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Culture Friday: Standing up


WORLD Radio - Culture Friday: Standing up

Christians pushback on the FDA approval of chemical abortions and anti-Semitic speech

From left: Erin Hawley, Christina Francis, and Kristen Waggoner outside the Supreme Court after oral arguments, Tuesday Associated Press/Photo by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday the 29th of March, 2024. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I'm Nick Eicher. Time now for Culture Friday. Joining us is John Stonestreet. John is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. John. Good morning.


EICHER: Well, John, interesting timing, I thought, certainly this week to hear of a controversy over the use of the truth claim “Christ is King.” But controversy is exactly what we had about a week ago, as Ben Shapiro's conservative media company, The Daily Wire, and one of its talk show hosts parted company. At the heart of the issue was anti-Semitism. And the true statement “Christ is King” used as an anti-Semitic dog whistle. Basically used by people who don't believe it. Lots and lots of opinions on this topic, John, particularly on social media. So what is yours?

STONESTREET: I thought Allie Beth Stuckey did a great job in her commentary for WORLD Opinions. Because look, I think the point is, is you don't have a choice whether or not to say “Christ is King,” if you're a Christian. Whatever somebody means, by it, we have to say it because the Bible tells us to say it because the Bible says it's actually the truth about the universe. And I think at some level, you know, you're dealing here, you know, Andrew Klavan, who kind of, you know, initiated this by making a statement that “Christ is King” can be used in an anti-Semitic way. I'm sure at some point in human history, somebody who was anti-Semitic used that phrase to get at the Jews, but that's not what the statement means. On the flip side, I think that in evangelical context, many people tend to think about the Lordship of Christ and the Kingship of Christ in a highly privatized, kind of subjective way. So you know, we say things like, for example, I've made Jesus Lord of my life, but whether or not you've made them Lord of your life, guess what, he's Lord of heaven and earth. And the rule and reign of Christ is a something that's kind of taken for granted as a given, and the outworking of his obedience and work that we remember this week. So it is a timely time, I guess, at some level to have this conversation, isn't it, as we think about Holy Week, and what we mean by it is that this world belongs to him. And I get it. I mean, you know, it's we live in a culture in which it's intolerant, it's, it's wrong to tell someone else that their religious views are wrong or incomplete. And it's particularly tough right now, given the commitment that we ought to have to the Jewish people, and the ongoing persecution that the Jewish people have faced. And that's really what's behind this whole Christ as King controversy. But Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He was promised to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob. He was promised by the prophets. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament of Old Testament law. And Ben Shapiro is right on an awful lot of things, but the identity of who Jesus Christ is, as the Savior of the world and the King of heaven and earth. He's wrong about that. And it's okay for us to say that.

EICHER: But to be precise, John, Andrew Klavan, whom you mentioned there, he's another Daily Wire host who spent considerable time talking about it last week, points to a current anti-Semite by the name of Nick Fuentes, who says, “Christ is King” to mock Jewish people. And the way he uses it seems more like a thinly veiled attempt to mock Christ who, of course, is not mocked.

STONESTREET: Yeah. It's not because the statement “Christ is King” is wrong, it's because he doesn't have any idea what he means when he says it. And look, there's already enough evidence why we shouldn't be listening to him anyway. And not to mention a whole lot of other people. And, you know, look, at some level, this conflict is being fed by the hard time we have telling people on our side of the political aisle, that they're wrong about stuff or that we don't fully agree. And that basically shows for some, at least, that political loyalties outweigh theological loyalties or faith loyalties, and that's getting it exactly backwards. Because “Christ is King” is fundamentally a political statement. As much as it is a theological statement and a cosmological statement and spiritual statement and a moral statement and every other kind of statement you can possibly make,

EICHER: Right. Well, Christ is King. Christ is risen. That's right.

BROWN: Christ is risen indeed. Well, John, let's talk about the argument at the Supreme Court this week over chemical abortion. Now to get to the issue, they'll have to get past the question of standing, meaning and whether those who brought the suit have the legal standing to bring it. But what did you think of the case?

STONESTREET: Well, look, I'm just always so impressed with, you know, I feel like we have some of the smartest, most talented leaders in America. And this is a case where three of them lined up. And by the way, all three of them were women. And they're kind of examples like that think... Hold on. It may be that all three have made appearances on my wife's Strong Women podcast. And I think and I'm talking of course of Erin Holly, who is just a tremendous attorney and brilliant legal mind, who is committed to the right things. And of course, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal in the New York Times this week. And folks had a hard time saying the bad stuff about her, because, I think, of her giftedness and talent. And of course, Kristen Wagoner, creating space within ADF for Erin's talent, and of course, herself one of the great legal minds of our day. And the client here for this lawsuit against the FDA is Christina Francis. And that's a name many people may not know, but she is a fantastic leader, the Association of pro life obstetrician and gynecologist or AAPLOG. She is at the forefront of pushing, I think, the pro-life movement to really figure out what it means to navigate the days of chemical abortion to the degree that we need to. And that has to do with abortion pill reversal. That has to do with, you know, kind of dealing with the legal issues in which the FDA is wanting to handout and has enabled the handing out of mifepristone as if it were Tic Tacs, as if there were no complications, not the and obviously as if there's not a life ending, but even as if it doesn't actually present any greater risks to the woman. So that's why this case was so important. And I think also, for those who have been wringing their hair out as if Trump were bringing back The Handmaid's Tale through the Supreme Court, what we saw, I think, in the oral arguments was that this court wants the court to be the court, and doesn't want the court to be the legislature, doesn't want the court to be the emperor. And so most of the questioning was about standing. And I think that is a challenge on—legally speaking here—that became obvious. But, you know, unfortunately, we need to get to the point where every life is protected. Where, you know, the guaranteed rights, fundamentally, to live and to be protected and not have your life taken, has to be applied to the preborn. And I think science is going to take us there. I think philosophy is going to take us there. And I hope that the pro-life movement will help push us there. And I think with folks like Christine Francis, we're in better shape than we used to be. I'm just a big fan of their work. But there's a long road, and I'm grateful, really grateful for the leadership of these three individuals, these three women who are really showing the way.

BROWN: Well, John Stonestreet is president of the Colson center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thank you, John, so much.

STONESTREET: Thank you both.

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