Ripple Effects: TN Gov. Calls for Month-Long Fast, NC Town Rallies to Support Pro-Life Mayor

By Nancy Flory Published on July 3, 2024

A Month of Prayer and Fasting

Thanks to a resolution Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed in April, residents of the Volunteer State began a 31-day fast on Monday — and you can join them.

Joint Resolution 803, which passed the state Senate on a 27-1 vote and the House by 82-6, asks citizens to pray and fast for the month of July and “seek God’s hand of mercy and healing on Tennessee.”

The resolution lists specific problems Tennesseans struggle with — such as violent crime, drug addictions, and human trafficking — and recognizes that the solution is to ask for God’s forgiveness and healing. It states in part:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,

[T]hat we recognize that God, as Creator and King of all Glory, has both the authority to judge and to bless nations or states.

[T]hat we, as public servants in the Tennessee General Assembly, seek God’s Mercy upon our land and beseech Him to not withdraw His Hand of blessing from us.

[T]hat we recognize our sins and shortcomings before Him and humbly ask His Forgiveness.

[T]hat we ask the Lord Jesus to heal our land and remove the violence, human-trafficking, addiction, and corruption.

[T]hat we ask that the Holy Spirit fill our halls of government, our classrooms, our places of business, our churches, and our homes with peace, love, and joy.

In an accompanying letter, state Senator Mark Pidy and Representative Monty Fritts ask Tennesseans to read HJR803 in church services; examine their lives and confess their sins; acknowledge that the church has not stood for the principles of God, ask for His mercy and forgiveness, and commit to stand firmly on biblical principles going forward; and for those who are able, to join in prayer and intermittent fasting as a means of demonstrating their desire for repentance.

The month-long season of prayer and intermittent fasting is a “means of humbling ourselves to receive God’s grace, mercy, and blessing in Tennessee and in our Nation,” the letter says. “This document embodies a bipartisan recognition that the issues we are facing cannot be effectively addressed without the intervention and favor of our Lord.”

Iowa Supreme Court Upholds ‘Heartbeat Law’

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled 4-3 last week that the state law banning abortion once a preborn child’s heartbeat is detected is constitutional. In Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Reynolds, the Court’s narrow majority reminded the parties that there is no “fundamental right” to abortion. 

Chief Justice Matthew McDermott wrote, “We concluded that nothing in the text of Iowa’s Constitution — whether in the due process clause or elsewhere — refers to or includes protection for abortion.” 

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Iowa legislators have enacted a “rational” six-week abortion ban related to a “legitimate” state interest, said McDermott. “Applying our established tiers of scrutiny … we conclude that the fetal heartbeat statute is rationally related to the state’s legitimate interest in protecting unborn life.”

Now a lower court must decide the case. According to McDermott, Planned Parenthood “cannot show a likelihood of success on the merits.”

The ban on the “heartbeat law” will remain in place until the lower court officially receives the case, which could take up to three weeks. In the meantime, abortions are legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Big Win for J6 Defendants

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 last week in Fischer v. United States that the U.S. government interpreted a law too broadly when charging people who entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, with felony obstruction.

The law under which they were charged “imposes criminal liability on anyone who corruptly alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding.” It also applies to anyone who “otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding.” Those convicted can be sentenced to prison for up to 20 years.

Under the Biden administration, the Justice Department has thus far charged 330 people, including former President Donald Trump, for obstruction of Congress.

“Nothing in the text or statutory history suggests that [this law] is designed to impose up to 20 years’ imprisonment on essentially all defendants who commit obstruction of justice in any way and who might be subject to lesser penalties under more specific obstruction statutes,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts. “If Congress had wanted to authorize such penalties for any conduct that delays or influences a proceeding in any way, it would have said so. Instead, Section 1512 mentions ‘record,’ ‘document,’ or other ‘object’ 26 times.”

The Court declined to adopt the Biden administration’s “novel” interpretation of the law, which “would criminalize a broad swath of prosaic conduct, exposing activists and lobbyists alike to decades in prison. …, a peaceful protester could … face a 20-year sentence. And the Government would likewise have no apparent obstacle to prosecuting … any lobbying activity that ‘influences’ an official proceeding and is undertaken ‘corruptly.’ Those peculiar results ‘underscore the implausibility of the Government’s interpretation.’”

The case now heads back to the D.C. Court of Appeals to determine whether the charges against the protestors will stand under a narrower interpretation of the law. 

Citizens Hold Rally to Support Pro-Life NC Mayor

Recently, the mayor of Monroe, N.C., issued a proclamation to commemorate the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. City Council members complained to the news media. Now members of the community are holding a rally to support both the mayor and the cause.

Robert Burns issued the proclamation on June 24 and posted it on Facebook, acknowledging that the preborn are the most vulnerable members of society, and their lives are sacred.

“I encourage all citizens to reflect on the significance of this decision, to support life-affirming initiatives, and to promote a culture of respect and dignity for all human life,” he wrote.

Not all citizens of Monroe were happy about the proclamation. 

Although members of the Monroe City Council haven’t had the courage to call Burns directly, they made their opinions known by talking to the local newspaper. They were conservatives, no less. “I think they jumped the gun, answered a local newspaper too soon,” Burns told The Stream.

In response, a local mom, Michelle Ball, organized Rally for Life, which will be held on July 9.

“He’s a believer,” Ball told The Stream of Burns. “He was excited to celebrate the anniversary.”

She added, “When our mayor came out with proclamation for life, it was a celebration for all of us. We are all living and should be celebrating life. Instead, he was dealt a rough hand by the city council, who did not want to take a stand for life.”

Though some city council members felt Burns overstepped his official role in making the proclamation, “The majority of people in Monroe are conservative,” Ball said. “We want to show our mayor and our city that we do love life and we stand behind him in the proclamation that he made.”

Although the City Council can override his decisions, and possibly censure him, Burns told The Stream that he does not operate by fear. “I’m going to stand and do the right thing. I’m going to stand and do what the Lord wants me to do.”

 

Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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