WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JULY 6, 2022
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Number of Americans Who Believe in God Dips to New Low: Gallup
“While 81% of American adults say they believe in God, the percentage has dropped 6 points since 2017 and is the lowest since the Gallup polling firm started asking the question more than seven decades ago. Gallup says when it first asked the question in 1947 and twice in the 1950s and 1960s, a consistent 98% said they believed in God. In 2011, the percentage declined to 92%. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, it dipped to 87%.” read more at the Christian Post
Albert Mohler points out that we should be primarily concerned about the state of these individual’s souls, but we should also be concerned about the state of our society in light of the statistics. “The society that believes in God…is going to be very different than a society in which a majority of persons believe in no God at all,” he writes. It is important to acknowledge that many atheists practice good morals. However, it becomes harder to justify holding on to a good standard of morality without belief in a divine moral lawgiver. With a fewer percentage of people believing in such a God, our society is beginning to lose a powerful restraint on evil, and, at the same time, a powerful motivator to do good. Belief in God has declined more dramatically among Americans with liberal political beliefs as opposed to conservative beliefs, which Mohler acknowledged makes sense since liberal ideology champions liberation from many things that bind an individual, including many of God’s commands. This liberal message resonates with many young people, and they are another group in which belief in God has declined dramatically. Nearly three in ten young adults who are eighteen to twenty-nine years old do not believe God exists at all–a drop of ten percentage points from 2017. One thing I take away from these statistics is the reminder that my children are my primary mission field. Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, commented on the shift. “We live in a day when the religion of secularism (naturalism)—with its belief that there is no God, morality is relative, my happiness is all that matters, and we’re simply the products of evolution—is taught as fact in public schools and through the media. Generations of kids have been indoctrinated with this worldview and, sadly, many of the young people in our churches were never properly discipled at home or in church with apologetics and doctrine to know what they believe and why. So many of them fall away, left with a vague belief in “God” but not the biblical God.” I am saddened by this poll of my fellow Americans, still I take heart in knowing that the God who raised Jesus from the dead can bring another revival to our land. Let us be faithful to heed the exhortation of 1 Peter 3:15, “[I]n your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
Lord God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor, and power, for You created all things, and You uphold the universe by the word of Your power. (Revelation 4:11, Hebrews 1:3) Despite Your eternal power and divine nature being revealed in creation, many do not believe You exist, and others believe in a false god. It saddens us, Lord, and we know You desire for all of them to turn to You in repentance and belief in Jesus so that they will know You. In our own families, help us to disciple our children. In our communities, help us to be faithful ambassadors for You, preaching the gospel as Your Holy Spirit works to convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16:8)
Bless Every Home is a wonderful resource to help you pray for your neighbors, by name, with the goal of building relationships and opening opportunities to share the gospel. You can download their app and receive daily prayer reminders for five of your neighbors. Visit their website to get started praying and see what transformation happens!
Arizona Pushes Most Expansive Education Savings Account Program in the US
“Arizona state lawmakers on Wednesday pushed the most expansive education savings account program in the United States. The Arizona State House passed Bill 2853 for the expansion of education savings accounts to have universal eligibility. Arizona, the first state in the nation to pass education scholarship accounts, expands the program to all 1.1 million K-12 students in Arizona. The program provides parents with scholarships to cover educational expenses such as private school tuition, online education, education therapies, tutoring, etc.” read more at Fox News
Arizona has passed a law that will give approximately $6,500 in scholarships to every K-12 student. Expected to be signed by the Governor, this new law expands the existing program, which was only available to about 25% of the students. Students with special needs will receive additional funds on top of the normal Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. West Virginia passed a similar program last year, but it only applied to children who were transferring from public school to private school. Arizona’s law now becomes the nation’s most expanded school choice law. Is this a good thing?
The burden of caution rises even higher for the simple fact that tax dollars are tied to regulation. For example, the bill specifically states, “The state board of education may adopt rules and policies necessary to administer Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.” In Arizona, the board of education is appointed by the Governor. A Governor who wishes to impose an ideology or take away liberties could potentially appoint board of education members who choose to implement regulations on families beyond the intent of this initial change in school choice law. What if a family doesn’t adhere to the propaganda of gender ideology because they hold to a biblical worldview? Could their school choice scholarship be denied? This highlights the need to be aware of the fine print of the laws being passed and it also brings into focus the critical role that elections have in determining who is leading your state. Education is now a big topic in elections. A new survey
found that 82% of parents would be willing to support a candidate from another political party if that candidate's education platform was aligned with their personal views on the issue. The results held true across party lines, with 88% of independents, 81% of Democrats, and 79% of Republicans all indicating that they would be willing to support a candidate outside their preferred party over education issues. The poll, which surveyed 5,002 U.S. parents in the last two weeks of May, also found that 83% of parents considered education to be a more important issue to them politically than it had in the past, suggesting that education-minded voters may be the new “swing” voters. There’s been talk this week that some people might move to new states to more easily access abortion. Perhaps. But I think it’s more likely we’ll see a lot of people moving to new states to access a better education.
Lord, we pray for You to help parents understand the value and importance of their children’s education. May parents and other family members surround children with the support and encouragement to become all You desire them to be. Lord, I pray that first and foremost, my children will “love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:20).
Teaching our children starts at home. We can be the first ones to teach the principles and virtues of our biblical heritage, first as a Christian and then as citizens of this great nation. The Pilgrims had a vision – the blueprint for our nation – and it is etched in granite in a monument near Plymouth Rock. It is called the National Monument to the Forefathers. Much can be learned by young and old alike about the principles and virtues of the Pilgrim settlers by studying the monument. These principles and virtues were ultimately carried over into the writing of America’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Watch our new video series that brings to life the little-known monument that celebrates our foundation of faith as a nation.
Today’s Fight for Religious Freedom
“Why should you and I, regardless of our religious or political beliefs, support religious freedom for everyone, everywhere? Because human beings must have the freedom to be religious. We are by our nature religious beings. The search for God is natural to each of us. Religious freedom is not a privilege granted by governments. It is a natural, inalienable right, given to every human being by God. It is the duty and the right of conscience to discern the truth about religion and to exercise religion in private and in public. Religious freedom by its nature excludes compulsion. No person may be compelled or manipulated by any human agent, especially by government, to seek God or to worship him. God himself neither compels nor manipulates. He loves and he beckons. We should imitate him. This view of religious freedom and human dignity motivates me to fight for religious freedom for everyone.” read more at First Things
Written by our friend Thomas Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, he rightly points out that, “The new moral orthodoxy holds that the self, not God, is supreme, and that the body is merely an instrument of the self. If this is true, then complete sexual freedom is rational, as is changing bodily sex to conform with what the self-desires. But what if it isn’t true? What if it harms children and causes suffering and unhappiness?” He goes on to say, “In a democracy, everyone has the right to believe what they wish. But no one has the right to silence those who disagree. Unfortunately, that is the stated goal of those in America who are libeling traditional religious believers as haters, bigots, racists, and even fascists…The current administration has said it will bring ‘the full force of the federal government’ down on those who do not accept government-imposed moral orthodoxy.” Last week, we attended the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington, D.C. And while we celebrated that the Supreme Court handed down two major victories for religious liberty in our nation, it's important to remember that the fight over that freedom goes beyond our borders. If America becomes increasingly irreligious, religious freedom internationally outside of our nation is diminished. The very first amendment to the United States Constitution begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” Fast forward to today and religious freedom is one of the most pressing issues in American culture. Because religious freedom is a fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution for the flourishing of America, it must be prioritized and preserved for everyone by electing leaders who understand its foundation, respect its purpose, and protect its established platform that provides freedom for all. This is why My Faith Votes is proud to partner with the Religious Freedom Institute, to train our faith communities, especially the youngest generation of voters on Christian colleges and universities, to stand united for our first freedom.
Lord, we pray for religious freedom in the United States, and we thank You for the freedoms we have, both now and throughout our history, to serve and worship You. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith around the world. We ask that You enable those in positions of authority to continue to preserve the right to freely worship You and that they would not establish any belief, philosophy, or ideology that would overrule the observance or expression of faith in You.
The youngest generations in the U.S., Millennials and Generation Z, now make up the largest number of eligible voters, roughly 69.2 million, and more than any other generation. There are millions of students who trust in Jesus and believe in the truth of God’s Word, but need help registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot, and voting in every election. Know a student, professor, or administrator on a Christian college campus who could utilize our voting resources? Reply to this email OR click here to let us know and we’ll connect with them!
Eighty-Nine House Representatives Introduce ‘Transgender Bill of Rights’
“A group of Democrats in the House of Representatives have unveiled a new ‘Transgender Bill of Rights’ that poses a great threat to religious liberty, women’s sports and the integrity of the medical profession. Representative Pramila Jayapal, along with four other members, introduced the bill in the House of Representatives earlier this week. The bill has an additional 84 co-sponsors. Rep. Jayapal, who is the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Co-Chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force, has a son who believes that he is a girl. ‘With this resolution, we salute the resilience and courage of trans people across our country and outline a clear vision of what we must do in Congress in order to allow trans people to lead full, happy lives,’ Rep. Jayapal said in a statement.” read more at the Daily Citizen
To be clear, what is proposed is a resolution, not a law. This resolution may not visit both chambers of congress, but it is certainly a starting point for those who are trying to codify into law discrimination against people of faith by laying the groundwork to bring this issue back in other formats and drive more forceful legislative action. So why would we pay attention to this? This resolution, called H.Res.1209 and sponsored by a mere 84 of the 435 members of the House, is being driven by extreme progressives who are taking the first step in laying the groundwork to push a cultural narrative that creates a victim class for transgendered individuals and sets up people of faith to be classified as discriminatory civil rights offenders. If passed, this specific resolution will not have the power of law, but people of faith should take notice because simple resolutions like this one are run to garner media attention, drive public narrative, and open the door to begin swaying public opinion in a direction that will take away the rights of those who adhere to a biblical view of sexuality and relationships. Simple resolutions have two main functions, 1) express the sentiments of a single chamber of congress and 2) convey the collective opinion of that chamber on a public policy issue. Though simple resolutions are not presented to the President and do not have the force of law, Christians must be aware because resolutions can, and sometimes do, make claims that are not backed by truth and do not require the burden of proof, yet go into public record and can be used by the media to create perceptions and sway public opinion. A “Transgender Bill of Rights” is a misnomer. Americans who consider themselves “transgender” are already governed by the same laws and statutes as every other American. What this Simple Resolution would do is try to convey that a certain, small group of citizens deserve additional rights and privileges, at the expense of much larger categories of Americans. How did our culture get to this moment and what is driving this ideology across politics, social media, and even in families? Allie Beth Stuckey featured an eye-opening podcast episode discussing the origins of and the leaders pushing the dangerous trans narrative. It’s difficult material not suitable for children, but we need to be aware. You can listen or watch here.
Lord, we pray for the church to boldly proclaim the truth of God’s intentional design for marriage and sexuality in a culture that loudly claims otherwise. We pray that the modern transgender movement that is systematically working to dismantle the reality of two sexes would not have success. We pray for those who struggle with their gender identity, knowing that many have lived lives of pain, confusion and rejection. And, just as Jesus went out of his way to reach the outcasts of society, we pray for opportunities to humbly share His love embodied in the Gospel, to lift them up in prayer and to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction, healing and transformation.
We already have a “Bill of Rights” that affords fairness to all. Did you know the Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution? If asked, could you name even just three of them? Today is a good day to refresh your civics education. Download a copy here or watch this 3 minute video to trigger your memory.
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.