WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MARCH 3, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
‘I Am Not Starting a New Party’: Trump Gives First Speech Since Leaving Office
“Former President Donald Trump returned to the spotlight over the weekend after being relatively silent since leaving office. In a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., he set the record straight that he has no plans to start a third party. ‘They kept saying he’s going to start a brand-new party,’ said Trump. ‘We have the Republican Party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party.’ He also urged the GOP to make election security a top priority and floated the possibility of running again in 2024. ‘Who knows? Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time,’ continued Trump. Trump focused much of his speech on criticizing the first few weeks of President Biden’s administration, particularly his immigration policies. ‘Biden has failed at his number one duty as chief executive, enforcing America’s laws,’ declared Trump. ‘This alone should be reason enough for Democrats to suffer withering losses in the midterms and to lose the White House decisively four years from now.’ Trump also praised his America First agenda and said Republicans must make election security a priority. ‘We must pass comprehensive election reforms and we must do it now,’ said Trump. ‘The Democrats used the China virus as an excuse to change all of the election rules without the approval of their state legislatures, making it therefore illegal.’” read more at Faithwire
Regarding election security, Justice Clarence Thomas called the Supreme Court’s refusal last week to hear two Pennsylvania mail-in ballot cases from the 2020 election “inexplicable” and “befuddling.” Justices Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch were the only justices who dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision not to review cases regarding election integrity and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s authority to extend the state’s mail-in ballot deadline three days past the Nov. 3 election. Thomas’s 11-page dissent expressed concern for the future of election integrity and said there “is a clear split on an issue of such great importance.” “One wonders what this Court waits for,” Thomas, one of the court’s more conservative members, wrote. “We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.” The House of Representatives is set to vote and likely to pass a sweeping election reform bill, H.R.1, as soon as this week. While election reform is needed, the House version (H.R.1), which is more than 800 pages long, and the Senate version (S.1) would supersede state legislatures’ constitutional right to set election procedures. Democrats have a majority in the House and have all signed on to the legislation, but the bill is less likely to pass the Senate, where the measure would need support from all 50 members of that party caucus, plus 10 Republicans. Republicans have said the law would take powers away from states by federalizing the elections, raising huge fraud concerns. Another concern is the bill’s inclusion of the DISCLOSE Act, which would require all organizations that spend money on elections to disclose donors. In the “cancel culture” we live in, this could put donors at risk of intimidation and discrimination by those who do not share beliefs on issues such as the sanctity of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom. Democrats have been fighting to expand access to the polls through early voting, vote-by-mail, and other measures, efforts that expanded because of COVID. In his CPAC speech on Sunday, President Trump said of the legislation, “Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress are racing to pass a flagrantly unconstitutional attack on the First Amendment and the integrity of our elections known as H.R.1.” He continued, “This monster must be stopped. It cannot be allowed to pass.” The right to vote is one of the most sacred rights that we as American citizens can exercise. Legitimate concerns exist about the fairness and accuracy of our elections and there need to be reforms. But if the proposed bill, H.R.1, becomes law, it is certain this would undermine our election integrity forever.
Lord, protect the freedoms established in our nation. We pray our voting process would be fair and honest. In the face of destructive legislation, we pray for the courage to take action and stand in the gap for good. Help us to be engaged, press onward, doing the right things as You instruct, Lord.
Take immediate action on this legislation by sending a message to your Representatives and Senators, urging them to vote no on H.R.1, which is also known as the “For the People Act,” with our easy-to-use tool here. While the title of the legislation sounds positive, it is truly not for the people.
South Dakota Passes Law Requiring Doctors to Help Babies Born Alive after Abortion
“South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed into law a bill that requires abortion providers to provide care for any baby that survives an abortion. Known as House Bill 1051, Noem signed the legislation on Wednesday, which passed both houses of the state Legislature with overwhelming support. “The pro-life cause continues even after a child is born, and this bill will guarantee the right to life for every baby that is born alive,” stated Noem on Wednesday. ‘We expect doctors to treat all children equally, even those born in horrific circumstances. That’s basic human decency.’ Also known as ‘An Act to maintain the life of any child born alive,’ HB 1051 states that the ‘same means and medical skills and treatment provided’ to a child born during a delivery ‘must be employed and provided to every child born alive immediately following an abortion or an attempted abortion. This obligation applies to every physician who performs or attempts to perform an abortion that results in a child being born alive.’” read more at the Christian Post
It is hard to believe we must pass legislation to save a baby’s life after they are born. But similar legislation was passed last month in Kentucky, and the Montana legislature is also working to pass protections for born-alive abortion survivors. HB 167 calls for a ballot referendum, which means the voters would directly vote to accept or reject the Montana Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Other proposed bills in Montana would ban abortion at 20 weeks, prevent abortion pills from being prescribed via telemedicine, and require doctors to give women the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their baby before getting an abortion. It is worth noting that several of these same bills failed to be signed by the previous governor in 2019, but newly elected Governor Gianforte (R) has stated his support for at least two pro-life bills this year. Sadly, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill last Friday that allows abortions with almost no restrictions, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The law also repeals conscience protections for doctors and nurses who decline to participate in abortion procedures. Governor Grisham ironically stated, “Anyone who seeks to violate bodily integrity or to criminalize womanhood, is in the business of dehumanization...Our state statutes now reflect this inviolable recognition of humanity and dignity.” Denying the personhood of a particular group of humans leads to legalized atrocities like slavery and the holocaust. This Colson Center video addresses the argument that unborn babies are not persons. Planned Parenthood, which is responsible for over 41% of abortions nationwide, has released its latest annual report. According to Live Action’s summary of the data, prenatal care, and adoption referrals both dropped double digits from the previous year. Planned Parenthood commits 41 abortions for every one prenatal care service and 133 abortions for every adoption referral. They end a baby’s life every 89 seconds. Such heartbreaking reports should not prompt discouragement but should spur us on to stand for life. The 40 Days for Life prayer campaign has reported 101 babies have been saved from abortion since February 17! One prayer campaign in Plainfield, New Jersey, has been praying outside an abortion facility for 10 years, with no visible results. This year, one lady left the facility and handed a note to the prayer volunteers outside that said, “Thanks for your help. I have decided not [to] do [it]. God bless you.” It reminds me of Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Lord, when it seems like evil is prevailing, help us to remember that You are just, and will not leave sin unpunished. Help us to acknowledge our responsibility to speak up for the helpless and voiceless and resist the temptation to be discouraged. Have mercy on us, Oh Lord, and bring a revival by your Holy Spirit to call people back to You and to your ways. Help us to be faithful to stand for life in our state and community.
Former NFL star Benjamin Watson has produced a powerful pro-life documentary called Divided Hearts of America that includes over 30 interviews with Americans including Alveda King and Dr. Ben Carson. His stated goal is “to unveil the truth about abortion, the laws, the history and where our country is headed,” and to encourage “empathy on both sides.” You can find where to watch this film at thewatsonseven.com.
Supreme Court Blocks County’s Ban on Indoor Worship Gatherings, Calls 9th Circuit Ruling 'Erroneous'
“The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked a California county’s ban on indoor worship services weeks after officials ordered places of worship to remain closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic even though the high court had weeks earlier lifted a statewide ban on religious gatherings. The court ruled Friday in favor of five churches that Santa Clara County must allow indoor worship services to resume at 20% capacity. The order went as far as calling the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruling in favor of the county’s restrictions “erroneous.” The Supreme Court’s three liberal justices dissented. “This outcome is clearly dictated by this court’s decision in the South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom,” Friday’s Supreme Court order states. In the South Bay case, the justices ruled that the state could cap indoor services at 25% of the building’s capacity and continue to ban singing and chanting. In a concurring opinion of the South Bay case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that he understands the state’s arguments that singing indoors poses a heightened risk of transmitting COVID-19 but doesn’t believe the state had scientific reasoning for wanting to ban in-person worship entirely when some churches are large and cavernous. The county, however, believed that its ban was legal because it imposed the same large gathering restrictions on churches that it had on other secular business establishments.” read more at the Christian Post
As we approach the one-year mark for COVID shutdowns, some states are finally “returning to normal.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a repeal of his executive order mandating face masks and rescinded all restaurant capacity limitations, effective March 10. Individual businesses may choose to limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols. California Governor Gavin Newsom called this decision “reckless”. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is massively scaling back COVID-19 protocols in Mississippi. He is replacing all current executive orders with “recommendations.” This effectively ends all mask mandates within the state and it also means businesses will be able to operate under full capacity with no restrictions, except for rules governing K-12 schools and a 50% capacity restriction on indoor arenas. In other Supreme Court news, yesterday SCOTUS heard an important case for state voting laws. In 2016, the Democratic National Committee brought a lawsuit against the state of Arizona, claiming it violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits states from passing laws that disenfranchise people based on their skin color. The DNC argues that such policies suppress minority voters. The cases – Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee and Arizona Republican Party v. Democratic National Committee, which were consolidated – are a challenge to two different Arizona voting provisions. One is a policy that requires an entire ballot to be thrown away if it was cast at the wrong precinct, while the other is a state law that bars the collection of ballots by third parties, sometimes called “ballot harvesting.” After nearly two hours of debate, a majority of justices seemed likely to uphold both provisions. A decision from the court is expected by summer. We have more details about this case, and others, in our latest edition of SCOTUS Watch, which you can find in the ACT section below.
Almighty God, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you,” (Psalm 89:14). We pray for Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer. Impress on their hearts to seek You for true wisdom and justice. We pray for the right thing to be done to preserve rule of law in our nation and to uphold our Constitution. May You be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Did you know we produce a regular summary of important Supreme Court cases? This month’s edition of SCOTUS Watch explains recent cases regarding religious liberty for churches, free speech for college students, voting rights, and the interpretation of our Fourth Amendment rights. You can read our latest SCOTUS Watch here.
Why Are Young Adults Increasingly Identifying as Bisexual?
“A recent Gallup survey finds that the number of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender has increased to 5.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent in Gallup’s previous update based on 2017 data. The increase is primarily due to the rise in LGBT identification of younger generations, who are far more likely to consider themselves something other than heterosexual. Almost one in ten (9.1 percent) Millennials (Americans born between 1981 and 1996) and one in six (15.9 percent) members of Gen Z (born 1997-2002) identify as LGBTQ. In comparison, only 3.8 percent of Generation X (born 1965-80), 2 percent of Baby Boomers (born 1946-64), and 1.3 percent of Traditionalists (born before 1946) identify as something other than heterosexual. The largest non-heterosexual category is bisexual. The vast majority of Gen Z adults who identify as LGBTQ (72 percent) say they are bisexual. Gallup notes that 11.5 percent of all Gen Z adults in the United States say they are bisexual, with about 2 percent each identifying as gay, lesbian, or transgender.” read more at The Gospel Coalition
Why does one in six adults between the ages of 18 and 23 now identify as LGBTQ? One explanation is that, in the past, a large percentage of those who felt that they were LGBTQ hid their identities. Now, they feel freer to be out and proud. But the second, and more likely possibility is that they are being heavily influenced by culture. As Joe Carter states in the news article featured, “Social contagion and normalization of homosexuality have combined to make the younger, highly susceptible, and credulous generations believe they should identify as LGBTQ. Social contagion is the thesis that attitudes, beliefs, and behavior can spread through populations as if they were somehow infectious.” There has been constant promotion in mass media. Back in 2001 Michael Medved rightly noted, “A Martian gathering evidence about American society, simply by monitoring our television, would certainly assume that there were more gay people in America than there are evangelical Christians” (whereas evangelical Christians numbered, at that time, at least 20-30% of the population). 2020 saw more celebrities than ever “coming out” and celebrating their new identity in the LGBTQ community. A shockingly high number of young actresses who began their careers on the Disney Channel either now identify as bisexual, lesbian, or queer or have talked about engaging in homosexual sex. The normalization of transgenderism has now reached some of the highest levels of government, as demonstrated last week in the confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levin, who is transgender, for the role of assistant secretary of health. What can be done about the influence of bisexual social contagion on our youth? Be involved in their lives. One key to fighting peer contagion is to dilute the effect of peers with intergenerational influence. Outside of parents and teachers, most teens and children do not associate with older people each day. This is often true even in our churches, which tend to be segregated by age groups. As Joe Carter points out, “We especially need older Christians who are unafraid to speak out for the biblical view of sexuality and to show younger generations how Jesus models a better way to be human.” A Christian response to transgenderism is better established through a well-rounded biblical theology of the body rather than by combing the Scriptures for applicable proof texts in light of specific behaviors. One of the best books I’ve read to help navigate these topics and be better informed from a biblical worldview is called Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey.
Father, I pray that my child will know and love You. I want to see my children living passionately for You, not swayed and deceived by the world or the devil. I pray for spiritual protection today for my child. I pray in Jesus' name and rebuke the plans of the enemy to harm my children, to bring temptation, or to lie to or deceive my family. I pray that my children will not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but will be transformed by the renewing of their minds. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Last Thursday, the House passed the Equality Act 224-206. Three Republicans crossed party lines to join Democrats. Our nation was founded upon the idea of equality, the truth that all of us are created equal, but the Equality Act proposes the exact opposite. While its proponents insist that the Equality Act is about “ending discrimination,” it would in fact fundamentally alter the legal definition of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislation would also undermine the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by conferring special status on gay rights, prioritizing them over religious freedom and conscience rights. It’s vital we contact our Senators since they will determine if the legislation goes to President Biden, who has said he will sign it. Take 2 minutes to send a message to your Senators, urging them to vote no, with this tool.
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.