INTERSECT | WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – July 25, 2018

In this week's Intersect, read about:


Suicide Bomber Kills 14 Near Kabul Airport in Afghanistan

Fourteen people were killed when a suicide bomber carried out an attack near Kabul's airport in Afghanistan on Sunday, authorities said. They said the blast narrowly missed the country's vice president who was returning home after living in Turkey for more than a year. Fourteen people, including both civilians and military forces, were killed in the attack and 50 others wounded, police said. The Islamic States of Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) local affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack on its Amaaq News Agency website, claiming it had killed and wounded over 115 people. read more

THINK.
Absolutely tragic. As of the late, ISIS has shifted from terrorist attacks to educational initiatives. However, as the news indicates, the attacks continue. A recent report tracked 5,600 ISIS fighters who have returned to their home countries. About 400 fighters returned to the United Kingdom, 271 to France, and approximately 300 to Germany. According to the report, 7 fighters returned to the United States. Initially, more than 250 Americans attempted to join the Islamic State. But ISIS is doing more than dispersing. Reports indicate that when the Afghan government and the Taliban issued a ceasefire in mid-June, ISIS doubled down on their efforts in Afghanistan from their stronghold in Nangarhar. A new ISIS-linked group called the White Flags has come together in Northern Iraq -- they number 1,000. Despite their lingering and evil presence, God is moving in the Middle East. 10 million Muslims have become followers of Christ since 1960, significantly due to the violence of ISIS. God sends us out like sheep among wolves (Matthew 10:16), but remember this: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world... (Ephesians 6:12).”

PRAY.
Pray for the family and friends of those who lost their lives in this recent attack and pray for a quick recovery for those who were wounded. And pray for peace in the Middle East and the military forces putting their lives on the line to protect others.

ACT.
Read this article about a marine who is receiving the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump nearly 50 years after the saving the lives of countless members of his company during one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. We are so indebted to those who serve this country and fight to protect us.


Boy or Girl? Parents Raising ‘Theybies’ Let Kids Decide

Parents in the U.S. are increasingly raising children outside traditional gender norms — allowing boys and girls to play with the same toys and wear the same clothes — though experts say this is happening mostly in progressive, well-to-do enclaves. But what makes this “gender-open” style of parenting stand out, and even controversial in some circles is that the parents do not reveal the sex of their children to anyone. Although this represents a tiny percentage of the population, it is gaining momentum and attention. read more

THINK.
"To raise a child not as a boy or a girl is creating, in some sense, a freak," said Dr. Eugene Beresin, director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. "It sets them up for not knowing who they are. "To have a sense of self and personal identity is a critical part of normal healthy development," he said. "This blocks that and sets the child up for bullying, scapegoating and marginalization." This growing trend of raising “theybies” runs in direct opposition to what God established when he created each of us male or female. Research indicates that 41 percent of transgender individuals will attempt suicide at some point in their lives. Individuals who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely than average to die by suicide. They are at a higher risk of anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. It’s clear that while these parents might mean well, concealing the truth of their child’s gender will only give birth to tremendous confusion and depression. What is the Christian to do? Love these parents and children well and share with them God’s truth (Ephesians. 4:15, 1 John 3:18). They must hear and observe that following Jesus results in a flourishing life (John 10:10). Jesus relentlessly pursued us and patiently teaches us His ways. Just as Jesus does with us, we should do with our neighbors – regardless of their disposition. This story is a powerful reminder that we live in a lost culture in desperate need of knowing Jesus and the truth found in His word.

PRAY.
Pray for these children being raised by parents who refuse to recognize their God-given sex. Pray they would be as unaffected as possible after being raised without a gender. And pray for their parents to have a change of heart and come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

ACT.
Todd Wager, Pastor of Watermark Church in Dallas Texas, provides a Biblical response to the issue of gender dysphoria. As this issue becomes more common in our culture, we must know how to respond from a Biblical perspective.


Trump Warns Iran’s Rouhani to Stop the Threats or Suffer Historic Consequences

President Trump late Sunday tweeted out to Iranian President Rouhani to never threaten the U.S. again or face historic consequences. The tweet came on the heels of Rouhani’s warning to Trump that hostile policies could lead to the “mother of all wars" with Iran. Trump called for Rouhani to stop the rhetoric or--in caps lock-- “suffer the consequences the like of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious!” read more

THINK.
President Donald Trump's explosive Twitter threat to Iran's leader comes as his administration is ratcheting up a pressure campaign on the Islamic republic. Trump's challenge late Sunday to President Hassan Rouhani followed a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he accused Iran's leadership of massive corruption and widespread rights abuses and urged Iranians to rise up in protest. An improvement in human rights has not been seen under Rouhani, who was elected in May 2017. Authorities continued to restrict freedoms of expression, association, and assembly and prosecuted dozens of journalists, online media activists, and trade unionists on charges of “acting against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion to disrupt national security,” merely for exercising their legitimate rights. Scores of human rights defenders and political activists remain behind bars for their peaceful activism. After Trump’s press conference with Putin, which many called a weak performance of political power, Trump has shown that his foreign policy will continue to be strong and that he will not tolerate abuse from dictators.

PRAY.
Pray for those who are persecuted in Iran, including Abdolfatah Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer who has been in prison since 2011 and is serving a 13-year prison sentence for his human rights work. Use the information provided by Open Doors here, to pray for the country’s 800,000 Christians as they face levels of extreme persecution.

ACT.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is hosting the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom Summit in Washington D.C this week with 350 representatives in attendance from 80 countries. Take a minute to read about this historic three-day summit and keep it in your prayers today and tomorrow.  


Non-Citizens Legally Register to Vote in San Francisco School Elections

San Francisco began registering non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, to register to vote in the November election for the city school board, reported The San Francisco Chronicle. The move follows the passage of a 2016 ballot measure by San Francisco voters opening school elections to non-citizens who are over the age of 18, city residents and have children under age 19, reported the publication. “This is no-brainer legislation,” Hillary Ronen, a San Francisco supervisor, told the Chronicle. “Why would we not want our parents invested in the education of their children?” San Francisco became the first city in California to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections following passage of Measure N with 54 percent of the vote after two previous failed tries, reported KTVU. read more

THINK.
Harmeet Dhillon, who serves on the Republican National Committee, told the station she disagrees with those assessments saying, “The reason I voted against it is that I think the right to vote is something that goes along with citizenship and should be.” Of course, parents should be invested in the education our their children, but the opportunity to vote has been a privilege that coincided with citizenship since the founding of America. San Francisco isn’t the first city to take this action. Chicago and some Maryland cities also allow non-citizen residents to vote in school board elections.

In 2014, around 47 percent of immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens. The remaining 53 percent included lawful permanent residents, unauthorized immigrants, and legal residents on temporary visas (such as students and temporary workers). If immigrants who are not citizens retain the ability to vote, what will convince them to attain citizenship at all?

PRAY.
Continue to pray for the elections taking place across the nation. Pray for Christians to bring a Biblical perspective to the polls to impact both local and national elections.

ACT.
Take a few minutes to watch this video on the U.S. naturalization process by Historians David and Tim Barton. This interesting video outlines the history of immigration and naturalization in America and what the founders believed was essential to being an American.