PODCAST: Nigeria remains the ‘most dangerous place to be a Christian’ (BCNN1 5.24.21)

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

According to Mission Network News, Nigeria has devastatingly remained the “most Christian killed country” and ‘most dangerous place to be a Christian’ as well as Africa’s newest hotbed of Islamic Jihad and religious intolerance. Statistically shocking is the fact that the country had in the past four months or from January to April 2021 lost no fewer than 1,470 Christians. Also out of estimated 3200 defenseless Nigerians abducted by jihadists during the period, Nigerian Christians accounted for no fewer than 2,200. The 1, 470 Christian deaths in four months is the highest number recorded since 2014 and it specifically surpassed the total number of Christians killed in 2019, estimated by the Open Doors to be 1,350. It is recalled that the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law had in early January 2021 statistically disclosed that more than 2,400 defenseless Christians were hacked to death by jihadists in Nigeria in 2020. But in the World Watch List report on persecuted Christians released by USA based Open Doors; the group found that “3,530 Christians were killed in Nigeria between Nov 2019 and Oct 2020”. In other words, it is most likely correct to say that ‘between 2,401 and 3,530 Christians were hacked to death by jihadists in Nigeria in 2020’.

According to the Daily Mail, A suspect has been arrested in connection with a mass shooting that killed two people and injured 12 others during a raucous birthday party in New Jersey over the weekend. Authorities said the deadly shooting in Fairfield Township on Saturday, which claimed the lives of Kevin Elliott, 30, and Asia Hester, 25, was not a random act, and witnesses speculated that it was gang-related. During a press conference on Monday morning, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae announced the arrest of 36-year-old Kevin Dawkins on charges of unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a large-capacity magazine, certain persons not to have weapons, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He remained at Cumberland County jail without bond on Monday afternoon. Authorities were conducting interviews and seeking the public’s help for information leading to additional arrests. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, citing the size and number of victims, said it was ‘not a random act of violence’ but a targeted attack. However, he did not discuss a motive.

According to the AP, Louisiana state troopers were captured on body camera video stunning, punching and dragging a Black man as he apologized for leading them on a high-speed chase — footage of the man’s last moments alive that The Associated Press obtained after authorities refused to release it for two years. “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!” Ronald Greene can be heard telling the white troopers as the unarmed man is jolted repeatedly with a stun gun before he even gets out of his car along a dark, rural road. The 2019 arrest outside Monroe, Louisiana, is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation. But unlike other in-custody deaths across the nation where body camera video was released almost immediately, Greene’s case has been shrouded in secrecy and accusations of a cover-up. Louisiana officials have rebuffed repeated calls to release footage and details about what caused the 49-year-old’s death. Troopers initially told Greene’s family he died on impact after crashing into a tree during the chase. Later, State Police released a one-page statement acknowledging only that Greene struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital. Only now in the footage obtained by the AP from one trooper’s body camera can the public see for the first time some of what happened during the arrest. “They murdered him. It was set out, it was planned,” Greene’s mother, Mona Hardin, said Wednesday. “He didn’t have a chance. Ronnie didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t going to live to tell about it.” An attorney for Greene’s family, Lee Merritt, said the footage “has some of the same hallmarks of the George Floyd video, the length of it, the sheer brutality of it.” “He apologized in an attempt to surrender,” Merritt said. Greene’s family has filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit alleging troopers “brutalized” Greene, and “left him beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest” before covering up the cause of death. His family has released graphic photographs of Greene’s body on a gurney, showing deep bruises and cuts on his face and head. Exactly what caused Greene’s death remains unclear. Union Parish Coroner Renee Smith told AP last year his death was ruled accidental and attributed to cardiac arrest. Smith, who was not in office when that determination was made, said her office’s file on Greene attributed his death to a car crash and made no mention of a struggle with State Police. The AP last year also obtained a medical report showing an emergency room doctor noted Greene arrived dead at the hospital, bruised and bloodied with two stun-gun prongs in his back. That led the doctor to question troopers’ initial account that Greene had “died on impact” after crashing into a tree. “Does not add up,” the doctor wrote.

According to Mission Network News, Troubling news surfaced this week in Burkina Faso: “This was an attack on a baptism service, specifically targeting Christians. It is believed that it was radical Muslims [who attacked], possibly affiliated with the Islamic State,” The Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton says. “At least 15 people were killed; many others have fled.” It’s the latest in a string of attacks targeting Tin-Akoff in northern Burkina Faso. “Within the last month, in this part of Burkina Faso, we’ve seen several attacks where civilians were killed,” Nettleton says. Two Spanish journalists were among more than 50 people killed during one week in April, the Associated Press reports. Trends like these are troublesome, but you probably won’t hear much about it on the nightly news. “It is ‘flying under the radar’ of the world [policymakers and news media], and I don’t have a good explanation for that,” Nettleton says. “15 of our brothers and sisters [in Christ] were killed. Somebody needs to be paying attention to this.”

According to the National Baptist Convention, Dr. Jerry Young, National Baptist Convention USA president is pleased to announce a national education awareness campaign entitled “Turn Obesity Around” focused on educating our member congregations and communities we serve about the adverse impact of obesity and diabetes on the quality and quantity of their lives. We are delighted to partner with Novo Nordisk, a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company. We look forward to a great partnership and in expanding our health efforts in a larger capacity as we journey together.

According to ESPN, Charles Barkley has given $1,000 apiece to the more than 200 employees of a city school system in his native Alabama. The former Auburn and NBA basketball star graduated from Leeds High School in 1981. The monetary gifts are going to each Leeds City School system employee. The announcement was made Tuesday on Facebook. The Leeds City Schools page says it’s the latest show of support from Barkley. According to the post, Barkley has provided more than $3 million in scholarships to Leeds graduates over the past 30 years. “We are humbled and wish to express our sincere gratitude to Charles Barkley for providing a $1,000 gift to each and every Leeds City Schools employee for going the extra mile this school year,” the Facebook post said. “Being a school employee is tough, but driving a bus, teaching, coaching, or working in the cafeteria, all while maintaining safety protocols, has been a daunting task during a worldwide pandemic.” AL.com reports that there are about 226 Leeds school system employees.

According to Entertainment Tonight, Taraji P. Henson is expanding on her mission to connect Black Americans with the mental health resources they need with a new campaign to help Black students combat racial bias in the classroom. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the actress announced the launch of The Unspoken Curriculum, a mental health campaign that provides a safe place for children to discuss mental health issues in the schools and aid them in combating distress in classrooms from racial bias. The inspiration for the six-week program came to the actress from the devastating events of the past year — ongoing instances of police brutality, the mounting number of racist attacks, and COVID-19’s tragic impact on Black communities. “We’re in a state of emergency right now,” Henson said. “But it takes us to change it… we can’t hide the ugly, you’ve got to deal with the good and the bad if we want to see change.” Henson, who was a substitute teacher before she made her acting debut in 2001’s Baby Boy, helped design the curriculum with her firsthand experiences witnessing racial bias against Black students, in mind. The Unspoken Curriculum runs from May 17 until June 21 and includes discussions with mental health experts and virtual hangout spaces moderated by therapists and educators, where students can speak openly about mental health and their experiences in school.

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!

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