PODCAST: Supreme Court agrees to consider major rollback of abortion rights (UCNN 5.18.21)

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

According to the Associated Press, The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider a major rollback of abortion rights, saying it will decide whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb. The court’s order sets up a showdown over abortion, probably in the fall, with a more conservative court seemingly ready to dramatically alter nearly 50 years of rulings on abortion rights. The court first announced a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and reaffirmed it 19 years later. The case involves a Mississippi law that would prohibit abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The state’s ban had been blocked by lower courts as inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent that protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion before the fetus can survive outside her womb. The justices had put off action on the case for several months. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion-rights proponent, died just before the court’s new term began in October. Her replacement, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, is the most open opponent of abortion rights to join the court in decades.

According to CNN, Water rescues were underway in Louisiana’s capital region after torrential rain that started a day earlier caused dangerous flash flooding in parts of that state and southeastern Texas. More rain is expected through Thursday in the south-central US, setting up moderate risks of further flooding in central Texas, southern Louisiana and parts of southern Oklahoma and Arkansas. More than 30 million people were under flash flood watches Tuesday afternoon in those four states and parts of southern Mississippi. In southeastern Baton Rouge, rescuers were using boats to ferry people from apartment buildings and other structures surrounded by high water late Monday and early Tuesday. More than 250 people had been evacuated and brought to higher ground in East Baton Rouge Parish, and no injuries were reported, parish fire department spokesperson Curt Monte said earlier. Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome declared an emergency after 13 inches of rain fell and there was more to come. More than 16,000 residents were without power during the peak of storms.

According to Baptist Press, Baylor University’s Board of Regents approved a resolution Friday (May 14) that paves the way for an officially recognized LGBTQ student group on campus while attempting to reaffirm its commitment to a traditional, biblical perspective on homosexuality and marriage. Describing a “challenging situation,” the resolution said the regents remained committed to “core commitments of our Christian mission,” including: “the biblical understanding that sexual relations of any kind outside of marriage between a man and a woman are not in keeping with the teaching of Scripture;” “the dignity and worth of all, regardless of sexual orientation of gender identity;” and “providing a welcoming, supportive educational environment based on civility and respect for all.” The resolution said the board of regents “recognize that Baylor’s LGBTQ students continue to seek care, connections, and community on our campus and a sense of belonging within the Baylor family,” and charged Baylor President Linda Livingstone “to determine the appropriate pathways to provide additional care, connections, and community for Baylor’s LGBTQ students, including the possibility of establishing a new, chartered student group that is consistent with Baylor’s core commitments … and the University’s policies and statements.”

According to NBC News, North Carolina sheriff’s deputies were justified in fatally shooting a Black man during an attempted arrest last month and no charges will be filed against law enforcement, prosecutors said Tuesday. Andrew Brown Jr., 42, was shot while behind the wheel of his car on April 21 in Elizabeth City as Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies were serving a warrant for his arrest on felony drug charges. District Attorney Andrew Womble said Brown’s shooting death, “while tragic,” was “justified due to his actions.” “No officers will be criminally charged,” Womble said. “The officers’ actions were consistent with their training and fully supported under law.” An autopsy commissioned by Brown’s family found he was shot five times, once in the back of the head. That report added to the findings of a state death certificate that showed that he was shot five times and that Brown’s immediate cause of death was a “penetrating gunshot wound of the head.” The district attorney has said officers fired only after Brown struck deputies twice with his vehicle. But his family’s attorneys say the video is at odds with how law officials have framed the shooting.

According to CBN News, A young girl who wanted to wear her faith on her mask never expected it to be a problem at school but that is what happened. Lydia Booth told the Alliance Defending Freedom she simply liked wearing the mask to show her faith in Jesus. She also said, “It makes me feel like I’m protected by Jesus.” She says she believed others would “think it’s a great mask, and that Jesus is a great God, and a great Savior.” School officials told her she couldn’t wear it because of a policy not allowing masks with political or religious messages. However, Lydia’s mother, Jennifer, checked the handbook and dress code and didn’t find that restriction. She also discovered that masks with sports logos and other messages like “Black Lives Matter” were allowed. The Booth family reached out to ADF for help and it filed a lawsuit against her school district. Still, God is using Lydia’s struggle to touch the lives of other children, prompting reactions from her schoolmates. One of Lydia’s classmates saw her mask and wanted one just like it. Another friend’s older sister, after hearing about the case, decided to read the entire Bible. And ADF reports two sisters sent her “heartwarming and encouraging notes.”

According to ABC7, Apart from holding in-person commencement ceremonies for the University of Southern California classes of 2020 and 2021, the university on Friday also marked a unique moment in its history. Among those graduating was Tianna Shaw-Wakeman, who became the university’s first Black valedictorian, according to a tweet from USC. After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Shaw-Wakeman is now also graduating with her master’s in social entrepreneurship from the USC Marshall School of Business. Born in Texas, she spent much of her younger years growing up in South Carolina and Tennessee. She described her first day at USC as a “shock.” “There weren’t a lot of people who were southerners; there weren’t a lot of people who were Black; there weren’t a lot of people who were low-income. So it really was just an overwhelming world for me,” Shaw-Wakeman said. Speaking before the graduating class, she expressed what her accomplishment meant. She said, “This revelation stands as a testament, albeit small, to both how far we’ve come as an institution, as a country … and how far we have to go.”

According to CNN, Damon Weaver, who as a child landed an interview with President Barack Obama in 2009, has died at the age of 23, according to a medical examiner. At age 11, Weaver was selected to meet and interview President Obama at the White House to ask questions primarily about education. Weaver died on May 1, according to the Palm Beach County, Florida, medical examiner. His cause of death has not yet been disclosed. Weaver’s celebration of life was Saturday afternoon at St. John’s First Baptist Church in Belle Glade, Florida, according to Brown & Bussey’s Funeral Services. “The Weaver family announces the passing of Mr Damon Lazar Weaver AKA “BAMA” of South Bay, Florida,” said a Facebook post from the funeral home. “We do ask that you keep Mr. Weaver’s family in your most sincere prayers,” said the funeral home’s post.

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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!

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