This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Kirbyjon Caldwell, Houston megachurch pastor and former spiritual adviser to two U.S. presidents, was sentenced on Wednesday to six years in federal prison for his role in a scheme that defrauded more than two dozen people out of millions of dollars through the sale of worthless Chinese bonds. But it may be another year until the 67-year-old, who has prostate cancer, enters the prison system because of the threats posed to his health by COVID-19. Caldwell was a spiritual adviser to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He grew Windsor Village United Methodist Church from roughly 25 members in the 1980s to more than 16,000 today — making it one of the country’s largest protestant congregations. In 2018, he and another man, Shreveport-based investment adviser Gregory A. Smith, were charged by federal authorities for using their status and access to encourage 29 people to invest about $3.5 million in historical Chinese bonds between April 2013 and August 2014. Smith pleaded guilty last summer and is currently in prison. Caldwell initially denied the allegations, but eventually pleaded guilty last year. At a Wednesday sentencing in Louisiana federal court, he apologized for causing “undeserved financial harm, emotional distress, emotional pain.” “They trusted me with their money, and I abused that trust,” Caldwell, wearing a blue hoodie and jeans, said in a roughly seven-minute statement. “I misled them, I profited at their expense, and for that I am very sorry. As a result of my actions, good people lost hard-earned money. Retirement funds were used, mortgages and other important bills went unpaid, and things that the victims wanted to do for their families and friends just went undone.” Before sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. noted Caldwell’s history of community service and the more than $4 million he has since repaid to victims — which Hicks said was a rarity in most fraud cases. But Caldwell’s business acumen and stature in the community, Hicks continued, made the scheme particularly egregious.
According to the Associated Press, President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office. With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, urged on by the president’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results. Ten Republicans fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20. Trump is the only U.S. president to be twice impeached. The Capitol insurrection stunned and angered lawmakers, who were sent scrambling for safety as the mob descended, and it revealed the fragility of the nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power. The riot also forced a reckoning among some Republicans, who have stood by Trump throughout his presidency and largely allowed him to spread false attacks against the integrity of the 2020 election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, imploring lawmakers to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign “and domestic.” She said of Trump: “He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.” Holed up at the White House, watching the proceedings on TV, Trump took no responsibility for the bloody riot seen around the world, but issued a statement urging “NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind” to disrupt Biden’s ascension to the White House. In the face of the accusations against him and with the FBI warning of more violence, Trump said, “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.” Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit. He is the first to be impeached twice. None has been convicted by the Senate, but Republicans said Wednesday that could change in the rapidly shifting political environment as officeholders, donors, big business and others peel away from the defeated president.
According to The Hill, Eduard Florea, a member of the far-right Proud Boys group, was arrested on Tuesday night after police say they found Parler posts from him threatening the life of Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.), as well as planning to take part in the Capitol riot last week. Florea responded to another user on Parler who posted “[expletive] RAPHAEL WARNOCK LOSER” saying, “Dead man can’t pass [expletive] laws.” He was arrested in his home in Queens, N.Y., where authorities said they found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and military-style combat knives, NBC New York reported on Wednesday. Florea was reportedly not allowed to have that ammunition due to a previous arrest and conviction in 2013 for a firearms-related felony. “For those of you out there with similar intentions, heed this warning — knock it off, or expect to see us at your door,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said at a news conference. Florea, a self-described Proud Boys member, was arrested on a weapons possession charge, law enforcement sources told the New York Daily News. He appeared in Brooklyn federal court and could spend 10 years in jail if he is convicted.
According to Magnolia State Live, An 18-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of an Alabama pastor. Choctaw County Sheriff Scott Lolley told local news sources that Melissa Hill turned herself in, and is being charged with both murder and attempted murder in connection with the murder of Pastor Tim Pearson in Melvin, Alabama. Melvin is a small rural community in West Alabama one mile from the Alabama-Mississippi line. Hill’s bond has been set at $1,050,000. According to news reports Pearson was shot and killed early Saturday morning. Pearson led the Mt. Mariah Baptist Church in Melvin for 14 years. One of Pearson’s relatives said that Pearson’s wife was also injured in the shooting, but she is now in stable condition.
According to NBC News, The FBI has sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country warning about possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting Saturday and saying an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C., the same day to stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office, according to a senior law enforcement official. The memo includes information provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Defense Department; U.S. Park Police; and the U.S. Marshals Service, among other agencies, according to the official. Some of the information came from social media, some from open sources and some from other sources of information. The senior law enforcement official said the FBI’s National Crisis Coordination Center distributed the update as a summary of threat information it has received after the deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.
According to ESPN, DeVonta Smith was uncoverable, Najee Harris unstoppable and Mac Jones impeccable. With a performance that was both surgical and explosive, No. 1 Alabama won the College Football Playoff national championship game 52-24 against No. 3 Ohio State on Monday night. The final game of a college football season in a pandemic, a season that was uncertain to be played in the summer and filled with disruptions in the fall, ended in the most predictable fashion: Alabama as national champion for the sixth time in the last 12 years under coach Nick Saban. For Saban, it was career title No. 7 overall, breaking a tie with Alabama great Paul “Bear” Bryant for the most by a major college coach. “To me this is the ultimate team,” Saban said. “There is more togetherness on this team than on almost any team we’ve ever had. They’ve had to overcome and to persevere so much through this season, and they have done it magnificently.” The celebration was at once familiar and unique. The confetti cannons sent a crimson and white shower into the air and the Tide players ran to the sideline to grab their championship hats and T-shirts. It’s a rite of passage if you have played for Saban. But this time, the band playing the fight song was a piped in recording and when “Sweet Home Alabama” blared, only a few thousand Tide fans were still in the building to singalong.
According to Entertainment Tonight, LeToya Luckett and Tommicus Walker are going their separate ways. The couple announced their split on Monday after three years of marriage — and just four months after welcoming their second child together. “After very prayerful consideration, Tommicus and I have decided to get a divorce,” Luckett wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of her and Walker with their kids, 2-year-old daughter Gianna and 4-month-old son Tysun. “It is my deepest desire for us to be loving co-parents and keep a peaceful environment out of respect for our children.” “Please understand our need for privacy,” the former Destiny’s Child member added. “Thank you in advance for your prayers, support & space to heal as we tread through this challenging time.” Luckett captioned her post, “Love always .” Walker wrote in his post, “We remain committed to our family as co-parents and we ask that you please respect our privacy and the safety of our children at this time. We happily remain committed as caring friends with great love and respect for one another.” Luckett, 39, and Walker, 40, married in December 2017, just months after going public with their relationship.
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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!