WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - November 20, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Less than half of US evangelicals identify as 'pro-life,' new poll suggests
Only a quarter of evangelicals in the United States believe abortion should be illegal in all cases, according to a new poll showing that a majority of self-identified Christians in the U.S. identify as “pro-choice” and less than half of evangelicals identify as “pro-life.” Save the Storks, a pro-life organization that partners with pregnancy centers to provide women with free ultrasounds, released a new survey this week that it sponsored through the research firm Magid. The survey is based on online interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide ages 18 to 69 conducted in May to gauge Americans’ opinions and attitudes on abortion. “There’s a disconnect in our culture right now,” said OB-GYN Dr. Karysse Trandem, a spokesperson for Save the Storks. “The majority of Americans believe that life begins at or before the heartbeat, but the majority of evangelicals and Catholics identify as pro-choice.” While the research breaks down data by religious demographics, it should be noted that religious classification for the survey was done by self-identification. This means that evangelical respondents were self-identified and not determined by belief qualification. The data shows that 25 percent of all respondents identify themselves as “pro-life” — a political term used typically to identify someone who opposes abortion — while 40 percent identified as “pro-choice” — a term typically used to identify someone who supports abortion rights. read more
The survey comes after a Gallup poll earlier this year found that 58 percent of respondents oppose legislation that would ban abortion once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. While this particular research gives us hope, it seems Christians need to push for a more honest dialogue on the topic. “We are going to have to work harder to equip the next generation of Christians to have a more life-affirming ethic on this issue.” Save the Storks President Paul Isaacs said in a statement. Over the past year, several states have enacted restrictions on abortion such as bills making abortion illegal once a heartbeat can be detected or as early as six weeks into gestation. In response to these mounting restrictions, Planned Parenthood has continued its fight, recently launching an app to help women find the nearest abortion centers. We are witnessing the dramatic contrast between two very different ideologies play out in state legislatures across our nation, and it seems there is no issue more important to both Christians and Secularists than the subject of abortion. Until the sanctity of every human life is protected, Christians have quite the fight ahead of them, for even a single abortion is one too many (Psalm 139:13-16).
These startling statistics reveal the hearts of so many people. Pray that God would open their eyes to the reality of this “fundamental right” that innocent babies are losing their lives for. Pray that believers would continue to speak boldly and loudly on this topic.
Lila Rose is one of the most influential voices in our nation on the sanctity of life, and she stands unafraid to challenge the secular worldview that has propelled abortion worldwide. Watch this quick clip where she addresses how Christians can defend a biblical worldview on life when it has been distorted by culture.
Chick-fil-A Stops Giving to Salvation Army, FCA Amid LGBT Protests
As Chick-fil-A expands globally and into more liberal parts of the U.S., the chicken chain plans to change which charities it donates to after years of bad press and protests from the LGBT community. Beginning next year, Chick-fil-A will move away from its current philanthropic structure, Bisnow has learned. After donating to more than 300 charitable organizations this year, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain will instead focus on three initiatives with one accompanying charity each: education, homelessness, and hunger. “There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said in an interview with Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.” The new initiative will no longer include donating to organizations like the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home, Chick-fil-A says, all of which sparked criticism in the past from the LGBT community due to the organizations’ stances on homosexuality. read more
For years now, Chick-fil-A has been on the front lines of controversy. Despite its unmatched success, the restaurant has endured a steady drumbeat of news reports calling the brand into question for its past donations to faith-based organizations that favor the biblical definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Our Honorary National Chairman, Governor Mike Huckabee responded to the decision by saying in a tweet “In Aug 2012, I coordinated a national @ChickfilA Appreciation Day after they were being bullied by militant hate groups. Millions showed up. Today, @ChickfilA betrayed loyal customers for $$. I regret believing they would stay true to convictions of founder Truett Cathey. Sad.” The Salvation Army responded by saying “We're saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed.” Its statement is particularly poignant because Chick-fil-A said it was ending the partnership with The Salvation Army in order to focus on “education, homelessness, and hunger.” Many have long admired Chick-fil-A for its leaders’ commitment to biblical morality. The restaurant could have withdrawn its support of The Salvation Army and FCA years ago, which would have been the path of least resistance, but they persisted in the face of enormous opposition. However, unless the Chick-fil-A Foundation directly addresses the role, if any, played by LGBTQ-activist pressure in its latest announcement, we are left to wonder if its leaders have capitulated to cultural pressure.
As Christians face an increased cost in our nation for standing for biblical truth, pray for boldness and conviction to stand for Christ, no matter the price we may have to pay. Pray Romans 12:2 over your life which says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The Salvation Army officially launched the 2019 Christmas Kettle Campaign this week, its largest public fundraising drive of the year. Look for the red kettles and throw your support their way as the organization continues to face scrutiny while still serving our communities. Its impact is truly remarkable as last year alone, The Salvation Army's 3,600 officers, 64,000 employees, and 3.3 million volunteers served nearly 30 million Americans in need. That equates to serving about one person every second.
Louisiana's John Bel Edwards wins reelection to remain Deep South's only Democratic governor
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards won a second term Saturday to remain the only Democratic governor in the Deep South despite an all-out effort by President Donald Trump to flip the seat to the Republican column. Edwards narrowly beat wealthy Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who invested more than $14 million of his own money to finance his campaign and tied himself to Trump from start to finish. Edwards had to fend off Trump and Vice President Mike Pence during the months-long campaign. Trump headlined three Louisiana rallies to oust Edwards, first in Lake Charles on the eve of the Oct. 12 primary election and then in Monroe and Bossier City during the runoff campaign. read more
Just over 40,000 votes separated Edwards and Rispone when all the votes were tallied. Edwards is in many ways a fairly conventional Democrat but on gun control and abortion, he’s far more conservative than his party. In May, he signed into law one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country, earning praise from groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, which applauded him for "leading the way in the bipartisan effort to bring our nation's laws into line with basic human decency." Edwards said, “I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years. As governor, I have been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue. But it is also my sincere belief that being pro-life means more than being pro-birth." The big national headlines say this should be a warning to President Trump, that he couldn’t even beat the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, in a state that is heavily Republican. But Gov. Edwards, a pro-life Catholic, is not a liberal Democrat; had he been, he probably would have lost. Had he vetoed the heartbeat bill, he would have been defeated. Louisiana is still a conservative state that’s going to vote for Trump in 2020. That said, given all the effort Trump spent trying to recapture the governor’s mansion in Louisiana for the GOP, that loss is meaningful.
As Christians, we are encouraged to pray for our elected officials. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) Commit to pray faithfully for all of your elected officials. Follow this prayer guide and then send a message to your elected officials, telling them you prayed for them here.
There are still a few elections taking place before the end of this year, but there will be over 100,000 elections taking place across the country in 2020. That is a lot of influence that we, as Christians, can have if we pray, think and show up to vote. Make sure you are ready for 2020 by registering to vote. If you’re already registered commit to encouraging 3 other people to make sure they are ready to vote too. Don’t miss any of your opportunities to vote by signing up to get your personalized voting reminders here.
Demand for Bibles in China Reaches a Staggering 200 Million, Despite Heavy Persecution
Despite relentless persecution, the Christian community in China is thriving. Totaling around 100 million believers, and with hundreds of thousands being baptized annually, many experts predict that China will become the world’s most Christian nation by 2030. The staggering explosion of faith is, in part, down to the mass printing of Bibles. Indeed, China’s Amity Printing Company just announced that it recently produced its 200 millionth bible. The firm’s rate of production has increased exponentially. In 2012, they reached 100 million after some 25 years of printing. Just seven years later, and they had doubled that figure. “Out of the 200 million Bibles printed, more than 85 million copies were printed and distributed for the churches in China, including Braille Bibles and Bibles in 11 ethnic minority languages,” said Qiu Zhonghui, Board Chairman of Amity Foundation, according to Eternity News. “Since 2003, APC began to grow its Bible printing for overseas distribution and to date, it has printed 115 million copies of Bible for more than 140 countries and territories.” Church leaders gathered together with staff from the United Bible Societies (UBS) on November 11 to celebrate the remarkable milestone. read more
Chinese officials were also reported to have attended the celebration event as part of the Chinese government’s efforts to de-westernize Christianity and, in essence, to ensure its influence does not jeopardize the ultimate power and authority of President Xi Jinping. While it appears the celebration was very much state-mandated, many heralded the event as quite a success. Melissa Lipsett, COO of Bible Society Australia, described the occasion as “a wonderful celebration of the partnership between Amity Foundation, the church in China, and the church around the world.” The event comes in the midst of Christians across China being subject to brutal oppression in recent months, with mass arrests and the forced demolition of churches becoming the norm. The Chinese government has even begun interrogating believers for purchasing faith-based books online. While it is unclear the government's intentions behind allowing this peaceable celebration to take place, Lipsett said, “the incredible milestone represents the Bible being placed into the hands and hearts of millions of Chinese Christians - a remarkable ‘Only God’ feat!” The Word of God is sovereign and triumphant set out to accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He has sent it (Isaiah 55).
Pray for the Christians in China that boldly pursue the Word of God even if it comes at a high cost. Pray Christianity would continue to thrive in China. Pray that God would open the eyes and touch the hearts of these government leaders that do not know Him.
Finding the word of God in China has proven problematic for decades, but even in the midst of such oppression, the Bible has always prevailed. We encourage you to take a few minutes to read this incredible story when missionaries smuggled one million bibles into communist China.
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