Tag Archives: Southern

Inside The Hundred: Southern Brave

Coaches Charlotte Edwards and Mahela Jayawardene set the standards for success at The Ageas Bowl where Colin de Grandhomme, Devon Conway and Quinton de Kock step in to bolster the men’s team and Sophia Dunkley and Smriti Mandhana form a mouth-watering partnership in the women’s squad

Last Updated: 17/07/21 1:59pm

James Vince and Anya Shrubsole are part of Southern Brave for The Hundred

James Vince and Anya Shrubsole are part of Southern Brave for The Hundred

Strength in depth and stars in spades – here’s why Southern Brave will strike fear into their rivals in the inaugural edition of The Hundred.

Women’s squad (overseas players in bold)

Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Sophia Dunkley, Smriti Mandhana (India), Ella McCaughan, Fritha Morris, Tara Norris, Sonia Odedra, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield, Anya Shrubsole, Charlotte Taylor, Stafanie Taylor (West Indies), Amanda-Jane Wellington (Australia), Danni Wyatt

Men’s squad (overseas players in bold)

Jofra Archer, Danny Briggs, Devon Conway (New Zealand), Alex Davies, Liam Dawson, Quinton de Kock (South Africa), George Garton, Colin de Grandhomme (New Zealand), Chris Jordan, Jake Lintott, Tymal Mills, Craig Overton, Delray Rawlins, James Vince, Max Waller, Ross Whiteley

Rockets vs Brave

July 24, 2021, 10:30am

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Coaches: Simply the best? You’ll have to go a long way to find a more eye-catching combination than Charlotte Edwards and Mahela Jayawardene. Edwards’ transition from elite player to cream-of-the-crop coach has been as smooth and successful as the style that elevated her to England’s highest run-scorer of all time. Jayawardene’s resume is likewise none too shabby – the former Sri Lanka captain being the mastermind behind the mighty Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

Home ground: The Ageas Bowl

Rockets vs Brave

July 24, 2021, 2:00pm

Live on

Men’s star players: Colin de Grandhomme, Devon Conway, Quinton de Kock… There’s plenty of razzmatazz around The Hundred despite the late withdrawal of Andre Russell – the West Indies firecracker pulling out a week ahead of the tournament. The sparkle of De Grandhomme, his replacement, has already lit up the Ageas this summer due to the all-rounder’s stint at Hampshire and don’t tell the Kiwi big-hitter that he’s a replacement! Losing Marcus Stoinis and David Warner in late June was also undoubtedly a blow for Brave but in Conway and De Kock they are replaced by two immovable mountains. Conway averages above 50 in ALL THREE international formats, while former South Africa captain De Kock has scored 9,500 international runs. Substitutes they ain’t, either.

Devon Conway and Quinton de Kock could churn out plenty of runs for Brave

Devon Conway and Quinton de Kock could churn out plenty of runs for Brave

Women’s star players: Sophia Dunkley, Smriti Mandhana… Both were born for the big stage and are sprinkled with stardust. Dunkley’s appeal is as wide as her split-grip, the 23-year-old all-rounder announcing her international arrival against India with maiden Test and ODI fifties earlier this summer. Expect her leg-spin to be a potent weapon too. Meanwhile, Indian legend Mandhana could sit back and reflect on an international tally of over 4,000 runs but on the evidence of the series against England the left-hander remains as hungry as ever.

India's Smriti Mandhana is one of the best batters around

India’s Smriti Mandhana is one of the best batters around

How far can the women’s team go? With West Indian lynchpin Stafanie Taylor on board, the Brave should be a match for anyone. Her unbeaten hundred against Pakistan in July proved she’s still up there with the best and should inspire Danni Wyatt, amongst others, to step up another level. No batting side can ever rest easy while Anya Shrubsole still has deliveries in the locker and Charlotte Taylor – as she proved with six wickets in the 2020 Rachael Heyhoe Flint final – is another bowler who loves the big occasion.

How far can the men’s team go? Bold – perhaps even brash – this is an outfit packed with destructive brilliance. As recruitment jobs go, it’s top notch with the experience and expertise of Chris Jordan and Tymal Mills well-balanced against the up-and-coming thrust of the likes of George Garton. Pity the team that comes up against Liam Dawson, Max Waller and Danny Briggs on a turner.

The Hundred starts with a women’s match between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals at The Kia Oval on Wednesday, July 21, with the men’s competition starting a day later at the same venue.

Sky Sports will show all 68 games live – 34 women’s and 34 men’s – while all women’s matches and a significant number of men’s games will be streamed live on the Sky Cricket YouTube channel.

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Biden allies brace for GOP attacks when southern border reopens

The White House is expected to reopen the U.S.-Mexico border in the coming weeks, and even President Joe Biden’s allies are worried he’s not ready for the logistical and political impact, including an avalanche of Republican attacks that will follow.

In a series of phases, the Biden administration is expected to lift the public health authority, Title 42, invoked by former President Donald Trump at the start of the pandemic. Trump cited the risk of spreading coronavirus to argue that the government needed to quickly kick out migrants arriving at the border without allowing them to seek asylum. The phased-in approach means Biden could first end the practice of turning away families and then, later this summer, for single adults, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Given the country’s reopening and Biden’s promise for a fair and humane immigration system, immigrant advocates say the move is long overdue. But administration officials and immigration experts expect that lifting the order will result in a spike in the number of migrants arriving at the border — at least in the short term.

Even with the phased-in approach, a sharp increase in migrants poses a major challenge for the administration over how to handle their arrival — hold them in detention centers or release them as they await their court proceedings, which can take years given a long backlog of cases. And Republicans plan to highlight any increase in migrants or delays in processing them in campaign ads, mailers and debates in races all over the country as part of a long-planned strategy to use immigration to try to retake Congress in the midterm elections next year.

“The administration is repeating the mistakes of 2015 by underestimating the power of a border security argument,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group. “And, as a result, they run the risk of losing the moderate voters who said, ‘You know what, I want a more rational approach to immigration, but still one that keeps us safe.’”

53 percent of voters say they are less likely to support Democrats for Congress because of the increase in migrants at the border, according to a new poll by the National Republican Senate Committee and the Republican Governors Association. 23 percent say they’re more likely.

Republican National Committee spokesperson Emma Vaughn described the expected lifting of Title 42 as “dangerous” following other border policies that she said have already contributed to an increased number of migrants along the border.

“As Republicans at the local, state, and federal level are stepping up to lead our nation through this growing crisis, Americans are taking note — voters across the country have rejected Biden’s failed leadership at the border,” she said.

Immigrant advocates and public health experts for months have said the politics around lifting Title 42 is irrelevant: Use of the order is unlawful, inhumane and not justified by public health.

“If the Biden administration believes there’s another rationale for denying asylum seekers the right to a hearing, then they need to invoke that. But they cannot use Title 42 as a pretext to regulate migration flows,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

“That’s a political position, not a legal position,” said Gelernt, who is the lead lawyer in the ACLU’s case challenging the legality of the U.S. using Title 42 to expel families.

But Democrats acknowledge that the politics surrounding the likely move are tricky, at best.

A former Obama immigration official who is close to the Biden administration acknowledged Biden is vulnerable on the border. “His immigration number is low, there’s no doubt about it,” the person said. But in order for it to drag his overall approval rating down, the person said, lifting Title 42 would need to lead to “visual chaos on the border.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has been critical of the Biden administration’s immigration policy, said he’s looking forward to seeing the border closure lifted for nonessential travel, which has crippled towns along the Mexican and Canadian borders accustomed to tourism, but knows there will be major challenges with lifting Title 42.

Lifting the rule is “going to provide another incentive and the drug cartels are going to start saying [to potential migrants]: ‘Hey, you can come in,’” Cuellar said, adding that Border Patrol agents and law enforcement along the border have told him they expect it to be lifted soon and are prepared to handle a new rush of migrants coming to seek asylum.

“It’s kind of a double edged sword,” the Texas border Democrat said.

Biden has vowed to create a fair and humane immigration system but his aides have found that quickly reversing Trump’s policies can create logistical — and political — problems. Record numbers of unaccompanied children at the border led to enormous attention on immigration at the start of his presidency. However, in recent weeks, the border has been overshadowed by other issues, including Biden’s spending plans and voting restriction laws pushed in several states.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment on Title 42 except to say the administration is working to rebuild the dilapidated asylum system and to process certain groups of people, including those who had been forced to wait in Mexico for their cases to be heard under a separate Trump-era policy.

The Department of Homeland Security referred questions about Title 42 to comments Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made earlier this week. In an interview with CBS, Mayorkas reiterated that Title 42 is “not an immigration policy” and its use is determined by the Centers for Disease Control.

“It’s driven by what is in the best public health interest of the American people,” Mayorkas said.

Border agents have expelled migrants more than 867,000 times using Title 42 since March 2020, according to figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Immigration experts, however, have made clear that the 867,000 number is not necessarily individual migrants; There has been a high rate of recidivism, which is when migrants are expelled and then try to cross again into the U.S.

In May, the most recent statistics available, more than 180,000 migrants were apprehended along the border with 112,302 expelled under Title 42, according to CBP. Of those, 38 percent were individuals who had already attempted to cross at least once in the previous 12 months. The average one-year reencounter rate was 15 percent for fiscal years 2014 through 2019, CBP said.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration was more vocal in its discussions around immigration — holding regular media calls to discuss the spike in the number of migrants arriving at the border. In early April, for example, the White House organized a media call with administration officials to discuss CBP’s monthly release on numbers of apprehensions. Since then, CBP has released April and May apprehension numbers in the late afternoon without a press call to roll out the details.

Republicans, however, have made sure to highlight the monthly topline numbers without mentioning that a majority of migrants apprehended are being quickly expelled under the Trump-era order. And with an eye on 2022, they are likely to make an even greater push as soon as Biden lifts the order, according to interviews with more than half a dozen political operatives involved in midterm elections.

“If Biden and Harris lift the highly effective Title 42 restrictions entirely, which have already been rendered far less effective since they took office, then expect a tsunami of illegal migrants, and perhaps at the worst time of summer heat,” said Steve Cortes, a former Trump campaign aide who remains close to the former president. “It could be substantially worse than it already is now.”

In recent weeks, Republicans have stepped up their attacks, traveling to the border, writing letters and calling for investigations. The RNC purchased a mobile billboard to highlight the increase in migrants to coincide with Vice President Kamala Harris’s trip to the border last week. The NRSC ran one of its few ads so far against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) arguing his votes don’t match his tough talk against Biden’s immigration policy. And the National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted a trio of House Democrats in border states, Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Tom O’Halleran of Arizona.

Republicans say they have already seen some success — believing immigration played a role in flipping the mayoral seat in Hidalgo County, home of McAllen — and they are buoyed by new polling showing Biden receives some of lowest marks on the issue.

Trump first cited the little-known and sweeping Title 42 statute in March 2020, directing federal officials to expel migrants who crossed the northern and southern borders instead of detaining and processing them — an effort that was said to be aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus in holding facilities.

Biden continues to turn away most of the migrants encountered at the border, including single adults and most families, but has made exceptions for unaccompanied children to stay for humanitarian reasons.

Democratic lawmakers and public health experts have urged the administration to rescind the policy, arguing that migrants could be tested and isolated when they enter the country to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Even immigrant advocates who support Biden accuse the administration of continuing the use of Title 42 to restrict immigration, a charge the administration denies.

The Biden administration is also navigating whether or not to pursue a phased-in approach given that there isn’t a public health justification for letting in families and not single adults.

“There is no public health rationale for distinguishing between single adults and families,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director of the refugee protection program at Human Rights First.

Lifting Title 42 for families and keeping it in place longer for single adults, Acer said, would disproportionately impact African asylum seekers, many of who are not traveling with their families given the long distances from their home countries, and LGBTQ asylum seekers who may be traveling alone or with people not recognized as their family by the Department of Homeland Security.

In the end, Acer said, advocates support the administration’s discussions around improving the immigration system, but that doesn’t mean they can keep Title 42 in place while they figure it out.

“Yes, they want to further improve the asylum system,” she said. “But you can’t simply stop upholding our existing laws because you want to make some systems stronger and you want to staff them better and get them moving quickly.”

Author: Anita Kumar and Sabrina Rodriguez
Read more here >>> Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

17 killed in military plane crash in southern Philippines

A Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 Hercules transport plane with 92 people aboard crashed on Sunday while attempting to land on Jolo island in Sulu province in the southern Philippines, killing 17 and and injuring 40 others, Trend reports citing Xinhua.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement that among the 92 personnel on board the plane, three are pilots and five are crew members, with the rest being “Army personnel reporting for duty.”

Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing, Lorenzana added.

Armed Forces of the Philippine chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana said earlier the plane was transporting troops from Cagayan de Oro City on Mindanao island when it crashed around 11:30 a.m. local time on Jolo island.


“The plane missed the runway and tried to regain power but failed,” Sobejana said.

“Responders are at the site now,” he said, expressing hope that more people on the plane will be saved from the wreckage.

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Southern pastors resist calls to promote vaccines, wary of another Covid fight

Biden administration and state officials hoped that pastors would play an outsized role in promoting Covid-19 vaccines, but many are wary of alienating their congregants and are declining requests to be more outspoken.

POLITICO spoke with nearly a dozen pastors, many of whom observed that vaccination is too divisive to broach, especially following a year of contentious conversations over race, pandemic limits on in-person worship and mask requirements. Public health officials have hoped that more religious leaders can nudge their congregants to get Covid shots, particularly white evangelicals who are among the most resistant to vaccination.

The White House, which acknowledged it will fall shy of its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by July 4, has stressed its robust campaign to inoculate the country will continue for months to come, though the strategy has largely shifted from mass vaccination sites to more targeted local efforts. With the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, particularly in areas of the country where vaccination rates are lagging, the Biden team is making a renewed effort to enlist help from trusted community leaders like pastors while other initiatives like million-dollar lotteries and giveaways have failed to meaningfully blunt the steep drop-off in vaccinations.

State health officials are conducting informal focus groups and outreach to try to ease pastors’ concerns about discussing vaccination, but progress is often elusive, they said. Many pastors said they have already lost congregants to fights over coronavirus restrictions and fear risking further desertions by promoting vaccinations. Others said their congregations are so ideologically opposed to the vaccine that discussing it would not be worth the trouble.

“If I put forth effort to push it, I’d be wasting my breath,” said Nathan White, a pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Skipwith, Va., a small town near the North Carolina border.

The pastors POLITICO spoke with are located across Virginia and Tennessee, mostly in predominantly white communities. Some in rural areas lead overwhelmingly conservative congregations while some in more suburban areas said their churches were more politically mixed. Each pastor had been vaccinated but not all were eager to discuss it with their congregations.

Polls have consistently shown that white evangelicals are among the groups most hardened against vaccination. The most recent, a June survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 22 percent of white evangelicals said they would “definitely not” get the vaccine, a figure that’s barely budged since April. About 11 percent said they wanted to “wait and see” how the vaccines perform.

NIH Director Francis Collins, a devout Christian who has used his ties to the faith community to promote public health measures during the pandemic, said he regretted that pastors have faced “such a barrage of negative responses” from congregants.

“It’s heartbreaking that it’s come to this over something that is potentially lifesaving and yet has been so completely colored over by political views and conspiracies that it’s impossible to have a simple loving conversation with your flock,” Collins said in an interview. “That is a sad diagnosis of the illness that afflicts our country, and I’m not talking about Covid-19. I’m talking about polarization, tribalism even within what should be the loving community of a Christian church.”

Biden administration officials have often talked up the role faith leaders could play in the vaccination effort. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships holds a call at noon every Thursday with faith leaders from across the country offering tips and sharing resources that can help them encourage people to get vaccinated, an administration official said. Collins has appeared with evangelical leader Franklin Graham to tout the safety and efficacy of Covid vaccines, and Biden has talked up vaccination during his Easter message and the National Day of Prayer.

“Since day one of this administration, faith leaders have played a key role in the vaccination effort,” said Josh Dickson, a White House senior adviser on faith engagement. “As trusted community voices, they continue to be essential partners in our work to connect with people of all backgrounds and geographies about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.”

Besides Graham, some other prominent evangelical leaders have encouraged vaccination. Robert Jeffress, who called the vaccines a “gift from God,” hosted a vaccination clinic at his 14,000-member megachurch, First Baptist Dallas. Conversely, there are also prominent examples of pastors cautioning worshippers not to get vaccinated.

Some faith leaders told POLITICO they lamented that Covid vaccines have become the latest flashpoint in the country’s growing political divide.

“Folks at one point who felt they could at least straddle the political differences in their congregation now feel that it is almost impossible to do that,” said Dan Bagby, an emeritus professor of pastoral care at Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. “It is a significant issue for a number, if not a majority, of congregations.”

Virginia vaccine coordinator Danny Avula in focus groups he’s led with evangelical pastors has sought to persuade them to play a more active role in promoting vaccinations. The state offers content that can be plugged into church newsletters, testimonials that faith leaders can share and holds virtual town halls for pastors. These efforts have been slow-going, Avula said.

“People are raising the question: Is it our role?” he said. “Is this a stance the church should take given the politicization of this?”

Tony Brooks, a field strategist with the Baptist General Association of Virginia, said he repeatedly urged pastors in northern Virginia to meet with Avula but found almost no takers.

“Most are still gun-shy from all the criticisms they have received over the last 15 months from members on both sides of Covid guidelines,” he said.

To be sure, some faith leaders have actively promoted Covid vaccines. Bill Christian, a spokesperson for the Tennessee health department, said the state Office of Faith Based and Community Engagement speaks with leaders from all faiths and tries to answer any questions.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and resulted in several hundred small pop-up vaccine events in both minority and vulnerable communities in the state,” Christian wrote in an email.

Black churches have a long history of activism, and many pastors across the South have eagerly spoken about the vaccine. Black adults are now among the least likely to say they will definitely not get vaccinated, according to KFF polling.

“We have not encountered the level of resistance from the clergy,” said Albert Mosley, senior vice president at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn. The health system’s staff has advised pastors on how to field questions about vaccine side effects and misinformation. “That’s part of the overall role the Black clergy see themselves occupying,” Mosley said.

Some pastors who have urged congregants to get vaccinated said they’ve been careful not to seem judgmental or hostile when they’re confronted by misinformation. But they acknowledged feelings among many congregants are especially raw over the pandemic.

Ricky Floyd, a pastor who hosted a vaccine clinic in early April at the Pursuit of God, a large predominantly Black church in Frayser, Tenn., said he’s lost congregants over the past year because of disagreements over reopening and masks.

“I’ve been pastoring for 20 years and Covid has done more damage to the church than anything I’ve seen — more than sex scandals, more than racism,” he said.

Floyd said he was reluctant at first to promote Covid vaccines because he felt that city and state officials weren’t doing enough to make the shots available in his community, though it had been hard hit by the virus. Now, he said, he is more aggressive about promoting vaccines, but resistance among his congregants has hardened.

“When the momentum for the vaccine was high, we didn’t make it available to people,” he said. “We missed the opportunity to convince, convict and convert people.”

Josh Hayden, a pastor in Ashland, Va., decided to host vaccine clinics this spring at his church despite reservations over how they would be received. But he said many of his peers are emotionally spent after intense conversations around race and the coronavirus.

“They are really tired of addressing complicated issues and many are worn out,” he said. “Everything you say or do can make someone frustrated.”

Author: Dan Goldberg
Read more here >>> Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

Coronado to host first official road race in Southern California since pandemic began

CORONADO, Calif. — For the first time since the pandemic began, San Diego will hold its first official road race.

Coronado’s Crown City Classic is back on after being cancelled last year.

More than 2,000 people have signed up for the annual event, that, like many, was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

“Yeah. Super stoked. I’m glad everything is opening back up,” said Travis Luckhurst.

“It’s good something is coming up and we’re able to be a part of it,” said Eric Hare.

The Crown City Classic is now in its 48th year.

In 2020, when California was still under color coded restrictions, large scale in-person races weren’t allowed.

That left vendors and charities that rely on race proceeds without work and critical funding.

“T-shirt companies, medals, there’s all kinds of down the road effects this pandemic has had and now we’re open and these people can get back to work,” said Jamie Monroe, the owner of Easy Day Sports, the company behind Saturday’s race.

He says not only are businesses benefitting from it, but this race is something runners have been waiting for.

The last official road race was the Los Angeles marathon back in March of 2020.

People from all over are taking part in the Crown City Classic, including elite athletes.

“And then you’ve got Olympic trials athletes more than most years because they’re all waiting to run the first race back,” said Monroe.

The Crown City Classic takes place Saturday, at 7 a.m., followed by Coronado’s annual Fourth of July parade at 10 a.m.

That’s not a mistake, this year the parade is on Saturday the 3rd, not the 4th.

As for the race, it’s comprised of both a kid race, a 5K and 12K run.

Why 12K? It’s 7.4 miles to represent Independence Day, a day Coronado’s mayor says this town is all about.

“Our kickoff to summer. This is our kickoff to normalcy. We have a lot of things scheduled. This is gonna be a normal Fourth of July weekend as far as we’re concerned,” said Richard Bailey.

There’s still time to sign up for the race up until the day of. There’s also a virtual option for those who are unable to attend in person.

WATCH RELATED: The ‘Crown City Classic’ is back Fourth of July weekend (June 2021)

Author: Shannon Handy (Reporter)
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Southern Baptist Convention Elects Ed Litton as New President

NASHVILLE — In a dramatic showdown on Tuesday, Southern Baptists elected a moderate pastor from Alabama as their next president, narrowly heading off an attempted takeover by the denomination’s insurgent right wing.

The election of the pastor, Ed Litton, was the result of what was effectively a three-way standoff for the leadership of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. In the first round of voting on Tuesday afternoon, Southern Baptists rejected a prominent mainstream candidate and onetime favorite for the presidency, Al Mohler Jr., who received 26 percent of some 14,000 votes.

The race then headed for an immediate runoff vote that pitted an ultraconservative pastor from Georgia, Mike Stone, against Mr. Litton, who has largely avoided the culture wars. When officials announced the results from the stage — Mr. Litton bested Mr. Stone by just 556 votes, or four percentage points — the floor erupted in a mixture of cheers and boos.

At a news conference after his victory, the soft-spoken Mr. Litton emphasized the need for healing. “We are a family,” Mr. Litton said. “At time it seems we’re incredibly dysfunctional, but we love each other.”

Going forward, he said, “My goal is to build bridges and not walls.”

Some had warned that the stakes for the denomination, which often serves as a bellwether for white American evangelicalism, have never been higher.

A newly empowered ultraconservative faction in the already conservative denomination is pushing back against a national leadership they describe as out-of-touch elitists who have drifted too far to the left on social issues. Mainstream Baptist churches and those on the far right agree that the convention’s results will serve as a referendum about the denomination’s priorities and could accelerate the fracturing of an already shrinking institution.

Delegates called “messengers” were voting in Nashville on a new president as well as a series of hot-button cultural issues. Some on both sides have threatened to leave depending on the final results.

Pastors and activists had spent months drumming up attendance for the convention from churches large and small across the country.

Conservatives, especially, had made an unusual effort to boost turnout. The Conservative Baptist Network, an increasingly influential group founded last year, released a video last week featuring images of an empty motorboat slipping loose from a pier and floating into the middle of a lake under cloudy skies. “On June 15, Southern Baptists can stop the drift,” the network’s spokesman, Brad Jurkovich, intoned.

In Nashville, tempers were running high. Irate messengers confronted at least two high-profile leaders in the halls of the convention center, accusing them of fomenting liberalism. Some leaders were provided with extra security.

“We are at a defining moment for our convention,” J.D. Greear, the departing president, told the assembly in a fiery speech hours before they would elect his successor. He excoriated the “Pharisees” within the denomination who placed ideological purity over its evangelistic mission, alienating Black and Latino pastors, sexual abuse survivors and others in their zeal.

“Are we primarily a cultural and political affinity group, or do we see our primary calling as being a gospel witness?” Mr. Greear asked. “What’s the more important part of our name: Southern or Baptist?”

Mr. Greear praised an earlier generation of conservatives who had kept the denomination true to its theological principles. But he warned of a new threat to Southern Baptists in the 21st century. “The danger of liberalism is real but the danger of Phariseeism is also,” he said.

Tuesday’s vote capped months of angry debate over race, gender and other cultural divides, as the denomination’s leaders and insurgents wrestled over whether their future hinged on wrenching the church even further to the right or broadening its reach.

Last summer’s annual meeting was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and attendance — and tension — has not been this high since the mid-1990s, when conservatives completed a sweeping takeover that some now say did not go far enough.

The day’s most anticipated moment was the election of a new president.

But messengers also tackled a slate of resolutions on racial issues, abortion and the Equality Act, a sweeping piece of legislation in Congress that would extend civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity while eroding some religious liberty protections. A resolution on “Christian citizenship” included a denunciation of “the Capitol insurrection of January 6, 2021.”

The most contentious topic heading into the meeting was critical race theory, an academic lens for analyzing racism in society and institutions that has swept the imagination of American conservatives. Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed measures against the perceived influence of C.R.T. in public schools.

On Tuesday afternoon, messengers passed a resolution that the denomination, which was founded before the Civil War in defense of slavery, reaffirm its 1995 apology for systemic racism but also reject “any theory or worldview” that denies that racial discrimination is rooted in sin. At its 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., messengers affirmed that critical race theory could be used by faithful Baptists, a moment that many conservatives in Nashville characterized as galvanizing.

The months leading up to the convention have seen a series of high-profile departures and unusually poisonous clashes by an organization that prides itself on unity in the essentials of the faith.

Russell Moore, the denomination’s head of ethics and public policy, left on June 1. In two letters that leaked after his departure, he accused the denomination’s executive committee of a pattern of intimidation against sexual abuse survivors and “spiritual and psychological abuse.”Many Baptists hoped that after months of savage sniping online, the act of gathering in the same room would have a soothing effect. But the meeting in Nashville has included several moments of unusually direct confrontations.

On Monday afternoon, Mr. Mohler was accosted inside the convention center by a young messenger who loudly accused him of allowing critical race theory into the seminary he leads. Mr. Mohler, arguably the most well-known face within the denomination, was holding his young grandchild in his arms when the angry man approached him. He left the scene “more than a little shaken,” he said later.

Mr. Greear’s office confirmed a similar confrontation a few days ago, with a messenger confronting the denomination’s president in the convention center and urging him to “repent.”

The convention was riveted on Monday by conflicting accounts of an impromptu encounter between Mr. Stone and Hannah-Kate Williams, a victim of sexual abuse who has advocated reform in the denomination. Ms. Williams was in an atrium of the convention center handing out copies of a statement signed by several victims who are calling for an outside audit of patterns of abuse. Mr. Stone approached her and introduced himself, seemingly without knowing about her advocacy.

The encounter soon turned ugly, in Ms. Williams’s account.

“He said I’m causing more harm to the Southern Baptist Convention than good, and I’m not doing right by survivors,” she recalled tearfully on Monday evening. “And he said the Southern Baptist Convention is bigger than my problems.”

Mr. Stone characterized the conversation as “polite” in a statement posted to Twitter: “At no time was I unkind.”

At the news conference after his victory, Mr. Litton called for an independent investigation into the convention’s handling of abuse, and said the denomination needed to be “pastoral” in its approach to victims.

The divide in the convention was apparent in the run-up to Tuesday’s voting.

At a standing-room-only breakfast hosted by the Conservative Baptist Network on Tuesday morning, Rod Martin, a member of the denomination’s powerful executive committee, exhorted attendees to not grow discouraged if the day did not go as they hoped.

“If we do not prevail today, we will come back next year and the next year and the next year,” he told the enthusiastic crowd. Most of Jesus’ apostles, he pointed out, were eventually martyred. “We are here to the death!” he added. “We will not stop.”

Author: Ruth Graham
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

‘Take the Ship’: Conservatives Aim to Commandeer Southern Baptists

The most high-profile vote at the meeting will be the election of a new president, a race whose leading candidates are Mike Stone, a Georgia pastor who is the favorite of many conservatives, including Mr. Nelson and Mr. Jolly; Ed Litton, an Alabama pastor who has largely avoided culture war battles and has the support of the denomination’s first Black president; and Albert Mohler Jr., a lion of the denomination who helped usher in a conservative revolution decades ago and is now in the awkward position of being labeled a moderate “compromise candidate.” Mr. Stone, a onetime underdog, is considered a serious contender.

No matter which side emerges triumphant from the meeting next week, a schism looms.

“A lot of us will know if this convention is for us once it is over,” said Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, who has been leading antiracism efforts in the denomination. If Mr. Mohler or Mr. Stone wins the presidency, or if resolutions are passed that affirm racism, in his view, he will leave. Several other Black pastors have announced their departures within the past year.

Hostility over critical race theory among the Southern Baptists, which came to the foreground after Thanksgiving when seminary presidents denounced it, is interwoven with its weaponization by the G.O.P., he said.

“The litmus test now for being a Baptist is you have to denounce C.R.T. as they do?” he said. “We would be completely off our rockers to submit, give that kind of power to a white denomination, particularly on the subject of race.”

The convention has historically reflected divisions in the country. The most recent meeting, two years ago in Birmingham, Ala., focused on sexual abuse in evangelical churches. The year before, tensions were political. Mike Pence, then the country’s vice president, gave a keynote address to rally evangelical support for Mr. Trump ahead of the midterm elections.

Author: Ruth Graham and Elizabeth Dias
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

As southern California mom takes toddler to chemo, burglars ransack, vandalize her car

DOWNEY, Calif. — Magalli Jimenez was already dealing with the stress and heartbreak of having a 14-month-old daughter who is undergoing chemotherapy for a rare form of cancer.Now the southern California mother is dealing with the outrage of thieves breaking into and substantially damaging her car. All while she was inside a medical center in Downey, California, accompanying her daughter Ava to her chemo treatments.

Jimenez posted her anger to TikTok in a video directed to the unknown vandals that is now going viral.And the community is rallying around her, contributing to a GoFundMe page to help with Ava’s treatments.

“You probably don’t know, but I just found out my daughter has cancer four weeks ago,” Jimenez said in the video. “She just finished her chemo treatment right now. We’re coming into the car, ready to go home. She’s crying because she wants milk.”

“You broke into my car. You broke my entire ignition. You (messed) up everything. Everything. Everything is broken.”

Downey police are investigating. A witness told Jimenez he saw three men possibly breaking into her car, and he alerted security guards.

Kaiser Permanente, the medical center where Jimenez was parked, said it is cooperating with police in the investigation.RELATED: 8-year-old cancer survivor collects money for patients

“We are committed to ensuring the safety and security of anyone who visits a Kaiser Permanente facility. Victimizing someone when they are most vulnerable is a despicable act. We are fully cooperating with the Downey Police Department in their investigation, and we hope they are able to find whoever broke into Ms. Jimenez’s car.”

Jimenez told KABC she also worried about what might have happened if she had returned to the car with her daughter while the criminals were still there. And that is something that will continue to weigh on her mind as she returns to the facility for Ava’s weekly treatments.

“For me the most scary or frustrating part is that I have to go every week for treatments,” she said. “And just to have another thing that I have to worry about on my mind – my safety, my baby’s safety.”

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KABC

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Southern California's Chayce Beckham reacts to winning 'American Idol' as 'boy next door'

Sunday marked a big night for Southern California’s “American Idol” finalist Chayce Beckham who was named this season’s winnerBeckham is heading from Apple Valley, California, to Nashville, Tennessee, where he’ll continue his career in music.

The 24-year-old was the last contestant standing from thousands of hopefuls who wanted to win the coveted title. In a tight race, America picked the Inland Empire native.”I’m just like your buddy down the street, I’m your co-worker, I’m your nephew, I’m your grandson,” Chayce Beckham told George Pennacchio, Eyewitness News’ entertainment guru. “Singing the songs that I got to sing and sharing my story, I feel like a lot of people know somebody like that. I think it’s a little bit easier to connect with the song when you can bring it home.”

And the new ‘American Idol’ is….

Beckham said being a “better vocalist” than the other two finalists, Willie Spence and Grace Kinstler.

“Good lord can they sing. But I think that the only thing that I brought to the table was just connectivity, and being able to share my heart with people,” Beckham said. “I told everybody the truth when I was singing, and thank God they believed me.”

Judge Lionel Richie agreed.

“Where he was going with his country sound, with his raspy voice, with his aw-shucks attitude and personality. He’s the boy next door. He’s got it,” Richie said.Spence, the 21-year-old from Georgia, was this season’s runner-up.

Kinstler, the 20-year-old from the Chicago area, came in third.

Grace Kinstler revered as ‘hometown hero’ despite ‘American Idol’ finale

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Author: KABC

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Kansas City Southern sticks to Canadian National after Canadian Pacific fails to raise bid

Kansas City Southern sticks to Canadian National after Canadian Pacific fails to raise bid© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A freight train of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway Company is pictured in Toluca, Mexico October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

(Reuters) -Kansas City Southern on Friday reiterated that Canadian National Railway’s offer was “superior” after Canadian Pacific (NYSE:) Railway refused to raise its bid, moving a step closer to creating the largest ever merger of North American railways by transaction value.

The Canadian rivals have been locked in a takeover battle for the U.S. railroad operator for two months to create the first railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada, as they stand to benefit from a recent pick-up in trade.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE:) last week accepted Canadian National’s $ 33.6 billion offer, upending a $ 29 billion deal with its competitor Canadian Pacific.

The U.S. railroad on Friday said it paid Canadian Pacific a breakup fee of $ 700 million, which would be reimbursed by Canadian National.

Canadian Pacific said on Friday it was willing to re-engage with Kansas City, hoping that the rival bid would be shot down by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), a regulator that oversees railroad companies.

Canadian National’s deal has recently run into regulatory hurdles, with the STB having denied its motion for approval of a voting trust earlier this week. The U.S. Department of Justice had also said last week that Canadian National’s bid for Kansas City appears to pose greater risks to competition.

Canadian National and Kansas City said they expect to gain all the required regulatory approvals, including that from STB.

Kansas City said the deal is expected to close in the second half of next year, following which its shareholders will own 12.6% of the combined company.

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News