WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - NOVEMBER 30, 2022
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Georgia Supreme Court Reinstates Abortion Ban
“The Georgia Supreme Court has reinstated the state’s abortion ban after a local judge blocked the heartbeat law that protects babies from abortions at 6 weeks when their heartbeats can be detected. Earlier this month, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney sided with abortion advocates who falsely claimed the law violates the Georgia Constitution’s right to privacy and liberty by “forcing pregnancy and childbirth upon countless Georgians.” The right to privacy regards government monitoring of citizens and has nothing to do with killing babies in abortions and the ban does not force anyone to give birth given the fact that any resident can practice abstinence or use contraception to prevent pregnancy.” read more at LifeNews
- Abortion is a big issue in the Georgia Senate Runoff as well. The first day of statewide early voting saw a record-breaking 300,438 voters. Early voting will continue through Friday, with Election Day on Tuesday, December 6.
- A weekend poll of likely voters showed Republican Herschel Walker leading Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock by one percentage point, with a +/- 3.3 margin of error. Five percent of voters say they are undecided, so either candidate could win this race.
- The two could not be more opposite in their views on issues about which faith-based voters should care deeply. Our voter guide produced with Million Voices highlights the contrast so voters can clearly see the difference.
- One of the most important issues is abortion. Senator Warnock, who has labeled himself as a “pro-choice pastor”, voted to allow taxpayer funding of abortion, including late-term abortion. He also voted against a bill protecting babies who are born alive after a failed abortion attempt. Walker, in contrast, has affirmed his commitment to life and supports the 15-week abortion ban proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham.
- If Warnock wins, it would expand the Democrats' majority to 51-49. It would also move one step closer to abolishing the filibuster. With a 50-50 split in the U.S. Senate, a power-sharing agreement between the two parties would ensure equal representation on committees. It means that both the Majority leader and the Minority Leader have equal opportunity to bring items to the Senate floor. A 51-49 majority brings no such agreement. Elections have consequences.
Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are sovereign over the governments of the earth. Thank You for the duty and privilege You have given us to be salt and light in our country. Help Your people in Georgia to THINK about the principles of Your kingdom, PRAY for Your will to be done, and then VOTE according to those godly principles. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It’s time to cover Georgia in prayer. We’re asking Christians across the country to join us in prayer for the voters of Georgia as they prepare to vote in the runoff election for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, December 6. We call it “Pray GA” and we created a map to help you pray specifically—county-by-county—for the entire state. Join over 16,000 prayer warriors by clicking on a county in Georgia to pray for here.
Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill with Bipartisan Support
“The U.S. Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act Tuesday in a bipartisan vote of 61 to 36, which will require the federal government to recognize all marriages, including same-sex marriages, that are legal in the state where they took place. The measure will now move to the House, where it is expected to pass in the final days as a Democratic-controlled chamber, before making its way to the White House for President Joe Biden's signature.” read more at Fox News
- The Respect for Marriage Act is a trick – a Trojan horse. Disguised as a gay rights and interracial marriage bill, it is really designed to destroy the right of Americans to disagree by exposing them to lawsuits and government punishment for their sincerely held beliefs and opinions. It’s a sly move to cover up the attack on the time-tested, long-standing backbone of society, the intact biblical family of one man and one woman in a lifetime covenant marriage. No society has ever survived that did not revere and support this family structure.
- Christopher Bedford of the Common Sense Society warned that with this bill, “every state in the union would be required to recognize the marriage laws of any other state in the union. In practice, this will signal the Californication of American marriage laws; states from Montana to Texas, and from Florida to Washington would be governed by the most radical marriage laws of the most radical state…The result? Every man a Jack Phillips – the Colorado baker who’s spent a decade embroiled in frivolous-yet-life-altering legal harassment from both private activists and the state itself…A nearly-impossible-to-traverse lawsuit regime that can reach into your conscience from all angles. Both religious liberty and fundamental federalism in the hangman’s noose”
- Most people don’t realize the “Respect for Marriage Act” does not grant any new rights to LGBTQ and interracial couples. Instead, it eliminates rights of Americans to freely live by their belief if it differs from the opinion of same-sex marriage advocates. Its sole purpose is to denigrate and redefine God’s design for marriage.
- If you’re not familiar with legal terminology, it can be hard to realize that the so-called religious liberty protections of the latest version of the RFMA are basically useless. This piece by Roger Severino of the Heritage Foundation and this article by Kirsten Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom do a thorough job of explaining why the bill is so harmful to religious freedom.
- Stronger amendments in favor of religious liberty were voted down by the Senate and not seriously considered for adoption. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford remarked, “You know what that tells me? These [problems for religious liberty] are not mistakes in the drafting. This was purposeful.”
- We are in the middle of a national crisis culturally and morally - and it is screaming for a biblical response. Creators define their creations. They have the true understanding of its purpose and design. God created marriage, therefore only God's definition is legitimate. Marriage is a natural institution that predates government and anyone else who attempts to redefine marriage is an imposter and their definition is counterfeit. H.R. 8404 is a direct challenge to the authority of God. It seeks to enshrine marriage as a man-made institution determined solely by government directives driven by the worldview of feelings. The consequences will be disastrous.
One person of faith who is standing for religious freedom is Lorie Smith, a Colorado website designer who is challenging a state law that would force her to design websites with messages against her Christians beliefs, specifically regarding marriage. Alliance Defending Freedom is arguing her case on Monday, December 5 before the U.S. Supreme Court. They are asking the court to go beyond their narrow ruling for Christian cake artist Jack Phillips and ensure that states cannot force people to promote views that violate their faith. Please pray for this very important case!
Those who see and know the truth have a moral duty to stand firm in its defense and to defend the institution of marriage. Doing so against the grain of cultural and political pressure to cower and compromise takes courage. The bill will go back to the House of Representatives to be voted on before heading to the President’s desk. This is where you have the last opportunity to make your voice heard. Send a message to your Representative, urging them to vote “No” on the so-called Respect for Marriage Act right now.
Chinese Police Get Violent as COVID-19 Lockdown Protests Sweep Across the Country
“Chinese protesters are clashing with police across the country as outrage against the Chinese Communist Party's zero-COVID policy grows. China's COVID-19 authorities have relocated tens of thousands of people to camps after testing positive, and imposed draconian lockdown measures, going so far as to weld some people's doors shut. Widespread protests are rare in China's repressive political environment, and police are cracking down harshly on students and workers who dare to demonstrate.” read more at Fox News
- Last Thursday, a fire in a Chinese apartment complex killed 10 people in Urumqi. Many believe China’s “zero-Covid” pandemic restrictions like iron-barred windows and roadblocks caused those deaths. After the fire, thousands across China began protesting the government's strict COVID lockdowns and measures.
- China has one of the toughest anti-Covid regimes in the world. Mandated measures include:
- Local authorities must impose strict lockdowns - even if only a handful of Covid cases are found
- People with Covid are isolated at home for 8 days, or placed under quarantine at government centers
- Businesses and schools are closed in lockdown areas, shops must also close - except for those selling food
- Lockdowns last until no new infections are reported
Tens of millions of people have been living under some sort of lockdown. Some local authorities have taken extreme measures, such as forcing workers to sleep inside factories so they can work while quarantined. In early November, workers at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, which makes iPhones, staged a mass breakout because of fears they would be shut inside. It’s worth noting that last month, Apple restricted use of AirDrop, a critical communication tool used by dissenters, that only applied to iPhones in China.
- These protests are the most significant act of defiance since the student-led demonstrations in 1989, which led to the Tiananmen Square massacre that killed hundreds.
- At least 79 university campuses across China have also seen protest actions. Protesters are holding blank pieces of white paper to symbolize the lack of freedom of speech - speaking out without explicitly saying anything, and a stand-in for all the things people cannot say. Some are referring to the protests as the "white paper revolution".
- These protests are a cry for freedom against pandemic lockdowns, censorship, and, ultimately, China’s autocratic communist government. Young protesters shouted, “Give me liberty or give me death,” risking their futures by publicly challenging Chinese leadership. Some analysts expect Chinese President Xi to crush the protests and continue the pandemic policies.
- In 2018, China spent more on “stability maintenance” ($200 billion) than it did on national defense ($180 billion). Stability maintenance includes a vast surveillance apparatus (approximately one camera for every 2 people in the country) to aid agencies tasked with stamping out the smallest inklings of political discontent. According to a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, “tactics supported by the regime to achieve stability at all cost include measures like surveillance and harassment, disappearance and torture.”
- The Biden administration has been largely silent on the protests with only a National Security Council spokesperson cowardly stating, “We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, here in the United States and around the world. This includes in the PRC [People’s Republic of China].”
Read the words of Open Doors UK/Ireland CEO, Henrietta Blyth, to know how you can be praying: "We've seen in the Christian world that control just growing and growing and people have been praying. We're seeing these protests in Iran as well, which is another country where the church is really persecuted. People are rising up, and we really need to pray that the Lord's Will, will be done in this situation, because it could go either way. I would like to think that as Christians, we stand for justice. I think we need to pray for great maturity and wisdom for our brothers and sisters in China. This is a dangerous moment. We need to pray that the walls will come down. The walls that limit the spread of the gospel, the walls that limit the light of Christ across China, that the Lord will establish freedom and room for His church to grow. We need to pray that the Church will continue to grow there, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."
The phrase “give me liberty or give me death” is from one of the most eloquent political speeches in American history, given by Christ-follower Patrick Henry to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. As Henry spoke those words, Great Britain was preparing to use force to reduce the American colonies to a state of obedience. His words spurred the movement of resistance that, in the end, succeeded in establishing a new, independent republic in America. It roused courage, civility and prudence. Take time to read or listen to a recreation of that important speech here.
Do Christians Know How to Vote Like Christians?
“Results of a survey of about 115,000 registered voters, compiled by the Associated Press, offer a look at voting patterns and trends. The numbers are based on interviews with more than 94,000 of the survey respondents who said they voted or intended to.” read more at The Wall Street Journal
- Looking at the results both by the Associated Press and from our own exit polling, the Midterm Elections reveal that Christians may not know how to vote like Christians because their voting behavior was at odds with their faith.
- For example, 45% of Catholics voted for candidates who support abortion despite biblical truth and the Catholic church’s position which states: "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being" ("Donum vitae," 5).
- 35% of Protestants voted for candidates that support transgenderism, even though it conflicts with the Bible’s teachings. Gender is binary in the Bible. “So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)
- 37% of other Christians voted for candidates who believe LGBTQ+ rights are more important than religious freedom. The wording of legislation such as the so-called “Equality Act” would effectively nullify religious freedom in America when remaining true to one’s faith stands in opposition to LGBTQ viewpoints.
- From our own polling, just 19% of Christian voters said they factor in their faith when they vote and only 6% stated that faith was the top motivating factor in voting. Why is there such a disconnect between lining up the issues on the ballot with what the Bible clearly says? We say we are concerned about the secular world's rejection of biblical Christianity, but we should give urgent attention to a problem much closer to home--biblical illiteracy in the church.
- How can a generation be biblically shaped in its understanding of human sexuality when it believes Sodom and Gomorrah to be a married couple rather than two cities God destroyed? No wonder Christians show a growing tendency to compromise on the issues of gender, marriage and sexuality–many don’t even know what the Bible says regarding these issues. Many who identify themselves as Christians are similarly confused about the Gospel itself. According to Barna Research, fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples and 60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments.
- From our friend, Pastor Matthew Thrower: “For years I felt ill-equipped as a pastor to have an honest conversation with my congregation about voting. How can I talk about involving ourselves in our political system without sounding divisive? Along the way, I gained a better understanding of the role Christians play in all aspects of society. When Jesus said to ‘Go into all the world’ (Mt. 28), he meant every sphere of the world. I also found an incredible resource through My Faith Votes that did the heavy lifting for me. They offered talking points, biblical references, party platforms, and a motivating video to share with my church. With a Biblical understanding of civic engagement and the resources of My Faith Votes, I called our church to go into the world of government and stand for the voiceless by casting their vote for biblical values. How did they respond? The majority of the church came up to me and thanked me. Seriously! Did I risk offending some? Maybe. But I find much comfort in Galatians 1:10 that says, ‘For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.’ My conclusion is that calling the church to take a stand through voting will motivate the majority.”
The Bible tells us that governments are ordained by You, Lord, to punish the wrongdoer and to commend those who do right (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). In our representative government, thank You that “we the people” have a voice in who we elected to serve the people, unlike many nations in the world. Help us to take this privilege and responsibility seriously and with godly wisdom.
One significant and often overlooked fact is that voting is the beginning of your involvement, not the end of it. You may only have two candidates, but you vote for somebody, and then your involvement begins with the vote. Encourage those who are in office to do the right thing. Why? Because they work for us. We don’t work for them. Their job is not to give us our rights. According to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, their job is to secure the rights that have been given to us by God. Know who represents you and commit to praying for them, encouraging them, and letting them hear from you on a consistent basis. Don’t know who they are? This tool will help you find your federal and state elected officials.
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.