WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MAY 3, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
"It's a Good Day for Freedoms": Walz Signs Bills on Reproductive Freedom and Trans Refuge, Ban on Conversion Therapy
“Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed three progressive bills into law on Thursday designed to make Minnesota a safe haven for LGBTQ people and people [women] seeking abortions. ‘Freedom is on the march in Minnesota. Decency is on the march in Minnesota. Compassion is on the march in Minnesota,’ Walz said during a signing ceremony surrounded by supporters. ‘Hate and bigotry too are on the march. But we make very clear that march of bigotry and hate stops at Minnesota's borders.’ Two of the proposals are "shield" laws designed to protect patients and providers from legal actions in other states where abortion and gender-affirming care are banned or restricted.” read more at CBS News
- The headline should read “It’s a good day for bondage.” What is compassionate, decent and freedom-loving about celebrating destruction, mutilating the bodies of children and taking away access to counseling that could steer someone away from unalterable hormone treatments and surgeries?
- State Rep. Walter Hudson (R) gave an impassioned speech on the House floor in opposition to the “trans-refuge” legislation, stating, “This is the hill to die on... because it's the final hill. If we concede that others may redefine reality with their ‘identity,’ we lose everything.”
- A local Minnesota pastor, who tried to lobby against one of the bills that will set a dangerous precedent for Christian parents, sadly expressed: “We contacted several pastors in the area, but none wanted to be involved. One thing is certain: Those who promote this destructive ideology have no shortage of people willing to speak to their representatives. Our side was simply outnumbered.” He went on to say, “We do not live in a time when Christians can remain silent. We must seek the passage of righteous laws and oppose wicked laws. In particular, pastors must carefully think about their role as leaders in the community. Our primary responsibility is to our local churches, but our members live under the laws of the land, and that law can now allow the state to take our children. Christ’s church must openly oppose bills like the Trans Refuge Act, which undermines parental rights and promotes harm to children. If pastors and other leaders remain silent, they will be judged not only by future generations but by God himself. Pastors and leaders who remain silent in the face of these wolves look more like hired hands than real shepherds.”
- My own state Representative was “yelled at and intimidated” on the House floor, fearing for her personal safety, by Rep. Leigh Finke (D), Minnesota’s first transgender lawmaker. Finke was offended by Rep. Gillman’s public reveal of Finke’s sponsored amendment that would remove anti-pedophile language from the state's Human Rights Act. Thankfully, Rep. Gillman is okay and the MN House unanimously amended the language.
- Last November, Minnesota became one of 17 Democrat trifecta states, meaning one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. In just 4 months, MN Democrats have enacted or advanced measures that touch nearly every area of the Democratic Party platform, including abortion, voting, green energy, gun control and LGBTQ protections. The MN legislature repealed the “Born Alive Act” and is also inserting language in the current judiciary omnibus bill that would create a “snitch line” so that people can report language or behavior they deem to be extremist or problematic. This is essentially creating a database of their political opposition and those who speak against the government. Despite all this, Minnesota is being hailed as a state to model for its successful laboratory in pushing progressive policy.
When we look at the decisions many politicians are making about children and gender, one can’t help but be horrified at how illogical and absurd these policies are. It should be a reminder to do what God instructs: Pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 urges us to pray for our leaders (all of them) as a matter of first importance.
A. W. Tozer once said, "A scared world needs a fearless church." Is your church fearless in standing for biblical truth in today’s volatile culture? Is your pastor equipped to lead well in this spiritual battle? Invite your pastor to join the American Pastor Project.
We are partnering with this new organization to encourage, equip, and strengthen pastors to stand for biblical truth and protect our nation from false teaching, doctrines and agendas.
NC Justices Say Courts Can't Meddle with Election Maps
“The North Carolina Supreme Court sided with Republican lawmakers in a dispute over the state’s congressional map, nixing a court-drawn map as it overruled a previous court ruling. The previous ruling said the state GOP lawmakers had gerrymandered their map of congressional and legislative districts. After Republicans took control of the state’s highest court, however, the new GOP-majority bench reheard the dispute in a rare move. Then it issued a decision saying courts should stay out of the political process.” read more at the Washington Times
- In February 2022, the NC liberal-majority court struck down a proposed congressional map, determining the Republican-controlled legislature unfairly constructed the map to benefit Republicans and deemed it to be a violation of the state’s constitution. Later in the year during the midterm elections, NC Republicans flipped two seats in the state supreme court, shifting it to a conservative majority. This new court decided to rehear the case (a rare occurrence), ultimately deciding to reverse the ruling.
- In the 5-2 ruling, NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby wrote, “This case is not about partisan politics but rather about realigning the proper roles of the judicial and legislative branches. Today we begin to correct course, returning the judiciary to its designated lane.”
- The case, known at the state level as Harper v. Hall, focuses on “independent state legislature” (ISL) theory, which claims that under Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, state legislatures are granted the ability to determine how federal elections are managed without any checks and balances from state constitutions or state courts.
- There are national implications. Friday's ruling also calls into question whether the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on this issue, which is one of the year's most important cases. Democrats have warned that adopting ISL theory would allow Republicans to enact new restrictions that undermine fair elections, while Republicans contend it would rein in state judges' intent on usurping lawmakers' power. When the North Carolina court agreed to rehear the case, however, the U.S. Supreme Court asked for additional briefing from the parties about whether it still had legal jurisdiction over the matter. Now that the North Carolina court has vacated the decision that formed the basis for the U.S. Supreme Court's review, the U.S. Supreme Court may conclude it no longer has a role to play in resolving the matter.
- For the state-level impact of the ruling, NC Democrats stand to lose up to four seats in Congress.
- Gerrymandering is not new. In January 1812, Elbridge Gerry and his party held majorities in the Massachusetts legislature. With the release of the 1810 census, the Democratic-Republicans drew state senate districts designed to keep the opposition Federalists in the minority status. The Boston Gazette, a Federalist newspaper, published a cartoon morphing a senate district into a winged and clawed salamander calling it, “The Gerry-mander: A New Species of Monster.”
- Democrats cried foul with the redistricting in TX and TN. Republicans highlighted their hypocrisy and point to IL and NY. Each side is trying to choose their voters, but we must remember that “We the People” have been given the right to choose who serves us through our vote.
Tomorrow, May 4, is the National Day of Prayer. It’s a day designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked "to turn to God in prayer and meditation". Our nation needs our prayers, and all our elected officials need our prayers. My Faith Votes has prepared ways for you to impact our nation through this special day of prayer.
- Use our Postures of Prayer Guide. It explores the various postures of the heart during prayer, including surrender, thankfulness, repentance, forgiveness, and petition.
- Pray at a government building. Bring friends and family together at a local or state government building to pray. Use the Postures of Prayer Guide and access more prayer points here.
- Participate in a local event near you.
Important local elections across the US are taking place throughout the month of May, including critical elections in Texas on May 6–this Saturday. Make a plan to vote. To help answer your questions about candidates, polling places, and voter registration, visit My Faith Votes’ My Voter Hub. Don’t miss voting in your election! Get voting reminders for your address, by simply signing up here.
Theatrics as Dem House Members March on Senate after Equal Rights Amendment Shot Down
“A dozen Democrats grandstanded on the Senate floor Thursday after a vote on the Equal Rights Amendment was shot down as the left attempted to push through a change to the Constitution that would have cemented abortion rights up until birth. The leftists were led by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), both members of the Squad who are co-chairwomen of the Congressional Equal Rights Amendment Caucus.” read more at American Wire
- What is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)? It is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” What’s wrong with that? In today’s world, some states have redefined “rights” to include the ability to have an abortion. Life News reported, “Although the stated intent of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment is to guarantee equal rights for all citizens no matter what their sex, pro-life leaders warn – and abortion activists confirm – that it would be used to create a “right” to abortion on demand across the United States.” Another problem is that the definition of “sex” has been redefined to include “gender identity.” For more information on why the ERA is unbeneficial to women, even beyond the abortion aspect, read this article by Alliance Defending Freedom.
- What is the ERA’s history? In 1972, the ERA was passed by Congress and sent to the states with a seven-year ratification deadline. Amendments become part of the Constitution after being ratified by a minimum of 38 states (three-quarters). Only 35 states had ratified by 1979, and the deadline was pushed to 1982. However, no new states ratified the ERA during the extension. In fact, after significant pushback by many women, some states tried to rescind their ratification.
- In recent years, three more state legislatures ratified the ERA, putting the total at the necessary 38 states, yet 40 years after the deadline set by Congress. The National Archivists of both the Trump and Biden administrations have refused to certify and publish the ERA as part of the Constitution. In addition, “Every time the issue has been litigated in federal court, most recently in 2021, the pro-ERA side has lost, no matter whether the judge was appointed by a Democrat or a Republican,” a Washington Post Fact Checker wrote in February 2022.
- So why attempt to pass it now? Instead of beginning the ratification process all over again, Congress attempted last week to lift the 1982 deadline. The resolution needed 60 votes, but only 51 senators supported it. The vote was 51-47, which was no surprise. Since supporters of the ERA were not going to get enough votes, why did they make such a big show of trying to lift the deadline? It was meant to send a message to the American people and generate an emotional response that will translate to votes in 2024. Consider this statement by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “America can never hope to be a land of freedom and opportunity so long as half its population is treated like second-class citizens.”
- What is this tactic? It’s (1) making a statement that implies there is a crisis that needs to be addressed, (2) labeling part of the population as victims of this crisis, (3) demonizing opponents, and (4) using fear mongering to generate action. It’s dishonest. It takes advantage of our God-given desire for justice and leverages it to create support for a measure that would result in injustice. We must be discerning.
Lord, You told the prophet Isaiah, “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:12-13) Let that be true of me today. Help me discern a manufactured crisis versus something that truly violates Your principles. I honor You and want to think and act in a way that pleases You alone.
Here’s a tangible way to encourage women: purchase something from Survivor Made. Formed by the non-profit, faith-based organization Refuge for Women, Survivor Made creates jobs for women who have escaped sexual exploitation; building their confidence and enabling them to become self-sufficient and live in true freedom. The organization has been close to my heart since its inception, and I can attest to the transformation of the women served.
1 in 4 high school students identifies as LGBTQ
“About 1 in 4 high school students identifies as LGBTQ, according to a report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Thursday, using data from 2021. In 2021, 75.5 percent of high school students identified as heterosexual, the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) found. Among high school students, 12.2 percent identified as bisexual, 5.2 percent as questioning, 3.9 percent as other, 3.2 percent as gay or lesbian and 1.8 percent said they didn’t understand the question. The CDC says the number of LGBTQ students went from 11 percent in 2015 to 26 percent in 2021.” read more at The Hill
- Why the increase? The CDC noted that the addition of 'questioning' as an answer for the 2021 survey may have increased the percentage. Others attribute the increase to greater acceptance from parents and society.
- Others, however, believe the content taught in schools is partly responsible for influencing students to identify as LGBTQ. Jay Richards, a senior research fellow at the conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation, said, “There is no doubt in my mind that schools are absolutely playing a role in this growth,” and pointed out that the percentage of these students in the US is much higher than in other countries.
- One quarter of our high school students claim an identity that doesn’t align with God’s purpose for them. This is tragic. It is also heartbreaking that the CDC’s report shows these students are more likely to be victims of sexual violence, and more likely to have serious mental health struggles. And that doesn’t even include students who identify as transgender.
- The great deceiver would have these students believe the only answer is to embrace a destructive lifestyle and call it their true identity. This lie can be aided by education, laws and policy decisions. Consider the Department of Justice, which has joined a lawsuit against Tennessee’s ban on gender mutilation procedures for minors. The DOJ alleges that the state is violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by denying “necessary medical care to children based solely on who they are.” This is unprecedented: a redefinition of the 14th Amendment to support mutilating the bodies of children.
- Praise God for laws like the new one in Kansas that bans men from entering women’s restrooms (the most sweeping law of its kind), or Montana’s recently passed law banning gender mutilation procedures on minors. This is our moment to be a beacon of light. If we want to truly help our students, we have to stand for truth.
Heavenly Father, our nation is leading our young people astray through cultural influences, education, and laws. This is extremely serious in Your eyes. Help us to promote laws that affirm truth, not lies. Help me, with the young people I influence, to be like Your Son, full of grace and truth. Help them see that through Christ, every believer can have victory over the power of sin and eternal hope and identity in You.
Is your church equipped to answer these questions: Can you be gay and be a Christian? What if someone genuinely feels trapped in the wrong body? Is change even possible? Can you answer these questions? In His Image is a documentary designed to equip the church to answer culturally controversial questions about gender and sexuality from a biblical perspective. Produced by American Family Studios with powerful personal testimonies, careful Bible teaching, and scientific evidence, you can watch it for free here.
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.