This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to The Associated Press, Jerry Falwell Jr. announced his resignation Tuesday as the head of Liberty University after a provocative photo and revelations of his wife’s extramarital affair roiled the evangelical school founded by his father. Falwell’s exit marks a precipitous fall from power for one of the country’s most visible conservative Christian leaders and ardent supporters of President Donald Trump. He confirmed his decision to resign in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press. According to the school, he initially offered to resign Monday, hours after a news outlet published an interview with a man who said that he had a yearslong sexual relationship with Becki Falwell and that Jerry Falwell participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur. Falwell, who denied any participation, later reversed course on his resignation and began telling news outlets he had no intention of leaving. Then he changed direction again. The university confirmed in a statement that its board had accepted Falwell’s resignation as president, chancellor and board member. All were effective immediately, the statement said.
According to the Christian Post, Lawyers for megachurch pastor John Gray said Monday that he is being blackmailed and extorted after the leader of Relentless Church in South Carolina was accused of engaging in another inappropriate relationship. Attorney Devon Puriefoy of the law firm Truluck Thomason told Greenville News, “There are allegations that there were phone conversations between the two parties, and that’s essentially the extent of the allegations. When you take her own words, she says there was no affair, no physical contact, they never met each other, they never saw each other.” The latest allegation against Gray came last Friday from a 48-year-old Houston woman who identified herself as “Mary” during an interview with online personality Tasha K, which was broadcast on YouTube. The Houston woman said during her interactions with Gray, she sent him partially nude photos at his requests and he video-chatted with her while revealing his underwear. She claimed that he also met with her in Houston and he invited her to visit his home and she declined because she feels he may have wanted to sleep with her. Despite Mary’s claims, however, Puriefoy told Greenville News that there is evidence of extortion in the case and it will be handed to the Greenville County Solicitor’s Office and the Greenville office of the FBI to be investigated.
According to The Associated Press, Jacob Blake, the Black man shot multiple times by police in Wisconsin, is paralyzed, and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again, his family’s attorney said Tuesday, while calling for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and others involved to lose their jobs. The shooting of Blake on Sunday in Kenosha — apparently in the back while three of his children looked on — was captured on cellphone video and ignited new protests over racial injustice in several cities, some of which have devolved into unrest. It came just three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police touched off a wider reckoning on race. Blake’s father, who is also named Jacob Blake, said, “They shot my son seven times, seven times, like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.” The 29-year-old was in surgery, said attorney Ben Crump, adding that the bullets severed Blake’s spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae. Another attorney said there was also severe damage to organs. “It’s going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” Crump said.
According to the Christian Post, A congregation in Massachusetts has raised money through a car wash and through their website to help the victims of the recent massive explosion in Beirut. St. George Orthodox Church of Boston held the car wash on Saturday, with the youth raising thousands of dollars while cleaning a couple hundred vehicles. The Very Rev. Timothy J. Ferguson, head pastor of the church, said that the congregation felt inspired to hold the charitable event due to the many personal ties to Lebanon. Ferguson explained, “Our community, my parish that is to say, is about 60% immigrants from Lebanon. And so there were a lot of people who were directly affected by the explosion that took place there. So they wanted to reach out and respond. It was an initiative on the part of the teenagers, the young people in the parish.” While the car wash charged $10 per vehicle, Ferguson noted, many drivers gave “way more than what was asked,” with donations passing the $7,000 mark and still being added through the church’s online donation page. “They can’t physically get up and go there, so they know that those funds are being used for what they would do had they been given the chance to go there,” the pastor said.
According to Variety, TikTok has a message for Donald Trump: See you in court. The short-form video app company, currently owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, confirmed that it plans to file a lawsuit challenging U.S. President Trump’s Aug. 6 executive order that would effectively ban TikTok unless it is sold to an American buyer. TikTok expects to sue the administration this coming week. Trump’s actions against TikTok have come amid the U.S. government’s escalating trade tensions with China. In the order earlier this month, the president alleged that TikTok “continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States” based on the possibility that Chinese authorities could force TikTok to divulge user data.
According to ESPN, World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has tested positive for the coronavirus and is self-isolating at his home in Jamaica after celebrating his 34th birthday with a mask-free party last week. Jamaica’s health ministry confirmed late Monday that Bolt, who holds world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter distance, tested positive after he posted a video on social media around midday saying that he was waiting on his results. “Just to be safe, I quarantined myself and just taking it easy,” Bolt said in the video while lying in bed. The only sprinter to win the 100-meter and 200-meter golds at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016) added that he did not have any symptoms of COVID-19. Bolt said he took the test on Saturday, the day after he celebrated his birthday. Confirmed cases in Jamaica have surged to more than 60 per day over the past four days, from fewer than 10 just a few weeks ago. Jamaica has 1,612 confirmed cases, with 622 active cases and 16 deaths.
According to the Christian Post, Grammy Award-winning producer and artist Peter CottonTale released a new single “Pray for Real” this year, featuring Tobi Lou and Chance the Rapper and the song is now trending on the Billboard gospel charts. CottonTale’s single with rap superstar Chance the Rapper and Lou debuted at No. 24 on Billboard Gospel’s National Airplay Chart last week. The progressive and hip-hop single is featured on CottonTale’s debut album, Catch, which his now available on streaming and retail outlets. The artist, formerly known as Peter Wilkins, has been a member of Chance the Rapper’s affiliated group, the Social Experiment, for some time. The music producer has often collaborated with Chance the Rapper on past albums. “Pray for Real” was recently the No. 1 most added single and has over 23 million streams. CottonTale’s debut album features 17 tracks of contemporary gospel, hip-hop and R&B music including 31 features from various artists. Some of the collaborations include Kirk Franklin, Tiff Joy, New Direction, Fred Hammond, PJ Morton, Daniel Caesar, Jeremih, Jamila Woods, and others.
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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!