WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - NOVEMBER 15, 2023
NEW INTERVIEW ALERT: My Faith Votes’ CEO, Jason Yates, recently talked with journalist Billy Hallowell to discuss current trends in the news media and social media as well as the media’s proliferation of polarization in the battle for truth. You can watch it here.
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Election Results 2023: Biggest Moments from Key Races
“Democrats had plenty of good news to celebrate in Tuesday’s off-year elections and more evidence that they can win races centered on the national debate over abortion. Abortion rights supporters won an Ohio ballot measure and the Democratic governor of beet-red Kentucky held onto his office by campaigning on reproductive rights and painting his opponent as extremist. A Democrat won an open seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after campaigning on his pledge to uphold abortion rights. And Democrats took full control of the Virginia statehouse, blocking Republicans from being able to pass new abortion restrictions and delivering a defeat to Gov. Glenn Youngkin that may douse any buzz about a late entry into the GOP presidential primary.” read more at The Associated Press
- Two important observations made from last week’s results were that voter turnout was low across the US and spending mattered. For example, in the KY Governor’s race, there was only 37.9% voter turnout, down 8.4% from the last gubernatorial election. And all major elections were decided by which side spent more, with Democrats outspending Republicans across the country.
- According to Ballotpedia, voters in five states decided on 28 statewide ballot measures on November 7. Voters approved 23 (82%) and rejected five (18%). The average vote was 63% ‘Yes’ to 37% ‘No’. At least ten state legislative incumbents lost on Tuesday. Seven Republicans, one Democrat, and two independents—were defeated. Nationally, Republicans will be the majority in 56 chambers, down from 57 before the election. Democrats will be the majority in 41, up from 40. (The Alaska House and Senate are organized under multipartisan, power-sharing coalitions.)
- One of the most troublesome results of last week’s election centered around Ohio’s easy passage of Issue 1, which now solidifies abortion as a “constitutional right” in the state. Exit polling revealed that Trump voters were more than twice as likely to support the amendment as Biden voters were to oppose it, showing Biden voters are more unified in supporting legal abortion than Trump voters are unified in opposing it. Meanwhile, one-fourth (24 percent) of white voters who self-identify as born-again or evangelical supported Issue 1, according to the exit polling. For more context, 38% of Ohioans attend church weekly, which is roughly 3M people. The number of votes for Issue 1 was 2.2M. The number of votes against Issue 1 was 1.7M. What if more of the church had shown up at the polls?
- Elections will come and go. This is a process that must continue because, as James Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” To keep the proper perspective, it helps to remember our assignment, which is not fixed on “winning” elections. Our call is simple...we PRAY for our nation, we THINK biblically about issues, and we VOTE accordingly…in every election. The results belong to God.
Use the words of President George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation to help guide you in prayer today: “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor...Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks…and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
Did you participate in our election recap special with My Faith Votes CEO Jason Yates and Lt. Col. Allen West? If you missed it, you can watch it here. They gave an insightful look at last week’s election results, discussed how we can be best informed and activated going into the critical 2024 elections, and took questions from the audience.
House Votes to Avert Government Shutdown
“The House on Tuesday passed a stopgap bill to prevent a government shutdown, sending the unconventional two-step continuing resolution to the Senate and marking the first major hurdle Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has cleared since winning the gavel. The chamber approved the short-term funding measure in a 336-95 vote, days before Friday night’s shutdown deadline. Two Democrats and 93 Republicans opposed the bill.” read more at The Hill
- Several conservative House Republicans who opposed the continuing resolution (CR) criticized the bill for not having any spending cuts, but most of them avoided putting the blame on Speaker Johnson, who has only had a few weeks to negotiate a solution to avoid a shutdown. Democrats overwhelmingly backed the legislation despite strong reservations about the unusual two-part approach.
- To fund the various government agencies, Congress is supposed to pass 12 appropriations bills by September 30. That deadline was extended to this Friday. The CR just passed by the House would fund agencies covered by four appropriations bills (Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, Energy-Water and Transportation-HUD) until January 19, and it would fund agencies covered by the other eight appropriations bills until February 2.
- What is the logic behind having some funding run out on January 19, and the rest on February 2? The intent is to give the House and Senate more time to negotiate 12 regular funding bills rather than cram a single omnibus bill. Evaluating individual spending bills on their own merits increases transparency.
- As Joshua Arnold pointed out, many in Congress on both sides of the aisle dislike the accountability that individual spending bills require. They would prefer to hide behind a massive omnibus spending package. But omnibus spending is unsustainable because it does not restore fiscal accountability or sanity.
Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of all my possessions, and “the cattle on a thousand hills” belong to You. (Psalm 50:10) Thank You for the honor of being a steward of Your money for Your kingdom. Help my elected officials to remember that they are stewards as well. Guide them to spend our money in a way consistent with biblical values, with future generations in mind. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What do the Democratic, Libertarian, and Republican party platforms say about fiscal responsibility and what the government’s role in the economy is? How does it compare with the Bible? You can find out here in our summary of party platforms’ views on important issues. Share it with a friend to help them think biblically about everything.
Joe Manchin Won't Seek Reelection in 2024, Dealing Blow to Dems' Senate Map
“Joe Manchin will not seek reelection to the Senate, a move that essentially cedes his seat to the GOP in deep-red West Virginia and removes one of Congress' most prominent centrist voices in either party. The Mountain State Democrat won his seat in 2010 and hung on since then thanks to a moderate brand that's given him one of his party's most conservative records.” read more at Politico
- Senator Manchin, 76, said he would be “traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.” The statement echoed his previous refusal to rule out a 2024 White House bid at a town hall hosted by No Labels, a movement that has floated a third-party ticket in the event of a Biden-Trump rematch.
- Senator Manchin was instrumental in scaling back some of President Joe Biden’s key legislative proposals — including the Inflation Reduction Act, which adapted some proposals from the “Build Back Better” bill Manchin opposed. This reportedly caused friction between Manchin, other Democrats, and White House staff. With Manchin not running, Democrats have no current path to victory in West Virginia without Manchin in the race, so the party will need to look to other swing states to hold on to its slim Senate majority.
- In other notable 2024 election news, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina dropped out of the presidential race saying, “I love America more today than I did on May 22nd, but when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign.” Scott tested the campaign waters with a message of positivity, a message that has been lacking among the other candidates. But, as one of Scott’s supporters lamented, such optimism is “not where the Republican base is right now.” It’s not where most of the country seems to be either. A recent poll showed that 63 percent of Americans are very or somewhat pessimistic about “the moral and ethical standards in our country” while only 12 percent said they had “quite a lot” of confidence in the nation’s future. If Tim Scott’s message of positivity failed to resonate with voters, it is likely because there’s simply not much to be positive about, according to most Americans.
Pessimism in our nation can cause us to forget that we as Americans live in the freest nation in the history of the world with tremendous blessings. Scripture commands us to “Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18). Take time to give thanks today for God’s blessings. Any honest inventory of our blessings would be many pages long, but here are eight to get started.
We are all concerned with the current state of America. The question is: What Can We Do? We have a tremendous community called “Action Partners” that is an answer to that question. When you become an Action Partner, we connect you to thousands of like-minded Christians who are praying for our nation, staying informed on important elections, and taking meaningful action to make a tangible impact in their communities, state, and our nation. Become a My Faith Votes Action Partner and put your faith into action here.
Vatican Says Trans People Can be Baptized, Serve as Godparents 'Under Certain Conditions'
“The Vatican's doctrinal office issued a document earlier this week explaining that trans-identified individuals can be baptized and serve as godparents in some circumstances…The guidance, which was signed by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandéz, stipulated that people who have undergone transgender surgical procedures or taken cross-sex hormones can be baptized provided ‘there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating public scandal or disorientation among the faithful.’" read more at the Christian Post
- Unfortunately, the guidance itself is likely to generate “disorientation.” It seems to allow individuals living in sin to participate in church functions without calling them to repentance. Albert Mohler noted, “There are different ways of pushing a liberal agenda. One of them is just a revolutionary approach in which you say, "We're going to have to ditch all the doctrine…. The other way to do it is far more subtle and perhaps a little bit slower, but over time, perhaps more insidiously effective.” This document follows the pattern of the latter. All churches must be on their guard against a subtle shift from doctrine built on the clear teachings of scripture.
- Other news causing a stir is the Pope’s removal of theologically conservative Catholic bishop Joseph Strickland. According to the Christian Post, Strickland, like many theologically conservative Church leaders, has emerged as a critic of Pope Francis for advancing what he views as efforts to undermine traditional teachings of the Catholic Church regarding gender, marriage and sexuality and a failure to articulately defend such teachings from those who seek to change them.
- “[W]hen the Roman Catholic Church begins to send a very different signal on so many of the big moral issues, that's going to have a massive effect on the entire culture,” Mohler said. And politics–it has been said–is often downstream from culture. Our culture needs Christians to remain faithful to our Great Shepherd, and that means each of us should know what His word says regarding these important issues. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…”
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God… Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:1,5) Heavenly Father, thank You that in Christ, repentance is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. We pray that those who claim to be Christians but reject Your design for sexuality would be convicted, repent, and walk in faith and the abundant life You give.
The language used to describe gender has changed over the last few years. But what does the Bible say? Watch and share this two-and-a-half minute clip as we discuss this topic with David Closson of the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council.
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.