The World and Everything in It - July 30, 2021
WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - July 30, 2021
On Culture Friday, pro-life legal battles and modest Olympic uniforms; a streaming series about a gentleman thief trying to follow his moral compass; and your Listener Feedback. Plus: the Friday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
The legal challenge to Roe versus Wade is coming by way of Mississippi and Olympic athletes are challenging skimpy outfits…
NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll talk about that with John Stonestreet today on Culture Friday.
Also today, a French mystery American audiences are enjoying.
And your listener feedback.
BROWN: It’s Friday, July 30th. 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: Up next, Kent Covington has today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden announces new pandemic requirements for federal workers » President Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new pandemic requirements for millions of federal workers.
He urged employees to get vaccinated, but is not mandating vaccinations. He said anyone who chooses not to get the shots…
BIDEN: Will be required to mask no matter where they work, test one or two times per week to see if they have acquired COVID, socially distance and generally will not be allowed to travel for work.
He decried what he called an “American tragedy” of preventable deaths. The CDC recently said that 99.5 percent of those who have died of COVID-19 in the last few months were unvaccinated.
Biden also ordered the Pentagon to look into adding the COVID-19 shot to its list of required vaccinations for military service members. And he has directed his team to take steps to apply similar requirements to all federal contractors.
Eviction moratorium to end Saturday » The nationwide ban on evictions will expire tomorrow. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Biden administration says it will not attempt to extend the expiring moratorium beyond July 31st.
The CDC enacted the eviction freeze in September, citing the importance of social distancing during the pandemic. It reasoned that many evicted renters would be forced to move in with others or turn to shelters. But multiple federal courts ruled the CDC overstepped its authority.
The White House said Thursday that President Biden would like to extend the federal eviction moratorium due to the spread of the delta variant. But the administration says its hands are tied after a recent Supreme Court ruling.
In a split 5-to-4 decision last month, the high court allowed the eviction ban to continue through the end of July. But the court signaled it would block any additional extensions without an act of Congress.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Biden administration will reportedly delay rollback of border policy » With traffic at the southern border and cases of COVID-19 both surging, the Biden administration is expected to hold off on partially ending the Title 42 policy.
That is a CDC public health order that allows the government to quickly expel immigrants who enter the country illegally in order to slow the spread of the virus.
With the delta variant running rampant, the administration has reportedly decided to “put the brakes” on plans to roll back Title 42.
Meantime, Republicans on Capitol Hill continue to sound alarms over the migrant surge. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday...
MCCONNELL: We’ve now seen the highest unaccompanied child arrivals on record, the biggest month for immigrant encounters in 21 years, and this month, total CBP apprehensions for the calendar year are expected to top a million.
GOP lawmakers continue to blast President Biden for reversing Trump-era policies they say were working well to stem traffic on the border.
The Biden administration says it’s focusing on root causes in the home countries of migrants.
U.S. gross domestic product growth slower than expected » The U.S. economy is bouncing back, but maybe not as quickly as expected.
A new report shows U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 6.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter this year. That was a little better than the first quarter, but significantly slower than expected.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said this week that employers still can’t find enough workers and a low labor participation rate is slowing the economic recovery.
POWELL: Factors related to the pandemic such as caregiving needs, ongoing fears of the virus and unemployment insurance payments appear to be weighing on employment growth.
Those unemployment insurance payments are now the subject of numerous legal battles. Many states are ending their participation in the so-called enhanced unemployment program, which gives recipients an extra $300 weekly federal check on top of state benefits.
But some people are suing to keep the checks coming. And Judges in Maryland and Indiana have ruled that the states must resume the extra payments for now.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita lamented on Thursday...
ROKITA: This is another example of a judge taking the law into his own hands and a system that really is keeping people from getting back to work and dignity that they had - or should have - with work.
The enhanced unemployment benefits are slated to end nationwide in September.
Ex-cardinal charged with sexual assault » Former Washington D.C. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick faces new charges of sexually assaulting a teenager. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Pope Francis defrocked the 91-year-old McCarrick in 2019 after substantiated claims that he abused teenagers and seminarians.
McCarrick is now the first U.S. cardinal to face criminal charges for alleged sexual abuse. Prosecutors say he assaulted a boy at a wedding reception in 1974.
He faces three counts of indecent battery and assault. His alleged victim was 16 years old at the time, attending his brother’s wedding in Massachusetts.
McCarrick denies the accusations.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: a pro-life court case heads to the Supreme Court.
Plus, your Listener Feedback.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Friday, July 30th, 2021. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
Back in 2018 Mississippi passed a law called the Gestational Age Act. It bans abortion after 15 weeks with two exceptions: pregnancies involving life-threatening health emergencies or fetal abnormalities incompatible with life.
In response, an abortion business in the state capital Jackson sued and won in federal district court, striking down the law as unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent.
Undeterred, the state’s Attorney General Lynn Fitch took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and the court will hear it.
Now, unlike other failed attempts to limit or ban abortion, Fitch is directly calling into question the constitutionality of the right to abortion, the central holding of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.
EICHER: It’s Culture Friday. John Stonestreet is here. He’s president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
Good morning, John.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning.
BROWN: John you like to say it’s important not just to make abortion illegal but unthinkable. I’d like you to talk about what those steps are, but don’t they at least include the lengthy and expensive legal efforts as well?
STONESTREET: Absolutely, they do. And it's important for me to note that I didn't make that phrase up. And listen, that line, I've heard it from many people who have spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears trying to defend the lives of the preborn. And they get the fact that as many people say that politics tends to be downstream from culture. So you get the political results by getting the cultural change. It's not always that way. But it often is that way.
Sometimes, however, to overturn great evil, you have to do legal first. Or sometimes even the legal part of it, the political part of it, can be upstream, it can be political laws that do the right thing, even if the larger culture is not ready—the civil-rights legislation would be an example of that, I think.
Now, what I mean, in terms of making this unthinkable, and that's what makes this case in Mississippi, and particularly the words of Attorney General Fitch and her briefing so fascinating. I mean, this was the most devastating critique of abortion law that we have seen in this sort of a document: First of all, that America's abortion laws are completely out of step with the rest of the world. So, you know, the company that we keep in terms of abortion on demand, are some of the worst actors of human rights in the world right now.
Secondly, that what we now know, just a clear outline of what we know about fetal development, things that weren't known in 1972, things that have become clear, and also then make it clear what abortion is. And that's part of this cultural change Myrna which is you have to actually uncover evil.
And then I also found it fascinating that the attorney general outlined three parties that abortion harms, and at least abortion on demand, obviously, the child, but also the mom, that this idea that this is just like, you know, going in for an outpatient surgery, and everything is fine. That treats an entire group of women who regret their abortion who have physical and mental challenges because of their abortion. It treats them as if they don't exist.
But also, this is big. Attorney General Fitch outlined how this harms the medical profession. And what we're seeing across the Western world as abortion law turns into doctor assisted suicide law, that suddenly a profession that is built around helping and healing becomes a profession, that mutilates and even kills.
EICHER: I want to jump in on this—talking about culture change strongly implies cultural institutions to help bring about that change and it seems to be getting more difficult to protect those institutions. Latest example: the Virginia Values Act—as they call it—a revision to nondiscrimination law that brings in gender identity among other things. So here’s the story: A pregnancy care network, two churches, and three Christian schools sued the state saying the religious exemption was unworkable and now that case got tossed out because none of the parties had been harmed yet. They had to wait to be harmed, in other words.
And let me stop here for a note to the listener: If you’re not signed up for WORLD’s “Liberties” free email newsletter—you really ought to be, that’s where I learned about the story, from our religious-liberty specialist Steve West, former federal prosecutor turned journalist—and we’ll place a link in today’s transcript. But you can probably remember wng.org/newsletters, really good stuff there—and free!
But back to the story. Steve reported for WORLD that the religious exemption they’re arguing about only allows churches and other ministries to base hiring and firing decisions on how employees self-identify religiously, not on whether they follow a group’s beliefs on things like sexuality and marriage. It’s a fine distinction, but it makes all the difference.
But here’s my question: don’t these realities make things different from the day of William Wilberforce, navigating a complicated modern society with its rules and regulations just to preserve institutions to help fight cultural battles?
STONESTREET: Yeah, institutions matter, greatly. Institutions matter on a number of levels within culture and cultural change. In other words, beliefs, and behaviors and identities are preserved by institutions within a society. You can see, for example, I think there's an example of this going on right now with the Olympics where there is a reticence of athletes to identify as Americans. You have athletes saying, I'm doing this for myself, not for my country, I mean, that blatantly, it's an interesting thing. And it's dramatically different than anything before.
So what does it look like when an institution like sport, like the U.S. Olympic team, has lost the loyalty of its people? And then what you have then is an individualism, and that's not going to be enough to sustain any sort of identity. So you're seeing this kind of happen in real time, I think, I think right now.
But that does underscore the importance of protecting institutions, but it's getting challenged every year, every term, there is a challenge to institutional religious freedom in the Supreme Court. And so that's why this matters. What you have here is what we have seen increasingly at the state level, we can go back to California, its assault on the religious freedom of Christian institutions, particularly colleges and universities. Not to mention pregnancy care centers, you remember, remember that whole deal where they had to basically promote abortion services with font that was big enough for people to read across the room.
It's an amazing and egregious thing of saying: ‘Look, you can believe whatever you want in the privacy of your own heads. But because you exist as a public institution, you actually have to go along with our values as a state.’ That's what Virginia has done as well. Virginia is aggressively trying to be a progressive place. It's going to be absolutely essential to preserve these freedoms. Sitting this one out is not going to be an option.
EICHER: I'm glad you brought up the Olympics because I'm noticing a really kind of interesting cultural story that is coming out of the Olympics. Female gymnasts from Germany wearing full-body suits in the qualification events. As the BBC reported the athletes “continued their stand against the sexualization of their sport.”
I saw a story, too, about Norwegian beach handball players deliberately defying a rule that required them to wear bikini bottoms—they went with shorts instead—to make a similar protest.
What strikes me is this is not coming from Islamic countries, for example. This is coming from Western countries and I don’t get the sense this is for religious reasons.
So I wonder if it’s a trend and I wonder whether you think this is a sign of possibly a more healthy culture?
STONESTREET: It's a great question. I think it's a sign of absolutely contradictory and confused culture. And I think we're going to see more and more of these things. Look, I applaud the modesty here, you know, but it's in the name of kind of having sexual autonomy. And that contrast comes from a another contrast, which is, ‘hey, you know, women be sexually liberated, because you've been victimized sexually.’ There's just so many contradictions in the sexual revolution. It's hard to know where to begin.
And because there's not a stable source for human dignity in Western culture anymore, but we still want human dignity. We still want value, we still want equality and all of these things. You know, a couple weeks ago, I did a Breakpoint commentary in which I said wokeness is a Christian heresy, because wokeness is fighting against discrimination and fighting against oppression. I think it's doing it wrongly. And I'm using wokeness in the common way people use it. But you know, what the, the idea that oppression is not a normal part of the world and should be fought against only owes itself to Christianity.
That's what's so interesting about this story, the idea that women's value should be protected historically never existed, until there's a vision of the image of God. And of course, in the first chapter of Genesis, before we know Eve’s name, we're told that she's also made in God's image. It's a beautiful grounding of human identity for these two, Adam and Eve, that are going to be critical in this human story and kind of representative of the rest of the human race.
So I think that's what's happening here. I think that sexual brokenness creates a context in which particularly women and children are vulnerable. And women also have been given that voice to fight back. And so I applaud these gymnasts, I applaud these Norwegian beach handball players who I also didn't know was the thing, but God bless ’em, you know, have fun.
I just, I think that, you know, the only potential for this to have some sort of long term change, and not be undermined. I mean, think about, for example, how all of women's rights are now at risk in the name of third wave feminism, which says that men can be women. It's so bizarre. We're just in this state of perpetual conflict and contradiction. So I'm not I'm not sure that there's longevity here without something more stable to ground it in, but God bless them for pushing back on the ways that they're being sexualized.
BROWN: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
EICHER: John, thanks so much.
STONESTREET: Thank you both.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Sometimes where technology fails, man’s best friend delivers.
Elsa Green was enjoying a day on the beach with her family in Eagle River, Michigan until she realized had lost her wedding ring in the sand.
A man with a metal detector hunted for the ring, but he was unable to find it.
So Green walked to a nearby sheriff’s office to ask for help. A deputy told her there was really nothing they could do. But a short time later, Sgt. Brad Pelli arrived with his K-9 named Dogo.
The dog then began searching for the ring and it took him only a few minutes to find it.
Sgt. Pelli told WBUP-tv...
PELLI: Part of the dog’s training is just article search, so anything with human odor he’s trained to find. Mostly it’s just going to be on crime scenes, whether it be a knife or a gun or anything with human odor.
A grateful Elsa Green says she plans to bring Dogo some ice cream soon to say thank you.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, July 30th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a French mystery series thrilling American audiences. Here’s WORLD’S Sarah Schweinsberg.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REVIEWER: There’s just something fun about watching a heist where the thief gets back at the bad guys. Other movie franchises like Ocean's 11 or the Italian Job as well as the famous Robin Hood have capitalized on this story trope.
Lupin, now streaming its second season on Netflix, continues in that tradition. The French 10-part mystery series follows Assane Diop, played by acclaimed French actor Omar Sy.
Assane and his father, Babakar, left Senegal to create a better life in Paris. At first, the father and son’s circumstances are better. Babakar gets a job chauffeuring Hubert Pellegrini, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in France.
AUDIO : I’m looking for someone personable and someone punctual. That’s very important.
I couldn’t agree more sir. I’m suspicious of people who are late.
Thank you, Babakar. As you leave, tell my assistant to put an end to the interviews.
Then, a valuable necklace once owned by French Queen Marie Antoinette goes missing from Pellegrini’s safe. Police and Pellegrini accuse Babakar of stealing it, sending him to prison. Overwhelmed with shame, Babakar commits an apparent suicide, leaving his young son to fend for himself.
Twenty-five years later, Assane sets out to avenge his father and prove his innocence. To do that, he needs to expose the corrupt Pellegrini family.
AUDIO: Why would they lie?
ASSANE: I don’t know. If they lied about it, they could have lied about the rest including the charges against my father. For 25 years, I believed my father was a thief. I grew up with that. For 25 years I’ve been wrong.
But Assane doesn’t have much moral high ground to stand on. He’s spent his life perfecting the art of robbery and fraud.
He bases his thieving techniques on Maurice Leblanc’s famous book series, Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar. (Arson Lu-pawn) Leblanc published his first Lupin story in 1905. Sixteen novels and 39 novellas followed, all telling tales of a thief known for using his trickery for good.
AUDIO: Arsene Lupin isn’t just a book. He’s my heritage. My method. My path. I am Lupin.
Assane Diop tells himself he’s using his gifts for good as well, because don’t the rich owe their money to the poor, afterall?
But Assane fails to recognize how he himself has benefitted from the wealth and prosperity of France’s upper class. Even though flashbacks throughout the series also demonstrate how many people who could have helped him instead treated him as just another trouble-making immigrant kid.
And, if he’s honest, he really just enjoys out-smarting people.
ASSANE: Good afternoon, ma’am. This is the police. Can you open the door? No need to worry ma’am. I have two of my cops already standing guard downstairs. Do you have an alarm system?
ASSANE: Oh no, madam that’s not good. Not at all.
But now, Assane wants to use his questionable skill set for something bigger than just fattening his wallet. He wants to win back his estranged wife and son, as well as clear his father’s name. And, to him, the ends justify the means.
AUDIO: Ok, what’s the new plan. Assane?
Don’t worry. Pelligrini took it out on my son, so I’ll do the same. I’m after his daughter.
Lupin is filmed in French, so the American Netflix version is dubbed in English. But the quality of the voice acting, as well as the fast-moving plot, quickly make viewers forget they are watching a dubbed version.
One downside: The show features frequent language. And sometimes the English voice-over adds worse expletives than the direct French translation in the subtitles.
And there are obvious problems with Assane’s thieving ways. Those aside, it is fun to watch the master of disguise, illusion, and technology operate as he tries to bring down his foe.
Like how he manages to steal a multi-million dollar necklace from the Louvre with a team of janitors, or trades places with an inmate in prison, or evades police by ordering well-done burgers with no onions.
AUDIO: I can’t see his face. I can’t hear! Attention all units, the thief from the Louvre is in the park. No one intervenes until he moves. Got it?
Lupin is striking a chord with audiences. It grabbed the second most eyes of any Netflix original so far this year and became the first French production to hit the U.S. Top 10 list.
At the end of season two, Netflix announced Lupin will return for a third chapter. Until then, we will have to wonder if Assane Diop will ever put his thieving ways behind him. And if he’ll learn that more crime, even aimed toward the dirty rich, does not balance the scales of justice.
I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, July 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Time now for your Listener Feedback.
And we certainly have a lot of it to share this month. Many listeners wrote to us this week after hearing Dr. Charles Horton’s interview about America’s Frontline Doctors. We’ll read samples from a few of those many, many emails in a minute. But one common criticism we heard was that we didn’t have any kind of response from the organization itself, and we didn’t. But there is a reason, and we should have said during the segment that Dr. Horton did try to get in touch with America’s Frontline Doctors and asked to talk to them as part of his reporting. He gave them a week to respond and they did not.
BROWN: We also heard from many listeners who wanted us more directly to address the doctors’ claims about things like Hydroxychlorquione, Ivermectin, and reports of adverse reactions to the COVID vaccines. One of the reasons we didn’t do that in this week’s segment is that we’ve carried reporting on these issues at other times. We’ll link to those reports in today’s program transcript, so if you wanted to, that would make it convenient to go back and check those out.
EICHER: Alright, let’s read some email that is representative of the feedback we received—and as I said, it was a lot—it was highly negative, some of it from medical professionals, and all of it by email, so we’ll have to read excerpts. First, Kenneth Kirby wrote to say he was disappointed the piece was more of an editorial commentary about America’s Frontline Doctors and not a news story. Alan Schell said he wished we’d mentioned several cases in the past when a vaccine fully approved by the FDA had to be pulled from the market due to safety concerns.
BROWN: Lee Crum questioned, as he says, “[the] over the top, panic-inducing push to vaccinate the planet against a virus [that has] a very high recovery rate” and suggested WORLD has accepted that idea without critique. Rick Witmer took issue with our description of America’s Frontline Doctors as primarily political. He noted that medicine and politics have often become intertwined during the past year.
EICHER: Austin Britton wrote to say he thought we’d misrepresented the group’s use of the term “experimental.” He noted that because the technology behind the mRNA vaccines has never been used before, it is by definition an experiment.
BROWN: You said the responses were highly negative, and they were, but a few were appreciative. David Phillips wrote to say it was “excellent, informed, thoughtful, and vital reporting!” And Donald Thompson, a family and preventative medicine doctor in Bristol, Tennessee, called in with this feedback.
THOMPSON: Dr. Horton identified several red flags about this group that we would be wise to identify when we get our news. A medical group should provide medical advice based on evidence. It may be difficult to separate evidence from a political discussion and from the obvious emotions associated with illness and death. But it is crucial that the wise consumer of information do just this.
EICHER: Thanks to everyone who provided feedback—many indicated they are longtime listeners and happy listeners. We know this is an area where reasonable people disagree, and we thank you very much for your reasonable and thoughtful disagreement.
BROWN: Sticking with the same subject but moving on to a different story. Longtime listener Stefan A.D. Bucek had this to say about another COVID-related story.
BUCEK: I want to thank you for Paul Butler’s segment on your July 1st podcast about lingering, post-COVID side effects. I had it, and I was on a ventilator for eight days. Thankfully, the Lord brought me through. And while I’m in remarkably good shape now, there are some lingering effects, including leg numbness and shooting pains in that same leg. I had thought that perhaps it was the result of laying on my back for a month. But your podcast made me think that maybe it is indeed a long-term side effect. Thanks to The World and Everything in It for making me aware of this possibility. But mostly, thanks to our Lord for his healing hand.
EICHER: Thank you, Stefan and we join you in giving thanks to God for your recovery.
BROWN: We have time for one more call today.
CATHERINE: Hi, my name is Catherine and our family listens from Northwest Indiana. On Monday on Legal Docket in the discussion with Adam Carrington about the Supreme Court rulings for the year statistics, he mentioned that there was a 94 percent reversal rate for the 9th Circuit and said that that was very concerning. I was wondering why that was concerning. Thank you.
EICHER: Well, Catherine, we asked Mary Reichard to explain and she told us that when the high court overturns so many rulings from one circuit, it suggests the judges in that circuit are deciding cases not on legal principles, but on outcome. In other words, the judges ask themselves, “how do I want this case to turn out?” and then find justifications after the fact to reach that conclusion.
Instead, when judges are making even-handed applications of the law, you wouldn’t see the Supreme Court having to overturn the majority of their decisions.
That’s what she said.
BROWN: We also got an email this month from a listener asking about our new podcast, Lawless. We previewed it back in April, and he said he was looking forward to hearing it. Well, the wait is almost over. The first episode airs on September 17th.
And between now and then we have new seasons of Legal Docket starting on August 10th and Listening In on September 10th. It’s going to be a busy month around here, with lots for you to look forward to!
EICHER: One final note before we go. If you haven’t voted yet in this year’s Hope Awards, please be sure to do that at wng.org/compassion.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Well, it is time once again to thank and recognize our outstanding team.
This week, we’re doing that in reverse alphabetical order: Whitney Williams, Cal Thomas, Josh Schumacher, Sarah Schweinsberg, Mary Reichard, Onize Ohikere, Kim Henderson, Katie Gaultney, Kristen Flavin, Kent Covington, Anna Johansen Brown, and Joel Belz.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz are our audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Leigh Jones is managing editor. Paul Butler is executive producer. And Marvin Olasky is editor in chief.
And you! Thank you for supporting independent Christian journalism.
The Psalmist says For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Give thanks for the freedom we have to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Lord willing, we’ll meet you back here on Monday.
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.