WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - September 25, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Wheaton College Students Sue Chicago After Being Told They Can’t Evangelize in Park
Four student evangelists from Wheaton College in Illinois are suing the Chicago city government over a set of rules that they say are restricting their freedom of speech and religion at a popular park. The students are members of the Chicago Evangelism Team sponsored by the Office of Christian Outreach at Wheaton College, an evangelical institution based in the Chicago suburbs. The students contend they have faced opposition and at times have been prohibited by security from evangelizing at Millennium Park, a 24-acre downtown venue that hosts a range of activities including concerts, theater, dance performances, art shows, and nature walks. The students are represented by the religious freedom law firm Mauck & Baker, LLC, which defends churches, religious institutions, businesses, and individuals. According to the legal complaint, one restriction put in place by the city is a ban on “disruptive conduct.” Specifically, the policy states that “[a]ny conduct, even if not specifically noted in these rules, is prohibited in the park if it interferes with or disrupts another visitor’s peaceful enjoyment of performance or amenity in the Park …” read more
The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” Yet, the city of Chicago appears to be directly ignoring this fundamental Constitutional right. The lawsuit brought by the students states, “The newly revised rules still contain unconstitutional provisions which unduly restrict speech within a traditional public forum.” It’s crucial that we fight to protect our Constitutional rights and for religion to be welcome in the public square. One school in Alabama is doing just that. After the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained that the pre-game prayer over the loudspeaker should be prohibited, and the school district ordered administrators to enforce a “moment of silence” instead, the high school students and fans responded by reciting the Lord’s prayer out loud before the game. One of the students said, “You’re taking [prayer] away from the majority, so now we’re having to go about it a different way.” In other world news, churches across China have been forced to remove the Ten Commandments and replace it with President Xi Jinping’s quotes as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s effort to “sinicize” Christianity. President Jinping’s quotes on display include, “The core socialist values and Chinese culture will help to immerse various religions of China," he said. "Support religious community in interpreting religious thought, doctrines, and teachings in a way that conforms with the needs of the progress of the times. Resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology, and consciously resist the influence of extremist thought.”
Pray for the protection of religious freedom in America and specifically for Wheaton Students and the students in Alabama. Pray for them to have continued boldness as they seek to practice their faith in the public square. And pray for our brothers and sisters in China who are enduring unimaginable persecution. Pray for the Gospel to spread despite the government’s pressure.
Consider different ways you can take action to help the persecuted Church in China. The Voice of the Martyrs is working to mobilize Christians to pray and send aid.
Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the formalization of an impeachment inquiry into President Trump Tuesday evening, saying "the president must be held accountable" for his "betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and the betrayal of the integrity of our elections." Pelosi had met with her caucus of House Democrats prior to giving the planned statement. House Republicans were expected to speak shortly afterward. Wary of compromising the electability of vulnerable Democrats, Pelosi had long resisted taking the dramatic step publicly -- even though other top Democrats have insisted, in legal filings and the media, that an impeachment inquiry already has been in progress for months. Republicans said the move would prove to be a major mistake. "It is a colossal error," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told Fox News. "And I’m kind of surprised that Speaker Pelosi, as shrewd as she is, would let it get to this point." read more
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is formally signing off on an impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump after he spoke to the Ukrainians, reportedly trying to coerce the political leadership there to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden on corruption charges. This was dredged up after a whistleblower came forward to the intelligence community inspector general, though it’s based on anonymous second-hand sources. The whistleblower didn’t even listen in on the calls, and it’s not the intelligence community’s job to snitch on the president. The president can say whatever he wants to another foreign leader. And now, before anyone has read the transcript of the call, which Trump has authorized the full release of today, the House Democrats launched a full-blown impeachment push. President Trump immediately responded on Twitter saying, “Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country! Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this? They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!” Another day, another byproduct of our distrust. In 1964, 77 percent of Americans said they trust the government to do what is right. Today, that number has dropped to 17 percent. “Impeachment” has been a constant word in the news since the President took office, so this development is not surprising. As for Speaker Pelosi, she has a large hurdle to face in the Republican Senate as well as with her more moderate Democrats, the ones who won in more conservative-leaning districts. This whole circus is now officially coming to town and unfortunately, this will continue to further divide our country. Opinions will vary on impeachment now but there is no question that one day every knee will bow and truth will emerge and justice will be enacted (Phil 2:10-11, Mt. 10:26, Deut. 16:20).
Pray for our country. Pray for our elected officials at the federal level. Pray against the division that further seeks to tear us apart. As followers of Christ, pray for God to give us a sincere heart for healing and unity, asking Him to point out the selfish appetites in our own hearts, and bring us to a point of repentance, asking Him to make us peacemakers in the body of Christ.
Those in Congress making the decisions that affect our nation were voted into office. We the people have the power to elect our leaders, but only if we vote. This week, a number of national organizations, including My Faith Votes, are encouraging citizens to register to vote. With 80,000 elections taking place this year and over 100,000 elections taking place in 2020, Christians have the opportunity to have tremendous influence. Text the word VOTE to 73075 or click here to make sure you are registered as well as receive election reminders so you don’t miss a single opportunity to PRAY, THINK, and VOTE!
Conservative Activists Clean Up 50 Tons of Garbage In Liberal Los Angeles; Media Silent
In August, a group of Trump supporters led by conservative activist Scott Presler went to West Baltimore for a massive clean-up operation following tweets sent by President Donald Trump highlighting the dire conditions in the area. Keeping to his promises, Presler has since led clean-up efforts in Newark, New Jersey and Virginia Beach, Virginia. And on Saturday, Presler and some 200 volunteers headed to Democrat-run Los Angeles, removing a stunning 50 tons of garbage, according to the activist. "Without the help of the city, 200 volunteers picked up 50 tons of trash in 9 hours at a homeless camp in Los Angeles," Presler told The Daily Wire on Monday. "It’s almost 9 a.m. & we’re removing waste from a homeless camp in Los Angeles. Why is an outsider from Northern Virginia here & not California elected leadership?" the activist posted to Twitter Saturday, adding, “#LosAngelesCleanup.” read more
We were recently in LA to film upcoming interviews with our influencers, and we saw these awful conditions first-hand. It was shocking. And while the mainstream media has consistently covered the need to clean up the garbage in LA, they have been largely silent on the impressive clean-up effort by people who were willing to roll up their sleeves and donate their own time to solve the problem. Presler used the hashtag #StopTalkingStartDoing. That’s an important message for us today. We can't solve every problem, but we can all do something to make a difference. John 15:12-13 says, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Great love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” When we take the time to serve one another, we have the opportunity to share Christ’s love (Galatians 6:2, Romans 12:16, 1 Peter 4:8-11).
Today, pray for a need in your city. Perhaps it’s a homeless issue, the need for a clean-up effort, or the increasing number of foster care children in your city. Pray for God to give you wisdom on how you can be part of a solution and roll-up your sleeves to meet a need in your city (Jeremiah 19:7).
Do you have a local non-profit or a ministry that you volunteer within your area? Or perhaps an active ministry at your church that works in the community? Consider taking the first step to reach out or get involved with an effort in your city where you can bring the love of Christ and solutions of our faith into the public square.
Historic: Trump’s Big Push for Religious Freedom at the United Nations
President Donald Trump is at the United Nations for a three-day visit during its General Assembly, and he's making history with a big push for the UN to truly focus its attention on global religious freedom. President Trump's big focus Monday was a meeting about the worldwide persecution of religious minorities - especially Christians. The event was called a "Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom". The President was introduced by Vice President Mike Pence, and the event was attended by key evangelical leaders including Franklin Graham, Paula White, Jentezen Franklin, Tim Clinton, and Cissie Graham Lynch. He said the facts are clear that 80 percent of the world doesn't enjoy the same protection for religious freedom that US citizens enjoy. "The United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution, to stop the crimes against prisoners of faith, to release prisoners of conscience," Trump said. read more
President Trump became the first sitting United States President to give a speech at the United Nations General Assembly solely focused on religious freedom. He set the stage for world leaders by bringing faith to the forefront. The President began his remarks stating that the United States is “founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government, they come from God.” Johnnie Moore, board member for My Faith Votes and a commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, attended the event and said this, “The President is using the full weight of the United States to force the issue of religious freedom on the agendas of world leaders at the United Nations. It is not a secondary issue to the United States. It is an organizing principle for the United States and ought to be for all global leaders. This is legitimately historic.” On Tuesday, President Trump addressed the U.N. General Assembly where he boldly addressed the open-border agenda stating, "I have a message for those open border activists who cloak themselves in the rhetoric of social justice: Your policies are not just, your policies are cruel and evil.” He continued, “You are empowering criminal organizations that prey on innocent men, women, and children. You put your own false sense of virtue before the lives and well-being of countless innocent people. When you undermine border security, you are undermining human rights and human dignity."
Pray for President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft. Pray for them to have wisdom as they seek to protect Americans and defend religious freedom around the world. Pray for all the world leaders attending the General Assembly. There is nowhere else in the world where 198 world leaders gather at one time. It is the place where the kings of the earth make declarations from the podium in the General Assembly Hall. These men and women understand authority and the power to wield it among their global peers so it is important to pray for revival, transformation, and reformation as they meet this week.
We encourage you to watch President Trump’s address on religious freedom and his address to the U.N. General Assembly. It’s important for us to hear for ourselves what our President is saying to world leaders and to be aware of the religious persecution across the globe.
Don't forget to grab your copy of Unplanned, the inspiring and eye-opening true story of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson and her journey of transformation. Get your copy 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.