PODCAST: Jerry Falwell Jr. Cancels Graduation Party at His Farm (UCN 5.4.21)

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

According to CNN, One man is dead after a tree fell on a car as a tornado touched down in the Atlanta area on Monday. Severe weather threatened more than 100 million people from the southern Plains through the Mid-Atlantic. A tornado warning was issued at about 10:30 a.m. and lasted until 11:15 a.m. ET, with about 450,000 people in its potential path, according to the National Weather Service in Atlanta. An EF-1 tornado with 90 mph winds was confirmed in Douglas County, according to the National Weather Service. The tornado was 250 yards wide and on the ground for a mile and a half. A tornado watch was in effect until 7 p.m. EDT for east-central Georgia, central South Carolina and south-central North Carolina. This included Charlotte and Rockingham in North Carolina, Columbia and Greenwood in South Carolina and Augusta in Georgia. There were several thunderstorm watches, including ones in central Georgia, much of Alabama and eastern Mississippi.

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According to Religion News Service, Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has reportedly canceled a graduation party he planned to host Saturday (May 8) on his family farm, which, during a spontaneous appearance at an event last week, he called the “real Liberty graduation.” The cancelation comes after Falwell reportedly was hospitalized over the weekend for testing related to the blood clots in his lungs he was diagnosed with last year. “As a result, we regrettably must cancel the picnic this weekend,” he said in a statement his wife Becki Falwell provided Monday to local Lynchburg, Virginia, news station ABC13 News. Falwell had announced the party onstage at an outdoor comedy show that was attended by Liberty students. He later said he was joking about the party being the “real” Liberty graduation and called the event “my way of saying thank you” to students at the evangelical Christian school, who, he said, have supported him through the past year. Falwell resigned last year from Liberty — which was founded by his late father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. — as he weathered a series of controversies, including a questionable post on social media he claimed was “meant in good fun.” He also faced allegations that he and Becki Falwell had a yearslong sexual relationship with a business associate, which the Falwells have disputed.

According to Christian Today, As India records record deaths and Covid-19 cases, church ministers in the country are asking for prayer. On Saturday, India became the first country in the world to record over 400,000 new cases in one day. A day later, the health ministry said a record 3,689 people had died within the past 24 hours. Ministers from Church of Scotland partner churches in India are asking for prayer as India struggles to cope with the staggering numbers of infected. Rev Moumita Biswas, who is based in Calcutta and part of the Church of North India, said that the country had become “a valley of death”. The present crisis is affecting her personally, having lost four of her relatives and a number of “close” colleagues to Covid. She said, “We have been in a terrible state for the past two and a half weeks. We are in a death-trap now, it has become a valley of death. Before this wave hit we just knew the numbers but now it’s our family members, our relatives, our church leaders who have died.” She continued, “Every Indian has someone or other in their family who has been affected. We need support of food, which churches have been helping to provide. And, of course, prayers. The greatest thing we have is prayers for each other. The other thing is to reflect your prayer into action – increase your awareness of what is happening in India, what is happening in Brazil. What has happened here can be a lesson for countries around the world.”

According to Christianity Today, the percentage of American adults with recent symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders increased more than 5 points between the summer of 2020 and the spring of 2021. One out of every 10 people reports having an unmet mental health care need. The American Bible Society want to meet that need with trauma-informed Bible reading, teaching people about healing from trauma using Scripture. A recent ABS-commissioned study by Baylor University researchers found that combining education about mental health best practices with Bible reading can have a significant benefit. In their study, this reduced the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and increased forgiveness, compassion, and sense of purpose. Robert L. Briggs, ABS president and CEO, said, “As America experiences a mental health crisis, this study shows the potential benefits of faith-sensitive care for traumatized people. The Bible has been shown to be a vital source for emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental healing.” The study looked at the effectiveness of the ABS curriculum Healing the Wounds of Trauma, taught inside Riverside Regional Jail in North Prince George, Virginia. The study showed that the group that went through the program saw a drop in feelings of depression, anxiety, and anger, along with “complicated grief,” which includes denial of traumatic events, negative affect, and avoiding activities associated with trauma. They also had less depression and fewer suicidal thoughts. Johnson said he and his fellow Baylor researchers, Sung Joon Jang and Matt Bradshaw, expected to see some differences. But they didn’t anticipate how clear it would be, even immediately after the program finished. He said, “We saw a reduction in PTSD symptoms, an increase in emotional well-being, and an improvement in attitudes toward God and the Bible.”

According to Christianity Daily, A father from Canada who was imprisoned for protesting his daughter’s transgender therapy to transition into a boy, has been released on bail. Robert Hoogland from British Columbia in Canada was punished with six more months of imprisonment for violating a court order that prohibited him from identifying himself in public and objecting his teenage daughter undergoing transgender therapy through the intake of testosterone. Hoogland filed an application for a release on bail pending the hearing of his appeal on the six month jail sentence ordered to him last month. The Canadian father had entered a guilty plea to criminal contempt of court and the court has now allowed him to be released on bail as long as he complies with several conditions. Hoogland has been ordered to maintain peace, be in his best behavior, remain employed, and stay within the British Columbia province. He was also ordered to surrender his travel document, pursue the appeal he had filed, and comply with orders from the Supreme Court of British Columbia with regards to his case. Hoogland, who was imprisoned for publicly objecting to his daughter’s transgender therapy, must also refrain from directly or indirectly through a third party, publish or make publicly known any information surrounding his daughter’s gender identity, health, medical status, and treatments.

According to ABC News, Eight people have been indicted in the alleged fraternity hazing death of Bowling Green State University student Stone Foltz, with one person facing a first-degree manslaughter charge, prosecutors announced Thursday. Foltz, a 20-year-old sophomore, died March 7 after a Pi Kappa Alpha event on March 4 at the university in Bowling Green, Ohio, about 20 miles south of Toledo. Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson said eight men, ranging in age from 19 to 23, were indicted Wednesday. They are: Jacob Krinn, 20, of Delaware, Ohio; Daylen Dunson, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio; Troy Henricksen, 23, of Grove City, Ohio; Canyon Caldwell, 21 of Dublin, Ohio; Niall Sweeney, 21, of Erie, Pennsylvania; Jarrett Prizel, 19, of Olean, New York; Benjamin Boyers, 21, of Sylvania, Ohio; and Aaron Lehane, 21, of Loveland, Ohio. Krinn faces the highest charge of first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter. Dobson said in a press conference Thursday that Krinn was Foltz’s “big brother” in the fraternity and took him home after the event and left him alone.

According to the New York Post, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates — who is worth an estimated $130 billion — and his wife, Melinda, are getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage. The couple said in a joint statement. “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.” The statement continued, “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.” In 2000, the couple started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and have since donated about $50 billion to charity for initiatives across the globe. The foundation released a statement about the divorce following the couple’s announcement that said the two will both remain co-chairs and trustees of the organization.

You can read these stories and more at UrbanChristianNews.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!

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