LISTEN: National Black Church Initiative Is Reluctant to Endorse Al Sharpton’s March Against Trump; Barna Research Study Shows How Black and White Christians Differ In Their Approach to Discipleship (BCNN1, 1/13/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Friday, January 13, 2017.

1. According to the National Black Church Initiative, the faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, is simply asking a question of Al Sharpton and march organizers against President-elect Donald Trump: After we march, then what? Do we have a strategy moving forward in these next 4-8 years? NBCI’s 34,000 churches know of no strategy coming from the National Action Network or any other Civil Rights group. They just want to march and register dismay that Hillary Clinton lost the election. Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative says, “I will be urging all of our 34,000 churches’ members not to participate in this march because it is hypocritical in its application, it also undermines what we have been trying to do for years which is to create a strategy for the African American community so that when we suffer a political loss we will not be completely out of the game.”

2. According to Christianity Today, when it comes to spiritual formation and discipleship, African American Christians are in it together. Black believers are more likely to position their growth in Christ in the context of community and fellowship, while white Christians take a more individualized approach, according to a study released this week from Barna Research. The survey found that twice as many black Christians as whites were currently being mentored or discipled by a fellow believer (38% vs. 19%). Over a quarter of black Christians also served as mentors themselves, compared to 17 percent of white Christians.

3. According to Breitbart, in a new study of President Obama’s legacy, the Pew Research Center found that religious affiliation and practice dropped off dramatically during his two terms in the White House. Pew notes in a report released this week titled “How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency,” that “when it comes to the nation’s religious identity, the biggest trend during Obama’s presidency is the rise of those who claim no religion at all.” When Barack Obama took office, those who identified as atheists or agnostics along with those who said their religion was “nothing in particular” totaled only 16 percent of the U.S. adult population. On leaving office 8 years later, the non-religious in America now make up nearly a quarter of the population.

4. According to Reuters, President-elect Donald Trump and Housing Secretary-designate Ben Carson spoke with entertainer and talk show host Steve Harvey on Friday to discuss an effort by the incoming administration to seek positive changes in U.S. inner cities. Harvey told reporters after the meeting in Trump Tower, “He said he wanted to do something. They have a plan for the inner cities but they need some help and so that’s why they called me. So we’ll see what I can do.”

5. According to NBC News, for the first time in American history, Lady Liberty will be portrayed as a woman of color on United States currency. In celebration of the U.S. Mint and Treasury’s 225th anniversary, the new $100 coin was unveiled on Thursday featuring Lady Liberty as an black woman. Since the passage of the Coinage Act in 1792, all coins are required to feature an “impression emblematic of liberty,” in either words or images. Until the new coin designed by Justin Kunz was unveiled, Lady Liberty had always been depicted as a white woman.

6 . According to Variety, History has ordered a special from comedian Kevin Hart. “Kevin Hart Presents: The Black Man’s Guide to History” will be a look at lesser-known, yet important black history stories, filtered through the lens of Kevin Hart. Hart will star and executive produce the two-hour event from Hartbeat Productions and Comedy Dynamics. Paul Cabana, executive vice president and head of programming for History, said, ““Kevin is an extraordinary performer with a real appreciation for history. Only he could bring these true stories to life in such an entertaining way. We’re thrilled to be working with him.”

7. According to Variety, “The Birth of Nation” director Nate Parker has received his first major awards recognition from the Directors Guild of America with a nomination for top first-time director. The DGA also nominated Garth Davis for “Lion” on Thursday for its first-time director award along with Tim Miller for “Deadpool,” Kelly Fremon Craig for “Edge of Seventeen,” and Dan Trachtenberg for “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Alex Garland won the inaugural first-time director award last year for “Ex Machina.” The winners will be announced at 69th Annual DGA Awards on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.