August 2019 Newsletter
Preserving our Christian Culture through Biblical Citizenship!
Legally Vetted for Pulpit and Church Distribution
TOP SILVER BULLETS
- Netflix Cuts Teen Suicide Scene
- Israel, Bahrain Leaders Meet in U.S
Take Action – Write, E-mail or Call!Let’s make our voices heard! One $.35 stamped postcard speaks for 1,000 constituents. Write one at your Salt & Light table.
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NETFLIX CUTS TEEN SUICIDE SCENE
After intense pressure from the public and mental health professionals, Netflix has cut a graphic teen suicide scene from Season 3 of its “suicide” drama 13 Reasons Whyon the streaming platform’s website. “The PTC has repeatedly urged Netflix to reevaluate leaving 13 Reasons Whyon its platform until the show could be proven not to be harmful to children,” the Parents Television Council opined in a news release. Earlier this year, a National Institutes for Health study showed a 28.9 percent increase in suicides among 10- to 17-year-olds the month after the series’ 2017 release. “Netflix has finally acknowledged the harmful impact that explicit content, such as the graphic suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why, is capable of inflicting on children,” the PTC continued. “While we applaud Netflix for making this responsible decision, we call on the company to redouble its efforts to protect children from harmful content.” The move is earning praise, but PTC has renewed calls to remove the series altogether, citing graphic portrayals of gun violence, and bullying and gang rape that includes same-sex attacks.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 34:18; John 16:33.
PRAY: Public pressure forces Netflix to cancel the show.
ACTION: Write a postcard to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: “Dear Mr. Hastings, Removing graphic suicide in 13 Reason Why was a good first step, but the show needs to be cancelled.” Reed Hastings, Netflix, 100 Winchester Circle, Los Gatos, CA 95032.
ISRAEL, BAHRAIN LEADERS MEET IN U.S.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz met publicly with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled al-Ahmad al-Khalifa in Washington in mid-July, the second time Israel has met with a senior Arab official in two weeks and an indication of a greater willingness to make these meetings public. The meeting generated a rare photograph where a top Arab official was documented meeting a senior Israeli figure. The photo was posted on Twitter by U.S. host and Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt and later shared by Katz, who with al-Khalifa was attending a State Department conference on religious freedom that drew 1,000 world leaders. According to the Foreign Ministry, the two men discussed Iran, joint cooperation and regional threats, and agreed to maintain contact. Katz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are working on normalizing relations with Arab countries in hopes of signing peace agreements.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 34:14; John 16:33.
PRAY: For growing attention on religious freedom.
ACTION: Write a postcard to U.S. Envoy Jason Greenblatt: “Dear Envoy Greenblatt, Thank you for hosting the recent conference on religious freedom and fostering improved relationships in the Middle East.” US Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500.
OHIO CONSIDERS PRO-LIFE CURRICULUM
Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation requiring public schools to develop a science-based curriculum which “clearly and consistently state[s] that abortion kills a living human being,” with the ultimate goal of promoting “a culture of life” and achieving an “abortion-free society,” according to LifeSite News. The law would also prohibit school officials from referring a student to an abortion clinic. State Rep. Niraj Antani introduced H.B. 90, the “Humanity of the Unborn Child” bill. It mandates the material be developed by the Ohio Department of Health and the state Board of Education, and contain “accurate, scientifically verifiable information concerning the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child” without input from any organization providing abortions. “When we are able to more clearly see the scientific reality of life in the womb, we are also able to understand the brutality and inhumanity of abortion,” Jessica Warner, of Ohio Right to Life, offered during House Health Committee testimony.
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 20:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
PRAY: H.B. 90 becomes law in Ohio.
ACTION: Write a postcard to state Rep. Niraj Antani: “Dear Rep. Antani, Thank you for teaching children the importance of life through H.B. 90.” Rep. Antani, 77 S. High St., 11th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.
GROWTH OF “NONES” EXPANDS
A new study on the growth of “nones”—Americans not affiliated with any religion—shows an increase from 22.2 percent in 2008 to 29.5 percent by 2018. Ryan P. Burge, a professor at Eastern Illinois University, used data from two studies: the larger Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) and the older General Social Survey (GSS) to show an unmistakable trajectory of Americans moving away from religious affiliation, The Christian Postreported. In the past 25 years, from 1993–2018, the number of evangelicals declined by 7.4 percent, according to the GSS. Between 2008 and 2018, the numbers of “nones” rose by nearly the same amount, 7.3 percent, according to CCES data. Burge believes the growth of the “nones” will plateau. “I don’t know if that’s in five years or 15 years but even if they stopped growing this year, it will still be the most dramatic unbroken streak of growth we have seen in the last five decades.” He predicted, “The United States will be altered forever, both socially and politically, because of it.” His study includes a breakdown of data by state.
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 1:7; Matthew 11:15.
PRAY: Evangelicals are able to reach “nones.”
ACTION: For a Prayer and Action meeting, invite a local expert on church growth to speak on specific data relating to your state and discuss ways to reach “nones.”
VA UPDATES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM POLICY
The Department of Veterans Affairs has revised its policies on religious symbols in displays at its hospitals in order to curb inconsistencies, according to Christianity Today. In issuing the new directives, the department cited published reports where religious expression at numerous locations prohibited Christmas carolers and disallowed gifts, cards or gift wrapping if the phrase “Merry Christmas” was used. “We want to make sure that all of our Veterans and their families feel welcome at VA, no matter their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a key part of how we accomplish that goal,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie explained in a statement. Specifically, the policies “allow the inclusion in appropriate circumstances of religious content in publicly accessible displays at VA facilities” and allow patients to request and receive sacred texts, symbols and religious literature. The facilities are also allowed “to accept donations of religious literature, cards and symbols at its facilities and distribute them.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 119:45; Galatians 5:13.
PRAY: Religious symbols are protected on public land.
ACTION: Write a postcard to VA Sec. Robert Wilkie: “Dear Secretary Wilkie, I support the recent policy revisions governing religious freedoms. Thank you.”
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, 810 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20420.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD FIRES NEW CEO
Salt & Light Opinion: In case there was any doubt about the true motivations of Planned Parenthood, the recent firing of its new CEO should put it all to rest. Dr. Leana Wen, who was hired to helm the organization in November, was terminated during a secret board meeting July 16. According to Wen—who announced her firing on social media—she and the abortion company were quietly negotiating her departure over “philosophical differences” when she was notified of her firing. As a physician, the first for the group in the past 50 years, Wen apparently worked to reframe Planned Parenthood’s mission into a reproductive healthcare organization, vowing to expand non-abortion services. The shift did not sit well with the group’s leadership, which reportedly believes the current political climate requires more aggressive abortion advocacy. Within months of Wen’s hiring, two of the organization’s top political staffers announced they were leaving. The firing demonstrates the pressure the group is feeling from recent significant pro-life wins, including the loss of federal Title X family planning funding and exposure of its radical pro-abortion agenda.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:13; John 10:10.
PRAY: Planned Parenthood’s influence wanes.
ACTION: For a Prayer and Action meeting, invite a speaker from your local Pregnancy Care Center to share how your group can support its ongoing pro-life efforts.
SALT & LIGHT MINISTRY MOMENT:
NOTE: Ministry Moment is for educational purposes only. Information offered by organizations is from their websites and should not be used as a substitute for your own research.
Christian Educators Association International:
David Schmus – Executive Director
Originally launched in 1953 as the National Educators Fellowship by Los Angeles educators Clyde M. Narramore, a school psychologist, and Principal Benjamin S. Weiss, the group now maintains chapters nationwide. The pair started the ministry after discovering “more than half of the millions of children and youth attending America’s schools have no moral and spiritual training other than that which they may incidentally receive in their public school education.” The ministry’s mission is to “encourage, equip and empower Christian educators to effectively walk out their calling in their schools.” Its primary programs include the Daniel Project, which raises up missional educational leaders to be “modern-day Daniels” and LIFT America, which hosts inspirational gatherings.
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 22:6; 2 Timothy 3:14-15.
PRAY: The influence of Christian teachers increases.
ACTION: For a Prayer and Action meeting, reach out to Christian public school teachers in your area and invite them to share how your group can support their work.
BILL TO FORCE LGBT TEACHER TRAINING
Assembly Bill 493, which would mandate “LGBT continuing education” for teachers including the use of so-called “gender neutral” pronouns with students who identify as “transgender,” has passed the Assembly and will now be considered by the state Senate. This, after lawmakers return from their summer recess on Aug. 12. “Gender neutral” includes pronouns such as they, them and theirs instead of he or she. Brenda Lebsack, an Orange Unified School District trustee and a Santa Ana teacher, warned The Epoch Times AB 493 is dangerous. “If teachers are unwilling to use non-binary pronouns for students who may identify as both genders, neither gender, etc….they will be accused of discrimination and could lose their jobs.” Last fall, former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill, AB 2135, saying he already signed several laws providing resources for schools. “If local schools find that more training or resources on this topic is needed,” Brown wrote, “they have the flexibility to use their resources as they see best.”
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1:27; Titus 1:15.
PRAY: AB 493 fails to pass out of the state Senate.
ACTION: Write a postcard to your stateSenator: “Dear (insert name), I urge you to vote No on AB 493 because the state already mandates resources for students.”
PUSH TO LEGALIZE RECREATIONAL POT
Sensible Florida, the group behind an effort to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot legalizing recreational marijuana, is closing in on enough petition signatures to trigger a review by the state Supreme Court, the first step toward making the ballot. According to state records, the group has gathered 75,472 valid signatures, just over a 1,000 shy of the required 76,632. The state website also indicates, however, the group may also lose 2,358 signature because they are too old to count. If the Court approves the petition, supporters would then need to gather a total of 766,200 signatures to actually qualify for the ballot. The campaign comes as a recent Quinnipiac University poll found 65 percent of Florida residents support recreational marijuana, “an all-time high” for the survey. Despite public support, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is opposed to recreational marijuana. “Not while I’m governor,” DeSantis told the Capitol News Service. “I mean look, when that is introduced with teenagers and young people, I think it has a really detrimental effect to their wellbeing and their maturity.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 5:11; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
PRAY: Recreational marijuana fails to make the ballot.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Gov. DeSantis, Thank you for opposing legalizing recreational marijuana and speaking out on its dangers.” Gov. Ron DeSantis, State of Florida, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399.
GOVERNOR SIGNS BORN ALIVE ACT
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ceremonially signed into law on July 18 Texas House Bill 16, which provides stronger protections to infants who survive abortions. Abbott officially signed the measure in June to put the wheels in motion, but held the subsequent public signing so all citizens could celebrate its passage. “In some states, leaders support abortion until the last minute of pregnancy—even after a child is born. Not in Texas. I formally signed the Born Alive Act to make it illegal to kill a child who survives an abortion. It also ensures the baby receives needed medical care,” Gov. Abbott tweeted. The Born Alive Act creates a doctor-patient relationship between the infant and the doctor, which requires doctors “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious physician would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Jeff Leach, allows third-degree felony charges and a fine up to $100,000 for violations. “We’re drawing a line in the sand,” Leach declared.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2:7; 1 John 5:19.
PRAY: Other states will pass similar legislation.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Gov. Abbott, Thank you for protecting life by signing the Born Alive Act.” Gov. Greg Abbott, Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 12428, Austin, Texas 78711.
Salt & Light Sunday – August: August 18, 2019
Salt & Light Sunday – September: September 15, 2019
Prayer & Action Meeting – August: August 23, 2019
Prayer & Action Meeting – September: September 20, 2019
in Classroom F103 – Ken Ham’s Foundations study.
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