WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - SEPTEMBER 20, 2023
New Interview Release: Watch our conversation with Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life, as she discusses what led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and how it’s impacting the continued fight for the unborn at the ballot box.
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Child Poverty in the U.S. Jumped and Income Declined in 2022
“Child poverty in the United States more than doubled and median household income declined last year when coronavirus pandemic-era government benefits expired and inflation kept rising, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.” read more at The Washington Times
- Researchers have discovered and coined the Millennial Success Sequence. They found that only 3 percent of individuals who follow this sequence end up in poverty: earn a high school diploma, get a job, get married, and then have children. However, many are not on that track. In the US, graduation rates have dropped. Relative to unemployment, there were 6 million Americans looking for a job in August 2022. In August 2023, there were approximately 6.5 million. And then there is the marriage rate, which has dropped significantly over the last 50 years by nearly 60 percent. Finally, there are the babies. Annual births in the US have declined and fertility has continued to drop as well.
- For the first time in U.S. history, the national debt topped $33 trillion. It comes at a time when Washington is on edge over a potential government shutdown at the end of the month due to battles over federal spending. The figure — $33,044,858,730,468.04 — which is what the U.S. owes its creditors, was published Monday afternoon in new data released by the Treasury Department. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget stated, "Debt held by the public, meanwhile, recently surpassed $26 trillion. We are becoming numb to these huge numbers, but it doesn’t make them any less dangerous."
- Poverty, inflation, debt, the economy — so much of our current economic woes are the result of the decisions made by those we’ve elected to public office. The federal government has defaulted to a pattern of taking more from the American people. It is impeding our ability to take care of ourselves and others with the money we earn and is instead becoming the entity to which many look to take care of them.
Lord, our nation is being irresponsible with the money we have earned through the abilities and opportunities You have given us. We have wasted much of it or used it for purposes outside of legitimate and wise boundaries for government. Forgive us, Lord, and forgive each of us when we exhibit similar behavior in our personal stewardship of Your money. Help us to be wise with our finances, and with the people we elect to steward our tax dollars.
The federal spending numbers demand action. Take 2 minutes and send a message to your elected representatives in Congress, urging them to prioritize fiscal responsibility as they debate and vote on the upcoming annual budget. Use this easy tool to send a message now.
5 Americans Back in U.S. After Prisoner Swap with Iran
“Five U.S. citizens detained by Iran were freed Monday in a high-stakes, complex diplomatic deal brokered between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Biden administration that included the transfer of $6 billion in unfrozen Iranian oil assets and the release of five Iranians facing charges in the U.S. A plane carrying the Americans touched down in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, just south of Washington D.C., on Tuesday morning.” read more at CBS News
- Sanctions limiting Iranian economic activity with the US and its allies have been in place for decades in response to reprehensible actions by the radical Islamic regime. Without the ability to use its foreign exchange reserves, Iran cannot operate normally in the global economy—and therefore cannot easily implement its goals.
- The Biden administration says the $6 billion in unfrozen assets can only be used for “humanitarian” purposes, but Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said, "The government of Iran should have complete access to it, to use according to its need." Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) appeared skeptical of the Biden administration’s claim. "Obviously, money is fungible," he stated. Regardless, every dollar Iran doesn’t have to spend for humanitarian purposes is a dollar it can spend on evil purposes like developing nuclear weapons to threaten countries like Israel.
- The New York Times asked the question, "How much is an American hostage worth?" Apparently, the answer is $1.2 billion—$6 billion divided by five people. Iran now has an incentive to take more Americans hostage in hopes of obtaining at least $1.2 billion and chipping away at American sanctions which kept its evil purposes in check. Albert Mohler summed up the situation on his podcast: “So from a Christian perspective, we understand that it's a good thing for a country to try to secure the release of its citizens, but doing so at any cost simply raises the moral risk.”
Heavenly Father, we thank You for protecting the American hostages. We pray that You would restrain the Iranian government’s purposes against our country, and especially its persecution of Christians. For the church in Iran, we pray for Your continued endurance, grace, and peace as they meet in secret and share the gospel of Jesus. In His name, amen.
The leaders we elect next year will have many effects on foreign policy and perhaps the situations of our fellow believers in other countries. According to Open Doors’ World Watch List, Iran is the 8th worst persecutor of Christians. Somalia is number two on the list. Do you know who is number one? Explore the World Watch list to learn about the nature and degree of persecution experienced by our brothers and sisters in 50 countries.
GOP Presidential Hopefuls Clash Over Abortion Policy
“Former President Donald Trump took on his leading rival for the Republican presidential nomination during a Sunday interview with Meet the Press. When asked about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ heartbeat law, which protects children from abortion after six weeks in the womb, Trump called the measure ‘a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.’ The former president also said that Republicans will lose votes if they don’t allow loopholes for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and for the mother’s health.” read more at WORLD
- The former president, who has been called (and labeled himself) “the most pro-life president in American history,” believes most Americans favor a limit on abortion after some point in the pregnancy but did not commit to a federal 15-week abortion ban. “We will agree to a number of weeks, which will be where both sides will be happy,” he said. “We have to bring the country together on this issue.”
- Is making voters happy and bringing the country together the goal? For Christian voters, the ultimate goal in any political question is to please God, not man. “Duty is ours; results are God’s,” was John Quincy Adams’ response when asked why he kept fighting an unpopular battle in Congress to abolish slavery.
- What does this look like on the question of abortion? We must start with the fact that abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human life. Therefore, any policy—federal or state—that bans abortion after a certain number of weeks or allows rape and incest exceptions should not make us “happy” in the long term. Incremental policies may be necessary in the short term, but the only morally acceptable goal is to make abortion illegal. This will not make everyone happy, but in the end, we will have to give an account of ourselves to God, not man, for our actions. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Heavenly Father, You are the Author of life. You intended for the government to protect the innocent. Help us to remember that this battle for the unborn is Your battle. We look to You as we attempt to change minds, hearts, and laws. Give us wisdom and boldness and let us fear You alone.
Would you help us defeat a radical abortion movement threatening all the progress pro-lifers have made in states? It’s called Issue 1, and it’s on the ballot in Ohio this November. Issue 1 is an extreme, virtually irreversible expansion of abortion that would outlaw commonsense restrictions — allowing abortion at any time, by any method, for any reason. Abortion zealots are trying to change state constitutions, rendering all laws regulating abortion unconstitutional. They’ve already done it in Michigan, California, and Vermont. And if they succeed in Ohio, they’ll be targeting your state next. You can help defeat it! Join the My Faith Votes Write Now Ohio campaign. We’re asking believers like you to send letters to OH voters, educating them on the issue and encouraging them to vote NO. Will you write at least 20 letters to Ohioans? After signing up here, you will receive a confirmation email that will provide you with everything you need and give you next steps. Thank you for standing for life!
Hundreds of Students Baptized After Worship Service on Auburn College Campus
“Auburn University is the second-largest university in Alabama. Known for its football team and fierce cross-state rivalry with the University of Alabama, the school is making news these days for a completely different reason. Some time ago, five girls began meeting on campus in Neville Arena to pray. Their group grew to two hundred students. Local ministries became involved and sponsored a worship event last week which around five thousand people attended. Following the service, a student wanted to be baptized. Crowds then began gathering at a nearby lake, where roughly two hundred people gave their lives to Christ and were baptized.” read more at The Denison Forum
- 21 different Christian campus organizations and a multitude of Auburn community churches joined together to have a worship service at Auburn Neville Arena called Unite Auburn. After the service, one of the speakers went back on stage and asked if anyone wanted to trust Christ and be baptized. Dozens raised their hands. So, thousands of students left the arena and walked a mile away to Auburn University Ag Heritage Park to watch people be baptized in the lake, illuminated by car headlights. They circled the lake until almost midnight hearing the stories of life change, cheering and praying together as hundreds were baptized. A video of the baptisms has gone viral.
- Jeremy Napier, the chaplain for the Auburn men's basketball team said of the baptisms, "It was not planned at all. I think this was a spontaneous decision at the very end where we just said, 'let's go for it.’” He has encouraged the students who were baptized to start attending a local church where they can be grounded in their faith in God.
- Tonya Prewett, the wife of assistant basketball coach Chad Prewitt and the event’s principal organizer stated, “I do believe that God wants to heal this nation of mental health things, of the bondage that students find themselves in and just kind of the crisis that is going on around our nation.” She continued, “I believe that that will happen through prayer and through God moving across this nation.” Of Tuesday’s event Mrs. Prewett said, “it started here, but it’s not going to stop here.”
Praise God for these new believers joining the body of Christ! We, as members of that body, have the responsibility to encourage and pray for them. Follow the words of Paul in Colossians 1:1-14, asking that they be “filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…”
This all started with the fervent prayers of 5 girls. Are we willing to put our faith into action in the same way? Join with others across this nation in our weekly prayer calls we call United. We Pray. Every Monday morning and evening, a group gathers to pray by Zoom. Learn more and join us 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.