WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - JUNE 7, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Utah District Bans Bible in Elementary and Middle Schools 'Due to Vulgarity or Violence'
“At Davis School District, located north of Salt Lake City, the collection of Christian scripture has been shelved for students until they enter high school. The district has removed the Bible from their elementary and middle school libraries after receiving a petition to ban the holy book due to its descriptions of sex and violence. The Bible ban is not the first of its kind — Utah schools previously began removing other books from libraries after a 2022 state law required schools to consider parents' input on age-appropriate books.” read more at Fox News
- The book review committee determined that the Bible did not violate the 2022 Utah law regarding indecent material for minors, but still decided, based on their criteria, that it was not appropriate for elementary or middle school libraries due to “vulgarity and violence”. We do not know specifically what parts of the Bible were deemed inappropriate.
- This is not the first time the Bible has been challenged in a public school district this year, but in all other districts, the challenges were not upheld. In Utah, another parent has appealed the committee’s decision, and the final judgement over whether to keep the Bible in the lower grades will be made by the school board. The Book of Mormon has also been challenged.
- First Liberty Institute sent a letter to the school district notifying them that in the past, the “Supreme Court has affirmed that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Utah’s Davis School District must take extreme care in its review process. It should follow the law, keep the Bible and make sure its students receive a complete education.”
- Our nation used to teach the Bible to its students because we recognized not just its academic value, but its positive moral influence. Now it is accused by some of being on the same level as books that use pornographic images or descriptions that glorify sexual immorality. The Bible does not shy away from the topic of sexual morality and immorality. But context is important. As one Salt Lake City pastor noted, "In the Bible, we also see God's redemptive nature in never condoning these things that are sinful but always judging, punishing and redeeming."
Pray these words for yourself and for the young people in your life: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! …. Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:9-10, 97-99 ESV)
You can help put a Bible in the hand of every US Representative and Senator. Can you think of a more powerful gift to offer our elected representatives as they lead our nation than the word of God? Can you think of a more powerful reminder to them that with their position comes an obligation to serve you, to renew and preserve our Judeo-Christian principles, and to rededicate themselves to the United States of America as “one nation under God?”
Join the My Faith Votes campaign called Bibles for Congress. Your donation here will enable our team to hand-deliver a Bible to every member of Congress this fall.
California Senate Democrats Honor Drag 'nuns' After Dodgers Debacle
“Democrats in the California State Senate honored members of an LGBT group that uses sexualized Christian imagery Monday, weeks after the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team was embroiled in controversy for inviting the same group to its annual Pride Night. The Democratic members of the Senate invited Michael Williams, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who uses the stage name Sister Roma, to the state Capitol in Sacramento Monday to mark the beginning of June, which the state recognizes as Pride Month. The invitation comes just weeks after the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were uninvited and then re-invited by the Los Angeles Dodgers to receive the team's Community Hero Award during its annual Pride Night. The group has been condemned by numerous Christian and Catholic groups.” read more at the Washington Examiner
- Known for publicly simulating perverse sexual acts that mock Christ, the vile group’s motto is “Go and sin some more.” Yet here we are, “honoring” them in the halls of a state house and on the fields of America’s national pastime. Through capitulation, those who turn baseball into a burlesque now prevail, while those hoping to take their children to a simple baseball game lose. Even Little League, the world’s largest organized youth sports program has capitulated to this month’s “pride” spectacle.
- Thankfully, those standing against the absurdity include Los Angeles Dodgers pitching ace Clayton Kershaw, who announced he will be relaunching Christian Faith and Family Day on June 30. CatholicVote initiated a national campaign, encouraging people to contact the Dodgers to discourage them from celebrating the perverse group. Hundreds gathered, including some California state representatives, for a prayer rally outside the state capital to counter the legislative recognition of the group. And Princeton Professor Robert P. George is calling for Christians to join National Fidelity Month, “a month dedicated to the importance of fidelity to God, spouses and families, our country, and our communities.”
- Pride Month can feel daunting, especially for those of us raising children in a culture saturated in “pride.” Compelling, emotional stories and images are always included to normalize the deception. The heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), so we need to train the minds of children to know the truth and not be carried away by feelings. This helpful article walks through common “pride slogans” and gives parents truth and teachable moments from a biblical worldview. As Dr. Doug Flanders encourages, “Parents aren’t meant to child-proof the world, but world-proof the child.” Instead of just lamenting what the world is throwing at us this month, use it instead to speak truth and shine light in the darkness.
Lord, in this month our hearts are heavy for those who celebrate pride, knowing sin is to be mourned, not celebrated. Your Word is clear about both sin and salvation yet so many live with the hope that they will find their “true self” or even their worldly salvation in a broken identity. We pray the hard prayer for conviction of our own sin and for freedom in repentance. We pray that our first priority – in our own hearts and in our conversations – would always be the magnification of Christ.
*Use this 30-day prayer guide to help you daily turn “pride month” into prayer month.
One of the most powerful interviews we have had is with Becket Cook, a former gay man who worked in the world of fashion and lived a promiscuous lifestyle. That was until he had a transforming encounter with Jesus Christ which led him to walk away from homosexuality and surrender his life to Christ. His perspective on “pride parades” is worth watching. Watch his testimony here or read a portion of his book, A Change of Affection, here.
India's Worst Train Crash in Decades Kills at Least 288
“At least 288 people have died in India's worst rail crash in over two decades, officials said on Saturday, after a passenger train went off the tracks and hit another one in an accident a preliminary report blamed on signal failure. One train in Friday's accident also hit a freight train parked nearby in the district of Balasore in Odisha state in the east of the country, leaving a tangled mess of smashed rail cars and injuring 803.” read more at Reuters
- It is estimated that eight billion passengers are transported by Indian railways every year. When something like this happens, we are quick to ask why. Was it human error or was it an equipment error/failure of system? It likely is both. Recent reports indicate that the current government cut back spending on the updating of older train infrastructure in order to spend more money on new rail technology. Regardless of “why,” the heartbreaking images from India remind us this earthly life is just a vapor (James 4:14).
- In April, India overtook China as the world’s most populous country. Christians make up only 2.4 percent of India’s massive population, but the sheer number of believers is still sizable enough to rank it among the 25 countries with the most Christians, surpassing “Christian countries” such as Uganda and Greece. Christianity is not as widely practiced as Hinduism or Islam. About 80 percent of Indians are Hindus, and more than 10 percent are Muslims.
- Religious persecution of Christians has been on the rise in recent years, with Hindu extremist groups, local governments, and nationalist Hindus seeking to “purify” India by making it entirely Hindu. Anti-conversion laws in several Indian states have further fueled the persecution and are often a pretext for attacks on Christians, who are accused of trying to convert Hindus to Christianity. Despite constitutional protections for freedom of religion, the act of worship has become dangerous for many Christians who remain resilient and faithful despite persecution. India ranks number 11 on the Open Doors World Watch List which highlights countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. In tragedies, like this train wreck, people need to be free to hear the message of hope in Jesus Christ without government hindrance.
Lord, bring comfort to those impacted by this tragedy. May it be an opportunity for unbelievers to see Your grace and mercy and turn to You. Help our persecuted brothers and sisters in India to stand strong in their faith and show Your love and character to their local communities. Guard the pastors and their families who risk their lives to serve You and replace lies and discrimination with truth and justice. In Jesus’ name, amen.
My Faith Votes is a ministry under the umbrella of The Vision Charitable Trust. We are honored to function alongside another ministry called Our Time to Build, which works to bring the Gospel to India through church-planting efforts throughout the nation. Because of rising persecution, public knowledge of where those churches are being planted is not allowed for the safety of those on the ground in India. Would you pray for these faithful partners, that the ministry would grow, resulting in more Indians learning about and following Christ?
Texas Becomes Largest State to Ban Sex-Change Surgeries, Puberty Blockers for Minors
“Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas signed a bill into law Friday that bans sex-change surgeries and hormonal interventions aimed at transitioning minors with gender dysphoria, as the Lone Star State joins more than a dozen others to pass similar legislation.” read more at the Christian Post
- Are we seeing a snowball effect as more states, and even nations, join the movement to protect children? According to a map by a pro-LGBTQ organization, 20 states now have laws or policies banning gender modification practices on minors. In early May, Norway joined Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom in restricting the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender-mutilation surgery for minors.
- In addition, nearly all of the 2024 Republican presidential candidates have voiced their support for banning these destructive practices for children under 18, although they differ on whether such bans should occur at the federal or state level.
- This snowball is met by the fierce heat of opposition, however. In his proclamation on “Pride Month,” President Biden labeled laws like the one just signed in Texas, “hateful” for banning what he considers, “medically necessary health care”. I encourage you to browse resources from the American College of Pediatricians that debunk the claim of medical necessity.
- This debate has become so heated because it comes down to opposite views of reality regarding our bodies. As Hudson Crozier points out, “If the traditional [and biblical] idea of gender is correct, imposing a delusion onto a child that may lead to bodily or psychological harm is an act of abuse that warrants government intervention. If the progressive idea is correct, conservatives are unjustly invoking state authority to stop children from living according to their identity. As a result, each side sees itself as ‘protecting' children from the other.”
Heavenly Father, thank You for the army of people, from parents to politicians, standing against the lies that will damage our young people. Continue to give us courage, wisdom, and love, and grow our efforts to turn the tide toward truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Here are a few children’s books that counter the cultural narrative about pride: She is She and He is He by Ryan and Bethany Bomberger teach kids what God says about being male and female. And Pride Comes Before the Fall by our friend, Kirk Cameron, teaches kids the dangers of being prideful and the importance of having a humble spirit instead. Consider them for your children or grandchildren, or as a gift!
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.