This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Tuesday, January 24, 2017.
1. According to the Christian Post, North Korea has long been recognized as a country where Christians face the worst persecution for their faith. But there’s a lesser known country that follows closely behind where those who are even suspected of having converted to Christianity are rushed through public beheadings without a trial — Somalia. Open Doors USA ranks North Korea and Somalia numbers 1 and 2, respectively, on its World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution. Other groups, such as Aid to the Church in Need, say persecution is so extreme in those countries that “it could scarcely get any worse.” Somalia has faced civil war and political chaos since the early 1990s, with a fragile government struggling against Islamic radical groups like al-Shabaab, which control much of the rural territories. The nation has been among the top violators of religious freedom for decades, and has been on the World Watch List since 1993, rising in the ranks in recent years.
2. According to EEW Magazine News, on Monday, President Donald Trump reinstated Ronald Reagan’s ‘Mexico City Policy’, also known by critics as the ‘Global Gag Rule’, which bans the U.S. from giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. While some women’s rights advocates are blasting the president over the move, pro-life activist Dr. Alveda King says “Thank you President Trump.” To the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the president’s support of the ‘Global Gag Rule’ demonstrates that our new Commander-In-Chief cares “enough about the lives of women, mothers and children” to sign the executive order first put in place in 1984.
3. According to the Christian Post, popular Gospel singer Vicki Yohe has been receiving vicious online attacks after posting an Instagram photo of Jesus heading back to the White House. She is now apologizing to those who felt offended. Yohe took to Instagram on Saturday to express her support for the newly-sworn in president, Donald J. Trump. Her post, which is no longer accessible, was in response to the 2.9 million demonstrators marching around the world in the Women’s March. Yohe has since shut down most of her social media accounts and responded apologetically for her haste in reposting a picture which she says was sent to her. Yohe wrote on Facebook, “I never want to ever hurt anyone and that has never been my intention. If I have hurt you I am truly sorry…It is true that I am excited by the thought of a government that will protect Christianity and not attack it. I do not condone any wrong things Trump has said or done in the past. I also did not mean to imply that Obama was not a Christian, but meant that the policies his administration pursued many times went against what most Christians believe.” The 52-year-old said many churches have since canceled ministry events with her and many others have branded her a “racist,” some even going as far as threatening her.
4. According to EEW Magazine News, over the weekend, GRAMMY® Award-nominated gospel singer Travis Greene accepted the controversial invitation to be the opening act at President Donald Trump’s Liberty Ball. For those who thought he would feel the wrath of the anti-Trump nation, he says, “Honestly, there’s been a lot more support than backlash.” The “Intentional” singer shared his experience Monday during a phone interview with Erica Campbell on her nationally syndicated radio program, Get Up! Mornings. Though some did disagree with the 33-year-old singer’s decision to go, Greene said, “I think a lot of them are just upset over social issues.”
5. According to EEW Magazine News, Gospel recording artist Deon Kipping, who announced last week that he has been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer, took to Facebook Live to thank everyone for their prayers and support. In the video message, the “What’s Coming Is Better” songwriter also expressed gratitude for the benefit concert his big-name industry friends are organizing on his behalf. The concert titled “A Night of Love” is taking place March 7, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Connecticut. The ministry lineup of heavy-hitters includes: William Murphy, Tasha Cobbs, JJ Hairston, Jonathan Nelson, Isaac Carree, Jason Nelson, Vashawn Mitchell, Gerald and Tammi Haddon, Zacardi Cortez and James Fortune.
6 . According to the New York Times, Oscar voters showered the neo-musical “La La Land” with 14 nominations on Tuesday, a tie with “Titanic” and “All About Eve” for the most in Academy Award history. But the academy also moved past two #OscarsSoWhite years by honoring six black actors — a record — and including diverse films like “Moonlight,” “Fences” and “Hidden Figures” in the best picture race. Nine movies will compete for Hollywood’s top prize, including several box-office hits. Joining “La La Land” and “Moonlight” (eight nominations total), “Fences” (four), and “Hidden Figures” (three) in the best picture race were “Arrival,” a science-fiction thriller; the cops-and-robbers drama “Hell or High Water”; the subtitled tear-jerker “Lion”; “Manchester by the Sea,” about a mournful New England handyman; and “Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson’s true story of World War II heroism.
7. According to People, it’s a girl for Keshia Knight Pulliam! The actress — best known for her eight-season run as youngest Huxtable child Rudy on The Cosby Show — has given birth to a daughter named Ella Grace, she announced Monday on Instagram. Pulliam captioned a photo of her daughter’s feet in a pair of fluffy socks, “Ella Grace has arrived!!!” Further details are unavailable at this time.