PODCAST: Boko Haram Kill 11 Nigerians From Christian Village on Christmas Eve (BCNN1 12.25.20)

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

According to Daily Mail, Boko Haram jihadists killed at least 11 people, burnt a church and seized a priest on Christmas Eve in Nigeria’s restive northeast, local sources claimed today. Security agencies had in recent days warned of an increased risk of attack during the holiday season. Fighters in trucks and motorcycles stormed Pemi, a predominantly Christian village in Borno state on Thursday, shooting ‘indiscriminately’ and setting buildings on fire, said Abwaku Kabu, a militia leader. In many parts of Nigeria, communities have resorted to armed vigilantes or militias, who work alongside the army, for self-defense. ‘The terrorists killed seven people, burnt 10 homes and looted food supplies that were meant to be distributed to residents to celebrate Christmas,’ Kabu said. ‘Four more dead bodies have been found in the nearby bushes by search and rescue volunteers,’ local community leader Ayuba Alamson said Friday. ‘This has moved the death toll to 11.’ The number of dead could rise as villagers fled to the bush and some people are still unaccounted for. The assailants, who drove from the group’s nearby Sambisa forest enclave, looted medical supplies from a hospital before setting it ablaze, the militia leader said, adding they also burnt a church and abducted a priest.

According to the Associated Press, Authorities believe an explosion that rocked the downtown Nashville area early on Christmas Day was a deliberate act, according to Metro Nashville Police Department. Police spokesman Don Aaron said the 6:30 a.m. explosion, which shattered glass and damaged buildings, was believed to be “an intentional act.” Police earlier said they believe a vehicle was involved in the explosion. He said three people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, although none were in critical condition. Police and fire crews were on the scene, as were investigators from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “Right now, it’s a public safety concern, to make sure everybody is accounted for and to make sure the spread of the fire doesn’t go any further,” Michael Knight, a spokesman for the ATF in Nashville, told The Associated Press. Black smoke and flames were seen early Friday billowing from the area, which is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail establishments and is known as the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene. Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard. Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, posted videos on Facebook that show water pouring down the ceiling of his home. Alarms blare in the background and cries of people in great distress ring in the background. A fire is visible in the street outside. McCoy said the windows of his home were entirely blown out. “All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible,” he said. “It felt like a bomb. It was that big,” he told The Associated Press. “There were about four cars on fire. I don’t know if it was so hot they just caught on fire, and the trees were all blown apart,” he said.

According to the Associated Press, Another new variant of the coronavirus appears to have emerged in Nigeria, Africa’s top public health official said Thursday, but he added that further investigation was needed. The discovery could add to new alarm in the pandemic after similar variants were announced in Britain and South Africa, leading to the swift return of international travel restrictions and other measures during a major holiday season. “It’s a separate lineage from the U.K. and South Africa,” the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John N-ken-ga-song, told reporters. He said the Nigeria CDC and the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases would analyze more samples. The identification of the apparent new variant was based on two or three genetic sequences, N-ken-ga-song said, but that and South Africa’s alert last week were enough to prompt an emergency meeting of the Africa CDC this week. The news comes as infections surge again in parts of the African continent. The new virus variant in South Africa is now the predominant one there, N-ken-ga-song said, as confirmed infections in the country approach 1 million. While the variant transmits quickly and viral loads are higher, it is not yet clear whether it leads to a more severe disease, he said.

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis used his traditional Christmas message to celebrate a scientific breakthrough—the “lights of hope” generated by the COVID-19 vaccines. But he admonished the world’s richer nations, and richer people, not to hoard the vaccines for themselves. “We [cannot] allow the virus of radical individualism to get the better of us and make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters. I cannot place myself ahead of others, letting the law of the marketplace and patents take precedence over the law of love and the health of humanity.” Speaking before a few hundred people, as COVID made the normal Christmastime procession of over 10,000 to St. Peter’s Square impossible, Francis called upon “government leaders, businesses, [and] international organizations “to seek a solution for everyone: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet. Before all others: the most vulnerable and needy!” The World Health Organization has warned that some poorer nations might not receive vaccine doses until as late as 2024.

According to The Christian Post, A woman who alleges she had a yearslong intermittent sexual relationship with Pastor Jamal Bryant of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Georgia, is suggesting that he be removed from the pulpit because he’s not fit to be a spiritual leader. “We all have sinned and we’ve all fallen short, but we can’t keep thinking that it’s OK to get your ‘get out of jail free card’ every time you do this,” said the woman, Tunya Griffin, who serves as associate director of university/community partnerships at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “That’s not grace at all. And so the response of the church is around this ideal: if somebody falls we help them get up. We clean them up and we bring them back into the fold. OK, yes, we do. They fall. We clean them up. We bring them back in. But that does not mean that you bring them back in to occupy the same space,” she said. Griffin spoke out about her relationship with Bryant in an interview posted on YouTube Tuesday in which she claimed the unmarried pastor pursued other relationships and fathered at least two children over the period they were intimate. Her interview comes less than a week after Bryant, she said, mispresented parts of their relationship in an online broadcast responding to claims made by “Real Housewives of Potomac” Season 5 cast member Monique Samuels about his personal life.

According to The Christian Post, Author and disabilities advocate Joni Eareckson Tada has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently receiving monoclonal antibodies treatment, her ministry announced. In a statement released Monday, Joni and Friends, an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community, revealed the 71-year-old Bible teacher tested positive for the virus after exhibiting “flu-like symptoms.” The ministry asked supporters to pray as Tada undergoes treatment. “While we know this diagnosis has not taken Jesus by surprise, we are interceding for Joni’s health, strength, and confidence in God’s good purposes,” the update read. “We have seen God protect her from two bouts of cancer and we know he can do it again! Thank you for joining us in prayer!” Tada also shared an update on her Facebook page and thanked supporters for praying for her and her husband, Ken, following her diagnosis.

According to The Daily Beast, Three Philadelphia police officers are in hot water after a man released from prison last week was found to have been wrongfully incarcerated. “They lied under oath to cover up for shooting an innocent man three times in the back,” Termaine Joseph Hicks’ Innocent Project lawyer said. Hicks was released from prison after 19 years thanks to an investigation by the Innocence Project that proved he was arrested based on potentially false evidence. In 2001, Hicks heard a woman screaming for help in an alley and went to help. Police officers showed up and shot Hicks three times in the back, arrested him, and accused him of raping the woman. DNA evidence has now disproved that Hicks had anything to do with the crime. A gun found on Hicks was covered in blood but the pocket it was discovered in was clean, and the gun showed up as belonging to a police officer who had never reported it missing. “As a result of receiving this information, we have opened an Internal Affairs investigation into the allegations of police misconduct,” a district attorney spokesperson told The Philadelphia Inquirer. The two police officers who arrested Hicks and one other officer have been reassigned as they await the results of the investigation.

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!