LISTEN: Urban League Report Card on Obama Term; Rev. Al Sharpton Speaks Out Against Comcast for Removal of The Word Network (BCNN1, 1/9/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Monday, January 9, 2017.

1. According to the Washington Examiner, the National Urban League issued an “excellent” report card for President Obama’s eight years, but highlighted numerous and important “failures,” so many that they totaled 42 percent of its review. The 16-page report card reviewed eight areas of policy impacting urban areas and African Americans, and found that Obama’s success to failure rate at 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent. Morial said Obama received the “second highest” overall grade of “excellent.” In the report card, Obama was credited with succeeding in stabilizing the economy and adding jobs and health care coverage via Obamacare. He was also applauded for overcoming a “sinister” GOP opposition.

2. According to the Word Network, Rev. Al Sharpton is speaking out against Comcast for their decision to decrease distribution of The Word Network, the largest African American religious network in the world reaching 3 billion people worldwide. Comcast is following the form not the substance of the conditions of the merger deal with NBC Universal. The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by NAACP, National Urban League and the National Action Network, provided for more African American programming, not less. The Word Network has the support of the African American community and all the religious and civil rights leaders throughout the world.

3. According to EEW Magazine News, as Kim Burrell is raked over the coals in media for her comments on homosexuality, many within the gospel community have been silent. Now GRAMMY® Award-winning singer Donnie McClurkin is both breaking and explaining his own silence, while making it clear that he is “holding Kim Burrell up in prayer.” The New York-based pastor of Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport used James 1:19 as the foundation for his hesitance to speak out, telling followers, “The Bible says you’ve got to be slow to speak, quick to hear and slow to anger. And so I’ve got to sit back, and I’ve got to pray.”

4. According to EEW Magazine News, as the world renounces Kim Burrell and her comments on gays, fellow Christians have been shamefully silent according to a fellow gospel artist. Tasha Page Lockhart, who is signed to Kirk Franklin’s Fo Yo Soul label, an imprint of RCA, is tearfully and unapologetically speaking out in defense of the Houston pastor, while asking “Where is the church?” In a video posted to Facebook Live Friday, Jan. 6, the “Different” songstress breaks down crying sitting inside a vehicle as she expresses disappointment over “how silent the Church has been,” as well as “how silent some of these gospel artists are.” The winner of BET’s “Sunday Best” season 6 wondered aloud why “nobody is saying anything,” adding, “Nobody has her back.” At the time of posting, already the video has more than 240, 000 views and thousands of comments, likes, and shares.

5. According to PJ Media, National Action Network president Rev. Al Sharpton promised a “season of civil disobedience” in reaction to the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general in the Trump administration. Sharpton, an MSNBC host, said activists have planned a march in Washington on Jan. 14 during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend to protest the Sessions nomination. Sharpton recalled spending 90 days in jail for protesting on U.S. Navy land against military exercises on the island of Vieques in 2001 when George W. Bush was president, adding that civil disobedience usually works because it changes policy.

6 . According to Publishers Weekly, in a new partnership with the federal government and nonprofit organizations, the National Book Foundation (NBF) has launched the Book Rich Environment Initiative—a book drive benefitting public housing communities that will unfold over the course of 2017. NBF teamed up with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Urban Library Council, and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading on the initiative, which will bring books and other literacy tools to more than four million children and their families who live in HUD-assisted housing. Publishers such as Hachette Book Group and Macmillan Publishers are participating by making large donations, and Penguin Random House is in the lead with 200,000 books committed to the initiative.

7. According to the Hollywood Reporter, in the final few days of his White House term, President Barack Obama sent a note congratulating this year’s Golden Globe nominees, which was included in the program given out Sunday to guests at the Beverly Hilton. The letter says he and first lady Michelle Obama send their greetings to those attending the show and praises film and television for presenting a diverse universe. The Obama administration has a close relationship with Hollywood and awards shows, with Michelle Obama previously presenting best picture to Argo via video at the Academy Awards and Vice President Joe Biden making an appearance at last year’s Oscars.