WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MARCH 15, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Oklahoma Voters Reject Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
“Oklahoma voters on Tuesday rejected the legalization of recreational marijuana, following a late blitz of opposition from faith leaders, law enforcement and prosecutors. Oklahoma would have become the 22nd state to legalize adult use of cannabis and join conservative states like Montana and Missouri that have approved similar proposals in recent years. Many conservative states have also rejected the idea, including Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota last year.” read more at the Associated Press
- We are praising God that the right decision was made! There is a major difference between supporting CBD for treatment and relief and medical marijuana (which is already legal in Oklahoma) versus supporting legalization of recreational marijuana, which is much more potent than it used to be.
- In line with two of our core pillars–sanctity of human life and strong marriages and families–My Faith Votes actively worked to defeat this measure:
- We contacted 4500 pastors and church leaders throughout Oklahoma alerting them to the special election and encouraging them to have their congregations vote, “no.” We also provided them with talking points against recreational marijuana, a script they could read from the pulpit, and an email message they could forward to their list.
- Our CEO, Jason Yates, sent personal letters to key influencers in the state urging them to vote “no” and have their followers do the same.
- We activated our Action Partner grassroots network to contact local pastors and recruit them to encourage their congregations to vote, “no.”
- We sent election day email reminders to every contact in the state of Oklahoma so Christian voters would remember to go to the polls.
- The outcome was an overwhelming defeat for legalized marijuana, with over 60 percent of everyone who turned out voting “no.” Only 25 percent of all registered voters participated in this special election, compared with 50 percent for November's general election last year. Yet all 77 counties in the state rejected the measure. This means the right 25 percent turned out to vote.
- This occurred despite great pressure from supporters of legalization. The “no” side was outspent more than 20-to-1, with supporters spending more than $4.9 million, versus roughly $219,000 from those against. Looking at those numbers, it might have been tempting to throw in the towel. But once again, we saw how the right voters, armed with facts, carried the day.
Father, thank You that this measure was stopped! Thank You for voters, including Your people, who turned out for the good of their community. Help us, in the busyness of daily life, to remember to think and pray about the issues facing our city and state and cast our vote to advance righteousness for the good of our neighbors.
Your vote has more influence in an off-year election, whether local or statewide (like the April 4 Wisconsin Supreme Court election). Think of five friends who might need to register to vote and/or receive a reminder for their next election. Forward this link so they can sign up for election reminders and get help with voter registration.
Biden Proposes Nearly $7 Trillion Tax-and-Spend Budget that Would not Stabilize Debt
“President Joe Biden released a budget proposal on Thursday for fiscal 2024 that includes about $6.9 trillion in spending and would result in a $1.8 trillion deficit, further adding to the country’s high debt. Biden's budget proposal, which is not legislation but rather a suggestion for Congress that outlines his priorities, gives a picture of an ambitious tax-and-spend agenda, one that is strongly opposed by the Republican majority in the House. Given a raft of spending proposals, partially offset by taxes, the plan would result in a $17 trillion deficit over the next decade.” read more at the Washington Examiner
- The federal budget is a document that reflects the values of the administration–what it considers to be most important. Among other things, this budget seeks to expand the Environmental Protection Agency by 2,400 staff, spending an additional $240 million on enforcement efforts. It also proposes “nearly $5 billion to address the climate crisis” and $1.8 billion for “environmental justice.” It also proposes $3 billion specifically “to advance gender equity and equality” internationally, and another $50 billion in foreign aid that can be used for that purpose.
- To put the budget in perspective, the only time U.S. debt has ever exceeded the size of the economy for two consecutive years was during World War II. In Biden’s budget, according to the White House’s own estimates, U.S. debt would eclipse 100 percent of GDP in every single year of the ten-year projection period (2024–33).
- Who is expected to pay? Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters the administration will cut deficit spending “by asking the wealthy and big corporations to begin to pay their fair share and by cutting wasteful spending on big pharma, big oil and other special interests.”
- A federal deficit is the difference between how much money the government brings in and how much money it spends. When the government spends more than it brings in, it makes up the difference by taking on debt — primarily by issuing bonds and other Treasury-backed securities. The last time the federal government did not spend more than it brought in was in 2001.
- · There are generally three ways to reduce a deficit: reduce spending, increase taxes, or some combination of both. Democrats prefer raising taxes on the wealthy and businesses while Republicans want to cap or cut spending, including House Republicans in the Freedom Caucus who are laying out a set of demands for negotiations to resolve the debt ceiling crisis. Biden responded saying the lawmakers have a "very different value set" than him. Biden’s budget plan does not have a chance of passing a Republican-controlled House of Representatives but will serve as a key agenda for Biden’s likely reelection campaign in 2024 where voters will choose the values they want moved forward.
- Margaret Thatcher rightly noted, “Let us never forget this fundamental truth: the State has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves. If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay - that 'someone else' is you.”
Pray for wisdom for those in government as they weigh the decisions regarding the budget, taxes, spending, debt, and social programs. Pray for clarity and wisdom for the nation when it comes to capitalism versus socialism. Pray for better economic education in homes and schools and that our religious freedom remains intact as the government adopts various economic policies.
Gain more constitutional knowledge than 99% of Americans! My Faith Votes with Patriot Academy is offering you a FREE course called Biblical Citizenship. This eight-week online course gives you the tools you need to defend your freedom and faith in these uncertain times. Confirmed special guests include Kirk Cameron, David Barton, Allen West, and more. The first session starts tomorrow, March 16. Save your seat here.
Biden’s ‘Bailout’ a Step Toward Government Control of Banking System, Economists Say
“Economists warn that President Biden’s extraordinary action to make more than $200 billion in additional government funds available to customers whose deposits were not covered by federal insurance at two collapsed banks is the first step toward government control of the banking system. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) covers deposits up to $250,000 per account to prevent bank runs and failures. On Sunday, Mr. Biden approved a higher limit to cover the huge amount of uninsured deposits at the two banks. That guarantee potentially stretches the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) to its breaking point and establishes a ‘moral hazard’ precedent that the government will bail out any bank of significant size.” read more at the Washington Times
- What happened? Last Wednesday, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) announced that it sold some of its assets at nearly a $2B loss. Its stock fell 60% the next day, and (without George Bailey to calm everyone down) customers started pulling their deposits, triggering a run on the bank. SVB, a prominent tech start-up lender founded in 1983, collapsed on Friday, prompting the FDIC to take over its $175B in assets. It was the largest U.S. bank failure since 2008. Trouble spread, forcing regulators to close New York-based Signature Bank, a major bank to the cryptocurrency industry.
- SVB is the 16th largest bank in the nation, which lends to private equity and almost half of all venture-backed American companies. Because the FDIC limits its insurance for deposits at $250,000, it was unknown at the time of the run whether 95 percent of the depositors at the bank, which were over that limit, would see their funds again.
- Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said the emergency moves encourage reckless investments by banks because now banks will expect government protection. “Building a culture of government intervention does nothing to stop future institutions from relying on the government to swoop in after taking excessive risks,” Mr. Scott said.
- Nearly 2 in 3 adults (64%) say that money is a significant source of stress in their life and the current “Fear and Greed Index” showing market emotion drastically changed to “extreme fear” on Monday. We live in a culture where fear rears its ugly head, especially when a bank is on the verge of collapse and financial woes loom.
- Faith and fear cannot exist together. Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as being "certain of what we do not see." It is an absolute belief that God is constantly working behind the scenes in every area of our lives, even when what we see with our eyes looks bleak. On the other hand, fear, simply stated, is unbelief or weak belief. As unbelief gains the upper hand in our thoughts, fear takes hold of our emotions.
- How can we develop a faith that conquers our fears? The Bible says, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). It’s through hearing, reading, and meditation on Scripture that we begin to experience a strong, confident faith that excludes worry and fear. Spending time in prayer and quiet worship also develops a relationship with our heavenly Father that sees us through even the darkest of days.
Bring every worry–financial or otherwise–to God through prayer. And remember that you are not alone as you walk by faith. Every week, our entire team at My Faith Votes spends time together in prayer. It would be an honor to pray for you. If you have a prayer request for yourself or for someone else, please let us know here.
One of the most repeated commands in the Bible is do not be afraid. But the Bible does more than issue the command; it gives us good reasons why we do not need to be afraid. Take time to pray through these scriptures and choose to fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).
Board Members Sued for Religious Discrimination after Barring Student Teachers from Christian University
“Arizona's Washington Elementary School District was sued for allegedly impugning on the religious rights of a Christian university after they terminated a partnership that had been ongoing for 11 years after multiple board members attacked them for their religious beliefs on Thursday. ‘[N]ot only did the School District end its agreement with Arizona Christian and its students at the February 23, 2023, board meeting, it disparaged their religious beliefs, questioning how one could ‘be committed to Jesus Christ’ and yet respect LGBTQ students and board members,’ the lawsuit, filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, said.” read more at Fox News
- This school board did not terminate Arizona Christian University (ACU)’s contract because of any complaints by students or parents. The contract was terminated simply because of the university’s Christian beliefs–especially regarding sexual morality and marriage.
- “At some point we need to get real with ourselves and take a look at who we are making legal contracts with and the message that that is sending to our community because that makes me feel like I could not be safe in this school district,” Tamillia Valenzuela, one of three board members who identify as LGBTQ, said during the board meeting.
- How could someone be so threatened by Christian beliefs? To make sense of this, read John 3:19, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” What is often so offensive to the world is that the light of Christ in us exposes the darkness in others. We should not be surprised; rather, we should be prepared for opposition.
- ‘[T]his is a logic that is almost certain now to spread school system by school system,” Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, warned. “In this case, it's not the [university] that changed its policy. It's the entire community that evidently in the case of this public school system is changing its morality.” But does this truly represent the values of the entire community? Or is it only the values of those who showed up in the previous school board election? Perhaps this will be a wake-up call.
- Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the legislature is considering a bill that would ban any college that requires students to adhere to a statement of faith from participating in the state’s dual-enrollment program for high school students. My alma mater is one of the schools which would be affected. One student summed it up well, “[This bill] clearly harms and cripples schools and families with a certain worldview, hindering the educational freedom of students like me.”
Heavenly Father, we pray for justice in this case, and that the First Amendment would be upheld. Help us to be prepared to face criticism and even discrimination for believing in You and living according to Your will. (1 Peter 4:1-5) Thank you for the opportunity to defend our rights, and to elect officials who will uphold, not infringe upon, them.
The Department of Education (DOE) needs to hear from you! The DOE is seeking to rescind a Trump-era rule that helps ensure that institutions of higher education don’t prohibit faith-based student groups from requiring their leaders to share the group’s beliefs. If this rule is rescinded, students' religious freedoms could be violated and the institution of higher education that allowed the violation would not receive any material penalty from the DOE. The Department of Education is accepting public comments through March 24 on the proposed change. Please go here to write a comment to the DOE. Here are some key points you may choose to incorporate into your message:
- The Constitution of the United States is clear on religious freedom. Freedoms do not change just because students are on secular college and university campuses.
- There is no legitimate reason to rescind this directive other than to protect colleges and universities from penalties when they allow religious freedoms to be infringed upon.
- Colleges and universities that receive taxpayer dollars should be penalized if they permit students of faith to be discriminated against.
- We should not be exempting colleges and universities from additional oversight and penalties when they allow violations of religious freedom rights to happen on their campuses.
You may click on “Browse Posted Comments” to see what others are saying as well.
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.