PODCAST: 200,000 Americans Have Died of the Coronavirus (UCNN 9.22.20)

This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to CNBC, The coronavirus, which was first confirmed in the United States about eight months ago, has killed more than 200,000 people across the country as of Tuesday as U.S. officials rush to approve and manufacture a vaccine. The U.S. had reported at least 200,005 confirmed Covid-19 deaths as of mid-day Tuesday, more than any other country in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S., which accounts for roughly 21% of all confirmed Covid-19 deaths around the world despite having only 4% of the world’s population, is battling one of the deadliest outbreaks in the world. Fatalities in the U.S. have doubled over the last four months, after the virus took 100,000 lives in the first four months of the outbreak. Coronavirus deaths have now outpaced the number of American soldiers lost during World War I and the Vietnam War combined, according to the Census Bureau.

According to Daily Mail, An Australian bookstore has banned the Harry Potter series to make the shop a ‘safer space’. Rabble Books and Games, in Maylands, Perth, announced on Wednesday it would cease stocking JK Rowling novels after she was accused of transphobia over her latest book. Owner Nat Latter said on Facebook the store would ‘not put books by transphobes on the shelves’ and asked customers for suggested alternatives. Latter wrote, ‘Whilst stocking a book isn’t an endorsement (good grief, that would be a minefield), and we will always take orders for books that aren’t in stock, there are more worthy books to put on the shelf, books that don’t harm communities and won’t make us sad to unpack them.’ Rowling has been criticised for her views on transgender people since tweeting her support for a researcher who was sacked for her own views on the topic.

According to the Christian Post, After a tumultuous last few years, actor and rapper Orlando Brown, best known for his role as Eddie Thomas on the Disney Channel series “That’s So Raven,” is getting ready to graduate from a faith-based treatment center in Texas and he’s singing high praises about the power of prayer and Christian fellowship. Brown, 32, who has had a very public struggle with drugs and his mental health, said that he is looking forward to graduating from Rise Discipleship, a free 6-month in-patient recovery program for men who struggle with addiction, homelessness and other life-controlling issues run by Rise Church in Abilene, Texas. The Rise Discipleship website explains, “We help not only those who struggle with drugs and alcohol, but also those who battle depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Every RISE student will be given a biblical foundation that will assist in character building and the leadership development to approach life in a new light.” While he said he wasn’t yet ready to do any extended interviews on his journey with the program, Brown confirmed that he graduates at the end of November and “it’s definitely been a great process.” He said, “I can tell you that I’m OK. I’m alive. I was in an unsafe position and it has been shaky but at the end of the day all I can tell you is I’m OK and I’m graduating and I will be getting married.”

According to Mission Network News, The current coronavirus pandemic has stretched its arms worldwide, and young girls in Kenya are greatly feeling its affects. With the school closures, many girls have become desperate for ways to get access to necessary items. “There are things that a girl child cannot go without,” Tumaini, a board member with Forgotten Missionaries International in Kenya, says. “Number one is what we call sanitary towels. Those girls who cannot get them will try and get them at all cost. Men will take advantage of them.” For many girls, school was a safety net from forced marriages, female circumcision, and rape. While female genital mutilation is illegal in Kenya, many families have used the lockdown as an opportunity to continue the practice in rural areas. Schools were also a place where girls received sanitary napkins and food. The pandemic has also caused many rescue centers for girls running from forced marriages or FGM to turn girls away or shutter their doors. In desperation, many girls are being coerced into sex in exchange for food and other necessary items. Tumaini is hoping that FMI will be able to come up with some way to protect these girls while schools are unable to.

According to Church Leaders, Christian artist TobyMac has suffered another tragedy. The popular Christian musician posted the heartbreaking news on social media today that his sister, Kristen McKeehan Carroll, has died. Kristen passed away on the morning of September 3, 2020 at the age of 52. Kristen was one of four siblings, and had six children of her own. Less than a year ago TobyMac and his family lost their first born son, Truett Foster McKeehan to an accidental overdose. On TobyMac’s Instagram page he said of Kristen’s passing: “Just over a week ago this world lost a beautiful sister, daughter, friend and mother of 6. My sister. Our Kristen Our force of nature, get it done, always laughing, fight for her family, against all odds, proud of her loved ones, God loving, crazy “aunting”, amazing hosting, do anything for her kids, friend to all….sister. She was tough as nails and soft as butter. She always looked beautiful and let you know that you were too. She’s loved by God and our King Jesus paid her debt…..in full. She was met at heaven’s gates by Truett (who adored her) and our dad (who she drove crazy :). There will be a hole in our family’s heart forever, but heaven just got wonder woman.”

According to ESPN, Deion Sanders will be the next head football coach at Jackson State, he announced Sunday on his new podcast. “God called me to Jackson State,” Sanders said on the first episode of “21st & Prime.” Jackson State announced the hiring on Monday. Sanders, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame following a stellar NFL career during which he also played Major League Baseball, is a first-time head coach at the collegiate level. Sanders said in the school’s statement Monday, “I am truly blessed to be the 21st Head football coach of Jackson State University. It’s my desire to continue this storied tradition and history of JSU and prayerfully bring more national recognition to the athletes, the university, the Sonic Boom of the South, and HBCUs in general.” Athletic director Ashley Robinson said, “It’s very big for Jackson State University. Not only for Jackson State University, this is very big for the country right now. Very big for the state of Mississippi. To Coach Prime, Jackson State University — a blue blood program full of Hall of Famers — it’s just a great time.” Robinson continued, “Coach Sanders is student-athlete centered and cares about young men and their wellbeing beyond the football field. We expect to compete for and win championships at Jackson State, and Coach Sanders will help us achieve those goals.”

According to Variety, For the second year in a row, the lead drama actress Emmy has gone to a fresh face: a first-time nominee and the youngest on the ballot: “Euphoria’s” Zendaya. And Zendaya has made history with this win, not only for becoming the youngest-ever Emmy winner in the category (she turned 24 just a few weeks ago), but also for being the second-ever Black woman to win the category, following Viola Davis, who won in 2015. She thanked her family, team and “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson. “I appreciate you so much; you’re my family,” said Zendaya, addressing Levinson, who based the series on his own battle with drug addiction. “I’m so grateful for Rue. I’m so grateful that you trusted me with your story. I know this feels like a really weird time to be celebrating,” she added. “But I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there. I know that our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people. And I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets, I see you, I admire you, I thank you.” Zendaya won for her gritty portrayal of teenage drug addict Rue on the HBO high school drama.

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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!