The World and Everything in It: January 24, 2023
President Biden continues pushing to expand access to abortion in America; the White House announced a new program to help resettle refugees in the country; and two philosophers debate a very old question. Plus: commentary from Whitney Williams, and the Tuesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The Biden administration moves to make abortion pills widely available. How will the pro-life side respond?
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also, the White House is expanding legal options for immigrants to enter the United States.
Plus two philosophers debate a very old question.
And training camp for boys who will someday be men.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, January 24th. 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: Now news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House wants Biden DE logs » House Republicans are asking the Secret Service for information about who visited President Biden’s Delaware home where the FBI found classified documents.
Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer:
COMER: We formally sent requests to the Secret Service about any communication or documents that would give us an idea about who actually had access to that house.
The White House previously told lawmakers that there are no visitor logs for the home because it’s a private residence.
Investigators this week found another batch of classified documents at the home, including some dating back to Biden’s time in the U.S. Senate.
House committee battle » Meantime, a showdown is brewing between the House speaker and the minority leader. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin explains:
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: In 2021, House Democrats stripped two GOP lawmakers of committee posts over controversial remarks and online posts.
In turn, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has vowed to block three Democrats from committees: Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Ilhan Omar.
McCarthy said Schiff —quote—“lied to the American public…” during Trump impeachment proceedings. He also noted Swalwell’s past ties to a former Chinese spy and remarks by Omar that some in both parties called antisemetic.
But Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is defiantly re-nominating Congressmen Schiff and Swalwell to the Intel Committee. He said both deserve to sit on the panel.
Omar is expected to be renominated to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
CA shooting death toll » Police are still looking for a motive in the shooting attack on a Los Angeles area dance hall where patrons gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Another victim died from injuries at the hospital, bringing the death toll to 11.
Scott Wiese is police chief of Monterey Park, California.
WIESE: My individual officers want to know why, the family would like to know why. The why is a big part of this.
Authorities identified the gunman as a 72-year-old Vietnamese man. They said he frequented the dance hall and reportedly gave free lessons occasionally. His ex-wife told CNN that was where they first met.
Poland pushes for more tanks for Ukraine » Poland says it will ask Germany for permission to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine
MORAWIECKI: (Polish) Even if Germany is not in this coalition, we will hand over our tanks, together with the others, to Ukraine.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says with or without Berlin’s blessing, Poland and a coalition of other countries would send their German-built tanks to Ukraine.
Germany has been reluctant to send its own tanks to Ukraine, but said this week that it won’t stand in the way he if other nations choose to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.
Mexico top law enforcement officer on trial » Jurors are now hearing the case against former Mexican safety chief Genaro García Luna. The US government accuses him of taking bribes from the drug cartels he was supposed to take down. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Prosecutors say that Luna accepted briefcases full of cash to look the other way as the Sinaloa Cartel smuggled tons of cocaine into the United States.
Prosecutors also argue that Luna guaranteed the cartel information on investigations, smooth passage for its cocaine through police checkpoints, and sometimes even law enforcement badges for cartel members.
Luna’s officers are accused of hand-delivering drug shipments from airports and acting as mercenaries, killing people on behalf of the cartel.
Luna insists he is innocent.
For WORLD I’m Josh Schumacher.
Egg prices, collusion accusation » With the price of eggs through the roof, a farmer-led advocacy group is accusing the country’s dominant egg producers of price collusion.
Egg producers say an outbreak of the avian flu is to blame for skyrocketing prices.
But the group Farm Action says that’s just a convenient excuse. It penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission making the case that major corporations have cut a backroom deal to hike prices.
During an outbreak of “bird flu” in 2015, prices doubled. But during the current outbreak, average egg prices have nearly tripled from $1.79 in December 2021 to $4.25 one year later.
AG comments, Harris omits “life” from speech » Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday outlined efforts to fight pro-life laws in states across the country. He said the administration’s abortion rights task force continues its work.
GARLAND: The task force is also evaluating appropriate actions in response to those laws, including filing of affirmative suits, filing statements of interest and intervening in private litigation.
His remarks follow Vice President Kamala Harris’ Sunday speech on the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Harris attempted to tie abortion rights to America’s founding documents.
HARRIS: A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence, that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Many quickly picked up on the missing words, specifically, endowed by their Creator and the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: how the pro-life movement is changing.
Plus, expanded legal options for immigrants entering the United States.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday, the 24th of January, 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. First up: what’s next for the pro-life movement?
Pro-lifers rallied at last week’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., celebrating the end of Roe v. Wade.
But they also have their eyes on the future and are preparing to defend preborn life from aggressive new threats.
WORLD’s Leo Briceno reports from Washington.
LEO BRICENO, REPORTER: For the first time in the 50-year history of the March for Life, thousands of pro-life advocates returned last week to the capital of a post-Roe United States. The end of Roe v. Wade changed the focus of the event and of the pro-life movement as a whole. Lynn Fitch is the attorney general of Mississippi and one of the architects of the Dobbs v. Jackson case in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe. She told the crowd at the March for Life…
FITCH: This year is different. We have overturned Roe v. Wade with the Mississippi Dobbs case. We can protect life, but this is not the end of our journey.
It’s now been seven months since the Supreme Court released its decision in the Dobbs case, ending a federally protected right to an abortion. In that time, both the pro-life movement and abortion activists have zeroed in on shoring up support at the local level. The ruling made states the key governing bodies deciding whether abortion will remain permissible and what protections, if any, would be put in place for unborn babies.
That’s changed the conversation on abortion from one struggle in the Supreme Court to fifty different battlegrounds across state capitals. Ryan Bomberger, the founder of the Pro-Life Radiance Foundation and a Speaker at the 2023 March for Life, says the focus is different now.
BOMBERGER: The battle never stops. I mean, complacency is exactly what evil wants. It wants us to feel this false confidence that it’s over. This will be a continual battle. Because on the federal level, this is what can happen.
Similarly, Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey, another one of the speakers at the March, charged the states with taking up the pro-life movement.
SMITH: Thank you to Justice Alito for writing a brilliant decision, brilliant opinion. And what he did was to convey to lawmakers at the federal, state, and local level to regulate or prohibit abortion. We have an engraved invitation to protect life.
Following the March for Life, abortion advocates also pointed to changes in their own messaging. They are focusing on expanding the availability of abortion drugs and calling for Congress to legislate abortion rights. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to abortion supporters Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida.
HARRIS: For nearly fifty years Americans relied on the rights that Roe protected. Today, however, on what would have been it’s 50th anniversary, we speak of the Roe decision in the past tense.
Even before the march, Biden’s Department of Justice published a memo, arguing that the U.S. Postal Service should still be able to mail abortion pills into states where abortion is illegal—without incurring legal culpability. It’s tactics like those that have narrowed the focus of the conversation to how women seeking abortions can get around pro-life laws.
HARRIS: Members of our cabinet and our administration are now directed as of the president’s order to identify barriers to access to prescription medication and to recommend actions to make sure that doctors can legally prescribe, that pharmacies can dispense, and that women can secure safe and effective medication” (Applause)
Many key Democratic figures have also called for Congress to do what Roe v. Wade couldn’t: cement abortion as a federally protected right in legislation. That’s why, says Bomberger Christians—and specifically churches—need to be involved and aware of what’s going on in the legislative theater now more than ever.
BOMBERGER: Whether it’s a Christian audience or it’s a secular audience, we have to be willing to provide some of that context so that people can understand better, make some of these connections, and understand what’s really at stake.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leo Briceno.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: new programs for sponsoring immigrants.
Last April, the Biden administration announced a private sponsorship program called Uniting for Ukraine. It allows permanent U.S. residents to sponsor Ukrainian refugees to live in the United States for two years.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Then in October, Biden announced a similar program for Venezuelans. It’s an effort to encourage people to fly into airports instead of crossing illegally over the border.
A few months later, the administration expanded that option to Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians. And then last week rolled out the Welcome Corps, a program for sponsors in the U.S. to resettle refugees from around the world.
REICHARD: WORLD’s reporter on the Compassion beat, Addie Offereins, is here to talk about it.
ADDIE OFFEREINS, REPORTER: Good to be here, Mary.
REICHARD: What is the difference between these more focused sponsorship programs and the Welcome Corps?
OFFEREINS: Yeah, Mary, there's an important distinction there and it comes down to an immigrant's status. The Welcome Corps allows five or more adult U.S. residents to sponsor an already approved refugee and help them resettle in the United States. This expands the United States capacity to resettle refugees from just nine large non-profits who usually are in charge of this process. Refugees are processed and vetted for permanent residency before they enter the U.S. and they also have a path to citizenship. Kit Taintor is vice president of policy and practice at Welcome.US. That's an organization that works to connect sponsors and immigrants. Here's Taintor. She refers to USCIS which is United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
TAINTOR: And these paths sort of solve different problems. As you may know, there's 24 million refugees in the world. Some of them have been waiting decades in a refugee camp or an urban center to have an opportunity to resettle in the United States. What Welcome Corps does is it responds to that need to increase the capacity of nations like the United States to, to accept and to support more refugees. What humanitarian parole sponsorship programs do is they allow us to be a little bit more agile and respond to emergent needs. So Uniting for Ukraine is a great example.
Sponsorship programs for specific nationalities like Ukrainians or Venezuelans are aimed at getting people processed into the United States quickly on humanitarian parole. This is a temporary, two-year status designed to address urgent humanitarian needs around the world. This is different from refugee status which takes longer, but comes with a path to citizenship.
REICHARD: Who are the sponsors then?
OFFEREINS: Yeah, Mary, they're really just ordinary Americans or other immigrants with residency in the United States. Some are extended family of the person they're sponsoring. Or some are just ordinary families who wanted to help out like Joe and Sandra Cutshall. They sponsored a Ukrainian family after the war broke out through the Uniting for Ukraine program. They're empty nesters from Ida Grove, Iowa, a community of about 2,000 people. The Ukrainian family lived with the Cutshalls for about 10 weeks. Here's Joe.
JOE: It's a house that was built in the 40s and it's not a real big house but it has basically a bedroom upstairs and two bedrooms down so they stay in the upstairs bedroom. So they rented a house, which is just a few blocks away.
They see sponsorship as a ministry as well as a way to breathe new life into their tiny community.
SANDRA: We do support missionaries and missions and all that, but we're not the ones to go. So we're the ones to have people come and we can open our home and our resources for them.
JOE: There's jobs here. And so, you know, to bring people to fill those jobs and to fill our community.
JOE: A lot of younger people move out of rural Iowa. It's a good life, but there's always something else somewhere.
So, I'll give you another example of sponsorship. Sorangel Rojas and her husband are from Venezuela. They sponsored her 32 year old nephew Junior Navarro so he could join them in Austin, Texas. Their whole process took about a month. He got here on December 24.
REICHARD: And how does the process work? What do sponsors have to do?
OFFEREINS: So to sponsor someone on temporary humanitarian parole, a sponsor has to show that they can financially support the beneficiary. Brian and Sandy Pendley sponsored a Ukrainian couple in their 20s and their four-year-old daughter. They got connected through a Facebook group for Ukrainians in Austin. Here's the couple describing the process.
BRIAN: It’s twofold you fill out our side from the sponsors side that says we're committed to them for two years. And you know, because you hear some stories of some of them, they say to the kid over here and they're abandoned, you know, that's terrible.
SANDY: And show what we owned and we had to prove a lot of stuff and then it didn't take about a week for the government to approve us. And then they send a message to them and then they have to fill out all these forms and send them and then like Brian said then they give them approval to travel.
REICHARD: For immigrants on temporary parole programs, what happens when the two years are up?
OFFEREINS: Yeah, Mary. So, for many Afghans, Ukrainians, and now Central and South Americans, that's a big question. Like I mentioned before, unlike refugee status, humanitarian parole doesn't give permanent residency or include a pathway to citizenship. So immigrants on parole must get in line for asylum—a process that could take years. Another option is for Congress to pass an adjustment act which would provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants on parole.
REICHARD: Addie Offereins is WORLD’s reporter on the Compassion beat. To keep up with her immigration coverage and more, head to wng.org and sign up for Addie's weekly newsletter called Compassion. Addie, thank you.
OFFEREINS: You’re welcome, Mary.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Mary, did you hear about Toadzilla?
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Noooo!
AUDIO: It's alive. A gigantic beast, walking the earth...
Yes, truth is stranger than fiction.
Rangers in Australia last week discovered a massive amphibian, hiding deep in the rainforest of Conway National Park in Queensland.
AUDIO: Is this the end of our civilization?
Ok, maybe not that bad, but rangers say Toadzilla earned his name. It’s a six-pound cane toad and it’s probably the biggest ever recorded. He’s twice as big as the second biggest.
AUDIO: Incredible, unbelievable, a story beyond your wildest dreams.
So of course "Toadzilla" had to go. He’s an invasive species and he’d end up destroying the park.
Just by way of background: The cane toad was brought into Australia back in the 1930s to combat the cane beetle. But now it has become the pest.
AUDIO: Can the scientists of the world find a way to stop this creature?
Turns out the Queensland Museum is interested. It’s offered to take "Toadzilla" for further study.
What could go wrong?
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, January 24th. So glad you’ve turned 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: the existence of God.
On January 28, 1948, two prominent philosophers squared off on BBC radio: Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston. Russell was an agnostic, a mathematician, one of the most famous intellectuals of his day. Copleston was a Jesuit priest who’d written a nine-volume history of philosophy.
REICHARD: That date you mentioned was 75 years ago this week. That’s when they met to debate the question: Does God exist? Here’s WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: Somebody once asked Bertrand Russell this question: If you were to die, and it turns out that you’ve been wrong about everything…that God does exist, and you do have an eternal soul…and you show up in front of God for judgment, what will you say for yourself?
Russell replied: “Not enough evidence.”
In 1948, at age 76, Russell is a well-established agnostic. He doesn’t believe you can prove or disprove the existence of God. That means it’s up to Frederick Copleston to make his case first.
COPLESTON: Suppose I give a brief statement on the metaphysical argument and that then we go on to discuss it?
RUSSELL: That seems to me a very good plan.
Copleston’s first argument is the Argument from Contingency. He points out that everything in the world depends on something else for its existence. Life doesn’t spontaneously generate; it requires a cause. People aren’t self-sufficient; they need food and water and air. According to Copleston, that indicates the universe itself depends on something or someone.
COPLESTON: Therefore, I should say, since objects or events exist, and since no object of experience contains within itself reason of its existence, this reason, the totality of objects, must have a reason external to itself. That reason must be an existent being.
ROBERTS: I think it’s a very strong argument.
That’s Dr. Matthew Roberts, Professor of Philosophy at Patrick Henry College.
ROBERTS: Essentially, the idea is that there must be some reason why there is anything at all. Why is there something rather than nothing?
Copleston’s argument is that something caused the universe to exist. The next question, then, is what caused that cause? Of course, Roberts says, the God of creation doesn’t have a cause.
ROBERTS: The classical Christian theistic response is, that God's nature is to exist. This is part of God's eternality, is his beginningless-ness and his endlessness.
Bertrand Russell doesn’t buy that.
RUSSELL: That seems to me to be impossible.
Russell does believe that some things can exist independently. He just doesn’t think that beings can do that. Here’s Matthew Roberts.
ROBERTS: He thought, like Plato, that there are these things like numbers that exist eternally without beginning…nothing creates nor destroys the number seven, it just is. So it's a little bit puzzling that he would say this... surely if numbers can exist, by themselves, or uncaused, then other beings might, namely God.
But even beyond that, Russell doesn’t think there is an explanation for the universe at all. And he doesn’t think there’s any point in talking about it.
RUSSELL: I should say that the universe is just there, and that's all.
Copleston says that is a possibility, but it doesn’t fit with what we see in the rest of the world.
COPLESTON: There is the possibility of finding out a truth by experiment. And that seems to me to assume an ordered and intelligible universe.
Matthew Roberts agrees.
ROBERTS: Psychologically, we are, we are much more drawn to the idea that it has an explanation. Now, that might just be a product of our psychology, we prefer things make sense. Fair enough. But everything else about the universe does seem to point towards rational comprehensibility.
He says with so many other explanations in the world—laws of physics, biology, chemistry—it would be strange for the one ultimate question to not have an answer.
At this point in the debate, Copleston gets a little frustrated.
COPLESTON: But your general point then, Lord Russell, is that it's illegitimate even to ask the question of the cause of the world?
RUSSELL: Yes, that's my position.
COPLESTON: If it's a question that for you has no meaning, it's of course very difficult to discuss it, isn't it?
RUSSELL: Yes, it is very difficult. What do you say -- shall we pass on to some other issue?
So they move on to talk about personal spiritual experiences. Copleston believes that those experiences indicate the presence of a divine being, revealing himself to people individually.
Finally, Copleston brings up his last main point: The Moral Argument.
COPLESTON: The vast majority of the human race will make, and always have made, some distinction between right and wrong.
Copleston says that indicates a moral law giver, some objective standard to determine good and evil. Russell does believe in good and evil, but he doesn’t have an explanation for where those morals come from.
RUSSELL: I don't have any justification any more than I have when I distinguish between blue and yellow. What is my justification for distinguishing between blue and yellow? I can see they are different.
COPLESTON: Well, that is an excellent justification, I agree. You distinguish blue and yellow by seeing them, so you distinguish good and bad by what faculty?
RUSSELL: By my feelings.
Copleston says that’s not good enough. He brings up the Holocaust, the commanders of concentration camps who committed unspeakable crimes. In 1948, the specter of Nazi Germany is still fresh.
COPLESTON: That appears to you as undesirable and evil and to me too. To Adolf Hitler we suppose it appeared as something good and desirable. I suppose you'd have to admit that for Hitler it was good and for you it is evil.
COPLESTON …I know you don't approve of them, but I don't see what ground you have for not approving of them…
RUSSELL: Yes, but you see I don't need any more ground in that case than I do in the case of color perception…
Philosophers disagree on who won the Copleston/Russell debate. Both speakers gave closing statements reiterating their positions and went their separate ways.
But even though there wasn’t a clear winner, Matthew Roberts says it’s still valuable for Christians to think about these arguments. Not just so we can give an answer to skeptics, but for our own personal walks with God.
ROBERTS: The more reasons you'd have to believe Christianity is true, the stronger your faith can become, particularly in moments of great trial. The life of the mind is really critical to anchoring ourselves in our relationship with God.
And Roberts has a bone to pick with Bertrand Russell: Christianity, he says, has plenty of evidence.
ROBERTS: I think it is actually the most rationally defensible, evidentially defensible, worldview religion on the planet. And so I would be happy to go toe to toe with Russell on that point.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, January 24th. 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. WORLD Commentator Whitney Williams now on the Christmas present she didn’t get.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: All I wanted for Christmas was for my three sons to stop bickering with one another and I told them so.
AUDIO: [Williams boys squabbling]
Instead, I received a plaid lumberjack-looking shirt/jackety-thing from Amazon—I just learned cool people call this a “shacket,”—some Kendra Scott earrings, a massage gift certificate, and two packs of Sour Punch Straws.
A pretty good haul, I’d say, considering my true Christmas wish was but a pipe dream.
After opening presents together, our family of five loaded up in the van for a Christmas Eve service at my grandparents’ church. Not five minutes into the drive, our sons started fighting with one another.
I took a deep breath, let out a long sigh, and … zoned out, like any great Christian parent would. One can only live up to Paul Tripp parenting standards so many times in a week.
One of my five-year-old’s screams jogged me out of my fog: “Remember Mom’s Christmas!” he said in an attempt to silence his older sibling’s severity toward him.
I smiled and took heart. A Bible passage I’d read with my husband a week prior reminded me that I wasn’t the only parent beat down by bickering brothers.
Just listen to what happened when Jesse sent his youngest son, David, to bring supplies to his three elder brothers fighting against the Philistines and Goliath.
Young David gets there, dumps the supplies at camp, and runs out to the battle line to greet his brothers.
“What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?” David asks nearby soldiers.
This does not sit well with David’s oldest brother Eliab. The Bible says his anger was kindled against David—that he got harsh with him, accusatory, not giving his little brother the benefit of the doubt.
“Why have you come down, David?” Eliab spews. “And with whom have you left those sheep in the wilderness? I know the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”
“What have I done now, Eliab?” young David replied to his older brother. “Was it not but a word?”
Boy, that scene just has me shakin’ my head as a mama. No wonder the first image that pops up on Google when one searches “Jesse in the Bible” shows a tired, stained glass dad, hunched over, head in hand.
And yet, when I consider how things turn out in the chapter, I’m starting to think that a bucking big brother may have actually been God-ordained for David; a training ground, of sorts, to instill courage in a young shepherd boy … the kind of courage one might need to slay a giant.
And perhaps God’s got some giants for my boys to slay one day, as well.
AUDIO: [Williams boys squabbling]
I’m Whitney Williams.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: World Tour, plus a conversation with former ambassador Sam Brownback. He’ll talk about international religious freedom.
And, with the price of eggs going through the roof, Americans are looking more seriously at backyard chickens.
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 Bible says: Jesus came and said to [the disciples], “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 18:19 and 20 ESV)
Go now in grace and peace.
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