PODCAST: Funeral Held for John Lewis (BCNN1 8.1.20)

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According to The Associated Press, John Lewis was celebrated as an American hero during his funeral Thursday as former President Barack Obama and others called on people to follow Lewis’ example and fight injustice. Three former presidents joined in the eulogies at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church after nearly a week of mourning that took the civil rights icon from his birthplace in Alabama to the nation’s capital of Washington to his final resting place in his home of Atlanta. Lewis was “a man of pure joy and unbreakable perseverance,” Obama said during a fiery speech in which he hearkened back to Lewis’ legacy and connected it to the ongoing fight against those who are “doing their darndest to discourage people from voting.” Obama said, “He as much as anyone in our history brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals. And some day when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it’s years from now or decades or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.” Former President George W. Bush said Lewis preached the Gospel and lived its ideals, “insisting that hate and fear had to be answered with love and hope.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recalled how Lewis’ body was lying in state at the U.S. Capitol earlier this week, and a double rainbow appeared. She said, “There was this double rainbow over the casket. He was telling us, ‘I’m home in heaven, I’m home in heaven.’ We always knew he worked on the side of angels, and now he is with them.” Lewis died July 17 at the age of 80.

According to The Associated Press, Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of a major pizza chain who went on to become an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, has died of complications from the coronavirus. He was 74. A post on Cain’s Twitter account Thursday announced the death. Cain had been ill with the virus for several weeks. It’s not clear when or where he was infected, but he was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June. Cain had been co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. “We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight,” read an article posted on the Twitter account. In a condolence tweet Thursday, Trump described Cain as “a Powerful Voice of Freedom and all that is good.” Trump wrote, “Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me. He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend.”

According to Word & Way, A bivocational Southern Baptist pastor resigned from his church Wednesday (July 29), after backlash resulting from his participation in an annual birthday celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a leader in the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Will Dismukes, who is also a first-term Republican state representative, resigned from his position at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church after a deacons’ meeting. Four days earlier, he gave the invocation July 25 at the birthday celebration for Forrest. The event was held in Selma, Alabama, on the same day as ceremonies honoring the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Lewis, a leader in the civil rights movement and an Alabama native, was a longtime member of Congress from Georgia. In 1965, during a march in Selma that became known as “Bloody Sunday,” Lewis suffered a fractured skull when he was beaten by Alabama state troopers. In a post to Facebook Sunday (July 26), Dismukes wrote: “Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration. Always a great time and sure enough good eating!” The post was later removed, but Dismukes’ actions drew sharp rebukes and calls to resign both as a pastor and a legislator. He had been pastor at the church, in a rural area near Prattville, since February 2019. “We are saddened and grieved to learn of the recent Facebook post by state Rep. Will Dismukes,” said Rick Lance, the executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. “In the wake of tremendous controversy we reaffirm our opposition to any kind of racism.”

According to Mail Online, Jonathan Isaac, the first NBA player since Thursday’s restart not to kneel or wear a shirt supporting BLM, said he felt that the mass protest by all other teams and players ‘doesn’t go hand-in-hand with supporting black lives.’ Isaac, 22, said his decision was strongly influenced by his Christian faith and said that while he did believe that black lives do matter, he felt the answer lay in the gospel.

According to The Christian Post, New York Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder said that after pursuing God and listening to the Holy Spirit, he has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, citing his family’s “health concerns.” Solder made the announcement on Wednesday, saying in a joint statement with his family shared on social media: “My family and I have been praying, wrestling and listening to God about our current circumstances and whether it is best to play football this season. Our primary goal is to pursue God and listen to the Holy Spirit in everything we do. As hard as that can be and as daunting as what He asks us to do can seem, we have come to believe, trust and wait on the Lord. This is why we have chosen to pause for this season,” the statement read. “Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy,” the father of three said. “With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football. We fully recognize that being able to make a decision like this is a privilege,” he said, adding that he will “miss” his teammate and coaches. “As scary and bleak as it sometimes can be, we know that God of the universe has all things under His control, and His plans are and will always be for our good,” he concluded.

According to CBS News, Oprah Winfrey has dedicated the cover of the latest issue of her magazine to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was killed by police in Kentucky on March 13. It is the first time in its 20-year history that an O magazine cover has not featured Winfrey. The magazine has in the past featured other people on the cover alongside Winfrey. But the new cover features a solo shot of Taylor in a Louisville EMS shirt, which was recreated by 24-year-old artist Alexis Franklin. In an article for the magazine, Winfrey explains her decision: “Breonna Taylor. She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter.” Winfrey writes that she recently spoke to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, who said: “I can’t stop seeing her face. Her smile. It’s what I miss most about her. I still can’t grasp the concept of her being gone. It feels so surreal. I’m still waiting for her to come through the door.”

According to USA Today, Following her suicide attempt, Tamar Braxton is parting ways with a television career she deemed “toxic.” One day after the reality star opened up on Instagram saying the television industry “slowly ate away at my spirit and my mental,” WE tv announced it will “honor her request” to part ways Friday. “Tamar Braxton has been an important part of our network family for more than a decade,” the network said in a statement, provided by spokesperson Sarah Chaikin. The network continued: “As she focuses on her health and recovery at what is clearly a difficult and personal time, we will work with her representatives to honor her request to end all future work for the network. We wish her nothing but the best.” Braxton has starred on the WE tv series “Braxton Family Values” alongside her mother Evelyn and sisters Toni, Traci, Towanda, and Trina Braxton since 2011. She has also appeared on “Tamar & Vince,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Celebrity Big Brother” and hosted the daytime talk show “The Real” before her contentious exit. The star’s upcoming WE tv docuseries, “Tamar Braxton: Get Ya Life!” was scheduled to premiere in September. The show was originally set to debut Thursday but was postponed due to Braxton’s “difficult time,” the network confirmed on Twitter Tuesday. The future of the series is now unclear. On Thursday, Braxton revealed in a lengthy Instagram statement that “it was only God’s grace and his mercy on my attempt to end my pain and my life that I am here to utilize my voice.” “Over the past 11 years there were promises made to protect and portray my story, with the authenticity and honesty I gave,” she wrote. “I was betrayed, taken advantage of, overworked, and underpaid.” Braxton said her cry for help to television executives “went totally ignored.” “I wrote a letter over 2 months ago asking to be freed from what I believed was excessive and unfair,” she wrote. “I explained in personal detail the demise I was experiencing. My cry for help went totally ignored. However the demands persisted.” Braxton said she felt that television executives erased her true identity and controlled how others perceived her through her “unfair” portrayal on reality series. “Who I was, began to mean little to nothing, because it would only be how I was portrayed on television that would matter,” she wrote. “It was witnessing the slow death of the woman I became, that discouraged my will to fight. I felt like I was no longer living, I was existing for the purpose of a corporations gain and ratings, and that killed me.” Following Braxton’s suicide attempt, We Tv said it was “joining with her fans and sending strength and healing in the hope that she is getting the support and help she needs at this difficult time.”

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com .

In closing, remember, 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!