Preserving our Christian Culture through Biblical Citizenship!
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TOP SILVER BULLETS
- HHS “Conscience” Rule is Overturned
- 150th Federal Judge Appointed
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HHS “CONSCIENCE” RULE IS OVERTURNED
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer, in early November, vacated a Trump Administration rule allowing healthcare providers to refuse to provide medical services for religious or moral reasons. In ruling in favor of 26 plaintiffs, including Planned Parenthood, various women’s groups, and numerous states, Engelmayer determined the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acted outside its power in establishing a “conscience rule,” which protects medical professionals and healthcare entities from being discriminated against if they refuse to perform medical services such as abortion, sterilization or assisted suicide on religious or moral grounds. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse called the judge’s ruling an “absurd mush.” “In this country, government doesn’t get to tell you that your faith is fine on Sunday at church but not Monday at work. The Trump Administration ought to defend basic conscience rights all the way to the Supreme Court.”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 19:7; Matthew 5:16.
PRAY: Judge’s HHS ruling is overturned by a higher court.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Secretary Azar, I urge you to appeal Judge Engelmayer’s harmful ruling against the HHS conscience rule for medical professionals.” HHS Sec. Alex M. Azar II, 200 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. https://www.theepochtimes.com/federal-judge-overturns-trump-administrations-conscience-rule_3139516.html
CHICK-FIL-A BOWS TO LGBT ACTIVISTS
Chick-fil-A announced it will stop making donations to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), which activists perceive as anti-LGBT. The company’s charity, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, has donated millions to the two organizations. In lieu of multi-year commitments, the foundation will shift to annual partnerships. “There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos announced. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.” In recent years, the fast-food chain has been a popular target of activists who have lobbied for boycotts and, in some instances, have blocked approval of local restaurants.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Timothy 1:8.
PRAY: Other Christian businesses stand firm on their values.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Mr. Tassopoulos. As a long-time supporter of Chick-fil-A’s Biblical approach to business, I am extremely disappointed by your decision to stop donations to the Salvation Army and FCA.” Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A President, P.O. Box 725489, Atlanta, GA 31139.
150TH FEDERAL JUDGE APPOINTED
President Donald Trump, in a Nov. 6 East Wing gathering with top lawmakers and Justice Department officials, celebrated the appointment of his administration’s 150th federal judge. President Trump called the occasion a “profoundly historic milestone and a truly momentous achievement.” “They will uphold our Constitution as written,” the President vowed. He later singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying his impact in methodically confirming judges in the Senate was “truly amazing,” adding, “Generations from now, Americans will know that Mitch McConnell helped save the constitutional rule of law in America—it’s true.” Many of the nominees fill spots previously held by conservatives. But some of them, most notably the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, replace long-standing anti-Biblical strongholds. The President has selected six judges to the Ninth Circuit and with several more vacancies anticipated, he could end up handpicking one-third of the district’s 29 seats.
SCRIPTURE: Amos 5:24; Romans 2:13.
PRAY: Continued success in installing conservative judges.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Sen. McConnell, Congratulations on your tireless work resulting in 150 new judicial appointments.” Sen. Mitch McConnell, 317 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510.
U.S. SHIFTS WEST BANK POLICY
In an historic shift of American policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Nov. 18 the United States is softening its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, reversing a 1978 State Department legal opinion asserting civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.” “Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked,” Pompeo iterated. “It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace.” The move was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader, Benny Gantz. It has also angered Palestinians and put the U.S. at odds with other nations working to end the conflict, including Jordan. Pompeo’s announcement is the latest in a series of Trump Administration moves that have solidified ties to Israel while also weakening Palestinian claims to statehood.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 12:2-3; Acts 1:6-8.
PRAY: For the peace and sovereignty of Israel.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Secretary Pompeo, Thank you for the Administration’s continued support for Israel, including the recent shift in America’s West Bank policy.” Secretary Mike Pompeo, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520.
NFL QB SAYS HE WILL “GLORIFY” CHRIST
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason, credits a shoulder injury, which sidelined him since the first week of the season, with solidifying his relationship with Christ. “When I felt this thing break [opening week] and I was going into the locker room, I just realized, you know, ‘God, this wasn’t exactly what I was thinking when I came to Jacksonville.’ Obviously, you come here and you want to create a culture and impact people. But at the end of the day [I said,] ‘God, if this is the journey you want me to go on, I’m going to glorify you in every action, good or bad,’” Foles told reporters just days before returning to the field. “I still could have joy in an injury. People hear that and say that’s crazy, but … when you believe in Jesus and you go out there and you play … that changes your heart.”
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 1:7-9; Romans 10:15.
PRAY: Other athletes become Christian ambassadors.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Nick Foles, Thank you for being a strong ambassador for Christ and a role model for kids.” Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 TIAA Bank Field Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32202.
SUICIDE RATE TRIPLES FOR KIDS 10-14
Salt & Light Opinion: The suicide rate among children ages 10 to 14 almost tripled from 2007 until 2017, according to new federal data, while for older teenagers it has increased by an astonishing 76 percent in the same time period. Overall, the suicide rate among those aged 10 to 24 has gone up by 56 percent, a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed. Dr. Steve Grcevich, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and founder of Key Ministry, told the Family Research Council he believes there are three “trends” contributing to the data: self-esteem issues brought on by the access of smartphones, cultural emphasis on sexual expression, and the declining influence of Christianity. “As a parent, one of the things that I would be trying to do is to cultivate the importance of faith in family life—regularly praying together as a family, studying the Bible, [even] serving together,” Grcevich opined. We agree faith is the defining factor: Restoring belief in God through Jesus Christ is the antidote for despair.
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 31:8; Philippians 4:8.
PRAY: Other athletes become Christian ambassadors.
ACTION: For a Prayer and Action meeting, invite local youth ministry leaders for a discussion on the topic of depression and suicide, and then strategize ways to infuse your community with Biblical truth.
SALT & LIGHT MINISTRY MOMENT:
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Angel Tree (Prison Fellowship):
James J. Ackerman, President and CEO
This Christmas hundreds of thousands of children who have at least one incarcerated parent will be treated to special gifts, including a Bible, thanks to Angel Tree, a ministry of Prison Fellowship. “Every child has a story,” the ministry website shared. “For 2.7 million children in the U.S., that story may be filled with the abandonment, loneliness and shame that come from having a mom or dad in prison. For many, it may also include following their parents down the same destructive road to incarceration.” While the gift program is designed to ease their isolation, the ministry’s outreach doesn’t end when the wrapping paper is scooped up into the trash. Since it’s founding, the ministry has also developed three year-round programs: Angel Tree Camping, Angel Tree Sports Clinics, and Angel Tree Mentoring.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 1:17; 1 John 3:17.
PRAY: For the millions of children with parents in jail.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear James Ackerman, I strongly support Prison Fellowship’s year-round commitment to children through Angel Tree.” James Ackerman, Prison Fellowship, 44180 Riverside Parkway, Lansdowne, VA 20176.
BILL COULD RESTORE PARENTAL RIGHTS
The state Senate Education Committee plans to hold a hearing in January regarding SB 673, proposed legislation aimed at restoring parental rights as it pertains to the use of sex-education curriculum in public schools. Authored by state Sen. Mike Morell, SB 673 increases transparency and accessibility at primary school districts on two fronts. First, it allows parents to regain opt-in rights, instead of the existing opt-out law in which students are automatically enrolled in sex-ed. The opt-in approach is more favorable because it ensures parents are aware their child is being exposed to controversial coursework before they are subjected to it. A second major feature of the bill requires comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention curriculum be made available online for parents. California Family Council reports a parent heard teachers say, “If parents reviewed the actual lesson plans, they would opt their children out of the lessons.” In advance of the hearing, the Council is collecting such anecdotal evidence, and is asking parents to contact their local district to see how difficult it is to review the curriculum and then contact them to report the findings.
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4.
PRAY: Rights of parents are upheld in CA schools.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Chairwoman Leyva, In 2020, I urge passage of SB 673 for public schools with parental opt-in for sexual health education.” Chairwoman Connie Leyva, Senate Education Committee, State Capitol, Room 2083, Sacramento, CA 95814.
SENATE CONSIDERS PARENTAL CONSENT
A Florida bill requiring parental consent before a minor can obtain an abortion failed to secure a vote in the Senate Health Policy Committee on Nov. 12 because of time constraints, but is expected to be considered again next month. The measure was only allotted 90 minutes for discussion, but opponents of the measure filed 15 amendments, which prevented a formal vote. “It’s just burning the clock,” Ocala Sen. Dennis Baxley bemoaned, adding, “If you have got the votes to do something, fine. If you want to raise important questions, let’s make sure we make room for that, but don’t game the system.” Florida already requires parental notification for minors, but SB 404 takes it a step further by requiring parental permission, though a judicial waiver is available for teens seeking to bypass the requirement because of family issues. Exemptions are provided for teens who are already parents or who have a medical emergency. The bill would still need to be heard in the Senate Rules and Judiciary committees. A similar bill, HB 265, already passed out of committee there and will face a floor vote when the 2020 legislative session convenes in January.
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4.
PRAY: Lawmakers succeed with parental consent laws.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Sen. President Galvano, I urge you to nix all procedural stunts attempting to block committee votes on SB 404 so it receives full consideration on the floor.” Sen. President Bill Galvano, 404 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399.
PARENTS ANGRY OVER NEW SEX-ED PLAN
Austin Independent School District has approved a new sex-ed curriculum espousing “sexual orientation” and “gender” identity topics for students beginning as early as the third grade. The unanimous approval came despite overwhelming testimony from parents who complained the material is inappropriate for the school setting. Parent David Walls, who also serves as Vice President of Texas Values, accused the district of weaponizing education “to indoctrinate children into the LGBT political movement.” “This vote by the Austin ISD Board sends a clear message: People of faith and traditional moral values are not welcome in Austin ISD. By passing this curriculum, Austin ISD has broken the sacred trust that parents put in their children’s schools.” Texas Values, which has an online petition protesting the new curriculum, maintains the curriculum not only “promotes homosexuality and gender confusion, but it condemns any opposition to these ideologies.” The curriculum, according to Walls, will inaccurately tell children as early as the third grade that despite their biological sex of male or female, the “gender” assigned at birth by their doctor is not necessarily correct.
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4.
PRAY: Austin trustees reverse the curriculum’s approval.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear President Rodriguez, I am vehemently opposed to the new sex-ed curriculum in AISD and urge the trustees reconsider the vote.” AISD President Geronimo M. Rodriguez Jr., 1111 W. Sixth St., A250, Austin, TX 78703.
Salt & Light Sunday: January 19, 2018
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