PODCAST: President Biden and VP Harris Visit Atlanta After Shooting (BCNN1 3.19.21)

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

According to NBC News, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Atlanta Friday to meet with Asian American community leaders and state lawmakers in the wake of the spa shootings that left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent. The visit, their first joint trip since taking office, had initially been scheduled as part of the administration’s “Help is Here” tour promoting the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package. But the trip took on new weight after the shooting, with the White House announcing Thursday that the political event would be postponed. Biden and Harris plan to meet with Asian American community leaders at Emory University, where the president will deliver remarks in the late afternoon. Biden and the vice president are also expected to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is headquartered in Atlanta, to receive an update on the fight against the pandemic.

According to Christianity Today, Fifty-seven Black Christian leaders have written a letter to members of the US Senate’s Judiciary Committee expressing support for sweeping LGBT rights but asking for a new bill that includes religious exemptions. The signers, including representatives of the major black Christian denominations, said passage of the Equality Act would deny federal funding for faith-based programs that profess a traditional view of sexuality. For example, it would end free and reduced-cost lunch programs for children who attend religious schools and revoke federal loan eligibility for tens of thousands of students who attend hundreds of religious colleges. “…We want to clearly state our support for federal protections for LGBT persons in employment, housing and the like,” the letter states. “We’re committed to embracing and advocating for those safeguards. Unfortunately, the collaborative process and substance of the Equality Act fall well beneath the standard necessary to cultivate a healthy pluralistic society.”

According to Religion News Service, As Southern California’s housing crisis continues to fuel homelessness across the region, a number of churches, particularly Black congregations, are stepping up to build affordable housing on their church land. And they’re banding together to send a clear message to developers: They will not be taken advantage of. As the homeless population is estimated to hover above 66,000 people in Los Angeles County alone, there are thousands of acres of church land across California that can be used to develop housing. Pastors — some who have inherited debt or years of deferred maintenance and whose church memberships may not be as large as in years past — recognize this opportunity, but may lack the resources or knowledge to cut housing deals that would not only help the most needy, but also help their church communities remain in their neighborhoods. That’s a main reason Rev. John Cager, pastor of Ward African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Los Angeles helped create the Faith Community Coalition in 2017, a network of pastors that seeks to find better opportunities for faith leaders who may feel the need to sell when they’re in a position of declining revenue. Ultimately, the coalition aims for churches to work with developers who are willing to enter into full partnerships with parishes, evenly splitting the revenues and paving the way for the houses of worship to eventually own the properties. So far, the alliance has more than 200 member churches, most of them African American. A number of Latino evangelical churches are also part of the network. Cager said it’s no coincidence many of his fellow Black and Latino pastors were being bombarded by people who wanted to buy their churches.

According to Daily Mail, A coroner’s report has confirmed a black man was killed when he was shot five times in the back by a white Ohio sheriff´s deputy last December. The results of a final autopsy released Thursday confirmed statements by the family of Casey Goodson Jr., who said the 23-year-old died after former Franklin County sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade shot him multiple times. The report is only a medical determination and not a legal finding – and it doesn’t imply criminal intent. Still, the case remains under criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office with help from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Once the investigation is complete, Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack’s office will review the autopsy before deciding whether to charge Meade.

According to New York Post, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday said hate crime charges may be appropriate for the man who went on a shooting rampage at three local spas, killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women. Bottoms was asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer whether she personally believed the case should be prosecuted as a hate crime, noting that Georgia law imposes additional penalties for crimes motivated by a victim’s sex. “I think whatever the stiffest, most appropriate charges there are, this guy should face those charges,” Bottoms replied during the interview on the “Situation Room.” “In Georgia, you can be charged with a hate crime. It covers a variety of areas, and I personally think it would be appropriate, but I will defer to the prosecutors to make that determination.” Robert Aaron Long, 21, was charged Wednesday with eight counts of murder in connection with the attacks.

According to Scoop Nashville, 57-year-old Pastor Lavan Strickland struck a vehicle at a red light on March 14th, then attempted to flee the scene, only to be stopped by a utility pole he then crashed into, disabling his vehicle. The person he crashed into suffered a lower-back injury. Officers report he was extremely unsteady on his feet, reeked of alcohol, and was unable to form comprehensible sentences, or provide his phone number. He refused all field sobriety tests, but did admit he consumed “some Bourbon” but would not specify any times or amounts or locations. A search warrant was obtained for his blood, and it was drawn at Metro General Hospital just after midnight. Lavan Strickland was then booked into the Metro Nashville Jail, charged with DUI. In 1999, the pastor was charged with indecent exposure, and he had one prior DUI in 1992 which was reduced to a Reckless Driving charge. He is free on pre-trial release.

According to Daily Mail, Kanye West is now one of the richest black men in history with his estimated fortune now at $6.6 billion thanks to his Yeezy sneaker and apparel brand. The 43-year-old rapper, who is in the middle of a divorce with wife Kim Kardashian, saw his wealth skyrocket to a staggering $6.6 billion after his Yeezy brand, which now has partnerships with Adidas and Gap, was valued between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion by UBS Group AG. Yeezy’s deal with Adidas is the father-of-four’s largest asset with sales skyrocketing 31 percent last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales from his Yeezy’s Adidas sneakers brought in nearly $1.7 billion last year, which brought in an estimated $191 million in royalties, according to bank statements obtained by Bloomberg. The value of Yeezy’s collaboration with Gap, which is due to be in stores by this summer, is worth as much as $970 million alone.

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!