PODCAST: 3 Churchgoers Killed in Islamist Terror Attack in France (UCNN 10.29.20)

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

According to Reuters, A knife-wielding Tunisian man beheaded one person and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice (neece) before being shot and taken away by police on Thursday. French President Emmanuel Macron said France would deploy thousands more soldiers to protect important sites such as places of worship and schools. France’s security alert was raised to its highest level. Speaking outside the church, Macron said France had been attacked “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief … And I say it with great clarity again today: We will not give any ground.” Chief anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean Francois Ricard later said the suspect was a Tunisian man born in 1999 who had arrived in Europe on Sept. 20 in Lampedusa, the Italian island off Tunisia that is the main landing point for migrants from Africa. Ricard told a news conference in Nice (Neece) that the man had entered the city by train early on Thursday morning and made his way to the church, where he stabbed and killed the 55-year-old sexton and and a 60-year-old woman. He also stabbed a 44-year-old woman who escaped to a restaurant nearby where she died minutes later, Ricard said, before police arrived and confronted the attacker, and shot and wounded him. The suspect is in hospital in critical condition.

According to US News & World Report, the U.S. is averaging more daily coronavirus cases than at any previous point in the pandemic. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the nation’s seven-day average for infections is near 69,000 daily cases. The former highest peak came in July at an average of over 67,000 cases per day. The development comes as the U.S. has entered the third peak of its outbreak. The weekend saw massive numbers of new cases, with more than 83,000 infections added on both Friday and Saturday. The U.S. reports the most infections and fatalities out of any country, with more than 8.6 million infections and over 225,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. Every region is seeing an increase in cases, with the South and the Midwest reporting the majority of new infections, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project. Experts are concerned that as the country heads deeper into fall and winter, cold weather will push more people indoors, possibly increasing the spread of the virus. The challenge could also be compounded by the flu season. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the U.S. is at a “tipping point” but added that “if we took some aggressive, targeted steps right now we could potentially forestall the worst of it.”

According to Daily Mail, Jerry Falwell Jr. is suing Liberty University for firing him over a pool boy sex scandal earlier this year. In a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Virginia, he claims the Christian school affirmed the ‘false’ claims of 29-year-old Giancarlo Granda and damaged his reputation as a result. He also believes that Granda is being bankrolled by Democratic operatives who take issue with him supporting Trump and donating to his campaign. Granda claims he had a years-long affair with Falwell’s wife Becki and that Falwell sometimes watched them having sex. Falwell admitted that Becki had an affair but insisted he had no part in it. He maintains that he upholds Liberty’s values, despite reportedly being seen drinking on occasion – something that is frowned upon by the school – and cavorting with students. In a statement to accompany his lawsuit, he said: “Other than God and my family, there is nothing in the world I love more than Liberty University. I am saddened that University officials, with whom I have shared so much success and enjoyed such positive relationships, jumped to conclusions about the claims made against my character, failed to properly investigate them, and then damaged my reputation following my forced resignation. While I have nothing but love and appreciation for the Liberty community, and I had hoped to avoid litigation, I must take the necessary steps to restore my reputation and hopefully help repair the damage to the Liberty University brand in the process.” Liberty has launched an investigation into Falwell’s conduct at the helm of the school.

According to the Hill, Nearly two-thirds of Americans say next week’s election is a “significant source of stress,” according to a survey released by the American Psychological Association released this month. Sixty-eight percent of all adults say that the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant stressor, up 16 points from 2016, when 52 percent of adults said the same. The feeling of anxiety surrounding the election does not differ greatly along party lines, with the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents surveyed saying it is causing them stress. Seventy-six percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents said that the Nov. 3 election is a “significant source of stress.” The survey results come amid a divisive political climate where tensions are high and there are concerns about the safety and validity of the election.

According to PEOPLE magazine, Sadie Robertson is on the mend after contracting the coronavirus. On Monday, the Duck Dynasty alum, 23, shared a photo from her hospital bed, revealing in her caption that “one of the most challenging things” she has faced as of late has been her battle with COVID-19, which made her “very sick.” She wrote, “I know everyone experiences covid differently, but wow these symptoms are wild. I’ve definitely struggled through this one! Thankfully baby Huff is doing great and healthy, and I am now healing as well. I’m no longer in the hospital (this pic was not from today) and I have just about fully recovered.” Robertson, who is currently expecting her first child with husband Christian Huff, was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this month. She said, “I’ve learned a lot and I have been challenged in a lot of new ways. I will say my dependency on Jesus has never felt greater in some of the hardest moment of this sickness. I’m thankful I serve a Savior who is with me in these moments that feel rather lonely. My heart and my [family’s] heart goes out to everyone suffering with Covid.” In an advisory on their website, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends expectant mothers to be extra vigilant about following existing precautions, as “available data suggest that pregnant women with COVID-19 may be at increased risk for more severe illness compared with nonpregnant peers.”

According to the Christian Post, Award-winning filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick announced they will be rereleasing their blockbuster film “Courageous” with new scenes and a new ending. The fourth film from Sherwood Pictures is scheduled to be re-released next year in theaters. The brothers said viewers “will get to see what happens to many of the characters ten years later! It’s a new ending with a few surprises!” “Courageous” was originally released in 2011 and grossed a total of $35.2 million, over 17 times its $2 million budget. The film follows Sheriff’s deputy Adam Mitchell who “endures a terrible personal tragedy that causes him to question what is really important to him. Taking comfort in his religion, Adam vows to become a better parent to his teenage son, and convinces his friends on the force to sign a pledge that they will all strive to become better Christians and better parents,” the film synopsis reads. The successful Christian filmmakers are also gearing up to release a new film in the new year, following the success of “Overcomer,” which was released in 2019. Alex Kendrick attended the 28th annual Movieguide Awards earlier this year where he revealed the plans.

According to the Christian Post, More than 199,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that the “Peanuts” holiday specials air on network television instead of the Apple TV+ streaming service. Recently, it was announced that the specials, which include “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” would only be on Apple TV. Started by Michael Nebbia and addressed to Wildbrain Studios and Apple, the petition garnered over 156,000 signatures by Wednesday morning. “For over 50 years, we have celebrated the holidays with the airings of the Peanuts holiday specials on TV – first on CBS, then on ABC,” explained the petition. “To our shock and dismay, last night it was announced that Apple had swiped the football from us and claimed the specials for their Apple TV platform, leaving us devoted fans who have grown up with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang in the dark, unable to watch.” The petition went on to declare that “we are telling Apple and Wildbrain Studios that we will not fall for their corporate greed.” Earlier this month, Wildbrain Studios announced that Apple TV+ was going to be the exclusive home for “Peanuts” holiday specials, with nonsubscribers being allowed to watch the programs for free at certain times. The announcement has received much criticism from people who feel that the programs should remain on a traditional TV network and thus be more accessible to the general public.

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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!