The World and Everything in It - June 9, 2021
WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - June 9, 2021
On Washington Wednesday, negotiations with Iran over a renewed nuclear deal; international news on World Tour; and protecting children from pornography. Plus: commentary from Joel Belz, and the Wednesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Reprising the Iran nuclear deal under the Biden administration. What are the repercussions?
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also World Tour.
Plus how families and the church can work together to address the problem of pornography.
And World Founder Joel Belz on the origins of his journalism.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, June 9th. 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: Up next, Kristen Flavin with today’s news.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, NEWS ANCHOR: Senate report on Jan. 6th Capitol riot » A Senate investigation into the Jan. 6th riot on Capitol Hill found a widespread breakdown in intelligence-sharing between law-enforcement agencies. The report said that lack of communication helped to enable the events that led to the violent attack.
An intelligence unit of the Capitol Police knew about social media posts calling for violence, including a plot to breach the Capitol building. It also knew maps of the Capitol’s underground tunnel systems were circulating online.
But agents did not properly report what they had discovered.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the investigation’s findings proved that a separate independent commission on the incident was unnecessary.
MCCONNELL: Today’s report is one of the many reasons I’m confident in the ability of existing investigations to uncover all actionable facts about the events of Jan. 6th. I continue to support these efforts over any that seek to politicize the process, and I would urge my colleagues to do the same.
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bipartisan report intentionally avoided some important issues.
SCHUMER: The report did not investigate, report on, or hardly make any reference to the actual cause, the actual impetus for the attack on Jan. 6th. With the exception of a brief reference to former President Trump’s remarks at the ellipse, Senate Republicans insisted that the report exclude anything having to do with the cause of the insurrection.
The report recommends giving the Capitol Police chief more authority, to provide better planning and equipment for law enforcement, and to streamline intelligence gathering and sharing.
It blamed bureaucratic red tape for delaying the National Guard’s deployment for hours. It said the Pentagon spent hours “mission planning” while rioters overran the Capitol Police force.
COVID case numbers continue to drop » Cases of COVID-19 continue to drop in the United States.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the improving case counts during a White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.
WALENSKY: Yesterday the CDC reported just over 10,000 new cases of COVID-19. Our seven-day average is 13,277 cases per day and this represents yet another decrease of nearly 30 percent from the prior seven-day average.
The drop in the number of cases comes as more U.S. adults get vaccinated. Nearly 64 percent have had at least one shot. President Biden wants at least 70 percent of adults fully vaccinated by July 4th.
White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said he thinks reaching that goal is possible. But if we don’t hit it, health officials will keep encouraging people to get the shots.
And as added incentive, Fauci said those who are fully vaccinated don’t need to worry about the Indian variant now causing concern in the U.K.
FAUCI: Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and AstraZeneca appear to be effective against the Delta variant. There’s reduced vaccine effectiveness after one dose.
The Delta variant accounts for 60 percent of new cases in the U.K. And its transmission is peaking in people between the ages of 12 and 20.
FBI app enables global crime bust » A global sting operation supported by the FBI led to the arrest of more than 800 suspects in 16 nations on Monday.
The operation known as Trojan Shield netted 32 tons of drugs, 250 firearms, and more than $148 million dollars in cash and cryptocurrencies.
FBI Agent Suzanne Turner said the operation relied on a messaging app called ANOM.
TURNER: In the time the FBI’s ANOM platform has been up and running, since October of 2019 until now, we have had more than 12,000 devices sending more than 27 million messages across more than 100 countries in more than 45 different languages. Each and every device in this case was used to further criminal activity.
The U.S. law enforcement agency developed ANOM in 2018 after taking down a company that built and sold encrypted devices. Agents recruited one of the collaborators who was developing a messaging platform for the criminal underworld.
It took several years for drug traffickers and criminal gangs to start using the platform. But when they did, the FBI was ready. During the past 18 months, it provided devices installed with ANOM to more than 300 gangs operating in more than 100 countries.
Australian Federal Police Commander Jennifer Hearst called the operation “a watershed moment in global law enforcement history.”
DOJ files brief backing Trump in rape case » The Department of Justice has stepped in to defend former President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: In a brief filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, DOJ lawyers say Trump cannot be held personally liable for comments he made while president.
The case stems from claims by columnist E. Jean Carroll that Trump raped her in the mid-1990s. When reporters asked him about her claims, Trump said Carroll was lying.
Justice Department lawyers said the former president was “within the scope of his office" in denying wrongdoing. Because of that, the United States, not Trump personally, should be the defendant in the case.
Former Attorney General William Barr intervened in the case in October. Democrats, including then-candidate Joe Biden, criticized Barr’s involvement in what they said was a personal case.
Department of Justice lawyers admitted Trump used “crude and disrespectful” language. But they said he did so as part of a denial of wrongdoing. And that falls within the scope of presidential employment.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
And I’m Kristen Flavin.
Straight ahead: negotiating with Iran.
Plus, a foundational moment in WORLD’s founding.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 9th of June, 2021. 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.
Well, we’ve kicked off our June Giving Drive, and I’m happy to let you know that thanks to the generosity of several families, they’re willing to match your early giving between right now and the 15th. So early gifts between today and close of business on Tuesday the 15th, they will match.
REICHARD: That’s such great news and another demonstration that no one gives alone—when we give together, we make a bigger impact. So visit WNG.org/donate to take advantage of the weeklong matching opportunity. WNG.org/donate
EICHER: First up today, the Iran nuclear deal.
Or the more difficult way to say it, the JCPOA—stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that then-President Obama signed in 2015. The JCPOA placed limits on Iran’s stockpile of uranium and its number of gas centrifuges. In simpler terms, Iran agreed to restrictions that slowed but did not eliminate its ability to acquire nuclear weapons.
REICHARD: From the beginning, conservatives in the United States panned the deal as ineffective. They also called it counter to U.S. interests because part of the deal included relief from economic sanctions that gave Iran access to cash. Which Tehran used to fund proxy wars across the Middle East. In 2018, President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
EICHER: President Joe Biden ran on a pledge to re-enter the deal if elected and earlier this year, he began working to do just that. For the last few months, delegations from Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain, Iran, and the United States have been meeting in Austria to hammer out a new deal. Last week, negotiators said they believed an agreement was imminent.
REICHARD: Joining us now to talk about the ramifications of a renewed nuclear agreement is Michael Rubin. He’s a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Michael, good morning!
MICHAEL RUBIN, GUEST: Good morning.
REICHARD: We know that Iran has not been abiding by the original agreement. Just last month the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that it has not had access to required data since February. So, what is the starting point for these negotiations? Are Washington and its partners negotiating from a weaker position than they did six years ago?
RUBIN: Well, one of the questions out there is whether you can go back to the status quo ante. What the Iranians would say is that, look, we were expecting a lot more benefits from the deal, which we didn't get since he walked away. On the other end of the argument, because the Obama team had incorporated sunset clauses, expiration clauses in the nuclear deal, that means if we were simply to rejoin the deal, we'd be rejoining a deal which is about to expire in some places anyway. And so how do you address the American concerns as we move forward? It's a lot more complicated than simply signing a paper and getting back to where we were.
REICHARD: You recently wrote about five myths that the Biden administration bought into as part of these negotiations. One of those involves Iran’s elections. Advocates of the nuclear deal say it gives reformers in the Islamic Republic a boost. And they say we want reformers over hardliners in Tehran. But you say these people misunderstand something: there’s a difference between reformers and hardliners. Can you explain what you mean by that?
RUBIN: Well, the problem is that in Iran, you have an elected power structure—the president who appoints a cabinet—and the parliament. But you also have an unelected power structure. The problem which I flagged is well, on one hand, what the Biden team would say is, by giving business, by lifting sanctions, you're showing the reformers and you're showing the Iranians that negotiation and integration with the international community works. The problem is that it's the hardliners that control the nuclear program and these people are unelected. The other problem, which really is a major issue, is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and how it dominates the Iranian economy.
So then the question becomes, if you're going to flood the Iranian economy with cash, how are you going to make sure it actually goes to the ordinary Iranian people or the so-called reformists rather than simply going into the coffers of the Revolutionary Guard, which could actually accelerate the nuclear program?
REICHARD: So if the United States lifts sanctions as Iran wants, and cash floods Iran’s economy that could help the Revolutionary Guard, then what?
RUBIN: Well, ultimately if that money is going into The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ coffers, then the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps might use it to destabilize Iraq, might use it to fund Hezbollah, might use it to further the conflict in Yemen, and so forth. And make no mistake, ordinary Iranians don't particularly care for this. And so the question is, is that money getting diverted? And how can you keep that money from getting diverted?
REICHARD: What do U.S. negotiators hope to achieve this time around? Do you see the goals now are any different than they were under the Obama administration?
RUBIN: Well, there's two trains of thought here. And under the Obama administration, the Obama team was very, very careful to say, you know, we're only negotiating over the nuclear program, we're not trying to have a comprehensive deal that strikes all concerns. But whispered on the sideline was the hope that once we strike this deal, we can actually move further. Now, what the Biden team wants to do is get back and, in a way, put Iran's nuclear program back in the box. And then they hope that if that builds confidence, they can further negotiate on some regional issues. The counter problem to that is the way first the Obama administration and then the Biden administration defined what Iran's nuclear program was. You have warhead design, you have nuclear enrichment, and then you have delivery. Well, we know that the Iranians have already worked on warhead design. The 2003 and 2008 National Intelligence Estimate said that and the International Atomic Energy Agency also found that they were doing that. Although what the U.S. government concluded in 2004 is they stopped. Now, what the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was doing was controlling Iran's enrichment. But last minute, in order to get to that deal back in 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry made a concession which said that, whereas before it was prohibited for Iran to build rockets or missiles that were capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, he changed that so that it was forbidden for Iran building ballistic missiles that were designed to carry nuclear warheads. So now you have this problem that Iran says, well, we're not building missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. We're building missiles designed to launch satellites into space. And so one of the issues, which still needs to be resolved, is how are you going to deal with Iran's burgeoning rocket or missile or satellite launch program? Because that also is of a concern to not just Israel and the United States, but many other regional states.
REICHARD: Michael, the original agreement put a 10-15 year freeze on Iran’s nuclear program. Will a new agreement extend that timeline?
RUBIN: Well, that's one of the questions. And what the Iranians are saying, and it's logical they would do so, is if you want us to go beyond what we were doing before, you actually need to offer us more. But then the question is, if you front load all the incentives you're able to give now just to rejoin this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, then what incentives are you going to have in the future if you want to negotiate everything else? So, how are we going to divide this pie so that we get as much as we want when we have the bake sale?
REICHARD: Let’s talk about Israel now. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the original deal’s most vocal critics. But he’s on the cusp of being removed from office. Will Israel’s new political landscape have any effect on the nuclear deal negotiations or its eventual implementation?
RUBIN: Absolutely not. And this is one of the things that's most misunderstood in the United States, is Israel had waves of terrorism. I was a postdoc at Hebrew University in Jerusalem back in 2001-2002 when there were suicide bombings almost every other day. Then you had Israel build the security wall or the fence, and suicide bombing went down 99 percent. So you've got a situation where men across the Israeli political spectrum, whether you're on the right, whether in the middle, whether you're on the left, most politicians actually have reached a consensus on what Israel's security posture should be.
But what I want to actually add is that, you know, a lot of people say, Iran isn't suicidal. Even if they developed a nuclear weapon, they're not going to drop it on Israel, because they know that that would be the end of Iran the next day. But the Israeli nightmare situation isn't that Iran is suicidal, it's that the Islamic Republic is terminally ill. So if Iran has a nuclear program, who's going to have command control and custody of it? It's probably going to be the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but not just the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the most ideologically pure units within the Revolutionary Guards. Well, what if you get a situation where you get a spark, and there's an uprising?
What happens if when you have one of these sparks, instead of the security forces putting it down, they actually join in? So you sort of have a momentum that you can tell that the Islamic Republic is going to collapse. This is what happened in parallel in Romania, back in 1989, when Ceausescu fell. Well, if the security forces are surrounding the Iranian capital, and you know that they only have 24 hours left, what's to stop the Revolutionary Guard from launching a nuclear missile then, knowing who's going to retaliate against a country that's already had regime change? Would you willingly and gratuitously kill 2 million, 3 million Iranians? And the answer to that is no. And that's where the whole notion of deterrence or mutually assured destruction breaks down.
REICHARD: What advice would you give the Biden administration?
RUBIN: America's at our strongest when we can come up with a joint strategy ahead of time, rather than have this whiplash policy from administration to administration. I really hope that that's where—behind the scenes—responsible Democrats and responsible Republicans can go.
REICHARD: Michael Rubin is a resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute. Thanks so much for joining us today!
RUBIN: Thanks for having me.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It:World Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Nigeria bans Twitter in dispute with president—We start today here in Africa.
The Nigerian government blocked access to Twitter on Friday. The government issued the ban after the social media platform deleted a post from President Muhammadu Buhari's account.
Nigeria’s foreign minister defended the decision during a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria.
ONYEAMA: We believe in human rights and freedom of speech, but all that also has to be used, where freedom of speech is concerned, responsibly. Where that is not the case, the government obviously has to take measures.
Buhari’s post referred to recent unrest in the southeast part of the country, where civil war raged five decades ago. The president blames separatists in the region for recent attacks on police stations and election offices.
But the president’s office denied Buhari’s post had anything to do with the ban. Instead, it accused Twitter of spreading misinformation that has “real world violent consequences.”
The EU, Canada, and Ireland joined the United States to issue a joint statement criticizing the ban. Human rights activists fear it could spread to traditional media outlets critical of Buhari’s government.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and has nearly 40 million Twitter users.
Pakistan train disaster—Next we go to South Asia.
AUDIO: [Sound of voices]
More than 60 people died Monday when two trains collided in a remote part of Pakistan. The first train derailed and the second train plowed into it.
Residents of nearby villages helped pull victims from the twisted wreckage. It took government response teams several hours to reach the site.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Urdu]
This man was in the second train. He said the accident happened at 3:30 a.m. when most of the passengers were sleeping.
Railway officials have not said what might have caused the first train to derail. But the track was built in the 1880s. Pakistan’s interior minister described it as being in “a shambles.” The government plans to update the country’s rail network with money from an economic development project funded by China.
India begins to lift COVID restrictions—Next to neighboring India.
AUDIO: [Sounds of horns honking, people talking]
Several of the country’s major cities began lifting coronavirus restrictions on Monday as the rate of new cases drops.
AUDIO: [Woman speaking Hindi]
This woman said she was glad to get out of the house after being in lockdown for so long.
Delhi recorded an average of 25,000 daily cases during the virus surge in April and May. On Sunday, doctors there logged just 381 new infections. Health officials in Mumbai reported similar improvement.
But the country’s death toll remains high, and officials warn it could take several weeks for those numbers to come down.
Environmental activists warn of disaster from sinking ship—And finally, we end today in to Sri Lanka.
AUDIO: [Sound of boat motor]
Divers with the Sri Lankan navy have located the Voyage Data Recorder from a cargo ship sinking just off the coast. They hope it will help provide details of the ship’s movements before it caught fire several weeks ago.
The ship was carrying 25 tons of nitric acid and a massive amount of plastic raw materials. Much of the cargo spilled into the ocean. Environmental activists say it will take years to clean up the site.
AUDIO: Even after the removal of the ship, it will take about a few years in this area because the coral is contaminated, the small fish is contaminated, and the seagrass beds are contaminated. So definitely the impact will be there for few years and if not decades, actually.
Sri Lankan officials blame the fire on an acid leak and say the crew knew about the danger. Ports in Qatar and India refused to offload the leaking nitric acid before the ship sailed for Sri Lanka.
That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Something of a special baby boom has just taken place in Australia.
Not of humans, but of the Tasmanian Devil.
…the powerful, vicious, evil-tempered (but lovable) brute—hungry at all times—it will eat anything, but is especially fond of wild duck.
REICHARD: Uh, Nick...that’s a cartoon!
EICHER: Got carried away, sorry.
The marsupials had gone extinct on mainland Australia.
But after introducing back into the area several adult Tasmanian Devils last year, seven Tasmanian Devil babies have arrived and survived.
Tim Faulkner is president of one of the conservation groups responsible:
FAULKNER: Today marks the first time in 3,000 years or there abouts that Tasmanian Devil has roamed mainland forests. And as an apex predator it’s critically important.
Conservationists hope they’ll save the Tasmanian Devils from total extinction. And they believe that by reintroducing the species to Australia, it will help restore and rebalance the wilderness.
TAZ: [Growls, screeches, and raspberries]
Or for those of us brought up on Looney Tunes, it’ll save us from heartbreak.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, June 9th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Well, Paul Butler’s here too.
PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Hey!
EICHER: Paul, before we get to the background of this next story, I first want to say it’s important for families. But the subject matter won’t be appropriate for the youngest listener. So if you’re a mom or a dad, listening in the car or with young ones within earshot, maybe pause and come back to it. It deals with the scourge of online pornography.
But we’re pleased to have this story—it’s another product of our talent-rich World Journalism Institute class of 2021.
BUTLER: Yes, Mikaela Wegner is our reporter on this piece. She’s a junior at Dordt University, and I want to tell you a story about how this came together. Mikaela came to me and said she had eight different interviews she’d lined up! I told her, “Mikaela, this is just a five-minute story!” She is as determined a young lady as she is thorough, but I did negotiate her back to four voices. I was impressed with the breadth of her interviews, her prayerful approach, and the Christian sensitivity she showed in handling this very difficult topic.
REICHARD: Remarkable maturity at such a young age, and I’m happy to
get to introduce her story about an uncomfortable truth about our
families and our churches.
Here’s Mikaela Wegner with the story.
MIKAELA WEGNER, REPORTER: There’s a pandemic within families. Not COVID-19...pornography. It’s more accessible than ever before, and reaching children at younger ages.
ELSE: We cannot afford to be naive as parents. Our kids are seeing this stuff. Let’s confront this stuff head on, and talk.
Travis Else has been a pastor for 14 years. As a husband and a father, he’s seen both his children and congregation grow up in a hypersexualized culture.
He believes parents need to be talking about pornography with their children. But the church has not provided a strong example in how to do that.
ELSE: We have to be able to say sex is wonderful, it’s a gift from God, and it needs to be handled with care.
In 2002, the London School of Economics reported that 90 percent of children, ages 8 to 16 have seen pornography on the internet. For a majority this was unintentional.
That’s what happened to Zac VanderLey.
ZAC: It really started when I got a smartphone, back in eighth grade.
VanderLay accidentally saw a pornographic image when he was 13. Unable to stop thinking about it, he searched up the image later at home. For the next four and a half years, he struggled with pornographic addiction.
Without prior conversations about pornography, VanderLey said the image can be jarring, enticing kids to go back.
ZAC: I would always say in my mind this is the last time I’m going to watch this video or this is the last thing I’m going to do. But it’s just a lie you tell yourself. The truth is you can’t overcome an addiction or any sort of desire like that on your own.
Nearly five years into his addiction, VanderLey joined a group called Dangerous Men. He met weekly with 11 boys—all freshman university students. They talked about lust and pornography.
ZAC: It started feeling like this burden, this addiction I have is no longer just mine, these other guys are sharing in it. It was a place where we could share and not just feel like oh, you’re going to be judged now.
Over time, VanderLey developed healthy alternatives. He learned new ways of thinking. But he wonders if his struggle could have been avoided if his parents had talked with him about pornography before he saw it for the first time.
BAART: I think it starts with apology, with I’m sorry I was too embarrassed to talk about this…
Aaron Baart is a husband and father of five. He intentionally addresses pornography from the pulpit.
BAART: There are too many Christians who are growing up and their sexuality and their spirituality are not talking to each other at all. They are growing on very parallel tracks and probably are growing further and further apart.
By not naming pornography directly, Baart says the church acts as a hiding place.
BAART: Quite often, some of the most conservative pockets are the places of the highest pornographic consumption.
He knows this personal experience.
BAART: When I was first married, it was one of the first times I was ever actively seeking out pornography. My wife walking into the room as I was on the computer. She didn’t say anything, she just grabbed my hand and walked me downstairs to the living room, and sat on the couch together and she put her hands around my face, and looked me square in the eyes. Then came like super close and just said “I want more than this for us.” It made me want to fight for a beautiful and healthy sexuality in our marriage. It was that grace filled response of my wife in that, it made me realize instantly too, pornography has many victims.
And for most of these victims, pornography is a lifelong struggle, not just a phase.
BAART: Stop pretending like Christian maturity is arriving at the place where you’ll never be tempted by these things again. These aren’t problems that we solve, they’re tensions that we manage.
Resources and ongoing conversations are essential - in the family and in the church.
BAART: I want people to imagine coming forward and instead of being shamed in their churches, that we would break out in applause. Because we’d look a little more like heaven if we did.”
But besides applause from the church, a child should be embraced by their parents when they come forward needing help.
MILLER: I think I was 13. And I’d gotten my first laptop...
Tyler Miller grew up Christian. But from the time he was a little boy, he struggled with homosexual attraction.
In junior high, Miller sought out homosexual pornography. It was a way he could live out this lifestyle behind the scenes without being found out.
At 19, Miller finally went to his dad and told him everything. Instead of scorn, his father embraced him.
Miller credits his dad for helping him face his temptation.
MILLER: If you are a parent that has actually struggled with it, tell your kid you struggled with it, but I think that’s a huge tool that most parents probably won’t touch.
He says deliverance comes from the Holy Spirit and relying solely on God for strength.
MILLER: I have no desire for any life that’s entangled with homosexuality at all. We can have an abundant life now. I think that’s why we’re here. So few of us live that way. And it’s available to us through the Holy Spirit and everything that Jesus has done for us. I just want to see how good God can make it before I get to heaven, I mean, how close to heaven can we get it here on earth?
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mikaela Wegner.
PAUL BUTLER: I’m really delighted by the hard work World Journalism Institute students like Mikaela showed during two intense weeks back in May.
You’ll be hearing more new voices this summer because the class, as we said, was simply packed with young people who want to glorify God in the profession of journalism and we’re offering several summer internships.
So I’d like to take a moment here to say, if you’re a financial supporter of WORLD, this is one of the many ways your investment in our work makes a difference. So thank you!
Without your help, we wouldn’t have been able to teach at WJI and work so closely with the students. There was travel involved from numerous people and the expense of setting up remote equipment to run not just this radio program but also the daily WORLD Watch TV program. All of that had to happen at the same time we were teaching students and that takes the resources that you provide.
This month is WORLD’s June Giving Drive and I’d encourage you to help us reach our end-of-fiscal year goal to keep WORLD running strong.
We have a big mission here to produce sound journalism grounded in God’s word and that’s labor-intensive work. It means investing in people not just professionally but spiritually. Would you take a moment today and visit WNG.org/donate and make a gift of any amount? We’re grateful. WNG.org/donate. Thank you for supporting our work!
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, June 9th. 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’s founder believes in practical journalism. And it started when he was just a boy. Here’s Joel Belz.
JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: For the last 73 years of my life, June the 7th has been “Meet the Sheriff Day.” And that may suggest why WORLD’s editorial stance has, through the years, tended to be a bit feisty. Early childhood experiences can have a profound effect. Let me explain.
The setting was a small church on a gravel road in rural eastern Iowa. My father, Max Belz, was the church’s pastor. Dad was newly excited about the gospel. He had sold the prospering family grain business so he could go to seminary, train for the pastorate, and lead this little congregation in its evangelistic outreach.
But there was a fly in the ointment. Along the way, Dad had sensed a dangerous drift toward theological liberalism at the Presbyterian seminary. It was downplaying the very Biblical truth that was quickening the Cono church.
So Dad had boldly told his supervisors in the denomination that he would not be returning to the seminary. He also told them the congregation was likely to transfer its affiliation to a more conservative denomination. As part of that process, the church had invited Dr. Carl McIntire to visit, to speak, and to help the church’s leaders sort through their options.
McIntire was an acknowledged leader in a growing movement among conservative Presbyterians. He also published weekly newsprint tabloid called the Christian Beacon. It featured a firebrand fundamentalism and thrived on this kind of conflict.
McIntire flew in from New Jersey on Monday, June 7th—ready for his assignment. But first, he asked for a few minutes to take a quick nap. While he slept, the sheriff of Buchanan County showed up with startling orders: McIntire, my dad, and all the church members were forbidden from entering the church.
“The denomination says it owns the property, and the judge agreed,” the sheriff explained. But in addition to being the top county lawman, Emery Hart had a reputation for being a sincere Pentecostal church leader. So he told them, “They wanted me to serve these papers at supper time, in order to disrupt the whole evening’s plans. But I wanted to give you a little help, and this gives you time to change your plans.”
Amazingly, it also gave the Iowa media time to catch the story. Radio stations across the state reported on the bully denominational honchos exiling people from their own church. Attendance at the McIntire rally had been expected to be in the range of 40 or 50 people. By that Monday evening, it had ballooned to several hundred people—including a horde of reporters who never would have bothered with the original event. A landmark Cedar Rapids Gazette photo the next day featured the dismayed congregation standing on a lot across the street from what they thought was their property. I say “landmark” partly because it got some national circulation from the Associated Press, and partly because I am hunched in the lower right corner of the photo.
McIntire himself went back the next day to New Jersey to devote most of that week’s Christian Beacon front page to a column entitled “Meet the Sheriff.”
And one little boy watching from the sidelines got his first lesson in practical American journalism. It’s a lesson I ask a sovereign God to help me revisit every year, but especially on June the 7th.
I’m Joel Belz.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: rethinking math. California says it’s trying to level the playing field in advanced math courses. And that means rearranging some basic educational equations. We’ll walk you through the problems with that.
And, the Windsor ruins. We’ll take you on a visit to an unusual attraction in Mississippi.
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.
For freedom Christ has set us free; therefore, stand firm, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Go now in grace and peace.
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