WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - MAY 5, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Biden, Tim Scott Present Dueling Visions for America
“As President Biden marks his 100th day in office this week, the schism between Democrat and Republican visions for the country, particularly on social and economic policies, has never run deeper. Biden laid out his plan for the U.S. in a joint address to Congress on Wednesday night, touting a $6 trillion spending plan that would fundamentally expand the role of the federal government. The Biden spending package, known as the American Families Plan, is designed to grow government assistance programs for education, childcare and housing. Biden insisted his proposal would help Americans by putting money directly into their pockets. "No one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck, or taking care of themselves and their loved ones, or parent or spouse or child," Biden said. The Wall Street Journal criticized Biden's "cradle to grave" plan, arguing that it was designed to make the middle-class dependent on government. Republican Sen. Tim Scott from South Carolina delivered the Republican rebuttal to the president's remarks Wednesday, and directly refuted Biden and the Democrats' big spending approach. The South Carolina senator argued that conservative policies and principles are the way to set Americans free, not big government stepping in. Scott told the American people in his televised address that the American Family Plan would lead to ‘even more taxing, even more spending, to put Washington even more in the middle of your life — from the cradle, to college.’” read more at Fox News
Take some time to watch Senator Scott’s fourteen-minute speech. The differences in their underlying beliefs are apparent. While they both see the problems, President Biden views government as the solution, while the majority of Senator Scott’s optimistic hope is in the individual people, and the ability of communities to come together. Which is a more Biblical approach that loves our neighbor as ourselves? In evaluating President Biden’s proposed federal funding, which includes two free years of early childhood education plus two years of community college, we must ask what consequences will likely result. Leading up to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’ welfare programs in 1964, the poverty rate in the U.S. was steadily declining from roughly 32.2% in 1950 to 17.3% in 1965, according to Census data. The downward trend stopped in 1970, however, and the poverty rate has consistently remained between 15-12% of our population. Even after such dismal results, government spending on welfare continues to increase. Wouldn’t all that money be better spent on private charities or businesses that help people gain self-sufficiency instead of increased dependence? If it doesn’t work, is it really loving our neighbor as ourselves? It was reported last week that a record 34% of all household income in the US now comes from the government. We must also take the social consequences of government spending into account. When the government steps into the roles that are better fulfilled by individuals, families, and churches (including Christian ministries), it encourages unhealthy dependency and reduced incentive to work, get married and have a family. At the start of the War on Poverty, only seven percent of children were born outside of marriage. Today, over forty percent do not live in an intact family. With this historical perspective in mind, ask yourself again, which vision for America will promote a better society?
As “identity politics” seeks to divide our nation even further, pray that truth would overcome every falsehood in America today, from distortions in the media to the lies we accept in our daily lives about ourselves and about others. Ask God for forgiveness and reconciliation where conflict and broken relationships exist. We who follow Christ should pray that God will help us recognize and graciously and respectfully correct these lies, for only the Gospel secures peace and unites a fractured society.
We created a prayer guide for you to be able to pray for those in the federal government, by name and position. Download and share the free government officials prayer guide here.
States Introduced Over 500 Bills Saving Babies from Abortions and 61 Have Become Law
“States have introduced more than 500 pro-life pieces of legislation in the first few months of President Joe Biden’s administration, in what the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute is calling the “most devastating” legislative session in decades. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute announced Friday that lawmakers have introduced 536 pro-life pieces of legislation since January. This includes 146 abortion bans, the institute noted, and 61 of the pro-life laws have been enacted across 13 states. The institute called the sheer quantity of the legislation “unprecedented.” “Right-wing ideologues are engaging in a shock and awe campaign against abortion rights that is largely getting lost against the background of a broader attack on other basic rights, including a wave of voter suppression laws and attacks on LGBTQ people,” the institute said in a press release. “The number of abortion restrictions—and specifically bans on abortion designed to directly challenge Roe v. Wade and the U.S. constitutional right to abortion—that have swiftly been enacted over the past four months is unprecedented,” the press release said. “If this trend continues, 2021 will end up as the most damaging antiabortion state legislative session in a decade—and perhaps ever.” read more at LifeNews.com
The Guttmacher Institute put the surge of pro-life bills in perspective, noting that by this time in 2011, the year which they previously considered to be most hostile to ‘abortion rights’, only forty-two restrictions had been enacted. These “restrictions” go to various lengths to protect life, including stopping late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy, ending lethal discrimination against unborn children for reasons like a Down syndrome diagnosis, protecting unborn babies from the moment their heartbeat can be detected, and safeguarding women from dangerous abortion drugs, according to Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. At the local level, cities are standing for life as well. Last week, Lubbock, Texas, became the largest city in the country to become a Sanctuary City for the Unborn. Over 200 churches of varying denominations united to support the ordinance. The measure passed with 62% of the vote in the city of over 260,000. The ordinance reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the City of Lubbock, Texas.” While it is not fully enforceable until Roe v. Wade is overturned, it does allow relatives of an aborted child to sue the abortionist. Is it Biblical for the government to get involved in the abortion debate? To answer this requires knowledge of what abortion is and the role God desires for government. Since the unborn fetus is a human being from the moment of conception, and abortion ends his or her innocent life, abortion is murder. Prohibiting murder is clearly within the Biblical jurisdiction of government. Proverbs 31:8 records instructions to King Lemuel (a governing authority) from his mother. She urges him: “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.” Romans 13 describes a governing ruler as “the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.” While governments do not always carry this out, and in many cases, punish the good while praising the evildoer, that should not stop Christians from being engaged in the political level. In fact, it should provide motivation.
Heavenly Father, thank you for those who are standing for life! We thank you for prolife progress. We ask that You raise up more states and leaders who are willing to protect and be a voice for the unborn. Bring encouragement to those who are growing weary in this battle. We pray for a continued move toward prolife legislation in states across this nation.
Did you know there are over 2,700 Pregnancy Resource Centers across the nation that served almost two million people in 2019, at an estimated value of nearly $270 million? And over 80% of the 63,000+ working in these centers are volunteers? That is faith in action. These centers always need your help in their mission to support women facing unplanned pregnancies. Whether it be your time, resources, financial help, or emotional and spiritual encouragement, CareNet offers an easy way to find the nearest Pregnancy Resource Center near you to take action.
Opponents of ‘Critical Race Theory’ Win Texas School Board Election
“A Texas school board has scored an overwhelming election victory to stop “critical race theory” and a new “cultural competence action plan” from being forced into classes. The elections in Southlake on Saturday were so divisive that backers of the new anti-racism measures called on the Department of Justice to intervene — and even pop star Demi Lovato ripped opponents of the plan. “It is horrifying to see how some of the parents … are literally FIGHTING to uphold white supremacy and are resisting the anti-racism work that is so needed,” she tweeted in January, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted. Opponents, however, told a series of heated meetings for the Carroll school district that the plan created “diversity police” — and was effectively “reverse racism” pushing a “left-wing agenda,” the Dallas Morning News previously reported. They even went to court and won a temporary restraining order to stop implementation, the paper noted. Voters also sent a resounding message against the plan at the weekend election — with the two school board positions as well as mayor and city council seats going to opponents of the “cultural competence,” with each getting almost 70 percent of the vote.” read more at the New York Post
Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation, wrote a Christian rebuttal of Critical Race Theory in the Christian Post. How does CRT manifest in classrooms? The Virginia Department of Education is considering ending advanced diplomas for the entire state so that “graduation requirements can operate as a level for equity”, according to Director of Policy Leslie Sale. The Department is also considering the implementation of “Social Emotional Learning”, which teaches students how to have “healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” In other words, in addition to academics, schools would assume the responsibility of teaching values. Shouldn’t that be left to the parents? On the final night of his 100 Day Campfire Revival, Kirk Cameron said, "School is a discipleship program that lasts seven hours a day and five days a week. You can't overcome that with one hour of Sunday school or a youth group on Wednesday nights. Your children have been placed in your hands by God to disciple them and train them up in the way they should go. If they're not being trained in that way, you and I are responsible to adjust and recalibrate and God will help you." Parents in Delaware recently formed an organization called Stand Up Delaware to support local school board candidates who will stand against any form of Critical Race Theory in their schools. In Texas, several bills to Ban Critical race Theory are moving through the legislature; one has already passed the state Senate. It is encouraging to see parents stepping up in the battle over their children’s minds. How are you involved?
Lord, thank You for these voters who participated and took action. Raise up more leaders in our school systems all around our nation who proclaim Your Word and name and stand against harmful agendas.
One of our partners, iVoterGuide, has produced a short eBook to help you discern qualified school board candidates who will be ‘gatekeepers’ of our schools and stand against harmful indoctrination of our children. You can sign up for this free resource here.
Public Prayer Gathering Prohibited at US Capitol Building for National Day of Prayer
“For the first time in 70 years, there will be no public prayer gathering at the US Capitol building during The National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6th. Rev Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, has been denied a permit to hold a prayer service at the Capitol on The National Day of Prayer. Peaceful First Amendment activities continue to be prohibited on the grounds of the United States Capitol. The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” The president is required by law to sign a proclamation each year, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Before Easter, Rev Mahoney filed a federal lawsuit against Speaker Pelosi and Vice-President Harris seeking injunctive relief to hold a public Good Friday Service at the Capitol after his permit application was denied. ‘It is deeply troubling for the first time in 70 years, there will not be a public prayer service at the United States Capitol Building on The National Day of Prayer,’ says Rev Mahoney. ‘Every American needs to be asking the question, how is it possible to have public prayer prohibited at the Capitol on The National Day of Prayer? Especially when it is a national observance designated by Congress...’” read more at US Christian News
As Oswald Chambers said, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” It may be difficult to pray on the Capitol grounds this year, but it does not stop the call of Romans 12:12 which says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” There are gatherings still happening across our nation on Thursday and the National Day of Prayer website has a guide to help find an event taking place near you. Someone we can be praying for is a Christian member of the Finnish Parliament who has been under police investigation since June 2019 for publicly voicing her opinion on marriage and human sexuality in a 2004 pamphlet, for comments made on a 2018 TV show, and a tweet directed at her church leadership. A medical doctor, mother of five and grandmother of six, Räsänen now faces two years in prison for each alleged “hate crime.” Her courage is worth emulating as she stated, “I will defend my right to confess my faith, so that no one else would be deprived of their right to freedom of religion and speech. I hold on to the view that my expressions are legal and they should not be censored. I will not back down from my views. I will not be intimidated into hiding my faith. The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets.” We must also be praying for our brothers and sisters in China as they continue to face intensifying persecution. In a move to crack down on Christianity nationwide, the Chinese government is targeting cyberspace— Bible Apps and Christian WeChat public accounts have now been removed. And new regulations went into effect on Saturday that all Catholic bishops must be approved and ordained by the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference which requires that clergy “support the leadership of the Communist Party,” and that clergy must not “endanger national security” or be “dominated by foreign forces.” As you pray for our nation this Thursday, pray that we will stand for religious freedom, not only for our citizens, but for all people.
As James 5:16 says, “A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much." Father, You instruct us to pray without ceasing. We come together to pray for all that is taking place in our nation and around the world. We know the war is a spiritual battle. We pray that this National Day of Prayer will spark revival in our own hearts, in our government and across this nation.
We’ve created a prayer guide with 5 prayer priorities to pray through this week as we prepare for the National Day of Prayer. You can find it and share it 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.