21 Top News Stories of 2017 Christians Should Know About

21 Top News Stories of 2017 Christians Should Know About
We are already nearly at the end of 2017. It has been a year packed full of events, both good and bad. The world has rejoiced and also mourned. Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, ISIS lost control of key territory, and senseless violence left us reeling more than once. Read these 21 newsworthy stories to refresh your memory on the major events of 2017.

Looking back on this eventful year will hopefully give us greater clarity for the future and instill in us the desire to move forward with renewed energy in 2018.

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  • 1. Fort Lauderdale Airport Attack

    1. Fort Lauderdale Airport Attack

    Chaos erupted at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida when a man with a gun commenced one of the year’s first mass shootings, randomly firing at bystanders in the baggage claim area. Panicked passengers hid behind pillars or ran onto the tarmac, with the shooter killing five people and wounding six others before police apprehended him. Police identified the suspect as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, an Iraq War veteran who had weeks earlier spent time at a psychiatric hospital and complained the government was controlling his mind. His trial is ongoing.


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  • 2. President Trump's Inauguration

    2. President Trump's Inauguration

    Jan. 20  With his wife and children by his side, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Trump, a billionaire businessman with a real estate empire, became president after winning an upset election over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


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  • 3. Ousting ISIS

    3. Ousting ISIS

    Jan. 24  Iraqi troops wrested full control of eastern Mosul from the Islamic State, or ISIS, after conducting a three-month-long offensive against the city. Iraqi soldiers held an upside-down ISIS flag as they celebrated with surviving residents of liberated neighborhoods. It would be six more months before Iraqi forces drove ISIS from the western half of Mosul, held by the Islamic terrorist group since June 2014.


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  • 4. North Korea Launches long-range missiles

    4. North Korea Launches long-range missiles

     In a show of force, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles simultaneously—one of 16 separate missile tests the regime conducted between January and November. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been eager to flex his military muscle on the world stage, and this year’s missile tests involved a progression of powerful and high-flying devices: On the Fourth of July, North Korea conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a rocket that flew 1,700 miles into space and landed in the Sea of Japan. The tests provoked international outrage, and President Trump disparaged Kim as “Little Rocket Man,” warning of “fire and fury” against North Korea if it endangered American lives.


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  • 5. Terror in London

    5. Terror in London

    British Parliament went into lockdown after a man drove an SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stormed the Westminster Palace grounds on foot, armed with two knives. The attacker, a 52-year-old Muslim convert named Khalid Masood, stabbed and killed a police officer outside Parliament before a security guard shot him dead. In all, Masood’s rampage killed five people and injured about 50. In an earlier text message, Masood reportedly said he was waging jihad against the West.


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  • 6. Justice Gorsuch is seated

    6. Justice Gorsuch is seated

    The Senate confirmed in a 54-45 vote President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Sworn in three days later, Gorsuch filled a seat left open for 14 months after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016. To seat Gorsuch, Senate Republicans circumvented a Democratic filibuster by exercising the chamber’s so-called “nuclear option,” lowering the confirmation threshold to a simple majority vote.


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  • 7. Palm Sunday Attack in Egypt

    7. Palm Sunday Attack in Egypt

    Terrorists armed with explosives bombed two Coptic churches in Egypt while worshippers were gathered for Palm Sunday services. The suicide bombers killed 45 persons and injured more than 100 at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria and St. George Church in Tanta, where blood stained church pillars and pews. At St. Mark’s, Pope Tawadros II had led the congregation in Mass just prior to the bombing, but was not himself injured. The attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, marked an ongoing trend of violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt: In May, gunmen shot dead 28 Coptic pilgrims traveling in Minya province.


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  • 8. California Elementary School Shooting

    8. California Elementary School Shooting

    North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, Calif., became the tragic scene of a murder-suicide when a female teacher’s estranged husband opened fire in her classroom with a handgun. The man, Cedric Anderson, targeted and killed his wife, teacher Karen Smith, before turning the gun on himself. Two students were also struck by the bullets: One, 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez, died.


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  • 9. Manchester Attack

    9. Manchester Attack

    A group of Sikhs were among those who gathered at a vigil in Manchester, England, a day after a suicide bombing at an evening pop concert there. Fourteen thousand fans, many of them teenage girls, had gathered at a stadium to hear American singer Ariana Grande when a blast erupted in the foyer, killing 22 concertgoers and injuring hundreds of others. The attacker, identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, was the British-born son of Libyan parents. Abedi had returned to Libya with his father and two brothers in 2011 to support the uprising there against leader Muammar Qaddafi. Abedi later came in contact with members of an Islamic State cell in Libya, who may have inspired him to carry out the concert attack.


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  • 10. GOP Baseball Game Shooting

    10. GOP Baseball Game Shooting

    House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was among four wounded when a gunman opened fire on a House Republican charity baseball team as players practiced in Alexandria, Va., in the early morning. Police killed the shooter, James Hodgkinson, 66, in a shootout following the attack. Hodgkinson had been a volunteer for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign and according to a witness had asked before the shooting whether the team practicing was the Republican team or the Democratic team. He fired 60 shots at the Republican players. Scalise was taken to a hospital in critical condition and, after a long recovery, returned to work on Sept. 28.


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  • 11. Charlie Gard

    11. Charlie Gard

    Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard died in England after his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, gave up a court battle to prevent doctors from removing the baby’s life support. Charlie had a rare genetic condition that prevented him from moving or breathing on his own, and although his parents wished to pursue an experimental treatment, British and European courts ruled the baby should be left to die. By the time a British court reconsidered the parents’ appeal, it was too late for the treatment.


    Photo courtesy: GoFundMe/Charlie Gard

  • 12. Charlottesville Racial Tensions

    12. Charlottesville Racial Tensions

    White supremacists and neo-Nazis marching against the removal of a Confederate statue at a park clashed with antifa counterprotesters at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. A white supremacist killed one woman and injured 19 people when he drove his car into a crowd.


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  • 13. Total Solar Eclipse

    13. Total Solar Eclipse

    Americans donned special glasses to witness the first total solar eclipse in the 48 contiguous states since 1979. The path of the total eclipse ran from Oregon southeast across the country to South Carolina.


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  • 14. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma

    14. Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma

    Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas for the first time as a Category 4 storm, bringing more than 2 feet of rain in its first 24 hours. The storm made landfall three different times, and by Sept. 1 about one-third of Houston was underwater. Harvey would go on to take at least 82 lives and cause an estimated $180 billion in damage.

    A brutal hurricane season carried on with Irma, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm after churning through the Caribbean, where it killed at least 38 people. In Florida, Irma packed 130 mph winds, knocked out power to 7.2 million homes and businesses, and was blamed for at least 72 deaths. Ten days later Hurricane Maria, also a Category 4, hit Puerto Rico, where it killed at least 62 and battered the island’s electric grid, knocking out power for months.


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  • 15. NFL Anthem Protests

    15. NFL Anthem Protests

    During a Sept. 22 speech, President Donald Trump lashed out at an NFL player who had kneeled during the national anthem, prompting players from 28 NFL teams to kneel or otherwise protest during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” before games on Sept. 24. Such protests continued for weeks, and a fan backlash against the protests may have played a part in declining TV ratings for NFL games. Average game viewership fell to 15 million this season from 16.5 million last year, and the website Outkick the Coverage estimated the ratings slide would cost networks carrying NFL games $500 million by the end of the season.


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  • 16. Las Vegas Shooting

    16. Las Vegas Shooting

    An evening outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas broke into chaos after concertgoers realized someone was rapid-firing a rifle into the crowd. Attendees ran for cover, but a rain of bullets from the 32nd-story windows of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel was relentless. Fifty-nine people died, including the attacker, and over 500 others were injured in what became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Authorities struggled to identify a clear motive for shooter Stephen Paddock, 64, a wealthy gambler and retiree who had recently stockpiled guns but had no significant criminal history. Paddock’s use of a “bump stock” to increase the firing rate of his semi-automatic rifle—he shot nine rounds per second—prompted calls to ban the device.


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  • 17. Wildfires in California

    17. Wildfires in California

    Dry weather and fierce, 50 mph winds in Northern California’s wine country combined to fuel the rapid spread of what became the costliest and deadliest series of wildfires in the state’s history. The fast-moving fires leveled entire neighborhood blocks in Santa Rosa, where some residents escaped with only minutes to spare. Others didn’t make it out in time. Forty-three people died in the region’s fires, and over 8,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. Later, in December, high winds drove the spread of additional wildfires near Los Angeles that burned more than 1,000 structures and threatened lives.


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  • 18. New York City Terror Attack

    18. New York City Terror Attack

    With Halloween this year—also the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation—came a stark reminder that the days are evil: A man with a rented Home Depot truck drove onto a bike path in lower Manhattan, mowing down bikers and pedestrians, killing eight and injuring 12. The suspect, 29-year-old Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov, had written Arabic notes pledging allegiance to ISIS, investigators said. Saipov was shot by police but survived the attack and is facing trial.


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  • 19. Sutherland Springs Church Shooting

    19. Sutherland Springs Church Shooting

    Devin Patrick Kelley, dressed in black tactical gear, opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 persons, including an unborn child. Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor and a resident of Sutherland Springs, shot Kelley and helped chase him, after which Kelley crashed his car and died from a self-inflicted wound, according to police. “You lean into what you don’t understand,” said First Baptist Pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose daughter, Annabelle Pomeroy, 14, was among the victims. “You lean into the Lord, and I would just submit that to everyone.”


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  • 20. Sexual Harassment

    20. Sexual Harassment

    A Washington Post investigation revealed multiple women who said Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama pursued them romantically during the 1970s and ’80s when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Two women claimed Moore sexually abused them when they were teens. The Post report was part of a wave of sexual harassment and assault accusations leveled against famous and powerful men in October, November, and December, including Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, actors Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey, and journalists Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, who lost their jobs at CBS and NBC, respectively. U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resigned from Congress amid accusations of sexual misconduct, and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced he would resign after several women accused him of groping them.


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  • 21. U.S. Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

    21. U.S. Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

    Palestinians in the West Bank clashed with Israeli soldiers near a checkpoint in Ramallah, protesting an announcement from President Trump two days earlier that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Besides the violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, large groups of demonstrators in Muslim countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Indonesia protested the announcement.


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