This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the Christian Post, Since he wasn’t formally accused of or admitted to any wrongdoing, former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said he will walk away with a severance package totaling $10.5 million after his resignation Monday night in the wake of a sex scandal. Falwell told The Washington Post that he’ll get $2.5 million over the next 24 months plus another $8 million after that period in retirement benefits per a contract he signed with Liberty University in July 2019. “The board was gracious not to challenge that,” Falwell explained. “There wasn’t any cause. I haven’t done anything.” The Board of Trustees of Liberty University, one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the world, announced Tuesday that they had accepted Falwell’s resignation “effective immediately” after he and his wife, Rebecca, were implicated in a sex scandal Monday. The resignation comes after a tumultuous weekend for Falwell, during which it was first revealed on Sunday that his wife had an affair with former “pool boy” Giancarlo Granda, 29, which began eight years ago. Granda allegedly later attempted to blackmail the couple. Falwell said he was shocked to learn about his wife’s affair, but Granda contradicted that claim Monday when he said he had engaged in the affair with Falwell’s knowledge and provided audio he said is evidence supporting his claim.
According to Religion News Service, Leawood Baptist Church has confirmed that its pastor’s wife, who had been missing for more than two weeks, was found dead earlier this week in rural Arkansas. That comes after Marilane Carter’s vehicle was found Tuesday (Aug. 18) in an empty storage container on private property in West Memphis, Arkansas, with a woman’s body inside. The Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday (Aug. 21) that the Arkansas State Medical Examiners Office has confirmed the body belonged to Carter and ruled her death as a suicide, according to local news reports. “The family asks for your thoughts and prayers right now and in the upcoming days,” reads Find Marilane, a website sharing information about Carter’s disappearance.
According to Reuters, Hurricane Laura made landfall early on Thursday in southwestern Louisiana as one of the most powerful storms to hit the state, shattering glass windows and tearing roofs off buildings in Lake Charles as it moved northward to drench the inland. Residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana, heard Laura’s winds howling and the sound of breaking glass throughout the night as the storm passed through the city of 78,000 with winds of 85 miles per hour and gusts up to 128 mph, in the hour after landfall. The windows of the city’s 22-floor Capital One Tower were blown out, street signs were toppled and pieces of wooden fences and debris from collapsed buildings lay in the streets, video footage on Twitter and Snapchat showed. Laura made landfall just before 1 a.m. as a Category 4 storm packing winds of 150 mph in the small town of Cameron, Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said. It rapidly weakened to a Category 2 storm Thursday morning with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and was forecast to become a tropical storm later in the day. However, the NHC warned that the threat of possibly deadly storm surge would continue along the Louisiana coast as Laura moved north and then northeast.
According to the Christian Post, A youth leader for a Delaware church was indicted on more than 80 counts of sex abuse stemming from sexual relationships he had with two teenage girls who attended his youth group. John C. Sapp Jr., a 34-year-old from Hartly who served as a youth leader at Maranatha Fellowship of Dover, was recently indicted following a confession to his pastor in February. Sapp confessed to “inappropriately touching” a minor in a meeting with a pastor on Feb. 13. Following the meeting, another teenager stepped forward claiming sexual abuse. According to court documents reported on by the Delaware News Journal, one of the victims told Delaware State Police that she and Sapp had a “secret relationship” that began in October 2017 when she was 15 and ended in June 2019. The second girl told police that she had had a “secret sexual relationship” with Sapp that went from January 2019 until January of this year, beginning when she was 16 years old.
According to USA Today, Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with shooting three people — two of them fatally — during a Kenosha, Wisconsin, protest Tuesday evening, thought of himself as a militia member trying to protect life and property, according to videos, interviews and social media posts. Court records show Rittenhouse faces a first-degree intentional homicide charge in Kenosha County. He was, as of midday Wednesday, jailed in Lake County, Illinois, and has been charged there as a fugitive from justice. He will appear for extradition hearing on Friday. Based on Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse would be charged as an adult. Video taken in the hours before the shooting shows Rittenhouse hanging out with older armed men, who tell the reporter they’re protecting a car lot. According to his Facebook page, which has since been taken down, Rittenhouse is a strong supporter of police. His page featured pictures of badges with black bands across them, which police wear when a fellow officer is killed. An image of Rittenhouse and another man is framed in a blue circle that contains the words, duty, honor, courage and “Blue lives matter.”
According to CNN, Following what she called the “continued genocide of Black people,” Naomi Osaka pulled out of the Western & Southern Open in New York because there are “much more important matters at hand” than watching her play tennis. After the tweet from the world’s highest-paid female athlete, the US Open warmup announced there would be no play Thursday before resuming Friday. It followed the Wednesday postponement of NBA, Major League Baseball, MLS and WNBA games in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and subsequent protests. Blake would likely be left paralyzed, according to his family, after he was shot seven times. Japan’s Osaka took to Twitter on Wednesday night local time in New York after defeating Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals and speaking with reporters. “Hello, as many of you are aware I was scheduled to play my semifinals match tomorrow,” the two-time grand slam winner began. “However, before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction. Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach. I’m exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I’m extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?” The 22-year-old ended her post with the hashtags, Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and George Floyd.
According to the Christian Post, It would be a tragedy, says Joel Smallbone of Christian pop band, for King and Country, if the coronavirus pandemic ended and the world failed to learn anything from it or even grew closer to God. Smallbone said, “This is the one time in our lifetime that every single human being has been affected by something. It doesn’t matter your educational level, your affluence level, your location, everyone has been impacted by this pandemic and by the conversation that has taken place this year. I think the great loss (of life, income, etc.) … the loss would be compounded and deeper and more tragic if we don’t grow and learn and become more compassionate, more kind, more selfless, and frankly, people that are more connected to the planet and people that are more connected to God. I think there can be a great, bright future where we look back on this tragic time and we say that allowed us to grow and change and evolve and become better or we can look back and say ‘that was really inconvenient.’” In support of his hope for a brighter future for everyone, Smallbone will join a host of Christian artists and leaders including Hillsong, Kirk Franklin, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Amy Grant and Cece Winans in a virtual concert Friday called Unite to Fight Poverty to bring the Christian community together to help the world’s most vulnerable. And behind the concert is three of the world’s largest Christian humanitarian organizations — World Vision, Compassion International and Food for the Hungry — which have joined forces together for the first time ever to meet the gargantuan challenge created by the virus. The concert will be streamed live but is also expected to air on Aug. 29 on Fox Business channel, and Smallbone hopes it will help generate a spirit of unity to fight poverty around the world.
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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!