Friday Five: Lawmakers ditch masks, and more

Welcome to the Friday Five! Every Friday we share our top five articles, stories, and quotes for you to read and share with your friends and church families.

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1. CAROLINA JOURNAL: Updated legislative electoral maps pass General Assembly

"The N.C. House and Senate gave final approval to redrawn or remedial legislative electoral maps Thursday, after last-minute adjustments delayed the Senate session several times. The House gave largely bipartisan approval to its own map, 115-5, Wednesday night, with five Democrats voting against it. The Senate approved the House’s maps, as well, with a 41-3 vote and no comment or change.

Tension was higher over the Senate map, with Democrats opposing the plan and offering multiple amendments that were tabled in party-line votes. Ultimately, the Senate approved its own map with no Democrats voting in favor of it, 26-19. Democrats in the House followed suit, voting against the Senate map, with it passing the House with Republican votes, 67-52.

In total, the number of competitive seats has grown from nine to 15 in the remedial House map and from six to seven in the Senate’s new map."

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2. ICYMI; WFAE: NC 'boot camps' prepare candidates for culture war's front lines: school board elections

"In an interview after Thursday’s session at Trinity Baptist Church in Mooresville Fitzgerald said attendance for the two sessions was about 200, with about 100 saying they plan to run. In the Charlotte area, she said Mecklenburg, Union and Iredell counties had strong participation. Participants heard from current board members, including Union County school board Chair Melissa Merrell. The sessions dealt with challenging the way racism and gender issues are discussed in schools and the presence of what some call pornographic books available to students. Fitzgerald said concerns have been building for several years."

Check out our recap of the School Board Bootcamp events here.

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3. CAROLINA JOURNAL: Lawmakers vote to ditch masks as Cooper signals end to mask mandates.

“Cooper’s and Kinsley’s actions came after the House Committee on Education announced a hearing on Senate Bill 173, Free the Smiles Act. The House ultimately passed the measure, 76-42. The Senate passed it, 28-17, on Thursday afternoon.

The act gives parents the right to have their children opt out of wearing masks in school.

‘I am glad the governor is coming to our position on this,’ House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, told lawmakers, referencing letters sent to Cooper. ‘These decisions should be based on science, but not political science.’”

Other important education-related stories that came out this week include:

  • CAROLINA JOURNAL: Lawmakers move to ban diversity litmus tests in K-12 schools, universities
  • BREITBART: North Carolina Schools: Must Use Child’s Chosen, Not Legal Name in School Records
  • AMERICAN FAMILY NEWS: After running from 'Lia' uproar, NCAA returns and overrules new policy

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4. FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors in Greensboro, N.C., Win Settlement in Unlawful Arrest Case

Great victory for our friends at Love Life!

"A handful of Christians arrested in March and April 2020 for walking and praying in front of an abortion facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, have finally won some vindication of their clear free speech rights following a settlement of their claims against the city as well as Guilford County, which issued the restrictive health order that led to their arrest.

Lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) announced the settlement, which involves a payment from the city of $15,000 for legal fees involved in the case, along with an agreement that engaging in peaceful prayer and sidewalk counseling outside an abortion facility is protected by the First Amendment."

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5. LIFE NEWS: Florida House Passes Bill to Ban Abortions After 15 Weeks, Saving 5,000 Babies Every Year

"By a strong majority, the Florida House passed a bill early Thursday morning that would protect thousands of unborn babies every year by banning abortions after 15 weeks.

Action News JAX reports the pro-life bill passed just after midnight in a 78-39 vote, and now heads to the state Senate, which also appears likely to pass it. Gov. Ron DeSantis supports the bill.

The Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act (House Bill 5) would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk or the unborn baby has a fatal disorder. The bill, which would go into effect July 1, also includes measures to reduce infant mortality and a requirement that abortion facilities report suspected human trafficking cases to the state."

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WEEKLY PRAYER: LIBERTY

LORD, you have blessed us with a spiritual liberty that is so wonderful and beyond description, that it can only be understood through experiencing a life-giving relationship with Christ. However, we also recognize that in your grace, you have blessed our country with a political liberty that enables us to openly proclaim the experience of a life lived in the freedom of the Gospel.

LORD, as individuals and as a nation, may we never take the inalienable right of religious freedom for granted. Right now our country has faced a rapid increase in the number of attacks made against this cherished right. We have seen groups across our public arena increase in boldness and frequency their smears against religious liberty. They claim it is bigotry, when we know it is the security of the greatest of all possible loves.

Be with your people and our country as it continues to protect the constitutional right protected by our nation's Founders. Be with legislators and the Supreme Court, as they determine through their actions the protection of this particular and fundamental freedom.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)

"Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God." (1 Peter 2:16)


Amen

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