This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Christian Today, Pastor Max Lucado has tested positive for Covid-19 despite having already been fully vaccinated against the virus. The bestselling Christian author and megachurch pastor posted a tweet showing a photo of a positive coronavirus test, highlighting that the positive result prohibited him from preaching on Sunday at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Lucado tweeted: “Groan. Covid found me. Tested positive yesterday.” He added, “Was planning to preach today Oak Hills Church and go with some guys on epic golf trip to Ireland tomorrow. Turns out it’s me in a downstairs room with aches, stuffy head and quarantine.” However, he also stated that he had much to be thankful for; good medical care, his wife, and that fact that he was at home and not self-isolating in a hotel. He also posted: “Though miserable, the misery would have been worse with no vaccination. So doing my best to count blessings.”
According to the Daily Mail, A 13-year-old teenager was savaged by a neighbor’s dog who pounced on him twice, tearing his face and neck open as he delivered cupcakes to his friend after his mother’s gender reveal party in March. The violent attack happened as Noah was outside his neighbor’s house in Rolla, Missouri, when – having delivered the cupcakes – the pit bull broke loose from its chain and pounced on him in the front yard, and in front on Noah’s 12-year-old sister. Noah’s pregnant mother Julia Poland, stepdad Beau Logan, and the dog’s owner were able to pull the dog away from Noah, but within seconds it managed to break loose again and launched a second savage attack. Noah was carried inside the house, and paramedics soon arrived to airlift Noah to a children’s hospital in Saint Louis – 90 minutes away. Tara Stone, who was hosting the gender reveal party, drove her sister Julia to the hospital where they saw Noah – his head wrapped in a bandage and blood covering the floor – before he was taken in for emergency surgery. Doctors revealed that Noah’s throat, arteries, and voice box were exposed during the attack and tissue, skin, and muscle were pulled from his face. The dog also ripped out Noah’s spit gland and fractured his jaw. Since the attack, Noah has undergone four surgeries to clean and stabilise the area, to re-map the nerves and arteries, and to begin reconstructing his face using a skin graft and muscle tissue from his thigh, and nerves from his leg. The reconstruction isn’t yet complete and doctors are uncertain whether Noah will ever regain feeling in the right side of his face or mouth. It will take Noah approximately six to eight months to recover from his initial treatment before he’s ready to undergo the further necessary operations. Whilst he recovers, fluid must be drained from his face every two hours and his calorie intake must also be monitored. Noah’s house must be kept above 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit to help maintain his blood flow and whilst he’s able to walk, plenty of rest is needed to aid his healing.
According to Christianity Today, a US appeals court has ruled against a Christian web designer who didn’t want to create wedding websites for same-sex couples and sued to challenge Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, another twist in a series of court rulings nationwide about whether businesses denying services to LGBTQ people amounts to bias or freedom of speech. A three-judge panel of the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday denied Lorie Smith’s attempt to overturn a lower court ruling throwing out her legal challenge. The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Smith, argued that the law forced her to violate her Christian beliefs. In the 2–1 ruling, the panel said Colorado had a compelling interest in protecting the “dignity interests” of members of marginalized groups through its law. The anti-discrimination law is the same one at issue in the case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips that was decided in 2018 by the US Supreme Court. The high court decided the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had acted with anti-religious bias against Phillips after he refused to bake a cake for two men who were getting married. But it did not rule on the larger issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to LGBTQ people.
According to CNN, A 12-year old Palestinian boy has died after being shot by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said. Mohammed Allamy was a passenger in a car being driven by his father when the incident happened at the entrance to the town of Beit Ummar, halfway between Bethlehem and Hebron, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa. The agency report said the 12-year old was shot in the chest and taken to hospital in Hebron where he succumbed to his wounds a few hours later. The Israeli army said it was aware of claims its soldiers had killed a child and said it was investigating the circumstances of the event. In a lengthy statement, the army said soldiers had approached the car after previously observing its occupants trying to bury the body of a new-born baby in a shallow grave. The army statement went on to say that soldiers had tried to stop the car by shouting and firing warning shots into the air. One of the soldiers then fired towards the car’s wheels in order to stop it, the statement concluded. The incident comes a day after a 41-year old Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers at the entrance to the West Bank town of Beita, about 10 kilometers south of Nablus.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory on its U.S. productions — at least in Zone A, the part of the set with actors. The move makes the streamer the first major studio to institute a blanket vaccination policy. A source says Netflix is closely following the recently updated return-to-work protocols agreed upon by the guilds and studios, which say that the industry may mandate vaccinations in Zone A on a project-by-project basis. The new standards were agreed on by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the industry’s top guilds, including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the DGA and the Teamsters. They also came to the consensus that they could ease current protocols for fully vaccinated cast and crew. In keeping with the recommendations in the return-to-work guidelines, exemptions for medical, religious or age reasons may apply on Netflix sets. In addition, an insider says the streamer’s shows and films already in production may be able to continue on even if certain members of the production aren’t vaccinated, though those exceptions are expected to be rare. Netflix’s decision to mandate the vaccine comes as the Delta variant, a more contagious strain of the virus, continues to spread. The uptick in cases has prompted new indoor mask mandates.
According to CNN, USA’s Sunisa Lee won the women’s all-around gymnastics gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday as Simone Biles cheered on from the stands at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre. Lee scored 57.433 to finish ahead of Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade in second and the Russian Olympic Committee’s Angelina Melnikova in third, extending a run of five all-around Olympic golds for the USA. The 18-year-old Lee took the lead from Andrade, who becomes Brazil’s first Olympic medalist in gymnastics, after the third rotation, and completed her victory when she scored 13.700 with her floor routine. The gold medal adds to the silver Lee won with Team USA in the team competition on Tuesday, and her victory means the US draws level with the Soviet Union with a record six wins in the women’s all-around.
According to NBC News, Caeleb Dressel is the world champion in the 100-meter freestyle race, and as of Thursday, he’s the Olympic champion, too. He did it in Olympic record time: 47.02 seconds. The American swimmer now has two golds in the Tokyo Games. He earned the first with his teammates earlier this week, having raced the first leg of the victorious 4×100 free relay Monday. Thursday was the first time that Dressel has won an Olympic gold medal in an individual event. The Florida native had won a gold in Tokyo for the 4×100-meter relay, and he won two golds in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, both in group events. After Thursday’s win Dressel fought back tears and said he wasn’t sure the victory had set in yet. “It’s a really tough year, it’s really hard. So, to have the results show up, I mean — it really came together, so I’m happy,” Dressel said. He defeated defending Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia, who took the top prize at the 2016 Rio Games. Dressel came in sixth that year. Chalmers finished second Thursday. Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Olympic Committee won bronze.
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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!