North America

Displaying items by tag: North America

On 11 March Paul Alexander, who held the Guinness World Record for the longest time living in an iron lung, passed away aged 78. He had lived in the mechanical ventilator since polio paralysed him at the age of six, just before the introduction of the polio vaccine. Despite doctors' grim predictions and witnessing the deaths of many other polio patients, he never let his disability define him. He mastered mouth painting and writing, and even learned how to breathe to spend time outside the iron lung. His 2020 autobiography recounts his life story, including his academic achievements and his career as an attorney specialising in family law and bankruptcy. Alexander's deep Christian roots were evident in his family's devout Pentecostal faith. In a 2022 interview, he compared the profound love his parents showed him to God's love, and emphasised the importance of purpose in life. A friend raised over $143,000 to support Alexander's medical and funeral expenses, testimony to the widespread inspiration he provided.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 14 March 2024 21:39

USA: it’s a Biden-Trump rematch

This week, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump secured their parties' nominations for the November election, setting the stage for a rematch of the 2020 presidential election. Biden, 81, expressed gratitude for the support amid what he described as a heightened threat from Trump. He asserted the US was in the middle of an economic comeback, but faced challenges to its future as a democracy, as well as from those seeking to pass abortion restrictions and cut social programmes. Despite persistent concerns from voters that his age limits his ability to perform the duties of the presidency, he faced no serious Democratic challengers. Meanwhile, Trump, 77, maintains popularity within the Republican voter base, focusing his campaign on immigration, crime, energy, and foreign policy. The results were expected, as both candidates have dominated their respective races, even though polling suggests dissatisfaction with the prospect of another Biden-Trump showdown. The nominations will be formalised at party conventions in the summer, leading to what is anticipated to be a closely-watched and contentious election in November.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 01 March 2024 09:43

USA: Alabama ruling that embryos are children

The Alabama supreme court has ruled that frozen embryos are children, which has sparked controversy and cast uncertainty over the future of IVF treatments in the state. Medical experts and reproductive advocacy groups are warning of adverse effects on fertility treatments, while some anti-abortion groups have hailed the decision for granting embryos legal protection. Despite not banning IVF, the decision raises concerns about its legality in the state, potentially limiting options for individuals seeking to build families. The ruling intersects with broader debates on reproductive rights, especially in the context of the US supreme court's decision in 2022 to strike down a nationwide right to abortion. Since then, Democratic-controlled states have expanded access and Republican ones restricted it. Anti-abortion activists view the decision as a victory for life, yet acknowledge complexities regarding IVF ethics. Overall, the ruling intensifies discussions on embryo rights and the regulation of reproductive technologies.

Published in Worldwide

A pastor attending the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl parade claims the Holy Spirit urged him and his family to leave minutes before a shooting broke out, resulting in one death and 22 injuries. Timmy Hensel, pastor of River Church Family, recounted feeling prompted to depart despite the festive atmosphere. He credits divine intervention for their safety, emphasising the importance of recognising God's guidance. Hensel expresses gratitude for being spared and prays for the victims of the incident. Two men have been charged in connection with the shooting, which erupted from a verbal altercation. The pastor's testimony highlights the role of faith amidst tragedy, underscoring the community's grief and the need for spiritual discernment in challenging times.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 15 February 2024 23:24

Survey: effects of churchgoing on happiness

A recent Gallup poll reveals a notable decline in overall life satisfaction among Americans, with only 47% expressing high fulfilment, marking a near-record low. This dip, observed for only the third time in two decades, is attributed to concerns over national affairs and economic challenges. However, certain groups demonstrate higher satisfaction levels, notably regular churchgoers. About 56% of Americans attending weekly religious services report high personal life satisfaction, compared to 41% of those who seldom or never attend. The findings indicate a persistent correlation between church attendance, faith engagement, and enhanced life satisfaction. For instance, 92% of weekly church attendees are satisfied with their lives, with 67% being very satisfied. Additionally, churchgoers report relatively stable 'excellent' mental health over recent years. These encouraging yet challenging results highlight the significant role of church involvement and Christian faith in fostering happiness and well-being.

Published in Praise Reports

Usher Raymond IV, renowned for his two-decade-long music career, attributes his stability to his faith, especially as he gears up for his performance at Super Bowl 58. Usher, who began singing in his church choir at a young age, expressed gratitude for a family who instilled in him the importance of church and faith. His debut album marked the beginning of an illustrious career, earning him a spot among the best-selling music artists globally, with sales of 80 million records worldwide. Despite his success, Usher emphasises the importance of staying true to oneself, avoiding getting swept up in fame. His commitment to his faith is evident in his albums' liner notes, social media, and public acknowledgments of God. He often shares scriptures, like Psalm 46:10, to express his spirituality. He considers the Super Bowl halftime show an extraordinary honour and a significant milestone in his career. His journey, marked by both fame and personal challenges, continues to be guided by his steadfast faith.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 08 February 2024 22:30

USA: bipartisan immigration bills stalls

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are blaming each other for the stalling of a bipartisan immigration bill. Despite support from Democrats and Republicans, the measure has been rejected by Congress and faces growing opposition in the Senate. Biden accused Trump of exploiting the issue rather than solving it, while Trump's campaign blamed Biden's policies for chaos in American communities. The proposed bill aims to address the influx of undocumented immigrants at the southern border by allocating funds for border wall construction, expediting asylum decisions, limiting humanitarian parole, and expanding deportation authority. In addition to allocating $20bn for border funding, it includes major financial support for Ukraine and for Israel. Trump denounced the bill, claiming only ‘fools’ or ‘radical left Democrats’ would support it, and described his border policies as ‘the most secure in history’. The Republicans narrowly failed to impeach Biden's homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, blaming him for the recent surge in illegal migration: see

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 01 February 2024 20:51

Hollywood actress Danica McKellar shares her faith

Danica McKellar has shared her experience of reading the entire Bible in a year, expressing deep comfort and enjoyment. Despite difficult chapters like Job, she found solace in Scripture. McKellar highlighted themes of humility over ego, good versus evil, and God rewarding faithfulness. She used ‘The Bible Recap’ for her chronological journey through the Bible. Her experience led to a deeper understanding of life's approach based on humility, describing it as rewarding. McKellar, who openly embraces Christianity, finds discussing her faith natural and life-changing, aiming to share the beauty she found with others.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 18 January 2024 21:28

USA: Trump goes straight from primary win to court

Republican candidate-presumptive Donald Trump, fresh from an overwhelming victory on 15 January in the Iowa presidential primary, appeared in a Manhattan federal court the following morning. Despite extremely cold temperatures and low overall voter turnout due perhaps to the perception that his win was inevitable, Trump secured more votes in Iowa than all his rivals combined. The trial in Manhattan, in connection with his allegedly defamatory comments about E Jean Carroll in 2019, aims to determine compensation costs, if any, for his remarks. This transition from the campaign trail to the courtroom underscores the challenges Trump faces in his quest to reclaim the White House while dealing with various criminal charges and indictments. President Joe Biden recognised the electoral battle ahead, characterising it as a showdown between his administration and ‘extreme Maga Republicans’. Meanwhile, other potential Republican contenders like Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley expressed their views. DeSantis focused on campaigning in South Carolina, while Haley emphasised addressing key issues such as the economy, border security, education, and national stability, irrespective of ongoing investigations.

Published in Worldwide

A Kentucky high school student named Sophy Jones decided to address mental health issues and suicide concerns in her school by starting a TikTok-inspired prayer wall. She initiated this project to spread God's message and provide encouragement to her fellow students who were struggling. The prayer wall, adorned with Bible verses on sticky notes, has made a significant impact, offering comfort and support. Jones began this initiative last year, with the help of a friend, Evelyn Philpot, and they both belong to First Priority, a student-led Christian organisation at their school. Todd Lawson, the organisation's director, expressed pride in the girls' efforts, emphasising the importance of prayer and God's love in their lives. For Jones, prayer is a source of love and comfort, reminding her of God's significance in her life. The project has been embraced by the students, offering a sense of importance and support to those who need it most.

Published in Praise Reports