This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to ABC13, A pastor in Hitchcock, Texas, died of COVID-19 days after shutting down his church as a precautionary measure. According to a Facebook post published on Monday by the South Texas District UPCI, Pastor Darrell Boone of Life Point Church died of the virus. Last Monday, Boone took to his church’s Facebook page and announced the closing of the church, saying it was “until we have cleared any and all symptoms of COVID-19.” He said he and his wife got the virus as well as a few other members. South Texas District prayer coordinator, Deborah Smith, said Boone’s wife, Lazetta, is currently hospitalized with the virus. According to the state’s COVID dashboard, as of Tuesday afternoon, there have been nearly 40,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Galveston County since the pandemic began. So far, the state says there have been 469 deaths in the county due to the virus.
According to PEOPLE magazine, A grand jury has indicted two basketball coaches for their alleged roles in the 2019 death of a Georgia teen who died from heat stroke after taking part in mandatory workout drills, which were held outside in extreme heat. Imani Bell, 16, collapsed on August 13, 2019, after scaling the steps of a football stadium during her basketball team’s conditioning drills at Elite Scholars Academy in Jonesboro. On that day, temperatures in the region reached 98 degrees. Last month, Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Dwight Broom Palmer were both charged by a grand jury with second-degree murder, second-degree cruelty to children, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. A copy of the indictment reveals that grand jurors determined the two defendants caused “excessive physical pain by conducting outdoor conditioning training for student athletes in dangerous heat,” resulting in Bell’s tragic death.
According to the Associated Press, The Taliban seized three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan and a local army headquarters, completing their blitz across the country’s northeast and pressing their offensive elsewhere, officials said Wednesday. The insurgents now control some two-thirds of the nation as the U.S. and NATO finalize their withdrawal after a decades-long war there. The fall of the capitals of Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces to the northeast and Farah province to the west put increasing pressure on the country’s central government to stem the tide of the advance, even as its lost a major base in Kunduz. While the capital of Kabul itself has not been directly threatened in the advance, the stunning speed of the offensive raises questions of how long the Afghan government can maintain control of its countryside. The multiple fronts of the battle have stretched the government’s special operations forces — while regular troops have often fled the battlefield — and the violence has pushed thousands of civilians to seek safety in the capital. The U.S. military, which plans to complete its withdrawal by the end of the month, has conducted some airstrikes but largely has avoided involving itself in the ground campaign.
According to WUSA9, The Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 to approve pro-transgender student policy on Wednesday, a day after hundreds of people for and against the changes converged for a public hearing. On Tuesday, the Loudoun County Public School Board again heard a couple hundred impassioned arguments from parents about the controversial transgender policy. Opposing rallies gathered outside of the meeting, with some calling for school board members’ resignation and a refusal to adopt the policy. Rene Camp, mother of three, said, “I’m a Christian mom, and I believe what God said — how he created us male and female. We respect everyone just as we should respect everybody, but I also am here to talk about HB257, because now that boys and girls are allowed to mix bathrooms, my daughter might not be safe in any of those bathrooms.” Others stood up in favor of the policy, saying it gives students who identify as transgender the chance to be themselves. The Virginia Department of Education’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, James Lane, sent a memo on July 30, requiring school systems to implement a policy regarding the treatment of students who identify as transgender by the 2021-2022 school year. That’s based on new laws passed by the state. The proposed policy has fueled a backlash against the school board and vitriol between parents.
According to the Associated Press, Sri Lanka has filed 23,270 charges against 25 people in connection with the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and hotels that killed 269 people, the president’s office said Wednesday. The charges filed Tuesday under the country’s anti-terror law include conspiring to murder, aiding and abetting, collecting arms and ammunition, and attempted murder. The attorney general also asked the chief justice to appoint a special three-member high court bench to hear the cases speedily. Two local Muslim groups that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group were blamed for the six near-simultaneous suicide bomb attacks on April 21, 2019. The blasts targeted three churches and three hotels. Another suicide bomber who had entered a fourth hotel left without setting off his bomb, but later committed suicide by detonating his explosives at a different location. The head of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has repeatedly charged that the investigation into the blasts was not being conducted properly. He said he believes the real conspirators are still at large and has accused authorities of trying to shield the masterminds.
According to the Christian Post, Fewer than 10% of Generation Z minors are centered on the Bible, according to a survey that was part of a newly released report by the American Bible Society. In their “State of the Bible – USA 2021” report released Tuesday, ABS concluded that Gen Z, defined as presently being between ages 9 and 24, have a “precarious relationship with the Bible.” Researchers polled individuals as young as 15 and split the generation between “Gen Z youth,” aged 15-17, to separate them from “Gen Z adults,” aged 18 to 24. ABS found that only 9% of Gen Z youth were classified as “Scripture Engaged,” which means being centered on reading the Bible. By comparison, 14% of Gen Z adults and 23% of millennials were classified as “Scripture Engaged.” Additionally, 47% of Gen Z youth were labeled “Bible Disengaged.” The report stated, “Half of all American adults qualify as a Bible User today — those who use the Bible at least three to four times per year. However, only one-third of Gen Z youth (34%) are Bible Users, while 43 percent of Gen Z adults qualify. Compared with Gen Z, millennials have a much higher percentage of Bible Users, approaching the national average (49%).” ABS also found that, during the pandemic and widespread protests over racial injustice in 2020, Gen Z youth were the most likely to report decreasing their reading of the Bible.
According to the Associated Press, Former NCAA national champion sprinter Cameron Burrell has died. He was 26. The University of Houston, where he starred from 2013-2018, announced his death. The school said he died Monday but did not provide further details. Burrell’s father, Leroy Burrell, a former Olympic gold medal sprinter who coaches Houston’s track team, released a statement through the school. Leroy Burrell said, “My family is extremely saddened with the loss of our son, Cameron. We are going through profound sorrow and ask that all of our friends, extended University of Houston family and the track and field community in the U.S. and abroad allow us to gather with our closest family and friends. We are profoundly grief-stricken and thank everyone for the outpouring of prayers and support.” Cameron Burrell won the national title in the 100 meters in 2018 in Eugene, Oregon. He won a second national title with his team that season by running the anchor leg of the 4×100-meter relay.
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!