WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - OCTOBER 13, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
California Becomes Eighth State to Implement Universal, Automatic Mail-in Voting
“On Sept. 27, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB37 into law, making California the eighth state to provide for universal, automatic mail-in voting in all future elections. Under the law as enacted, local election officials must automatically deliver mail-in ballots to all registered voters. In addition, AB37 modified the mail-in ballot return deadline: ballots are considered timely cast if voted on or before Election Day and, when delivered by mail, received by election officials no later than seven days after Election Day (previously, the receipt deadline for ballots returned by mail was three days after Election Day). The law does not preclude voters from choosing instead to cast their ballots in person.” read more at Ballotpedia News
The popular saying “As California goes, so goes the nation,” came about in part due to the social and political movements that began there and spread across the country – both good and bad. We hope this new law does not spread. The Heritage Foundation’s policy experts list nine recommendations for protecting election integrity. One of these is limiting mail-in ballots to those who absolutely need to use them, such as citizens with a disability or who will be out of town. Why? “Absentee ballots are the tools of choice of election fraudsters because they are voted outside the supervision of election officials, making it easier to steal, forge, or alter them, as well as to intimidate voters,” says Hans Von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow. This is particularly concerning in California, which already allows ballot harvesting (where a third party can turn in your mail-in ballot for you). In various states, some elections have had to be redone due to fraud involving absentee ballots. Some may ask, if fraud exists, why vote? As Christians, we are instructed to be faithful to God no matter what the outcome is. However, if more Biblically minded citizens turned out to vote, election fraud would be less successful. A massive turnout of Christian voters could elect candidates who would uphold and protect biblical principles and enact election integrity measures. The consequences of Christians not voting can be profound. Empowered by his recent recall election win, Governor Newsom fired off a raft of laws over the weekend that included making it illegal to use gas-powered 'off-road engine engines' including leaf-blowers, lawn mowers and golf carts, ordered schools to teach all students 'ethnic studies', and large toy stores will be required to have gender-neutral sections.
Pray against apathy and indifference, and instead, pray for Christians to put their faith into action, including in the voting booth. When you vote, seek God’s will for your vote. The primary pursuit in any election is to seek the face of God in prayer. Scripture says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Download our Election Integrity Prayer Guide here.
The fact that fraud exists doesn’t mean we are powerless to stop it. Learn more about what you can do right now to volunteer at your local level, receive training to assist in elections, and know-how to report instances of election fraud or manipulation as they occur. Our friends at True the Vote have all these resources and more to help you make a positive impact in your local elections. Visit their website to get equipped to protect your elections.
Southwest, American Airlines Workers Will Have to Get Vaccinated, Despite Texas Order
“Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, both based in Texas, said Tuesday that they will continue plans to require employees to get vaccinated, despite an edict issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that would ban vaccine mandates for private businesses in the state. ‘Federal action supersedes any state mandate or law, and we would be expected to comply with the President's Order to remain compliant as a federal contractor,’ Southwest said in a statement to POLITICO, referencing the Biden administration's requirement that government contractors be vaccinated by Dec. 8...Abbott on Monday signed a sweeping order effectively banning vaccine mandates for private businesses with 100 or more employees. Last month, the Biden administration said it will require that businesses with 100 employees or more must mandate vaccines or receive weekly Covid tests.” read more at Politico
Amid a series of massive flight disruptions which impacted thousands of travelers, Southwest Airlines denounced “unfounded rumor and speculation” that the company’s recent decision to mandate vaccinations spurred cancellations and delays over the weekend. The airline attributed the high volume of cancellations and delays to “weather challenges” in Florida and “unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region.” Southwest canceled a total of 1,826 flights and delayed 1,784 flights on Saturday and Sunday, according to FlightAware. The disruptions continued into Monday with over 360 cancellations and 1,300 delays. Other airlines were not as severely impacted by these issues. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) on Friday filed a motion to temporarily block the airline's COVID-19 vaccine mandate until an ongoing lawsuit over alleged U.S. labor law violations is resolved. SWAPA released a statement that claimed pilots and airline staff were not planning a sickout over the company's vaccination requirements, saying that "management's poor planning" and "external operational challenges" were more probable causes of the cancellations. So, who is telling the truth? Interestingly, over the weekend I texted with a friend who is a pilot with Southwest. I asked if the stories were true that suggested a pilot “sickout” due to the mandates. He simply replied, “Yes.” The flight cancellations weren’t an isolated incident. Amtrak also reported cancellations due to “unforeseen crew issues” on Sunday and the Washington State ferry system was brought to a halt over crew shortages. Internationally, tens of thousands protested in Rome over vaccine mandates. European cities have seen large turnouts with crowds estimated at more than 120,000 across various cities in France as protests are part of an ongoing series that has now extended for more than two months. As one comment on social media I saw said, “this has little to do with the shot and everything to do with tyrannical violations of liberty.”
Father, guide government and business leaders to honor the dignity of each individual. May they enact policies that properly protect Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness amid society’s health concerns. May we remember Your word which says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The Pacific Justice Institute has several resources regarding vaccine mandates, religious and military exemptions and how to navigate the situation if an exemption has been denied. You can find the information here.
Justice Department Asks Court to Stop Texas Abortion Law from Being Implemented
“The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court Monday to stop the implementation of Texas' restrictive abortion law, requesting the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to deny a stay against an injunction blocking the law from going into effect. The move comes days after a three-judge panel on the 5th Circuit decided last week to temporarily reinstate the abortion law, placing an administrative stay on the lower court's injunction while it considers Texas' larger argument. The Texas law bars abortions after six weeks into a pregnancy, once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.” read more at CBS News
The back and forth continues. On Friday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request from the Texas Attorney General's Office to temporarily suspend a judge's order blocking the Texas Heartbeat Act. Last Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman granted a request from the Justice Department for a temporary restraining order against Senate Bill 8, drawing swift praise from the Biden administration and abortion providers and criticism from pro-life advocates. He argued that the law "violates the Constitution and has a widespread effect." The Texas Heartbeat Act, which took effect on Sept. 1, bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It also allows private citizens to take civil action against anyone who "performs and induces an abortion" or "knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of abortion through insurance or otherwise." For now, The Texas Heartbeat Act saves approximately 100 lives from abortion per day. Whether the law will remain in effect or ultimately be upheld as constitutional in court remains uncertain, but it’s likely this battle will end up in the Supreme Court. With federal pushback making the news, it’s important to remember just how much is happening at the state level. There have been 106 state-level pro-life laws passed so far in 2021 according to pro-choice think tank Guttmacher Institute. It’s the most pro-life legislation in a single year counted by the group and the first time the annual total has hit triple-digits since the Supreme Court legalized abortion with Roe v. Wade in 1973. In December, the Supreme Court will hear Dobbs v. Jackson regarding a 15-week abortion ban Mississippi passed in 2018 that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Ten states have “trigger laws” that would immediately ban abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah. While laws may be passed to protect life, it’s ultimately a matter of what God says. A recent study revealed that two out of three adults (64 percent) either say that the Bible is ambiguous in its views about abortion or that they don’t know what those views are. As George Barna responded, “For a nation where roughly seven out of 10 adults call themselves ‘Christian,’ that represents a mind-boggling degree of biblical ignorance concerning one of the most high-profile social issues of the past half-century.”
Lord, it grieves us to think of the 62 million lives lost because of that fateful decision in 1973. Forgive us, Lord. We deserve judgment, but we humbly ask for the wisdom and godly conviction to be bold in standing for the protection of life. We pray for our nine Supreme Court Justices as they weigh this upcoming case that will have tremendous implications. Lord, cause them to rule in favor of protecting life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Our friends at Intercessors for America have put together a “50 days of Prayer for Life” guide, providing daily prayer prompts leading up to the December 1st abortion law hearing at the Supreme Court. You can access that prayer guide here.
McConnell Slams Garland for School Board Memo, Says Parent Protests are 'Democracy, not Intimidation'
“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to clarify what his recent memo on ‘harassment’ and ‘intimidation’ of school officials by parents means, including whether recall election efforts amount to intimidation that should be investigated by the police. The letter follows days of outrage over the attorney general's memo, which came shortly after a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to President Biden that said some rhetorical clashes between school boards and parents may amount to "domestic terrorism." Garland's memo told the FBI to take the lead on a task force to address threats against school officials, including creating a centralized way to report such threats.” read more at Fox News
We touched on this story in last week’s Intersect but the ramifications from the memo have been growing. Multiple school board associations in VA, LA and FL are now denouncing the NSBA letter. America First Legal Foundation is asking the Justice Department’s independent watchdog to investigate the Attorney General’s memo against parents protesting their local school boards –calling the move “corruption” and “undue politicization” of the Justice Department’s authority. And Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) had an important line of questions for Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General. Fox News also reported a serious conflict of interest, showing that Garland’s son-in-law is the co-founder of Panorama Education, a company that works with school boards to promote “culturally responsive training” and other ideas associated with critical race theory. According to Parents Defending Education, a nonprofit education watchdog group, Panorama received a $1.8 million contract to conduct “social and emotional learning” monitoring in Fairfax County Public Schools that collected data on students. It’s noteworthy that Fairfax County Public Schools has been a battleground for debates about critical race theory and “anti-racism” ideas being used in curriculum and classrooms. Debbie Chaves, Senior Director of Strategy at My Faith Votes, released the following statement in response to parents being targeted by the U.S. Attorney General and the National Association of School Boards. “Socialist indoctrination and secular humanism have become the new religion of the government-run education system, driving parents to show up and speak up with disapproval to their local school boards. The National School Boards Association and the Attorney General of the United States are now trying to label these concerned parents as a threat to public servants. Using intimidation tactics to try to silence these parents and cover up the woke agenda that has invaded our tax-funded schools must stop. This is not only outrageous but also a dangerous precedent. Labeling a concerned parent as a ‘terrorist’ is a baseless accusation with the sole intent to intimidate them into silence. Every parent with a child in a government-run school should stand up and take notice right now."
Lord, thank You for parents and teachers who are speaking out and being advocates for their children. For too long we have been quiet. We ask You to strengthen the voices of parents. Help them to pray unceasingly for their children, be aware and engaged in what’s being taught in schools and active in what their children are learning. Most importantly, we pray that parents point their children to You.
Allie Beth Stuckey, writer, podcaster, and speaker who analyzes news, culture and politics from a Christian conservative perspective has a powerful podcast episode this week called “Now is the time to double down.” She talks about the importance of engagement in school boards and knowing what’s being taught in schools. Listen 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.