Friday Five: Trump on religious liberty & SCOTUS, election updates, 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. NC VALUES: We endorse Joyce Krawiec for NC Senate District 31. Watch our latest episode of the voice to learn why.

Join us every week for another episode of “The NC Values Voice”, a weekly 30-minute interview by Executive Director, Tami Fitzgerald, with a special guest. The NC Values Voice is aired on Facebook Live every Wednesday night at 7:30pm. Our goal is to inform and motivate our statewide coalition members with current, relevant information.

On this week's program, we welcomed Senator Joyce Krawiec. Joyce is a hero in the pro-life movement in North Carolina! She sponsored the Born Alive Abortion Survivor's Act last year and received our Legislator of the Year Award for it! That's why we're proud to announce that the NC Values Coalition wholeheartedly endorses Joyce Krawiec in her re-election bid for State Senate District 31!

Watch live and past episodes at: www.ncvalues.org/voice or www.facebook.com/ncvalues/live

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2. WRAL: Phase 2.5 means more NC businesses can reopen, more children must wear masks

"More businesses will be allowed to reopen on Friday, but younger children will be required to wear masks in public as North Carolina moves into the next stage of its coronavirus pandemic recovery effort, Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday. . . .

The shift to Phase 2.5 involves the following changes:
  • Outdoor playgrounds can reopen. Indoor playgrounds can operate at 30 percent capacity, or up to seven people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Museums and aquariums can operate at 50 percent capacity, or up to 12 people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Gyms, bowling alleys, skating rinks and other indoor exercise facilities can operate at 30 percent capacity, or up to seven people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Mass gathering limits will be raised from 10 to 25 people indoors and from 25 to 50 people outside.
  • Masks will be required in public for anyone age 5 and older, instead of 11 and older."

In addition to this announcement, parents continue to express mounting frustrations with school district re-opening plans. "Five Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools parents have sued the district over opening with all-remote instruction, saying the decision deprives students of their constitutional right to a sound basic education." Click here to read the story.

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3. POTUS: Trump Administration announces important updates on religious liberty and Supreme Court

On the religious liberty front, the Trump Administration took actions to protect the religious liberty of students at colleges and universities. As recorded by the Catholic League, "On September 9, DeVos issued a new directive that holds public institutions of higher education accountable for enforcing norms that protect free speech and religious liberty on campus. For example, student-initiated religious clubs on campus cannot be denied the right to set their own strictures regarding membership." On the directive, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said: “Students should not be forced to choose between their faith and their education, and an institution controlled by a religious organization should not have to sacrifice its religious beliefs to participate in Department grants and programs.” You can read more about U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' statement on the promise to protect free inquiry and religious liberty here.

On the Supreme Court appointments front, President Trump issued an update to his list of potential Supreme Court nominees should he be re-elected. According to this statement released by the White House, President Trump announced the following additions: Bridget Bade Daniel Cameron, Tom Cotton, Paul Clement, Ted Cruz, Stuart Kyle Duncan, Steven Engel, Noel Francisco, Josh Hawley, James Ho, Gregory Katsas, Barbara Lagoa, Christopher Landau, Carlos Muñiz, Martha Pacold, Peter Phipps, Sarah Pitlyk, Allison Jones Rushing Kate Todd, and Lawrence VanDyke. Read more about the appointment prospects and their backgrounds here.

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4. MARTINSVILLE BULLETIN: Hundreds of ballots accepted as North Carolina begins voting

"Hundreds of ballots were accepted in North Carolina on Tuesday, making the Tar Heel State the first in the nation to kick off voting in the November general election.

County elections officials accepted 903 of the more than 606,000 ballots sent out to voters since Friday, as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday."

At the NC Values Coalition, we've organized a number of election voter tools to educate you about candidates and get out to vote:

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5. KEEN NEWS SERVICE: Two federal appeals courts: Title IX covers gender identity

"In August, two federal appeals panels citied Bostock in holding that Title IX of the federal Education Amendments Act, that prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex” in federally funded schools, also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.

The two new rulings came from the Fourth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeal, involving cases in Virginia and Florida where public high schools refused to allow transgender boys to use the boys’ restroom.

Both cases were decided by three-judge panels and could now be appealed to the full bench in each circuit and, eventually, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Issues surrounding accommodating transgender students have been in litigation for some time and were a focus of one speaker at the Republican National Convention last week. The speaker, Cissie Graham Lynch, told viewers that Democrats have pressured schools to allow boys to participate in girls’ sports and use girls’ locker rooms.'"

This is the first time a court has used the terrible Supreme Court decision in the Bostock v. Clayton case as precedent to extend the redefinition of "sex" to include "gender dysphoria" to schools and education under Title IX.

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WEEKLY PRAYER: FAMILY

LORD, we cry out to you as Father. You are a model of the love, mercy, and authority of the perfect parent. We thank you for modeling for us what every parent should strive for, and for creating this wonderful institution called family. 

LORD, we thank you for creating us with a basic nature designed to not be alone. You made us to desire the intimacy of relationships, and it is here where we experience joys indescribable: the joys of marriage, the joys of having children; the joys of seeing our children have children. What a blessing and mercy you gave us in the family! In it we find our first teachers, our first guardians, and our first authorities. 

LORD, we recognize how deeply you love your children, and how deeply it pains you when they go astray. Alongside our adoration and thanksgiving, we pray in confession--as individuals and as members of larger communities--over any sins we may have committed that undermine your beloved institution. Forgive us when we endanger your institution through selfishness and arrogance. Forgive our communities and nation for attempting to redefine some of the most basic and deepest parts of being human--being made male and female, having lifelong marriage vows and responsibilities, and having parental rights over educating one's children. 

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:12-17)

Amen

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Sincerely,

North Carolina Values Coalition

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