WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - SEPTEMBER 21, 2022
UPDATE: Last week, one of the ACT sections was directed towards contacting your senators regarding the deceptive “Respect for Marriage Act.” Thank you for taking action! My Faith Votes followers sent 36,898 messages and the Senate has now delayed a possible vote until after the midterm election. We’ll keep you updated as we know more.
In this week's Intersect, read about:
General Election Early Voting Starts This Week
“It might feel like the primary season just ended (because it did!) but, starting this week, voters across the country will start casting ballots in this year’s general elections. Early voting kicks off on Sept. 23 for voters in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. On Sept. 24, it begins in Vermont and Virginia. On Sept. 29, voters in Illinois, Michigan, and North Dakota can head to the polls. Pennsylvania voters might also have the ability to vote early this month depending on their county. The exact start date varies based on when counties finalize their November ballots.” read more at Ballotpedia
Proverbs 13:16 says, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.” In order to be prudent, not foolish, with your vote, you will need to know who is on your ballot, what they believe or what their political party believes, and what the position is that they are seeking. The tool in our ACT section helps you know who is on the ballot and what they stand for. Unfortunately, a survey conducted last month revealed that only 47% of American adults can name the three branches of government (legislative, executive, judiciary). Here’s an easy way to remember: memorize Isaiah 33:22, which says, “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Only Jesus, the perfect One, can fill all three positions of judge, lawgiver, and king. Because America’s founders understood this truth, those three governing positions are separated to guard against fallen humans seizing and abusing their power. Learning the basics of how and why our government works enables us to know whether a candidate is competent for the job. Each state chooses when to hold elections for various state offices, so your ballot may look different from mine. Do you know who is on it? They are almost certainly running for one of the three branches of government, whether at the federal, state, or local level. This November 8, you will have candidates for U.S. Representative, and possibly U.S. Senator (federal legislative). In addition, you may have candidates for state representative and state senator (state legislative). What about your city council and/or school board? For the executive branch, obviously, the U.S. Presidential election is not until 2024, but is your governor on the ballot this year? What about your Attorney General–charged with enforcing the laws–or Secretary of State, who oversees your elections? What about your State Board of Education, if you have one, which implements education laws passed by your state legislature? Is your District Attorney on the ballot–responsible for enforcing the law in your district or county? What about your judges, both state and local? Are they elected or appointed by your governor? Lastly, are changes to your state constitution being proposed? Abortion is on the ballot in six states this November: CA, KS, KY, MI, MT, and VT. We are tremendously blessed to be responsible for having a say in all areas of our government. Let us prayerfully resolve to use that blessing for God’s glory and not waste it.
“O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments…Awaken [us] that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth; that the same eyes that read your Word are the eyes that read the names on the ballot, and that [we] do not cease to be Christians when [we] enter the voting booth.” Feel free to download this Election Day Prayer Guide. Let us be constant in prayer for these upcoming, crucial, elections.
Knowing how and who to vote for, especially at the state and local level, often seems too complicated and overwhelming. Well, we’ve got good news. We’ve done the hard work for you! My Voter Hub is the most comprehensive resource available for the Christian voter, covering elections in every zip code across the US. Get a personalized sample ballot & voter guide, register to vote, make a plan to cast your biblically informed vote, and more! All you have to do is enter your address and we help you get from the beginning of the process to the ballot box.
Arrests Along U.S.-Mexico Border Top 2 million a Year for the First Time
“U.S. authorities made more than 2 million immigration arrests along the southern border during the past 11 months, marking the first-time annual enforcement statistics have exceeded that threshold, according to figures provided by senior Biden administration officials Monday. In August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 203,598 migrants crossing from Mexico, the latest figures show, putting authorities on pace to tally more than 2.3 million arrests during the government’s 2022 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The total, which includes some people apprehended more than once, far exceeds last year’s record of more than 1.7 million arrests.” read more at The Texas Tribune
Having just celebrated Constitution Day this past weekend, we must look at why Americans should hold fast to our constitution and the rule of law in our United States - even in matters dealing with immigration. Our U.S. Constitution provides a foundation for freedom based on God’s ordained rule of law that limits government power and protects individual freedoms. America has systems and processes in place to help people - including people from other countries. We provide pathways for immigration and asylum. Even though these pathways may need reform, turning a blind eye to those who break the law to enter this country weakens our system of laws and our ability to administer our immigration laws in a just and fair manner. Emotion and compassion have always tempted people to step outside of, or shortcut the freedoms established through our Constitution and the rule of law. We must understand that setting aside the structure for a free and fair America to accommodate illegal acts of any kind can have dire consequences for all Americans. Overcoming the challenges of immigration laws and border security must be handled through legal immigration reform, not overlooking the problems associated with illegal entry - fraud, humanitarian abuses, and human trafficking to name a few. It is no secret that the U.S-Mexico border is the most frequently crossed border, and that Mexico is one of many countries in turmoil for lack of a Judeo-Christian moral foundation. Mexico is a country that also has a constitutional government; however, its constitution has been amended nearly 500 times just since 1917. The instability of the Mexican government has ushered in corruption that permeates several segments of society – political, economic, and social. Their country is suffering from chaos and instability under a government that has failed to protect its citizens from corruption, exploitation, murder, trafficking, torture, rape, kidnapping, etc. Just because Mexico has created an atmosphere that makes its citizens want to flee their country doesn’t mean that the U.S. should abandon our system of laws and orderly conduct. If we do, we will soon be no better than the countries these immigrants are fleeing from. The value of being an American citizen would be lost without the requirement and standard of observing the law. Without the rule of law, people take advantage of others and society quickly becomes dangerous and chaotic, just like we see happening in Mexico. The U.S. government even recognizes what is happening in Mexico with its travel advisory warnings due to "violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery." Immigration is a concern for voters this year. 48.6% of MFV followers stated that border security/immigration was one of their top 3 issues when it comes to voting in the midterm election. It is important to think biblically about this issue. The decisions of elected officials regarding this issue have profound effects on our entire society.
Lord God, give our government officials the courage to act and the wisdom to deal with this explosive issue. The Bible tells us that governments are ordained by You to punish the wrongdoer and to commend those who do right (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). Lord, you know the problems with our immigration system. We pray the human trafficking and drug trafficking will be stopped. Father, You know each person at the border who is trying to come into the US illegally and legally and their reason for coming. Give our Border Patrol agents Your wisdom on how to handle each person. Let Your will be done.
You have probably heard references using Scripture that say we should "show love to the foreigner (Lev. 19:33)" as a way to garner support for sanctuary cities and open borders. But is that an accurate interpretation of Old Testament references to foreigners and aliens? Having an accurate biblical interpretation of common phrases and arguments made in today’s culture is critical. This helpful article dives deeper into the context of scripture when it comes to immigration, and it will give you better tools in sharing a correct biblical view of immigration. As it states, “This important topic needs to be addressed very carefully and prayerfully.”
Mississippi First, New York Last in Ranking of Religious Liberty in the States
“Mississippi ranks first and New York is dead last in a ranking of how states enable religious free exercise, according to a new study. Several blue states, including Illinois (2), Washington (5) and Maryland (8), each scored higher than GOP stalwart Texas, which placed in the middle at 25. Virginia was ranked 30th. The study was conducted by the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, which is part of the Christian conservative legal foundation First Liberty Institute.” read more at The Washington Times
According to the study, “Mississippi is the only state to safeguard for-profit businesses in the solemnization, recognition, association, or celebration of marriage and weddings that conflict with the moral or religious beliefs of the business owner.” Other states protect the freedom of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to participate in a marriage that violates their beliefs. Only three states protect the right of public officials to recuse themselves from participation. Clearly, we have work to do for more states to fully recognize that the First Amendment applies to life outside the walls of the church. One way to accomplish this is by passing a state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in your state. 21 of 50 states have passed a RFRA, which prevents state government from substantially burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. New York is not one of these states and has been in the news for several days because of its egregious infringement on the religious liberty of a Jewish university. After the New York County Supreme Court ordered Yeshiva University to recognize an LGBTQ “Pride Alliance” as an official student group, the university appealed to several higher state courts and finally to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for the lower court’s order to be put on hold while the case proceeded. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ultimately rejected the school’s appeal on procedural grounds. Yeshiva University will have the chance to appeal again, but until then it is forced to officially recognize an LGBTQ group. The school has avoided compromising its beliefs for now by temporarily suspending all undergraduate club activities. It is very concerning, as the school pointed out, that “Yeshiva University will no longer be able to govern itself according to its principles of faith,” and this decision could very well apply to Christian universities as well. In his dissent from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Justice Samuel Alito said, “The First Amendment guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a State from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture. Yet that is exactly what New York has done in this case, and it is disappointing that a majority of this Court refuses to provide relief.” This November, the composition of 88 state legislative chambers in 46 states will be determined. It will take state legislative bodies filled with constitutionally focused legislators to make sure all states pass their own state-level RFRAs (Religious Freedom Restoration Act).
As you pray that our freedom to exercise our faith and share the gospel would be protected, pray for those in authority who make such decisions: judges, governors, and lawmakers. (1 Timothy 2:1-4) Pray that many Christians, out of love for God, the Body of Christ, and our neighbors, would vote this November, and that our freedoms would be preserved.
How well does your state protect religious liberty? Visit Religious Liberty in the States to see where your state ranks according to eleven safeguards of religious freedom. This can be a useful tool to give you specific actions to request from your state lawmakers.
A Conversation with Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret): What’s at Stake
With over 100,000 elections taking place in 2022, there is a lot at stake for our communities, states, and nation this year. Jason Yates, My Faith Votes CEO, candidly talks with Lt. Col. Allen West about the critical upcoming Midterm Election...and why it all boils down to individual rights. Allen and Jason encourage Christians to understand "how" and "why" Christians can be engaged and vote. Watch at MFV-TV
Vice President Kamala Harris shared her vision for the election last week saying, "Democrats, with just two more seats in the Senate, we can codify Roe v. Wade, we can put the protections of Roe in law," Harris said after noting that other parts of President Joe Biden's agenda had stalled. "With two more seats in the United States Senate we can pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Two more seats! That's right, two more seats." The vice president pointed out that Biden had publicly said he supports carve-outs to the legislative filibuster–the 60-vote threshold required to pass most legislation in the Senate–on the issues of voting rights and abortion access. She then added that she "cannot wait" to "cast the deciding vote" to work around the rule. The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Harris serving as the critical 51st vote in her capacity as president of the chamber. The November election could change that. 35 US Senate seats and all 435 US House of Representative seats are on the ballot in November. Also up for grabs are 36 governorships and more than 80% of state legislative seats. But as Allen shares in the conversation above, "...the thing that I want folks to be able to do is to say, 'I'm voting for something, not just voting against something.'” It’s been said that a nation will get the political leaders it deserves, and of course, this makes perfect sense. Our duly elected representatives are a direct reflection of the character, values and, yes, the faith of our people. In a very real sense, they are us, and so we must take very seriously the role we play in selecting them. Whenever and wherever possible we should support candidates who uphold and promote Judeo-Christian principles. The idea that there will be candidates who perfectly line up with the tenets of our faith is unfortunately wishful thinking on this side of eternity. There may never be a candidate who perfectly represents you or me, but we cannot choose to sit out an election because there’s no clear Christian option in a given election. That would ensure we have no seat at the governing table and that our policy priorities go unheard. Here’s a principle for voting I’ve come to appreciate: When voting, the question is not “Who is the lesser of two evils?” but “How might I use my vote to lessen evil.” Psalm 11:3 says, “when the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The righteous need to get engaged, the righteous need to get involved. The righteous need to be encouraged. The righteous need to vote.
“The good influence of godly citizens causes a city to prosper, but the moral decay of the wicked drives it downhill” (Proverbs 11:11). As election day gets closer, Lord I pray against the mentality that says voting isn’t important or that my vote is just one of many and won’t make a difference. Help me to have a greater awareness of critical issues in my state, city and county that could impact the culture of my community, and that I would vote accordingly. Lord, I ask for Your wisdom as I make the choices on my ballot November 8. May Your will be done.
Last call: Our Write Now campaign deadline is Sept 29. One of the most impactful ways to motivate Christians to vote is through a simple letter. In fact, in our past letter writing campaigns, we’ve seen an incredible 57% lift in voter turnout! Join over 10,000 volunteers who are writing letters through write now. We provide the template, message and names. You supply the envelope, stamp and prayer. Sign up here to impact the midterms through a letter.
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.