MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
A company objectifies females in pursuit of diversity and a Supreme Court nominee slips up on gender ideology.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.
Plus a new action-filled rom-com.
And your listener feedback.
REICHARD: It’s Friday, March 25th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: NATO leaders pledge ‘to do more’ to counter Russia, support Ukraine » BIDEN: Good evening everyone.
President Biden addressed reporters in Brussels Thursday evening after a day of emergency meetings with European allies.
Western leaders vowed to hit Russia with more sanctions and step up their aid to Ukraine and its people.
BIDEN: NATO has never, never been more united than it is today.
The leaders spent Thursday crafting next steps to counter Russia’s invasion … and huddling over how they’ll respond to whatever Vladimir Putin does next.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters they “agreed to do more”…
STOLTENBERG: Including cybersecurity assistance, and equipment to help Ukraine protect against biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear threats.
President Biden would not say how the West will respond if Russia launches a chemical attack in Ukraine, saying only that it would—quote—“trigger a response in kind.”
But the White House clarified, that would not mean U.S. troops in Ukraine.
Biden also announced the United States would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and provide an additional $1 billion in humanitarian aid.
But NATO’s pledges on Thursday fell short of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s latest request.
ZELENSKYY: [Speaking in Ukrainian]
In a pair of live-video appearances, Zelenskyy asked NATO to donate one percent of its tanks and war planes to Ukraine.
But the White House and Europe say they want to avoid escalating a conflict with a nuclear superpower.
UN blames Russia for Ukraine humanitarian crisis » Meantime, the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning Russia’s actions.
AUDIO: In favor, 140 - against, 5 - abstention 38. Draft resolution is adopted.
Only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea joined Russia in opposing the measure. China was among the 38 nations that abstained.
The resolution blames Russia for a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urges a ceasefire.
The vote was almost exactly the same as a similar resolution on March 2nd.
New rules aim to decide US asylum cases in months, not years » Migrants seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border may soon have a decision in months rather than years. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Biden administration just rewrote asylum rules in hopes of speeding up the process. The new procedures, which will likely take effect in late May will empower asylum officers to grant or deny claims.
Right now, only immigration judges have that authority at the southern border. Asylum officers only screen migrants and then hand that information off to overwhelmed immigration courts.
The court backlog has soared to nearly 1.7 million cases. Many applicants don’t have legitimate asylum claims under U.S. law, but count on being released inside the United States while their cases play out. And that can take years.
Officials hope the new rules will cut down on illegitimate claims, but they say the changes will take effect slowly. The administration estimates it will need to hire 800 more employees to help handle the caseload.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Supreme Court rules in favor of religious death row inmate » The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of a death row inmate.
The justices said John Henry Ramirez likely has the right to have his pastor lay hands on him and pray out loud in the execution chamber.
Current execution rules in Texas forbid that.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had denied Ramirez’s challenge against the state of Texas. But the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 to reverse that decision. Justice Clarence Thomas was the only dissenter.
Ramirez was scheduled to die by lethal injection last year for murdering a convenience store clerk in 2004.
North Korea tests long-range missile » North Korea test-fired possibly its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile into the sea Thursday, heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has that story.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: The missile launched from an area near Pyongyang … and soared nearly 700 miles before plunging into the sea. That according South Korean officials on Thursday.
It was the North’s first launch of an ICBM since 2017.
The missile avoided Japan’s territorial waters, but it came close.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said flight details suggest it was a new type of missile for the North.
The White House called the launch a “brazen violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions. And South Korea said Pyongyang’s actions pose a serious threat to the region and the world.
The North has tested a variety of new missiles in recent months, including a purported hypersonic weapon.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: defining what it means to be a woman.
Plus, a silly but entertaining romantic comedy.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday, March 25th, 2022. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’s time for Culture Friday.
Maybe you noticed the story a few weeks ago about a lingerie brand that hired a model who has Down Syndrome. Media outlets reported this as a historic first for the brand that had come under fire for its lack of diversity, as that word has come to be used.
So the company—Victoria’s Secret—rebranded itself and hired Sofia Jirau, a 26 year old from Puerto Rico. Here she is in a YouTube video speaking Spanish with an English interpreter:
Interpreter: She feels really happy and content and it’s been an amazing experience.
Jirau: No limits!
Interpreter: I’m here for that! No limits. No limits! Yea!
No limits on people differently abled sounds like something we could all rally around— a good thing to give people differently abled a hand up in a life.
BROWN: The question arises, though: is this latest with Victoria’s Secret really a good thing?
Joining us now to talk about it is Katie McCoy. She is director of women’s ministry at Texas Baptist. Morning, Katie.
KATIE MCCOY, GUEST: Good morning!
BROWN: I think our first inclination is to celebrate the inclusion of people with Down Syndrome in mainstream media, ads, movies etc. I think of the movie Peanut Butter Falcon that featured a man with Down Syndrome. The character Reggie in the Netflix series Call the Midwife. Just two examples.
As Christians, how might we think about that as compared to what Victoria’s Secret has done?
MCCOY: You're right, Myrna. We look for ways to celebrate the full personhood and value of Down syndrome people. What Victoria's Secret did though is it seemed to conflate or equate a person with Down Syndrome and their value with how much we can sexualize them, as if to say, “Look, we see Down Syndrome persons as equal, too! We will objectify women with this disability as well!” And especially when you think about how Down Syndrome has multiple effects on a person, among them cognitive abilities, so of all the people in society that we should be protecting from being exploited, it seems that this not just missed the mark, but it was so upside down. Every now and then you find a story in the news that just sort of typifies where we are as a culture. And there's something about this one that was, it kind of can give you a bit of a visceral reaction because of what it says about us as a culture. The other thing it's demonstrating too is this value we have of equating sexuality with power. And so what you're seeing the language of inclusivity and elevating a woman with Down syndrome, that the way to do that is to empower her by allowing her to sexualize herself. It's ironic, it's one of the ways that the feminist movement in the last 60 years has kind of turned in on itself in the last decade or so. So there's a lot of things going on with this story that is very much a cultural commentary of where we are and how we value and assess the value of other people.
REICHARD: And just to follow up on that, what of the idea that these messages teach all women to view themselves as objects? Talk about that.
MCCOY: Precisely. And when you consider the prevalence of pornography at a young age, this is all the more disturbing and along with that what you're telling women is that their goal in life, part of their value in life, is to become not just sexually desirable, but sexually objectifiable. And for a young woman, especially who has no idea the the amount of very perverse things that are online that men regularly view, for her to be presenting herself as a sexual object, is is not just degrading, it's it's actually kind of terrifying.
BROWN: Let’s segue to another cultural phenomenon, this time involving Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated by President Biden to the Supreme Court. I want to call attention to an exchange between the judge and Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. This is during part of the ongoing confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Let’s listen:
Blackburn: “OK. Can you provide a definition for the word woman?”
Jackson: “Can I provide a definition?”
Jackson: “I can’t.”
Blackburn: “You can’t?”
Jackson: “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.”
Blackburn: “The meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?”
Jackson: “Senator, in my work as a judge what I do is I address disputes. If there’s a dispute about a definition. People make arguments and I look at the law and I decide, so I’m not...”
Blackburn: “The fact that you can’t give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what a woman is underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about.”
Katie, what do you think about that exchange?
MCCOY: Well, I'm glad Senator Blackburn asked the question. You know, you think about legislation like the Equality Act and how that could affect Christian organizations and how Judge Jackson, as a sitting Supreme Court judge may be weighing in on legislation like the Equality Act, if it were to pass. She very admirably tried to stay away from political issues. But what's interesting about her answer is that I think it actually is a political statement. Now it's possible we could very narrowly view her response, right, we could look at it and say, maybe Judge Jackson was trying to refer to an established legal category of woman. And perhaps she was answering it on very narrow legal terms. But implicit in her response is this idea that biological sex and gender identity are not just distinct, but disconnected. And that would mean that being a woman has nothing to do with being female. And that itself is the prevailing belief in today's gender ideology that's being more and more taught in schools and accepted in the mainstream. So biological facts that you can see and verify don't necessarily have to correspond to reality. And they certainly don't determine reality or the truth of who you are. So when Judge Jackson reasoned that she's not a biologist, so she can't give a definitive answer, she's actually being very consistent with gender ideology, which claims the fact that being female is disconnected from the reality of being a woman. Because if the truth about gender is so unknowable, so indiscernible based on biology, then only a professional biologist can even define it? And then even a mind as brilliant as Judge Jackson's isn't qualified in that case. Let me take it one step further, though. To claim that biological sex is the result of a design that we can observe, that it has a purpose and that purpose should guide how we are to understand ourselves. That is a claim that something or someone has authority to tell us who we are, what we are, and how we should live. And gender ideology views that claim as something that is culturally fabricated or culturally constructed, and also created to protect the power of a certain privileged few. And Christians are among those certain privileged few. So Judge Jackson saying she can't define what a woman is, I think that actually is a political claim. And that's concerning, not just because of the cases that may come before her but also because of the worldview that that statement represents.
BROWN: Another question about Judge Jackson’s silence on the “What is a woman” question.
By refusing to acknowledge what a woman is, do you think Judge Jackson recognizes the disservice she has done to women who look like her, who look like me? Women like, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ida B. Wells.
MCCOY: You know, I never want to take away from the historical significance of Judge Jackson's nomination and eventual confirmation. There's a beautiful picture online of Judge Jackson's daughter beaming with pride as she looks at her mother and we should celebrate every bit of that. And I think also celebrating the fact that we live in a country that is based on ideas and principles, so much so that even when, for generations, we fail to live up to them, we can make course corrections and see something like Judge Jackson being confirmed to the Supreme Court— something that I know in my grandparents generation would have been unfathomable. With that though, we also give every human being the dignity of being assessed not on the basis of their demographic category or categories, but looking at the body of their work, their thoughts, their mind. In Judge Jackson's case, her opinions and her rulings. And I think that's something that as Christians we can and should be able to hold together is to celebrate the the advancement, to celebrate the historical significance, but then also to look at who Judge Jackson is as a judge and recognize that there are things in her rulings and opinions that are out of step with a biblical worldview.
REICHARD: Last question here, Katie. It occurs to me that if Judge Jackson admits she’d need to be a biologist to define what a woman is, shouldn’t that settle the question that this IS a biological issue, and not one based on feelings?
MCCOY: Bingo. Bingo. And this is one of the things where gender ideology is so self refuting. One of the reasons we celebrated Judge Jackson's appointment to the court is because she's a woman, we're going to have another woman on the court. I have yet to hear anybody say that we are going to have a dress wearing, uterus having, birthing person. It sounds even disrespectful to talk about a woman like that. But that's what gender ideology does. It reduces people down to specific reproductive anatomy and how they present themselves as opposed to seeing a whole person. And I think you've hit it, Mary, there's a lot of self refuting stuff that is going on with these arguments.
BROWN: Katie McCoy has been our guest today. She’s director of women’s ministry at Texas Baptist. Thanks, Katie.
MCCOY: Always great to be with you.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: I like birds, but even I draw a line.
So do luxury hotel owners in Venice, the city of canals.
They’ve had it with seagulls swooping down on diners on hotel terraces and making off with food. One bird even flew off with a whole steak just as it was being presented to the guest!
What to do? Well, arm the hotel guests with water pistols to shoo the birds away, for one idea!
Another Venice hotel owner hands out bright orange water pistols to put off the seagulls. Turns out, the birds don’t like that color, and just setting them on the table frightens the birds away.
MYRNA BROWN: No harm, no fowl.
REICHARD: It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, March 25th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: The Lost City.
Sandra Bullock’s new film arrives in theaters today. But is it an action adventure or a rom-com? According to reviewer Collin Garbarino, it might be both.
Bad Guy: You led me straight to the lost city. Now, prepare to die.
Loretta: There are just hundreds of snakes in this temple, waiting for us to show up?
Dash: Why aren’t they biting that guy?
Loretta: This is ridiculous. Delete. Delete. Delete. [groans]
COLLIN GARBARINO, REVIEWER: In The Lost City, Sandra Bullock stars as Loretta Sage—a writer who started out as a serious academic but ends up writing pulp romance novels because no one would publish her scholarly works. But she doesn’t give up on her first love. She bases her spicy “Dash and Lovemore” series on the work she did with her archeologist husband. Her books are a little history, a little archeology, and a lot of romance. But after her husband dies, Loretta becomes reclusive and struggles to bring her series to a satisfying conclusion.
Beth: Listen, Loretta. We need you to promote your new book on the lost city. You can’t spend your life in the bathtub, drinking chardonnay with ice.
Loretta’s agent, Beth, strongarms her into a book tour to promote her flailing franchise. Also, on the book tour? Alan, the popular Fabio-like model who appears on her book covers. Channing Tatum plays Alan, who sometimes seems to confuse his own life with Dash, the character from the book.
Loretta: You do know you’re not Dash, right? Dash is a character I made up.
It turns out Loretta’s novels contain a little too much archeological reality. And a nefarious collector played by Daniel Radcliffe kidnaps her to help him find the lost treasure she writes about in her fiction.
Fairfax: Miss Sage, I enjoyed your book about the lost city, and I believe you’re the one that can help me find its treasure.
Loretta: I have to respectfully decline.
Fairfax: I’m afraid I must insist.
Beth hires a soldier of fortune played by Brad Pitt to rescue Loretta, but Alan insists on coming along. He secretly loves Loretta, and he hopes to prove to her he’s more than a pretty face and chiseled torso.
Beth: Loretta Sage is missing.
Alan: I’m going to rescue her. I just want her to think of me as more than a cover model.
All of this is, of course, quite silly. And older listeners might think: Hey, this plot sounds familiar! The Lost City draws much of its inspiration from the 1984 movie Romancing the Stone. Both films have novelists who get dragged into jungles and need to be rescued by scruffy jungle adventurers. But The Lost City injects enough originality and rom-com verve to make this implausible film a treat for audiences weary of Hollywood’s sequel-reboot cycle.
Alan: This is like your book. We’re on a Lovemore and Dash adventure right now.
Bullock and Tatum have chemistry and impeccable comic timing for a romantic adventure that leans into the absurdity of its premise. Both actors demonstrate what brilliant physical comedians they are. Bullock spends almost the entire film in a purple sequined jumpsuit. It’s quite possibly the least appropriate jungle attire imaginable. The jumpsuit almost becomes a character in its own right, and watching Bullock run through the jungle in it is hilarious. Fans of Bullock’s rom coms will enjoy seeing her back in the genre. She proves she’s still the queen of the smart-beautiful-yet-somewhat-awkward-love-interest role.
Tatum plays Alan with just the right mix of earnestness and stupidity.
Alan: I’m certified CPR. I’m certified CrossFit. I have snacks.
He might be muscle bound, and he might wish to prove himself. But Alan’s just as lost in the jungle as Lorretta in her sequined jumpsuit. In an interview, Bullock says putting this odd couple in such an odd predicament is what gives the film its comic punch.
Sandra Bullock: You have someone who shouldn’t be in nature in nature. You have a cover model who is trying to be the hero to get the shut-in author out of the jungle. Neither one of them should be in any atmosphere other than a hermetically sealed building with air conditioning.
The Lost City is rated PG-13 for violence, language, and partial nudity. The plot deals with pulp romance novels, so you should expect some innuendo in the dialogue. But this rom com hearkens back to earlier films in the genre, and despite the innuendo the romance stays refreshingly chaste. The raciest scene—played for laughs—features a male backside with only a few leeches to cover it.
And the movie contains plenty of laughs. Somehow, this silly romp manages to perfectly blend the action-adventure and rom-com genres. It’s an impressive feat. The Lost City isn’t a serious movie—you’re not going to gain deeper insight into what it means to be human. It knows what it is: A lighthearted love story in which opposites attract in the jungle while dodging bullets and explosions. And it’s frightfully entertaining.
Beth: If I don’t get to this island, my friend and her cover model are going to die.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Friday, March 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. It’s time for Listener Feedback.
REICHARD: First up, ‘fess up. We have a few corrections. In the March 7th newscast, we said the last time gas prices were as high as today was in 2008. We attributed that to the hurricane everyone remembers: Katrina. But we had the wrong hurricane. It was Ike that spiked gas prices in 2008.
BROWN: And on the March 14th edition of History Book, we had a math error. We said Westpoint has been around for 120 years when we meant 220 years.
REICHARD: And finally, on the March 17th program, one of our guests mentioned Catherine the Great’s Russian heritage. That was just a slip of the tongue. He meant to refer to her German/Prussian heritage.
BROWN: Alright. Time to pass the mic to you!
LONGABAUGH: This is Cynthia Longabaugh, and I am calling this morning to simply say how proud I am of WORLD and The World and Everything in It. I just listened to Kim Henderson talk about Mary Reichard and Andrée Seu Peterson and a Lyft ride. And I was so proud because they’re just living out their calling in ordinary ways, being extraordinary by God’s grace. And I’m thrilled to be part of it.
REICHARD: I’m thrilled you are part of it, too, Cynthia! Thank you for calling in. WORLD’s supporters made that Lyft ride to our meeting possible, and we are grateful.
BROWN: Next, a call about a recent story on our stand-alone podcast, Effective Compassion. This year’s 10-episode season put a spotlight on the work of prison ministries.
JENSEN: The name’s Matt Jensen. I’m a pastor up in Lake Almanor, California. And I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the most recent episode of Effective Compassion. The reporting about the Hospitality House was especially moving. So great to hear about what God is doing in a really difficult situation. Thank you so much for reporting on that and the excellent writing. There’s only one beef I have with you: You have to stop making me cry so much!
REICHARD: Thanks, Matt. What’s that saying? “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” That episode was about caring for the family members of prisoners! If you haven’t heard it yet, you can find it by searching for Effective Compassion wherever you listen to your podcasts. The story Matt’s referring to is in Episode 7.
BROWN: That’s right, and the last episode of this season aired this week! So, now’s a great time to binge listen to all 10, if you haven’t been keeping up with it over the last few months.
REICHARD: And if you’re worried your Saturdays are about to feel a bit empty, don’t be! Next week we start our newest podcast called Lawless. You can listen to the trailer now on the Lawless feed … anywhere you get your podcasts. The first episode airs on Thursday. And we’ll repost it Saturday on The World and Everything in It feed. But trust me, you don’t want to wait that long to hear it!
BROWN: Riveting radio for sure. Ok, next we have Cheryl Balcom, who called after listening to Jenny Rough’s piece earlier this month on the Christian walk.
BALCOM: I stand in jealous awe of Craig Clapper’s two-hour daily walk. Oh, to have that much time to be mentally still in the presence of the Lord. It must be so powerful and fulfilling. I know that seasons of life tend to dictate the amount of free time we each have. I also realize I’m the one who prioritizes that time, and I don’t always do that well. Thank you for this glimpse of the strength that can be found in walking with the Lord on a daily basis. I’m grateful for these reflective, convicting pieces. Keep up the good work, WORLD!
REICHARD: Thanks, Cheryl. I resonate with that, too. Next, we have a call from longtime listener Melvyn Michaelian.
MICHAELIAN: I want to thank Myrna Brown and Nick Eicher for mentioning all the contributors to The World and Everything in It at the end of each Friday’s broadcasts. There is one problem in that Myrna and Nick are not recognized for their contributions. So, I would like to recognize and thank both of them for the outstanding job they do each week.
BROWN: Aww! Thank you, Melvyn. Although Mary pinch hits today.
REICHARD: Happy to! And finally, we’ll end with the wit of listener Jeff Palomino.
PALOMINO: Oh, it’s the month of St. Patrick’s Day. And I want to give a shout out to me favorite Irish sister, Onize Ohikere. With a name like that, you must be from the very heart of Dublin. Onize Ohikere, taking us around the world each week like a good Irishman. Darlin’, I wish you a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a pint of your favorite beverage, depending on your denominational viewpoint, and all the Irish stereotypes. Onize Ohikere, me favorite Irish sister.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Time now to say thanks to our team this week:
Nick Eicher, Steve West, Kent Covington, Josh Schumacher, David Bahnsen, Collin Garbarino, Lauren Dunn, Bonnie Pritchett, Kristen Flavin, Kim Henderson, Joel Belz, Amy Lewis, Anna Johansen Brown, Onize Ohikere, Cal Thomas, Harrison Waters, and Katie McCoy.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz are the audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Leigh Jones is managing editor, and Paul Butler is our executive producer.
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 writes: Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all who wait for the Lord! (Psalm 31:24 ESV)
Remember to worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ in church this weekend, and Lord willing, we’ll meet you back here on Monday.
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.