LISTEN: First Liberty Institute Lawyers ‘Blown Away’ by Support for Former Marine’s Religious Liberty Case; Radical Islamists Stab Pastor to Death, Demolish His Church In Central African Republic (BCNN1, 2/15/2017)

This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

1. According to Charisma News, if former Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling—who was court-martialed for posting a Bible verse at her desk—didn’t know that millions of Americans were supporting her fight for religious liberty, she should certainly know it now. First Liberty Institute lawyers are trying to get her a court date before the U.S. Supreme Court, an arduous task that only happens to about 1 percent of appellate cases. But those efforts have received a huge boost recently after seven different organizations filed amicus briefs urging the high court to take up her case. First Liberty President and CEO Kelly Shackelford said, “It’s rare for a Supreme Court case to receive a single amicus brief at this stage, let alone seven. We’re blown away to see such a broad range of parties of such high caliber weigh in on this case to support religious freedom.

2. According to World Watch Monitor, a flare-up of violence in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), on Feb, 7 left a pastor dead and his church demolished. Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui of the Eglise du Christ en Centrafrique (ECC) was killed by supporters of local militia leader Youssouf Sy (also called the “Big-man”) at his home in the restive PK5 neighborhood, following a military operation there by the CAR army and UN peacekeeping forces. The stated aim of the operation was to interrogate Sy, but he was killed, together with an associate. The President of the ECC, Jean Noel Ndanguere, told World Watch Monitor that in retaliation, Sy’s supporters went on the rampage, injuring and killing people and destroying property. Sankagui’s church was set on fire, as was the Apostolic and St. Mathias Church.

3. According to Baylor Lariat, the members of St. James Methodist Church in Waco, Texas, shared tears of joy, prayers and fellowship for the de-consecration service that would close the building’s doors as a church for good. The historically black church on Clay Avenue is one of the remaining three churches in Waco built by slaves. The maintenance and utilities needed to operate such a large building had become too much of a burden for the small congregation of 20-30 people, so they had to put the building up for sale. The congregation will still hold its own services and will meet at Lakeshore United Methodist Church building.

4. According to Reuters, an 11-year-old girl shot in the head over the weekend died on Tuesday and a toddler was killed by gunfire during a triple shooting as Chicago continued its struggle to curb gun violence. Takiya Holmes, 11, who was shot on Saturday evening, died Tuesday morning, Andrew Holmes, her cousin, said in a telephone interview. She was one of two young girls shot in the head in separate incidents during the weekend. Holmes, a community activist, said, “This is a tough one. It is a big, big loss mainly for her mother, great-grandmother and grandmother.” Takiya Holmes, whose grandmother also confirmed the death, was shot while sitting in the back of a parked car on the city’s South Side, officer Jose Estrada of the Chicago Police Department’s Office of News Affairs said. Police are investigating but no suspects are in custody, Estrada said. Later on Tuesday afternoon, three people traveling in a car were shot, including a two-year old, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson told a news conference. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet shortly after Johnson’s news conference that the child had died.

5. According to the Washington Post, a top aide to President Trump said she has a recording of a dispute with a White House reporter, and has shared parts of it with journalists. Omarosa Manigault, a communications official at the White House, engaged in a heated exchange steps from the Oval Office last week with April Ryan, a reporter with American Urban Radio Networks. Ryan said she felt “physically intimidated” by Manigault, who she said told her that Ryan was among a handful of journalists on whom the White House was keeping “dossiers” of negative information. Ryan said she was not aware that her run-in with Manigault last week was recorded.

6. According to Fox News, a veteran ESPN announcer sued the sports network Monday for firing him during the Australian Open over accusations that he had used an ethnic slur against tennis superstar Venus Williams. Doug Adler, who began working for ESPN in 2008 covering the world’s biggest tennis matches, came under fire for a comment on Jan. 18 when he said Williams used “the guerrilla effect.” The comment went viral because it was pushed along by the New York Times on twitter labeling it as the “appalling” term “gorilla,” which “ignited the flames of anger and hatred” against Adler, the lawsuit said. Adler was fired two days later. He claims he was using a well-known term to describe aggressive play yet ESPN has destroyed his career.

7. According to ABC News, the back spasms that caused Tiger Woods to withdraw from a tournament in Dubai on Feb. 3 remain persistent enough that the 14-time major champion is skipping a scheduled news conference at the Genesis Open on Wednesday for “precautionary” reasons, said his agent, Mark Steinberg. The tournament announced late Tuesday that Woods would not attend the news conference at Riviera Country Club because he has been “advised by doctors to limit all activities.”