- Well, American Pastor Andrew Brunson
is finally free.
Welcome to Faith Nation, I'm Ben Kennedy.
After two years of prison and detention,
Pastor Brunson is heading home.
He was released todayafter a hearing in Turkey.
Now, the court there upheldits terrorism conviction
of the Christian pastor, butit still allowed him to leave.
Pastor Andrew Brunson seenleaving the courthouse
in Turkey after being let go.
- He is being sent hometo The United States,
this has just happened.
The court just released Pastor Brunson,
he's being turned over to U.S. custody.
- [Ben] His arrest brought to NATO allies,
the U.S. and Turkey,face to face in a major
geopolitical confrontationover the fate and future
of a Christian minister.
President Trump tweeted,"My thoughts and prayers
"are with Pastor Brunsonand we hope to have him
"safely back home soon."
Lawmakers on the hillare elated by the news,
especially North Carolinasenator, Thom Tillis.
- He has been on the senate floor
every week for months advocating
for Pastor Brunson's release.
He went over to Turkey,he visited him in prison
and Pastor Brunson told Senator Tillis,
"Please make sure they don'tforget about me in America,"
and he has done, he has made sure
that Pastor Brunsonhas not been forgotten.
- [Ben] The evangelicalpastor was arrested
and detained in Turkey since 2016.
Brunson faced 35 years in prison,
tried on espionage andterror related charges,
which he denied.
- Hundreds of thousands of people
have been praying for Pastor Brunson,
not just in The UnitedStates, but around the world.
- Free Pastor Andrew.
- [Ben] Those prayers were answered today.
In an effort to get him released,
The White House imposed economicsanctions against Turkey.
- Our administration's made it very clear
that we will continue to stand strong
until Pastor Andrew Brunson is free.
- [Ben] In his finaldefense, Brunson said,
"I am an innocent man."
"I love Jesus."
"I love Turkey."
He was sentenced to time served
and is now headed home to the U.S.
- Well, Jordan Sekulowof the American Center
for Law and Justice,which played a major role
representing Pastor Brunson, joins us now.
Jordan, first of all, how is he?
We understand Pastor Brunson is already
on his way home as we speak.
- That's right.
We're just moments awayfrom that plane taking off
from Turkey to, likely, it'll be Germany,
to a U.S. military basethere and then on the way
to The United States.
This is a time, again, youasked how is Pastor Brunson,
he'll be traveling, too, with his wife,
this has been a very difficult process.
It eased somewhat when hewas put under house arrest
back in July, but he'dalready been in prison, then,
since October of 2016.
So, the health concerns, there's always,
everybody should be in prayerbecause these situations,
it's a day to celebrate the release,
it's for the family and for Pastor Brunson
and to thank the Trump Administration
and President Trump, himself,
for the direct role he played,
but to not stop praying for this family
and not forget whatthey have gone through.
Even though this is a joyous day,
the healing that has to go through
and also, just the emotions that,
and I can say that after dealing with
a number of these cases similar to this
that the healing does not, does not,
the need for healing doesn'tstop the day you're released.
- Well, Jordan, walk us through
what happened in court today.
- This was interesting.
So, we knew this wasan important trial date
and there were a lot ofnews reports going on
in the last 24 hoursabout this likely being
a court date that will leadto Pastor Brunson's release.
Now, we represent PastorBrunson and the family
at the American Centerfor Law and Justice,
so we were very quiet because, whatever,
if we speak publicly, it's official
on behalf of the client and so,
and we also know diplomatically,
these things can get veryclose to being settled
and then ultimately it can fall apart.
Now, I will tell youwithout going into details,
it's happened throughout this process
with Pastor Brunson, unfortunately,
a couple of times.
Not because of anythingthe administration,
our administration did orthat Pastor Brunson did,
but just because of the diplomatic issue.
So, at today's trial, basically,
the witnesses, who weresecret, by the way,
throughout this process, so it's not like
a U.S. trial at all, basically recanted,
as all reports have indicated
and Pastor Brunson gotsentenced to time served,
that's kind of safe facing,face saving measure for Turkey
and ultimately, the pastorwas ordered to be released
from house arrest, so he hadhis ankle bracelet taken off,
and allowed to be given backhis passport and to travel
and to, so, ultimately, to leave Turkey
to return to The United States.
- Now, Jordan, moving forward,
what kind of impact will this have
on U.S. Turkey relations?
- So, I think thisimproves the relationship.
There is the issue with the journalist
that Turkey is very concerned about,
the Saudi journalist and wantingthe U.S. assistance there.
There were also economic sanctions
put in place on two Turkish officials
because of the imprisonmentof Pastor Brunson,
the minister of justice there
and the minister of the interior,
so there were economic issues.
That being said, though, Iwould say that the relationship
with Turkey and the U.S. as NATO allies
was at a low point.
Today it improves, butthere are still people
imprisoned because of their affiliation
with The United States of America.
There are Turkish citizens who worked for
the U.S. Embassy in Ankaraand they are still in prison,
so I know that they will not be forgotten
by the U.S. government.
So, this improves the relationship,
there are issues to work out between
The United States and Turkey and I think
it sets a better stage to workall those other issues out
because Pastor Brunson andthe Trump Administration
was very strong on this, would be a,
was a bar to movingforward on other issues
that Turkey was concernedwith, especially their economy,
which was significantly improved.
Even on the news yesterdaythat it was likely
he would be released, the Turkish leader
was rebounding to numbers it hadn't seen
in a very long time.
- What words do you havefor friends of ACLJ and CBN
who have prayed and petitionedfor Pastor Brunson's release?
- These cases aren't quick, unfortunately,
there are, we try to handleit as quickly as possible.
We were thankful, I thinkbecause of all those prayers
and people stuck with this for two years
in a time when it is a story that
sometimes has peoplescratching their heads
because it is a NATO ally, it's not,
we're not talking aboutdealing with a country
like Iran or North Korea, we have great,
we're supposed to have great relationships
with our NATO allies, the onewith Turkey has deteriorated,
hopefully it will now improveits important relationship.
But, I want to just thank everybody.
They continued to pray,they continued to talk
about this story, theycontinued to provide updates
when they were necessaryabout Pastor Brunson
and ultimately, the Presidentof The United States,
because of everyone's concernand his concern, as well,
made this a top priorityfor his administration,
so I think we all owe a lot of gratitude
to President Trump, Vice President Pence,
Secretary of State Pompeo and their teams,
as well as a number ofmembers of Congress,
like Senator Lindsey Graham, a republican,
but also Senator Gene Shaheen, a democrat.
There was actually bipartisan,
which there's not much bipartisan work
in Washington these days,there was bipartisan work
on Pastor Brunson.
But, none, we wouldn'thave gotten to that point
without all the people who watch CBN,
who watch these broadcasts,who pray for Pastor Brunson
and who care about theseissues and support the work
that we do at the ACLJ.
- Jordan Sekulow, weappreciate your time and work
at the ACLJ.
- Thank you.
- And Aaron Mercer is the vice president
of government relations for
the National Religious Broadcasters.
Aaron, thanks for you,so much for joining us.
- Thank you for having me.
Well, today we're talking a big story,
Pastor Andrew Brunson is released.
Why was this such a big dealfor the Trump Administration?
- Well, first of all,praise God he's released.
This is a day that weshould be celebrating
and looking forward to his,the pastor's soon return
to The United States.
This is a big deal.
This American pastor, anAmerican from North Carolina,
he has been held for two years.
It was October of 2016 whenhe was originally detained
by the Turkish authoritiesand this administration
has been working for a long time
to try to get this pastor freed.
And quite frankly, a lot of credit
should go to the president, himself,
to the vice president,the secretary of state,
the ambassador forInternational Religious Freedom,
Sam Brownback, as well as anumber of members of Congress
have been very, very,
very, very much focused on this subject
of raising it in high level meetings
and even going so faras to enforce sanctions
against the Turkish government
until they've released Pastor Brunson.
He was, he didn't do anything wrong.
He needed to be released.
- Now, Aaron, the midtermsare just around the corner,
do you consider thisto be a major victory,
a major win for the Trump Administration?
- I think this is a win forthe Trump Administration,
I think it's a win for our country.
Our nation united to tryto get this man home.
There were members ofCongress from both parties
that were working on this,but the Trump Administration,
the president and the vice president
and the secretary of stateraised this, personally, often
and they got the Turkishgovernment to pay attention
and the Turks have adifferent view on this,
but the president, orI'm sorry, the pastor,
he was jailed because hewas, because of his faith
and this administration said,"That's not gonna happen,"
they wouldn't take now for an answer
and they made sure that he is now free.
- Aaron, you're talking about faith,
religious persecution ishappening all around the world.
One place in particular, North Korea,
there literally is no religious rights.
Pastor Andrew Brunson has been released,
fantastic news, butthere are several other
evangelical leaders that arebeing detained as we speak.
What's kind of signal, whatsign does this send to them?
- Oh, you got a great question.
There are others who need to be freed
and I think one lesson wecan take away from this
is, first of all, this administration
is serious about taking care of Americans
who are unjustly incarcerated overseas.
But, I also think this administration
has showed that it's serious about
international religiousfreedom, generally.
Secretary of State MikePompeo, over the summer
had a, the first of its kind,
International Religious Freedom Summit
at The State Department,brought countries in
from all over the world,and made sure that
those countries and others know that
this is a priority for us.
You mentioned North Korea.
The president raised issuesof Christian persecution
in his summit back in June.
- And there's a second summit coming up?
- And they are not gonna let that one go.
And quite frankly, therewere other prisoners
who have been released over the course
of this administration already, too.
So, and Ambassador Brownback,I know he's constantly
traveling around theworld and raising the flag
on this issue.
Other countries need to know that this is,
they need to pay attention
to international religious freedom.
And there's a great need, Ithink you hit on that just now.
There's a great need, thereare millions of Christians
around the world that arefacing severe hardship
and persecution of one kind or another,
a number of them are in prison.
Certainly North Korea is aplace where a lot are in prison,
but there's a lot around the world
and there is growing persecution in China,
in India and other countries that we need
to be paying attention to and making sure
that those nations know thatwe're gonna take it seriously
for Christians and forother religious minorities.
- Well said.
Aaron Mercer, thank youso much for joining us.
- Thank you very much.- We'll have you back soon.
- Thank you so much.
- Thank you.
Now, Hurricane Michael is gone,
leaving utter devastation in the wake
in the Florida Panhandle,facing years of recovery.
Even as this storm left Florida,
it continued to bring heartache.
So far, it has killed 11 people.
Gary Lane has more.
- After monster Hurricane Michael passed,
video drones took theskies of Panama City,
revealing the extent of the damage.
This is what's left of Mexico Beach,
once a pristine and popular destination,
now blanked out, as if a bomb went off.
But this devastation was not manmade,
it was a powerful explosion of nature.
One of the most powerfulhurricanes on record.
Michael came ashore 20 milessoutheast of Panama City
with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour
and a storm surge catastrophicsea waves of 13 feet.
By Friday morning, entire neighborhoods
and beaches had disappeared.
- So many lives have been changed forever.
So many families have lost everything.
Homes are gone, businesses are gone.
- [Gary] Department ofDefense helicopter teams
stepped in to conductdaring nighttime rescues
of some people needingemergency evacuation
and at daylight, search andrescue teams went door to door
looking for people whomay still be trapped
inside their homes.
- Mexico Beach took the brunt,that's probably ground zero.
- [Gary] The hurricaneripped the roofs off
hotels and homes, shredding vinyl siding
and scattering wood like toothpicks.
- We were hiding in the closet,
all I could hear was a lot of wind
and I thought the roof was gonna come off.
- [Gary] This woman and her husband
were nearly swept awayby winds and storm surge.
- We let the currenttake us to the next stop
and then we'd grab onto a tree.
- [Gary] Michael movedquickly through Georgia,
the Carolinas, Virginiaand then out to sea.
Flood waters surged through the Carolinas
already drenched by Hurricane Florence.
Downed trees and gale force winds
knocked power out to 900,000homes and businesses.
This Virginia womanattempted to drive through
rising flood waters.
- I was sinking, it was sinking fast.
When I turned, Iimmediately started sinking
and I knew that I had hit the ditch.
And I put it in reverse and of course
it didn't go anywhere.
I just thank God thatmy kids and my grandkids
were not in the car.
- [Gary] Michael broughthardship in the Southeast,
but devastation in the Florida Panhandle.
CBN's Caitlin Burke has this up close look
from Mexico Beach near Panama City.
Gary Lane, CBN News.
- And one of the hardest hit cities
is Mexico Beach, Florida,you just heard Gary
talk about it, as thereare crews are working
to restore communication to the area,
but those who are evacuated are being told
it is not safe to go home.
Caitlin Burke brings us the firsthand look
of the devastation there.
- There's really no other way to describe
what we found here in Mexico Beach
other than complete and utter devastation.
When you hear about this being
a 100 year storm, youcan really see it here
and it's not a matter of weeks or months
before things get back to normal.
It's gotta be a matter of years.
- So far, everybody's house I went to,
there's no house to check.
- [Caitlin] In this town of about 1,200,
100% of the structures were effected.
- It was scary.
We found a house on the far side,
blocked it up with adresser and my boss flew
out the window, I grabbedhim, brought him back in.
- [Caitlin] The infrastructurehas been destroyed.
Not only are power lines down,
but the storm surgeunearthed and tossed around
the gas and water linesand completely wiped out
parts of the road.
First responders from Louisiana say
the wreckage left behind is eerily similar
to that left by Hurricane Katrina.
Teams from across the country are here
searching for survivorsstill trapped in their homes
or beneath the rubble.
- The one thing that you know
with these first responders coming in
is that they're coming into the unknown.
We don't know the area, we're not sure
what kind of devastation, we don't know
what kind of hazards they have here.
But, the only thing that we know
is that we're here to do a job
and that is to find peoplethat need to be rescued
and get them back to their loved ones.
- The team we've embedded with
is the city of Miami Task Force Two,
firefighters year round,yet during hurricane season,
they deploy to each disaster.
Following Hurricane Florence,
most of the team was inSouth Carolina for two weeks
and then almost immediately,they deployed here.
They'll be here until thesearch and rescue is done.
The rubble that you can see behind me
used to be an apartment building.
That was over here.
You can see the foundation.
The storm surge completelywashed it away, obliterated it.
What we're hearing asthe moral of this storm
from rescue crews and survivors,
when a hurricane is coming,no matter the category,
evacuate every time.
- You know the risks, you take the risks
and so, I took and I lost.
- It was truly horrible.
Nobody should ever try toride out a four or a five.
We regretted it the wholetime, we thank God we're okay.
- Just walking around,looking to get out of here.
- [Caitlin] Caitlin Burke, CBNNews, Mexico Beach, Florida.
- And coming up, a look at the state
of the U.S. economy aftera wild week on Wall Street.
After two days of big tumbles,
the stock market saw alittle good news today.
The Dow Jones industrial average
ended the day nearly 300 points.
That comes after twodays of massive selloffs.
On Wednesday, the Dow endeddown more than 800 points,
yesterday it was down another 545 points.
And Dan Celia is president and CEO
of Financial IssuesStewardship Ministries,
he joins us now for more.
- Ben, how are you?
- Not too bad.
Well, Dan, it was a turbulent week
on Wall Street, everyone was kind of
watching the numbers, whatwas the reason behind that?
- Well, I don't think anybodyreally knows the reason,
obviously there are some specific things
that we can point to.
Very volatile, you lose 1,300points in a couple days,
you start to get concerned andI think a lot of the concern
is a couple fronts, one isthere seems to have been
a mounting, a build up of all at once
everybody getting concerned
about China/U.S. tariff relations
and that kind of came toa little bit of a head
as we watched over the few prior days
of the yuan, the currencyin China, devaluing.
Then there was some talk, arethey intentionally devaluat,
or is this devaluation intentional?
Of course, the U.S. worriesabout, to a certain extent,
the Chinese economy and what is happening
and they're worriedabout trade and tariffs
and what that will mean, frankly,
for the first quarter next year.
It's not gonna mean a wholelot to anything this year,
although some are sayingit is, it really isn't.
It's gonna be the firstquarter of next year
and how that's gonnaimpact next year's earnings
coming right out of thegate in the first quarter
and it will impact earningsto a certain extent,
but it's not going to beas dramatic, in my opinion,
as everybody thinks.
When we look at what we send to China,
this is gonna have a much more dramatic,
be such a much more dramatic problem
with China than it's going to be
with the U.S. economy.
But, when we add to itsome of the concerns
about interest ratesand the federal reserve,
I don't want to blame the fed,
I don't believe it's the fed's fault,
I think what is happening, really, Ben,
when we look at this is we have a market,
not an economy, now, I'mtalking about the market,
that is adjusting, it's shifting
from standing on the foundation
of central banks, and I say banks
because I include someof the central banks
around the world, whatthey've done in our market,
but it has been standingfirmly on central banks
and what they're doingand that's been going on
for 10 years.
- Now, Dan--- Now, we are shifting to
the foundations of the economyand that's a big shift.
- Now, Dan, you're talkingabout a trade, China,
the interest markets, a lot to cover here,
but even with the slip in the market,
is the economy strong overall?
- Yes, the economy isnever, hasn't wavered a bit,
it is a very, very strong economy.
The fundamentals, theunderlying foundation
of this economy are extremely strong
and around every corner, theyget a little bit stronger.
There hasn't been anywavering on that at all.
- Now, Dan, the FederalReserve recently announced
it would raise interest rates again.
What kind of impact could this have on
the everyday American?
Well, it has an impact alreadyon the everyday American
because when youngpeople and people moving
to a, maybe moving up in a home
or downsizing, we're looking at 5.05%,
30 year mortgage rate andfrom a historical standpoint,
Ben, that's not a bigdeal, it really isn't.
But, we have, for so many years,
been in this low interest rate environment
that people are saying, "Oh my word, 5%,"
and that is impacting the housing market,
the mortgage market andwhat construction is doing.
If I were worried aboutone thing in the market,
it would probably beconstruction real estate
and even commercialconstruction at this point.
- Well, Dan, I just bought a house,
so I appreciate your insight and advice.
Dan Celia, thanks for your time.
- You're welcome, Ben, thank you.
- After the break, how onechurch is still working
to serve its neighborsafter Hurricane Michael.
Now, some churches inthe Florida Panhandle
are already stepping up to administer
to their hurting communities.
Heather Sells talked with one pastor
whose church suffered terrible damage,
but isn't letting thatstop their congregation
from serving their neighbors.
- [Heather] HurricaneMichael so thoroughly
decimated communitieslike Panama City Beach
that just getting inThursday was a challenge.
The problem, downed power lines and trees,
kept emergency vehicles fromentering many neighborhoods.
Pastor Cole Bailey spoketo CBN News by phone
and said he was walking almosta mile to see his house.
- [Cole] I think everyone'sstill in shock, to be honest.
Most people have never livedthrough anything like this
and with this amount of damage,
I think, really people, we're, come on,
we're used to havingair conditioning, power
and push a button and dowhatever you want to do.
- [Heather] His church took a direct hit.
The roof caved in, walls collapsed
and the sanctuary flooded.
But, his biggest concernThursday was his people.
- [Cole] What all of our staff and myself
and what we're all doing right now
is we've got teams going out,
we're checking on everybody'shome, we're checking on them
because you can rebuild buildings,
but we're in this thing to make sure
that everybody is taken care of and loved.
- [Heather] 90 minutes away in Pensacola,
Pastor Buford Lipscomb spent the day
connecting with otherpastors across the Panhandle
assessing needs and sending people in.
What helped, their familiaritywith the hard hit areas
and hurricane relief experience.
- We believe that it's us local people
and the body of Christ that can get there
before the government doesand can make a difference.
We have a lot of men thatare going just to clear roads
and clear trees off of houses.
People are still trapped in their homes.
- [Heather] Pensacola hastransformed into a staging area
for many nationalministries as they get ready
to move in and providefor immediate needs.
Despite the historicdevastation, Pastor Bailey says
he's ready to do whatever it takes
to help his community recover.
- [Cole] I know that ourcommunity will rally,
I know our church will rallyand I know it's gonna be,
we're gonna have an awesome comeback.
- [Heather] Heather Sell, CBN News.
- Thank you, Heather.
That's gonna do it for Faith Nation.
Have a great weekend.