WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MARCH 24, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Dr. Julia Letlow Makes History in Louisiana, Wins House Seat to Succeed Late Husband
“Dr. Julia Letlow has made history as the first Republican woman from the state of Louisiana to be elected to Congress. The Congresswoman-elect will fill the seat of her late husband, Luke Letlow, who passed away from coronavirus just weeks before being sworn into office last year. Letlow joined ‘Fox & Friends’ on Monday to discuss her husband’s legacy and the important issues she will tackle. ‘[My husband] really wanted to serve the people of this district that we call home and so he was able to do that by running,’ Letlow said. ‘He was so excited to represent the fifth district.’ The Congresswoman-elect recalled a conversation she had with her husband, in which he encouraged her to run for office should the opportunity ever present itself. Shortly after his death, Letlow said she felt a ‘calling’ and ‘peace from the Lord’ that drove her to make the decision to run for office. Luke Letlow died suddenly on Dec. 29, 2020, at the age of 41 from complications of coronavirus. He was to be sworn in on Jan. 3 and left behind his wife and two young children.” read more at Fox News
Described as “100% prolife,” Letlow’s election gives Republicans another vote in the House, where Democrats have one of the narrowest majorities in modern history. Another recent Republican woman to be elected to the House is Rep. Claudia Tenney of the 22nd District of New York, whose race was finally called in her favor in February. It was a particularly noteworthy win not just because it took months to certify the results, but because Rep. Tenney unseated one-term Rep. Anthony Brindisi, her Democratic opponent from 2018, who in that year bested her in the race. Rep. Elect Letlow means there are now 31 Republican women in the House of Representatives, all of whom have demonstrated or pledge strong support for the sanctity of human life. But one of those seats still hangs in the balance. House Democrats are trying to reverse the outcome of a House election in Iowa. GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks took office in January after the Iowa State Board of Canvassers certified her victory over Democratic candidate Rita Hart. She won by just six votes out of the nearly 400,000 total votes cast, following a recount of the entire district. Democrats say their candidate, Rita Hart, has the right to ask the House to resolve one of the closest House races in American history. Congress, they point out, has dealt with 110 such contested election cases over the past 90 years. Only three, however, resulted in the declared winner being ousted and replaced, according to the House Administration Committee. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) said that overturning the results of this congressional election would be “even more painful for America” than it is for House Democrats to lose an election by 6 votes. Republicans are concerned that if Democrats do this, they will be blazing a path for future majorities to overrule state election results. One takeaway from Iowa’s razor-thin election is certain: your vote matters.
As 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Take a few minutes to pray today for “those in authority” and use our tool to send your elected officials a note letting them know you are praying for them and that you encourage them to stand for biblical values here.
Netanyahu Announces Victory, Starts Talking to Coalition Partners
“Three polls show unclear results, with Netanyahu somewhere between 59 and 60 mandates for his right-wing bloc. It is unclear if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to form a government for the seventh time in his three-decade political career, according to exit polls on the three television networks Tuesday night. Two of the three polls indicated that his bloc of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism, and the Religious Zionist Party received enough support together with the Yamina Party of Naftali Bennett, who said during the campaign that he was ready to join a coalition with either political bloc. Sources in Likud said Netanyahu would try to form a government as soon as possible. Bennett's associates said they were ‘not in Netanyahu's pocket’ and joining his government was not a foregone conclusion. Netanyahu declared on Twitter that he had won ‘a giant victory.’ He called Naftali Bennett, who told him he was waiting for the final results and he would ‘act for the good of all the citizens of Israel.’ Netanyahu also called the other leaders in his political camp and asked them to join a strong, right-wing government.” read more at The Jerusalem Post
After four elections in two years, if Netanyahu cannot get to 61 seats and opponents cannot find common ground, a fifth election is possible. Tuesday’s election was sparked by the disintegration of an emergency government formed last May between Netanyahu and his chief rival at the time. The alliance was plagued by infighting, and elections were forced after they failed to agree on a budget in December. In Israel, voters do not elect the prime minister directly; they vote for political parties to fill the Knesset--Israel’s parliament--which has 120 seats. Currently, the Knesset is composed of seventeen political parties. Since no single party ever wins the majority of seats needed to control the government and pass legislation, a coalition must be formed between parties. According to All Israel News, after the election, the head of each party meets with the president to present their recommendations for who should be prime minister--the head of the executive branch. The president will typically choose the party leader with the best shot at forming a government - usually the head of one of the major parties - and assign him or her with the task of building a coalition. If that person can form an alliance that makes up at least 61 seats in the Knesset, he or she will be the next prime minister. Otherwise, the president will assign someone else. Last year was particularly hard for Israel. According to Middle East expert and US-Israeli citizen, Joel Rosenberg, more Israelis have died of COVID than in the last 20 years of war and terror. Rosenberg shares powerful insights into the elections and how Christians can pray for Israel in our recent interview with him, which you can watch here. Jason Yates, CEO of My Faith Votes, emphasized the importance of standing with Israel in a recent op-ed in the Christian Post. “We at My Faith Votes will stand in support of Israel,” he stated. “Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish and Christian faiths, and Judeo-Christian values were key to America’s founding. More importantly, God’s love for his people, displayed throughout Scripture, compels us to remain unwavering in our commitment to the Jewish people and their right to live peacefully in their eternal homeland.”
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), and for a good outcome to the elections. We earnestly pray for the salvation of the Jewish people, and for the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 65: “Behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.”
Do you know how Passover foreshadows the sacrifice of Jesus? The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry is hosting a virtual Passover celebration on April 1. You can experience a traditional Passover seder, the way Jewish families all around the world do— but with Jesus at the center of the celebration. This is the same tradition Christ was honoring on the eve of His death and is a great way to prepare your hearts for Easter weekend. Find out more here.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Sends Girls Sports Bill Back to State Lawmakers
“South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has sent the state’s Fairness in Women’s Sports bill back to lawmakers in a move some have described as a ‘betrayal’ by the conservative politician. Noem, who said earlier this month she was eager to sign the legislation, vetoed the proposal this week, sending it back to lawmakers with recommended changes, KELO-TV reported. If approved, the legislation — H.B. 1217 — would bar any student at a state school from joining a sports team that does not correspond with his or her biological birth sex. Noem said in early March the bill is about ‘defending women’s sports.’ The bill’s future is now uncertain, though, as Noem has issued a “style and form” veto, in which the governor is asking lawmakers to remove the restriction from the state’s public universities. ‘The proposed revisions limit House Bill 1217 to elementary and secondary school athletics, which are primarily conducted among South Dakota schools and, at the high school level, are governed by the South Dakota High School Activities Association, a creature of South Dakota law,’ the governor said. ‘The proposed revisions will also remedy the vague language regarding civil liability and the use of performance-enhancing drugs.’ Noem went on to state ‘boys should play boys’ sports and girls should play girls’ sports,’ but argued she is ‘concerned that this bill’s vague and overly broad language could have significant unintended consequences.’” read more at Faithwire
A majority of registered voters believe sports should be separated by biological sex, and support laws which enforce this, according to a recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Even the Women’s Liberation Front, a radical feminist group, sent a petition to President Biden urging him to interpret Title IX protections to pertain to biological women, not men who identify as women. The general public is on the side of common sense, but big corporations are attempting to push transgender legislation. They are now applying pressure on South Dakota. Governor Noem stated her legal advisors believe signing H.B. 1217 could prompt a lawsuit by the NCAA, which oversees athletics at over 1,000 colleges and universities. Her legal scholars believe “South Dakota’s chances of winning a lawsuit against the NCAA are very low.” Kristen Waggoner, General Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, disagreed. “Contrary to what she has been told, this bill doesn’t conflict with any national sports policy and is fully consistent with the intent of Title IX. Offering some protection for high-school-girl athletes only delays the injustice they will face once they get to college,” she stated. Noem held a press conference announcing she is taking a “different path entirely,” and forming a coalition called DefendTitleIXNow.com, composed of governors, athletes, and other leaders. “Once we have enough states on board, a coalition … big enough where the NCAA cannot possibly punish us all, then we can guarantee fairness at the collegiate level,” she stated. The need for states to band together against corporate bullying is apparent, but Governor Noem’s commitment to legislative protection is uncertain. According to Family Research Council, last year Governor Noem worked behind the scenes to kill a South Dakota bill that would prevent children under the age of 16 from being given cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery. The governor's spokeswoman stated that she never took a formal position on the bill. This is an issue that cannot be ignored. CBN News reports that a Canadian father was arrested earlier this week for speaking out about his biological daughter’s gender transition. After his daughter was exposed to transgender education materials at school in 7th grade, she began transitioning with support from the school and her mother. He filed a lawsuit to attempt to stop her transitioning, but the courts ruled against him, stating his attempts were a form of family violence. He was ordered to refer to his daughter by male pronouns but after publicly referring to his daughter as a female, he was arrested and is being held in jail. And Colorado baker, Jack Philips, once again had to appear in court after being sued for refusing to create a gender-transition cake. In the courts and in our laws, Christians have a duty to defend truth and protect those who suffer from the lies that gain a foothold in public policy.
Lord, we see that “truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” (Isaiah 59:13,14-15) It grieves You, Lord, and it grieves us. Help us to stand for truth with boldness, love, and wisdom, even in the face of lawsuits, imprisonment, and false accusations. Give our legislators the courage to stand for what is right; we need Your strength, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The so-called Equality Act would reinterpret Title IX women’s sports protections to include men who identify as women. The only thing standing in the way of passing this bill is the Senate filibuster. Two Senators have said they will oppose the removal of the filibuster: Joe Manchin, D-WV, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ. Both are at risk of changing their minds. You can help them to stand strong and keep the current Senate rules in place. Be an action partner and make phone calls to people who follow My Faith Votes in West Virginia and Arizona, asking them to take action by referring them to a website link through which they can make a call or send an email to Sen. Manchin or Sen. Sinema. We provide everything you need; you can sign up to make calls here.
Colorado Shooting Leaves 10 Dead in Latest Mass Tragedy
“Police on Tuesday identified a 21-year-old man as the suspect who opened fire inside a crowded Colorado supermarket, and court documents showed that he purchased an assault rifle less than a week before the attack that killed 10 people, including a police officer. Supermarket employees told investigators that Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa shot an elderly man multiple times Monday outside the Boulder grocery store before going inside, according to the documents. Another person was found shot in a vehicle next to a car registered to suspect’s brother. Authorities said Alissa was from the Denver suburb of Arvada and that he engaged in a shootout with police inside the store. The suspect was being treated at a hospital and was expected to be booked into the county jail later in the day on murder charges. Investigators have not established a motive, but authorities believe he was the only shooter, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said. The suspect purchased the assault weapon just six days before the shooting, on March 16, according to the arrest affidavit released Tuesday.” read more at The Associated Press
"We know of 10 fatalities at the scene, including one of our Boulder PD officers by the name of Eric Talley, who has been on the Boulder Police Department since 2010," said Police Chief Maris Herold. Officer Talley, who was first on the scene, has seven children, said his father, Homer Talley. "Above all else, he loved his family and his Lord Jesus Christ," he added. Less than 24 hours after the shooting, President Biden was considering an Executive Order on gun control and urged the Senate to pass two recently passed House measures on gun reform that include tougher background checks on the sale and transfer of firearms. Of the legislation, Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pushed to move them forward saying, “A vote is what we need, a vote, not thoughts and prayers." The Colorado tragedy is the seventh mass shooting (3 or more victims of firearm-related violence) in the US in the past seven days alone. There have been 107 mass shootings in the US so far this year, killing 122 people and wounding 325 others. There have only been five days this month without such a tragedy. While it seems like Colorado is far too often in the news for these horrific occurrences, (Columbine High School 1999, Aurora movie theater 2012, Arapahoe High School 2013) Colorado has the fifth-highest rate of mass shootings, by population, compared to the other 49 states and the District of Columbia. Our own moral nature as God made us leads us to want to know “why.” We want to get inside the mind of anyone who would carry out this kind of horrifying, murderous attack, and we want to know the reason. We have the sense that if we just knew something of the reason, this might help us to prevent further assaults and murders in the future, but the fact is, there is no rationality in the clearest sense to this kind of evil. One of the answers to the problem of evil throughout the Christian tradition has been understanding that some evil is quite literally absurd. It is impossible to account for in rational terms. One cannot get into the mind of the irrational to come up with a rational explanation for their behavior or motivation. We also must admit that one of the limitations of being human is that we do not even have an adequate moral measure to take account of such horrific crimes. Ultimately, the only answer to the problem of evil is a far stronger force than evil, and the only one capable of defeating evil is Jesus Christ our Lord. And yet, we are looking at the fact that in this age, evil is still a force to be reckoned with. Death is still a reality, and Satan who roams to and fro, seeking whom he may devour, is still an ever-present force to be reckoned with. The Christian worldview reminds us of the absolute and objective categories of good and evil, and we understand that we must use that vocabulary not only in cases like this, but in all other human endeavors as well. We must call evil by its name, and that's exactly one of our responsibilities in light of the murderous assaults on Monday.
Join us in praying for the families and others affected by this horrible tragedy, claiming the promise of Psalm 34:18 that “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” Lord, show Yourself strong in this situation. Open the eyes of everyone involved to see You. Protect the survivors. Help them find Jesus as their salvation. Lord, we pray for healing to come profoundly to this community, to this state, and to this nation as a result. And Lord, help us to be living examples of Your light and Your hope to a dark and hurting world around us.
Since 2002, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, a chaplain ministry, has responded to more than 540 crises across the globe, offering emotional and spiritual care to more than 411,000 people. Explore their interactive map to see their deployment history and pray for those impacted by crises, including the recent shootings in Atlanta and Boulder.
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.