PODCAST: Pastor Ralph West Cuts Ties With Southern Baptist Convention (BCNN 12.18.20)

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According to Religion News Service, A pastor pursuing a doctorate at Southwestern Theological Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, announced in an editorial Wednesday (Dec. 16) that he was withdrawing from his degree program and severing his megachurch’s affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention over a recent statement by its seminary presidents on critical race theory. The move by the Rev. Ralph D. West, founder and pastor of Church Without Walls in Houston, is the latest backlash from the Nov. 30 statement by six Southern Baptist seminary presidents denouncing critical race theory and intersectionality. The presidents, all six of them white men, issued the statement saying the race theory is “incompatible,” with the denomination’s central affirmation, the Baptist Faith & Message. West, a Black pastor, is just the latest to criticize the statement from leaders of the nation’s largest Protestant body with 14.5 million members. In his commentary in the Texas publication The Baptist Standard, West writes: “In this time, these men chose to castigate a framework that points out a truth that cannot be denied. American history has been tainted with racism. America codified it. And more, our public and private institutions propagated it.” Last week, the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention asked for a meeting with the seminary presidents saying their statement was insensitive to Blacks. Others have also criticized the statement, pointing out the Southern Baptist Convention, founded in 1845 by Christians who believed that missionaries could own slaves, still cannot shake off its troubling racist past. (In 1995, the denomination formally apologized for slavery, saying, “we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty.” ) Critical race theory has come under fire in conservative and right-wing circles that reject the idea of systemic racism and find fault with the Black Lives Matter movement. In September, President Trump issued an executive order banning critical race theory from government-sponsored race and sex-based training. West said that while he is keeping his affiliation with Baylor University, which is not affiliated with the SBC, he was withdrawing from Southwestern Seminary and severing any relationship between his church and the denomination.

According to News One, A white man who murdered two Black Kroger shoppers in 2018 was sentenced to two life in prison without the possibility of parole Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Gregory Bush, 53, pleaded guilty but mentally ill in Jefferson Circuit Court to two counts of attempted murder and wanton endangerment for the Oct. 24, 2018 shooting of Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, at a Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. He originally plead not guilty to three federal hate crime charges and three federal gun charges, but later plead guilty to amended charges as part of a plea deal. Bush was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder which means he will be placed under treatment and medication during his prison sentence. Bush also plead guilty to federal hate crime charges in February, but evaded execution because Attorney General William Barr agreed to not to seek the death penalty. A series of delays from law enforcement officials to declare the shooting a hate crime was met with resistance from the local community who viewed the timeline of the case as evidence of premeditated thought. Prior to the shooting Bush stopped at Black First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, a local, historically Black church before he visited Kroger and opened fire in the store. Police report that he walked up to Stallard and shot him in the back of the head, shooting him several times before he exited the store. In the parking lot, his next victim was Jones who was also shot multiple times. Stallard and Jones had no prior relationship with Bush before the shooting. A white, male, witness who brandished his gun for protection during the shooting said Bush walked by him and said, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.” Shortly after the tragedy occurred, he was apprehended by police.

According to the Daily Mail, Desperate parents have gathered at a secondary school in Nigeria on Sunday, begging authorities to locate the hundreds of boys abducted from there by gunmen. While exact figures are yet to be determined, more than 300 students from the all-boys Government Science school in Kankara in Nigeria’s northwestern Katsina state are thought to be missing after being taken by men reportedly armed with AK-47s on Friday night. Abubakar Lawal travelled to the school from Zaria, a city 75 miles south of Kanara. Two of his three sons who attend the institution were among the missing. Yahaya, a 17-year-old student, told Reuters he escaped on Saturday. He gave only one name for fear of reprisals. He said he sneaked away while the kidnappers transferred students to different locations in a forest close to the school. He said, “We met someone with a motorcycle who brought us to a nearby village. From there someone brought us to Kankara.” He added that group leaders told the men not to harm them. President Buhari’s spokesman issued a statement saying the military, supported by airpower, had located the bandits’ enclave in Zango/Paula forest in the Kankara area, and there have been exchanges of gunfire in an ongoing operation. The statement did not say if any students have been rescued.

According to ESPN, An update from Nika and Marrecus Johnson, the parents of Florida Gators basketball star Keyontae Johnson, has sent “a jolt of optimism” through fans of the basketball team. Keyontae Johnson is listed as in “stable condition” as of Tuesday night and is reportedly breathing on his own and talking, according to a statement posted online. The team added that Keyontae was able to FaceTime with his teammates. Johnson collapsed on the court during a game timeout on Saturday and was carried out on a stretcher. On Monday, the team’s news site reported that he was in critical but stable condition and was “following simple commands.”

According to Variety, Tyler Perry has donated $100,000 to the legal defense fund of Kenneth Walker. Walker’s girlfriend, Breonna Taylor, was fatally shot by plainclothes police officers in her Louisville, Ky. apartment on March 13. Walker was in the apartment at the time of the incident, and fired a warning shot at the officers, believing them to be intruders. Though the officers contend that they announced themselves before entry, Walker has said that they did not and that the shot was an act of self-defense. There has since been a legal dispute between Walker and the officers, who claim that officer Jonathan Mattingly was shot in the leg by Walker’s warning shot. Reports have come back inconclusive on the matter, with no concrete evidence that the bullet that struck Mattingly was or was not from Walker’s gun. However, Mattingly is suing Walker for assault and emotional distress.

According to The Christian Post, Lauren Daigle is speaking out after being banned from participating in a New Year’s Eve broadcast out of New Orleans due to her appearance last month at a French Quarter evangelistic event. “I’m disappointed that my spontaneous participation has become part of the political discourse and I’m saddened by the divisive agendas of these times,” the Christian singer, whose success has allowed her to cross over into the pop mainstream circuit, said in a statement to a Louisiana news outlet on Thursday. Daigle sang at the Nov. 7 “Let Us Worship” rally near Jackson Square, which was spearheaded by Sean Feucht and criticized for gathering a large crowd of worshipers in violation of New Orleans’ coronavirus restrictions. She clarified in her statement that she was not involved in the planning of that event, nor was she scheduled to take part in it. Rather, she came across the event while she was out with her friend and was “asked to sing.” “To me, that is the very moment when music serves its higher purpose,” she said. “It’s what gives people encouragement, hope for a better future, and it’s what can usher joy into their hearts. My involvement was focused on lifting spirits, providing hope, and encouragement, during these polarizing times.” In response to the singer’s participation, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell sent a letter demanding that Dick Clark Productions refrain from allowing Daigle to perform in the New Orleans portion of the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” broadcast. According to Nola.com, both Daigle and Dick Clark Productions said the “You Say” singer was actually never confirmed to be on the show. But Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser wanted her in the broadcast line-up and the state’s $500,000 contribution to the festive production was based on Daigle’s appearance.

According to Black Enterprise, A group of Historically Black College and University athletes have filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA and its Academic Performance Plan. The plaintiffs, J’ta Freeman, Austin Dasent and Troyce Manassa, allege the NCAA’s APP is based on a formula that includes metrics the NCAA knew would discriminate against Black Student athletes at HBCUs. The suit goes on to say the APPs postseason bans represent a pattern of intentional discrimination against student-athletes at HBCUs. According to HBCU Gameday, the APP requires teams to hit specific academic benchmarks using a metric called the Academic Progress Rate. Punishment for failing to hit the benchmarks can range from cutting practices to a postseason ban. The suit states the benchmarks, which are based on grades, eligibility and whether athletes are graduating or staying in school, put HBCU athletes at a disadvantage because the mission of HBCUs has always been to give low-income, first generation and at-risk students an opportunity at a higher education. The complaint also notes the NCAA knew that its APP’s metrics continued to reinforce racial disparities knowing the graduation success rates for Black athletes were 20-30 percentage points lower than for white athletes.

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!