PODCAST: Nigerian Girls Rescued From Kidnappers (BCNN1 3.4.21)

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

According to BBC News, Girls among the nearly 300 who were kidnapped from a school in north-western Nigeria have been describing their ordeal following their release. “Most of us got injured,” one of the schoolgirls told the BBC, adding that gunmen threatened to shoot them. The girls were abducted by unidentified assailants from their boarding school in Jangebe, Zamfara state, on Friday and taken to a forest, police said. The state’s governor said on Tuesday that the 279 girls had been freed. Such kidnappings are carried out for ransom and are common in the north of the country. On Tuesday, dozens of the girls were seen gathered at a government building in Zamfara after they were taken there in a fleet of mini-buses.

According to the Associated Press, A third man has come forward with sexual abuse allegations against a Chicago priest who has gained widespread acclaim for his activism, saying he felt he owes it to two brothers who have faced criticism for accusing the priest of abusing them decades ago when they were teens. The 59-year-old man alleges in an affidavit shared late Tuesday with church officials that the Rev. Michael Pfleger once sexually abused him in the priest’s bedroom area at St. Sabina Church in the summer of 1979 as the then 18-year-old accuser pretended to sleep. Although he wasn’t a minor at the time, the man said he did not consent to the sexual contact with Pfleger, whom he said he met about three years earlier and considered a trusted mentor and friend. Pfleger emphatically denies the man’s allegations, his attorneys said late Tuesday. They characterized the affidavit’s release as an attempt “to keep the story alive” in the media. In January, two brothers who are in their 60s alleged that Pfleger abused them in the 1970s when he was a seminarian at a church on the city’s West Side and they were in the church choir. Pfleger has denied the brothers’ allegations. According to the archdiocese, he has agreed to live away from the parish while he is being investigated.

According to the New York Post, A majority of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s executive orders on immigration and transgender athletes participating in women’s sports — his least popular actions since taking office, according to a new poll. The poll conducted in late February by Harvard University and Harris Insights and Analytics found 55 percent disapprove of Biden’s executive order to “[r]equire schools to let biological boys who identify as girls to participate in girls sports, and vice versa.” It was tied for least popular of choices offered in the poll order when responses were weighted to reflect national US demographics. Also lagging, with 55 percent disapproval, was Biden’s decision to “[r]educe the deportation of those here illegally who have committed crimes such as DUIs that are not national security related.” Biden’s decision to kill the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, criticized for eliminating thousands of jobs, had 53 percent disapproval.

According to USA Today, Curtis Flowers, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 23 years, will receive the state’s maximum compensation of $500,000, Mississippi 5th Circuit Judge George Mitchell ruled Tuesday. The 50-year-old spent nearly half his life on death row at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, convicted in the shooting deaths of four people in 1996 at Tardy Furniture Store in Winona where Flowers had been employed until roughly two weeks before the murders. The victims, including store owner Bertha Tardy, 59, and employees, Robert Golden, 42, Carmen Rigby, 45, and Derrick Stewart, 16, had been shot in the head. There was very little evidence to go on and no clear motive emerged during the investigation. Some experts indicated there was evidence of more than one person involved in the crime, yet Flowers was the only person charged. State law allows a person who was wrongfully convicted of a crime to be compensated $50,000 a year for every year incarcerated, with a cap at $500,000. The funds will be distributed at $50,000 annually for the next 10 years.

According to NBC News, In apparent defiance of the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans urged its parishioners on Monday to avoid Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, calling it “morally compromised” due to links to cells derived from aborted fetal tissue. The strongly worded statement came just two days after the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, which public health officials have hailed because it requires only one dose and doesn’t have cumbersome, cold-storage obstacles. The “archdiocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing,” according to the archdiocese statement. The vaccine formula, however, includes no fetal tissue, company officials have said. The archdiocese’s stance seemed to be at odds with the Vatican, which earlier this year said it was “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive any Covid-19 vaccine, even one based on research that originally used cells derived from aborted fetuses.

According to the Christian Post, Christian leaders Beth Moore and CeCe Winans have issued an urgent call to prayer after Elicia Brown, one of Winans’ backup singers and a member of the Living Proof Live Praise Team, suffered a brain aneurysm during rehearsal. In an Instagram post, Winans, a Grammy Award-winning Christian artist, asked her followers to pray for Brown, who she referred to as her “dear sister and background singer,” after the 40-year-old mother suffered a brain aneurysm last Wednesday. “[She is] currently in stable but critical condition in the ICU,” Winans wrote. “Thank you for believing with me for her complete healing and peace for Elicia and her family!” In a series of Instagram posts, Bible teacher Beth Moore also urged her followers to pray for Brown, using the hashtag #liciwakeup. She revealed that the singer was at a rehearsal in Nashville for a big award show when she suddenly experienced a “horrendous headache.” Moore explained: “Other symptoms came furiously and, thankfully, despite her insistence to the contrary, her friends rehearsing with her called for an ambulance. She lost consciousness on the way to the hospital and was in surgery within about half an hour after arriving. She had a large blood clot in her brain which was very carefully removed by a great team of surgeons. She is in ICU but stable.” Moore described Brown as a member of the Living Proof Ministries team, “the All-Campus-Favorite,” a talented singer, and a mother to a 5-year-old girl, YaYa.

According to LA Times, Daniel Kaluuya became the fifth Black performer to win a Golden Globe for supporting actor as Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in Shaka King’s historical drama “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The film, which counts “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler among its producers and is currently streaming on HBO Max, charts the events leading up to Hampton’s assassination and the involvement of FBI informant William O’Neal. Kaluuya earned the blessing of Hampton’s fiancée and son in playing the role. Technical difficulties, which persisted throughout the ceremony, nearly prevented the actor from making his acceptance speech, but he was eventually heard. “I gave everything,” Kaluuya said of his role. “And I couldn’t give it to a more noble man, than chairman Fred Hampton. I hope generations after this can see how brilliantly he thought, how brilliantly he spoke and how brilliantly he loved.”

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!