WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JUNE 19, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Illinois Governor Signs Sweeping Abortion Protection Bill Into Law
Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a sweeping abortion access protection bill into law Wednesday. The bill's signage comes as part of a wave of Democratic states opting to codify abortion protections as a slew of Republican states push forward bills restricting abortion access. Lawmakers have pushed such restrictions in an effort to force a potential legal challenge of the landmark Supreme Court Roe V. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. The bill repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, which punished doctors for abortions not deemed "necessary," as well as the state's Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act. It also establishes "that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law, of this State." read more
Governor Pritzker signed a pro-abortion bill while Pinterest silenced a pro-life organization. Pinterest blocked content from Live Action, a pro-life group, by placing it on a list alongside pornography sites. This is frustrating but not surprising. And in other life news, on Monday Massachusetts held a public hearing on a bill that would follow in the steps of New York and Vermont in allowing abortions of viable babies right up until the moment of birth, for any reason. Last month, NPR released guidelines for reporters and editors relative to abortion that favors pro-abortion positions. Mark Memmott, a senior editor, reminded them they were not to use the word “unborn” because it “implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman.” He went on: “Incorrectly calling a fetus a ‘baby’ or ‘the unborn’ is part of the strategy used by anti-abortion groups to shift language/public opinion.” He correctly identifies our strategy as he executes the other side’s strategy. Some will call the child a fetus, but God calls the child by name. He formed the child in the womb and calls us to lift our voice for the child outside the womb, speaking the truth in love. William Buckley noted: “Truth is a demure lady, much too ladylike to knock you on your head and drag you to her cave. She is there, but people must want her, and seek her out.” As one side continues to avoid the truth, we must continue to speak the truth in love and with deeds. Our arguments might not initially persuade them, but our kindness and love have the propensity to move them (1 Samuel 25, Ephesians 4:15, Romans 2:8, Proverbs 31:8-9).
Pray for all the unborn babies in Illinois, that they would have the right to life. Pray for the pro-life organizations working in Illinois, that they would have increased success at spreading the truth about abortion and informing women of their options.
Live Action has put together a great set of videos with practical tips and information on how to respond to the most common pro-choice arguments. Take a few minutes to watch a video and learn something new that will help you defend the sanctity of life.
Iran Responsible for 'Blatant Assault' on Oil Tankers in Gulf of Oman, Mike Pompeo Says
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the "blatant assault" on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. In a news conference Pompeo said: “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.” He charged that Iran was working to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and this is a deliberate part of a campaign to escalate tension, adding that the U.S. would defend its forces and interests in the region, although he did not elaborate. His comments came shortly after a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News the U.S. Navy saw an unexploded mine attached to the hull of the Panama-listed, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous ship, one of the two ships attacked. It's the same type of mine used to damage four oil tankers last month in the same area - an attack senior Pentagon officials blamed on Iran. read more
As tensions escalate with Iran, the situation in Iran deteriorates. Iran's economy is contracting at a rate of 6 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund. As the economy shrinks, prices are skyrocketing, with inflation climbing higher than 32 percent. According to Gallup, a record-high 34 percent of Iranians rated their lives poorly enough to be considered “suffering.” While 34 percent suffer, leaders thrive due to corruption. The First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri – whose own brother was detained on allegations of corruption – said: “Corruption has become an organized phenomenon in the country and I know all too well how deep it runs.” A recent Reuter’s investigation revealed that the Supreme Leader had amassed the equivalent of $95 billion. Iran’s economy may be crumbling, but the Spirit of God is building the Kingdom of God in Iran. Some believe Christianity is growing faster in Iran than in any other country in the world.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Iran. Pray that God would raise up a Joseph to bring peace and stability (Genesis 41).
Elam Ministries provides us with opportunities to help advance the Gospel in Iran through prayer and by sending Bibles. Take a few minutes to explore how you can help the people of Iran.
Maine Becomes 8th State to Legalize Assisted Suicide
Maine legalized medically assisted suicide on Wednesday, becoming the eighth state to allow terminally ill people to end their lives with prescribed medication. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who had previously said she was unsure about the bill, signed it in her office. Oregon was the first state to legalize such assistance, in 1997, and it took over a decade for the next state, Washington, to follow suit. While still controversial, assisted suicide legislation is winning increasing acceptance in the United States, and this year, at least 18 states considered such measures. Maine’s bill would allow doctors to prescribe terminally ill people a fatal dose of medication. The bill declares that obtaining or administering life-ending medication is not suicide under state law, thereby legalizing the practice often called medically assisted suicide. The proposal had failed once in a statewide vote and at least seven previous times in the Legislature. The current bill passed by just one vote in the House, and a slim margin in the Senate. read more
At our core, we want to matter. Excruciating pain alters our thinking and keeps some from seeing that they still matter. Thus far, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have similar laws on the books. At least 2,700 people have chosen this option here in the US. A few months ago, we sat down with John Paine, author of The Luckiest Man: How a Seventeen-Year Battle with ALS Led Me to Intimacy with God. Eighteen years ago, Paine was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a degenerative neural disease that has progressively left him paralyzed from head to toe and will eventually take his life. John Paine recounts that the journey through ALS can be characterized by pain and suffering, and although he’s been given the opportunity to end his life, he suggests there’s another aspect of the journey if one looks for it. “On the one hand is a journey of death,” he says, “on the other is a journey of life, and I promise you life outweighs death. God still has a purpose for me, or I would be gone.” People aren’t a liability to be managed but an asset to be treasured. They have burdens at times but are never a burden. We should not feel obligated to extend a life, nor should we be active part in ending life, but we must fight for life (Job 33:4, 14:5, Hebrews 9:27).
Pray for the people in our nation who are considering assisted suicide. Pray for them to come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and experience the peace and comfort that only He can provide.
Our friends, Pastor Todd Wagner of Watermark Church in Dallas, Texas and Joni Eareckson Tada founder of Joni and Friends International, answer the question, “How Should a Christian View Physician-Assisted Suicide?” Watch this video and take a few minutes today to make sure you know how to respond from a Biblical perspective to this critical issue facing our society today.
Why Social Media is Going Blue for Sudan
People on social media are turning their profile pictures blue to stand in solidarity with Sudan and bring awareness to the uprising that is currently sweeping the north African country. This began after Mohamed Hashim Mattar, 26, was allegedly shot dead by the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces during a crackdown on protesters in the country's capital, Khartoum, on June 3. It soon spread among social media users who used the color not only to honor Mattar but other martyrs of the Sudan uprising. Hashtags like #BlueForSudan have gained momentum on social media putting up the color and using the hashtag to bring awareness to the situation in Sudan. Before ex-President Omar al-Bashir was deposed, Sudanese citizens took to the streets to conduct peaceful protests calling for the former President who had ruled for 30 years to step down. Although the military ousted him in April, the peaceful demonstrations didn't end. Protesters were upset because the military announced it would assume control for three years while overseeing a transition to democracy. Hundreds of protesters have been killed and abused by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces following their call for a faster transition to a democratic government. read more
The situation in Sudan is tragic but not unique. Between 2003 and 2008, at least 300,000 people were killed during the Darfur Conflict. This recent uptick in violence has resulted in more than 500 deaths, 723 injuries, and 54 rapes. As this article indicates, some have expressed frustration over the lack of media coverage. One leader of the movement wrote: “It’s heartbreaking to realize that architecture [Notre Dame fire] seems to have more value than human lives.” Whether the media covers it or not, every life is valuable. But sadly, evil exists all across the world. Seven thousand Nepalese women are trafficked into India every year. In Malawi, witch doctors hunt and kill hundreds of Albinos every year to make magic potions which supposedly bring good luck. And here in the U.S., 2,400 babies will die every day because of abortion. In the book The Locus Effect, authors Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros make a keen observation: “Violence in the developing world is like grief in the developed world.” Today, yet again, we find ourselves inundated with news. David Foster Wallace likened us to fish swimming through a vast ocean of information. “Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.” As Christians, we can lament bad news, but we should consider ways to share the good news and do good deeds. Instead of protesting the news, let’s make good news. (1 Corinthians 12:26, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 John 3:18, Matthew 5:13-16).
Pray for the people of Sudan as they struggle to obtain freedom and democracy for their nation. Pray for the violent protests to end and for people to come to know the Lord and experience spiritual freedom through Jesus Christ that is available to all. Pray for the Lord’s protection over the church in Sudan and pray that our brothers and sisters will remain a clear testimony in the midst of the crisis.
If God leads you to help the people of Sudan, considering making a donation to Samaritan’s Purse and their important work. About 7 million people are facing food shortages, with more than 20,000 dangerously near famine. This is predicted to continue worsening as the country prepares for its rainiest season; by the end of July, over 1.8 million South Sudanese people will find themselves in a state of emergency, with 5 million in crisis. Samaritan’s Purse provides food and clean drinking water by working with local churches in Sudan.
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