WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - SEPTEMBER 9, 2020
In this week's Intersect, read about:
North Carolina starts sending absentee ballots — here’s when voting begins in other states
North Carolina was scheduled to start mailing out more than 600,000 absentee ballots on Friday. The state, a hotly contested battleground, is the first to begin its vote-by-mail process. Other states will follow suit in the coming days, with more than half starting to send out their ballots before the start of October. Eight states are also scheduled to open up early in-person voting in September. Early voting, whether in person or by mail, is generally consequential, with more than 40 million Americans casting ballots ahead of Election Day in 2016. But because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it could be dramatically more important in 2020. According to an NBC|SurveyMonkey poll released this week, 52% of adults plan to vote early this year, the bulk of which say they will do so via the mail. You can see when your state starts sending out absentee ballots and when it opens in-person early voting here. read more
With the coronavirus pandemic, election officials have been warning there will be a shortage in poll workers for the 2020 election. According to a Pew Research Center report, “nearly 60% of U.S. poll workers were over the age of 60 in the 2018 general election, with nearly 30% over 70.” Power the Polls, an initiative to recruit low-risk poll workers to staff in-person voting locations on Election Day and during early voting in October, has joined with more than 70 companies, to connect people who want to volunteer during the election with counties that offer training. Civic Alliance, the group behind the campaign, said it “surpassed its goal of recruiting 250,000 volunteer poll workers through its corporate partnerships and now has more than 350,000 people signed on to help with the election.” The 2020 election is expected to require 460,000 poll workers as coronavirus is likely to keep home many older Americans, who traditionally serve as poll workers. A movement called "Time to Vote" launched in February to encourage companies to offer "paid time off on Election Day or making it a day without meetings." So far, more than 700 companies have joined the list including Best Buy, Gap Inc, J Crew Group, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Nike, Twitter, and Visa are on the list. In 2016, just 60.2% of eligible voters cast their ballots. The U.S. has a crisis of historic low voter engagement – and Christian voter turnout is not any better. More than 40 million eligible Christians voters fail to vote in presidential election cycles, and an estimated 15 million of these Christians are not even registered to vote. We can do better. We must do better.
Pray for a huge turnout of voters who use wisdom in their decisions and vote from a biblical worldview. "Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you" (Prov 4:5–6).
As Americans, we are allowed the unique opportunity to influence our laws. For Christians, this means we must bring our biblical worldview to the public square. Here are three reasons why Christians should vote.
Pelosi Says Ban on Federal Abortion Funding Will Be Dropped Next Year
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that a prohibition on federal funding for abortion will be excluded from spending bills next year if Democrats retain a majority in the House of Representatives, setting the stage for the end of a 44-year-old bipartisan agreement on abortion funding. The Los Angeles Times reported that Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently told House Democrats that funding bills next year would not include the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment, a policy barring taxpayer funding of elective abortions, has been law since 1976. It is named former congressman Henry Hyde, a 16-term Republican congressman from Illinois who introduced the amendment. The policy, passed with bipartisan support as an attachment to spending bills, bars Medicaid reimbursements for elective abortion services, but it contains exceptions for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake. According to a study published by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute and recently updated, the policy is estimated to result in around 60,000 fewer abortions each year, or around one in nine pregnancies of women with Medicaid benefits. The institute claims that the policy has thus saved more than 2.4 million lives since it was instituted in 1976. read more
While Joe Biden supported the Hyde Amendment in the past, he reversed his stance last year as he faced pressure from pro-choice groups and members of the Democratic Party. President Trump formally identified what he intends to do for the preborn should he win a second term in office, following controversy over his campaign releasing a second-term agenda document that had failed to mention abortion. “As I seek re-election this November, I need your help in contrasting my bold pro-life leadership with Joe Biden’s abortion extremism,” Trump said in a letter to pro-life supporters. Specifically, President Trump pledges to “continue our transformation of the federal judiciary” via conservative Supreme Court appointees, to “overcome Democratic filibusters in Congress to finally pass and sign into law” legislation banning late-term abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion, and strengthening protections for infants born alive after failed abortions; and to “fully defund the big abortion industry such as Planned Parenthood of our tax dollars.” The two parties stand in stark contrast on their stance on abortion, according to their 2020 party platforms. The Democrats state: “every woman should have access to…safe and legal abortion. We will repeal the Title X domestic gag rule and restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood. We will repeal the Hyde Amendment, and protect and codify the right to reproductive freedom.” The Republicans state: “‘all’ are ‘endowed by their Creator’ with the inalienable right to life…we assert the sanctity of human life and… that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution.” This election is critical. Lives hang in the balance as the agenda that moves forward depends on who sits in Congress and in the White House next year. Deuteronomy 30:19 bears witness to this, saying, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
Pray for the men and women who have been and will be elected to serve the American people at all levels, by governing and creating laws to uphold the Constitution and protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. Pray that our leaders will love and practice justice and mercy, speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves and rescuing the unborn who are unjustly sentenced to die. (download the rest of the pro-life prayer guide here.)
We can each do something. So we compiled a list of 20 ways to stand for life. While there are endless opportunities to get involved to encourage a culture that values and protects life, use this list to get started and help propel other individuals and communities to become informed, take action and stand for life. And don’t forget to vote for life on November 3!
Cali Passes Bill to Soften Criminal Penalties for LGBT Adults Who Have Sex with Minors
The Democrat-led California General Assembly has OK’d legislation that would ease the criminal punishments for LGBT adults who sodomize or perform oral sex on underage teenagers. S.B. 145 was introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who is openly gay, and was approved by the state Senate in a 23-10 vote and passed by the Assembly in a 41-18 vote, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. If signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), which is likely, the legislation will require judges to use discretion in assigning an individual to the sex offender registry if their victim is between the ages of 14 and 17 and the age difference of the offender and victim is no more than 10 years. Wiener has argued the legislation “eliminates discrimination against LGBTQ youth in our criminal justice system.” However, not all Democrats are on board with the proposal. State Rep. Lorena Gonzalez (D) explained in a statement, “I cannot in my mind as a mother understand how sex between a 24-year-old and a 14-year-old could ever be consensual, how it could ever not be a registerable offense.” read more
The slippery slope that was set in motion by the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage has come to a disastrous moment. How did this happen? In much of our society, marriage is no longer defined as an objective, concrete institution, but rather as a label that can be placed on any “loving” relationship. In the process, we also redefined “love” to justify selfish desire. And it now seems as though we are beginning to redefine the term “willing”. As a result, shocking moral depravity is now accepted, legislated, and even celebrated. For the sake of vulnerable teenagers who will fall prey as casualties of this California bill, the church cannot compromise even an inch on the truth that any sex outside of God’s design for marriage is wrong. Unfortunately, it appears many Christians don’t have a correct theology of sex as “half of Christians say sex between consenting adults who are in a committed dating relationship is sometimes or always acceptable.“ An ideal candidate for any office must be firm in their conviction that the family, united by traditional marriage, is the most secure building block of a society. God’s design for marriage and family was given to us as a loving gift to provide stability to our society and marriage mirrors God's covenant relationship with His people.The rejection of His design has caused great instability, requiring more government intervention to deal with the problems this has caused. From school boards to city councils to state legislatures, get to know where your candidates and elected officials stand on this issue. The young people in your life may depend on it.
Pray that you and your fellow Christians would stand firm in the battle over marriage and sexuality, not just in politics, but in your personal lives as well. “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
Voter Registration Sunday is September 20th, and 15 million Christians are not registered to vote. You can change that by helping your church members register! Simply go to VoterRegistrationSunday.org for resources and instructions on how to hold a voter registration drive at your church or online. Early voting will begin soon in many states, and we need people who are faithful to the truth to make their voices heard.
Latest Jobs Numbers Blast Past Expectations, Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.4%
As the economy and jobs remain a top issue in this election year, the latest numbers from the government today show a clear improvement in the jobs picture. The unemployment rate fell sharply from 10.2 percent to 8.4 percent which is far better than expectations and way below the key level of 10-percent. Today's numbers also showed the economy added 1.4 million jobs in August, down a bit from July as the pace of new hirings slowed down. There will only be one more unemployment report before the presidential election in November. With so much uncertainty about the ongoing impact from COVID-19, many employers aren't sure if they can rehire employees who had to be laid off. So far roughly half of the jobs lost due to the pandemic-induced recession have been recovered. read more
Drew Farkel, the financial editor of CBN News, explained that the lockdowns caused the massive loss in jobs, so as businesses reopen, the unemployment rate is dropping. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of people who were out of work for between five and fourteen weeks fell from 5.1 million to 3.1 million -- 2 million jobs likely lost due to the lockdowns have been regained this month. This is encouraging, not just for economic reasons. Due to the effects of the pandemic and the lockdowns, many are experiencing anxiety or depression. Work helps combat those feelings, and God gave us work as something good that glorifies Him and benefits others. (Genesis 2:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12) Do you know someone who is out of work, or struggling to make ends meet right now? The Bible places the responsibility of assisting those in need on us individually, and particularly believers. James 1:27 states that “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” One of our favorite verses at My Faith Votes is Galatians 6:10, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” As well as supporting our neighbors through hard times, this can include voting for candidates who hold a proper view of the government's role in protecting its citizens without hampering their ability to provide for themselves.
Heavenly Father, thank you that all good things come from You, and You graciously provide for me. I ask that You continue to provide for me, and help me meet the needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and my neighbors. Help me to be a gracious receiver and a cheerful giver.
The Find Something New campaign, started by the Trump administration, connects people with training and resources to equip them for a new job. If you or someone you know can benefit from this, visit https://findsomethingnew.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.