WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MAY 31, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Ron DeSantis Announces His Bid for the White House
“Two-term Florida Governor Ron DeSantis formally launched his bid for the presidency on Wednesday afternoon. The former naval officer and state legislator filed his candidacy hours before a virtual Twitter event to announce his bid to the public and kick off his campaign. DeSantis joins eight other Republicans in pursuit of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.” Read more at World News.
- Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida took to Twitter last week to announce his bid for president, declaring that he would be the one to lead “Our Great American Comeback” in 2024 and beyond.
- While there is no doubt that Governor DeSantis is popular in Florida for the way he handled covid-19 and established the state as a Conservative stronghold, his fundraising numbers indicate his popularity has spread beyond Florida’s borders. According to DeSantis’ campaign, they raked in over 8 million dollars within 24 hours of his announcement.
- Governor DeSantis is the ninth Republican to announce his bid for president with Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina announcing just two days prior. DeSantis and Scott are joined by Former President Donald Trump, Former Ambassador Nikki Haley, Ryan Binkley, Larry Elder, former Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson, Perry Johnson, and Vivek Ramaswamy.
- As of today, there are only three Democratic candidates in the race—Incumbent President Joe Biden, Marianne Williamson, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. To stay on top of everyone in the race, Democrat and Republican, check out this resource.
- Who are the favorites? Trump and DeSantis are the two candidates most favored for the Republican nomination at present. Both favor an America-first approach, and both have past records that prove their abilities.
- What is DeSantis’ greatest challenge? DeSantis, along with all other nominees, are up against President Trump, a man with a robust presidential record who amassed a huge following over his four years as president. Trump’s followers are loyal and will not stray. They will campaign as vigorously as Trump does and it will be difficult for any candidate to garner up as much support in a little over a year as Trump has over the last seven years.
- As more candidates enter the race in 2024, it is critical for us to read the news and evaluate each nominee’s platform with sound judgment. As candidates begin campaigning, many accusations will be made, disparaging television ads distributed, and biased articles written. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Now more than ever, we need to ask God to guide us and give us the ability to discern His will.
Lord, we pray for each of the candidates, Democrat and Republican, that have entered the 2024 presidential race. We pray that You would protect them and their families from harm while they campaign. We pray that they would each present their positions on the issues with total transparency and clarity, and we ask that You give us, as Christians, the ability to discern what is true and what is false as we follow this race. Amen.
Are you registered to vote in your state? Maybe you recently moved and haven’t had the time to register in your new state? Well, now is the time to register! By using My Faith Votes’ free My Voter Hub, you can register to vote in your state without stepping away from your phone or computer. Just click here, enter your address, select your state, and hit register to vote.
Debt Ceiling Deal: What’s In, What’s Out of the Bill to Avert US Default
“The details of the deal between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy were released Sunday in the form of a 99-page bill that would suspend the nation’s debt limit through 2025 to avoid a federal default while limiting government spending.” read more at the Associated Press
- What it does. The bill would suspend the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025, meaning there is basically no limit on how much we can borrow. It is estimated that our $31.4 trillion national debt will increase by $4 trillion by 2025. The legislation aims to limit federal budget growth to 1% for the next six years. However, there are no budget caps after fiscal year 2025, which means the limit is not enforceable after that point.
- What it means. The Kobeissi Letter, which comments on global capital markets, put the deal in perspective. “Prior to this agreement, total US debt was projected to hit $50 trillion by 2033. It may happen much sooner than 2033 now, especially if a major economic downturn hits next year. The debt ceiling crisis is a distraction from the real problem. Debt levels are skyrocketing.”
- What about spending cuts? “Overall, spending cuts of $50 billion in headlines are just 0.2% of GDP. Inflation adjusted, spending is actually RISING in 2024,” the analysis continues.
- A major concern is that since the beginning of COVID, government spending has grown a staggering 40%, and we have added $8 trillion to our debt. Instead of returning to pre-emergency levels of spending, we are treating the massive increase as a new starting point.
- The debt ceiling bill that House Republicans passed last month would have returned discretionary spending (spending that is decided by Congress each year) to fiscal 2022 levels and then limited spending growth to 1% for a decade. Representative Chip Roy (R-TX), an opponent of the deal between Biden and McCarthy, released a chart comparing the two bills. Both the Senate and President Biden, however, were opposed to the Republican bill.
- Why is it so hard to reign in federal spending? It’s become a habit. The federal government has gotten used to overstepping its biblical and constitutional jurisdiction, and many people have gotten used to depending on it. If we are going to break that cycle, elected officials and their constituents must be willing to do hard things.
Pray for your members of Congress and the president. Pray for wisdom and a heart to do what is right and responsible with our money–which ultimately belongs to God. Pray for repentance from recklessness, and for steps toward a long-term solution. Ask the Lord how you can be a good steward of the money He’s entrusted to you.
Learning to balance a budget is key to personal responsibility and becoming a wise manager of God’s resources. One tool is Every Dollar, which helps you plan and keep track of your income and spending. A couple of our team members have used it themselves! Consider it for yourself or suggest it to someone you know.
Minnesota Christian Schools and Parents File Lawsuit Against State over PSEO Exclusion
“Crown College and the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, along with concerned parents, filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against Gov. Tim Walz. The lawsuit was filed regarding legislation that excludes schools with a statement of faith from participating in the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program, which allows Minnesota high school students to earn college credits for free. ‘As the largest PSEO provider in Minnesota, Northwestern desires to continue helping on-campus PSEO students flourish in preparation for the next chapter of their academic journey,’ University of Northwestern President Corbin Hoornbeek said in a statement.” Read more at Alpha News.
- The Minnesota Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) was established almost four decades ago to give students the opportunity to earn college credits while in high school in hopes of reducing the financial burden on students in college.
- Many private, faith-based institutions require their students to sign a statement of faith when they enroll. Unfortunately, in April, an amendment to the original PSEO provision would prohibit these faith-based institutions from offering free college credits to high school students.
- The MN Secular Government Caucus, a liberal collection of Minnesota representatives, responded to the lawsuit by suggesting that the religious, academic institutions were the ones excluding students based on religion. However, by singling out religious institutions in this amendment, is the Minnesota House not discriminating based on religion?
- The senior counsel at Beckett law—the firm handling the lawsuit—said, “Minnesota politicians just slammed the door on thousands of kids in their state who want to get a head start on college, all because the schools they want to attend share their religious beliefs. That decision is not only patently anti-religious; it is also against the law. We are confident this ban will not stand for long.”
- With this amendment, Minnesota seems to be enforcing a warped definition of the separation of church and state—a concept that is not even present in the constitution. With this amendment, the Minnesota House is legislating the church out of the state when the idea of the separation of church and state was to protect the church from the state.
- As we watch what is happening in Minnesota, it is clear the state is deliberately trying to control faith-based institutions, leaving us to question just how far they will go. If they are willing to infringe on private universities, what is to stop them from trying to govern private primary schools, secondary schools, churches, and other faith-based organizations? Could the state prohibit a faith-based non-profit from asking its employees to sign a statement of faith as a condition of employment?
- One thing is for sure, how this case plays out in the federal judicial system will have drastic consequences for all Christians. If the judiciary rules in favor of Minnesota Governor of Tim Walz and his administration, it could pave the way for other states to enforce similar laws.
Lord, in the face of religious discrimination, we pray that all faith-based institutions in Minnesota and beyond would remain steadfast in their commitment to You and Your Word. We pray that all attempts to infringe on the rights of faith-based organizations would fail. We pray that you would guide and sustain the Beckett legal team as they argue their case in court, and we ask that You grant wisdom and discernment to the judge that will hear and evaluate this case. Amen.
The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States firmly safeguards one’s religious freedom nationally, but it is up to each state to establish additional safeguards. Some states offer better protection to people of faith than others. First Liberty Institute’s Center for Religion, Culture, & Democracy has an excellent resource called Religious Liberty In the States that evaluates each state’s free-exercise protections. To find out where your state ranks among others, visit their website and click on your state.
Parents Take School Board to Court for Assigning LGBTQ Books Without Their Consent
“Six Maryland parents of different religious backgrounds are suing the Montgomery County Board of Education for forcing their children to read LGBTQ “pride” books without parental knowledge or consent. The federal lawsuit comes after the school board in the affluent Maryland county created a list of 13 newly approved “LGBTQ-inclusive” books and informed parents that they no longer would be allowed to opt their children out of the curriculum.” read more at the Daily Signal
- Consider that these parents are not even asking the school to stop reading these books (although that would be a blessing for all). They are simply asserting their right to be notified so they can opt their own children out. And even this right is being denied them. One school board member told parents that opting their child out of the book-reading “is just telling that kid, ‘[h]ere’s another reason to hate another person.’”
- Parents, while we must maintain a soft heart toward people who malign us, we’re going to have to develop thick skin. If standing up for your child means you will be called hateful, that’s a price you must be ready to pay. Remember that you are not the radical one. How can anyone say that a book designed for 3 to 5-year-olds that tells them to find a drag queen, an intersex flag, and underwear in the illustrations is a necessary part of school?
- As this story illustrates, the pressure to bow to the idol of “pride” is year-round. But it will be especially intense during June, or “LGBTQ Pride Month”. It seems as though almost no space is untouched, from baseball to retail.
- How did we get here? One of the most influential documents to support the LGBT agenda was an article written in 1987 for Guide Magazine. Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen detailed the steps necessary to create the desired change: desensitization, inundation, and vilification. The first step is the desensitization of the American public. Then you inundate the airwaves with the issue. This allows the issue to become somewhat normative. The final step was the vilification of opponents through the emotional testimonies of victims. Making dissenters “look nasty” and “backwards” allows a sense of shame and guilt to characterize those who do not share similar beliefs.
- It’s a powerful tactic. If we live by our feelings, we will likely find ourselves bowing to this cultural idol. But remember John’s encouragement to the church: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Lord Jesus, my heart is heavy for my country, the children, and the church in midst of this craziness. Help us to stand like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, faithful no matter the cost. Through our witness, continue drawing people to your gospel of redemption, forgiveness, and transforming grace. Bless our judges and officials and let them protect our right to obey You and raise our children in Your truth.
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