WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MAY 24, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Memorial Day: The High Cost of Forgetting
“Memorial Day, first called Decoration Day, began as a response to the carnage of the Civil War. After the war ended in the spring of 1865, Americans began holding springtime tributes by reciting prayers and decorating with flowers the graves of countless fallen soldiers. It was a way to remember those who had given, as President Abraham Lincoln beautifully said, ‘the last full measure of devotion’ to defend their nation. Three years later, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued an order to set aside a unique day for Americans to place flowers on the graves of war heroes, and on May 30 of that same year, the first Decoration Day was held at Arlington Cemetery. After World War I, this special day was amended to include all men and women from our armed forces who gave their lives serving our nation. The name ‘Memorial Day’ became more common and in 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday.” read more at My Faith Votes
- As Lt. Col. Allen West so poignantly writes in the above article, “If we do not intentionally remember, then we will forget. If we do not preserve the memory of what once was, we lose meaning, the lessons learned and the victories won…When we fail to remember the tragedies, victories, and sacrifices of those who have gone before us, we not only do a gross disservice to their legacies, but we also set ourselves up for compounded failure and even deeper, devastating tragedy.”
- The future of the United States depends in large part on how well we collectively remember and cherish what liberty really is – God's hand of blessing upon us and freedom from the terror of tyranny. There is a high cost to forgetting and if recent civics scores give any indication, the price is already being paid. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (known as the nation’s report card) shows that almost a third of 8th graders can’t describe the basic functions of our government.
- We can’t preserve our democratic institutions when only one in five students understand the basics of them. For our future voters to understand the moving parts of our republic requires civics education to be robust. Sadly, we can’t (and shouldn’t) rely on our schools to teach this to our youth. It must start at home. A few years ago, I wrote about one tangible experience that I hope will be a lasting memory for my own children in the importance of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. What can you do today to help instruct the young people in your life?
Lord, You are our Creator, Redeemer, our Defender. Our blessings are too many to count. I pause right now to thank You. Thank You for our military members; warriors who choose to serve and stand for liberty. Bless them, protect them, and preserve their families. Lord, please comfort the families of those who died fighting for country and our freedom. May we never forget, and never fail to be grateful.
Here are just a few ideas for you to honor Memorial Day this year: Place flowers, flags or wreaths at a local or military cemetery. Attend a Memorial Day parade or service. Write letters to active-duty service members. Fly a flag at your home. Take a moment of silence at 3 p.m., local time, for the National Moment of Remembrance. Take time to pray for our nation. More importantly, be a model to future generations on the importance of remembering.
Teenagers Would Give Up the Right to Vote to Keep Social Media, Survey Reveals
“Social media continues to be a strong value for young adults as a new survey reveals a majority of teenage TikTok users would give up the right to vote in order to keep access to the popular video-sharing app. The Reboot Foundation found 59% of young adults with TikTok accounts said that if forced to choose between their social media or voting rights for one year, they would give up the latter. Among teens, the rates of voluntary disenfranchisement were even higher: 64% of those aged 13 to 17 said they would give up their vote to keep social content flowing.”
- The above news article uses a profound word: value. Why do young people place such a lower value on the right to vote than on social media? One reason could be that they use social media much more than they take advantage of their right to vote. While 84% of 18 to 29-year-olds say they use social media, roughly 27% voted in the 2022 midterm election.
- Another factor likely influencing the value placed on social media is its addictive nature. In contrast, a duty, such as voting, is not an addictive action that we do by default. It requires intentionality–something we do not because we feel like doing it, but because we know it is the right thing to do.
- One social media platform causing great controversy and concern is TikTok. In 2021, it surpassed Google as the most popular global website, as many use it as a go-to place for information on various topics. The Reboot Foundation, which conducted the survey regarding social media versus voting rights, noted, “The hours teens spend on social networks like TikTok profoundly impact their understanding of the world….the significant changes social media has made to how young people access and interpret information may be making them vulnerable to influence in ways that affect what they think and what they believe to be true.”
- What is the proper response to this? Is it a complete ban of TikTok, as Montana has just done through a newly signed law? Republican governor Greg Gianforte said the measure protects Montanans’ private information from being handed over to the Chinese government. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, and lawmakers and intelligence officials have pointed to laws that allow Beijing to secretly demand data from Chinese companies for intelligence gathering. TikTok, as well as five of its users, have sued the state, arguing that the ban violates the First Amendment.
- One thing is clear: you and I can decide right now what we value. Social media can be used for good, but constant use can ingrain in us a habit of defaulting to what feels
good. What we choose to give our time and energy to shows what we value.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. Since I live by the Spirit, help me to keep in step with Him. (Galatians 5:25) I need Him to produce the fruits of self-control, patience, and goodness in me. With social media and anything I give my time to, help me value what You value and live a life of disciplined obedience, not aimless drifting. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.
The link between social media use and declining mental health in adolescents is alarming. Some parents are pledging to wait until their child is at least in the 8th grade before giving them a smartphone. If that is a step you are interested in taking, check out Wait Until 8th. I also found their list of alternative devices that exclude social media helpful.
San Francisco Selects First Drag Laureate in US
“The nation’s first-ever drag laureate was named Thursday in San Francisco. Well-known drag performer and nightclub owner D’Arcy Drollinger was selected to the ambassador-esque position by Mayor London Breed, who called her a ‘a bright star’ in the Golden City.” read more at the NY Post
- Mayor Breed says it was a “natural step” to create a position that not only embraces drag culture but puts government resources toward it. D'Arcy Drollinger will receive a $55,000 taxpayer paid stipend in the 18-month role as the city's inaugural drag laureate. In reading the San Francisco government’ office’s press release, the background of Drollinger includes titles of writings and productions that made my stomach turn. Yet, the list of elected officials and government agencies who celebrated being a part of the creation of the role and the task force that selected Drollinger is long.
- Before we disregard this story because it takes place in the very liberal city of San Francisco, let’s look at what’s happening in conservative Arkansas. Last week, eight members of the Walton Arts Center Council, the governing board of the Fayetteville arts center, submitted their resignations because the CEO would not allow minors to see public drag performances.
- “Pride Month” begins next week. The fever pitch of advertising that focuses on our children is already in full display. Why is this? Andrew Sullivan, a cultural commentator who is himself gay, explains that the goal of transgender activists is to “liberate humankind from the prison of gender,” beginning with children. Sullivan writes: “If they could get into kids’ minds, bodies, and souls from the very beginning of their lives, they could abolish the sex binary from the ground up. And so, they got a pliant, woke educational establishment to re-program children from the very start, telling toddlers that every single one of them could be living in the wrong body, before they could even spell.”
- If you’re tempted to give up and withdraw yourself, your children and grandchildren from our fallen culture, you understand the gravity of the situation. But there is nowhere to hide from this. Next month, every tool in the arsenal of social media, television, music, and other popular culture will be conscripted in this comprehensive strategy to normalize LGBTQ ideology and behavior, starting with our youngest children.
- What are we to do? Here’s three responses: Pray. Pray fervently for our children and grandchildren, asking the Holy Spirit to protect them. Pray for God to equip and empower parents, teachers, coaches, and other role models who can help them think and live biblically. Talk about it. It is important to choose our words carefully and in age-appropriate ways, of course. But it’s never too soon to begin teaching children that God made them as they are—boys and girls—and their identity is in Him. Stand up. Use your influence to stand for biblical truth and morality as clearly and compassionately as possible. Your place at work, school, home, and the voting booth is your mission field. “Speaking the truth in love” is your commission (Ephesians 4:15).
Lord, when I’m tempted to bend the knee to the false gods of the LGBTQ ideologies, help me to remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon (Daniel 3). They refused to compromise. They refused to bow down to culture knowing that a fiery furnace was awaiting them. Help me to have the courage they demonstrated, to be fully aware of Your promises and obedient to You, no matter the cost.
A Colorado mom sued her child’s school after learning her daughter had been pulled into a deceptive and secret club focused on gender and sexuality. The sixth grader was pushed to consider herself transgender if she wasn’t 100% confident in her biology. Keeping this from parents was also encouraged. “That would never happen at my child’s school,” you might say. I’m sure that’s what this Colorado mother thought, too. Sadly, many parents might be shocked and concerned to learn that their child’s school may already have the same or similar LGBTQ infiltration. Use this assessment tool to determine whether your child’s school has been infected by the LGBTQ agenda. The tool also provides advice on how you can protect your children and advocate for change at your school, if needed.
Nebraska Bill Protects Children in the Womb and Afterward
“The Nebraska Legislature passed a bill on Friday to protect children under the age of 19 from transgender surgeries and unborn babies after 12 weeks of gestation from abortion. Conservative lawmakers added the pro-life provision to the original Let Them Grow Act after a previous heartbeat bill failed last month. Republican Gov. Jim Pillen has pledged to sign the bill.” read more at WORLD News Group
- Governor Pillen signed the Let Them Grow Act into law on Monday, making Nebraska the 19th state to ban gender-mutilating surgeries for young people and the 20th to restrict abortion. While the 12-week ban is a compromise from the original six-week heartbeat bill, this is a very encouraging step forward.
- Several states are nearing the end of their legislative sessions, which means every day is crucial for legislation that has not yet passed.
- Regarding abortion, the North Carolina legislature’s Republican supermajority enabled it to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a pro-life bill banning most abortions after 12 weeks. Like Nebraska, the previous limit was 20 weeks.
- In South Carolina, a heartbeat bill is currently being debated by the Senate. When it passed the House last week, it had to overcome over 1,000 amendments filed by Democratic legislators. If this bill eventually becomes law, it will undoubtedly face lawsuits, but pro-lifers are hopeful it will be upheld by new justices on their state Supreme Court.
- In Oregon, Republican state senators have been boycotting the Legislature, blocking the passage of HB 2002-B, which would “create a pilot project to deploy two mobile health clinics to provide abortion, gender-affirming care [gender-mutilation], and other reproductive health services in rural areas.” State Senator Kim Thatcher warned, “HB 2002-B requires written authorization from a child of any age before their parents can be notified about their child’s abortion or gender altering drugs or surgeries.” Because 10 of the 13 senators have been absent for at least 10 days, they are disqualified from running for reelection.
- Last week, Florida Governor DeSantis signed into law a bill banning gender mutilation procedures for minors. A similar bill is waiting for the signature of Texas Governor Greg Abbot after recently passing the state legislature.
- In other news, Washington State recently signed a new law removing the ID requirement for voter registration and requiring a Social Security number instead. Anyone applying for a driver’s license will be automatically registered to vote as well. The measures are intended to simplify the registration process, but possibly at the risk of security. And Minnesota will soon become the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana. We have written about the danger this poses here.
- This year has seen landmark legislation around the country–both very good and very bad. Praise God for the wins, and don’t lose hope in the face of losses. There’s still work for us to do. We must simply be found faithful.
Take a moment to pray for your governor and state legislators right now, whether your legislature is in session or not. Pray that their hearts would be soft and that they would seek the Lord, receive His salvation if they have not, and do His will. Pray against evil and for righteousness to prevail in many states. And pray that no matter what happens, lawmakers and citizens on the side of truth will not give up but will continue to fight the good fight.
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