Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

The World and Everything in It - March 2, 2022


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - March 2, 2022

On Washington Wednesday, the U.S. policy response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; on World Tour, China’s latest crackdown on Christians; and ministry in the French Quarter. Plus: commentary from Janie B. Cheaney, and the Wednesday morning news.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Today, the American response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Is it enough?

NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll talk with a veteran reporter today on Washington Wednesday.

Also today, WORLD Tour.

Plus a church with a heart for the city of New Orleans.

And WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on the way to be content.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, March 2nd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now the news with Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden delivers first State of the Union address » SOUND: Madam Speaker, the president of the United States! (cheers)

President Biden delivered his first State of the Union address last night at the Capitol as inflation bears down at home and the invasion of Ukraine looms large overseas.

The president had plenty to say about Russia and Ukraine, including this announcement:

BIDEN: That we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia … 

The move follows similar action by Canada and the European Union.

The president touted the sanctions regime that the United States and its allies have imposed on Russia. And he called on the world to stand up to Vladimir Putin. He said history has shown that “when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos. They keep moving.”

One of the loudest rounds of applause of the entire evening went to an honored guest for the address, Oksana Markarova.

BIDEN: The Ukrainian ambassador to the US is here with us tonight, sitting with the first lady. Let each of us, if you’re able to stand, stand and send an unmistakable signal to the world. (cheers)

Even before the Russian invasion sent energy costs skyrocketing, prices for American families were already soaring.

Biden called for capping the prices of some prescription drugs like insulin. And he said his plan to slow inflation includes reinvesting in American manufacturing capacity.

BIDEN: Instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America! 

One notable difference for this year’s State of the Union address: Many of those in attendance were not wearing masks. The CDC changed its guidance on indoor mask-wearing just last week.

Biden trumpeted progress in beating back COVID-19 and vowed to keep up the fight.

He also denounced pro-life laws at the state level and called on Congress to pass more gun control measures as well as a massive overhaul of voting laws.

The president’s first State of the Union address came at a difficult time for him politically. An average of recent polls has Biden’s job approval hovering around 40 percent.

Iowa governor delivers GOP’s State of the Union response » Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican response. She agreed that Americans and the free world must stand united against Russia’s aggression. But she criticized President’s Biden’s earlier decisions, such as waiving sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Europe and Russia last year.

REYNOLDS: We shouldn’t ignore what happened in the run-up to Putin’s invasion — waiving sanctions on Russian pipelines while eliminating oil production here at home.

On the economy, Reynolds charged that the big spending policies of President Biden and Democrats have largely driven soaring inflation.

President Biden in his address said America must pass immigration reform and secure the border. But Reynolds countered that his administration’s policies have done the opposite.

REYNOLDS: The Biden administration has refused to secure our border. They’ve refused to provide the resources to stop human trafficking, to stop the staggering influx of deadly drugs coming into our neighborhoods.

Reynolds also said Republicans believe parents deserve more control over their kids’ education and over decisions like whether their kids must wear masks.

Russia steps up attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine » Meantime in Ukraine on Tuesday, Russian forces escalated their attacks on crowded civilian areas, launching cruise missiles at the central square in Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Khariv. The attack killed at least 10 people.

ZELENSKY (in Ukrainian)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack on the square “frank, undisguised terror” and a war crime. He said “This is state terrorism of the Russian Federation.”

An attack also took out the main TV tower in the capital of Kyiv. Ukrainian authorities said five people died in that attack. Another missile reportedly hit a maternity clinic near Kyiv.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told members of the UN General Assembly Tuesday that Russia’s actions make it necessary to take a side and make clear where they stand.

BAERBOCK: We have decided to support Ukraine also militarily, to defend itself against the aggressor in line with Article 51 of our charter.

At the same time, a 40-mile convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles advanced slowly on Kyiv.

Many military experts worry that Russia may be shifting tactics. Moscow’s strategy in Chechnya and Syria was to use artillery and air bombardments to pulverize cities and crush fighters’ resolve.

The invading forces also pressed their assault on other towns and cities, including the strategic ports of Odesa and Mariupol in the south

Taliban blocks evacuations, some travel » The Taliban announced this week that it will no longer allow Afghans to leave the country without valid paperwork and an approved reason for leaving. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: At a news conference, a Taliban spokesman claimed the new restrictions are designed to better protect Afghans.

Zabiullah Mujahid said leaders received reports that Afghan refugees suffer poor conditions in countries like Qatar and Turkey while waiting for immigration paperwork. He said for that reason, citizens will need government approval to leave the country. But the Taliban also invoked religious law to prevent women from traveling without a male chaperone.

Some worry that with global focus centered on the invasion of Ukraine, the Taliban is taking advantage of the moment to crack down on women, ethnic groups, and anyone with American ties.

A ministry official signed a letter directing police at airports and border crossings to detain anyone with connections to the United States or NATO.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the U.S. policy response to Russia’s invasion.

Plus, our obsession with the simple life.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday, the 2nd of March, 2022.

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. Up first: Washington’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This week, President Biden signed off on $350 million in additional military aid to Ukraine. And billions more could be on the way if Congress gives the green light.

Meantime, as promised, Washington and its allies have hit Russia with tough new sanctions, with more potentially to come. But will it be enough?

Joining us now to help answer those questions and others is James Brooke. He is a Russia-Ukraine fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

And he’s a lifelong foreign correspondent who has lived in both Moscow and Kyiv.

REICHARD: James, good morning!

JAMES BROOKE, GUEST: Good morning, Mary. 

REICHAR: James, before we get to Washington’s response, you probably maintain some connections in the places you used to live. Let’s talk first about the Russian people. What are they thinking about this invasion?

BROOKE: The Kremlin controls all the media in Russia. All the networks, all the radio stations, and the print press. There are a couple exceptions on the internet. So, the Russians are fairly apathetic. That said, there are millions of Russians who have relatives in Ukraine. The relationship is very similar to between Canada and the United States. There's a lot of intermarriage. There was a lot of back and forth. A lot of friendliness on the people-level. So, we have heard, there have been 5,000 people detained in anti-war demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I have heard reports of a military mutiny of 5,000 soldiers. I don't know if that's entirely true. The Ukrainians have captured Russian soldiers. They seem pretty demoralized. And sometimes they say they didn't know they're going into Ukraine. They thought they were going on exercises. So I think there's a lot of apathy and skepticism. Putin has been running Russia for 22 years and he's done it partly by marginalizing public opinion. Now, that said, so far, 5-to-6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in five days.This is going to get back. There are going to be funerals. This is a very sensitive point for the Russian government to lose their soldiers, especially in Ukraine, which people see as a friendly country.

REICHARD: And what do your friends and connections back in Ukraine, in Kyiv tell you about what they’re seeing and feeling?

BROOKE: Mary, I left Ukraine in September—partly because I have a six year old son and wanted to get my wife and son out of there, partly because of COVID, and partly because of the Russian military buildup. My neighbors are sleeping in subway stations and running out of food, to be blunt. It's a tough situation. There's a curfew. I think supplies are not getting into the supermarkets. There's been a lot of bombing, rocket attacks on highrise buildings in Ukraine. I lived in a sort of czarist era four-story building. Could be a target, you don’t know. So people have rediscovered bomb shelters, which had been closed up since the end of the Cold War. And probably the safest thing is to take your mattress and go sleep in the subway station.

REICHARD: James, explain to us a little bit about the sanctions that Washington and its allies have put into place and why do they matter?

BROOKE: They're really earthshaking sanctions. They basically turn Russia overnight into a North Korea or an Iran. The simplest thing is this thing called SWIFT, which cuts interbank connections. This means you can't go to Russia and use your Visa card. This means that people can't pay easily for Russian gas or oil. It really isolates Russia. At the same time the EU and the U.S. have basically banned their airspace to any Russian flights. So there'll be no airplanes flying in and out of Russia to the west, essentially. I've been quite surprised. It's very, very tough, very tough sanctions.

REICHARD: Just to clarify, Russia is out of the SWIFT banking system or not?

BROOKE: About 80 to 95 percent yes. Certain parts are still open, but it has been cut out. And this the Europeans did. And the Europeans are often laggards in this. They did not want to drop heavy sanctions on Russia. They depend on Russia for 40% of their gas imports. But I think Russia has scared Europe. The EU is scared of Russia. It’s a 'come to Jesus' moment.

REICHARD: Are the United States and its allies giving Ukraine what it needs right now, militarily?

BROOKE: Well, there's a lot of talk. It's unclear what is getting in. What Ukraine needs are anti-tank, anti-ship, anti-drone, anti-air missiles. And they need these because Putin’s offensive has stalled. There's been such ferocious resistance by the Ukrainian people on the ground that the general fear is that he will resort to carpet bombing Ukrainian cities. He did this in Chechnya. He bombed Grozny. He bombed Chechnya to make it look like Stalingrad of 1944. He bombed Syria. Putin, when he gets blocked and frustrated, he unleashes the carpet bombing, the big bombers. And the fear is that he will do that with Ukraine, bomb them into submission.

REICHARD: What else could the White House and Congress do that they haven’t already done, in your view?

BROOKE: Mary, they can cut the red tape and get the missiles into Ukraine fast. You know, there's all this procurement and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and the bureaucrats never feel a fire under their backsides. But the missiles have to get into Ukraine to the skilled men and women who can use them. Ukrainians do not want American boots on the ground, but they desperately need these anti-tank and anti-air missiles.

REICHARD: What is Vladimir Putin’s endgame here? Annex part or all of Ukraine?… or still call it Ukraine, but install a puppet government that does whatever Putin says?

BROOKE: Mary, we don't really know what Putin's endgame is. We suspect that he wants to recreate the Russian Empire, which is a little spooky because the Russian Empire was actually larger than the Soviet Union in some areas. He seems to think that anyone who speaks Russian should answer to him. Now the fact that you and I are speaking English does not mean that we answer to Queen Elizabeth II. We have our affinities with England, with Britain, but the fact of speaking English does not mean we are English. Putin thinks that anyone who speaks Russian should be answering and saluting to the Kremlin and so that's why Europe is scared. They feel they've got to stop Putin now in Ukraine before he keeps moving west.

REICHARD: Any about this situation that you think Americans need to understand but don’t?

BROOKE: Americans need to understand that Ukrainians are real fighters. And there's a saying about Ukrainians that they're meek and mild and you can push them, but you can push them just so far. And when their foreheads hit the ground, they come back up as Cossacks. Ukrainian culture was formed by the Cossacks. Who were the Cossacks? They were basically escaped serfs or slaves, essentially. And they formed the culture of Ukraine, which literally means “on the border.” And they're very independent, somewhat chaotic. And they know how to fight. From 1944 to '54, more Soviet security personnel were killed in western Ukraine by the partisans than during the entire decade of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Which, you could connect the dots and conclude that Ukrainians—when their back is up—are more ferocious than the Taliban. We've seen videos from Kyiv of dozens of men and women filling up Molotov cocktails. We've seen the men lining up around the corner to join the territorial defense. Putin has stuck his foot into something very unpleasant. And 5,000 Russian soldiers dead in five days is just the beginning of it.

REICHARD: Alight, James Brooke with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies … James, thanks so much!

BROOKE: Thank you, Mary.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: a World Tour special report on China. Here’s Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Christians in China have faced increasing persecution for the last four years. But on Tuesday, the government ramped up the pressure with a new effort to regulate religious expression online.

The new rules, first announced in December, ban groups and individuals from sharing religious content without a license.

Bob Fu is with Texas-based China Aid.

FU: So that means basically the Christian online, from evangelism posting, you know, counseling or educational materials, as I say, involves the Bible, and, you know, so called, you know, evangelistic, is going to be totally banned.

Under the new measures, only registered churches, religious schools, or groups can apply for the license. That means unregistered house churches are now legally barred from having any online presence.

But having a license doesn’t mean churches can speak freely. Approved organizations cannot post anything that undermines the country’s communist system or encourages minors to believe in religion. They also can’t broadcast religious ceremonies, including worship services or baptisms.

David Curry is president of Open Doors, a persecution watchdog group.

CURRY: What happens over time, is that people won't be able to buy a Bible online, download, etc, from these sources, unless it's been edited, and approved by the Chinese Communist Party.

The regulations also prohibit fundraising online and bar foreigners from sharing religious information online in China. But Curry says Open Doors remains committed to continue providing Bibles to Chinese Christians.

CURRY: For Open Doors, the fact that people don't want people to read the Bible is not is not a, it's not a problem.

Ahead of the regulations, Bob Fu said many Christians had already started to prepare.

FU: Some Christians already proposing or they're already kind of exercising their self censorship almost like self-restraining, by like, not calling, might not posting the word God - Shangdi - but rather use SD or you know, something as a code, you know, JC as Jesus Christ, or Jesu. 

Others have taken a bolder approach.

FU: Other people like very bold evangelists, they just say, oh, you know, are you kidding me? This is part of the history of the persecuted church in China. And are we just expecting, I mean, anything better? And this is just a norm. So, let's not compromise. 

Communist officials say the measures are designed to protect the country’s national security and social stability.

But they come as pandemic restrictions have forced more Christians to depend on the internet to stay connected to each other and their churches. And those same restrictions have empowered the communist regime to further crack down.

Bob Fu recalls how police arrested one Christian who posted a call for seven days of prayer early in the pandemic. Authorities have even restricted attendance at government-regulated churches and barred home worship in some areas.

FU: They used the pandemic as a pretext.

David Curry says he believes the Chinese church will continue to thrive, in part because it has already strengthened its network of small groups. But he urged Christians around the world to pray for boldness and strength for Chinese believers and other persecuted minorities.

CURRY: This is a continued strangulation of Christians and their expression of their faith.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Imagine you’re out to dinner, special occasion, enjoying your favorite seafood. You bite down and, uh-oh. Michael Spresser told CBS Philly. 

SPRESSER: And then when I started to eat it, I noticed something was in my mouth. I actually thought one of my tooth broke.

It didn’t break, but it sure might’ve.

Spresser was having his appetizer of a dozen clams on the half-shell when he discovered he’d bitten down on a pearl — 8.8 millimeters.

Pretty nice. Could be worth about a thousand clams.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 2nd. 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: Mardi Gras. For weeks, Mardi Gras events have kept cities along the Gulf Coast buzzing.

The festival may have religious roots, but they’re hard to see in the revelry. WORLD Senior Correspondent Kim Henderson recently visited the French Quarter in New Orleans and brings us this story about a church loving its neighbors.

KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: During the past week, New Orleans has welcomed lots of tourists.


They’ve come to lively spots like Decatur Street, where Kim Cutrer mans a visitors center.

CUTRER: The week before Mardi Gras, we'll start having parades all day long every day until Fat Tuesday.

The parades feature elaborate floats. Thick crowds. Costumes. Rowdiness.

CUTRER: That's what people come here looking for. You know, if it was if it wasn't exciting, there wasn't revelry, it wouldn't be New Orleans…

Churches in the New Orleans area understand that, but some plan special ministry efforts during Mardi Gras as a counter option. At least one church works that scene year round—Vieux Carre Baptist Church. It’s a small, determined congregation in the heart of the French Quarter.


On Fridays at 10:30, their door on Dauphine Street opens. Inside, the small worship center has been transformed into a soup kitchen. The church website calls it “outreach to their neighbors.” They offer meals and hot showers. Even haircuts.


Singer Robert Green is in the barber’s chair.

Pastor Alex Brian is close by at one of the tables. He’s counseling a man about a job.

BRIAN: It's a typical Baptist Church in a strange place trying to, you know, meet the needs of our neighbors to worship and praise the Lord and teach timeless truths in a way that will make sense to people. It's just you have to do a lot more translating here in the French Quarter than you do in other places.

Translating means helping people understand God’s word. People who have no concept of God.

BRIAN: We're in the heart of the LGBTQ district. A lot of people hear—what I get all the time—is that they assume that all Christians hate them. And God hates them, too. There are people who walk through our neighborhood with signs. That’s people's main interaction with Christians, people yelling at them, telling them that they're going to hell because God hates them.

Alex Brian is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, but he’s a New Orleans native. His ties here run as deep as his love for the church.

BRIAN: I'm from nine generations deep here in New Orleans, so my family's nine generations and we're all lawyers actually. I don't know what that says about us. But going back before Louisiana was a state, you know, and so I'm from here. I care about the city.

That means he’s thoroughly acquainted with Mardi Gras. And it’s ugly underbelly.

BRIAN: I mean, there's certainly a dark side to Mardi Gras, and just, I mean, the French Quarter is Mardi Gras 24/7, 365, you know . . .

It’s midday, and the streets outside the church are alive with business and tourists. They represent great gospel opportunity.

BRIAN: One of the temptations here, especially in the French Quarter, but really anywhere, is just to go from one celebration to the next without stop, without ceasing. You know, without ever pausing to mourn or reflect or wait.

Alex says that’s the problem with Mardi Gras.

BRIAN: It's a “nonstopness,” a constant pushing towards celebration. And the other thing about it is that the celebration, if it's not based in Christ, can be diseased, you know.


On Friday, state troopers from across Louisiana traveled to New Orleans to support the police department during the final days of this year’s Mardi Gras events. Often, the partying ends in arrests. Pastor Brian says the misbehavior is because of misplaced affections.

BRIAN: It's celebrating things that aren't worth celebrating, you know, taking part in constant activities. Isaiah says, you know, men who are heroes in drinking wine, right, instead of heroes in fighting valiant battles and things.

But Brian says the good side of Mardi Gras is the whole community turns out. You get to meet all of your neighbors. He compares it to what churches did after his highschool football games.

BRIAN: The church went hoping to meet people in that space and bring into that celebration, again, things that were really worth celebrating, like the work of Christ in the world.

Mardi Gras ended yesterday. Today is Ash Wednesday, and heavily Catholic New Orleans is in a time of fasting. Meanwhile, the hard work of sharing the gospel in what Pastor Brian calls “a strange place” continues.

But he says all believers are called to minister in a “strange place.”

BRIAN: If we're hoping for a world that is free of sickness, free of division, right, where everyone lives in harmony, we're not hoping for a better world, we're hoping for the next world. In this world, even while we work to create spaces where those things are true. Ultimately, we're waiting on God and the coming of the kingdom.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in New Orleans, Louisiana.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 2nd! Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Trends and fads often come in cycles and go out in the same way. Nothing new under the sun.

Here’s WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: “Cottagecore,” a lifestyle trend among millennials, sounds like a blast from the mid-1970s. That was a time of anxiety and political upheaval and double-digit inflation, when baby-boomers adopted a hippie ethos of “Going Up the Country.” I baked bread and sewed my own long dresses. My girlfriends donned overalls and raised chickens. Some of us moved to collective farms or tried and failed at organic homesteading. It was a deliberate rejection of our parents’ consumerism, and it sounds very similar to the cottagecore aesthetic of simple living in harmony with nature.

With this difference: today’s simple life is mostly played out on social media. According to Ellen Tyn, a popular Instagrammer, Cottagecore is, quote, “less about living a rural lifestyle and more about longing for it or pretending you live it.” To anxious young moderns, simplicity has broad appeal.

But scarcity—not so much. One is a chosen lifestyle, the other a miserable constraint. “Scarcity” has become a buzzword as inflation steps up and supply-chain issues refuse to step down. As heating costs rise, this winter would be a good time to invest in wool socks while studying the secret of contentment.

That’s what Paul called it: “I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” He doesn’t say how, exactly, but the whole letter to the Philippians is about how: practice humility, center your mind on commendable things, rejoice in the Lord. Not that it’s easy. Even Paul felt despondent, cold, and bored while shivering in Mamertine prison shortly before his execution. “Do your best to come before winter” he begged Timothy—the cry of a lonely man facing empty shelves.

Christmas presents backordered until April and heat that costs twice what it did last year don’t compare to destitution in prison, but let’s face it: contemporary Americans don’t do deprivation well. That may be because we don’t do abundance well. We’re both addicted to it and embarrassed by it, like hippies of yesterday and Cottagecore enthusiasts of today. But “I know how to abound,” says Paul, pointing back to the one who taught him.

I’ve read it several times, but this time Luke 16:10 struck me: “If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” All I have is God’s, but that what’s coming to me is mine. Jesus calls it a place prepared, while Peter speaks of a sure inheritance: an embarrassment of riches we don’t deserve.

Abundance is not a bad thing—it’s a founding principle of our teeming world and a key factor of the next. We will not be guests in that new world; we’ll be home. Knowing that, we can hold our temporary goods lightly, whether much or little. It won’t always be easy, but it’s simple.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: docs-in-the-box. We’ll find out why retailers like CVS and Walgreens are turning some stores into doctor’s offices.

And, monster trucks. We’ll meet a man who uses his very tall, very loud, platform to share his faith.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

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

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

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

The Bible says: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

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.


Please wait while we load the latest comments...