WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MARCH 8, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Fewer Than Half of Americans Can Name All Three Branches of Government
“Americans’ understanding of basic facts about the U.S. government declined for the first time in six years, as fewer than half in a new survey could name all three branches of government. The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s annual Civics Survey found a significant drop in the percentage of Americans who could name all three branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial — falling by 9 percentage points from a year earlier. About a quarter of Americans surveyed could not name a single branch.” read more at The Hill
- The Woodrow Wilson Foundation has estimated that only 1 in 3 Americans could pass the nation’s Citizenship Test. Understanding civics is a low priority in many American schools. There are no mandatory federal standards for teaching civics or social studies. Instead, each state has its own standards that reflect its priorities.
- A 2019 RAND survey of the nation’s social studies teachers found that just 43 percent think it’s absolutely essential for students to understand historical periods such as the American Founding—this represented a 20-point drop from a decade before. Barely half of social studies teachers deemed it essential that students understand concepts like the separation of powers or checks and balances.
- America’s increasing ignorance and disregard for our history and civic understanding should make all of us concerned about our nation’s future. To counter the downward trend, the National Archives is holding its first national Civic Learning Week this week (March 6–10). You're not helpless to do something either. You can start by joining our upcoming free online course called Biblical Citizenship.
- Throughout our history, American Christians have played a vital role in establishing and preserving religious and civil liberty. Being “faithful” requires biblical knowledge, cultural understanding, and historical perspective as we attempt to preserve, promote, and fulfill the Great Commission. Being a “biblical citizen” requires a knowledge and understanding of biblical principles and how to apply them to the world around us. You, your family, and your church can be the catalyst.
On July 20, 1775, the Continental Congress made a proclamation urging the colonies to: “…with united hearts and voices, unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins; and offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise, omnipotent, and merciful Disposer of all events; humbly beseeching him to forgive our iniquities, to remove our present calamities, to avert those desolating judgments, with which we are threatened…” Since our founding, America has been a nation of prayer. The early days of our nation are full of proclamations, like this one, encouraging our nation to repentance and prayer. We find admonitions to pray in Scripture, as well as in the words of our Founding Fathers. Let us commit to seek the Lord in prayer.
We’re thrilled to partner with Patriot Academy to offer you a FREE course called Biblical Citizenship. This eight-week online course gives you the tools you need to defend your freedom and your faith in these dark and uncertain times. You’ll gain more constitutional knowledge than 99% of Americans and learn tangible action steps for preserving liberty. Be entertained, inspired, and educated…with a few special guests too! The first session starts March 16. Sign up to join us here.
Lori Lightfoot Becomes the First Chicago Mayor in 40 Years to Lose Re-election
“Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for re-election Tuesday, ending her historic run as the city’s first Black woman and first openly gay person to serve in the position. Lightfoot, a Democrat, failed to get enough votes in the nine-person race to move on to an April 4 runoff election, according to projections by The Associated Press. Paul Vallas, a former CEO of Chicago schools, will face Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union.” read more at NBC News
- Even mainstream news is reporting how crime has become a bipartisan issue. The Associated Press noted that the nation’s third-largest city is just the latest Democratic stronghold where public safety has become a top election issue. Violent crime is up 52 percent from last year, and up 102 percent from 2021, according to the Chicago Police Department. Protecting the public by punishing wrongdoers is one of government’s most basic functions (Romans 13:1-4). When government fails in this job, the consequences are felt by everyone. (Proverbs 29:2)
- Do you realize how municipal elections impact public safety in your community? We immediately think of the police department when it comes to crime and safety, but that department is often under the authority of your city government. These low turnout elections have more impact on our daily lives than we might think! Jason Yates, CEO of My Faith Votes, spoke last year about the importance of voting with Corey Brooks, pastor of a church in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago.
- Voters have a fairly clear choice between the two candidates in the runoff that will occur on April 4. Neither candidate claims to be conservative, but one is described as a moderate democrat, the other a progressive. We recently asked Dr. Jeff Myers how Christians can vote when they feel there are no good candidates. He explained, “The question is not, ‘Who is the lesser of two evils?’ but, ‘How might I use my vote to lessen evil?’”
- Whether in Chicago or another city with an upcoming election, don’t refuse to vote if neither candidate completely lines up with biblical principles! Remember how God used King Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish his purposes … and Cyrus, and Artaxerxes, and Governor Festus who upheld Paul’s right to appeal to Caesar for justice. (Acts 25:6-12) What a blessing to have a say in our government!
“…Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) Pray that your local city officials understand this Scripture and seek the Lord’s help in their service. Pray for their salvation and growth in the Lord. And pray for Christians to have wisdom as they go to the polls.
Many important local and state elections are coming up (including the critical Wisconsin Supreme Court election). How can you be prepared? My Voter Hub was created by My Faith Votes to be your go-to resource! You can see who’s on your ballot, receive a notification when an election is occurring in your area and more. Bookmark this link and refer a friend to My Voter Hub for their next election!
Supreme Court Seems Ready to Reject Student Loan Forgiveness
“Conservative justices holding the Supreme Court’s majority seem ready to sink President Joe Biden’s plan to wipe away or reduce student loans held by millions of Americans. In arguments lasting more than three hours Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts led his conservative colleagues in questioning the administration’s authority to broadly cancel federal student loans because of the COVID-19 emergency.” read more at the Associated Press
- Why did the Founding Fathers give Congress the power of the purse? Why not leave most monetary decisions to the unelected executive branch? At the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin defended this separation of power: “It was a maxim that those who feel, can best judge. This end would . . . be best attained, if money affairs were to be confined to the immediate representatives of the people.”
- In June or July, the court will decide whether the law used to justify the Biden administration’s actions truly allows the Secretary of Education to cancel ten to twenty thousand dollars of debt for over 40 million borrowers. Conservative justices were skeptical. “In effect,” Justice Clarence Thomas stated, “This is a grant of $400 billion, and it runs headlong into the Constitution’s requirement that only Congress can appropriate money.”
- The “major questions doctrine,” was also considered. It is the principle that if Congress wants to empower an administrative agency to make “decisions of vast economic and political significance,” it must say so clearly in law.
- The supposed benefit of such debt cancellation has been used to defend the administration’s action. But we cannot merely consider benefits of actions without asking what the Constitution allows. “It is important … that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres,” our first president, George Washington, warned. If we allow one branch to overstep its bounds, we start to destroy the way our country was designed to work. “[T]hough this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
Heavenly Father, give our justices wisdom. Give our country wisdom to deal with out-of-control tuition prices and borrowing. Give me grace to steward my finances wisely, remembering that everything belongs to You, and You have entrusted me with its care. Thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
How does God want me to handle His money? It is both sobering and relieving to think of my finances this way. I encourage You to search the Scriptures for God’s principles, to equip yourself and others. Here are a few to get you started: Exodus 22:14, Psalm 15, Psalm 24, Psalm 37:21, Proverbs 16:8, Luke 12:13-34, Acts 20:33-35.
NC Republicans Threaten Tillis’s GOP Funds after Same-Sex Marriage Vote
“Grassroots Republicans will prevent an incumbent U.S. senator from accessing any party funds during a primary challenge because of his vote to redefine marriage if the state party approves their proposal. This week, two of the 12 Republican senators who voted for the so-called Respect for Marriage Act faced massive backlash from their party’s base.” read more at the Washington Stand
- This week, the Texas Republican Party censured U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales, partly because of his vote for the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) last year. What does this censorship mean? State party funds can be used to notify voters about his censure, and Gonzales is discouraged from running again in the 2024 primary. He already has a Republican challenger for his seat.
- Senator Cynthia Lummis was also censured by her Wyoming state Republican Party for her support of RFMA. Iowa Republican representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson, and Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Todd Young (R-IN), were censured by county parties, as was Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who is not seeking reelection.
- Official censorship isn’t something one party official can implement. This was initiated by grassroots individuals and officials within county and state parties. Marriage is a fundamental issue, and the backlash against these elected officials shows that voters care about it.
- Not just voters, but some elected officials as well. In Iowa, a handful of state representatives introduced two bills last week upholding traditional marriage, one of which would have nullified the Respect for Marriage Act inside the state. Sadly, neither bill made it out of committee. But like abortion, this is a long-term battle that requires faithfulness to what is right.
Heavenly Father, we praise You for designing marriage as a picture of Christ and the church. We know that strong marriages are essential to the stability of our nation and for the safety and flourishing of children. Help us to stand for Your truth in our own homes and in our city, state, and nation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce, he did not base his response on current cultural norms. Rather, he referred his listeners to the Genesis creation account. Let’s do the same. Read and share this article, “A Biblical Approach to Marriage,” written by our friend, Pastor Matthew Thrower. It’s a clear explanation that counters the confusion of our day.
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.
This forgiveness of student loans breeds irresponsibility. Better to apply for a grant than to not repay an agreed upon debt. Someone has to repay the principle debt or the loan companies would go bankrupt. The government should not be the one to pay for personal choices. This would not be just, to make other people pay for other people's decisions, especially as college is not necessary for survival. Technical schools which teach skills training are more worth the cost. Perhaps the interest on the loans could be forgiven? However, I would be more prone to allow this for loans taken out for necessity. We should be teaching our young people that it is better to give than to receive. Do we want to encourage greed, slothfulness, and materialism?