WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JULY 19, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Early-voting Begins and Campaigning Heats Up: [Ohio] Issue 1 Recap
“Early voting for the Aug. 8 election began this week, and the campaigns for and against State Issue 1 have intensified accordingly. On Monday, cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer published a story detailing the efforts Issue 1 opponents and proponents are making to mobilize their sympathetic voters, including door-to-door campaigning. Doorstep conversations with voters and interviews with activists showed that abortion remains a huge motivating factor for both sides.” read more at Cleveland.com
- What is Issue 1? The special election ballot measure would increase the threshold needed for state constitutional amendments from its current ‘50% plus one vote’ to 60% of the vote. The initiative also requires that signatures for amendments be collected from all 88 of Ohio's counties, replacing the current requirement of 44 counties, expanding the support needed to get a measure on the ballot.
- The results will impact this November’s election. The extremist abortion lobby’s push to permit the killing of preborn life – at any stage in a pregnancy – is slated to be on the ballot. Abortion groups needed to collect 413,000 valid signatures to place the constitutional amendment, Ohio Right to Make Reproductive Decisions Including Abortion Initiative, on the November 7th ballot. They submitted 710,131 signatures.
- Why is this so important? Issues that should be decided in the state legislature are being strategically moved to ballot measures with significant funding from progressive groups outside of the state. So far, their strategy is working – not many voters show up to vote in special elections, while ballot measures on major social issues are changing the fabric of the state. Ohio, a traditionally conservative state, is seen as a testing ground. From abortion rights, voter integrity, and land use, state constitutions are being amended at the ballot box more often without voters’ full understanding of the ramifications. Because 26 states allow citizens to initiate a constitutional amendment to the ballot, and most of these states only require a simple majority vote (50% plus one), special interest groups see this as an easy way to enshrine their social agenda into the state’s constitution. Amending a state constitution is easier than amending the federal constitution.
- Progressives and liberals are pushing hard for the ballot measure not to pass. We’ve cut through the messaging noise with a helpful summary of what’s at stake and why. Feel free to download it and share it with Ohioans!
Let us not become discouraged by the perilous state of our culture. Instead, let’s be encouraged that God has called you and me and Christians in Ohio for such a time as this. Ask the Lord for wisdom to discern the times. As the words of Luke 18:1 say, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
If you live in Ohio, please make a plan to vote on August 8. With only one measure on the ballot at a time of year that voters are not typically engaged, every vote matters! If you know someone who is eligible to vote in Ohio, please consider passing along this important information to them so they can be a motivated and equipped voter as well!
Marines Without Senate-confirmed Leader for First Time Since 1859 after GOP Senator Blocks Nominee
“For the first time in more than 150 years, the Marine Corps is operating without a Senate-confirmed commandant. The position was vacated when Gen. David H. Berger, who assumed the top role in July 2019, stepped down from the post, which is limited to four years. The Senate's attempt to vote on a nominee to succeed him was blocked Monday by GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, whose monthslong opposition to the Defense Department's abortion travel policy has held up dozens of military nominations.” read more at NBC News
- When reading this headline, discernment is needed. Former Auburn football coach (turned Senator) Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has been slowing down (not blocking) military promotions for months over a Defense Department policy that pays expenses for military personnel traveling to get abortions. More than 260 promotions have been affected. Tuberville, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said he’ll continue to hold up the nominations until the Pentagon rescinds the policy, which he sees as a violation of the Hyde Amendment that bans federal funding for abortion. Tuberville’s move forces the Senate to consider and vote on each nomination rather than fast-tracking them and approving them in batches. “This is about not forcing the taxpayers of this country to fund abortion. That’s been a bipartisan consensus for more than 40 years,” Tuberville said. “The American taxpayer [is] on the hook to pay for travel and time off for elective abortion.”
- With rare exceptions like Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), Democrats, President Biden, top military officials and even some Republicans are pushing Tuberville to end his hold, claiming national security is at risk.
- Senator Tuberville hasn’t introduced legislation to overturn the policy and insists that debate on amendments to change the policy wouldn’t count. Instead, he has proposed a very specific, unusual strategy: Democrats should introduce their own bill on the policy and hold a vote.
- On Friday, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Past defense bills have seen bipartisan support, but this passed by a near-party line vote of 219-210. House Republicans advocated for numerous “culture war” provisions that were not in the original draft. These amendments include ending the Pentagon’s policy of funding abortion access, banning the display of Pride flags on military bases, and restricting the Defense Department from spending money on “woke” initiatives such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or critical race theory training, transgender medical treatments, and drag shows. The Senate is expected to pass its version of the NDAA later this month, after which the two chambers will negotiate a compromise that would come up for a vote later this year.
Lord, thank You for legislators who are willing to stand and protect life, even in the face of enormous pressure. Give wisdom to those whom You have ordained in government (Romans 13:1-2) to maintain the rule of law, restrain evil, and promote that which is good.
On Monday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said it is the Pentagon's “foundational sacred obligation” to help troops and their spouses get abortions. Let’s counter that unbiblical philosophy and work to protect life, strengthen military families and come alongside them with support, encouragement and biblical truth. My Hero Squad is doing just that. Learn about their ministry and consider giving a military family the biblical resources they need as they serve our country.
California Replaces Textbooks Canceled by Far-Right Board
“A Southern California school district will receive social studies books from the state to replace the texts canceled by three far-right school board members over a mention of a gay rights activist, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday. The Newsom administration’s announcement about the Temecula Valley Unified School District follows Twitter scoldings from the governor and a civil rights investigation into the district by the California Department of Education.” read more at Politico
- This story has been badly misrepresented, and the Politico headline is a prime example. The Temecula school board had several concerns about the social studies curriculum for grades 1 – 5. The curriculum is recommended, but not mandated, by the state. The board voted in May to discontinue the curriculum and is assembling a new curriculum that will still meet state standards. Can that really be called “canceling,” or “banning,” curriculum, as it has been characterized?
- This looks like a routine case of a school board exercising discretion within the bounds of their authority to make changes for the students in their district. But Governor Newsom took the opportunity to frame the school board as a group of extremists who want to ban access to essential information. He is also using it as justification for a proposed bill in the California legislature, AB 1078, which would make it harder for school districts to change curriculum or instructional materials. It would also impose requirements for instructional materials to conform to new standards of “diversity,” which includes “contributions of people of all genders”.
- Even though this is occurring in California, the question about local versus state control over educational content is something each state has to wrestle with. Local control provides greater accountability and more parental involvement. But as states change their requirements and standards for schools, it is evident that parents concerned for their children’s education will have to make their voice (and vote) heard at both the local and state level.
Pray for strong families where parents teach their children what is right and true. Pray for voters to hold their local school boards and state officials accountable for the quality of education in their state. And pray for wisdom for those in office who are fighting for education that doesn’t corrupt the minds and hearts of our young people.
Our friend actor Kirk Cameron, alongside BRAVE Books, has been visiting libraries and holding story hours across the country to teach kids about faith, hope, and love. On August 5, 2023, he is calling on all families who love God and love America to gather at local public libraries to pray, sing, and read his book and other books of virtue. Consider participating. Find out more here.
Polk County Judge Temporarily Blocks Iowa's Abortion Law as Court Challenge Continues
“A Polk County judge has temporarily blocked Iowa's "fetal heartbeat" law as a court challenge plays out, meaning abortion is again legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the "fetal heartbeat" law at about 2:45 p.m. Friday at the Family Leadership Summit, a gathering of conservative Christians where half a dozen Republican presidential contenders also took the stage. It took effect immediately, banning nearly all abortions after doctors detect cardiac activity in the embryo. That can occur about six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.” read more at the Des Moines Register
- Iowa has had a rollercoaster ride in the pro-life fight. In 2018, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law nearly identical to the one passed last week. That law was blocked by a district court ruling in 2019. To make matters worse, the Iowa Supreme Court that same year ruled that the Iowa Constitution guaranteed the right to abortion. In 2022, with a new conservative majority, the court reversed that decision, but abortion remained legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. After the Dobbs decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the state asked the Iowa Supreme Court to strike down the district court’s previous ban on the 2018 law, but the court was split 3-3 on whether it had the authority to essentially revive a dead law. So, Governor Reynolds called a special session for the sole purpose of passing this new law.
- Abortion providers and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa immediately filed a lawsuit, alleging that the new law violates Iowans' inalienable rights and their rights to due process and equal protection under the Iowa Constitution. Pro-life advocates expected the law to be blocked while the lawsuit continues its way to the Iowa Supreme Court, which will hopefully uphold the law. Let’s pray this temporary injunction is just that – temporary.
- We can learn a few things from this example. First, persistence. Pro-lifers remained dedicated through five years of political ups and downs. Second, the impact of voting. Voters continued to elect a pro-life governor and state legislators. What if they had decided to give up after 2019?
“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” (Proverbs 24:10-11) Heavenly Father, thank you for the persistence of those fighting for the right to life for the unborn. Help the justices in Iowa to rule rightly and help us all to renew our strength as we work for a culture of life in our home states. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Do you have a heart to help women facing unplanned pregnancies? Organizations like Heartbeat International, CareNet, Embrace Grace, and more are doing tremendous work! Find out how you can be a part by visiting our Take Action for Life page and scrolling down to Action 5. Volunteer with Pro-Life Organizations.
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.