WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JANUARY 4, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
50 Pro-Life Measures Adopted in 2022, and 12 States Protect Nearly All Preborn Children
“This was not a large number compared with 2021, when a record total of 108 restrictions were enacted,” Guttmacher noted. However, many of the laws passed this year are near-total abortion bans; combined with the implementation of pre-Roe laws and trigger bans that had been enacted in previous years, these laws have restricted abortion access for millions of people. According to Guttmacher, efforts to expand abortion have resulted in the highest number of abortion protections ever enacted in one year; one-quarter of these were enacted in California. read more at LifeNews
- Sadly, more human beings died in abortions than any other cause of death in 2022. Statistics compiled by Worldometers indicate that there were over 44 million abortions worldwide. Worldometers bases its daily abortion figures on a fact sheet from the World Health Organization, which estimates an even higher figure per year at around 73 million induced abortions. For context, abortions accounted for almost 40% of every death around the world last year. In the US, just under 1 million babies are aborted every year. Nearly 20% of all pregnancies in the US (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.
- The $1.7 trillion federal spending bill, which was rushed through Congress and signed by President Biden last Thursday, includes $575 million for “family planning/reproductive health” aimed specifically at areas of the world where “biodiversity” is deemed “threatened” by the human population. In short, the U.S. will spend hundreds of millions of dollars working to control the reproduction of citizens in unnamed nations in order to protect animal life.
- While we should celebrate that Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022 and thousands of lives will be saved because of it, the realization of just how pervasive abortion is in our world should cause us to lament. And when our elected officials make decisions on our behalf that are contrary to scripture, we should be indignant and hold them accountable. But instead of despairing, remember that God created you specifically for this time. He has work for us to do in an increasingly lost world. We need to be obedient and faithful to His call…even if that means being arrested for praying silently.
Father, forgive us for allowing millions of lives to be lost through abortion. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours and lead us to pray and work to end abortion. Open our eyes to see the opportunities around us to stand and protect life. Awaken Your church to stand against this great evil in this nation and around the world.
Even with the blessing of Roe v. Wade being overturned last year, the necessary work to build a culture of life in the United States is not finished. Make plans to participate in this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 20th OR consider marching in one of the upcoming state March for Life events. Speaking from experience, it’s one of the most memorable and uplifting events I’ve ever been a part of! Learn more here.
House Adjourns Without a New Speaker as McCarthy Loses Three Rounds of Voting
“The House of Representatives adjourned Tuesday without a new speaker after GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy lost three straight ballots in the face of hardline opposition, the first time in a century the usually pro-forma process has taken more than one vote. The House will reconvene on Wednesday, when voting is expected to go to a fourth round. McCarthy secured only 203 votes in the first round, far less than the majority of 218 he needed to secure the speaker's post; 19 other Republicans voted for other candidates; McCarthy even trailed Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, who had the support of all 212 Democrats. The last time the vote for a new speaker went past the first ballot was 100 years ago, in 1923.” read more at USA Today
- The speaker is a powerful role, in line behind the vice president to succeed the president should the commander in chief be incapacitated. But the more prominent authority the speaker wields is controlling the agenda and committee assignments that shape legislation in the lower chamber of Congress. The House won't be able to adopt rules, assign committees or consider legislation until the speaker is chosen.
- Who can be speaker? The Constitution does not require the Speaker of the House to be an incumbent member of the House of Representatives, although every speaker thus far has been.
- After two years of one-party control in Washington, Congress will now consist of a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House. The question looming is whether division or bipartisanship will move Congress forward. 84 new members won election to the 118th Congress - 7 senators and 77 representatives. A record-setting number of women, 149, now serve in Congress, including the longest-serving woman in congressional history, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reached a political milestone on Tuesday, becoming the longest-serving party leader in Senate history.
- New York Representative George Santos (R) defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman in November’s election, running a campaign around his story of rising from poverty to prominence. He recently admitted to the New York Post, several elements of that story were false including his Jewish heritage, college degree and work history, and stated, “My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry.” Can his constituents trust him? When asked that question, he deflected to the sins of the Democrat party in order to minimize his own sins. Santos is right that politicians frequently lie in service to their ambitions. That he could say so knowing large swaths of the populace are willing to tolerate such behavior if it means getting another vote on their side of the aisle is why our government is the way that it is. If we want the government to change, then we need to change. Politicians, to a large extent, reflect the values of their electors. Our situation will not improve until the people voting for them hold ourselves to a higher standard. There may be times when we have explanations for the sins we commit and could point to countless others who have done the same. But they are not our standard. God is (Matthew 5:48). To be the light of the world and a city on a hill that guides the lost to the Lord, then we need to repent of our sins rather than try to justify or minimize them.
Heavenly Father, I come before You with a humble and grateful heart. I ask you to give wisdom to those who are seated in places of authority in our nation, those representing me in the United States Senate, in the U.S. House, and those representing me in my state house. Please give them wisdom on the difficult issues they are discussing and deciding on my behalf. I ask that each representative submit themselves to You, God, the ultimate authority in each one of our lives. I pray that You would move on their hearts to protect the lives of the unborn, uphold religious freedom, and recognize family and gender as You so beautifully and perfectly designed. Help them to recognize rights are not granted by the government, they are given by You. I pray they would use government to help secure peaceful and quiet living in our communities while respecting the proper role of Your institutions of family and the church. Everyone is sinful, subject to fall short, so I ask for an extra measure of humbleness for each of my elected officials to know wisdom and truth comes from You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The function of government is to restrain evil and to protect and promote good. Given this function, the Christian understands that government is ordained of God. Romans 13:3–7 and 1 Peter 2:13–14 provide the most thorough treatment of a government’s purpose. Although God has ordained government and its purposes, it does not have the solutions for all the problems and troubles in society. Those who govern are fallible people just like us, needing God’s wisdom just as much as we do. That is why those who serve the people need our prayers. Take a few minutes today to pray for your elected officials, from the local to the state to the federal level. You can find the names of those who represent you here. There is an option to contact them to let them you prayed for them as well.
More Than 2,500 Show Up for Kirk Cameron's Story Time Hour at Indianapolis Public Library
“Thousands of people flocked to an Indianapolis public library for actor Kirk Cameron's story time hour of his new children's book. ‘You guys! They're gonna let me speak over the loudspeaker, the PA, because there's about 1,000 people in the library on other floors that haven't gotten up here, so I'm gonna be talking to everybody in just a few minutes, and I just wanna thank them for coming and thank you for coming and making this such a special event today!’” read more at Christian Headlines
- The Indianapolis library was one of over fifty libraries that had rejected Cameron’s request to host his story hour. While it did not host his book reading, it allowed him to rent a room for the reading. Cameron’s book, As You Grow, teaches children about the fruit of the Spirit. He also read it at the Scarsdale Public Library in New York, with roughly 700 in attendance.
- Biblical values are still appealing to many. The number of people who showed up to hear about the fruit of the Spirit testifies to this. While the Indianapolis library estimated their attendee count to be 750 rather than 2,500, the packed building was impressive, whatever the actual count.
- Several of the libraries contacted by Kirk Cameron have hosted drag queen story hours in the past–a clear contrast to the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:17 says, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh…” The Enemy uses many creative avenues to appeal to the desires of our flesh–and our children. The only way to overcome him is by faith in the Lord Jesus, who gives us His Holy Spirit to produce good fruit in us.
“O God, I cannot endure to see the destruction of my kindred. Let those that are united to me in tender ties be precious in Thy sight and devoted to Thy glory. Sanctify and prosper my domestic devotion, instruction, discipline, example, that my house may be a nursery for heaven…” – Excerpt from a prayer for the family in The Valley of Vision.
This year, why not put an emphasis on praying together with your family? It can be after dinner, before bed, or anytime that works for your family. “The health of a nation is contingent on the health of family. God is rebuilding and restoring old ruins and it starts at home.” – Rebecca Lyons.
Separating School Bathrooms Based on Sex is Constitutional, Court Rules
“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that separating bathrooms based on sex doesn't violate the Constitution or Title IX, a decision with repercussions for the nationwide debate over transgender issues.” read more at Restoring America
- Title IX protects against “discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”. Title IX’s purpose of creating a level playing field in academics would not apply to the simple act of keeping restrooms separated on the basis of sex. The 11th Circuit Court determined that the Florida school’s policy applied to every student and did not constitute discrimination nor denied anyone equal protection of the laws according to the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
- Elections have consequences. Federal circuit court judges are nominated by the President, and their judicial views are naturally similar to his. The head of the CDC is also appointed by the President. Last month, the CDC republished a “self-assessment tool” for school employees to gauge how well they affirm LGBTQ students in their beliefs. It recommends allowing “students to use the bathroom/locker room which aligns to their chosen gender.”
- This debate boils down to fundamental concepts about reality. Do our bodies tell us something about who we are, or can our identities be divorced from our bodies? It is interesting to note that the 11th Circuit Court’s majority opinion agreeing with the school district never calls the female student who sued the school, “he,” while the judges who disagreed with the majority opinion do. Our federal judges are operating from two very different worldviews regarding gender. This is heated debate, with different policies in different countries. We must be ready to discuss it with grace and truth.
Heavenly Father, You are our Creator. We praise You for loving us so much to send Your Son not only to redeem our souls now, but also our bodies when we rise again at His second coming. (Romans 8:18-24) Thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit to free us from following our desires and feelings that are against Your good will. Help us to love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and tell others of Your salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Our children are having to deal with challenges that the previous generation never faced. It can feel daunting. But read this biblically based encouragement from a father and youth pastor: “Don’t Feel Sorry for or Fear for Your Kids; Raise Them up to Walk in Faith.” Then encourage a Christian parent or grandparent in your life.
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.