WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JULY 26, 2023
New interview released:
We talked with Pastor Lucas Miles about his latest book, Woke Jesus. Lucas references how the early church was unable to refute heresy because they did not understand it and warns we could find ourselves in the same position if we do not become educated on the “woke ideology” infiltrating our churches. Watch here.
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Summer of Action: We Can All Do Something
"’We can all do something.’ These words, spoken by our founder Sealy Yates, resonate deeply with us at My Faith Votes. They serve as a reminder of the power we possess as individuals and as a united faith community. It is this inspiration that launched My Faith Votes, and it is this same spirit that fuels our Summer of Action campaign, an intentional call to Christians to make a difference in their communities this summer. Together, let's do something and put our faith into action during this transformative season.” read more at My Faith Votes
- We are launching our Summer of Action campaign, which is an opportunity for us to engage with our neighbors and make a lasting impact. It is a reminder that our actions can change lives, transform communities, and even shape the course of our nation. So, there are two easy ways to participate: 1. Voter Registration Drive — There are approximately 15 million Christians who aren’t registered to vote but you can pave the way and make it simple for them to register. 2. Meeting with an Elected Official — Summer of Action encourages us to meet with a local elected official. You never know what sort of relationship may come from a grace-filled, meaningful conversation, and we have a guide to help start that conversation.
- Sign up to participate in the Summer of Action here and we’ll send you our comprehensive Voter Registration Toolkit and our Conversation Guide to help you have meaningful discussions with your elected officials, even those with whom you might disagree. You may be the only person who offers to pray with them…and there is power in prayer!
- Be sure to check your own voter registration. If you’ve moved or had any sort of information change, make sure you’re up to date. As we head into the critical presidential election year, let’s be ready to PRAY, THINK and VOTE.
We are commanded to bring the influence of faith into all areas of our life. We know from scripture that our faith and our good works should be inseparable. James 2:26 says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” As we act on our faith, living out biblical principles in every area of our life, we become a source for good in our communities and our nation. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” – Galatians 6:1
Here’s how you can take action today:
- Download Your Tool Kit
It has everything you’ll need to hold and promote a voter registration event and/or build meaningful connections with an elected official. Get started here.
- Get Your Free T-Shirt
When you download the kit, you'll be given instructions on how to receive a free t-shirt to help spread the message!
AI Firms Strike Deal with White House on Safety Guidelines
“The White House on Friday announced that the Biden administration had reached a voluntary agreement with seven companies building artificial intelligence products to establish guidelines meant to ensure the technology is developed safely. ‘These commitments are real, and they’re concrete,’ President Joe Biden said in comments to reporters. ‘They’re going to help … the industry fulfill its fundamental obligation to Americans to develop safe, secure and trustworthy technologies that benefit society and uphold our values and our shared values.’” read more at VOA
- Our friend Jim Denison points out, “Like a hammer that can repair a house or crush a skull, the issue is not the tool but the one using it. For example, AI is being used to detect cancer that humans might not find, revolutionize the development and testing of life-saving drugs, and translate the Bible into rare languages. But it is also being used to develop more advanced cyberattacks, bypass security measures, displace jobs, develop advanced weapons, and spread disinformation across the internet.”
- Government regulations, too, can be used to mitigate evil…or they can get out of hand. It’s important to not only examine the regulations themselves, but the values and beliefs of the regulators. Part of the White House’s non-binding agreement with tech companies is that the companies will support research on using AI to “help address society’s greatest challenges.” We should be asking, what does the White House (and tech companies) think those challenges are? “From cancer prevention to mitigating climate change to so much in between, AI—if properly managed—can contribute enormously to the prosperity, equality, and security of all,” a White House release stated.
- In addition to asking how much and what kind of federal regulation is legitimate, we should also ask what branch of our federal government should be primarily responsible for determining this. Should it be executive agencies that are not directly accountable to us, or our elected members of Congress who are?
Heavenly Father, Your knowledge and wisdom surpasses any artificial intelligence system we can create, so we take comfort in Your sovereignty and pray that Your will be done. Help us and our public officials to pray for and seek wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and understanding to do what is right. (Proverbs 1:1-7)
One important question is, “Could artificial intelligence be used to interfere with elections?” We wondered, so we asked ChatGPT, a chatbot developed by OpenAI. Its answers were rather revealing, as well as suggested remedies! You could use this article as an interesting conversation starter on election integrity.
Israeli Parliament Takes First Major Step in Netanyahu’s Contentious Overhaul, Deepening Divisions
“Israel’s parliament on Monday approved the first major law in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contentious plan to overhaul the country’s justice system, triggering a new burst of mass protests and drawing accusations that he was pushing the country toward authoritarian rule. The vote, passed unanimously by Netanyahu’s governing coalition after the opposition stormed out of the hall, deepened the fissures that have tested the delicate social ties that bind the country, rattled the cohesion of its powerful military and repeatedly drew concern from Israel’s closest ally, the United States. It came just hours after Netanyahu was released from the hospital, where he had a pacemaker implanted, adding another dizzying twist to an already dramatic series of events.” read more at The Associated Press
- The prime minister defended the Reasonableness Standard Bill, arguing that it restores the balance between Israel’s judiciary and legislative branches saying, "Today we carried out a required democratic move. The move was aimed at restoring a degree of balance between the authorities, which was [in place] for 50 years. We passed the amendment on the clause of reasonableness, so that the elected government could lead the policy in accordance with the decision of the majority of the country's citizens," stated Netanyahu. "In no way is carrying out the will of the voter 'the end of democracy.' It is the essence of democracy” he stressed.
- For the time being, the coalition is only proceeding with legislation that would limit the court’s use of the subjective legal concept of “reasonableness” to revoke decisions by lawmakers and ministers. Reasonableness is a legal standard used by many judicial systems, including Australia, Britain and Canada. A decision is deemed unreasonable if a court rules that it was made without considering all relevant factors or without giving relevant weight to each factor, or by giving irrelevant factors too much weight. The government and its backers say that reasonableness is too vague a concept, and one never codified in Israeli law.
- At its core, the judicial overhaul would give the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and therefore the parties in power, more control over Israel’s judiciary. From how judges are selected, to what laws the Supreme Court can rule on, to even giving parliament power to overturn Supreme Court decisions, the changes would be the most significant shakeups to Israel’s judiciary since its founding in 1948. Israel has no written constitution, only a set of quasi-constitutional basic laws, making the Supreme Court even more powerful. But Israel also has no check on the power of the Knesset other than the Supreme Court. In other countries, a constitution can limit the powers of an elected government, including attempts to rig the political system to allow leaders to remain in power. In Israel, the court played that restraining role.
Heavenly Father, we know that You desire for the nation of Israel to turn back to You and recognize Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) Many of them “have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2-3) We pray the current political divisions will cause them to recognize Your gracious hand of providence, and to seek and find salvation in You alone.
The word “democracy” is a popular term used by political figures in Israel and here in the US. It’s important to know the difference between our forms of government and the
true definition of this term since many Americans do not. Israel is a multiparty, parliamentary democracy. Although it has no formal constitution, its parliament, the unicameral 120-member Knesset, has enacted a series of “Basic Laws” that enumerate certain rights and freedoms. The US is a constitutional republic. Our constitution protects certain inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government, even if it has been elected by a majority of voters. In a "pure democracy," the majority is not restrained in this way and can impose its will on the minority. Watch this short clip for a better understanding.
Louisiana Overrides Dem Governor to Ban ‘Transgender’ Surgeries, Puberty Blockers for Minors
“Louisiana has become the 20th state to protect minors from irreversible ‘transgender’ procedures, including surgeries and cross-sex hormone injections, over the veto of its Democratic governor. Members of the state Legislature assembled in a special veto override session in Baton Rouge Tuesday to pass the Stop Harming Our Kids Act (HB 648), which prevents surgical or chemical conversion therapy to create an underage person’s ‘gender identity’ that is ‘inconsistent with the minor’s sex.’” read more at the Daily Signal
- The Louisiana Constitution requires two-thirds of the elected members of each house to override a governor’s veto. In June, Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed a bill passed by the state Legislature that would ban puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and sex-change surgeries for minors. The state House of Representatives voted 76-23 to pass the bill in a special veto override session. It then cleared the Senate 28-11 and will take effect on January 1. Six House Democrats and two Senate Democrats voted with Republicans to override the veto.
- Primary elections for the Louisiana state legislature will occur this October. Earlier this year, two Democratic state legislators, Representatives Francis Thompson and Jeremy LaCombe, switched parties to the GOP due, in part, to the governor’s position on the Stop Harming Our Kids Act. Thompson explained his switch: “The push the past several years by Democratic leadership on both the national and state level to support certain issues does not align with those values and principles that are part of my Christian life.”
- Meanwhile, in Washington state, a referendum attempted to override SB 5599, the bill that allows youth shelters to assist minors seeking abortions or “gender-affirming care” to get it behind their parents’ backs. Sadly, the referendum fell just short of gathering enough signatures to put it on the November ballot, so the law is now in effect. However, an initiative that would protect parents’ rights, I-2081, still has until December 31 to collect 300,000 signatures necessary to send it to the state legislature for consideration.
- State-level elections present many opportunities for action, whether it’s contacting your elected officials, voting in a regular or special election, or gathering signatures for a petition. Whatever you are called to do – whether it results in a great outcome or disappointment – do it heartily for the Lord. (Colossians 3:23-24)
Heavenly Father, we praise You for protections for vulnerable children in Louisiana! We are grieved by the lack of protections in other states and ask You to convict the hearts of more Christians to stand up for the children who will be harmed by transgender ideology enacted into law. Show me what to do, Lord, in my own state. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If you live in Ohio, please make a plan to vote on August 8. This is a crucial election. The special election ballot measure, State Issue 1, would increase the threshold needed for state constitutional amendments from its current ‘50% plus one vote’ to 60% of the vote. 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. Please download it and share it with Ohioans!
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.