LISTEN: Church in Alabama allowed to form police force, Egyptian churches cancel Easter services (UCNN, 04/11/17)

1. AP – The Alabama Senate has voted to allow a church to form its own police force. Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 24-4 to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to establish a law enforcement department. The church says it needs its own police officers to keep its school as well as its more than 4,000 person congregation safe. Critics of the bill argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes.

2. AP – Egyptian churches, in the southern city of Minya, said on Tuesday that they will not hold Easter celebrations in mourning for 45 Coptic Christians killed this week in twin bombings of churches in two cities during Palm Sunday ceremonies. The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese said that celebrations will only be limited to the liturgical prayers “without any festive manifestations.” Minya province has the highest Coptic Christian population in the country. Copts traditionally hold Easter church prayers on Saturday evening and then spend Easter Sunday on large meals and family visits.

3. CP – The level of global restrictions on religion increased in 2015, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life. An analysis published Tuesday by Pew regarding their annual “Global Restrictions on Religion” report found that restrictions against religion increased modestly in 2015, reversing a two-year trend of decreased restriction. “The share of countries with ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of government restrictions – i.e., laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices – ticked up from 24% in 2014 to 25% in 2015,” noted Pew.

4. AP – Meshea Poore is the first African-American woman to serve as president of the West Virginia State Bar. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Poore was set to be sworn in Sunday for a one-year term, succeeding John R. McGhee Jr. She was named president-elect last year and previously served as vice president. Berger was the first African-American woman to serve as both a circuit and federal judge in the state. Poore attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and earned a law degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

5. The Independent – Barack Obama is to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on his first trip to Europe since leaving office. The former US President will travel to Germany for the launch of a summer of special events to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant church. He will arrive in Germany on the same day as his successor Donald Trump is due in Brussels for a meeting with other NATO leaders – the first scheduled foreign visit for the President since taking office. Mr Obama is due to give a speech in the German capital and take part in a discussion on democracy with Ms Merkel, who he once called his “closest ally”.

6. CP – Members of the student body at a Catholic university in Pittsburgh are attempting to cancel their school’s plans to bring fast-food chain Chick-fil-A to campus, saying the restaurant represents a threat to their safety. “Chick-fil-A has a questionable history on civil rights and human rights,” said Niko Martini, a student senator at Duquesne (doo-qe-z-knee) University, as noted by to Campus Reform Monday. “I think it’s imperative [that] the university chooses to do business with organizations that coincide with the [university’s] mission and expectations they give students regarding diversity and inclusion.” Martini, who sits on the executive board of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, put forward a resolution at the end of March to remove Chick-fil-A from a list of proposed changes to the university’s dining options. While her resolution did not pass, the student government agreed to an alternate plan involving a “vetting process” of Chick-fil-A.

7. AP – Four inmates were found dead Friday morning in a dorm at one of South Carolina’s maximum-security men’s prisons, authorities said. The inmates were found at Kirkland Correctional Institution in the capital city, Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling told The Associated Press. Stirling did not say how they died. Department spokeswoman Sommer Sharpe identified the four inmates in a news release as John King, 52; Jason Kelley, 35; Jimmy Ham, 56; and William Scruggs, 44.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.”

Ashley Montagu said, “The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”

God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!