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The World and Everything in It: April 11, 2024


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: April 11, 2024

Republican leaders take a new stance on voting by mail, Christian organizations face legal challenges to their tax-exempt status, and studying wildlife reactions to a total solar eclipse. Plus, eclipse glasses for farm animals, Cal Thomas on Donald Trump’s abortion policy, and the Thursday morning news

A voter drops off a vote-by-mail ballot on March 12 during the presidential primary election in Vancouver, Wash. Associated Press/Photo by Jenny Kane

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. I’m Becky Wilkinson, and my husband Dan and I are both retired from careers in education and blueberry farming. We listen on our two acre homestead in Cashmere. We hope you enjoy today's program.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Many Republicans are skeptical of mail-in and early voting…but some party leaders are working to change that.

LARA TRUMP: We have to ensure that over the next eight months, we get people out to early vote, we ballot harvest like nothing we've ever seen….and that is how we are going to win on November 5.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also, two Christian institutions face legal challenges over their tax-exempt status. And maybe you saw the eclipse, but did you also listen?

AUDIO: The animals are, are just like us, they they're sensing all these other types of changes.

And WORLD commentator Cal Thomas on whether pro-life convictions include caveats.

REICHARD: It’s Thursday, April 11th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!

REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: GOP revolt on Section 702 reauthorization » There has perhaps never been a more challenging time to wield the gavel in the House. Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters:

JOHNSON: We have the smallest majority in U.S. history. We’ve got a one-vote margin right now. This is an historic moment. There’s never been anything like this.

It takes only a small number of Republican defections to derail any effort.

And that’s what happened on Wednesday.

SOUND: On this vote, the yeas are 193. The nays are 228. The resolution is not adopted.

Nineteen out of more than 200 Republicans voted “no” on reauthorizing Section 702 for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby this week said it’s a vital tool for law enforcement and intelligence agencies allowing them to detect dire threats:

KIRBY: Terrorist threats to the homeland, hostile governments’ recruitment of spies in our midst, penetrations of our critical infrastructure.

Johnson agrees that Section 702 is critically important.

But he acknowledged real concerns over trusting government agencies with that power, including alleged abuses of those authorities tied to the launch of the Trump-Russia probe.

He’s working to convince Republican holdouts that recent amendments will address those concerns and that Section 702 is too important to our national security to allow it to lapse.

Speaker’s job under threat » Johnson’s also trying to convince a handful of Republicans to let him keep his job. Some are angry about a recently passed funding bill to avert a government shutdown. The speaker said a shutdown, particularly in an election year, would have been a bad idea …

JOHNSON: That wouldn’t be helpful. Nor does a motion to vacate help us in that regard either. It would be chaos in the House.

GOP Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has drafted a motion to vacate Johnson and has been holding that over the speaker’s head, demanding changes. The speaker met privately with Greene on Wednesday.

GREENE: We discussed the omnibus, and I explained all the reasons why he failed as our speaker, as our Republican speaker of the House. He funded the Biden administration. He funded their open border policies.

She and a small group of Republicans are also against a House plan that Speaker Johnson is backing … that would provide more funding for aid to Ukraine.

Ukraine latest » And as the debate over Ukraine funding continues …

The top general for U.S. forces in Europe says the battlefield situation in Ukraine is now critical. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli told members of Congress Wednesday:

CAVOLI: They are now being out-shot by the Russian side 5-to-1. So Russians fire five times as many artillery shells at the Ukrainians as the Ukrainians are able to fire back.

He said that ammunition deficit will double in just a matter of weeks giving Moscow’s forces a 10-to-1 advantage, and he urged Congress to take immediate action.

The House plan backed by Johnson would provide $60 billion dollars for Ukraine as part of a broader national security package. The alternative to a more expensive Senate bill would also reportedly be tied to shifts in policy at the US southern border.

Israel/Gaza latest » President Biden is ramping up the pressure on Israel to increase humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

And he said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to take certain actions, namely:

BIDEN: Getting more aid, both food and medicine, into Gaza and reducing significantly the attempts, the civilian casualties in any action taken in the region.

The president also once again called on Israel Wednesday to agree to a cease-fire for 6 to 8 weeks to give humanitarian aid workers unfettered access to Gaza.

Israel-Iran/Hezbollah, etc » Meantime, a senior U.S. military commander is expected to be in Israel today to discuss threats from Iran and its proxy groups against Israel. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN: Axios reports that chief of the U.S. Central Command Gen. Erik Kurilla is expected to meet with senior Israeli defense officials.

Iran has vowed to retaliate against Israel for a recent airstrike that killed numerous Iranian military officers, including a top general.

Israel is reportedly bracing for a possible unprecedented direct attack launched from Iranian soil using ballistic and other missiles, as well as drones.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He blasted President Biden for being critical of Israel and demanding a cease-fire at a time when it’s “facing the threat of imminent attack, directly from Iran and in combination with coordinated attacks by Hezbollah, Houthis & Iranian proxies in Syria & Iraq.”

For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Kishida state visit » President Biden is set to host talks today with the leaders of two Asian allies critical to the goal of keeping China in check.

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. arrived in Washington …

SOUND: [Military band]

… hours after the White House rolled out the red carpet for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

BIDEN: Prime minister is a visionary and courageous leader.

Kishida is expected to deliver a speech before Congress today.

In addition to trilateral meetings with both leaders, President Biden will also sit down one-on-one with President Marcos for a meeting on a wide range of issues.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Republicans rethink mail-in voting. Plus, listening to wildlife during an eclipse.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday the 11th of April, 2024. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up: Republicans and voting by mail.

In 2020, many states accommodated pandemic restrictions by allowing mail-in voting. Concerns about election fraud have led Republican officials in some states to roll back mail-in voting.

REICHARD: A recent Pew Research study found that less than 30 percent of Republicans support voting by mail. Compare that to more than 80 percent of Democrats.

But some in the GOP want to change minds about voting by mail. WORLD’s Washington Bureau reporter Carolina Lumetta brings us their story.

CAROLINA LUMETTA: Late last year, the Republican National Committee ran an ad asking Republicans to do something unexpected.

AUDIO: [Bank Your Vote ad]

MCDANIEL: When Republicans vote early, we win.

LUMETTA: Ronna McDaniel… the former chairwoman of the RNC, launched the “bank your vote” initiative to convince Republicans to cast ballots before Election Day - either by mail or in person. Former President Donald Trump joined the effort.

TRUMP: Go to to sign up and commit to voting early.

LUMETTA: Other Republicans agree - it’s time to boost mail-in voting. That includes …Guy Ciarrocchi… - a former congressional candidate in Pennsylvania.

GUY CIARROCCI: The Democratic party saw this as an educational tool to increase and improve voter turnout, having little or nothing to do with COVID. And the Republican party still, I think up until the recent past, saw it as an outgrowth of COVID and didn't want to do it. The biggest change is the recognition that without adapting to this extra tool, that we weren't going to win.

LUMETTA: In 2020, Trump lost the popular vote in Pennsylvania by less than 2 percent in a record-high turnout year. Republican leaders have said this year the margins could be even closer. The RNC revamped Ronna McDaniel’s Bank Your Vote initiative into a broader “Grow Your Vote” campaign. Here’s the new RNC co-chairwoman … Lara Trump on FOX News in March.

LARA TRUMP: Look at the polling between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. If the election were held today, Donald Trump would win handily. No problem hands down. We have to ensure that over the next eight months, we get people out to early vote, we ballot harvest like nothing we've ever seen, and we ensure that every person who is legally able to vote can do so. And anyone who legally is not able to vote cannot do so. We have to protect that vote once it's in and that is how we are going to win on November 5.

LUMETTA: Conservative activist Charlie Kirk has also changed his tune on mail-in voting. He recently launched a team of so-called “ballot chasers” at Turning Point USA. These are volunteers dedicated to getting hesitant voters to cast mail-in ballots. Here he is on the Megyn Kelly Show in January.

KIRK: And you knock on the door and you try to persuade or convince Earl to fill out that ballot and chase that ballot and get that into the mail, now you can’t touch the ballot, you can’t assume custody, but you can persuade him, you can build a relationship…

LUMETTA: But many Republicans still express doubts that voting by mail is secure…including Donald Trump. At a campaign rally in Michigan last month, Trump repeated claims that mail-in voting is prone to fraud.

TRUMP: And we will restore free speech and I will secure our elections with the goal will be one-day voting with paper ballots and voter ID. [Applause] Mail-in voting is totally corrupt. Get that through your head.

LUMETTA: Back in Pennsylvania, where voters have several options for submitting early ballots, a legislative committee is working to remove ballot drop boxes. Republicans argued that anyone can walk up to these boxes and toss in multiple fake ballots. Committee Chairman Cris Dush told WORLD that the measure was a first step towards securing elections. He would rather ban all no-excuse mail-in ballots, not just the ones deposited in drop boxes. Here’s Dush during a recent State Government Committee meeting.

DUSH: Unsecured drop boxes pose a threat to the integrity of our elections. We want to make this as convenient as possible for electors. But we do not want to give convenience at the sacrifice of that integrity that is so paramount to securing the election process.

LUMETTA: In the last general election, a record 60 percent of Democratic Party voters cast ballots by mail, according to the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. That means a majority of Democrats were able to vote at their convenience, with less chance for unexpected circumstances to disrupt Election Day plans. And Ciarrocchi says that’s something Republicans need to pay attention to.

CIARROCCHI: Let's pretend to win Pennsylvania, you need a hundred votes. If history's any guide, President Biden is gonna have 51 or 52 votes before election day, those representing mail-in voting. If we don't change our behavior only about nine or 10 votes will be cast for President Trump ahead of time. That means on election day, we have to go find 90 or 91 voters and encourage them to get to the polls. And that means they didn't have their car break down, they didn't have to go to the doctors, their kids weren't called home sick from school. Or, because turnouts particularly in presidential elections have been so high, it is very common for waiting lines on election day to be 2, 3, or 4 hours.

LUMETTA: Ciarrocchi says there are still ways to boost election security measures, but the GOP can also trust the current process.

CIARROCCHI: We should be able to do both. We should be able to work on the integrity side, but also use it as a tool. The other side has done it well and shown that they can do it well. Why would we not do it when so much is at stake? Let’s use the same tools at our disposal and make it a fair contest.

As of last week, general election polling finds Trump and Biden only one percentage point apart…and if that number holds true going into November, mail-in voting could make the difference for which party comes out on top.

LUMETTA: Reporting for WORLD, I’m Carolina Lumetta.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: taxes, exemptions, and religious institutions.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Churches and religiously-affiliated organizations that meet IRS requirements are considered automatically tax exempt. That’s because under American tax law, charities don’t pay income and property taxes. The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law establishing religion, nor prohibiting its free exercise. In other words, freedom from state interference one way or another.

But some people question that, and are bringing court challenges.

Here now to explain is WORLD’s religious liberty beat reporter, Steve West.

REICHARD: Hey Steve, good morning to you!

STEVE WEST: Good morning to you!

REICHARD: Well, in a recent newsletter, Steve, you highlighted two cases involving religious organizations: a Christian school and Catholic Charities. Each one’s tax exempt status is being questioned. So let’s start with the Christian school in Baltimore called Concordia Preparatory Academy. What's going on there?

WEST: Well, a mother filed a lawsuit making serious allegations about her daughter’s treatment at Concordia. She says her daughter was sexually harassed, bullied, assaulted in school and the Title IX should hold the school accountable.

Now, those allegations are still to be addressed by the court and we’re not addressed here, but the trial court did consider whether Title IX should apply to the school. This school doesn’t receive federal money, unless you count the benefit it gained from being exempt from federal income tax, and the trial court here did find that. Thankfully, an appeals court ruled that the Christian school’s tax exempt status is not federal financial assistance, so Title IX wouldn’t apply.

But here’s the threat posed by this kind of attack on tax exempt status: If Title IX applies, then the federal government can not only investigate, but insist on compliance with its interpretation of Title IX, meaning things like letting biological males who identify as females to use female students restrooms, showers, and locker rooms.

REICHARD: Well, what options would the school have in such circumstances?

WEST: The school could opt out of its tax-exempt status and remove itself from Title IX oversight, but at a significant cost. And IRS could accomplish the same result by conditioning tax-exempt status on compliance with Title IX—though it has not done that yet.

REICHARD: What cost are we talking about, if the school had to forego tax-exempt status to avoid government mandates?

WEST: It would be a hard blow to Christian schools. Donors could no longer obtain a tax deduction for contributions to the school, and the school would be taxed on income. States may also withdraw their income tax exemption, and municipalities might also insist that property taxes be paid. That’s enough to shut down schools that often operate on a combination of tuition and donations and who now would be required to pay taxes. That’s a lot.

REICHARD: So many operate on a shoe-string budget as it is. Well, the other case you’re following involves Catholic Charities, the social service arm of the Roman Catholic church, and the state of Wisconsin.

WEST: Well, in this case, it’s not the federal income tax exemption at issue. Rather, it’s an exemption from the state’s unemployment tax. Employers pay the unemployment tax to fund state assistance to those out of work and looking for work. Although the various Catholic ministries under the Catholic Charities umbrella had been deemed exempt from the tax for years, a state agency went after them. And a one-vote majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed with the state, ruling that the activities Catholic Charities engaged in—things like vocational training, food services, and assistance to the aging and at-risk—weren’t different from those of secular agencies, so they weren’t religious. And if they aren’t primarily religious, the groups are not tax-exempt.

Three justices strongly dissented, accusing the court of religious discrimination and of substituting their own judgment for what the church deemed religious.

The case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’ll see if they take it.

REICHARD: I’m trying to recall…has the Supreme Court ever taken a case related to tax-exempt status?

WEST: Yes, but it’s been decades. In 1970, a property owner in New York City filed a lawsuit to stop the city from granting tax exemptions for property only used for religious purposes. The property owner claimed these exemptions unfairly benefited religious organizations and violated the First Amendment’s ban on government-sponsored religion. In a 7-1 ruling, the court rejected that argument. That’s good precedent, but it only goes so far. The Wisconsin court claims it can define religion. That’s something else.

Churches do have to be aware of an amendment to the tax code in 1954 called the Johnson Amendment, which says that 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations cannot participate in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” Some disagree with that limitation, and the IRS may not always strictly enforce it, but it’s something to be aware of.

REICHARD: You know, Steve, tax-exempt status may seem like a given for many Americans, but cases like these serve as a reminder that it’s a stewardship…something our forefathers established and that it’s our responsibility to maintain for the common good. So where did it come from?

WEST: Churches and other religious, charitable, and educational entities have long enjoyed tax-exempt status. In fact, it goes back to the Roman Empire in the 4th century when Constantine converted to Christianity. One reason it’s said to exist is because churches and charitable groups contribute to society in so many beneficial ways, relieving the government of having to do so. That’s hard to quantify, but real. It also provides churches and other places of worship a greater autonomy and freedom from governmental oversight—something the First Amendment commends. But as religious observance wanes, and as people encounter fewer other people who are religious, their appreciation for religion wanes. That could impact more than a tax exemption. That could be a threat to religious liberty.

If the Supreme Court takes the Catholic Charities case, it offers the court an opportunity to say clearly how important these institutions—churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations—are to society. The law has always protected them. It’s also a reminder to churches, as you have suggested, that we have to steward this protected status by serving our communities and not engaging in partisan politics.

REICHARD: Steve West is a legal reporter for WORLD, and you can keep up with stories like these in his weekly Liberties newsletter. We’ve included a link in today’s show notes. Thanks Steve!

WEST: Thank you, Mary.

CAROLYN SHELL: Hey, Gertrude, are you enjoying the eclipse?

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: That’s Carolyn Fendley Shell in Arkansas, and she’s not talking to a family member. She’s talking to her brother’s pet chicken!

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Gertrude’s a chicken?

BROWN: Mmm-hhmm! Tad Fendley wanted the animals on his farm to watch the eclipse on Monday, so he made chicken-sized eye glasses for Gertrude.

REICHARD: That’s so nice!

BROWN: Turns out Gertrude had other things to do, like lay an egg. Sound from THV-11 in Little Rock.

TAD FENDLEY: Yeah, she's enjoying it.

SHELL: Well, lookie there!

Fendley tried to interest his cows in the action, but they were udderly unimpressed.

REICHARD: Why look at the moon when you could jump over it, am I right?

BROWN: Hey, diddle diddle! It’s The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, April 11th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

This week on Concurrently, the News Coach Podcast, the team interviews Andy Crouch, author of The Tech-Wise Family. It’s about using technology to create a healthy culture in which to bring up children.

Here’s a preview, with Crouch answering the question…is tech beneficial, or not beneficial?

ANDY CROUCH: The difference between device and instrument is the instrument keeps a human being involved, often with maximal exertion of, of mind and heart and soul and strength. As I play a musical instrument, like the modern grand piano, which is very much a technological thing. I'm totally involved. It's not a player piano. And the really interesting thing about our phones, is they can actually either be total devices, that totally just do everything for us and entertain us, or they can be incredible instruments. They can be incredible cameras, they can be incredible for music making. And a lot of it is down to what do I choose to use it, like which way am I facing as I use it? So more instruments, fewer devices; more tools, fewer devices; mostly fewer devices, in the sense of things that operate by themselves. That would be the kind of goal for our lives at home and school and church, I would say.

REICHARD: You can hear the entire episode of Concurrently today wherever you get your podcasts. And find out more at

BROWN: Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the sounds of an eclipse.

As the moon passed in front of the sun on Monday, millions of people heard this.


The sound of people celebrating a wonder of God’s creation. But a few people heard something a little different.

REICHARD: WORLD’s Mary Muncy followed a team of researchers into the woods of Indiana. Here’s the story.

KRISTEN BELLISARIO: Okay who’s ready for this one?

MARY MUNCY: Kristen Bellisario and three other researchers are squished onto an ATV trying to make it up a big hill. They’re on their way to a clearing in the middle of a southern Indiana forest to see how wildlife responds to the eclipse.

BELLISARIO: We made it!

Bellisario is a soundscape researcher. She and ten other researchers from Purdue University are hoping to use this opportunity to understand how birds, insects, and amphibians react to darkness at the wrong time of day.

Bryan Pijanowski is leading the project and gathers the group into a circle.

BRYAN PIJANOWSKI: Did everybody take a look at the observation score sheet that I sent out last night? [People agree] Okay.

One side of the sheet is to make observations and record the sounds of different animal classes.

PIJANOWSKI: And then, on the other side, is to record all the sensory things, what do you see? What do you feel because you're gonna experience temperature fluctuations, wind speeds gonna die down, that kind of thing. And then what do you hear that's different? So make those general observations.

They planted microphones all over the area a week ago, and they’ll gather them back up in another seven days. Now, on eclipse day, they’ve brought out wind and light sensors, along with thermometers and cameras. They’re also going to use their own eyes and ears to record what’s happening.

PIJANOWSKI: The reason I'm doing that sensory stuff is because well the animals are, are just like us, they they're sensing all these other types of changes, which are visual and, and temperature, and even the wind speed, they use that as cues.

The researchers are hoping that as the eclipse starts, the daytime animals, like birds, will stop singing. Then they hope to start hearing nocturnal animals, like frogs, bats, and maybe an owl or two.

By 11:30 one team has set up their equipment on top of a hill, while the other team heads down to the side of a reservoir. Bellisario goes with the second team so she can listen to the hydrophone they put in the water a few minutes ago…

They settle into camp chairs, surrounded by a few devices. Then they stop talking, and start listening.

Bellisario puts on the headphones for the hydrophone.

BELLISARIO: I am hearing a series of small clicks. It’s interesting. Oh, and you can even hear some water drops, so when an animal hits the water. It’s definitely very sparse so not much activity.

The clicks are probably from aquatic invertebrates—things like katydids and damselflies.

She takes the headphones off and settles back in her chair to record which birds are singing.

BELLISARIO: [BIRD SONG] Bajeeber jeeber jeeber. I call the Northern Cardinal the ‘Bajeeber bird.’ That’s a Red-winged Blackbird over there.

During the last eclipse, Bellisario and the team put their recorders in places like zoos and national parks, but when the eclipse happened there were too many people shouting for joy for them to get any usable data. That’s why they’re in the middle of the woods this time.

They sit mostly in silence for about an hour—deep listening—trying to figure out what’s making low sounds, what’s making high sounds, and what the patterns are. Then at about 1:00pm, they break their silence for a few minutes.

PIJANOWSKI: So far it looks like 24 different species of birds.

Bellisario says she’s recorded the temperature drop a few times and she says the number of birds singing is abnormal for midday. Normally they sing in the cool parts of the day.

But as they whisper their findings, they’re interrupted…

PIJANOWSKI: Species of birds.

STUDENT: Spring Peepers.


PIJANOWSKI: Yes!... Spring peepers.

The nocturnal frogs sing for just a few seconds, but it’s enough to let the researchers know they’re there.

PIJANOWSKI: The hypothesis we have is that they will start shouting and screaming during the eclipse.

They all smile, stand up to stretch, and get a snack. So far, so good. But as they settle back for their second round of listening, they realize they can hear a train, sometimes the road, and someone mowing their lawn.

They’re not quite as remote as they thought they’d be. But they ignore all of it as the birds slowly stop singing. And the wind starts to die down.

AUDIO: [Sound of woods]

They come out of their silence for their last break just before the eclipse starts at around 3:00.

PIJANOWSKI: There's a chance that this could be a very abrupt change, so everything that we've been seeing so far has been a very general trend.

After Pijanowski gives his last instructions, the researchers are absolutely silent. The birds stop singing. The trees are still. Fish start jumping. Bellisario puts on the headphones for the hydrophone and starts hearing massive numbers of clicks and then just as the moon fully eclipses the sun.

AUDIO: [Frogs]

The frogs explode into song.

Pijanowski stands up. The other researchers smile and look around excitedly. They don’t make a sound as the world goes dark for a few minutes.

AUDIO: [Frogs, fireworks]

Then, fireworks somewhere in the distance.

The researchers look at each other and shrug.

As the fireworks continue, they break their silence.

PIJANOWSKI: Okay so anything that’s a light that’s not flickering is a planet…

They wait as the sky gets brighter. The frogs stop singing all at once and the birds start coming back one by one.

They keep listening for a few more minutes, recording observations, then they go back to the ATVs to grab a celebratory cookie.

PIJANOWSKI: The most surprising thing? I think—how quickly the birds start quieting down. But the explosive nature of the frog community was like, Wow.

Even with the interruptions, Bellisario and the other researchers think they got usable data. But the real project won’t start until they gather their recording equipment and start analyzing the sounds they captured. Then, they’ll start to have a deeper understanding of what nature had to say.

AUDIO: [Sound of frogs]

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy, in Butlerville, Indiana.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, April 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Up next: WORLD commentator Cal Thomas on why a pro-life position that allows abortion at the state level isn't really pro-life.

CAL THOMAS: Former President Donald Trump issued a lengthy statement on abortion this past Monday. It is the latest of several positions he has taken on an issue that continues to be hotly debated. Each statement is supposedly a matter of Trump’s conviction, though some contradict previous statements. These include his longstanding “pro-choice” position before he ran for president, to pro-life, and now pro-life with important caveats. Clearly his latest statement conforms more to polls than principles, which is nothing new.

Trump starts the video with his support for in-vitro fertilization or IVF treatments. He was responding to the recent situation in Alabama where the state Supreme Court ruled that embryos were children–a decision that essentially criminalized IVF if an embryo is subsequently destroyed. Alabama legislators then quickly passed a bill to protect IVF and give immunity to those involved. Trump said he favors IVF treatments for couples who need them.

Trump then takes the argument where it should go–he notes that many Democrats who support abortion, including late-term abortions, are the true “radicals.”

Next, Trump rightly takes credit for the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. But then he says he favors each state deciding for itself what its laws should be. Differing state laws should be seen as a starting point, not the end of the abortion debate. A Civil War was fought over whether individual states should have the right to choose slavery or not. Either all of life is “endowed by our Creator,” or we are evolutionary accidents who can do what we want to each other.

Trump says, “...this is all about the will of the people. You must follow your heart, or in many cases your religion or your faith. Do what’s right for your family and do what’s right for yourself….”

With that last line, Trump loses the moral argument about the value of human life. If each pregnant woman gets to decide for herself (and the father has no legal say), then we are back at the pro-choice position.

And even in states with good laws, abortion pills and telemedicine abortions have changed the debate. Women who want an abortion can now do it at home.

This is an argument that must be won mostly by persuasion. Abortion, like rampant crime and so many other cultural changes that face us, is not the cause of our decadence, but a reflection of it. Here a definition of decadence can help focus on our deplorable condition as a nation: it means “moral degeneration or decay.”

Look around. See what is happening in big cities, in public schools, at the border, in our declining military power and standing in the world, and in the redefining of what it means to be a man or a woman. America’s decline is noticeable to all with eyes to see and ears to hear. These things cannot be fixed overnight, but incrementally.

Near the end of his statement, Trump says this: “That’s where we are right now. And that’s what we want, the will of the people.”

He’s right in saying that’s where we are right now, but he is wrong when he says it's all about the will of the people. People can be led to do what is right. See the end of slavery and the civil rights movement as only two examples. If one has no right to be born, no other rights matter.

I’m Cal Thomas.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Tomorrow: Katie McCoy joins us for Culture Friday. And, a review of the movie Civil War, about future political violence in America. That and more tomorrow.

I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Bible records that “a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” —Acts 18:24-26

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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