The World and Everything in It: August 30, 2023 | WORLD
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The World and Everything in It: August 30, 2023


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: August 30, 2023

On Washington Wednesday, Congress is running out of time to pass appropriations bills and avoid an omnibus to fund the government; on World Tour, news from around the globe; and children whose social anxiety causes selective mutism. Plus, commentary from Joel Belz, and the Wednesday morning news

U.S. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaking at a news conference in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol Building Getty Images/Photo by Anna Moneymaker

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is brought to you by listeners like me. Good morning. My name is Julie Thompson. I live in Cross Plains, Wisconsin with my husband Henry. We have both been loyal listeners and donors for many years, and today we are celebrating 38 years of marriage. Happy anniversary, honey. I love you, and I hope you enjoy today's program.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Congress needs a budget deal soon to avoid a government shutdown. Why does this keep happening?

GREEN: The fiscal year ends in a month, and we are so far behind. You could call it a miracle, call it what you will.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday. Also today, WORLD Tour. Plus, childhood anxiety so severe it renders a child unable to talk. We’ll hear about possible solutions.

AUDIO: That week before Thanksgiving was the first time he spoke to his teacher in a complete sentence.

And countering leftward drift among Christians. Today a classic commentary from WORLD founder Joel Belz.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, August 30th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

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

SOUND: [Hurricane]

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Hurricane » Hurricane Idalia is blasting Florida’s Gulf Coast this morning bending palm trees and ripping off roofs with winds well over 100 miles per hour.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis:

DESANTIS: Gonna be a lot of branches, a lot of trees — there are going to be a lot of power lines down. Just expect that. It’s definitely something that is going to require a lot of manpower and a lot of attention.

For days, authorities have warned coastal residents to head inland in Florida’s Big Bend region, where the state’s panhandle curves into the peninsula.

Michael Brennan with the National Hurricane Center:

BRENNAN: Catastrophic impacts from storm surge with 10-15 feet of inundation above ground level.

Both state and federal emergency response teams are standing by.

Afghanistan hearing » On Capitol Hill, lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday from family members of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan two years ago.

Staff sergeant Taylor Hoover was one of 13 U.S. troops killed in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport during the chaotic U.S. military pullout.

His father, Darin Hoover called out President Biden:

HOOVER: I know he can’t name one of them without a card sitting in front of him or a teleprompter sitting in front of him. I say to him, resign.

Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean defended the president’s leadership.

DEAN: We know that it was a series of decisions over multiple administrations that brought this war to an end, a very tragic end.

The Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee has vowed to continue its investigation into the disastrous withdrawal.

Biden Medicare RX negotiations » Also on Tuesday, President Biden touted the potential cost savings on some prescription drugs for those on Medicare.

BIDEN: Today, I’m proud to announce that Medicare has selected the first 10 additional drugs for negotiation under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Biden administration says negotiating the prices of some drugs will mean more money stays in the pockets of Medicare recipients.

The drugs include the blood thinner Eliquis, diabetes treatment Jardiance and eight other medications.

Any lower prices won't take effect for three years. And some of the changes could be further tied up by courtroom battles with drugmakers.

Scalise cancer diagnosis » House Majority Leader Steve Scalise says he has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, but he will remain on the job. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.

JOSH SCHUMACHER: The Louisiana Republican announced that he’s been diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

But Scalise said it is a very treatable form of cancer, especially given that they caught it early.

His medical care is expected to last several months, and the majority leader says he’ll continue to work through the treatment.

Colleagues in the House offered their encouragement. Some recalled his faith and determination after being shot in 2017 when a gunman opened fire on lawmakers at a Virginia baseball field.

For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

Prigohzin buried » The late Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has reportedly been buried.

PESKOV: [Speaking Russian]

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said Vladimir Putin would not attend the funeral.

Prigozhin served as a kind of military general for hire for the Kremlin, including in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But he also staged a short-lived mutiny earlier this year, challenging Vladimir Putin’s authority.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the Russian warlord’s death predictable:

JEAN-PIERRE: A cold blooded murderer became so frustrated by the way that the Russian government was waging its unprovoked war against Ukraine that he criticized Russia's failing policies.

He died in a plane crash last week. U.S. intelligence believes an intentional explosion of some kind brought down the private jet over Russia.

Suarez drops out » Just two months after Miami Mayor Francis Suarez made this announcement:

SUAREZ: I have filed paperwork to run for president of the United States of America.

The mayor has announced that he’s suspending his campaign, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to pull the plug.

The two-term mayor’s campaign failed to gain national traction, and he fell short of qualifying for last week’s GOP debate in Milwaukee.

I'm Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Debate fallout and Congress’s looming budget deadline on Washington Wednesday. Plus, helping kids overcome fears that keep them from talking at school.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST:  It’s Wednesday, the 30th of August, 2023.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up first: Washington Wednesday.

It’s now been a week since the first Republican presidential debate of the 2024 campaign season. Eight candidates on stage, and it led to a number of memorable moments. Former Vice President Pence clashed multiple times with businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

PENCE: We’re not looking for a new national identity. The American people are the most faith-filled, freedom-loving idealistic, hard-working people the world has ever known. We just need government as good as out people… ”

RAMASWAMY: Well, Mike, I think the difference is you might have some others like you may have on the stage.

It's morning in America speech. It is not morning in America. We live in a dark moment, and we have to confront the fact that we’re in an internal sort of cold cultural civil war…

PENCE: You are equating the American people with the failed government in Washington, D.C. We just need government as good as our people again…

REICHARD: The debate also turned on controversial questions like how to respond to climate change. Former governor Nikki Haley said it’s complicated.

HALEY: First of all, we do care about clean air, clean water. We want to see that taken care of, but there's a right way to do it and the right way to do it is first of all, yes, is climate change real. Yes, it is. But if you want to go and really change the environment, then we need to start telling China and India that they have to lower their emissions. That's where our problem is. And these green subsidies that Biden has put in all he's done is help China because half of the batteries for electric vehicles are made in China. And so that's not helping the environment. You're putting money in China's pocket and Biden did that….

EICHER: Each of the candidates has since claimed victory in the debate, but what do the viewers think? Here for more is WORLD Washington Reporter, Leo Briceno.

REICHARD: Leo, good morning.


REICHARD: Well, we've heard a variety of perspectives on who in the debate performed well and who did not. But what did the numbers say?

BRICENO: Sure, yeah, it's been a week since the first Republican presidential debate and polling sites like FiveThirtyEight have gone to town surveying Republicans who watched the event and trying to gauge what impact it had on their perspective. And before we get into those numbers, first, you have to keep in mind that this isn't a randomized national poll, and that the voters who take the time right to watch a two hour debate are kind of a demographic in and of themselves, and this might be representative of a smaller portion within the Republican Party. So just keep that in mind.

REICHARD: Do you have a few takeaways for us from the debate?

BRICENO: Sure, yeah. Multiple polls show that Nikki Haley saw the highest jump in voters who said they’ll consider casting their ballot for her. Two, a majority of watchers said that DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy won the debate, and third, DeSantis remains way behind former President Donald Trump. Analysis by Reuters and Ipsos shows that roughly 13% of watching respondents would make Him their number one choice. That falls well short of Trump who pulled 52% among respondents.

REICHARD: Well, speaking of Trump, the moderators devoted a section of the debate to the elephant that wasn't in the room. They asked about how the candidates viewed Trump's actions on January 6, his claims of a stolen election and his many indictments. Now, many debaters rebuked the former President's actions in one way or the other, but when they were asked if they would support Trump, if he were the eventual Party nominee, even after being convicted, only two candidates didn't raise their hands. And those were former governors Asa Hutchinson and Chris Christie. And here's some audio from each of them, respectively.

HUTCHINSON: I did not raise my hand because there’s an important issue we as a party have to face. Over a year ago I said that Donald Trump is morally disqualified from being president again as a result of what happened on Jan 6th.

CHRISTIE: Whether or not you believe the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States.

REICHARD: Now, how did the debate affect Trump's poll numbers? You said he's still far ahead of DeSantis. But did his support rise or fall after the debate?

BRICENO: Yeah, it's for now it seems that his numbers have dropped marginally. A national poll conducted by Emerson College found that Trump's support slipped by close to 6% since the debate, but that still leaves them close to 50% support among Republican respondents. So a slight change there, yes.

REICHARD: So what does that mean for challengers looking for that second place spot?

BRICENO: Listen, at this point, it would be historic for Trump to lose his grip on a 20 point 30 point lead right, depending on the candidate you're looking at. But if he did that will go down in history as one of America's greatest political upsets. So but if you're if you're in that second place, spot, right, if you're a Governor Ron DeSantis, or maybe you're someone like Ramaswamy, who's who's vying for that second place spot, if Trump slips six points down, that's six points closer to where you want to see him, right? So in their perspective, they'll take any when they can get well, that makes sense.

REICHARD: After all, Trump himself was at just 12% back in July 2015. And he surprised many with an upset of his own.

BRICENO: Certainly, yeah, it's one example of a historic upset there. And lots of these candidates are hoping to make similar jumps in the poll by using not just this debate, but the upcoming one on September 27.

REICHARD: Well, I know that elections aren’t the only thing occupying you on the politics beat. There’s a budget battle coming up in Washington, and you’ve been watching that, as well. What do you see?

BRICENO: Yeah, that’s right. The budget is a large talking point right now on Capitol Hill, and they're struggling to find consensus over it.

REICHARD: Well, as I understand it, we need the government to approve new funding before the end of September or risk, yet another shutdown. Leo, it seems like this issue comes up every single year at about this time. Anything different this time?

BRICENO: Yeah, actually, in years past, appropriations bills have usually been completed through last minute omnibus bills. That's kind of where Congress takes all of its spending needs, puts them in one massive bucket and then passes that bucket. But at the outset of last year, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stated that he wants to take us step away from that approach, kind of that all-in-one approach to funding the government.

REICHARD: And how is the situation panning out?

BRICENO: Yeah, not not great at the moment. It's August. So we've got one month till the deadline. And Congress is not where it needs to be when it comes to the negotiations needed to pass the spending packages in kind of a more traditional way. You mentioned the omnibus bill. Well, before Congress started using them on a routine basis, sometime in the mid-1990s, lawmakers used to pass 12 separate bills corresponding to the many areas of government that needed funding. And so that process allowed for greater attention to detail, greater transparency through a step-by-step consideration. So one bill on transportation, one bill on agriculture, one bill on energy and so on. But that kind of a process takes a lot of time.

I recently spoke with Dr. Matthew Green, the chair of the department of politics at the Catholic University of America. He says that one of the reasons that Congress started using the omnibus bill in the first place was to speed things up. And right now, time is of the essence.

GREEN: The fiscal year ends in a month, and we are so far behind. You could call it a miracle, call it what you will. Think of this like an independent study. And you need to write a 50-page paper. If you don’t start until two months before graduation, you’re going to need an extension.

REICHARD: You know, it sounds like Congress has some catching up to do there. Is it impossible to do it in the normal way at this point?

BRICENO: The problem is, this isn't like a term paper you can just push out with a couple of all nighters and energy drinks. I mean, even if parts of the budget look very similar year over year, the parts that do end up changing require so much attention, if you're going to pass it that traditional 12 bill route. And here's Green again, with a little bit on what that looks like.

GREEN: A lot of appropriation bills can get very specific about how money is spent. Then there are all the members of congress with some influence at this stage, like members of the appropriations committee. Well, they have their own interests and requests. We haven’t even talked about earmarks. It’s just way too many moving parts to rush something and push it through.

REICHARD: That's interesting. It's sometimes hard to negotiate even within parties. I'm thinking back to 2018 when the government shutdown over disagreement about funding for Trump's border wall, despite a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. So what does that mean for the government's funding in 2024? Without going the normal route, that would force Kevin McCarthy to backtrack on his plans, wouldn't it?

BRICENO: It would be amazing at this point if he found a way to make it happen, quite frankly. For now, McCarthy has floated the idea of a temporary funding bill to stall any chance of a government shutdown, to punt the ball as it were for a little bit. But the Freedom Caucus, some of the most conservative members in the House of Representatives, say that they will only cooperate with that kind of a plan if they can get some of their policy priorities included in the appropriations bills. Some of those things include additional funding for the southern border security, for instance. And if that logjam continues, we're probably looking at another omnibus bill, something that the leadership can use to push past Congress in a timely fashion.

REICHARD: I know you'll be keeping your eye on it. Thanks for the updates, Leo, appreciate it.

BRICENO: Thanks for having me.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour with our reporter in Nigeria, Onize Ohikere. 

AUDIO: [Singing/cheering]

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Zimbabwe elections — We start today with cheering supporters in Zimbabwe, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa has secured a second term in office.

Electoral officials say Mnangagwa won 52 percent of the vote, defeating his main challenger Nelson Chamisa by more than seven percentage points.

MNANGAGWA: I’m humbled by the trust and confidence that you, my fellow countrymen and women, have reposed on me to once again serve as president of our great country, Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF party has ruled Zimbabwe since the country regained its independence in 1980.

Opposition leader Chamisa rejected the outcome as a sham.

CHAMISA: There is going to be change in Zimbabwe, whether Zanu-PF people want it or not. It's not going to be easy but there shall be change.

Foreign monitors said the vote did not conform to regional and international standards. They listed concerns about voter intimidation, banned opposition rallies, and biased media coverage. Police also arrested 41 local poll workers, accusing them of criminal and subversive activities.

AUDIO: [Protesters yelling]

Haiti protest — We head next to protests in Haiti where a gang killed at least seven people.

Residents said a pastor led church members—armed with machetes—on a Saturday march through a gang-ridden community outside of Port-au-Prince. The group was protesting gang violence. Gang members opened fire on them.

PROTESTER: [Speaking Creole]

This protester who attended the march said the pastor told his followers they were bulletproof and those who were injured had no faith.

More than 2,400 people have died in Haiti in the first eight months of the year, according to the UN.

AUDIO: [Boat ride]

Italy migrant arrivals — We head over to the Italian island of Lampedusa, which has seen a record number of migrant arrivals.

More than 4,000 migrants docked over the weekend. Many of them had set off from the Tunisian coastal city of Sfax.

Emanuele Ricifari is the provincial police chief of the area.

RICIFARI: [Speaking Italian]

He says here that authorities are coping with the surge. They transferred the migrants to facilities in other cities.

Italy is a major arrival route for migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Europe. More than 105,000 people have arrived by sea this year.

AUDIO: [Crowds]

Afghanistan passport — In Afghanistan, thousands of people have crowded outside the passport office in the western city of Herat.

That’s after authorities said last week they increased the number of passports issued daily from at least 150 to more than a thousand.

RESIDENT: [Speaking Dari]

This Herat resident says the crowds are too big, leaving people stuck in queues.

The Taliban gained full control of Afghanistan two years ago, after the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

They have closed most girls’ secondary schools and stopped women from working with aid groups. The acting minister of vice and virtue banned women from visiting one of the country’s most popular national parks after complaining women did not properly wear their hijabs.

AUDIO: [Sound of hunters at lake]

Loch Ness search — We close today in Scotland, where Nessie hunters wrapped up the biggest search for the Loch Ness Monster in five decades.

Mystery hunters from around the world began gathering on the Scottish lake over the weekend to track down the monster.

During the two-day event, searchers used drones with thermal scanners, boats with infrared cameras, and an underwater hydrophone that could detect sounds.

Some people also signed up to monitor a live stream of the lake.

Paul Nixon is the Loch Ness Centre general manager.

NIXON: Somebody somewhere in every corner of the globe is watching the webcams or involved in this project this weekend.

The participants include Christie McLeod, who joined the search from Canada.

MCLEOD: I have been hunting Nessie for nine years. This will be my seventh tour on the loch. My first official hunt.

The Loch Ness center organized the quest with a volunteer research team. Tales of a monster lurking in Loch Ness date back to ancient times, with stone carvings in the area showing a mysterious beast with flippers.

Some participants said they heard strange sounds, but they found nothing conclusive.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Here’s a peek behind the scenes here at WORLD. Yesterday, I was helping pull together our radio news called The Sift. Onize, whom you just heard, sent me a story about the brain worm.

Doctors in Australia revealed they’d pulled out a worm that had gotten into a woman’s brain. The worm was three inches long. This is a first. and I hope a last. It happens to pythons, but never people, until this case.

Dr. Sanjaya Senanayake:

SENANAYAKE: Something this large, 8 centimeters and wriggling around is something that had never before been seen in a human being and was certainly something we’ll never forget.

You and me both, doc.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, our friend Myrna was anchoring and when she came across this story wriggling around in her script. Welp, this was how she reacted.

MYRNA BROWN: (Loosely translated) Yikes! 

EICHER: So Onize, no more creepy crawler stories for a blue moon, not counting tonight’s blue moon!

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, August 30th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Breaking the silence.

Some children have a difficult time in new situations. We’re probably all familiar with the kid who clams up on the first day of school. But what if that student doesn’t speak for weeks—or years?

REICHARD: This is called “selective mutism.” It’s an anxiety disorder that means the child is unable to speak in some situations—even if they are comfortable and talkative in others. WORLD correspondent Amy Lewis met with some people helping those kids to find their voices.

AMY LEWIS, REPORTER: At the beginning of fall term last year, Tim Vanderstoep thought one of his students was just really shy.

VANDERSTOEP: She just seemed to be one of the quiet kids in the class. And I guess it's quite, yeah, quite often the case that you might just have shy kids who just don't talk much in class. So I just kind of put her in that category.

Vanderstoep teaches digital technologies at an all-girls’ Catholic high school in Geelong, Australia. As he tried to interact with this shy student on individual projects, her silence became more pronounced.

VANDERSTOEP: And yeah, at that point, I realized that she just didn't talk to me. In any other sort of situation, you would feel it would be disrespectful. Right? So with 20/20 hindsight, I can see that's not what it was.

Vanderstoep discovered that his student was dealing with selective mutism. The anxiety disorder often shows up in kids when they enter certain social situations. Adults might think the child is refusing to speak, but in many cases, they are actually unable to.

Elizabeth Woodcock is a clinical psychologist and director of the Selective Mutism Clinic in Sydney, Australia.

WOODCOCK: So kids with pure social anxiety will still be able to talk a bit, but it might be in quite limited ways. But kids with selective mutism have kind of learned this strategy of shutting down and not responding as a way for them to manage those big uncomfortable feelings.

Mary Lassiter lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Three years ago, her 4-year-old son Ethan was known at preschool as “the boy who didn’t talk,” even though he speaks French and English fluently.

LASSITER: So at preschool, he was completely silent. You know, he wouldn't even laugh, he wouldn't even make a sound or cry. If somebody you know, pushed him.

Another mom suggested to Lassiter that her son might have selective mutism.

Having the right vocabulary opened the floodgates for Lassiter to find help for Ethan. She signed him up for an online charter school. That changed the peer pressure and stigma of not speaking. His one-on-one time with teachers increased. She contacted universities with speech and language pathologists and put Ethan’s name on waiting lists to get help.

She found a speech therapist she says was like Mary Poppins.

LASSITER: She was not going to take to pointing fingers. She was not going to take head nods. She was not going to take that a thumbs up thumbs down, which was what everybody would do to communicate.

The therapist helped Ethan say his first words in English after a two-year silence.

The next step was to get him to speak to people that are considered “contaminated.” That means the child has learned he doesn’t have to communicate verbally with those people. For Ethan, that included his grandparents.

LASSITER: So what we did to break that cycle of contamination is play about I think, like 5000 games of rock, paper, scissors. And in order to win, the rock needed to crush the scissors and make that sound.

Once Ethan started communicating verbally with his grandparents, Lassiter started looking for other places where he had to vocalize—like telling a horse to “giddyap” and “whoa.”

LASSITER: So those are the first two words like they got on a horse and after about 50 times on a horse, they're speaking not only to the horse, but we transferred it to the trainer. So we were able to kind of use this and just keep on building that momentum.

Psychologist Elizabeth Woodcock says that working with children who have selective or situational mutism is very rewarding. Because it’s not a lifelong condition: It can completely resolve.

Woodcock notes that selective mutism is triggered by social anxiety. A child is afraid that someone will judge them or embarrass them.

WOODCOCK: And the only way we can actually reduce that anxiety is to expose ourselves to those situations for the brain to learn that really, that bad thing is not going to happen. I'm going to survive or if something bad does happen, I can actually cope with that.

Woodcock uses a strategy that she says works for children who experience different kinds of anxiety.

WOODCOCK: But there is a sort of more powerful bypass that we use called sliding in. And we use this probably with 90 to 95% of our kids.

The strategy works for a child who is comfortable talking with the parent, but not with their teacher. First, the parent plays a talking game with the child in the classroom. Then, the teacher gradually moves into the room, listening to music on headphones, then slowly moving closer to the game, and eventually joining in.

WOODCOCK: And the child's talking in the context of the game. And then we slide the parent out.

Ethan Lassiter eventually moved on from audible games of Rock, Paper, Scissors and telling horses to go or stop. He transferred his speaking in those game-like situations to actually start talking with his teachers.

LASSITER: That week before Thanksgiving was the first time he spoke to his teacher in a complete sentence. And I knew that that right there is proof that there are good people out there that really want to help you.

EITHAN: And the moon is a satellite that travels around the earth. 

TEACHER: That is amazing. Thank you, Ethan for teaching me that.

He didn’t stop with just his teachers.

TEACHER: Are they right, Ethan? 


LASSITER: He also spoke to their children. And I still have it videotaped, and I have it in my Google Drive, because from this day on, we saw that as like, we literally wanted to cry. We wanted to do secret handshakes with each other because we knew that we broke the silence right then and there.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Amy Lewis in Geelong, Australia.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, August 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. The lure of chasing what is novel or edgy can undermine biblical principles. Here’s WORLD Founder Joel Belz in this classic commentary.

JOEL BELZ, COMMENTATOR: Hugging the centerline is a perilous way to drive. Yet that is precisely what evangelicalism is being called on constantly to do.

Note, well, I am not referring to non-Christian institutions of higher learning, or to the so-called liberal media. Colleges and universities on the one hand, in the media on the other, bear great responsibility for calling us to espouse more what we call open-minded ideas on matters such as the origin of man and the world around us, social behavioral patterns including sexual mores, issues like patriotism, nationalism, and explanations of economic structures. The move from right to left on all these issues is historically much more likely to spring from the society's intelligentsia than from its grassroots.

By itself, of course, that proves nothing. In terms of what is Biblically right and wrong, grassroots folks are no more likely than the eggheads to be right. But the direction of the flow of ideas is worth noting. And it is a direction as true of the Christian community as it is of society at large. Theological liberalism, like its secular counterparts, has historically been born in the classrooms and nurtured in the journals.

Why is that so? An explanation worth listening to points to at least two significant factors. The first is that by their very nature, professors and writers are creative folks unwilling to accept the status quo. Always they're looking for new explanations for things. “Why?” is their constant theme, and existing answers rarely satisfy. And we should be thankful God made some people that way. Because in the right context, such a Spirit keeps us looking for His truth.

The problem is that we're so often caught up in the wrong context. That's the second reason that academia and the media have a tendency to pull us from right to left. Professors and writers like all of us have peers. Like all of us, they like to please their peers. The problem is that professors and writers work so exclusively in the world of ideas and values. To please their peers, they have to do with those ideas what their peers find satisfactory. The whole process has a tendency to tug the ideas even of well meaning people in the direction of the peer group.

I know that partly because I just participated in the annual convention of the Evangelical Press Association, a gathering of journalists and publishing personnel firmly committed to the authority of Scripture. This year for professional purposes, we met jointly with people from the Associated Church Press, a much more liberal group with only a sprinkling of evangelical-oriented members.

Through the three days, I was impressed how often I was tempted to trim my own sails, to refrain from saying what I really believed, just so I could have the respect of those professional colleagues from the other end of the ideological spectrum. They just kept calling me to the middle of the road.

Christians should pray regularly for teachers and writers who live with those pressures. In many respects, they are the guardians of what we hold dear. It is important that they be found faithful.

EICHER: That’s Joel Belz, reading a commentary titled “Hugging the Center Line” from his book, Consider These Things. The column originally appeared in the June 6, 1988 issue of WORLD Magazine.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: The death of a Russian mercenary in a plane crash last week was clearly not an accident. We’ll talk about what led up to this event.

And, the story of a woman who identified as a man… until her pastor asked who she really was. That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

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 Psalmist writes: I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. Psalm chapter 56, verses 12 and 13.

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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