• U.S.
    Deadline

    George Floyd Memorial: Al Sharpton Decries Trump Bible Photo, Says “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks”

    George Floyd was remembered by family and friends at a memorial service on Thursday that mixed poignant memories and humorous moments of his life with calls for genuine social justice. The Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking to a crowd of family members, friends and political leaders, told mourners that "for those who agendas that are not […]

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  • U.S.
    Variety

    YouTuber Jake Paul Criminally Charged by Police After Arizona Mall Looting

    Jake Paul, a high-profile YouTube creator and digital influencer, was charged by police in Scottsdale, Ariz., with criminal trespassing and unlawful assembly after he was identified among a crowd of looters at a local mall Sunday. "In our continued investigation it was confirmed that Jake Paul was in attendance & remained inside after an unlawful […]

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  • U.S.
    The Guardian

    'He wears the armor of God': evangelicals hail Trump's church photo op

    The president’s appeal to his base amid protests was derided by some Christians. Others saw a victory in a world of evilNo one accuses Donald Trump of subtlety. When the US president raised a Bible overhead on Monday evening outside St John’s Episcopal church in Washington DC, the sign was unmistakable: an appeal to his white evangelical base for loyalty, as protests and riots roared across America.Not every Christian answered the call. The Rev Gini Gerbasi, an Episcopal priest, said police used teargas to drive her and others from St John’s before Trump’s appearance. “They turned holy ground into a battleground,” she told Religion News Service.But many of Trump’s evangelical supporters, far from Washingtons political stage, saw the move as a victory in a world rife with evil.“My whole family was flabbergasted,” said Benjamin Horbowy, 37.The Horbowys had gathered in Tallahassee, Florida, to watch live as Trump walked from the White House to St John’s. “My mother just shouted out, ‘God give him strength! He’s doing a Jericho walk!’”A Jericho walk, in some evangelical circles, refers to the biblical book of Joshua, where God commanded the Israelites to walk seven times around the opposing city of Jericho, whose walls then came crashing down.Horbowy already supported Trump politically – he heads the local chapter of a pro- Trump motorcycle club and is campaigning for a seat in Florida’s state senate – but when Trump lifted the Bible, Horbowy and his family felt overcome spiritually.“My mother started crying. She comes from Pentecostal background, and she started speaking in tongues. I haven’t heard her speak in tongues in years,” he said. “I thought, look at my president! He’s establishing the Lord’s kingdom in the world.”Did he feel that conflicted with the Gospel of John, where Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world”?“Well,” Horbowy said, “that’s a philosophical question.”After watching Trump’s gesture, Horbowy changed his Facebook profile photo to one of Trump outside St John’s, with added rays of light emanating from the Bible. “It was the coolest thing he could do. What more could he do, wear blue jeans and ride in on a horse?” he said.The catalyst for the protests was the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Asked about that, Horbowy said, “There’s a Bible verse that says we shouldn’t talk about evil things. We can just say, ‘There’s evil’ and move on.”He couldn’t remember the exact verse, he said.So how did devotees like Horbowy become such a potent force that Trump would signal them in his hour of need? One answer lies in their relationship with Trump. They have given him their fervent support at the ballot box and in turn they have seen a conservative takeover of the courts and an assault on reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights.Their power and worldview is a culmination of trends that started decades ago, according to John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College and himself an evangelical Christian. “It’s rooted in fear,” he said.In the 1980s, Fea said, several forces converged to alarm white Christians: a removal of official prayer and Bible readings from schools, an influx of immigrants from Asia and the Middle East, and the final desegregation of schools like Bob Jones University.“So came the emergence of the Christian right,” Fea said.Figures like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson started wielding political influence in a new way, followed today by a new generation that includes Franklin Graham and the Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s leading evangelical defenders. “What seems to be missing in much of the coverage is that a group of protesters had tried to burn that church to the ground 24 hours earlier,” Jeffress said. Jeffress sees no conflict between Trump’s behavior and the Bible he held up on Monday evening. “You mean, does he pretend to be perfectly pious?” he said. “No.”Fea calls faith leaders like Jeffress “court evangelicals”.“Trump has these people around him,” Fea said. “They’re telling him, ‘You need to get your evangelical base on board.People once concerned with piety, Fea said, now crave “an exercise in pure political power”, and the Bible is no longer a spiritual weapon but an earthly one.When Trump describes himself as a “law and order” president and holds aloft a Bible, he conflates which law he will enforce, and whose order will follow. In a short speech before the walk to St John’s, Trump said he would “dominate the streets”. That is the “kingdom in the world” Horbowy referenced.“I believe it’s like Ephesians 6:10 through 19,” Horbowy said from Florida. “I believe this is a president who wears the full armor of God.”But one of those verses – verse 12 – says explicitly that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood”, but against spiritual enemies.“Well,” Horbowy said. “He’s fearless.”

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  • U.S.
    The Daily Beast

    UCF Professor Under Fire for Claiming ‘Black Privilege Is Real’ in Twitter Rant

    A professor at the University of Central Florida faces calls for his removal after claiming in a Twitter rant that “black privilege is real” and insisting that the answer to systematic oppression is to “stay in school” amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. Charles Negy, an associate professor in the Psychology Department, has fired off over 30 contentious tweets about race, inequality, and oppression since May 25—the day Floyd was filmed repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe while an officer pressed his knee on his neck for several minutes. The controversial tweets, which were sent while thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets to protest against police brutality and racial inequality, have prompted the UCF community to call for his ouster using the hashtag UCFireHim, which has since gone viral.“Sincere question: If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming ‘systematic racism’ exists?” Negy tweeted Wednesday afternoon. UCF officials said in a Thursday statement the school is “aware” of Negy’s comments on his personal Twitter account and is currently reviewing them. The school, however, added that while being “actively anti-racist means calling out and confronting racist comments,” his critics need to be “mindful of the First Amendment.”“Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback,” the professor tweeted Wednesday, reposting an article from the “libertarian webzine” Taki’s Magazine, whose staff once included white nationalist Richard Spencer. The article insists the “establishment” treats minority communities as “our Sacred Cows” that are “above criticism, but beneath agency.” That tweet was one of nine sent Wednesday amid news that Minneapolis Attorney General Kieth Ellison was charging the three other Minneapolis cops involved in Floyd’s death with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Ellison also announced that Derek Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, now faces second-degree murder charges, after initially being charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter last week.‘Let’s Keep Fighting’: Protesters Say New Charges Are Just a StartNegy, who has been with the Florida university since 1998, took a different approach to the announcement, which was widely praised as being a stepping stone toward justice and police reform.“Here’s a suggestion to those who think they are being ‘screwed’ and oppressed in the U.S.:  Stay in school. Be the best student possible. Avoid crime. Avoid gangs. Avoid unwanted pregnancy. Avoid drugs and alcohol.  Amazing what a little common sense can do you for your destiny,” Negy wrote. The professor, who wrote a book called White Shaming: Bullying based on Prejudice, Virtue-Signaling, and Ignorance, also slammed white Americans who have joined the Black Lives Matter protests in solidarity. “I love that white liberal young lady (sarcasm). I’m so happy she exists to save us minorities. What would we do without these folks with “white savior syndrome?” he tweeted Wednesday.In another tweet, Negy wrote: “I fear that our leaders shove ‘Diversity is our strength’ down our throats because they know privately what is more likely to happen to us: tribalism will have us fighting non-stop over EVERYthing. We may learn ‘Diversity is divisive.’”Negy insisted the only silver lining about the ongoing protests is that mentions of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—which has killed over 100,000 Americans—has faded into the background.“The good thing about the riots: MSM stopped telling us 24/7 that we’re all going to die from COVID-19,” Negy wrote. “The riots must have eradicated the virus.”While Negy did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment, the psychology professor said in a statement to the school’s paper, Knight News, that he does “not represent UCF in [his] tweets” and noted he has a “legal right to express my views and raise questions.”Negy also spent some time responding to critics of his online arguments, which were deemed “racist” by hundreds of social-media users and UCF students.  “Fascism at its finest,” the professor responded to a tweet by Tatiyana Sierra, a UCF alum who now works at ESPN. Sierra tweeted that the community does “not stand with this ignorant man” and called for an investigation of his tweets and his ouster. A Change.org petition has also been launched demanding the University of Central Florida investigate Negy and seek more diverse faculty and staff as a way to combat ongoing systemic oppression.This is not the first time that Negy has come under fire for his controversial statements. In 2012, he faced backlash for sending an email to his cross-cultural psychology class stating that students who proclaimed that Christianity is the most valid religion display religious bigotry.“Students in my class who openly proclaimed that Christianity is the most valid religion, as some of you did last class, portrayed precisely what religious bigotry is. Bigots—racial bigots or religious bigots—never question their prejudices and bigotry,” Negy wrote in the 2012 email that was later posted on Reddit, according to InsideHigherEd. “They are convinced their beliefs are correct. For the Christians in my class who argued the validity of Christianity last week, I suppose I should thank you for demonstrating to the rest of the class what religious arrogance and bigotry looks like.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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  • Business
    Reuters

    U.S. airlines gain final approval to drop services to 75 domestic airports

    Fifteen U.S. airlines were granted final government approval on Wednesday to temporarily halt service to 75 domestic airports as travel demand has been crushed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Transportation Department said all airports would continue to be served by at least one air carrier. The U.S. airline industry has been awarded $25 billion in government payroll assistance grants to help weather the pandemic.

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