MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Today on Culture Friday, the long road for Colorado cake-baker Jack Phillips takes yet another turn!
NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll also talk about police brutality and racial strife ahead on Culture Friday.
Plus a review of comedian Nate Bargatze’s new special, streaming now.
And Ask the Editor.
BROWN: It’s Friday, February 3rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Now the news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ukraine » After months of agonizing, the U.S has agreed to send longer-range bombs to Ukraine.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin:
AUSTIN: We’re focused on providing Ukraine the capability it needs to be effective in its anticipated counteroffensive in the spring.
The new weapons will have roughly double the range of anything the U.S. has provided thus far.
That’s part of a $2 billion aid package that the White House is expected to announce today.
For months, U.S. officials have hesitated to send longer-range systems to Ukraine out of concern that they could be used to target inside Russia, which could further escalate the conflict.
Meantime, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters Thursday:
LEYEN: Russia must be held accountable in courts for its odious crimes.
Von der Leyen announced that an international center for the prosecution of the crime of aggression in Ukraine will be set up in The Hague.
U.S.-Philippines » Austin also spoke about the U.S. military’s growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
That after the Philippines granted U.S. troops access to four more of its military bases.
AUSTIN: We will continue to work along side our allies and train and ensure that we maintain credible and ready forces.
The United States also recently reopened its Solomon Islands embassy in the South Pacific. China accused the U.S. of provocation and of undermining stability in the region.
Chinese weather balloon » But at the same time, the Pentagon has been tracking what it believes to be a Chinese spy balloon over U.S. airspace. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The balloon is the size of three large buses and U.S. officials reportedly decided not to shoot it down due to risks of harm for people on the ground.
A senior defense official said Thursday that the U.S. has “very high confidence” it is a Chinese high-altitude balloon and it was flying over sensitive sites to collect information. Those sites include one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields in Montana.
The Pentagon says it has taken steps to ensure it did not collect sensitive information.
The incident comes as Secretary of State Tony Blinken is set to make his first trip to Beijing, likely this weekend.
For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Pence home search » The FBI is reportedly planning to search former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home and his Washington office for classified materials.
Pence’s attorney said only weeks ago that documents marked as classified had been recovered at his residence, following a search by his team. Representatives for Pence say they do not believe any more classified documents will turn up, as they have already thoroughly searched the areas themselves.
The FBI on Wednesday concluded a search of President Biden’s Delaware vacation home looking for more classified documents, but found none at his beach house.
National Prayer Breakfast » Congressman Tim Walberg of Michigan opened the 71st annual national prayer breakfast on Thursday.
WALBERG: God, our Heavenly Father, thank you for your reconciling love demonstrated so perfectly in the Spirit of Jesus.
Members of Congress, government officials, and other guests attended the gathering at the Capitol to pray for the nation’s leaders and policy makers.
Participants heard speeches from two pastors and from President Biden, who called for unity in Washington.
BIDEN: My prayer for this prayer breakfast is we start to see each other again, look at each other again.
Every president has attended the annual gathering since Dwight D. Eisenhower first spoke at the event in 1953.
Ilhan Omar » Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar is officially off the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Republicans voted to oust her from the panel Thursday in a party line vote.
Republicans cite past remarks from Omar, which members of both parties criticized as antisemitic.
But on the House floor today, Omar was defiant.
OMAR: My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term.
On that point, she and Republicans agree. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters Omar will still be allowed to serve on other committees.
McCARTHY: We just do not believe when it comes to Foreign Affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that she makes. She shouldn't serve there.
McCarthy also barred two other Democrats from the House Intelligence panel. But they too are free to serve on other committees.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: a new comedy special from Nate Bargatze.
Plus, Ask the Editor.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s the 3rd day of February 2023.
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. It’s Culture Friday!
Joining us now is John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning.
EICHER: Well, Jack Phillips is back in the news.
The listener will connect Jack Phillips with Masterpiece Cakeshop and its LGBT foes and with the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s probably the most well-known baker of cakes this side of the Cake Boss or the Ace of Cakes from reality television.
But Phillips’s reality is different. It’s death threats, being reviled by elite culture, and legal conflict. And legal conflict renewed last week, as he lost a case brought by a transgender legal activist who’s been pursuing him for years.
And Jack Phillips may have to return once again to the U.S. Supreme Court where he won his case four-and-a-half years ago, only to continue to face challenge after challenge.
John, you know Jack Phillips a little bit. Do you wonder how he’d react if he’d been told back in 2012, “your choice is to bake the cake or be sentenced to a decade-plus of legal harassment and pariah status”?
STONESTREET: You know, I don't want to put words in Jack's mouth or say things on his behalf. I'll just say this. The last time I had the privilege of speaking with Jack—and the time before that—he seemed remarkably encouraged by how God was using his story in his own life, and also to encourage and to inspire others. Jack knows of at least a handful of folks who have come to faith because of his story and he's encouraged by that. Now, look, I don't know if that means he would choose differently or choose the same or whatever. I think Jack has taken the approach that was recommended by TS Eliot when he said "For us, there's only the trying and the rest is none of our business." Or Kierkegaard who said, "Life has to be lived forward and is only understood backwards." I do know that the state of Colorado has been absolutely horrible to Jack Phillips. This last chapter, of course, is a civil case filed by a man who identifies as a woman and is part of a law firm that is under his last name—Scardina. Scardina actually asked Masterpiece Cake Shop to bake a cake. Changed his story about what it was for, but ultimately, it was always to celebrate a gender transition. The Civil Rights Commission was notified about this, and the Civil Rights Commission initially went after Jack for this as well. But after being soundly slapped down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case for how they had treated Jack and his faith, they actually ended up dropping the case. But a judge in Colorado allowed this case actually to proceed. I think the judge has shown unbelievable bias in this case. And Scardina has essentially been allowed to personally harass Jack saying, in fact, that he would not stop until either Jack changed his mind or he was out of business. So what Jack has been through is a level of personal harassment. Now, not by a nameless commission that has behaved essentially Gestapo-like, but now by an individual citizen who just will not let it go. It is wrong. It is tragic that the state of Colorado has allowed this to continue now for over a decade. And yet here Jack is. I do think it'll go back to the Supreme Court. I think that what this court did was rule on speech that Jack's custom cake making to celebrate a particular cause does not count as speech. That's what they actually said. And I think now that you're going to have to have this adjudicated at the highest court in the land. And, of course, the Court made this bed in the Obergefell decision—even though Justice Kennedy assured us that people could disagree with good conscience. We've known from the very beginning that at least for one side of this it was all or nothing. And really, you know for both, that this is not something we compromise on. This is not something we can just let go. Yeah, it's been over a decade now, Nick, and it's nowhere close to being over. So, as the plaque on Chuck Colson's desk read, "It's about faithfulness, not about success."
EICHER: I want to ask you about a case in Scotland. I wonder whether you’ve heard this one. It involves a man born Adam Graham. He’s a violent offender, convicted recently of rape, and he claimed transgender status and sought to serve his prison sentence in a women’s prison, under the name Isla Bryson. Now, Scotland has a progressive view on transgender questions. But shockingly, this is where the government has drawn a line. Even though Adam Graham-slash-Isla Bryson is legally recognized as a woman, the authorities don’t really recognize him this way, because it’s off to the men’s prison for this particular convict. Carl Trueman, writing for WORLD Opinions, says, quoting now: “Allowing Adam (he/him) to become Isla (she/her) is great, but only so long as Isla is the sort of person that [Scotland’s first minister] would invite to a polite … party [in Edinburgh]. When he’s a rapist, it is quite a different matter and quite inconvenient for the progressive class.” Trueman goes on to say, “There may be hope. Perhaps this confrontation with reality, rather than abstractions, will be instructive.” John, interesting that the line gets drawn here. Are you aware of this?
STONESTREET: Yeah, no, I am. And if that's really the line, right there? That's the one that's going to bring us to our senses? That's the one where we're actually going to acknowledge that there's observable differences between men and women, not only in their body parts, but also in their destructive potential and everything else in between? Then that continues to say a lot about the sort of culture we are, the sort of victims we're willing to allow to be harmed because of our bizarre ideas. And I say bizarre, and really, they're dangerous. They would just be bizarre like freakish sideshow sorts of ideas, if they didn't have so many consequences for real people.
BROWN: John, we’re all still trying to wrap our heads around the tragedy of Tyre Nichols’s death. The Memphis police unit that was created to deal with crime, now disbanded and no longer serving that purpose. Those former police officers, going to pay a high price for such brutality.
And as a mom of sons, I can’t imagine. I don’t want to imagine the pain Tyre Nichol’s mother is living with right now. I’m thankful that in the middle of indescribable grief, she had the presence of mind to speak out against riots and violence as that sickening video was about to be released.
Yet, despite those efforts, you have individuals still bent on creating racial strife. Have you heard this:
AUDIO: “I’ve got a message today for some white people. If we have white people listening and paying attention. I wouldn’t mind if you did this with me… would we rub our chests, find out heart beat and we say we did this. We did this. White supremacy did this. I’m talking about Tyre Nichols. Police didn’t do this. The Memphis Police Department didn’t do this. White supremacy did this.
What do you make of such an outrageous response?
STONESTREET: Well, look, I'm less concerned about a particular radical response like this, which you can always find across the board, as bad as it is, as I am that the same sort of narrative was advanced by CNN, and even to some degree by the President of the United States. And what we actually have in this story is something that disproves our preconceived notions on both sides. The tendency to always defend police as if police never do anything wrong. Of course, we shouldn't believe that from human history. We shouldn't believe that from what we've seen. We shouldn't believe that from all kinds of stories. The idea that this is somehow something that's due to whiteness when you're talking about a group of black police officers, that disproves that one, too. The only thing it points to is the universal human condition that people do things that are wrong, that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That there is a problem in a culture that cannot govern itself, because then you have to rely on people to govern other people. And those people are fallen too. I think you do have, in some police departments, evidence of a crazy level of aggression that doesn't match what their jobs actually are supposed to be. And so punting now to some sort of racial narrative, as if it explains this is just leaving a lot of people scratching their heads. Maybe a lot more than the last time a story became national news. Thank God for the courage of Tyre Nichols mother and how she actually has handled this. To be able to, at some level, understand the implications of the story that involves your son and being able to step out like this and actually call people to account. What a remarkable show of courage that she has provided. And I'm thankful for that. But we have to deal with the realities on the ground and the realities on the ground start with the realities of the human condition. And until we actually start applying that to this framework, we're not going to understand these issues. We're going to be distracted by explanations that don't match the stories that we're trying to understand. And that certainly has been the case up to this point.
BROWN: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thanks, John!
STONESTREET: Thank you both.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, February 3rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a comedy routine everyone can enjoy.
Stand-up comics have a reputation for being pretty raunchy. But Nate Bargatze has made a name for himself by going against the flow, offering clean comedy that speaks to the average American experience.
BROWN: Hello, World! is the title of Bargatze’s latest comedy special and it debuted on Prime Video this week. Here’s Collin Garbarino to tell us about it.
DAUGHTER: Please welcome my daddy, Nate Bargatze.
COLLIN GARBARINO: That’s Nate Bargatze’s 10-year-old daughter standing in the wings introducing her father for his latest comedy special Hello, World! Before stepping onto stage, Bargatze gives his wife and daughter hugs and kisses, setting a family-friendly tone for the next 60 minutes of jokes.
Nate Bargatze is one of America’s funniest comics, and he makes his fans laugh while keeping his set clean—no profanity or sexual references here.
NATE: Look, I say a lot of dumb stuff. I try to keep it in front of large groups. Seems to go better that way. When you say something dumb one-on-one it’s a lot for that person. I’ll say it, then I can just feel that they feel the weight of my life on their shoulders.
Much of the humor comes from Bargatze’s self-deprecating style. In the past, he’s mined his dubious education for laughs. And for this new special he returns to the theme.
NATE: We were supposed to go see the White House in 6th grade, and we couldn’t go because the Gulf War started. And by the way, I didn’t even know we were supposed to go. I only found out we weren’t going.
But our teacher came and said, “We can’t go. The Gulf War started, and they had to put a fence around the White House.” And that was it. Never talked about it a day after that. So I just assumed the Gulf War was on the streets of Washington.
For someone who pretends to be the dumbest person in the room, Bargatze is a brilliant storyteller. And beneath the jokes about his supposed ignorance, he possesses a folksy wisdom that resonates with many of us who didn’t grow up as part of the coastal elite.
NATE: Look, anything I say up here does not come from a building of education. This is all stuff I’ve overheard at Target or Lowe’s.
Bargatze is just a good old boy from Tennessee. But when he reflects on his childhood, he causes us to laugh at what seems like a universal experience.
NATE: I am the first born in my family. Is there a lot of first born here tonight?
It’s a lot of us. I like it. We have to stick together. We have it the hardest of all the children. We show up, our parents are not ready for us to be there.
They don’t have any money. You basically get there. You’re like, “I don’t think I should even be here yet.” But they want you to get a job and start helping out. The youngest show up and your parents are trillionaires.
In this special, Bargatze reflects on the humorous side of family. Most of the jokes involve childhood memories, the reality of growing older, and the perils of having children of your own. And though he plays it for laughs, he’s very upfront about his family’s Christianity.
NATE: My parents, uh, they also became Christian when I was born. And… everybody’s still Christian, but I got them when they were the most Christian.
I had 80s and 90s Christian parents. Well, that’s the most Christian you can ever get of the Christian.
Besides keeping his comedy clean, one of the most impressive things about Bargatze is his total lack of cynicism. Yes, he jokes about his parents and siblings and wife, but we can tell it’s always rooted in love and respect. Golfing with his wife doesn’t sound fun, but he makes it funny while still letting us know he loves her.
But most of the jokes deal with his own inadequacies, and he seems to find some contentment in those inadequacies.
NATE: My mom wanted a koi pond. She’s kind of finally, you know, at the age where she wants one. So for Mother’s Day, we were like, “We’re going to build it for you.” And so we got all the stuff, then got shovels, and we started digging the hole for it. And I don’t know if you’ve ever dug a hole before, but it’s maybe the hardest thing you ever do in your life. You see it on TV and movies, and it’s like, “I’ll just dig this hole real fast.” And then you do it in real life, and it’s like “I guess it’s all CGI because it’s impossible.”
There’s no profanity in Nate Bargatze: Hello, World! But there’s a throwaway joke about gay marriage and in another joke he uses rude words some parents might not want small kids to hear. Maybe watch it first with just the parents before sharing it with your children.
Those small caveats aside, I recommend the show which streams on Prime Video, and if you haven’t watched Bargatze’s other two specials, The Tennessee Kid and The Greatest Average American, you should go track them down on Netflix.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, February 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Up next, Ask the Editor. Today, WORLD Radio Executive Producer Paul Butler responds to a concern that many listeners have raised over the last month, and it may even be a concern you’ve had but haven’t expressed.
PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Since the first of the year, we’ve received many notes like this one:
You used to end the broadcast with the reminder that this is God's world…is the decision to follow the words from the Word with an advertisement a financial one? It is certainly a jarringly painful one. Please go back to that reading.
Here’s another one from a long-time listener:
Your program and team are amazing and I am grateful to have a source for biblically aligned and presented news…You recently made a change to put advertising at the end of your podcast…for me, it has not been a good change, replacing what used to be a few minutes of quiet reflection on the daily bible verse with a disruptive distraction. Please consider changing this back.
And one more…
Hey y'all, we are WORLD subscribers and financial supporters! Being accustomed to ending the episode with [Mary or] Myrna's scripture reading and “go now in grace and peace,” I find this new support message to be a more abrupt way to end the episode and would like to see you revert to your previous practice. I will also say that I am enjoying the scripture excerpts from the ESV One-year Bible plan and the inclusion of the scripture reference.
There have been other notes like these. So first of all, thank you to everyone who wrote in with similar feedback.
We have a high view of God’s Word at WORLD. We aim for Biblical objectivity in what news we cover, and in how we cover it. And we’re glad that so many of you understand and support that mission.
So, let me begin by saying that we have heard you! We are eliminating the closing sponsorship spot, and will once again end our program with a scripture selection as the final word each day.
Now some of you raised the question of why sponsors are even necessary given that we ask directly that you support the program financially. Our twice a year grassroots giving drives provide an opportunity for readers and listeners to support WORLD and we set a big goal each time but you need to know it’s less than 20% of our annual budget.
That means we need additional sources of income to cover the difference. Sponsorships on this program, and digital and print advertising bring in some of that—these are ministries and organizations that believe in the work we’re doing and want you to know it.
We do limit the number of sponsor mentions in each episode—and we try to keep each spot break to under thirty seconds … so that you can get back to the news of the day quickly. If you listen to many podcasts, you know how rare that is!
But I’d like for you to know that our sponsors are not just advertisers trying to make a buck. They believe in our mission and want to help us succeed. They provide a stable source of income to accomplish that mission. So I’m grateful for them. They are not a necessary evil.
They believe Biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires is more important today than ever before. And they want to make sure our news coverage gets into more hands, eyes, ears, and hearts of people like you.
And so that’s why they help to make this program and our many other products possible. But you are our primary supporters and so it seems fitting that yours are the first words on this program each day. And from here on, when we close with Scripture and wish you grace and peace, those will be the last words you hear.
I’m Paul Butler.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Well, it’s time to say thanks to the team members who helped put the program together this week: Mary Reichard, Ryan Bomberger, David Bahnsen, Leo Briceno, Onize Ohikere, Heather Frank, Amy Lewis, Anna Johansen Brown, Emily Whitten, Leah Savas, Kim Henderson, Cal Thomas, Brad Littlejohn, John Stonestreet, and Collin Garbarino.
Thanks also to our breaking news team: Kent Covington, Lynde Langdon, Steve Kloosterman, Lauren Canterberry, Mary Muncy, Josh Schumacher, and Anna Mandin.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And our guys who stay up late to get the program to you early: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz. Our producer is Kristen Flavin with production assistance from Lillian Hamman, and Benj Eicher.
Paul Butler is our Executive Producer.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Jesus said to the disciples: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:25-27 ESV)
I hope you’ll worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend! Lord willing, we’ll be right back here on Monday.
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.