PODCAST: Victims in San Jose rail yard mass shooting identified (UCNN 5.27.21)

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

According to BBC News, An employee fatally shot nine people at a California train yard before turning the gun on himself as police closed in. The shooting took place at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority site in San Jose. The victims, named early on Thursday, include transit employees. No motive for the attack has been established. It was the California Bay area’s deadliest mass shooting since 1993, when eight people and a gunman died in a San Francisco skyscraper. Across the US, there have been 231 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is defined by the group as a crime in which four or more people are fatally shot. Law enforcement officials told CBS News that the suspected gunman in this latest incident was 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy. The victims are: Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; and Alex Ward Fritch, 49. Eight victims were initially reported dead on Wednesday afternoon. Mr Fritch, who had been taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in critical condition, died late on Wednesday bringing the total killed to nine.

According to Faithwire, The number of Americans espousing no religious beliefs at all has been increasing rapidly over the years. A new survey shows that trend continuing, claiming a mere 6% hold to a truly “biblical worldview.” While 51% of the 1,000 American adults surveyed said they hold to a biblical worldview, the new study determined only about 6% actually embrace such a belief system. The researchers came to that conclusion after asking a series of secondary questions of those who claim to espouse a biblical worldview. For example, of the 51%, less than half (47%) believe when they die they will go to heaven “only because they have confessed their sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.” Additionally, 49% “accept reincarnation as a possibility after they die.” The new survey relied heavily on information compiled earlier this year by the American Worldview Inventory, which was produced by the Barna-led Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.

According to Newsweek, pastor Johnnie Moore, a former commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, was sanctioned by China for “promoting cults” on Wednesday. The move was done as apparent retaliation after the U.S. recently sanctioned a Chinese official for religious issues. Moore, however, welcomed the news. On his official Twitter account, he wrote: “It is an honor to be sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party for giving my voice to the Uyghur Muslims, Christians (including Jimmy Lai), Tibetan Buddhists & countless others the CCP tries to silence every day—a privilege of living in the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave.” His comments continued, reading: “The CCP doesn’t understand the difference between ‘the truth’ and a ‘lie’ but here’s some truth we know: They are weaker than they want us to believe that they are. A global coalition is building to hold them to account and it transcends political parties and U.S. administrations. This Great Wall of Collaboration is a promise to future generations that we will not hand our world to the CCP to victimize the innocent as they please.” Moore also noted in his messages that his role as commissioner for USCIRF ended two weeks ago, thus the Chinese Communist Party “is sanctioning a private U.S. citizen.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the announcement regarding Moore at a press conference Wednesday. He said the decision was made “in response to the U.S. side’s blatant efforts to promote heretical religions and impose unilateral sanctions on Chinese personnel based on lies and false information.” Moore and his family members will now be denied entry to the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, Zhao noted.

According to USA Today, The teenage girl who filmed the murder of George Floyd says she is still traumatized by what she witnessed a year ago. “It’s a little easier now, but I’m not who I used to be. A part of my childhood was taken from me,” Darnella Frazier, 18, wrote in a statement posted to her Facebook page Tuesday. Floyd, a Minneapolis Black man, died a year ago on Memorial Day during an arrest. Frazier, then 17 years old, was visiting a local convenience store with her 9-year-old cousin when she saw ex-police officer Derek Chauvin and several other officers restraining Floyd on the ground. She recorded the incident on her cell phone as she and other bystanders pleaded with them to get off Floyd, who repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Frazier’s cell phone recording was key evidence in Chauvin’s murder trial. Her testimony helped lead to a conviction. “A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one,” she wrote Tuesday. “I was just in the right place at the right time. Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day.” For capturing the event that sparked months of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, Frazier was awarded the 2020 PEN/Berenson Courage Award in December from Oscar-winning director Spike Lee. But she has also dealt with a mistrust of police, panic and anxiety attacks. Frazier said she and her family had to stay in hotels because her home “was no longer safe.” “Even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself. If it weren’t for my video, the world wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that. My video didn’t save George Floyd, but it put his murderer away and off the streets,” she wrote.

According to Catholic News Agency, Florida State University has agreed to a settlement with a Catholic student who sued the school last year over his removal from the student senate for private religious statements. Jack Denton, a Catholic member of the university’s class of 2021, was removed from his position as president of the student senate last June after comments he made in a private GroupMe text messaging forum were made public. The particular discussion had focused on racism, including the May 27, 2020 shooting of Tony McDade, a 38 year-old black biological female who identified as a transgender man, by Tallahassee Police. One group member mentioned the ACLU and BlackLivesMatter.com as causes that students could financially support to advance racial justice. Denton argued that certain policy positions of those groups violated the Church’s teachings on abortion and gender issues, and cautioned students against financially supporting those groups. A member of the Catholic Student Union messaging group sent screenshots of Denton’s texts to the student senate. CNA reported in June that Denton was accused of “transphobic and racist behavior,” and the student senate eventually removed him from office over his texts. Denton was later reinstated to his position by the student supreme court in October, which said it agreed with him that his removal as head of the student senate was part of “unconstitutional retaliation for his private statements” and a First Amendment violation. However, Denton sued the university on Aug. 31, 2020, alleging that his religious freedom was violated and that the university’s leadership failed to reinstate him. This week, the university reached a settlement with Denton, agreeing to pay his lost wages from the loss of his office, as well as $10,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees.

According to NBC News, Police are searching for a Nissan and its driver after a military couple were shot and killed outside their home in Virginia, authorities said Wednesday. Edward McDaniel, 55, and Brenda McDaniel, 63, were fatally shot in the 8000 block of Flint Street in Springfield, an area just southwest of Washington, D.C., according to Fairfax County Police. Both were military veterans. The husband was an active-duty colonel in the U.S. Army, NBC Washington reported. “They were tragically and horribly murdered in their neighborhood,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin David said during a news conference on Wednesday. The motive was unclear, but authorities said they believe the tragedy was related to a burglary at their home on Monday. A preliminary investigation suggests the person who broke into the residence earlier this week is the suspect in the shooting, according to police. Officials have not specified what evidence led them to draw that conclusion. However, Davis said police also believe the shooter was known to a relative of the military couple. Officers responded to a 911 call about 9:20 a.m. ET at the residence, according to police. Authorities found the bodies of the two victims in their front yard, both with multiple gunshot wounds.

According to Variety, Howard University announced today that the newly re-established college of fine arts, led by Dean Phylicia Rashad, will be named the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts in honor of the late actor and distinguished alumnus. Boseman died in August 2020 at age 43, after he was diagnosed with colon cancer. In a statement celebrating the announcement, Boseman’s family shared their gratitude for Howard President Wayne A. I. Fredrick and the Board of Trustees for honoring their beloved Chad with the renaming of the institution. “Chad fought to preserve the College of Fine Arts during his matriculation at Howard and remained dedicated to the fight throughout his career, and he would be overjoyed by this development,” the Boseman family said. “His time at Howard University helped shape both the man and the artist that he became, committed to truth, integrity and a determination to transform the world through the power of storytelling,” the statement continued. “We are confident that under the dynamic leadership of his former professor and mentor the indomitable Phylicia Rashad that the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts will inspire artistic scholars for many generations.” Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, also shared her support for the move. Though Boseman’s full tenure at Howard was formative, the actor was particularly impacted by his time and training with Rashad, whose appointment as dean was announced earlier this month.

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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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