WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JUNE 22, 2022
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Supreme Court Strikes Down Maine Tuition Aid Policy that Barred Religious Schools
“The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a Maine education policy that made K-12 schools with religious instruction ineligible for taxpayer-backed tuition aid, continuing the conservative majority court’s general trend of ruling for religious interests. The 6-3 decision broke along ideological lines, with the court’s six conservatives ruling that the state’s so-called sectarian exclusion violated constitutional religious protections. The court’s liberals dissented, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor accusing the conservatives of further eroding church-state separation.” read more at The Hill
Justice Sonya Sotomayor argued, “This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” and stated that this ruling required Maine to “subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars.” Justice Stephen Breyer argued that states have “the constitutional need to avoid spending public money to support what is essentially the teaching and practice of religion.” Given that the state funds would not go directly to the schools, but rather to the parents so they can choose where to send their child, Sotomayor’s and Breyer’s comments are perplexing. It is important to understand the meaning of the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which is often misrepresented. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” does not mean religion can never interact with government. In fact, that belief actually leads to government prejudice against religion–and against those who practice it. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out, “The State pays tuition for certain students at private schools—so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion.” This decision brought to mind what Founding Father Benjamin Rush, a physician and professor who supported the Constitution's ratification, had to say about public education in America: “the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this, there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
Father, thank you for entrusting me with training up my child in the way he or she should go. (Proverbs 22:6) Help me to be discerning and wise in who I trust to teach my children. Thank You for this recent Court decision! Please enable parents across the country to be able to follow Your commands and their conscience in the way they provide for their child’s education. It is a precious duty You have given me; let me not take it lightly. In Jesus’ name, amen.
We recently interviewed Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks about how Jesus’ call to care for those in need translates to the policies we support when we enter the voting booth. Our discussion included the need for education freedom, as Pastor Brooks noted, “A parent should not be regulated and forced to have their child go to a low performing, failing school…especially when education is the way out of poverty.” Listen to that part of our conversation here.
Biden Signs Executive Order to Crack Down on 'Conversion Therapy,' Combat 'Harmful' State Laws
“President Joe Biden signed an executive order seeking to stamp out a practice critics refer to as "conversion therapy" and circumvent state laws that he characterizes as hostile to LGBT rights, sparking divergent reactions from religious freedom advocacy groups and LGBT activists. Biden issued an "Executive Order on Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Individuals" Wednesday at the White House, marking the middle of the month LGBT activists recognize as ‘“pride month.’” read more at the Christian Post
The executive order is littered with language that reveals the way this issue is being framed. Phrases such as “Advancing equality,” “Addressing discriminatory legislative attacks,” and “protecting children” from “harmful” practices cue the reader in. You can read the White House fact sheet here. Christians and conservatives see this executive order as an attack on good efforts to protect children from harmful practices advanced by LGBT activists. In contrast, the Biden administration believes their efforts are protecting children from “harmful” legislation by conservatives. For example, the order tasks “the Department of Education with addressing the impacts of state laws that target LGBTQI+ students,” likely referring to policies such as Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law (which banned teaching on gender identity and sexual orientation for grades K-3), and schools that don’t allow boys to enter the girl’s restrooms. What should be common sense is viewed as oppressive by our executive branch. An extremely concerning aspect of the order involves shutting down the ability of Christian counselors and therapists to counsel from a biblical perspective. Labeling counseling and therapy meant to help a person with a personal desire to overcome their gender dysphoria or same-sex attraction as “a discredited and dangerous practice,” the order states that “President Biden is using his executive authority to launch an initiative to protect children across America and crack down on this harmful practice.” Specifically, “HHS will explore guidance to clarify that federally-funded programs cannot offer so-called “conversion therapy… and the Department will “increase public awareness about its harms.” In addition, “President Biden is charging HHS with strengthening LGBTQI+ non-discrimination protections in the foster care system,” –an ominous warning to faith-based foster care agencies who refuse to violate their convictions by placing children with same-sex couples. We cannot stay silent on this issue, both for the consequences that will follow this executive order, and for the effects of its message. If your neighbors only hear one side, how will they know the truth? Be informed on what God’s Word and God’s world says, speak the truth in love, and vote accordingly.
Sovereign Lord, You have the right to tell us how we should use our bodies for Your glory, since You are our Creator. We submit to Your good commands, knowing they are for our benefit. Many in our government want to codify the “right” to disobey You, and prevent us from enforcing decent policies that benefit everyone. Yet, we still have a voice and a responsibility. Help us to use the opportunities and positions of influence in which You have placed us to fight against such attacks and strive to protect the children who will be harmed by this twisted ideology. Restrain evil policies, and have mercy on us, Lord.
A key aspect of protecting our children is school board members who are bold enough to do what is best for their students, despite threats of federal funding being removed. Consider taking time to get to know your school board members and regularly speak to them about concerning matters.
202 Abortion Clinics Could Close if Roe v. Wade is Overturned or About 25% of U.S. Clinics
According to a study released on Tuesday by Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), “The overturning of Roe v. Wade could lead to the eventual closure of 202 facilities across these states, which would shutter 26% of all publicly advertising facilities in the U.S.” Read more in The Christian Post.
Will the abortion clinics in your state close if Roe v. Wade is overturned? Is your state ready to minister to abortion minded women if they do? “Up to 26 states could ban most or all abortions and many facilities in these states may close,” the study states. The data show most closures would happen in states in the Southeast and the Midwest. The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization could be released as early as tomorrow, and a lot is happening at the state level. Last week the Iowa Supreme Court ruled there is no constitutional right to an abortion. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced no abortion appointments will be scheduled after June 25. Headlines like this are popping up almost daily in anticipation of the ruling. Knowing what will happen in your state is vital to the unborn. If your state has a ‘trigger law’ on the books that will outlaw abortion, your work is not over. Laws can change. So, we must remain diligent in protecting these laws by electing pro-life leaders who will maintain them. We must continue to help struggling moms and dads through our local Pregnancy Resource Centers. And we must love and disciple those who previously made an abortion decision. A study released last week showed that one in five pregnancies ended in abortion in 2020. This disheartening statistic proves how desperately our world needs the saving grace of the gospel. Hurting women will struggle to recover physically, spiritually and emotionally from this act, and we have a duty as followers of Christ to minister to them.
Father, as we await the Dobbs Supreme Court decision, we confess and repent. Our nation has strayed from Your truth. We’ve been quiet in the midst of injustice for the unborn. Please have mercy. In Your infinite faithfulness would You restore a culture of life in America? Would You heal the woman who has made an abortion decision and restore her to You? We boldly ask that You move through the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade that we might live to see the day when far more than 25% of the abortion clinics in the U.S. are closed forever. Lord, reveal what You require of each one of us in the fight for life.
In last week’s Intersect, we encouraged you to send a pack of diapers to your local Pregnancy Resource Center. If you’ve already sent a pack or if you intend to do so, would you take this pledge to show you stand for life? Take the pledge and support an expecting mom with a pack of diapers.
Here's How Retreating from Faith Makes US Less Free
“Although no one in America is forced to go to church, we have had more churchgoers in our history than any nation in the world. Religious liberty – meaning we can choose any faith or none – was a wild concept when the Founders decided to try it 250 years ago. But it has made America one of the most religious countries on the planet. When Alexis de Tocqueville visited in 1826 he was astonished to see freedom and faith working together. In his own France – and in most of Europe – the opposite was the case. Each nation’s established church was allied to the powerful state. Consequently faith was not free, which sent so many from that continent to America, seeking freedom of worship. read more at Fox News
In what Eric Metaxas calls “the paradox of freedom,” he goes on to say in the above article: “A free nation cannot force anyone to believe, or to be virtuous and self-governing. But if the people in a free nation abandon faith – and virtuous behavior – or even let it erode away slowly, the government will inevitably step into that vacuum and will grow to enforce its views with increasing brutality.” We had the opportunity to discuss this more in depth in a recent interview with Eric. In fact, now you can find all our insightful interviews powered by a new and easy-to-navigate tool called MFV-TV. All our video content with interactive features makes it easy for you to watch old and new content at any time, right on our website. You can immediately access MFV-TV on our homepage to help you stay up to date with the latest conversations with leading voices. Easily use the video search bar to help you find content and jump right to the moment you're most interested in within the video. Quickly search for content by keyword and influencer name. Access interactive touch points inside videos to help you take action as you watch. This new feature called MFV-TV
has been specifically designed to help you find all our amazing conversations (we now have over 60 featured interviews!), video events, quick clips on critical issues and PSAs in one simple place. Why are these conversations so important? The people we talk with can articulate specifics about how to think well from a biblical worldview and apply wisdom on current topics infinitely better than we can. For example, why is having a correct theology necessary? As Eric states in our conversation: “Wrong theology is unbelievably destructive. The idea that politics is separated from faith or faith from politics. It's an utterly false idea, like the idea that science and faith are at odds. William Wilberforce, because of his faith in Jesus, because he knew the Bible is the word of God, said slavery is wrong. There were tons of people who called themselves Christians who went to church, who didn't seem to see that, and he said the scripture leads me to believe that slavery is wrong, the slave trade is wrong. Therefore, I am obliged politically to wage war against this abomination called the slave trade. People in his day tried to tell him, ‘You shouldn't mix faith with politics. What's wrong with you?’ Well, the African slaves were sure hoping that he was going to mix faith and politics.” It is imperative that we are able to THINK well about the issues at hand from a biblical worldview. It informs how we live in our current times, and it determines how we vote.
Lord, as we see fear and hostility grow in our society, it is important that we do not reject You, but that we seek You. For those of us who are Christ followers, give us the courage and resolve to stand for You and to be salt and light to those around us. Our nation is feeling the repercussions of Christians who ‘check the box’ and attend church but don’t actually want the Word of God to inform their daily life and change the way they live. We pray for Your Word to take root in our lives and transform the way we live. Help us to think biblically, pray unceasingly, and vote consistently. We thank You for the freedom we have to do each of those things.
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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.