WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - NOVEMBER 10, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Senate GOP Blocks Federal Election Law Debate for Fourth Time This Year
“Senate Democrats tried and failed once again Wednesday to begin debate on a bill that would radically revamp America’s election laws, as all but two Republicans voted to block the measure from coming to the chamber floor. Just 50 senators, including Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), voted to open debate on the legislation, known as the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill needed 60 votes to clear the Senate’s legislative filibuster. Forty-nine senators voted to block debate, with Republican Mike Rounds of South Dakota not recording a vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), initially voted ‘yea,’ but changed his vote to ‘nay’ in order to bring the motion forward again at a later date.” read more at the New York Post
These Democrat-led election reform bills introduced over the last year attempt to federalize elections. This particular bill would give the Department of Justice nearly limitless power to veto new election integrity laws in every single state, among other significant election law changes. But the DOJ is already taking action against a state. Last week the DOJ announced they filed a lawsuit against Texas, targeting a state law that proponents say aims to make elections more secure. Senate Bill 1 was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in early September, establishing new rules for mail-in voting and giving the state more control over local voting operations. "No one who is eligible to vote will be denied the opportunity to vote," the governor said after signing the legislation in September. "It does, however, make it harder for people to cheat." Republicans have argued the bill is a necessary step to put a stop to voter fraud in the state and boost voter confidence in the integrity of elections. Democrats, however, claim there is no evidence to support the notion that widespread voter fraud is a problem in the state. But what happens if no one shows up to vote? In New Jersey, fewer than 37% of eligible voters turned out to vote in last week’s gubernatorial election, the lowest in a century. While the race was called for Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli is not ready to concede, arguing that the election is still too close to call, but making clear that are not making accusations of fraud. Elections have consequences and they are determined by those who show up. Our mission at My Faith Votes is to equip and motivate the 1 in 3 Christians who do not vote. Our faith should impact every area of life, including the ballot box. If we don’t show up, we’re leaving a lot of influence on the table and negating the opportunity to impact our communities, states, and nation with biblical truth.
Lord God, we pray for fair and just elections. We pray for attention to the rule of law and any changes in election law to reflect the will of the people rather than partisan manipulation. Thank You for the right to vote that we have been afforded in this nation in selecting those who serve us in government. May we not become complacent or disengaged in that privilege and responsibility.
Brave men and women fought to protect the freedoms that are often taken for granted, including our right to vote. Our republic is possible thanks to the service and sacrifice of our Veterans and active duty service members. This Thursday, November 11, is Veterans Day. Meet Bronze Star Recipient Master Sgt. Randall Martin (Ret.) who also serves My Faith Votes as an Action Partner. He took time to honor his fellow brothers and sisters in arms in this poignant article. And be sure to take time to thank and honor a veteran in your life.
Biden Administration Asks Federal Appeals Court to Lift Order Blocking COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
“The Biden administration is asking a federal court to lift an order that blocked its rule mandating that larger employers require workers to get COVID-19 vaccines or submit to regular testing. The request, filed Monday, comes after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a group of businesses to halt the order, citing ‘grave statutory and constitutional issues.’ The ruling put the mandate on hold until pending litigation could be heard. But the administration claims that the companies that won the emergency stay were not claiming a major prospect of harm from the rule until December, arguing that the court should allow the mandate to proceed.” read more at Fox News
This issue gives us a window into how the current administration views its responsibility and authority over the citizens of this country–of which eighty-four million would be affected by the mandate. According to the White House, "The Department of Labor has a responsibility to keep workers safe and the legal authority to do so.” Its legal authority is certainly under question. This article by Jacob Sullum lays out the numerous arguments against a federal mandate. Twenty-seven states as well as many businesses and nonprofit organizations have filed lawsuits in additional Circuit Courts. In a discussion on Newsmax, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz stated he believes the president’s mandate is unconstitutional unless Congress passes legislation giving the president express authority. Victoria Toensing, former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, believes any vaccine mandate legislation should come from the states instead of Congress. Both agree, however, that the president simply doesn’t have Constitutional authority to unilaterally order a vaccine mandate through OSHA for private companies. Sullum points out that in a 2014 case, the Supreme Court commented, “We expect Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decision of vast ‘economic and political significance.” And Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, remarked, “If any president can order the American people to do anything, we no longer need a Congress, a judiciary, or even laws” --all things that the Founding Fathers set up to enable the government to restrain evil among its citizens while also restraining evil within the government itself. This tendency of governmental abuse of power requires careful consideration of its claim of “a responsibility to keep workers safe.” The Bible makes clear in passages such as Romans 13 that the government is supposed to punish evildoers, protecting its citizens. However, the perspective of this administration currently seems to extend beyond its reasonable responsibilities, attempting to create a utopian society that eradicates risk in the first place.
Pray for fellow believers who are currently faced with a difficult decision regarding their job and the vaccine. Pray that they will seek to honor our Lord in this decision, and that He will provide for them. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
First Liberty, the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty for all Americans, provides a number of resources on the mandate issue. You can find the information here.
House Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill After Months of Negotiations
“The House of Representatives passed President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill late Friday night in a crucial victory for his administration, ending stalled negotiations between moderates and progressives that threatened to obstruct the legislation. The House voted to pass the bill with a 228-206 vote, with 13 Republican lawmakers joining Democrats in approving the legislation. Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Cori Bush (MO), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (MA) were the only Democrats to vote against it. The bill, which will fund physical infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, water pipes and broadband internet, will be sent to Biden’s desk for final approval. In August, the Senate voted 69-30 to approve the legislation.” read more at Townhall
The historic 2700 page bill passed at 11:30pm on Friday. The Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote "yes" were Reps. Bacon (NE), Fitzpatrick (PA), Garbarino (NY), Gonzalez (OH), Katko (NY), Kinzinger (IL), Malliotakis (NY), McKinley (WV), Reed (NY), Smith (NJ), Upton (MI), Van Drew (NJ), and Young (AK). Had the Republicans stood unanimously against the bill, six Democrat defections would have defeated it. The infrastructure bill, long touted as “bipartisan” because Senate Republicans helped craft it, includes billions for improving mass transportation, expanding broadband internet access, and increasing green energy subsidies. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says the infrastructure bill that will be signed by President Biden is a "godsend"for his state. A breakdown of the spending bill was detailed here. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat leaders also pledged to pass an additional $1.75 trillion social spending bill by Thanksgiving. Pelosi stated the social spending bill would be more “transformative” than the Affordable Care Act. Senate and House Republicans have been nearly united in opposition to the $1.75 trillion spending bill, which conservatives view as a slimmed-down wish-list of the left’s big-government socialism policy goals, for which the price tag originally was more than double at $3.5 trillion. There is an admission coming from many in the Democratic party that this bill will “transform American life”, and not just public life but private life. This is a bill that when it comes to childcare, early childhood education, and any number of other federal spending programs, will invade, and redefine American family life. Another area already impacting families is cost of living. Last month, the Energy Information Administration released a report stating U.S. households that rely on natural gas for heating could spend an average of $746 to heat their homes this winter—up 30 percent from the previous one. Retail natural gas prices are expected to hit the highest levels since the winter of 2005-2006. And even higher energy bills could be on the horizon if the Biden administration closes a gas and oil pipeline running through Michigan, a group of Midwest lawmakers have warned. Line 5 pipeline could be under threat due to the White House exploring the potential impact of closing it on fuel prices in the region, according to a recent Politico report, amid a drive to reduce the U.S.'s dependence on fossil fuels. It has been said that politics is important because it affects policy, which in turn affects people. Thankfully, we are blessed to have an impact on policies through political involvement. We can steward this responsibility well by being informed and engaged.
Pray for the outpouring of wisdom, discernment, and divine understanding for Congress and the current Administration. Ask the Lord to show them how to decrease our national deficit and protect our natural resources. In Jesus’ name, amen.
In Honduras, where infrastructure is lacking, the Christian Relief Fund is literally strapping food and supplies onto motorbikes, bicycles and donkeys to reach children and their families. Learn more and consider supporting the ministry here.
200 House Republicans sign letter urging Biden not to reopen Jerusalem consulate
“Two hundred House Republicans signed a letter Monday urging US President Joe Biden not to go forward with plans to reopen the American consulate in Jerusalem, which historically served as the de facto representative office to the Palestinians. The letter spearheaded by Rep. Lee Zeldin followed GOP legislation in the Senate aimed at blocking such a move, which has become the latest victim of partisan politics in Washington. Like the Senate legislation co-sponsored by 35 GOP lawmakers, the letter signed by all but 12 House Republicans claims that reopening the consulate would be ‘inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by promoting division of Jerusalem.’” read more at the Times of Israel
After President Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in 2018, he replaced the separate consulate to the Palestinians with the Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU), which is located inside the Embassy. Why create a separate consulate again? What does such a move indicate about this administration’s attitude towards Israel’s right to Jerusalem? Our friend and news anchor Dan Cohen recently spoke to David Parsons, a co-author of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which called for a United States Embassy in Jerusalem. Parsons stressed that “the attempt to reopen the consulate would be one step backwards for Jerusalem and two steps backwards for peace." It would encourage other nations to station their outreach to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, even though the Palestinian government is located in Ramallah. During his recent trip to Israel, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson stated he believes the Biden Administration’s plan creates a contradiction in light of our affirmation of Jerusalem being Israel’s capital. At a summit held by the Anti-Defamation League, Vice President Kamala Harris stated that the Biden Administration was “fully committed to fighting anti-Semitism.” It seems curious, then, that they would open a separate consulate to the Palestinian authority which has clearly stated its hatred for the nation of Israel. In other news, Colombian President Ivan Duque visited Israel this week, overseeing the opening of a trade office in Jerusalem and establishing friendly relations with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. While not everyone holds a biblical perspective regarding God’s history and plan for the nation of Israel, many at least recognize their right to the land, and the positive influence of their democracy.
Heavenly Father, we pray that the people of Israel would turn to Jesus as their Savior, and so worship You in spirit and in truth. You have said that “to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” (2 Corinthians 3:15-16) With that in mind, let us be faithful to share the hope of the Gospel–the fulfillment of Your promise to Abraham that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed.
David Friedman, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel under President Trump, produced an insightful documentary on the Abraham Accords–historical peace agreements between Arab nations and Israel. The film explores the spiritual side of the story as well, creating what Joel Rosenberg calls a “must-see”. You can watch it here on the TBN network.
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.