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Weekly briefing: Listening sessions with black leaders, JK Rowling, Nigerian Christians attacked

Weekly briefing: Listening sessions with black leaders, JK Rowling, Nigerian Christians attacked

Vice President Mike Pence participates in a listening session with community leaders June 9, 2020, in the Vice President's Ceremonial Office of the White House. | Official White House Photo/D. Myles Cullen

We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:

Trump admin. holds listening sessions, roundtables with black leaders

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held various listening sessions and roundtables with black leaders this week as they seek to reform police departments and provide more resources and opportunities to black communities.

“This whole situation with this policing, it's not new to black people. We’ve been used to it. As a kid, I got harassed by the police all the time and … I think I was a good kid. But it's a part of our community.” — Kareem Lanier of the Urban Revitalization Coalition

Issues discussed included police reform, banking reform to improve access to capital for the black community, better access to education, and healthcare disparities.

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The talks come after the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Read

Mike Pence meets with black faith leaders, says church is the right place to address George Floyd’s death

5 interesting things said during Trump’s ‘rebuilding’ roundtable at megachurch

More pastors weigh in on race

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear spoke out in support of the sentiment behind Black Lives Matter, while distancing himself from the organization.

“Southern Baptists, we need to say it clearly: As a Gospel issue, black lives matter. Of course, black lives matter. Our black brothers and sisters are made in the image of God. Black lives matter because Jesus died for them.” — Greear

Pastor Matt Chandler of Village Church, meanwhile, rebuked the Church for not getting involved when it comes to the issue of race.

The civil rights movement, he noted, was rooted in the Church as people prayed and worshiped before marching.

“And now one of the things that has happened is the Church, by and large, has refused to participate, which means that we have turned over — God help us — we have turned over what is our inheritance to dark ideologies.” — Chandler

A funeral service for Floyd was held Tuesday in Houston, where family members shared their grief.

JK Rowling faces backlash over comments against transgender activism

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling is facing backlash for speaking out about her concerns with the trans movement, including the push to quickly transition young people dealing with gender dysphoria and the pressure to declare that “there is no material difference between trans women” and biological females.

While she supports those who choose to live as a trans-identified person, she is against erasing the concept of sex.

"I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it.” — Rowling

China removed 250 crosses from churches

During the first four months of the year, Chinese authorities have removed crosses from over 250 state-sanctioned churches in China’s Anhui province.

“The fact that all church crosses in the county have been taken off makes us very sad because the cross [is] the primary symbol of our faith. But we don’t dare to disobey central government orders: little fish don’t eat big fish.” — unnamed elder

Nigeria: 3-y-o killed, woman raped, Christian villages attacked

Attacks against Christians in Nigeria continued, with one 3-year-old and nine others being hacked by armed Muslim herdsmen of Fulani origin in the Kajuru Local Government Area.

Uwaila Vera Omozuwa, a 22-year-old University of Benin microbiology student, was raped and killed while she was in her church studying.

The Nigerian government refuted claims of Christian “genocide” and accused a separatist organization of funding a smear campaign.

Advocacy groups rejected the government’s accusations.

“This statement from Buhari’s officials is to distract from their own incompetence or collusion with the perpetrators of genocide on the Christian communities in the North and Middlebelt parts of Nigeria.” — Ann Buwalda, president of Jubilee Campaign USA

Read: At least 81 killed in Boko Haram attack in Nigeria; civilians shot, bodies run over

In case you missed it

Jordan Feliz talks Christian faith, power of testimonies and friend Jon Steingard walking away from God

Pray for

Tim Keller, who has pancreatic cancer

Families of some 58 people who were killed in northern Burkina Faso

New releases

Albums:

Songs of Faith by Simple Hymns (June 12)

This Is Your Promise EP by Mack Brock (June 12)

Books:

What If Jesus Was Serious?: A Visual Guide to the Teachings of Jesus We Love to Ignore by Skye Jethani (June 2)

Growing Together: Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests by Melissa Kruger (June 9)

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