WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Partisan Battle Lines Form Even Before There's a Nominee to Replace Justice Ginsburg
Democrats are doing all they can to stop President Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate from confirming a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They're charging the GOP with hypocrisy because Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to bring the nominee to a vote, even though he didn't act on Barack Obama's last Supreme Court nomination in his final year as president. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said on Fox News Sunday, "I'm going to work this weekend, this week, to reach across the aisle, and see if I can't persuade some friends to respect tradition, to respect the precedent they set in 2016 and let the voters decide." Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed senators in a speech, saying, "Please follow your conscience. Don't vote to confirm anyone under the present circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created." But Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said on ABC News' This Week the precedent has always been if the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party, the confirmation process goes forward. He insisted that's particularly important now because the high court really needs nine justices who might end up picking the winner in this hotly-contested presidential election year. "We need a full court on Election Day given the very high likelihood that we are going to see litigation that goes to the court," the Texan Republican said. "We need a Supreme Court that can give a definitive answer for the country." read more
President Trump has stated he will publicly announce his nominee, a woman, on Saturday. His list of potential nominees includes several originalists who are recommended by the Heritage Foundation because they would “issue rulings based on the Constitution and the law rather than on their favored political or policy outcome.” Two judges purported to be on his top list are Barbara Lagoa, a Cuban-American on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit Court. Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, was considered to be the runner-up to Brett Kavanaugh in the last nomination. While two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have stated that they won’t vote on a nominee before the election, it appears that Republicans will retain the majority vote after Mitt Romney stated on Tuesday that he will cast a vote on the nominee: "If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications." If they regain control of both houses of Congress and the White House, Senate Democrats have threatened to add more seats to the Supreme Court in order to tip the balance back in favor of judicial activist judges. The protection of life for the unborn and religious liberty are some of the most crucial issues at stake based on who replaces the late Justice Ginsburg. Let’s be in earnest prayer throughout the week as the President chooses his nominee, and the Senate moves forward with the confirmation process. Exodus 21:18 gives good guidelines for choosing judges. He or she must be able to do the task, someone who fears God, is trustworthy, and hates bribes.
Pray specifically that a strong originalist will be nominated who will strictly abide by the Constitution, protecting our God-given rights. Pray for wisdom for Republican Senators as they move forward with the confirmation process. And pray against any violence that may occur during and after this process.
What does history say about SCOTUS vacancies? Twenty-nine times in American history there has been an open Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year, or in a lame-duck session before the next presidential inauguration. With all the media narratives on such an important moment in this election year, take a few minutes to read a great perspective on what history tells us about SCOTUS nominations. The article was written before Justice Ginsburg’s death.
Franklin Graham Ahead of National Prayer March: US is 'Crumbling,' God is Only Hope
Franklin Graham said the dire problems besetting the country are ones only God can solve, and time is short. In a phone interview with The Christian Post on Thursday about Prayer March 2020 that he will oversee next Saturday on the National Mall, Graham explained that his heart behind calling the country to prayer is in part because of the deep divisions over many issues. These divides have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread loss of jobs due to state lockdowns and enforced closure of businesses. "I think there's kind of a boiling point here with many people. We have seen injustice on our streets and some of our communities. The frustration that people aren't heard, that people are marginalized. It seems that all of this is boiling at the same time," he said, noting that these tensions are accentuated in an election year where politics often exploit the issues. Yet no one can solve the spiritual darkness besetting America, he emphasized. "Republicans cannot fix it; Democrats cannot fix it. Only God can," Graham asserted. God and His ways have been removed from government, schools, and in society more broadly when the country needs more, not less of Him, he said, adding that the United States is "crumbling." "I don't see our nation able to go much further unless we repent and call upon the name of Almighty God," he said. read more
Speaking at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed America’s responsibility to model Christian behavior and to be a light unto the world amid pressure from critics who say faith must be kept out of the public square. Pompeo said the world is watching how America leads and they should know “America’s foundation as a Judeo-Christian nation.” He continued, “Faith in the public square is not only lawful but righteous. This faith is not only powerful but required by the American tradition,” he said and quoted one of the Founding Fathers, George Washington: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable support.” In our recent interview with Phil Robertson, he touched on similar points as Graham and Pompeo, saying, “Jesus said the kingdom does not come visibly. We are the kingdom of God. Jesus is the king. It's an eternal kingdom working within, in our case, the confines of a constitutional republic. So we are here to teach people to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, and help them with self-control. A government can't remove our sin. I'm going to vote for the godliest among us. But they’re not the answer to our problems. Only King Jesus is. So I bow down to Him and Him alone. So it's a pretty cool thing to be in the arms of Jesus Christ. It gives you what is the rarest of commodities: peace of mind.” On the importance of voting, Phil stated, “When you start to see your fellow Americans burning Bibles, you’re close to the tipping point and Satan winning the war. Those people you mentioned that claim Christianity [also] claim Jesus [but] don't vote. They don't realize how critical a time we live in; you can lose your freedom. So we better buckle up, and we better go to the polls.”
Lord, You and You alone determine the rise and fall of nations. Only Your Kingdom lasts forever. If this is the time when we will see the decline of our nation, keep us from despair. Help us to remember that our citizenship is in Heaven from which we await our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Our hope is in You, not in politicians, parties, laws, or constitutions. We commit our nation into Your hands, and by Your grace, we will live in faith, hope, and love whatever happens. (Read more of this “Prayer for America” here)
We’ll be live-streaming from the march in Washington, DC on Saturday! Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see the live-stream and join with us in prayer for our nation. To learn more about the prayer march, including prayer focuses at certain points of interest along the march, click here.
40 Days for Life to Have Record Participation Despite COVID-19 Pandemic
The annual pro-life prayer vigil campaign 40 Days for Life will reportedly break a record for the most participating cities this year, despite pandemic-related shutdowns. The 40-day annual event, which involves pro-life activists regularly praying outside of abortion clinics seven days a week, will begin Sept. 23 and conclude Nov. 1. Shawn Carney, president and CEO of the group 40 Days for Life, told The Christian Post that 588 cities were participating this year, the largest since the observance was first held in 2007. “Many thought that the pandemic and civil unrest in our streets would be a deterrent, but I am so proud of the local leaders who came out in droves to apply, train, and lead their campaign locally,” said Carney. “The desire to help women and their unborn children is at an all-time high despite nearly five decades of legalized abortion. The pro-life movement gets larger and younger by the day and that is illustrated in this record.” read more
Shawn Carney also noted that they have acquired “extensive legal support” in case opposition arises to any of their vigils: “If a local judge attempts to use COVID-19 as a vehicle to suppress our rights, then we are prepared to respond and defend those rights as Americans.” Christians have a tremendous opportunity to speak out on behalf of the worth and sanctity of every human life, whether born or unborn. This is a time in our country where many are eager to champion the dignity and equality of human life, yet without an absolute basis for such dignity. As believers, we have a firm and powerful basis for our belief in the sanctity of human life--each individual is made in God’s own image. And each one of us can stand for life in the unique ways God has provided. Retired NFL superstar Benjamin Watson recently release a documentary, Divided Hearts of America, which he produced to explore the division caused by abortion in our country. This past weekend, Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) published a notice in the New York Times urging Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic Party leadership to take a more moderate stance on abortion, fearful that the party’s extreme stance will push away many pro-life Democrats and Independents. The letter was endorsed by four governors and nine members of Congress. A national Gallup poll from 2019 on abortion reported that almost 30 percent of Democratic voters and 44 percent of Independent voters are pro-life. Persistent pro-life work throughout the decades since Roe v. Wade has helped awaken the consciences of Americans. One of the major contributions to this effort was the release of undercover videos, conducted by David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress in 2015, that exposed Planned Parenthood’s profiting off the sale of aborted baby body parts. Those videos led to a Congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood, who has sued David, claiming he “created a false smear campaign” against them. Now, David has filed a federal defamation complaint against them, asking that they be required to remove all false statements made about him. Whether the cost is great or small, we have a responsibility to stand for life.
We have created a Pro-Life Prayer Guide to help you pray specifically for a greater recognition of the sanctity of life in our nation. Consider going through it individually or as a family during this time.
We encourage you to visit the 40 Days for Life website to learn how you can stand for life in these next few months. You can access prayer guides, community outreach materials, and locate a prayer vigil near you.
Ohio Law Bars Closing Churches, Changing Election Dates
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill into law that restricts local and state officials from closing churches or other houses of worship and from changing election dates. Pushed by Republican lawmakers, House Bill 272 prohibits a public official from ordering the closure of all places of worship in a geographic area and changing the time, place, or manner of conducting an election, except in certain circumstances. The law will take effect in mid-December, according to Cleveland.com. DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said that the governor agreed to enact the law curbing his own power to close churches because he never even contemplated taking such a step. DeWine has been criticized for postponing the state’s March 17 primary election due to COVID-19 fears at the time. Tierney said DeWine doesn’t want to change the election dates again, as state officials instead have to prepare for a potential rise in the number of novel coronavirus cases around the voting. The new legislation states that “no public official shall cause an election to be conducted other than in the time, place, and manner prescribed by the Revised Code.” “At that stage, remember, the pandemic was emerging in March, and the situation on the ground changed very rapidly and unexpectedly,” Tierney was quoted as saying. “That was certainly a unique situation.” The spokesperson added, “Moving forward, the virus will not have the element of surprise.” read more
"Either we have liberty to worship, or we have permission to worship. It has become abundantly clear that if we settle for permission, we will never have liberty again,” stated Pastor Stacey Shiflett of Dundalk Calvary Baptist Church in Maryland. He’s exactly right. Church is essential to the health of our nation and our people, not because the government declares it but because God ordained it. Hebrews 10:24-25 makes it clear that we are not to neglect to meet together. To what purpose do we meet together? Some of the primary functions are to “stir up one another to love and good works” and to encourage one another. Speaking of encouragement, pastors need it now more than ever. David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible Church near Washington, D.C., is hosting a special time of prayer specifically for pastors from September 23rd through November 11th at 12 pm ET. Pastors can sign up to participate on Facebook or YouTube here, and share prayer requests. Platt says most every pastor he’s talked to said they are struggling “more than they’ve ever struggled in life and ministry” before. Keep your pastor and church leaders in your prayers as they face some of their most difficult decisions this year and consider sharing the link to the prayer event.
Pray that God will give wisdom and grace to faithful pastors around the country as they strive to serve their flocks. And continue to pray that churches will be allowed to meet freely in California and other states that currently impose restrictions on this essential function.
To urge your governor to protect the First Amendment and defend your God-given right to worship by keeping churches essential in America, go to KeepChurchEssential.org.
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.
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