INTERSECT | WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – Oct 31, 2018

In this week's Intersect, read about:


Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Suspect Told Officers “I Just Want to Kill Jews”

The suspect in Saturday's mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue repeatedly expressed anti-Semitic views as he traded gunfire with responding officers, at one point flatly stating: "I just want to kill Jews," according to a federal affidavit made public Sunday. Robert G. Bowers, 46, was charged with 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation in connection with the attack that killed 11 people and injured six others -- including four police officers. Bowers was also charged with 29 federal counts, including obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and using a firearm to commit murder. During this period, according to the federal affidavit, Bowers "repeated comments regarding genocide, his desire to kill Jewish people, and that Jewish people needed to die." He also accused Jews of "committing genocide to my people," a comment that echoes those Bowers is believed to have made on the social media site Gab. read more

THINK.
The murder of 11 Jews isn’t just an attack on the Jewish community, but an assault on all Americans. This act of pure evil struck at America’s foundational value of religious liberty. No person should ever face persecution or violence for their faith. Our hearts and prayers go out to the 11 families of Tree of Life Synagogue who lost their loved ones. The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97 years old and included a husband and wife, two brothers, and a grandfather just to mention some. Ben Shapiro rightly observed, “As Western civilization tears itself apart, anti-Semitism comes bursting through the seams.” The ADL announced earlier this year that "the number of anti-Semitic incidents (1,986) was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.” Russell Moore, in response to the tragedy, noted that if you hate Jews, you hate Jesus. Yes, Jesus was Jewish. But as Moore notes: “When Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus, the resurrected Christ introduced himself as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 22:8). Jesus is Jewish, present tense.” In Jesus, we have been grafted into the Israel branch (Romans 11:17-18). We join a story that dates back to Abraham and will one day end in a glorious city. Until then, trouble will come, perseverance will be required, but God will be present. He is not far from us but fighting for us.

PRAY.
Pray for the 11 families as they grieve the loss of their loved ones in this evil act and pray for the 6 victims who are recovering. And let’s also lift up the Tree of Life Synagogue in prayer as they heal from this horrific event.

ACT.
Read about one member of the Tree of Life Synagogue who has witnessed unspeakable evil twice in his life. Holocaust Survivor Lives Through Synagogue Shooting — He Was Four Minutes Late.


Alabama Supreme Court Upholds Personhood of Unborn Babies; Calls for End of Roe v. Wade

Alabama's highest court has recently released a decision that recognizes the personhood of unborn babies and includes a concurrent opinion that calls for the overturning ofRoe v. Wade. In the case of Jessie Levell Phillips v. the State of Alabama, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld a murder conviction for a man who in 2009 killed his pregnant wife and their unborn child in a ruling released last week. Justice Michael Bolin wrote, "... under the criminal laws of the state of Alabama, the value of the life of an unborn child is no less than the value of the lives of other persons. The trial court's additional commentary that this country is founded upon equal protection and due process for all of its persons is also based upon constitutional law.” read more

THINK.
Since the Supreme Court is now made up of a Constitutional majority, it is possible Roe v. Wade could be overturned. Cases like this one in Alabama look to be paving the way for that to happen. Christian leader James Dobson said, "I am truly encouraged by the Alabama Supreme Court's opinion, which powerfully affirms the humanity of the unborn in the eyes of the law. Justice Parker has given voice to so many of us who are devoted to defending the lives of the unborn by making a declarative legal argument for why the scourge of Roe v. Wade must, once and for all, be repealed by the U.S. Supreme Court."

PRAY.
Continue to pray for this case and for an eventual reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court. Pray that all life in America would come to be protected from contraception until natural death.

ACT.
Take a few minutes to check out the My Faith Votes resource page to learn more about how to defend the sanctity of life from a biblical perspective.


How Evangelicals Helped Elect Brazil’s New President

Brazil has elected far-right Congressman Jair Bolsonaro as their new president, and evangelical Christians played a significant role in his victory. His election reflected widespread anger at the political class after years of corruption, a struggling economy, and a surge of violence in the largest country in South America. Bolsonaro ran on promises to clean up Brazil and bring back traditional values. He told his supporters that "it's a promise to God." According to The Associated Press, evangelical voters played a big part in his election. Bolsonaro was backed by no major political party and had little advertising time purchased on television and radio. However, with evangelical support, he did have grassroots organizing. According to Reuters, his evangelical volunteers would distribute flyers and other campaign material and talk up the candidate to their friends and neighbors. Even though Brazil is home to the world's largest number of Catholics – 123 million – evangelicals are now growing in numbers too. They now total 42 million and make up 20 percent of the country's total population. read more

THINK.
President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, is a strong pro-life advocate. According to LifeSite News, he recently said, “We are signing a commitment defending the family, defending the innocence of children in the schools, defending the freedom of religion, against abortion and the legalization of drugs.” He has also said that he plans to stop providing money to any non-governmental organizations that support abortion. The Leftist party in Brazil has won the last four election cycles, so Bolsonaro’s victory was a surprise to many. Brazil’s election fueled by Evangelical Voters should remind us of the importance of our votes next Tuesday. We are less than one week away from the midterm elections, and Christians can make a powerful difference If we vote. Take a few minutes to read an op-ed by Gov. Mike Huckabee that’s a great reminder to all of us on why it’s important to vote. Vote to Elect the Leader You Want, or Stop Complaining.

PRAY.
Pray for the country of Brazil as they adjust to new leadership. Pray for President-elect Bolsonaro to seek God’s wisdom as he leads Brazil. Also, pray daily for our elections on Tuesday. Pray for Christians to seek God’s wisdom as they vote, think about the issues from a biblical perspective and to make it a priority to go to the polls.

ACT.
Visit the My Faith Votes Voting Assistance Center to view your sample ballot or Voter Guides and share it with your friends!


Accused Pipe-Bomber Cesar Sayoc’s Family Saw Early Signs of Mental Problems

Even as a young man, Cesar Sayoc showed signs that he struggled with mental health problems, but his family could not persuade him to seek help. Sayoc, now facing federal charges in connection with mailing bomb-like devices across the country to top Democrats and media personalities,would get angry when his relatives asked him to seek help,said Ronald Lowy, a Miami lawyer who has represented Sayoc and the family for years. Sayoc, 56, was arrested Friday in Plantation,accused of sending bomb-like devices to former PresidentsBill Clinton and Barack Obama,along with other Democrats who have been critical of President Donald Trump. read more

THINK.
Approximately 1 in 5 adults (43.8 million) experience mental illness in a given year. Over 50 percent of those with a mental illness have not received treatment over the past 12 months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression alone had an economic burden of $210.5 billion in 2010. Earlier this month, The Kennedy Forum released a report that gave 32 states a failing grade for mental health and addiction treatment.Mental illness isolates and alienates, causing individuals to separate physically from others and feel distant from others.Yet we read about Jesus spanning the emotional and physical chasm and meeting them where they are (Mark 5). Sayoc should be punished for his crimes, but hopefully, he will encounter the resurrected Christ who paid the ultimate price for his crimes (1 Peter 2:24).

PRAY.
Pray for our law enforcement as they continue to investigate this case. Pray for this man to set aside evil and hatred and come to know Jesus’s love and forgiveness. And pray for continued protection in our country against any other attacks.

ACT.
President Obama reacted to these events, and so did Franklin Graham. Their answers are quite different, read them here.