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The World and Everything in It: June 7, 2023

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WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: June 7, 2023

On Washington Wednesday, evaluating Mike Pence and Chris Christies as Trump challengers; on World Tour, news from Senegal, Hong Kong, Portugal, and Haiti; and a girls volleyball team in Iowa speaks truth to power. Plus, wrangling a shark in Florida, commentary from World Opinions contributor Daniel Devine, and the Wednesday morning news


Republican Presidential candidate former, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a gathering, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Manchester, N.H. Christie filed paperwork Tuesday formally launching his bid for the Republican nomination for president after casting himself as the only candidate willing to directly take on former President Donald Trump. Charles Krupa via Associated Press

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. We are the Schock family: Michael, Maddie, and our four-month-old Winnie. We are currently road-tripping across the country as we move from Hittsfield, Massachusetts to Centralia, Washington. Shoutout to Caleb Kyle from Bishop, California, for introducing us to the podcast. We hope you enjoy today's program.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Former Vice President Mike Pence is now in the running for president of the United States, campaigning against his former boss.

AUDIO: The president’s words were reckless. It’s clear he decided to be part of the problem.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday. Also today, news from around the globe on World Tour. Plus a girls volleyball team fights unfair competition:

AUDIO: Like this is girl’s AAU volleyball, so we were a little surprised to see that a boy was playing and we don’t think that’s very fair because it gives them an advantage.

And WORLD Opinions Commentator Dan Darling with hope for Generation Z.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, June 7th. 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: Time now for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: 

Ukraine » A major dam in southern Ukraine collapsed Tuesday, sending floodwaters gushing through homes and businesses and turning streets into raging rivers.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

JOHN KIRBY: It’s about 30 yards high about 100 yards or so wide. And the reservoir it protects holds about as much water as the Great Salt Lake in Utah. And that water helps supply southern Ukraine, including the Krimean Peninsula and the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.

Kirby said the flooding has displaced thousands, and that some have died in the floodwaters, but he death toll is unclear.

Ukraine accused Russian forces of blowing up the Kakhovka dam. It sits on the Dnieper River in an area Moscow has controlled for more than a year.

Russia claims Ukrainian forces are to blame for the dam’s failure.

ZELENSKYY: [Speaking Ukrainian]

And Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said—quoting here—"It is physically impossible to somehow blow it up from the outside by shelling. It was mined.

U-S officials say they cannot say conclusively at this point exactly what happened to the dam.

Christie campaign » Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: That’s why I came back to New Hampshire to tell all of you that I intend to seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2024 and I want your support.

The campaign will be the second for Christie, who lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 primaries. He went on to become an on-and-off adviser to Trump before breaking with the former president over his response to the 2020 election.

He has cast himself as the only candidate willing to confront Trump directly with the campaign slogan, “Tell it like it is.”

Christie will enter a growing primary field that already includes Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Ambassador Nikki Haley and Vice President Mike Pence, who will kick off his campaign today.

Scott, DeSantis » Another Republican candidate, Sen. Tim Scott, said Tuesday that he’s not concerned about the rapidly expanding GOP field.

TIM SCOTT: I look forward to being on the stage and having a conversation with the American people how you can be optimistic, positive, and yet a strongwilled conservative.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, meantime, is campaigning, in part, on reforms to schools and education. He said his state is

RON DeSANTIS: Number one for education freedom and number one for parental involvement in education which is very important.

DeSantis has signed legislation into law that includes barring the teaching of LGBT gender ideology to young children.

On Tuesday, he signed a new internet safety bill that aims to protect Floridians from some data mining and young social media users from online harassment.  

Florida » A federal judge has temporarily blocked portions of a Florida law that protects minors from cross-gender drugs and procedures. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.

JOSH SHUMACHER: District Court Judge Robert Hinkle said—in his words—gender identity is real. He added that three minors who were plaintiffs in the case could face irreparable harm if gender transition procedures are denied to them.

His ruling applies only to the three minors who brought the case.

More than a dozen states have enacted laws protecting children from transgender interventions.

Doctors in some countries such as Sweden and Great Britain will no longer prescribe such treatments, citing a lack of scientific evidence favoring the procedures.

For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

Trans athlete hearing » A federal appeals court in New York is hearing a case that aims to protect high school girls’ sports in Connecticut.

Four female track athletes filed the lawsuit in 2020 against a state policy that allows boys who identify as girls to compete in girls’ sports.

The plaintiffs say they lost state championship titles to male runners.

Plaintiff Selina Soule was a top high school track athlete.

SELINA SOULE: I just want to ensure that no other girl has to experience the pain and heartbreak that I went through in high school.

Plaintiffs appealed after a three-judge appeals court panel in December dismissed the case. Judges said the policy did not prevent the runners from winning competitions.

The case seeks to bar enforcement of the state policy, and to remove records set by transgender athletes between 2017 and 2020.

AM radio » Lawmakers are pushing to preserve a feature that has been built into cars for nearly a century, the AM radio.

Carmakers are beginning to leave AM radios out of plans for new models.

But Democratic Congresswoman Doris Matsui of California argued on Tuesday:

DORIS MATSUI: AM radio provides Americans a crucial local service, whether that’s information during an emergency, local news, or community-specific programming. AM radio delivers for consumers.

That from a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Many Republicans and Democrats are voicing support for the “AM for Every Vehicle Act,” which would require all new cars to include an AM radio at no extra cost to consumers.

I'm Kent Covington. 

Straight ahead: Washington Wednesday. Plus, speaking truth to power in youth volleyball.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 7th of June, 2023. This is World Radio and we’re glad to have you along for today. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s Washington Wednesday. The Republican presidential field just continues to get more crowded. Three more candidates are jumping in this week:

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

We’ll talk more about Christie and Burgum in the days ahead, but today, we turn our attention to something that hasn’t happened in nearly two centuries: a former vice president challenging his former boss in a presidential election.

REICHARD: Mike Pence is expected to kick off his presidential campaign in Iowa today on his 64th birthday.

He filed campaign paperwork earlier this week, officially entering the race.

He spoke in Des Moines over the weekend. The former vice president touted the accomplishments of the Trump-Pence administration.

MIKE PENCE: We rebuilt our military. We revived our economy by cutting taxes and regulation. We unleashed American energy, and we became a net exporter of energy and energy independent for the first time in 75 years.

Pence is framing himself as the right choice for voters who want to see a return of Trump policies, but without the super-sized personality and the too-candid, too-frequent social media.

Any good will between the two candidates appeared to evaporate in January of 2021 when Trump called on Pence not to certify the results of the election.

EICHER: Trump called Pence a “coward” and suggested he was a traitor. Pence maintained his first loyalty was to the U.S. Constitution, and that Trump was wrong to suggest Pence had the power to refuse to certify the results.

Pence also accused Trump of placing his family in danger by his response to the Capitol riot.

PENCE: The president’s words were reckless. It’s clear he decided to be part of the problem.

Prior to serving as Trump’s VP, the husband and father of three served one term as the governor of Indiana after 10 years on Capitol Hill in the House of Representatives. He earned a reputation as a reliable conservative on both fiscal and social issues.

Like every other candidate not named Trump or DeSantis, Pence is launching his campaign with poll numbers in the low single digits.

So what will a Pence campaign look like, and does he have a realistic path?

REICHARD: Joining us now to talk about it is Christopher Nicholas, a veteran Republican political consultant from Pennsylvania. He’s worked on Republican campaigns since the 90s.

Good morning, Christopher.

CHISTOPHER NICHOLAS, GUEST: Hello, Mary, thanks for having me on and welcome to your listeners.

REICHARD: We played a clip a moment ago of Pence touting the accomplishments of the Trump-Pence administration. But when you listen to that, it sounds like he’s making an argument to re-nominate Donald Trump. So how does Pence walk that line and embrace the things Republican voters liked about the Trump administration, while making the argument that he should be the nominee and not Trump?

NICHOLAS: So when we talk about presidential primaries and multiple candidates like we have now, we often use the expression “lanes,” as in different candidates have different lanes they're in. And in this day and age, there's kind of a Trump light lane, and a not Trump lane. So I would put the Vice President Mike Pence, in that same lane as Governor DeSantis in Florida, and that they are both campaigning essentially, on the mantra of, you know, we're going to continue the Trump policies, but we're not the terrible person he has shown himself to be. A lot of the other candidates are in a different lane, which is more of, “we have a different approach than than the 45th president did.”

REICHARD: Christopher, profile for us the types of GOP voters that Pence MUST win over, and how can he do that?

NICHOLAS: Well, first, I think he needs to get a better handle on Christian conservatives, evangelical voters. So given Pence’s profile before this as a governor and a member of Congress—kind of like DeSantis, right—He has a more natural appeal to those folks than Trump ever did. Trump being with those folks was, to me, always kind of trying to put a square peg into a round hole. And compared to the other option, you know, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden, he obviously was the better choice for those folks. But now, you know, you have a chance to reconnoiter the entire field. So if I'm Mike Pence, and I'm not involved with his campaign at all, those are the folks I go to because that is a natural base. He is a natural, hardcore pro lifer. And that to me is locking down those evangelicals and he has a natural inclination to them. And also, you know, being a guy from Indiana gives him a little bit more familiarity with the average Iowa voter than, you know, Trump, who lived in a penthouse for decades.

REICHARD: What do you see as Pence’s greatest strengths and weaknesses as a candidate?

NICHOLAS: While he's obviously battle tested, correct? He was there for the major decisions. He can tout his foreign policy experience. It's hard for your average governor to talk about foreign policy things because their average exposure to foreign policy is leading a trade delegation to Taiwan or South Korea. And that's all well and good but Pence can say look, I know world leaders, I've been there. I've been in meetings with them. I've represented the country to them. And then the flip side of that, as many other people have pointed out, is that the downside for him is that it was the Trump-Pence ticket, and for so long and at every turn, he was Donald Trump's biggest supporter and apologist and defender. That's what you expect in a vice president, but it can come back to bite you. In my book, him breaking with Trump as he did over the January 6th riot and potential insurrection is a good thing. For some Trump voters, that's a neutral or negative.

REICHARD: There is obviously no love lost between Trump and Pence at this point. But there’s also plenty of friction between Trump and former Gov. Chris Christie, who’s we mentioned is jumping in this week. Christie has been a critic of Trump since the 2020 election and Trump’s response to the election results. How hard do you think the campaigns of Mike Pence and Chris Christie are going to go at Donald Trump?

NICHOLAS: Well, so far, Pence has taken a softer, diffused approach towards Trump, and soft and diffuse are words never been used before to describe Chris Christie. So I think you're gonna see a relentless effort by Christie to bore in on Trump and agitate him and try to get him into a spirited back and forth. In that type of venue, I would give Christie the edge.

REICHARD: Let’s talk about that a little bit more. Our total roster is now 10 Republican candidates. In 2016, Trump was able to win the nomination with 45% of the GOP vote, because the field was so crowded back then. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, not a Trump fan. He just declared he would not run for president and urged Republicans that don’t have a realistic path to drop out to avoid a 2016 repeat. Do you think candidates like Pence and Christie will be in for the long haul or might they —fairly early on— be willing to throw their support behind whomever Trump’s top alternative turns out to be?

NICHOLAS: That is the million dollar question, Mary, in my opinion, the 2024 Republican nomination process will not be a mirror image of 2016. And one of the things I mentioned was that Trump's invisibility cloak is tattered and torn. And that is a new development, right? Because Trump always before, "I'm a winner, I'm the winner. I'm the guy that can win." And now, one of the reasons you see so many candidates running against him, and so much money supporting those candidates, directly and indirectly, is because they see Trump is now a loser. He lost the house in 2018. He lost his own election in 2020. And then, a couple of months later lost the Senate, in Georgia. And then in 2022, a lot of the candidates he backed successfully in the primaries, you know, crashed and burned in the general election. And as I remind people in my, you know, approaching 40 years of doing this, you only run campaigns for one reason, and that's to win. So I think at some point, the candidates that are getting in now that are not already as well known, at some point you you face a crossroads. Usually the crossroads is you run out of money, and so that's usually when people bow out. Because if they have money, they're gonna say, "Hey, I'm gonna keep going."  I would stress to your listeners, ignore— I mean that forcefully— ignore or national polls on the Republican presidential nomination. Because the campaign right now is not happening nationally, it's happening in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, maybe one or two other states. Follow the state polls there. Because of Trump's stumbles in Iowa and or New Hampshire, then heading into South Carolina, it's a totally different ball of wax.

REICHARD: Christopher Nicholas is a veteran GOP political consultant in Pennsylvania. Thanks for your time today!

NICHOLAS: Thanks Mary. Appreciate it.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Senegal protests — We start off today’s World Tour in Senegal where at least sixteen people have died during opposition protests that started last week.

AUDIO: [Protests]

Protests began after a court in the capital, Dakar, acquitted opposition leader Ousmane Sonko of rape charges. But he still received a two-year prison sentence over a lesser charge of morally corrupting a young woman.

Authorities tried Sonko in absentia and still have not arrested him. Opposition supporters view the move as an attempt to stop him from running in Senegal’s presidential election next year.

Sonko is considered a main challenger to President Macky Sall and has asked him not to seek an unconstitutional third term.

IBRAHIMA DIOP: [Speaking French]

Public Security Director Ibrahima Diop says authorities arrested over 500 people, including minors and foreign nationals. He accused the protesters of engaging in subversive activities, such as destroying public transportation and other state infrastructure.

Authorities initially restricted social media, saying people were sharing hateful and subversive messages. On Sunday, authorities then completely cut mobile data internet access on phones at specific times and places.

Hong Kong — Next, to Hong Kong.

AUDIO: [Ongoing arrests]

Authorities detained at least 23 people on Sunday for breaching public peace in a crackdown on events commemorating the Tiananmen Square anniversary.

Authorities also detained eight activists on the eve of the anniversary.

Hong Kong residents previously marked June 4 when Chinese authorities used tanks and troops to crush peaceful protests on the mainland in 1989.

Hong Kong’s national security law has outlawed all memorials since 2020, including an annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park. Instead, the territory held a pro-Beijing carnival in the park on Sunday.

In Australia’s Sydney, Chinese activists in exile joined a solidarity rally.

Chen Yonglin is a Chinese government defector, who attended the gathering.

MAN: I am a witness and a survivor of the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 and our generation will never forget our painful experience.

More than 500 people also turned out for a candlelight vigil in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei. Similar gatherings took place in London and in New York City.

Poland protests — Next, to Poland.

AUDIO: [Chanting protesters]

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched across the capital city of Warsaw on Sunday to protest against the country’s conservative government.

Poles traveled from across the country to attend the protest where they waved Polish and European Union flags. Large crowds also gathered in other cities.

Protesters accused the ruling Law and Justice party of eroding democratic norms.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Polish]

This demonstrator says Poland could end up like Belarus if the conservative party continues to hold power.

Former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who heads the opposition Civic Platform party had asked Poles to march with him for the sake of the country’s future.

Lech Walesa, a one-time Polish president whose party played a historic role in toppling communism in Poland, also attended the march.

Poland is expected to hold parliamentary elections this fall.

Haiti flooding — We close today with floods in Haiti.

AUDIO: [Sound of evacuees]

Residents are recovering from heavy rainfall over the weekend that killed at least 42 people. About 11 others are still missing.

The rains flooded towns in the North West region and caused mudslides in parts of the capital of Port-au-Prince and other areas. Heavy rainfall also hit the southeastern and central regions.

The downpour also damaged crops amid a spike in starvation.

Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency said the floods forced more than 13,000 people to evacuate their homes.

AUDIO: [Woman speaking Creole]

This woman says she lost everything and has no place to sleep.

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry reopened the country’s National Emergency Operations Center to better coordinate support. A 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck southern Haiti early on Tuesday, further complicating the aid response.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.


NICK EICHER, HOST: You’ve heard of jumping the shark? Well, you don’t want to do it, neither figuratively nor literally.

But what about riding the shark? Still a bad idea to my mind.

On Sunday, tourists at Panama City Beach in Florida saw guys who caught a shark and were reeling him in. Once they dragged him onto the beach, they tried removing the hook but had trouble. And by trouble, I mean it took a long time.

Long enough for beachcomber Tammy Scott to record the chaos with her phone.

SOUND: [Tail slap and bystanders laughing]

So what you hear is a distressed shark sweeping the beach with his tail. A man hopping on top of the shark to try to hold him still for the guy removing the hook.

BYSTANDER: He’s riding on the shark!

Yeah, it kind of looked that way. The men led the shark back into the water and quite a distance. The water appeared about waist-deep.

REICHARD: When I looked at the video, that didn’t seem like the smartest move.

EICHER: My thought exactly! Just take a picture and cut the line and keep your hands out of his mouth. It’s a shark! Let him go.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, June 7th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Standing up for Truth! That’s truth with a capital “T,” for a family of six you’re about to meet.

REICHARD: Yeah, and they have an inspiring story about girls, boys, and sports…and no, it’s not about the gender controversy. Here’s WORLD’s Myrna Brown.

VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS: Yes, Abigail! Kelsey!

MYRNA BROWN, CORRESPONDENT: Meet the Elite Eight: Abigail, Kelsey, Annie, Jaycee, Madison, Caitlyn, Sophia and Chelsea. The girls are 12-year-old student athletes who know a thing or two about serving, bumping, setting and spiking a volleyball. Today, they’re honing those skills inside an indoor volleyball court.

CHELSEA DEROOY: It helps if you can jump and also everytime that you spike it, you have to flick your wrist.

That’s Chelsea DeRooy. Officially she’s the team’s left-hitter. Unofficially, she’s their biggest cheerleader.

SOUND: Yes, Annie!  Guys! Abigail! Good try, Jaycee!

Well like this year my team was really nice because I knew all the girls on my team, but it’s also just fun to play volleyball and we made it to state.

On March 25th DeRooy and her teammates joined hundreds of other student athletes in Marshalltown, Iowa, the site for the 20-23 Amateur Athletic Union or AAU state Volleyball Tournament.

TODD DEROOY: They were excited about it. They practiced a lot.

That’s Todd DeRooy, Chelsea’s father. He and his wife Chantelle remember the moment they realized something was off about this tournament.

TODD: So our first real glimpse of what was going on was when we had to ref a game.

In AAU volleyball, parents share referee responsibilities during the round robin part of the tournament. That’s when they noticed a boy on the other side of the net.

TODD: I didn’t even know that he was on the team. I thought that he was kind of with the team and maybe helping out or a manager or something. So it was a surprise.

Chelsea and her teammates didn’t know what to make of it either.

CHELSEA: Like this is girl’s AAU volleyball, so we were a little surprised to see that a boy was playing and we don’t think that’s very fair because it gives them an advantage. Because not only is he taking that spot from another girl, but also boys are just naturally stronger. That’s just how God made them.

At the end of the day-long tournament, the Elite 8 got a respectable, but disappointing third place in the silver bracket. The opposing team, with the male player, placed second.

CHANTELLE DEROOY: So, when our girls saw what they thought was unfair, we said, is it unfair? Let’s look and let’s see if they can play. Let’s look into the rules before we just make a big deal.

The 2022 edition of the AAU Volleyball Handbook states clearly only females may participate as players in the AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championship. The regulations also stipulate only males may participate as players in the boys’ competition. Armed with that information, the team’s next move surprised and pleased their parents.

CHELSEA: Our team was not upset because we understand that boys want to play volleyball. My dad played volleyball even, but he played on an all boys team. So me and a few of my team members were thinking we could write a letter.

But none of the team members had ever written a formal letter to the head of a national organization before.

CHELSEA: So, my mom actually helped me a lot with the letter.

CHANTELLE: I said, well you guys said you wanted to do this. So let’s sit down tonight. We have the time, let’s sit down and do it. She was like, when? Right now. Let’s do it right now. Now? Now!

CHELSEA READING LETTER: My name is Chelsea DeRooy. I am a sixth grader in Iowa.

Chelsea says both her parents helped her organize her thoughts and tweaked the grammar a bit. But her parents say she did the heavy lifting.

TODD: The major content was Chelsea’s. The research was hers. She came up with the quotations.

CHELSEA READING LETTER: This past year, Iowa made a new law, HF2146 stating that boys playing with an all- girls team is banned.

In her research, Chelsea found an advocate in Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. In March of 2022, Governor Reynolds signed a bill into law protecting girl’s sports programs at all school levels in Iowa. Here’s an excerpt from the governor signing the bill into law.

GOVERNOR REYNOLDS NEWS CONFERENCE: Thank you all for being here as we celebrate a victory in girl’s sports in Iowa. Only students who are female according to their birth certificate will be eligible to compete in girl’s sports.

Along with that quote from the governor, Chelsea included one more argument in her letter.

CHELSEA: God made males and females different. We think that you should please consider addressing this issue for future years.

Despite her hard work, Chelsea says she wasn’t sure where her letter would end up. But in a matter of days, Chantelle DeRooy got a phone call from a representative from the national AAU office in Florida.

CHANTELLE: He said I just received your letter and I wanted you to know we hear you. My team and I agree. We’re working all we can.

While thankful for the immediate response, the DeRooys say no one ever explained why boys were permitted to play in that all-girl volleyball tournament in the first place. Our calls for answers to the AAU were ignored as well. But the DeRooys say, that’s okay. Their mission was accomplished.

TODD: Well the two most important things to us in the entire situation is number one, male and female are both in His image and image bearers of God. So we took this opportunity to bear witness to that truth. And the other thing that we were really aiming at is for the girls just to say to them, when you know something is true, that’s not being upheld and you take whatever means that are available to you and you use those means to try and communicate that truth and stand up for what is right and for what is just.

SOUND: [VOLLEYBALL GAME]

The Elite 8 say they’ll be back next season. But Chantelle DeRooy says she’ll be looking for action both on and off the volleyball court.

CHANTELLE: You asked her if she could be a writer. I absolutely think so. She’s got a book in the works. She just won’t say it. (laughter)

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown in Orange City, Iowa.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, June 7th. 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. Up next: Generation Z, people born in the late 1990’s through the early 2010’s. What’s ahead for them, and where is their hope?

WORLD Opinions commentator Daniel Darling is an author and teacher. Today, he speaks as a father.

DANIEL DARLING, COMMENTATOR: This year, almost four million students will graduate from high school in America. That number includes my oldest daughter, Grace. It’s hard to capture in words the emotions I feel, the slow letting go of our parenting control as we ease her into adult life.

My daughter, like her Generation Z counterparts, is facing a world of challenges. Those include a divided America whose only leadership options seem to be unpopular Boomers from both parties. At home, mass shootings and a fragile economy greet them. Across the world, war rages in Europe and parts of Africa and is threatened by China in Asia. And everywhere, the institutions we once trusted have shown themselves to be vulnerable.

Gen Z is the first fully wired generation, having grown up immersed in the digital age. They’ve also grown up in the shadow of failed wars, racial tension, political violence, and a global pandemic that robbed them of too much of their school years. No wonder Pew Research reports 37 percent of public-school and private-school students admit to poor mental health.

And yet, there are hopeful signs that so much adversity has made Generation Z resilient. Consider the outpouring of prayer, fasting, and worship among Christian college students first at Asbury College in Kentucky and then around the nation. I’ve experienced this fervor for God, for theology, and for the Great Commission both at my own institution and in speaking around the country at churches and on college campuses.

The Wall Street Journal reports a turning to faith among young people post-pandemic. I’m quoting The Wall Street Journal here: “About one-third of 18-to-25-year-olds say they believe—more than doubt—the existence of a higher power, up from about one-quarter in 2021, according to a recent survey of young adults.”

There has been so much ink spilled on the decline of faith in the next generation of American evangelicals, but many of these narratives have been disputed by researchers such as Ryan Burge. Perhaps our young people are not forsaking the faith after all.

What we do know is that the world our graduates are walking into is a world different than the one we faced a generation ago. Economic conditions make launching into adulthood more difficult. To live out the faith will likely require more courage in a country where the demands of the gospel are not just considered strange but dangerous. And yet, we can embed hope in the next generation of the church because we know that this mission field was not given to them by accident. See Acts 17:26. God is not in heaven wringing His hands over the things that cause parents to lose sleep at night. Our kids can live with fearlessness and joy, knowing that Christ has overcome the world.

The difficult things the next generation will face can be used by God to shape their character. And we can rest in this promise: Christ is still building his church, mostly through the quiet and ordinary acts of redeemed sinners. Keep this truth in mind as you congratulate your favorite graduate.

I’m Daniel Darling.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Pro-lifers in Oklahoma are divided over the best way to legislate protections for the unborn. And, a former missionary nurse seeks to preserve her stories even as her memories fade. That’s one of our World Journalism Institute graduate stories and you’ll hear that and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Psalmist wrote: Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126, verses 4 through 6.

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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