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The World and Everything in It: January 26, 2023


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: January 26, 2023

Germany wants to expand its coal mine operations, but environmentalists are hindering efforts; Students with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes say they just want to be treated the same as other clubs; and a man who is passionate about people and surfing. Plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news.

Police officers take Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine during a protest action by climate activists after the clearance of Luetzerath, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 Federico Gambarini/dpa via Associated Press

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

It’s cold in Germany, and environmentalists are at odds with keeping the heat on.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also the Fellowship of Christian Athletes fights for the same rights as other clubs in high school.

Plus surfin’ USA, with custom surfboards. 

And commentator Cal Thomas.

REICHARD: It’s Thursday, January 26th. 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: Time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ukraine tanks » Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he welcomes a new wave of Western weapons—including U.S. and German tanks.

ZELENKSYY: [Ukrainian]

Zelenskyy said the military aid is badly needed as Russia prepares for a new offensive.

President Biden on Wednesday announced that Washington will supply 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv.

BIDEN: To liberate their land, they need to be able to counter Russia’s evolving tactics and strategy on the battlefield in the very near term.

But The White House it will take time to get the Abrams tanks on the battlefield. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that’s due to the extensive training needed to operate them.

KIRBY: It’s the, as the president said, the most capable, powerful tank in the world. And a lot goes into making it the most capable.

The White House coordinated with Germany on the announcement. Berlin says it will send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and welcomes other countries to send their German-made tanks as well.

Civil rights probe » Federal prosecutors say it may take some time to investigate the death of a young man during a traffic stop turned violent in Memphis.

The family of Tyre Nichols alleges that he died after police officers tased, pepper sprayed, and beat him for roughly three minutes.

The police report from the January 7th incident said a confrontation occurred during the stop and Nichols fled on foot before a second confrontation.

U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz.

RITZ: This federal civil rights investigation will be thorough, it will be methodical and it will continue until we gather all the relevant facts. As with any other federal investigation, we will go where those facts take us.

The department fired all five officers involved in the incident, citing use of excessive force and other violations.

Wounded teacher sues » A Virginia elementary school-teacher shot and wounded by a 6-year-old student is suing the school.

Diane Toscano is the attorney representing teacher Abigail Zwerner. She says school administrators received three warnings the day of the attack, saying the boy had a gun with him.

TOSCANO: This is outrageous. Given the opportunity to call the police over a report of a potentially armed student, the school administrator failed to act and protect the school.

Zwerner was hospitalized after the shooting, but is now recovering.

Taliban women aid groups » In Afghanistan, the leaders of several global humanitarian aid groups are hoping to persuade the Taliban to end its ban on women working for non-government organizations.

UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammad told the BBC:

MOHAMMAD: International rescue committee was able to reach 5 million Afghans last year. We’ve suspended most of our activities across the country because we are not able to work without our female staff.

The Taliban announced the ban last month. Since then, a number of major aid groups have suspended their work in the country.

Pro-life center vandal arrests » Two people in Florida are facing federal charges for vandalizing pregnancy centers. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more.

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: A federal grand jury charged Caleb Freestone and Amber Smith-Stewart Tuesday. Prosecutors say they spray painted threats on three Florida pro-life pregnancy centers last year.

The indictment asserts they used threats of force to intimidate and interfere with employees working at the centers.

If convicted, the defendants each face up to 12 years in prison.

For WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: climate activists in Germany protesting the government’s efforts to expand coal mining.

Plus, a man who is passionate about people and surfing.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 26th of January, 2023.

You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad to have you along today. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up on The World and Everything in It: protesters and coal mines.

Last weekend in Germany, police ousted the remaining protesters from a coal site set for expansion. Some of the protesters had been occupying the town for years—hiding out in tunnels and tree houses. 

BROWN: Right now, Germany is facing a choice regarding energy, human lives, and environmental activism. WORLD’s Mary Muncy has the story.

AUDIO: [Mud wizard]

REPORTER MARY MUNCY: In Luetzerath, police laden with heavy tactical gear sink knee-deep in mud. They are trying to reach a crowd of protesters in an open field.

One protester in a cloak and boots flits over the mud, taunting trapped officers and pushing some of them over. People on the internet dubbed the protester the “mud wizard.”

All of Luetzerath’s 100 residents were officially relocated in 2017 to make way for coal mining and some protesters have been occupying Luetzerath for as long as two years. It used to be a small farming community with a city center in the middle.

The German company RWE bought the right to mine for coal under Luetzerath in 1995. They’re going to bulldoze the town, mine the coal, then use the rock, sand, and topsoil to turn the mine back into a habitable place.

AUDIO: [German] People will always take money.

This protester is saying here that there are always some people who are willing to take money and leave, while others think saving their home is more important.

But that’s not the only reason people are protesting.

THUNBERG: The science is very clear. The carbon needs to stay in the ground.

That’s climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking to hundreds of protesters outside Luetzerath.

THUNBERG: What happens in Luetzerath doesn't stay in Luetzerath. Germany, as one of the biggest polluters in the world, has an enormous responsibility. They need to be held accountable. And that is why we are here.

The protesters say Germany is not living up to climate promises it made in 2021. The plan was to cut more than half of Germany’s emissions by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2045.

THUNBERG: That the German governments are making deals and compromises with fossil fuel companies such as RWE is shameful. It shows us exactly where we are. It shows us their priorities. It is not people, it is profits once again.

But Germany is right in the middle of its first winter without Russian gas and things are getting tight.

Germany got more than 50 percent of its gas from Russia before the Ukraine war. Now, amid sanctions, and Russia turning off the tap, Germany says it’s not using any Russian gas.

Electricity prices have surged as much as 15-fold across Europe since last year.

This is Diana Furchtgott-Roth. She’s the director for the center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at the Heritage Foundation.

She says Europe has been making all kinds of energy cuts to try to keep the lights on.

FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: People are being asked to be more flexible about their electricity use and in the national grid, so they're being told not to charge cars at certain times, not to use their washing machines at certain times.

And Germany does a lot of manufacturing that requires a lot of energy. But that’s costing more as energy prices rise. Furchtgott-Roth says some manufacturing companies are moving to the United States where energy is cheaper, taking jobs away from Germans.

So Germany is forced to make a choice: save the climate, or keep the heat on.

FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: Basically in order to get by, you absolutely have to have the coal right now. So there are some times you have to put human beings ahead of the environment, and this is one of them.

She says Europe was already headed for an energy crisis before the war in Ukraine started. The war just made it come faster than anyone expected.

FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: Wind and solar are not as reliable as  coal and oil and gas and they’re more expensive.

These more sustainable options cost more and are less reliable. The original plan was to ease into the higher costs, allowing the economy to catch up. But the hard cut-off spiked prices.

RWE, the company planning to mine the coal under Luetzerath, has been phasing out dirtier forms of energy. They were originally planning to raze six towns, but brought it down to one.

A spokesperson RWE says its plan isn’t to get back into coal, but just to keep the lights on for now.

AUDIO: [Protesters being removed]

Now, police have now cleared Luetzerath of protesters—Thunberg was arrested and carried off the property.

Barring further protests, RWE is clear to mine the coal.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: Religious liberty on campus.

A group of Christian students is once again fighting for its right to remain on campus. A court ruling in favor of the San Jose high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes is now at risk, given that a federal appeals court said it will review the case.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Students with Fellowship of Christian Athletes say they just want to be treated the same as other clubs and have leaders who agree with their mission.

Steve West recently wrote about this case, and he joins us now to talk about the group, known by the initialism FCA. Steve’s an attorney and writes about religious liberty issues for WORLD Digital.

BROWN: Good morning, Steve!

STEVE WEST, REPORTER: Good morning, Myrna!

BROWN: Steve, student-run FCA clubs have been operating on high school campuses for decades. I certainly remember them. So what’s going on here?

WEST: That’s right, Myrna. This is exactly the kind of thing Congress tried to ensure didn’t happen when it passed the Equal Access Act back in 1984 by a bipartisan majority in both houses. That law says that if a school allows extracurricular clubs, it cannot discriminate against clubs based on religious views. So, if it allows a Senior Women’s Club, it has to allow an FCA club. Here, the school denied recognition to the FCA club because it required club leaders to agree with its statement of faith and sexual purity, which requires student leaders to adhere to Biblical views of marriage and sexuality. That’s what some students and faculty took issue with.

BROWN: I thought the students won their right to meet back in August of last year. Why is this still going on?

WEST: They did win. A three-judge panel of the appeals court last summer, on the eve of the school year, ruled in favor of the students. Two of the three judges agreed that the school did not follow its own nondiscrimination policy—allowing, for example, the Senior Women’s Club to limit their leadership to women. Which makes a lot of sense of course. But you can’t have it both ways. The judge writing the majority opinion also wrote a separate opinion just to draw attention to the level of hostility here.

BROWN: Hostility from students or teachers?

WEST: Both. When a teacher was made aware of FCA’s beliefs, he hung the statement of faith and sexual purity on his classroom whiteboard and wrote that he was “deeply saddened that a club on Pioneer’s campus asks its members to affirm these statements.” From there, it snowballed. Meetings were picketed, students attending were videoed and photographed, and students were harrassed—teachers and administrators looking on. They were forced to stop meeting formally and, eventually, in May 2019, the school district derecognized the club–meaning it no longer could use school facilities for meetings or means of communication open to other student clubs.

BROWN: So bring us up to date. What’s happening now?

WEST: So after last August, when the court ordered the school to allow FCA to meet, the school shut down all other student groups. It’s stayed that way until just recently–ostensibly because they were going to revise their policy. While FCA was able to meet because of the court order, the students chose not to, as no one else could meet and their meeting would have just attracted more hostility. Meanwhile, the school asked the entire 11-member appeals court to reconsider its ruling. And it recently agreed to do that. That means the ruling in favor of the students is out, vacated, and FCA remains unrecognized.

BROWN: Does this mean the court might now rule against the students?

WEST: It’s possible, but still uncertain. Two of those 11 judges –the two from the panel decision–will obviously be in favor of the students, but they’ll need the support of at least four more. One of the students’ attorneys, Daniel Blomberg of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, is cautiously optimistic. He told me that some members of the full court may want to take the opportunity to revise some of its prior legal rulings in light of recent Supreme Court cases. And he also said that a do-over on this gives students an opportunity to draw from theories that weren’t emphasized in the panel ruling.

BROWN: So what’s next?

WEST: The court set new arguments in the case for the week of March 20th. All briefing has been done, but Blomberg said Becket and Christian Legal Society attorneys may ask the court to allow the group back on campus while the matter is resolved. It may depend on what the school decides to do, meaning they could temporarily allow the club to meet. Yet they seem dug into their position.

BROWN: Any final thoughts?

WEST: This is another case that shows where many leaders in public education are right now: A Biblical view of marriage and sexuality like that held by FCA is not tolerated, not even to be voiced. There is no live and let live. You must not say these things or you will be canceled, and the voices clamoring for that are very loud. Let’s hope and pray the court does not see it that way and instead upholds FCA’s First Amendment rights. And let’s praise God for some really courageous students who were willing to be identified with Christ and not fold under pressure. That should challenge us all.

BROWN: Steve West writes about religious liberties for WORLD Digital. You can read his work at WNG.org. You can also subscribe to his free weekly newsletter on First Amendment issues, called Liberties. Steve, always good to have you on. Thank you!

WEST: Thank you, Myrna.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Talk about mislabeling!

Consider the Field Museum in Chicago. Back in the ‘30s it received a sword pulled out of the Danube River in Hungary. It looked like a weapon from the bronze age—3,000 years ago!— but all things considered, curators assumed it was a replica.

until a Hungarian scholar visited the museum last year.

William Parkinson is curator of anthropology at the Field Museum. Here’s Parkinson on television station FOX 32:

PARKINSON: So I pull it out. He looks at it for half a minute and says this isn't a replica. This is a real sword.

Metallurgy analysis confirmed it.

PARKINSON: ...usually it goes the other way. It's seldom that you've got something in your collection that's said, in the collection records for 100 years. This is a replica that you find out no, it's actually the real deal.

Scholars suggest the sword may have been tossed into the river in a ritual to commemorate those who died in battle. A literal “burying of the hatchet.”

You can see the sword this spring at the Field Museum’s “First Kings of Europe” exhibition.

BROWN: Field trip!

REICHARD: It’s The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, January 26th. 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. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: custom surfboards.

WORLD Correspondent Caleb Bailey dropped by a local surfboard factory recently while in his home state of California. Inside that factory, he found an owner with a passion for people.

AUDIO: [Waves]

CALEB BAILEY, REPORTER: If you surf the waves of Ventura County, California, chances are you’ll see a board or two stamped with an unusual logo: a silhouetted man with a briefcase. That’s a Proctor surfboard, crafted carefully by Todd Proctor. The silhouette is his dad, Vance, a former police officer with the LAPD.

PROCTOR: Well, how about, “what’s every surfer’s nightmare is like having to go to work in a cubicle and a suit.”

Proctor fell in love with surfing when he was 12 years old.

PROCTOR: You know a lot of self esteem can come out of life from being able to do something well with you know your peers and your friends.

He became fascinated by the different models of the surfboards he would ride. Heading down to his local library, Proctor picked up a simple “how to shape surfboards” book and got to work in his grandpa’s San Fernando Valley backyard shed.

As he refined his craft during his teenage years, most of Proctor’s family disapproved of his unique passion—including his dad.

PROCTOR: Why do you want to make boards? Like that’s what the drug smugglers like, they smuggle drugs in boards, I busted these guys. Why do you want to do that?

Eventually, Todd brought his amateur handmade boards to an experienced shaper. The shaper liked what he saw and took him under his wing as an apprentice. With professional guidance and some boards to show for it, Todd began to win his dad’s approval.

PROCTOR: And he looked at me and he goes, so you're self sufficient doing this, and I remember sitting down with him and going “Well, I think the future is going to be custom designed boards, designed on computers.”

Vance loaned Todd the money to open his own factory in 2000. But he didn’t get to see much of the fruits of his son’s labor.

PROCTOR: Unfortunately passed away about two years into opening the factory here. And it actually took me about 16 years to pay off the business loan that I have. But I’ll tell you what felt good when I did.

Proctor still uses that factory. His showroom is decorated with longboards, shortboards, fun boards, foamies, all hand crafted and stamped with the man and his briefcase.

A blank door next to the front desk leads back to the factory— which has two individual shaping rooms, the walls painted a deep ocean blue. Proctor says the color contrast helps bring out the contours of the white foam blanks as he carves and molds them. That’s also why he has side lights instead of overhead lights.

Another door opens up to a larger room, where Proctor applies fiberglass to the boards. It’s hard to miss the sharp smell of resin, coming from barrels that sit in the corner. After a board has been wrapped with fiberglass weave, it’s soaked with the resin, giving a shiny finish to the board, and keeping it strong while still buoyant.

And at the center of the factory, Proctor’s secret ingredient.

PROCTOR: A CNC machine that you can go and duplicate your best hand shaped boards, but then also take them and scale them size them bigger, smaller, wider, thicker, thinner, according to the person’s body weight, their type and their surfing ability and the waves they surf, and you work with them one on one.

With the help of a few other shapers, Proctor built a CNC machine that was one of the first of its kind. He wanted to keep the custom, personal touch while fast tracking a process that can be taxing on the body.

PROCTOR: you’re walking around back and forth with this planer in your hand, imagine holding it out from your body. And it’s a great workout, but repetitive motion after you know 40-50 years. At the end of your life, you’re going to be like a cripple. And so I’m like plus, not only that, but being able to duplicate your best work in a like, quick and efficient manner.

Proctor noticed how the board-shaping industry often favored professional team surfers—paying less attention to amateur surfers. Meaning low quality boards filled the market, boards that would fall apart or end up in the dump—all for a quick buck.

PROCTOR: And even before I got saved, and was a believer in my mid 20s, I still there's something resonated with my spirit that was like, that actually is not success. Success is being able to bless people individually and personally. And I’m coming to find out that that’s who God actually is… he’s intimate, and he’s personal, and he’s infinite, as well. And so we can’t be infinite here at my little surfboard factory, but we can be personal.

That personal touch made the man with the briefcase a recognized symbol around the world—in South Africa, Norway, even New York City. And the pandemic didn’t slow down demand.

PROCTOR: But there was people calling us during during COVID like tripping out and suicidal and going, Okay, I just need to talk to somebody can I order a board…the only thing that will keep me hold hanging on is I want to get a couple more boards because I want to plan a trip for in two years, if I do, if, if stuff does go back to normal, and I want to I want to go here and I want to board for it.

And with each board, Todd Proctor hopes a greater eternal reality is stamped onto the hearts of his customers.

PROCTOR: Sometimes it even paves the way for people to go, Why in the world. Did you take the time with me? I’m not a pro surfer. And yet this board has blessed my life so much, and why do you use better materials? And why do you sacrifice to make something better when you could do it this way, or you could outsource, make way more and not have done this for me like why? And they don’t, they don’t get it. And then you have opportunity to explain to them, Well, here’s why. Because that’s how God rolls. And that’s how he does for us. And it leads people to their own creator and have a relationship with him themselves.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Caleb Bailey in Ventura, California.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, January 26th. 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. Commentator Cal Thomas now on the recent resignation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Like Halley’s Comet that only comes around every 75 years, the resignation of a top politician from office is a rare occurrence.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has quit and not for the usual reasons of scandal or the all-purpose excuse “to spend more time with my family.” In a burst of honesty worthy of emulation by other leaders, Ardern has resigned because she says she has “nothing left in the tank.”

She made her announcement at a news conference that shocked her Labour Party and everyone else. Ardern, who led the country through the pandemic and a massacre at a mosque in Christchurch in 2019, is only 42 and in what most would consider the prime of her political life. She had recently denied press reports she would quit.

One factor that may have contributed to her resignation takes some of the bloom off the rose of her seeming transparency. She insisted her decision to step down had nothing to do with polls that show her party behind the rival National Party ahead of the upcoming October election. She claimed she could win re-election if she ran.

The Labour Party has held power since 2017, but last year lost its consistent lead in the polls. The opposition National Party began to surge last October.

At last week’s news conference during which she fought back tears, Ardern said: “I am leaving because with such a privileged job comes a big responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead – and also when you’re not.”

Wouldn’t that be an excellent standard for American politicians, many of whom stay far beyond their “sell-by” dates?

She also said she wanted to marry her boyfriend/fiancé with whom she has a child.

Ardern, who was considered by many to be a role model for women and young people, was elected in 2017 and at 37 became New Zealand’s youngest ever prime minister. Before that, at 28, she was the youngest sitting Member of Parliament in 2008. During her press conference, she admitted: “I didn’t expect to be prime minister.”

Ardern was the subject of heavy criticism for imposing some of the strongest Covid-19 restrictions in the world, including lockdowns in which New Zealanders couldn’t even buy carryout food. She also closed the country’s border for more than two years. It made Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Covid-19 policy banning the sale of seeds and some gardening supplies, while allowing the sale of other things, look sane by comparison.

New Zealand politics can be confusing and contradictory as in the U.S. In 1984, the Labour government came to power with a promise to make the country nuclear-free. This attitude was typical among many on the left who believed showing the Soviet Union we “meant them no harm,” as the saying went, would create a different kind of deterrent. Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” approach proved decisive.

For many, politics is either an aphrodisiac, or a drug. Both are addictive and difficult to break free from. Assuming her resignation explanation is true, Jacinda Ardern has managed to achieve that goal. More power to her.

I’m Cal Thomas.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: John Stonestreet returns for Culture Friday.

Plus, Collin Garbarino reviews a quiet movie about a bureaucrat who finds out he only has 6 months to live.

And, your listener feedback.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Well, this year we will follow the ESV Bible in a Year reading schedule. You’ll hear a portion of each day’s reading here.

The Psalmist writes: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 ESV)

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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