it with others. And pray for wisdom and boldness for the Scottish churches, and a change in policy within their government.
Scotland has some of the highest numbers of people in prison in western Europe in proportion to its population. 15 Prisons across Scotland have approximately 7000 prisoners. Prison Fellowship, a ministry started by Chuck Colson here in the US, is working to bring the hope of the Gospel to these men and women. Learn more about their unique letter writing program and consider reaching out to Prison Fellowship Scotland to be a part of it.
Twitter Suspends Christian Magazine for Calling Biden's Biologically Male Nominee a Man
“Twitter has suspended the account of The Daily Citizen, a publication of Focus on the Family, for a January 19 tweet that described President Biden's assistant secretary of health nominee, Rachel Levine, as ‘a transgender woman, that is, a man who believes she is a woman.’ Twitter told the evangelical Christian organization that the tweet violated Twitter's ‘rules against hateful conduct.’ The Daily Citizen appealed Twitter's decision, saying that they did not promote violence and ‘would never do so.’ Twitter denied the appeal and told the magazine that their account would remain locked until the January 19 tweet is deleted.” read more at Disrn News
The Daily Citizen isn’t alone in being censored. Dr. Robert Gagnon, a prominent Christian scholar on the topic of Bible sexuality, was temporarily suspended from Facebook for writing against President Biden’s order permitting transgender troops in the military. Gagnon was defending a Facebook post by Laurie Higgins, Cultural Analyst with the Illinois Family Institute. She, too, was suspended from Facebook for writing against the “trans cult.” More and more people of faith are being cancelled by social media giants for disagreeing with this “gender ideology” and for opposing politicians, activists, educators, and businesses promoting this belief system. In an email to The Daily Citizen, Dr. Michael Brown, author and radio talk show host, encouraged Christians to courageously speak the truth about gender ideology. He said, “The bottom line is that there are multiplied tens of millions of Christian conservatives in America, not to mention many on the left, including non-religious people, who are sick and tired of the censorship and who also take issue with transgender activism.” His advice? “Let’s all determine to speak up and speak out while we have the opportunity. We cannot be silenced if we all take a stand together – with wisdom, with truth, and with love.” But this issue goes beyond social media censorship and is affecting Christians around the world. Right now, Australia is moving forward with legislation called “Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020.” It casts a very wide net in seeking to outlaw any religious practice that might challenge, question, or denigrate a person’s self-perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Under this legislation, every faith leader and parent will be at risk of restraining orders, hefty fines, and jail terms for doing anything less than fully affirming gender transitioning and sexual activity of any kind. You can learn more about the shocking legislation and its potential impact here.
Father, no matter how much they try, they cannot and will not silence Your truth. Even creation itself declares Your truth. Even if they block all platforms, the animals will speak, the stones will speak, the birds will cry, the waves will wail, Your truth and Yours alone. For everything is Yours and created for Your glory. Lord, and show Yourself mighty for Your children. Raise up prayer warriors and voices for truth. Open the eyes of the deceived and may a revival wash over our land and deliver us from evil. We pray against this censorship going on and ask that our freedoms would still be protected; that truth and justice would ultimately prevail.
Transgenderism and gender ideology is only growing around us. It’s being talked about in schools, it’s impacting legislation and it may have even reached your family. The Daily Citizen has created a helpful free resource to have a better understanding of the issue from a biblical worldview as we navigate this cultural phenomenon.
D.C. Public Schools Use Black Lives Matter Curricula To Teach Black History Month
“D.C. Public Schools announced Monday that it is participating in the Black Lives Matters at School Week of Action, a program that includes among its priorities ‘disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement’ and allowing everyone — including elementary-aged students — to ‘choose their own gender.’ In an email to parents obtained by The Daily Wire, the D.C. Public School district announced that it will be using critical race theory-based curricula to teach students about Black History Month. The email linked to resources from Teaching Tolerance, which is a branch of the activist Southern Poverty Law Center network, and a video from D.C. public school teachers explaining the importance of ‘anti-racism’ activism. The district’s platform is centered around Black Lives Matter’s ‘13 Guiding Principles,’ which calls for queer and transgender affirmation and ‘restorative justice,’ among other priorities. The guide calls for the dismantling of the ‘patriarchal practice’ of requiring mothers to parent their children while also participating in ‘justice work.’ The guide also asks the school district to commit itself to ‘Black Villages,’ which calls for the ‘disruption’ of the idea of the nuclear family and refers to children as communal children. ‘We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another,” the guide reads. ‘Especially ‘our’ children.’” read more at the Daily Wire
The Black Lives Matter organization has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of its perceived work promoting racial justice. The un-biblical worldview behind the organization is being embraced by many in our educational institutions. In Illinois, a state committee is deciding whether to approve a rule proposed by the State Board of Education that requires teachers to “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives.” Like the Black Lives Matter curriculum, it is rooted in Critical Race Theory. Conservative and religious organizations in Illinois claim that the proposed standards will require teachers to act against their consciences. For instance, by mandating that they “intentionally embrace student identities”, teachers would be forced to affirm a transgender student’s view of their gender. The Illinois Family Institute is urging residents to contact the members of the state committee to voice their opposition. Such teaching standards are not limited to Illinois. Supporters are involved in a nationwide movement pressuring President Biden to enact national history and civics standards similar to Illinois’ Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards. The Bible makes it clear that parents are responsible for their children’s education (Deuteronomy 6:7). Do you know what your children are being taught, what changes are being proposed, and who makes those decisions? In North Carolina, the State School Board is currently debating whether to include terms like ‘systemic racism’ in social studies curriculum. Since the words we choose to frame a discussion will influence our students’ perspectives, we must choose words that reflect reality. Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, a conservative Republican who is the first black man to be elected to that office, is opposed to the proposed curriculum changes. "To call our system of government racist, that is an untruth as far as I'm concerned. I truly believe that is an untruth as far as history is concerned and it does a disservice to our students...If we want to teach children to embrace a system, tell them to embrace a system that ended slavery, that ended Jim Crow, that gave women the right to vote," he stated. The San Francisco School Board is not taking his advice. They voted 6-1 to rename forty-four schools named after historical figures which include Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. Instead of erasing history, the Bible gives a better example: it presents the reality that all humans are sinful, yet it instructs us to learn from those who, by God’s grace, were godly examples.
Pray that the students in your life will not be taken captive by “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) Pray that our teachers will instruct students according to the truth, and that they will not be forced to violate their consciences. Finally, pray that Christian parents will be engaged in their children’s education, being faithful to bring them up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
Historian David Barton recently gave a presentation on American History, debunking the 1619 Project, a controversial historical revisionism project that is now being taught in some schools across the nation. We encourage you to watch it and share it with your friends.
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