WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - OCTOBER 6, 2021
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Salvation Army Imposes Racial Wokeness Within Church’s Ranks
“The news is replete with examples of corporations and institutions going woke, from Google to Aunt Jemima. Unfortunately, now The Salvation Army is in danger of joining the ranks of Woke Inc. In materials prepared for its more than 1.5 million members, The Salvation Army uses terms that echo both radical “anti-racism” jargon and the divisive teachings of critical race theory, which divides people into two camps: the oppressors and the oppressed. And many of this trusted charitable organization’s donors and other supporters aren’t even aware of the change. Despite being apolitical historically, The Salvation Army has begun to promote political and racial ideologies under the banner of its New York-based International Social Justice Commission since the protests and riots over George Floyd’s death in police custody began over a year ago. The International Social Justice Commission works on issues involving human rights and justice, from human traffickers to asylum-seekers. But more recently, the commission, launched in 2007, is unhealthily mixing admirable human rights work with politically charged advocacy based in progressive politics.” read more at the Daily Signal
The Daily Signal article details many of the problematic elements of the “Let’s Talk About Racism” curriculum. One troubling aspect is their use of resources that do not hold to a Biblical perspective. Books such as “White Fragility” and “How to be an Anti-Racist”, as well as the podcast 1619 by the New York Times are listed in their resources. When Christians have the most anti-racist book ever written–the Bible–in our possession, why resort to resources that could properly be categorized as “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition…and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8)? Why use this curriculum when there are better alternatives that are grounded in Biblical truth, like the one mentioned in our ACT section below? A petition by Color Us United calling for the Salvation Army to revoke its curriculum has gathered over 5,700 signatures as of Tuesday, many from current members of and donors to the Salvation Army. The curriculum is similar to the Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) content in many schools across America, which parents have been speaking out against. Their actions have been successful in alerting the nation to the harmful content in our schools. However, a recent directive from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland instructs the FBI to meet with local law enforcement to “address the rise in criminal conduct toward school personnel.” This came in response to a letter by the National School Board Association (NSBA), which claims that threats toward several school board members “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” Their letter cites several incidents ranging from unruly school board meetings to actual threats against school personnel. It also falsely asserts that CRT isn’t being taught in K-12 schools. While every parent should hold to the standard of reasonable debate (Philippians 4:5), Rod Dreher questions why federal law enforcement is being called to intervene, rather than letting local law enforcement handle instances of illegal activity. It is very possible that this is an intimidation tactic to keep parents from speaking out, especially when considering the government’s own double standard. After U.S. Senator Kirsten Sinema (D, AZ) was followed into a public restroom and harassed by protestors, President Biden acknowledged the inappropriate tactics, but stated that “it happens to everybody.” Whether confronting our fellow Christians who have fallen into error or confronting our local school board members, the Apostle Paul is a wonderful example. He was not intimidated by false teachers nor powerful officials but spoke the truth in a winsome manner as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.
Pray that the Salvation Army will return to Biblical truth regarding our unity in Christ, keeping His Word at the center of their decisions. Pray for faithful Christians to confront them in a spirit of love and pray that the devil would not succeed in reducing their effectiveness for God’s Kingdom. On a larger scale, pray that more Christians will learn and understand what the Bible says about race so that we can bring a message of hope, not confusion, to our culture.
Many Christians are distressed to learn that their church or other ministries utilize secular, anti-Biblical ideas in an effort to be seen as anti-racist. Is there an alternative for those who want to address the sin of racism without caving to destructive theories? Reconciled - A Biblical Approach to Racial Unity is a Bible study curriculum produced by the Center for Biblical Unity. We encourage you to check it out and consider recommending it to anyone who desires to foster biblical unity based in Christ that rejects the divisiveness of Critical Race Theory.
Biden Signs Funding Bill, Avoiding A Shutdown, But Other Standoffs Persist
“President Biden has signed a short-term funding bill, avoiding a partial government shutdown that would have begun at midnight. The Senate and House sprinted Thursday afternoon to pass the legislation, which will keep the government funded through Dec. 3. The bill also includes $28.6 billion for communities hit by natural disasters over the past 18 months and $6.3 billion to help support resettlement for Afghan refugees. The House vote was 254-175. The Senate OK'd the legislation, 65-35, about two hours before House passage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had said she expected strong support from both parties. A few dozen Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats. Any good feelings and bipartisanship from the vote aren't expected to extend to other pressing legislation, such as addressing the debt limit. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has insisted that Republicans will not help Democrats pass any legislation to increase the federal borrowing cap. The Treasury Department estimates the federal government is at risk of default if Congress does not act in the next few weeks.” read more at NPR
The two parties are in a stalemate over the debt ceiling, but conflict also abounds within the Democrat Party regarding President Biden’s two proposed bills, the 1 trillion-dollar infrastructure American Jobs Plan, and the 3.5 trillion-dollar “social infrastructure” bill known as the American Family Plan. Far Left members want both, but more moderate members are concerned over the price tag of the second. Our friend Jim Denison points out that the current conflict in Congress means the system of checks and balances set up by the founding fathers is working. Because the fifty United States encompass such diverse interests, our representatives must compromise and cooperate on issues affecting the entire country, within Constitutional boundaries. This way, it is much harder for one faction to impose its agenda on the entire country. Despite the constant conflict and inefficiency, we are much better off than a despotic dictatorship, with one or a few rulers making unilateral decisions for the rest. However, he writes, “we are losing the consensual morality that makes democracy possible…It is difficult if not impossible for congressional leaders to work for the greater good if they disagree vociferously on the definition of that good. Then politics becomes a zero-sum game: if you win, I must lose, and vice versa.” Not surprisingly, this divide is a worldview issue: “...secular Western culture has abandoned its purpose of regulating conduct in line with our shared conceptions of good and evil. In its place, we are encouraged to cast off the moral prohibitions inherited from Christianity in pursuit of our ‘authentic selves,’” Denison continues. This lack of consensus regarding the common good is evidenced in the objection of thirty-five Republican Senators who point out that some of the social programs proposed in the American Family Plan would disincentivize marriage, leading to more children brought up in unstable homes, and worse outcomes for society as a whole. Throughout the coming weeks, keep your U.S. Representatives and Senators in prayer, as well as Senators Joe Manchin (D, WV) and Kirsten Sinema (D, AZ), who are facing tremendous pressure because of their opposition to the 3.5 trillion-dollar American Family Plan. Manchin appears open to voting for the bill if the price tag is lowered, which is one compromise being proposed. Because it only needs a simple majority of the Senate to pass, these two Democrat Senators are the only ones currently standing in the way.
“Father God, we see our nation in such a pivotal place. We are seeing legislation, decisions and mandates that are sending our nation careening away from Your principles. None of this takes you by surprise. We need you God! May You find us faithful to pray and act to realign our nation under Your values and protection.”
The above prayer was written by staff at Intercessors for America, a ministry partner equipping Christians to pray knowledgeably for their country and elected officials. We encourage you to visit their website to read more about the upcoming decisions in Congress and take advantage of their opportunities to join with others in prayer.
Whistleblower to Senate: Don't Trust Facebook
“Whistleblower Frances Haugen came to the Senate on Tuesday with a message about Facebook and its leaders: Don't trust them. The former project manager whose revelations have shaken the world's largest social network accused Mark Zuckerberg and his company of knowingly pushing products that harm children and young adults in a pursuit of endlessly growing profits. She and a series of lawmakers of both parties likened Facebook's behavior to that of the tobacco industry — which persisted for decades in denying that cigarettes were addictive and deadly. She said Facebook's failure to devote more resources to preventing foreign adversaries from using the platform in troubling ways poses a threat to U.S. national security, adding that ‘I'm speaking to other parts of Congress about that.’ ‘I have strong national security concerns about how Facebook operates today,’ Haugen said.” read more at Politico
In response to Haugen’s testimony, Lena Pietsch, Facebook's director of policy communications, said in a statement, "Today, a Senate Commerce subcommittee held a hearing with a former product manager at Facebook who worked for the company for less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended a decision-point meeting with C-level executives — and testified more than six times to not working on the subject matter in question. We don't agree with her characterization of the many issues she testified about." On Monday, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram faced a worldwide outage that lasted almost six hours. Facebook blamed an “internal technical issue” which not only affected Facebook's services, but reportedly also employees' work passes and email. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported on internal Facebook studies over the past three years that showed just how toxic Instagram (the social platform owned by Facebook) is, with teenage girls being most notably harmed. An increase in anxieties about physical attractiveness, social image, money, and even increased suicide risk were found among teen girls. Young users are a key to Instagram’s success as more than 40% of Instagram’s users are 22 years old and younger. In her testimony, Haugen expressed that uncensored social media “destabilizes democracies” and called for changes to Section 230. As Politico reports, “Section 230, a 1996 statute that shields internet platforms from legal liability for content that users post on their sites, remains at the center of debates in Congress over how much social media companies should police material on their platform. Lawmakers of both parties, as well as President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, have all called for revising the provision or doing away with it altogether. Still, major gaps exist between the parties: Democrats generally argue that platforms use Section 230 to get off the hook for the proliferation of misinformation on their apps, while many Republicans argue that platforms lean on the legal shield as a tool for censoring conservative content.” As the battle between free speech, censorship, and corporate responsibility intensifies, we need to heed the words of Scripture for our own conduct, especially when it comes to social media. As Romans 12:2 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.”
Father, help us to turn our hearts fully to You. Help us to remove any idols from our hearts. And help us not to fall prey to those who want to limit our God-given freedoms and turn our focus away from You. Help me teach my kids that they might have access to the world on their phones, but it doesn't mean everything is good for them. Help me explain it in a way that makes sense to them so that they make the choice to avoid harmful things. Lord, if my kids are doing anything they shouldn't on their devices, bring the darkness to light so that we can work through it as a family. If my child has an unhealthy attachment to their technology and social media, show me how to help them break it.
An eye-opening documentary called The Social Dilemma only reconfirmed my commitment to keep my middle schooler and high schooler off any social media. While not a faith-based film, it is a must-see for families with pre-teens and older. It will make you uncomfortable. It will prompt you to ponder your habits. It may even be a catalyst for making significant changes on your social media consumption.
Thousands Make Decisions for Christ During Franklin Graham's Route 66 'God Loves You' Tour
“Graham, the son of late famed evangelist Billy Graham and who has led the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) since 2001, traveled to eight cities preaching the Gospel at free events. More than 56,000 people attended the free outdoor events along Route 66 that began in the Chicago area on Sept. 19 and finished outside Los Angeles in San Bernardino, California, on Saturday. Over 5,000 people indicated they made decisions for Jesus Christ at the events, a BGEA spokesperson told The Christian Post.” read more at The Christian Post
On Sunday, the annual Southern California Harvest Crusades event, the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history, took place for the 31st time. Led by Pastor Greg Laurie, whom we spoke with about past crusades, over 40,000 attended in person and more online, with over 6,000 giving their lives to Christ. According to the Joshua Project, nearly 42% of the world’s population is unreached, meaning “a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside assistance.” In the United States, 4.6% of our population is considered “unreached.” But do we really understand what it means to be a Christian? A recent report from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University shows that self-identified Christians in America tend to hold beliefs that are thoroughly unbiblical—even on basic issues of theology. For a staggering 69% of Americans who call themselves Christians, a majority (58%) “contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity.” Dr. George Barna, Director of Research for the Cultural Research Center, said in a statement on the results, “Too often, it seems, people who are simply religious, or regular churchgoers, or perhaps people who want a certain reputation or image embrace the label ‘Christian,’ regardless of their spiritual life and intentions.” “‘Christian’ has become somewhat of a generic term rather than a name that reflects a deep commitment to passionately pursuing and being like Jesus Christ,” he added. One orthodox statement that Christians have embraced for centuries is the Nicene Creed, but I wonder how many today know what that creed even says? Scripture tells us, “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV). But how can those who call themselves Christians be prepared to give answers if they don’t understand the basics of their faith to begin with?
Praise God for all those who have recently made the choice to follow Christ, pray that they would grow in faith and in the knowledge of His Word. Pray for an awakening amongst those of us who have already chosen to follow Christ, that there would be a renewed love for Him, an appreciation of God’s holiness, a passion for His Word and His church, a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Pray that as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is upon believers that other lives would be changed and come to know Him as their Savior as well.
Tomorrow, October 7th, is Bring Your Bible to School Day, a nationwide, student-led movement to read and treasure Scripture as God’s Holy Word, to encourage others with the hope we have in Jesus, and to celebrate our religious freedoms in the United States. Encourage the students in your life to join 500,000+ students from around the nation in this declaration of faith by bringing their Bible to school.
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.