The United States is on track to receive the fewest refugees in 40 years, since the resettlement program was formalized in 1980. This news was reported by Open Doors USA of greater Los Angeles and World Relief of Baltimore through Christianity Today. The current administration capped the refugee program at 18,000 for the year 2020 but has only accepted 7,600 during the first nine months of the fiscal year. So far in 2020 the U S has resettled fewer than 950 Christians from the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.
Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church announced that they will suspend all on-location events for the remainder of this year and will not open for in-house worship until sometime in 2021. “We cannot guarantee your safety”, he said in the announcement. The church normally gathers as many as 40,000 people on their weekend services in multiple locations. This announcement comes as churches everywhere grapple with if, when, and how to hold public worship services in the midst of the pandemic.
The Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis announced the appointment of Rev. Dr. Tito Madrazo as a program director in the religion division. This comes on the heels of the death, reported last week, of Dr. John Wimmer who had served for more than 15 years in a similar capacity. Madrazo is a native of Venezuela, a graduate of both Baylor University and Gardner-Webb School of Divinity, and holds a PhD from Duke University. He is an ordained Baptist minister. In other personnel news, former South Bend mayor and presidential candidate Peter Buttigieg has taken a position on the faculty of Notre Dame University. And Wheaton College in the Chicago metro area dismisses its chaplain Timothy Blackmon for “inappropriate comments and actions of a racial and sexual nature.”
Not only has Grammy-winner performer Kanye West announced his candidacy for the presidency, he has now tapped Houston mega-church pastor Joel Osteen as his running mate. “God gave me the clarity”, he said, “and said it’s time.” Whether or not anything comes of this, remains to be seen, as West has never held elected office, nor has he ever voted. He no longer supports President Trump, but believes that whoever is President is “appointed by God” and should lead the nation to return God to public life, including public schools. West has taken no formal steps to launch his campaign, but he did call upon both Trump and Biden to withdraw from the race.
Noted author and journalist Bari Weiss has resigned her position as an editor at the New York Times, a position she has held since 2017. She was hired to curate a wider spectrum of opinion for the famous newspaper, a task to which she was committed, given her own identity as a devout Jew and a Zionist. She published a long letter of resignation detailing in general terms the prejudice that surrounded her and the abuse she took from those who denigrated her “centrist” orientation to most questions of political and cultural importance. Weiss is known for her passionate “I Am A Jew” speech at a March against anti-Semitism in New York in January of this year.