LISTEN: Pastor Who Lost Job With Georgia’s Department of Public Health Over Sermons Settles Lawsuit With State for $225K; Democrats Rift Over Barack Obama’s Political Legacy Bursts Into the Open (BCNN1, 2/9/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Thursday, February 9, 2017.

1. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Georgia state officials have confirmed that they have settled for $225,000 a lawsuit filed by a hiring prospect who alleged a job offer was withdrawn after videos of his sermons against homosexuality and evolution surfaced. But state officials deny the sermons had anything to do with the decision to withdraw the job offer and admit no wrongdoing. Here’s your copy of the settlement. In 2014, Dr. Eric Walsh, a Pasadena, Cal., health department official, was about to be hired by the state Department of Public Health to run its operations in northwest Georgia. Videos surfaced in California of sermons that Walsh had given as a Seventh Day Adventist preacher in which he spoke against homosexuality and the “Satanic belief that man evolved from lesser beings.” But Nancy Nydam, spokewoman for the state Department of Public Health, said the issue was Walsh’s failure to report his outside employment as a pastor, and not the content of his sermons

2. According to Politico, a painful Democratic rift over Barack Obama’s political legacy is finally bursting into the open. For years, the former president’s popularity among Democrats stifled any public critiques of his stewardship of the party — a period in which the party suffered tremendous losses at the state and local levels. But now that Obama and the political operation that succeeded his campaign, Organizing For Action, have expressed interest in playing a role in the task of rebuilding, it’s sparking pitched debates over how much blame he deserves for the gradual hollowing out of a party that now has less control of state-elected positions than at any other time in nearly a century.

3. According to Politico, Tim Scott, the lone black Republican senator, gave a passionate defense of Sen. Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, reading a series of tweets from critics that accused him of being a “House Negro” and a “disgrace to the black race” for supporting President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general. The 30-minute speech, which prompted congratulatory statements by Republicans and Democrats, was a distillation of the backlash he has received for supporting Sessions, who has faced accusations of racism for more than 30 years. Scott said the blowback comes with the territory being a black conservative in the South. He said he’s grown used to being accused by liberals of not being “helpful to black America,” despite his status as one of 10 African-Americans ever to serve in the Senate.

4. According to the Washington Post, popular hip-hop artist Sho Baraka has taken aim at Southern Baptist retailer LifeWay Christian Stores for dropping his album for including a anatomical reference, a move that shows a growing tension between the black artist and his white evangelical fans. A spokesman for LifeWay confirmed the retailer’s decision, saying in an email that customers complained about the language, but the representative declined to provide further details. Christian bookstores don’t usually place rap albums by black activist artists front and center on their shelves. But in recent years, white evangelicals have embraced several black hip-hop artists such as chart-topping rappers Lecrae and Trip Lee, whose albums are sold on LifeWay’s website. Baraka, who was once part of Lecrae’s Reach Records label, said he upset LifeWay customers by including the anatomical reference in his album.

5. According to the Associated Press, Aretha Franklin is planning to retire this year, she told Detroit TV station WDIV Local 4, the city’s NBC affiliate. The singer says she will make one more album, with several tracks produced by Stevie Wonder, and will otherwise limit herself to “some select things, maybe one a month, for six months out of the year” as she devotes more time to her grandchildren. She also says 2017 will be her “last year in concert.” On Thursday, a representative for Franklin confirmed her remarks made to WDIV.

6. According to Variety, Cynthia Erivo is set to star in an independent Harriet Tubman biopic, tentatively titled “Harriet.” Producers are Charles D. King through his Macro company, Debra Martin Chase, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Kim Roth and Gregory Allen Howard. Macro, New Balloon and Stay Gold Features are financing. Seith Mann is directing from Howard’s script. The film will portray the life of Tubman as slave, abolitionist, Underground Railroad conductor, nurse, spy and warrior. Producers plan to begin shooting later this year. Executive producers are Poppy Hanks, New Balloon’s Elizabeth Koch and Kristina Kendall, Nnamdi Asomugha and Bill Benenson.

7. According to E! Online, Katherine Jackson has just been granted a temporary restraining order against her nephew, Trent Lamar Jackson, by a Los Angeles judge. E! News has obtained court documents which allege that Trent, who is Katherine’s longtime driver, has been accessing bank accounts without her authorization, using her credit cards for personal purchases without approval and emotionally abusing the 86-year-old. As of now, Trent has not made any public statements nor has he responded to the temporary restraining order.