WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JULY 28, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Senate Committee Passes Bill That Would Force Women to Register for Draft
“A Senate committee passed an annual defense bill Thursday with a landmark amendment that would force women to register with Selective Service and be eligible to be drafted into war. The amendment was part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate Armed Services Committee in a closed meeting and includes language to ‘require the registration of women for Selective Service,’ according to a bill summary from the committee. Under the current requirement, men must register with the Selective Service System upon reaching the age of 18. Selective Service keeps a list of all men ages 18-25 eligible for the draft. The overall bill passed by a vote of 23-3, according to the news release, which did not reveal the vote totals on 321 amendments to the bill that were considered. It now moves to the Senate.” read more at Christian Headlines
What does this say about our culture? We think men and women are interchangeable in their roles--a view which grew out of the feminist movement. The reality is, men and women are different. God created us uniquely suited for distinct roles, which is recognizable even by unbelievers. Equality in God’s eyes means that men and women equally bear His image and are thus equally valuable, yet we are different from each other. Consider God’s nature: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equally exist as God, yet are distinct from each other in function and purpose. This distinction does not devalue any member of the Trinity, just as distinctions between males and females do not devalue either one. Joe Carter writes in The Gospel Coalition, “When the Creator made us “male and female,” he intended some distinctions in roles, and shaped our bodies accordingly. Men, for example, were created to be self-sacrificial protectors of the family and, by extension, of the nation.” While women have voluntarily served our country in various military roles, when it comes to combat, it is proven men are more suited for the job. The Center for Military Readiness documents a study done by the Marine Corps. Significant findings include the fact that the likelihood of injury for servicewomen is two to six times that of men. In units that were previously restricted to men, the female attrition rate is almost twice that of their male counterparts. In addition, U.S. Army reports show that forty-four percent of women have failed the new Army Combat Fitness Test introduced in October of last year, while only seven percent of men have failed. Why would we force women into combat roles that they may not be suited to? “The female draft discussion should revolve around combat readiness, efficiency, and national security…” Concerned Women for America stated. Other important considerations include the natural sexual tension caused by males and females together in combat units. Who is in favor of forcing females to register for the draft? Online reports indicate that only five out of the thirteen Republicans on the committee voted ‘No’ to the draft amendment. The rest either voted in favor or “Not Present”. This same question came up four years ago. When that bill was presented to the entire Senate in 2016 (as this will be shortly), Senator Mike Lee of Utah offered a successful amendment to strike the female draft requirement. If we intend to be a society that honors women, we will need enough congressmen to say “no” to forcing them into battle.
The mainstream narrative ignores God’s beautiful design for males and females. Pray for the church to clearly communicate how He has “fearfully and wonderfully” made us in His image to reflect His glory. Pray against the gender confusion that harms our women and our children. And pray for our servicemen and servicewomen who serve to protect our nation and keep us free.
Operation Heal Our Patriots, a ministry project of Samaritan’s Purse, focuses on bringing spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment to wounded and injured U.S. military service members and their spouses. Consider supporting their ministry and recommending them to a military couple you know.
Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade
“Lawyers for the state of Mississippi urged the Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn Roe v. Wade, taking a more aggressive approach than the one they presented when they asked the court to hear the case a year ago. The case for overturning the two main decisions that legalized abortion in the U.S. — Roe v. Wade in 1973 and a later case, 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey — is overwhelming, the state said. "The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition," it said. By ruling that a state may not impose an undue burden on a right to abortion, the Supreme Court has placed itself "at the center of a controversy that it can never resolve." The state is appealing lower court rulings that struck down a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law, the Gestational Age Act, would allow later abortions only in medical emergencies or cases of severe fetal abnormality.” read more at NBC News
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Mike Lee (R-UT), filed a separate brief in support of Mississippi’s plea to overturn Roe v. Wade. In that decision nearly fifty years ago, the Court created a Constitutional right to abortion, even though no such right is mentioned in the Constitution itself. Since then, it has struggled to clearly and consistently define the legal limits. When judges do not feel bound by the original intent of a law, their decisions lack a firm foundation outside of their own judgment. In her brief to the court, state Attorney General Lynn Fitch argued, “The only workable approach...is to return the matter to ‘legislators, not judges.’...The national fever on abortion can break only when this Court returns abortion policy to the states – where agreement is more common, compromise is more possible, and disagreement can be resolved at the ballot box.” One debate that Congress has the power to resolve is whether taxpayers should be forced to pay for abortions. A bill that obtained the support of fifty members of Congress would ban federal funding of colleges and universities that distribute chemical abortion pills to students. The relevancy of this measure is highlighted by the fact that California will require these abortion pills to be provided to students on all state campuses by 2023. The Congressional pro-life bill likely won’t advance this year but it is a good agenda item if a conservative pro-life majority is established in the 2022 midterms. Last week, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s archbishop rebuked her for planning to abolish the Hyde Amendment—an annual provision that bans most taxpayer funding of abortion. “No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,” he stated publicly. An encouraging case last week occurred when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Seattle-area church will not be required to provide insurance that pays for abortions. The church had filed their lawsuit in response to a 2018 state law that did not exempt churches from having to provide abortion coverage. How far we have come from the 1973 rhetoric of “safe, legal, and rare.” While abortion is touted as “essential healthcare,” at its heart, the movement is rooted in upholding human autonomy over God’s value of human life. Therefore, it is relentless in advancing its agenda in every area of society. Whatever its legal status, then, we must be equally relentless in advancing God’s kingdom, which saves us from our selfish sin, and offers mercy and grace in our failures.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Mississippi’s case, and oral arguments will likely take place in November or December. A final decision will be released next year. Commit to pray consistently and fervently for the justices during this time. Pray that they will uphold justice for unborn babies. (Luke 18:1-8)
Did you know the pro-life movement now has an official flag? Created with the support of several pro-life organizations, its beautiful design and symbolism are intended to raise awareness and be a unifying, recognizable banner for pro-lifers around the world. You can go to ProLifeFlag.com to view the design and order your flag or bumper sticker.
Judge Rejects Churches’ Challenge to Virginia’s LGBT Antidiscrimination Law
“A judge has ruled against a group of churches, schools, and a pro-life pregnancy center challenging a Virginia law that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to state antidiscrimination law. Judge James E. Plowman Jr. issued a ruling from the bench last week in favor of the Virginia Values Act, which was passed by the Democrat-controlled state government in 2020. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring released a statement last Friday expressing support for the ruling, which will be entered as an order within the next few weeks. ‘Our landmark civil rights protections will remain in place, and Virginia will remain a place that is open and welcoming to all, no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, or who you love,’ stated Herring. ‘I was proud to support passage of the Virginia Values Act and am so proud of our work to successfully defend the law twice against legal attack.’ In late September of last year, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of two churches, three private schools, and a pregnancy care center against the Virginia Values Act.” read more at The Christian Post
ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle told The Washington Times that the case is “all about government hostility towards people of faith.” “That alone is unconstitutional, whether or not someone’s been prosecuted, or something’s been enforced,” she said. “Laws on the books that are targeting certain beliefs or targeting certain concerns are unconstitutional on their face. That’s one of our claims. It absolutely is valid. And it’s one that we hope to present on appeal.” Signed into law last year, the “Virginia Values Act” strips religious organizations of their right to serve their communities and make employment decisions according to their faith. In short, the Virginia Values Act mandates that religious organizations employ people whose beliefs and lifestyle contradict a biblical worldview. According to the labor and employment law firm, JacksonLewis, “The Values Act makes Virginia the first state in the South to enact non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in more than a decade to add both sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing non-discrimination law, and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations (which applies to all Virginians) where none existed before. Given these expansions, Virginia state courts are now–for the first time–an attractive place for employees to sue Virginia employers. Not only does the Values Act greatly expand the protected classifications under the Human Rights Act, it also makes Virginia employers of nearly all sizes now subject to private suit with greatly expanded damages availability, including more than 12 months of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and uncapped potential attorneys’ fees awards.” As culture moves further from God, the cost for those who trust in Him will intensify, and we need to prepare our hearts and minds. Author Michelle Lesley poignantly frames persecution, saying, “Persecution is not defined by whether or not you know what the consequences for your actions will be ahead of time. I would even argue most victims of persecution in the Bible knew what they were in for, and they chose to obey God rather than evil men anyway. Persecution is when Satan attempts to attack God and His people.” She goes on, “Knowing the consequences ahead of time and obeying God anyway doesn’t mean you aren’t being persecuted, it means you’re a Christian.”
Lord, You have called us to follow your son, Jesus, regardless of the cost. May Your Holy Spirit give us courage and wisdom to be faithful disciples.
The Voice of the Martyrs organization is giving away several great resources of books, DVD’s and boxed sets, for free, to help families discuss persecution and learn about those with courageous faith throughout church history. Find out more and get your free resources here.
NYC, California, and VA Affairs to Require Vaccinations for Workers
“The Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency on Monday to require vaccination for its 115,000 health care workers. The American Medical Association and 56 other leading medical organizations are now calling for mandatory vaccinations for workers at all health care settings, including nursing homes nationwide. California will soon require vaccination or negative weekly COVID tests for state and health care workers. New York City will also mandate vaccines or tests for municipal workers, including teachers and health care workers, and urging private employers to require shots. ‘It's quite clear the delta variant has changed the game,’ said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D). ‘We need to move to stronger measures.’ ‘We've got to shake people at this point and say, “Come on now,”’ de Blasio told MSNBC. ‘We tried voluntary. We could not have been more kind and compassionate. Free testing, everywhere you turn, incentives, friendly, warm embrace. The voluntary phase is over.’” read more at CBN News
According to a Department of Justice opinion memo, federal law does not prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring vaccines that are under emergency use authorization. But many disagree. In New Hampshire, residents can’t be required to be vaccinated in order to access public facilities, benefits or services under a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Chris Sununu. Last week, the largest healthcare union in the United States, United Healthcare Workers, held a rally protesting vaccination mandates required to keep their job. According to ABC 7, “New York-Presbyterian Health System announced the new mandate in a company-wide message to its 48,000 employees in which workers were told they must receive at least one shot by September 1.” Opponents of vaccine mandates haven't been successful in court when challenging the requirements. In June, a federal judge sided with a Houston hospital when employees sued to block its Covid-19 vaccine requirement. A federal court recently rejected a request by students that it block Indiana University's vaccine requirement. Could the DOJ opinion pave the way for more federal agencies and businesses to require vaccinations? In the sporting world, the NFL announced that unvaccinated players will be subjected to a fine of $14,650 every time they violate Covid procedures. And two offensive line coaches were recently fired for refusing to vaccinate, which is required for all NFL coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts. As of Monday, 49.1% of Americans have been fully vaccinated and 56.8% have had at least one dose, according to the CDC. Just two months after it lifted mask mandates, the CDC is now flip-flopping and recommending everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, and they are also urging vaccinated people in certain areas of the country to resume wearing masks as well. While CDC guidelines are non-binding and it is up to local governments to make the decision to enforce mask rules or not, they, nonetheless, influence the decision process. What or who has influenced your decision process?
Lord, we ask You for wisdom, for discernment and for truth as we each navigate all the messaging we’re being bombarded with around the virus. May we not make decisions based on fear but with a sound mind, trusting in Your grace and mercy, and living with an eternal perspective.
As our friend Dr. Jim Denison says: “Early Christians lived with urgency born out of reality. Life expectancy in the Roman world was half of rates today. Christians were especially in peril—more than a million died for Jesus in the first three centuries of the Christian era. But their urgency was not just a product of their circumstances. They knew that ‘salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11) ... With all our medical expertise, we cannot yet end the present pandemic or forecast the next one. We may live longer on average, but none of us are guaranteed another day. However, I do not sense true urgency among many Christians in America. We may believe theologically that Jesus could return tomorrow, or we could die today, but we need to translate this belief into practice. The more urgent our faith, the more earnestly we will share the gospel, stand courageously for our Lord, and live ready to stand before Him one day.”
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.