WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JULY 7, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Iowa Can Block Planned Parenthood's Sex Ed Programs in Public Schools, Court Rules
“On Wednesday, Iowa’s Supreme Court said that the state can block Planned Parenthood from conducting its sex education programs in public schools. According to the Associated Press, the decision reverses a judge’s 2020 ruling that found a 2019 law passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature banning Planned Parenthood-led sex education was unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s issued a complaint against the law, arguing that it violated the organization’s right to equal protection and ‘served no rational legitimate government interest,’ the Associated Press reports. On Wednesday, however, six justices, all appointed by Republican governors, found that the concerns of Iowa lawmakers could be reasonable since Planned Parenthood-led sex education could undermine the state’s goals of teaching abstinence and reducing teen pregnancy.” read more at Christian Headlines
Iowa Planned Parenthood affiliates received about $182,000 in taxpayer-funded sex education grants in 2020 and provides sex education in 31 schools and 12 youth organizations in Iowa. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood is the single largest provider of sex education. In its decision, the court concluded that Planned Parenthood’s practice of providing abortions would not be affected by the state’s refusal to give it grant money for sex education programs. But insiders say otherwise. Monica Cline, former Title X Planned Parenthood-educated sex education instructor and founder of It Takes A Family, said in regards to the Iowa ruling: "Parents and their kids should be celebrating in Iowa today. Planned Parenthood's entire business model relies on separating kids from their parents, who are referred to as barriers to service. If Planned Parenthood is allowed in our schools, it means they are talking to your kids about sex, contraception, STDs, and their version of healthy relationships.” She has stated, “Organizations like Planned Parenthood do not aspire for more in our children’s lives. Their answer to happiness and empowerment is to have sex, use a condom, get tested, treated, and have an abortion.” Across the nation, Planned Parenthood is creating and heavily lobbying for the problematic “CSE” (Comprehensive Sex Education) curriculum, which they define as a “rights-based approach” for youth. The curriculum promotes seven essential components which include “the right to freely express and explore one’s sexuality in a safe, healthy and pleasurable way.” This anti-biblical curriculum is being taught to children as young as kindergarten. You can read the actual CSE guidelines here. Family Watch International has created a website with helpful information on CSE, and toolkits on how to take action in your school district to stop it. Most modern sex education instruction presents perversion, fornication, homosexuality, sexual pleasure before marriage as “normal” expressions of sexuality. Any teaching of boundaries is limited to the avoidance of negative consequences. All of this is contrary to Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:9; Leviticus 20:15–16; Matthew 5:28). Christian parents should be actively involved in all aspects of their children’s education, especially in areas that compromise Scripture. Parents must be aware of what their children are learning and correct any misinformation given to their children, educating children in such a way as to equip them to discern biblical truth from cultural error. God holds parents responsible for the upbringing of their children (Ephesians 6:4), not schools, churches, or governments.
Lord God, I pray for the children in my life, to know Your goodness and Your design for sexuality. I pray they would place their identity in You. I ask that in the pressures of life, they would know You are their rock on which they can stand. I pray that through the challenges of school life, peer relationships, and future decisions, You would lead them, guide them, and guard their hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The primary defense for a child in this sexualized culture is a strong relationship with family and with God. As Dennis Rainy says, “Our children's innocence is under attack, and parents cannot win the battle with a single awkward ‘birds and the bees’ talk or a strict set of rules.” Family Life ministries has created an incredible resource to help parents talk to their preteens about sex, called Passport2Purity. I’ve used the resource for my own family. Learn more and purchase the resources here.
'A Win for Election Integrity': Supreme Court Hands Democrats a Big Loss
“The Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s voting law that cracks down on ballot harvesting and takes aim at mail-in ballot fraud, despite a challenge from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The high court ruled that the reforms in Arizona’s law do not violate the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Thomas, and Barrett sided with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, while Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor said that the law violates Section 2 of the VRA.” read more at TownHall
In Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the Supreme Court concluded that states could enact commonsense and necessary protections to ensure the integrity of their electoral systems. The court upheld two provisions of the Arizona law and rejected the arguments by Democrats and civil rights groups that the provisions disproportionately burdened minority voters. The first provision says in-person ballots cast at the wrong precinct on Election Day must be wholly discarded. Another provision restricts a practice known as "ballot collection," and says only family caregivers, mail carriers and election officials can deliver another person's completed ballot to a polling place. Under our constitutional system, states are empowered to regulate the time, place, and manner of their elections. Justice Alito, writing for the majority, stated, “[f]raud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight.” He continued, “[f]raud can also undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and [their] perceived legitimacy.” This means that a state has a legitimate interest in “[e]nsuring that every vote is cast freely, without intimidation or undue influence…” The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will have an immediate impact. Because the Biden administration’s Justice Department filed its lawsuit against Georgia’s recent election law before the court decided the case, it will likely withdraw or amend its complaint because it alleged that Georgia’s “out of precinct” provision, which is like Arizona’s, was racially discriminatory. That claim now seems unlikely to succeed. While the Supreme Court reached the right result, it ducked the larger question of what standard courts should apply in future cases when deciding claims under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Thomas Jefferson said: “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree.” Brave individuals greatly sacrificed so that we might have the chance to freely vote. We honor them by casting our votes to elect fellow citizens and we dishonor them when we don’t protect this liberty. We shouldn’t try to squelch this freedom, but we should protect this exercise in liberty which allows us to love our neighbor.
Lord, we pray that all eligible Americans would exercise their right to vote in every election. We faithfully pray our election system would remain secure and lawful in America.
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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal from Florist Who Wouldn't Make Arrangement for Same-Sex Wedding
“The US Supreme Court on Friday declined to take up an appeal from a Washington state florist who refused to make an arrangement for a same-sex couple out of religious concerns regarding same-sex marriage. The Washington state Supreme Court in June had ruled against the florist, Barronelle Stutzman, who declined to make a floral arrangement in 2013 for long-time client Robert Ingersoll's same-sex wedding. The court said Stutzman's refusal violated a state anti-discrimination law that bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It said the law was ‘neutral’ and served the states' interest in eradicating discrimination in public accommodations. In a statement Friday, Stuzman's lawyer Kristen Waggoner called the outcome of the case ‘tragic’ and said ‘the critical work of protecting the First Amendment freedoms of all Americans must continue.’ ‘No one should be forced to express a message or celebrate an event they disagree with,’ she added.” read more at CNN
For a case to be argued at the Supreme Court, four justices must decide to hear it. Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch expressed their desire to grant Stutzman’s case a hearing, leaving many to speculate why neither Justices Barrett nor Kavanaugh rejected her appeal. After their 9-0 decision a few weeks ago in favor of a religious adoption agency that declines to place children with same-sex couples, why would the court not also weigh in on a florist’s right to live according to her religious beliefs? Steven D. Smith, Law Professor at the University of San Diego, notes that “It is possible that some conservative justices are more interested in protecting institutional religion and institutional religious freedom,” such as expressly Christian organizations, “than in standing up for the lone Christian dissenter like Barronelle Stutzman.” If that is the case, then millions of Christ-followers who make their living in a “secular” business must start counting the cost of faithfulness to Him, because the sexual revolution does not tolerate dissent. A recent survey of likely voters found that eighty-two percent said freedom of religion is important to a healthy society. However, only fifty percent believed churches and faith-based charities should not be required to hire someone who opposes their religious beliefs. This indicates a much narrower understanding of religious freedom than the First Amendment holds. Our culture can tend to divide life into religious and secular categories--viewing church as religious and business as secular. But that divide cannot exist for believers in Jesus, who always obeyed His Father, regardless of what He was doing. As additional cases like Barronelle’s make their way up to the Supreme Court, we must continue to render unto God the things which are his, which is our worship. And worship should be performed in every part of our lives. (Matthew 22: 21, Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:17) This may come at a cost, as it has for Barronelle Stutzman, but the reward is in Heaven.
Heavenly Father, we are concerned by the growing hostility against believers like Barronelle. For the sake of Your gospel, we pray that our Supreme Court will decide to truly protect religious liberty for everyone, in all aspects of their life. Regardless, help us to be courageous and faithful to You in our workplaces, trusting that You will be glorified through our obedience. Thank You for the freedom we still have; help us to make good use of it.
Meet one of our Action Partners, Huong Le. Huong is a consistent prayer partner on our "United. We Pray." Weekly Prayer Calls. She moved to the US from Vietnam when she was 9 years old, and her family sacrificed so much to become American citizens. Huong has often mentioned how concerned she is to see things going on in America that they worked hard to leave behind when they left her birth country. Huong has been a citizen of the United States since 2003. You can join her and the hundreds of others who pray together for our nation and encourage each other, virtually, every Monday here.
Largest Teachers Union says Critical Race Theory is 'Reasonable and Appropriate' for Kids
“The country’s largest teachers union has moved to undermine the left-wing talking point that critical race theory is not taught to children -- by voting to promote it and arguing it is "reasonable and appropriate" to use CRT in social studies classes. The National Education Association has approved a plan to "publicize" critical race theory and dedicate a "team of staffers" to assist union members looking to "fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric." New Business Item 39 also declares that the union opposes bans on critical race theory and the New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project – which roughly half the U.S. states have already implemented. Additionally, the resolution calls for the union to ‘join with Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project to call for a rally this year on Oct. 14 — George Floyd’s birthday — as a national day of action to teach lessons about structural racism and oppression.’” read more at Fox News
How much influence does this teachers’ union have? An enormous amount. The NEA represents over half of U.S. teachers, providing them with resources and advice. You can view some of these ‘racial and social justice’ resources here. One of their action steps, according to New Business Item 39, will be to “Provide an already-created, in-depth, study that critiques...capitalism...and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society.” In addition, the Zinn Education Project has published a pledge for teachers who will teach Critical Race Theory, even if state law prohibits it. Their website currently shows over five thousand signatures. Is this education battle important even if you don’t have children in the public school system? Yes. First, it is important because we care about truth. Although it is promoted as teaching the truth about our nation’s history, CRT teaches a distorted narrative that our nation was built on racism and white supremacy, which is very different from teaching about the history and influence of racism and white supremacy in our country. This redefines the very foundation of our country from one based on the principles in the Declaration of Independence to one based on racism. Second, we should fight CRT because it is against Biblical values of liberty, justice, and equality that our founders believed in and Martin Luther King Jr. fought to establish. Third, this movement will not stop with race; it is part of the larger worldview of Critical Theory, which includes the LGBTQ community in the category of oppressed groups. Our children will be taught that to be moral, good people, they must affirm and advocate for the LGBTQ movement as well. So, how should we engage, and what is our objective? Remember that this is first a battle of ideas, so we must counter with good, true, and right ideas in our homes, churches, and schools. Our objective is not to protect children from competing ideas, but to protect them from indoctrination--where corrupt ideas are taught as the only way to view the world. Whether or not we are successful at combating indoctrination, our continuous objective is to disciple children who will walk in the truth, able to discern and reject the lies of the culture. (Matthew 18:6, Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Find out who your local school board members are and pray for them by name. Pray that they will work for the best interests of the children in their schools. Do you remember to pray for your child’s teachers as well? Lastly, pray for the young people in your life who you influence. Pray that they will know the truth and be set free. (John 8:31)
Action is happening at the local level. Parents are initiating efforts to recall their local elected school board members who promote CRT. In addition, Citizens for Renewing America has produced a step-by-step guide to recognizing CRT in your schools and effecting change.
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.