LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network Podcast, 07/21/16

This is the Urban Christian News Network podcast. Thank you for joining us on this Thursday, July 21, 2016. Here are the top 10 news stories for today.


1. According to The Associated Press, declaring America in crisis, Donald Trump pledged to cheering Republicans and still-skeptical voters Thursday night that as president he will restore the safety they fear they’re losing, strictly curb immigration and save the nation from Hillary Clinton’s record of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.” Confidently addressing the finale of his party’s less-than-smooth national convention, the billionaire businessman declared the nation’s problems too staggering to be fixed within the confines of traditional politics. The 70-year-old celebrity businessman’s acceptance of the Republican nomination caps his improbable takeover of the GOP, a party that plunges into the general election united in opposition to Clinton but still divided over Trump. Underscoring his unorthodox candidacy, Trump doubled down on the hard-line immigration policies that fired up conservatives in the primary but broke with many in his party by promising protections for gays and lesbians.

2. According to Baptist Press, with South Sudan on the brink of renewed civil war, a Southern Baptist-led relief organization and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary remain unrelenting in their ministries there, amid what one aid worker called “a bigger humanitarian crisis than Syria.” “There is no hope [for South Sudan] other than Jesus,” said Ann Rao, founder and president of Living Water Community Transformation, an organization that engages in women’s ministry, church planting, education of children and agribusiness training in the South Sudanese community of Akot. “I don’t even know what else to say. The whole situation is very overwhelming.”

3. According to Religion News Service, James Dobson has endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump for president, further boosting the candidate’s standing among evangelical voters. The Focus on the Family founder released his endorsement on Thursday (July 21), hours before Trump was set to take the stage to accept his party’s nomination on the last night of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. And, while he said he made the endorsement only on behalf of himself and not on behalf of Focus on the Family or his Family Talk organization and radio program, he said, “Most evangelicals I know have decided for various reasons ­ that they will really have only have one choice for president, and that is Donald J. Trump.” “I believe it’s a good choice. America needs strong and competent leadership,” he said.

4. According to Christianity Today, Russia’s new anti-terrorism laws, which restrict Christians from evangelizing outside of their churches, went into effect on yesterday. The “Yarovaya package” requires missionaries to have permits, makes house churches illegal, and limits religious activity to registered church buildings, among other restrictions. Individuals who disobey could be fined up to $780, while organizations could be fined more than $15,000.

5. According to The Christian Post, Former Congressman Frank Wolf has noted that Christians in Nigeria, who are among the millions of displaced people suffering due to the action of radical groups, are feeling abandoned by Western churches that are failing to speak out on the developing humanitarian tragedy. Wolf, who is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, told The Christian Post in a phone interview that he was part of a delegate team that visited Nigeria in February, and got to witness first hand the difficulties that internally displaced people face. “People of faith, Christians, feel very much forgotten. Nigeria is fractured and is breaking down in so many ways, and it seems that the world has forgotten about it,” he reflected on his interactions with Christians there. “They feel abandoned by the West, and by the Church in the West. You are not hearing many in the West advocating (for them). They would expect that the faith community in the West, Europe, would be advocating, speaking out,” Wolf told CP.

6. According to The Associated Press, Roger Ailes is out as chief executive at Fox News Channel and Fox Business, his career at the networks he built from scratch and ran with an iron hand for nearly 20 years over with stunning swiftness following allegations that he forced out a former anchor after she spurned his sexual advances. Hours before the final night of the Republican National Convention, network parent 21st Century Fox announced Thursday that Ailes would resign immediately. Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, will assume the role of chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network until a replacement is named.

7. According to USA Today, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, a first-term congressman from Hawaii who represented an area near Pearl Harbor for two decades in the Hawaii State House of Representatives, died Wednesday. He was 49 and had sought treatment for pancreatic cancer last fall. Takai’s death comes less than a year and a half after he rose to his congressional seat — and nine months after he announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. His congressional office in Honolulu confirmed that he died at home, “surrounded by family.” He is survived by his wife, Sami Takai, and two children, Matthew and Kaila.

8. According to The Washington Post, Turkey declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, a move that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said would enable the state to act faster against those who plotted a failed coup. In a late-night televised address, Erdogan, who has been carrying out a large-scale purge of the country’s institutions, sought to reassure the country that the measure — which would be in force for three months — will protect democratic freedoms. But the move consolidates more power in the president’s hands, allowing him to rule by decree. For the state of emergency to be implemented, the decision must be approved by parliament.

9. According to NDTV, Microsoft founder Bill Gates pledged to invest USD 5 billion over the next five years for Africa’s development as he called on leaders in the continent to do everything in their power to realise global peace icon Nelson Mandela’s dream of a bright future for the youth. The billionaire philanthropist’s pledge of USD 5 billion is in addition to the USD 9 billion that he has already invested in Africa. Gates made the pledge while he was delivering the 2016 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of Pretoria on the eve of the global peace icon’s birthday.

10. According to The Vertical, without any movement by state legislators in North Carolina to change newly enacted laws targeted at the LGBT community, the NBA on Thursday decided to pull the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte. “Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community – current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans,” the league said in a released statement. The NBA is focused on the New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center as the host for All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game on Feb. 19, league sources told The Vertical.

That’s all for today. You can read these stories and more online at UrbanChristianNews.com

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. He loves you so much that the Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, why don’t you get to know Him today. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose by the power of God for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks for listening. May God bless your day.