WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – Feb 6, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
Yesterday evening, President Trump delivered his second State of the Union Address. The theme of the speech was “choosing greatness.” President Trump said, “Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future. The decision is ours to make.” President Trump’s State of the Union Address comes at a time when Washington D.C. is experiencing heightened political tension and division over critical issues such as immigration and late-term abortions. Moments of the speech capitalized on key areas of unity among both parties such as the First Steps Act, America’s need for infrastructure, and the historic number of women elected to Congress. And not to mention, the moving stories of Holocaust survivors, a young cancer survivor, and American heroes. At one point the chamber sang a few lines of "Happy Birthday" to a Holocaust Survivor who turned 81 years old. But there were topics Trump covered that drew a stark comparison between the two parties such as immigration, border security and calling for an end to late-term abortions. Regardless of one’s political leaning, it was a historic speech. Watch or read the full transcript of the speech here.
People of faith should be encouraged by President Trump’s bold challenge to Congress to end late-term abortions. “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world,” Trump said during his speech. He continued, “To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image of God.” There is nothing more fundamental in our nation than the belief that the right to life is given to not by government but by God. At a time in our nation when the abortion debate is raging, these words from the President of the United States are important. Following President Trump’s speech, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams delivered the Democrats’ response address. Abrams shared her personal story of growing up in the South and spoke of the values imparted to her by her parents. She said, “My family understood firsthand that while success is not guaranteed, we live in a nation where opportunity is possible.” Abrams also blamed President Trump for the partial government shutdown calling it a “stunt” engineered by Trump. You can watch Abrams full response address here.
Please continue to pray for President Trump and all of our elected leaders in Congress. Pray for both sides of the aisle to come together to work for the benefit of the American people and pray for Biblical values to be advanced in our nation.
A highlight of President Trump’s address was when he introduced some of his 18 special guests. Their stories are moving and remind us of the incredible tenacity of the human spirit. I encourage you to read them on the White House website.
FLORIDA GOV. DESANTIS SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER SCRAPPING COMMON CORE
In another reversal of former Florida Gov. Rick Scott's policies, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered an end to Common Core-type educational standards in the state. DeSantis’ executive order directs Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to develop a road map for a new way to educate the Sunshine State’s students. Florida moved to a Common Core-type system under Scott, a change aimed at matching standards for other students in the U.S. State leaders made some tweaks to Common Core, and rebranded it as ‘Florida Standards,’ but they remain very similar to Common Core. “One of the things we would constantly hear about on the campaign trail was a lot of frustration from parents in particular with this idea of Common Core," DeSantis said. "When you complained ... I heard you. I told you I'd do something about it. And today we are acting to bring promises to reality." read more
The Common Core State Standards were first introduced back in 2009 when state governors and education commissioners, launched a coordinated plan to implement new education methods across the nation. The effort has been widely criticized for taking control away from local communities and giving more power to the state. Parents across the country also voiced security concerns over children’s data-based privacy. Most of all, parents were confused by the new teaching practices mainly when it came to the ways Common Core Curriculum taught foundational subjects such as math. Some nicknamed Common Core Math as “fuzzy math.” Now, ten years later, many states are still pushing back against Common Core Standards and the debate over what methods will boost students’ education continues. According to the annual Programme for International Student Assessment Study, the United States ranks around the middle of the pack in core subjects compared to other countries around the world. The U.S. ranks 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science.
Pray for the children in your school district, that they would not only receive a strong education but be equipped to be productive and positive citizens. And pray for both parents and teachers to have God’s wisdom to support and develop curriculum and methods that offer the best possible education to our students.
Our students are navigating a very tough world. They need our encouragement. They need our prayers. Become a Prayer Champion and commit to praying for a student during the school year. It’s never too late to start and this organization, the Pray for Me Campaign, even provides an appropriate prayer guide. Who will you commit to praying for today?
SENATE DEMOCRATS BLOCK BILL TO PROTECT ABORTION SURVIVORS
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a GOP effort to introduce a bill meant to protect abortion survivors. Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse sought unanimous consent to pass the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, This bill would have required that "any health care practitioner present" at the time of a birth "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age." The bill, which exempted the mother involved in the birth from prosecution, also would have required practitioners to "ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital." It prescribed a possible term of imprisonment of up to five years for violations, not including penalties for first-degree murder that could also apply. read more
The pro-choice side believes women should have a voice and the pro-life side refuses to allow the child to have no voice (Proverbs 31:8-9). Sen. Murray (D-WA) objected to the motion, arguing that “we have laws against infanticide in this country.” Currently, only 26 states have protections for children born alive after attempted abortions. Writing in The Atlantic, Alexandra DeSanctis noted: “By defending more expansive abortion rights...Democrats are exposing an uncomfortable reality that they would rather not acknowledge: They embrace abortion as a woman’s right to end the life of her fetus at any stage—not the right to end her pregnancy.” According to research, 1 percent of abortions happen after 21 weeks. Such abortions “disproportionately affect young women and women with limited financial resources.” One of the primary reasons women get an abortion has to do with “managing an array of responsibilities using only limited resources.” While the research suggests, information can sway a mother from going through with an abortion, information alone is not sufficient in this post-truth culture. We must continue to make logical arguments for life, but we must not forget to extend loving support to every life – both the mother and child (1 John 3:18).
Our society is in a battle between two ideologies: a culture of death and a culture of life. We know this is not a political battle, but rather it is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Pray for hearts and minds to be changed in your congressional district. Pray for peoples’ eyes to be opened to value and protect life. You are not praying alone. We are encouraged to share that at My Faith Votes we have people who have committed to pray for our nation in every Congressional District in America.
One of the ways we can advance a culture of life is by sharing the compelling stories of those who have survived abortions. Take a few minutes to check out some of the compelling stories on The Abortion Survivors Network’s website.
GATEWAY CHURCH OPENS NEW CAMPUS IN MAXIMUM-SECURITY PRISON, 500 EMBRACE CHRIST
The largest church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex recently opened a new campus in a very unconventional location…a prison. But the impact is quickly being realized. Last Sunday, Pastor Robert Morris told his congregation, “We have a new campus. And you’re gonna be really surprised.” He then shared a video revealing that in November, the church launched a new campus at the Coffield Unit in Anderson County, which houses over 4,000 criminal offenders. More than 650 inmates attended the megachurch's first service, and since then, over 500 men have made decisions to follow Jesus. read more
“At Gateway Church, we’re all about people because God is all about people,” Morris, told Fox News following the public announcement. “Many of the men and women inside prison have been forgotten by society, but we want them to know we love them and God loves them, and they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.” The incredible initiative functions just like any other church campus — the inmates host and facilitate the service, forming worship teams and carrying out ushering duties. On Sunday, Morris announced that an ex-offender would serve as the campus pastor — Stephen Wilson is a seminary school graduate who has ministered in prisons for a number of years.
Pray for all the men at Coffield who have recently dedicated their life to serving Jesus. Pray for their minds to be renewed and their hearts to transformed. Pray for the ministry taking place in Coffield Prison, that it would be transformational for all those in prison there. And pray for the men and women across this country who are incarcerated. Pray that they can see the hope that is found only in Jesus Christ. Pray for their desire to seek Jesus, and to long for that eternal home when all of the present, evil and suffering will be history (Rev 21:4).
Many organizations around the country are ministering to those who are often despised and forgotten in our prisons. Prison Fellowship is doing extraordinary work with prisoners and their families. Take time to learn about their work and consider helping in a meaningful way.
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.