WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JUNE 24, 2020
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Blind Woman Banned from City Park for 'Conversations about Jesus' Files Complaint
A blind Rhode Island woman filed a charge of religious discrimination with the state Commission for Human Rights Tuesday after a local park banned her from the premises for two years and threatened her with arrest for having conversations with patrons about Jesus. Gail Blair, who is blind from a genetic condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, says in the discrimination charge she was never combative and never argued with anyone who wanted to end the conversation in Wilcox Park in Westerly, R.I. She also says she didn’t follow people. Blair handed a copy of the Gospel of John to those who talked with her. Blair filed the discrimination charge against The Memorial and Library Association, which manages Wilcox Park and Westerly Public Library in Westerly, R.I. She was banned from the adjacent library even though she says she never had a conversation with any strangers in the building about Christ. Blair is claiming “unlawful discrimination … on the basis of my disability and my religious beliefs. I respectfully request that the Commission intercede and require the Memorial and Library Association to make amends for their unlawful discrimination, and to permit me to return to the park and library to make full use of its accommodations and services, including through peaceful, civil, and non-confrontational conversations about Jesus,” she wrote. First Liberty Institute and William Wray Jr., an attorney at Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C., are representing her. read more
Last year, the police threatened to arrest Blair if she returned to the park. Her case is similar to one last year in Chicago, Illinois, where a group of college students was banned from sharing the Gospel in a public park. A judge ruled in favor of the students this February. In her charge against the park Association, Blair gave her inspiring testimony, “The one thing that sustained me through the devastation of my progressive vision loss was the fact that I had, since 1984, an established, deep, personal relationship with my Lord, Jesus Christ.” She continued, “I have always done my best to care for others. In the beginning of my career, I provided medical care as a nurse. But now I care for others in what I feel is an even more important sense, by bringing the good news of the Gospel to others so they can have eternal life.” Although she had to quit her nursing job in 1989 as she lost her sight, Blair now strives to help others attain spiritual sight. The fact that she has to fight for her right to do this is shocking. It’s something we would expect to hear about in a country like China or Iran, not the United States. Thankfully, we have the First Amendment, which protects the free exercise of religion. Hopefully, the State Commission for Human Rights will correct this egregious violation. If not, this will almost certainly be appealed in court.
Pray that the Rhode Island Commissioners will decide in Blair's favor and that they will be drawn to Christ through her testimony. Praise God that she is making the most of every opportunity to preach the Gospel, even amid unjust circumstances.
We encourage you to read more about this critical case at First Liberty.
Teddy Roosevelt Statue to be Removed from Famed Natural History Museum in New York
The American Museum of Natural History will remove a prominent statue of Theodore Roosevelt from its entrance after years of objections that it symbolizes colonial expansion and racial discrimination, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. The bronze statue that has stood at the museum's Central Park West entrance since 1940 depicts Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing next to the horse. "The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior," de Blasio said in a written statement. "The City supports the Museum's request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue." But President Trump objected to the statue's removal, tweeting overnight Monday, "Ridiculous, don't do it!" The museum's president, Ellen Futter, told The New York Times the museum's "community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd." "We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism," Futter told the Times. Officials said it hasn't been determined when the Roosevelt statue will be removed and where it will go. "The composition of the Equestrian Statue does not reflect Theodore Roosevelt's legacy," Theodore Roosevelt IV, a great-grandson of the president, said in a statement to the Times. "It is time to move the statue and move forward." read more
It’s not only the Theodore Roosevelt statue in New York City that will be removed. Statues and memorials in cities and towns across America are being destroyed and torn down by mobs. And some city officials are considering their strategic removal as well. In Portland, Oregon, rioters destroyed a George Washington statue. It was vandalized, draped in an American flag, and then lit on fire. In California, statues in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park have been defaced, including the statues of St. Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key and Ulysses S. Grant. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a statement, “The memorialization of historic figures merits an honest and fair discussion as to how and to whom such honor should be given. But here, there was no such rational discussion; it was mob rule, a troubling phenomenon that seems to be repeating itself throughout the country.” Even the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. was vandalized again. Our policymakers on Capitol Hill are also making changes. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the removal of four portraits, displayed in the U.S. Capitol, of individuals who served in the Confederacy. The Senate tried to pass a bill by unanimous consent, which would remove from the capitol any statues of individuals who voluntarily served in the Confederacy. However, the bill failed to gain unanimous consensus in the Senate. Republicans argue states should have a voice in the matter since current law provides for each of the 50 states to contribute two statues to the collection. It is currently in the state’s authority to remove or change their statues in the capitol. President Trump announced that he plans to issue an executive order to address the issue of removing statues and memorials.
Pray for those who are attempting to undermine our Republic and destabilize the country, that their efforts would be thwarted. Keep diligently praying for wisdom for our leaders--at the federal, state and local levels. And most of all, pray that Christians would stand up for truth with boldness and grace and proclaim the hope of Christ to a restless and hurting world.
Join us for a LIVE conversation tonight, June 24, at 6:00 PM ET / 3:00 PM PT with My Faith Votes spokesperson Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.) as we talk about the current unrest across our nation and how we can pray, think, and act boldly as Christians as we approach the November 3 elections. Watch on our YouTube or Facebook page.
Gavin Newsom Signs Law Ordering Mail-In Ballots for November Election
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Thursday requiring elections officials to mail a ballot to every registered, active voter in the state ahead of the November election. The bill almost mirrors the election-related executive orders that Newsom issued since the coronavirus outbreak, which guarantees that registered voters receive ballots ahead of the election. Republicans have criticized the orders and challenged them in court as examples of executive overreach. Lawmakers passed the legislation to ensure that voters don’t have to go to a polling place while the novel coronavirus is spreading. “No one should have to risk their health — and possibly their life — to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” bill co-author Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, said in a release. “In the midst of a deadly health pandemic, giving all California voters the opportunity to vote from the safety of their own home is the responsible thing to do.” Californians vote largely by mail to begin with: In March’s primary election, some 78 percent of active registered voters received a ballot in their mailbox. The concept has the support of nearly three-quarters of likely voters, according to a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. In a tweet last month, President Donald Trump criticized an expanded vote-by-mail proposal as an unnecessary vulnerability to foreign interference and spread a sparsely supported claim that it’s ripe for fraud. “The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, ….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one,” Trump wrote. “That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!” read more
While California will still allow in-person voting, sending a ballot to every registered voter presents a greater opportunity for voter fraud. An article by Real Clear Politics notes that several counties in California have terribly inaccurate voter rolls. Shockingly, calculations show that roughly 1.6 million people are listed as registered voters in Los Angeles County who should not be. In fact, the voter registration rate for the entire state exceeds the population of voting-age people. Unfortunately, it’s not just a problem in California. Data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) this year, revealed there are 378 counties nationwide that have more voter registrations than citizens living in those counties and are old enough to vote. The new California law also allows ballots to be accepted as late as seventeen days after the November Election. In 2016, California became the first state to legalize ballot harvesting, which means any person, even someone who works for a certain political party, can deliver your filled-out ballot to the polling place for you. There is no accountability to ensure that these ballot harvesters do not alter or destroy the ballots they don’t like. One PragerU video recounts that in a 2018 Congressional election in a historically conservative district, the Republican candidate held a 5,000-vote lead over his Democratic challenger on Election night. However, late ballots were delivered by third-party harvesters, and by morning, the Democrat candidate had won by 862 votes. It’s concerning that 75% of likely voters in California say they support widespread voting-by-mail. Given the increased risk of voter fraud, this new bill raises questions. But it also emphasizes how important it is to vote for a Governor, Secretary of State, and state legislators who are committed to preserving the voice of the people by ensuring election integrity.
Proverbs 20:23 says, “Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.” Pray that the results of the coming election will be accurate.
The surest way we can negate the effects of voter fraud is by motivating the 25 million registered Christians who have failed to vote in the past, to vote this November. Just think what would happen if 25 million people voted for candidates up and down the ballot who will champion biblical principles and uphold the Constitution. An easy way to help your friends to vote is to send them our Voting Assistance Tool. They may also be interested in our Party Platform Comparison. It is important that we vote in person, where possible. Consider volunteering your time to be an election clerk or poll watcher. Learn more here.
Tennessee Legislature Passes "Heartbeat" Abortion Bill, Gov. Lee to Sign
The Tennessee House and Senate have passed a bill banning abortions in the state after an unborn baby's heartbeat has been detected, which occurs as early as six weeks' gestation. The bill also bans abortions which are "motivated by sex, race, or disability diagnosis of the unborn child." Governor Bill Lee announced that he will sign the bill into law. Lee said: "One of the most important things we can do to be pro-family is to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our state, and there is none more vulnerable than the unborn. We have passed the strongest pro-life law in our state's history and I am grateful to Lt. Gov McNally, Speaker Sexton, Leader Johnson, Leader Lamberth, and members of our General Assembly for making the heartbeat bill law." The bill also requires an ultrasound to be conducted before an abortion and bans abortion doctors from performing abortions after a heartbeat is detected if they are aware that the action is "motivated by sex, race, or disability diagnosis of the unborn child." Any abortion doctor who violates the bill would be subject to a Class C felony. The bill, which is all but certain to be stalled in the court system, is a significant stepping stone in pro-life politicians' efforts to get legislation in front of the Supreme Court with hopes that the justices will rule in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. read more
The battle to protect unborn babies continues to be of utmost importance, and the upcoming elections will only intensify the issue. It’s no surprise that Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Joe Biden for President, and the organization plans to triple their spending in support of Democratic candidates in 2020. In 2019, 22 states passed pro-life policies. Planned Parenthood and abortion activists recognize this as a direct threat to their push for “reproductive rights.” When Biden was in the Senate, he had a 100 percent voting record approval rate on the issue of abortion. And now, as the Democratic presidential nominee, he has vowed not only to do all he can to protect abortion as president, but to expand abortion protection through his judicial appointments. It’s important to note the fight for expanded access to abortion at the same time that black lives matter groups across the country are protesting. My Faith Votes spokesperson, Lt. Col. Allen West recently wrote an op-ed stating, “Since 1973 there have been over 20 million unborn Black babies murdered in the wombs of Black mothers. The organization most responsible for the industry of murdering unborn babies is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was founded by a known white supremacist, racist, a woman who spoke at Ku Klux Klan rallies — Margaret Sanger. Planned Parenthood has over 70 percent of their ‘clinics'’ located in black communities across America. I have never heard Black Lives Matter speak up, speak out, or speak against Planned Parenthood. Why? Simple, the white progressive socialist masters who fund, resource, and enable Black Lives Matter don’t give a darn about the lives of Black children.” We encourage you to read Lt. Col West’s full article here, A Black Man’s Letter to Black Lives Matter. As we continue to speak up to protect human life, remember our call from Proverbs 31:8 to, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
Pray and thank God for the pro-life victory in Tennessee and for elected officials willing to stand up for human life. And pray for Christians as well as all Americans to have their eyes open to the pro-life versus pro-abortion options on their ballot this November.
Planned Parenthood is pushing a controversial sex-ed curriculum to be implemented state-wide in Texas. Next week, the TX State Board of Education will be meeting to discuss and decide if this will be used. If it passes in TX, the largest state to purchase the curriculum, it will give license to be able to push it to other states. We’ve created a simple tool for you to send a message to each board member here, to let them know where you stand.
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.