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WORLD Radio Rewind

WORLD Radio - WORLD Radio Rewind

WORLD Radio news coverage highlights from the week of July 19, 2021

PAUL BUTLER: This is WORLD Radio Rewind: a 10-minute review of our news coverage and features from the past week on WORLD Radio. I’m Paul Butler.

Up first, national sex education standards and local school boards. Just a quick note, this story might not be appropriate for our youngest listeners. If you have kids around, you might want to hit pause and come back later.

Last month, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill requiring comprehensive sex education for students as young as 5 years old. If the governor signs the bill, Illinois schools, both public and private, will be required to follow national guidelines when teaching sex ed. If they refuse, they’re not allowed to teach anything on the topic according to the legislation.

This summer, parents have finally been putting the pressure on school boards to do something about it. WORLD intern Josh Schumacher reports.

JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Becky Swan is one of a growing group of parents speaking up at local school board meetings against Senate Bill 818.

SWAN: It sexually grooms young children by introducing sensitive and inappropriate topics....

David Smith is the executive director of the Illinois Family Institute.

SMITH: The National Sex Ed standards would require boys and girls in grades 3-5 to, here's one: Explain common human sexual development including masturbation. Describe the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.

Smith says the bill builds on previous legislation that required comprehensive sex education for grades 6-12. This new bill extends it all the way to kindergarten. Illinois is the first state to require conformity to the National Sex Education Standards in this way. But two others, Colorado and Washington, adopted similar standards in 2019 and 2020.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker will have 60 days to sign Senate Bill 818 into law once it arrives at his desk. Jeanette Ward is a former school board member for the U-46 School District in Elgin, Illinois. She says the grassroots activism against the bill is both encouraging, and a long-needed step in the right direction.

WARD: I actually am heartened by the response that people are actually starting to pay attention. In my time on the school board, I was saddened by the lack of participation by God fearing people so at the very least, I'm heartened that people are starting to pay attention.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

PB: Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced new sanctions against leaders of the island nation of Cuba. The action is in response to human rights abuses during government crackdowns on freedom protests. Christian pastors seem to be a particular target.

On Tuesday’s The World and Everything in It, Onize Ohikere spoke with Pastor Alexis Pérez who left Havana for a visit to the United States just prior to the unrest. He watched from Miami as the uprising spread around Cuba.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Pastor Alexis Pérez had no idea when he left home that trouble was brewing.

ALEXIS PEREZ: There has been some kind of movement before that has been trying to work for this to happen in Cuba. But what is very unique of this movement that happened just started last Sunday is that it was spontaneous.

Following the protests, government forces reportedly arrested at least 100 Cubans, some of them pastors.

PEREZ: So I think that the government is afraid that the pastors became leaders, local leaders in the social movement. But I think that Christians have taken a different approach in that way, and not really active protesting against the government.

Perez says church leaders aren’t encouraging protests. But they are speaking out against the government’s attempts to stop them.

PEREZ: It is difficult to be a Christian in Cuba. Though, I think that most of the Christians also in Cuba, we don't think that we should be involved in these kind of violent events and trying to take over a government. So we think that we need to wait on God, pray, be peacemakers. And see what God is going to do. I think we need wisdom. And we need prayer. That's what we need. We also need to be able to help people. For us to be able to keep preaching the gospel in the midst of all these, keep doing the work and helping people.


PB: This week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and three other passengers blasted off from a launch pad near Van Horn, Texas. The autonomous space flight lasted just over 10-minutes—reaching 66 miles above sea level. With two successful private missions to space in recent weeks, the concept of “Space Tourism” is fast becoming a reality...here’s an excerpt of my report from Wednesday’s program.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: For nearly 20 years, a handful of private companies have vied for the top spot in the civilian space race. Space X was an early leader with its commercial, communication, and government contracts.

But Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic had much smaller goals. This month, they both took a giant leap toward their vision of accessible space travel.

FAULKNER: The emphasis of these two is pleasure craft.

Danny Faulkner is astronomer for Answers in Genesis.

FAULKNER: When you go on vacation, you can go to the Grand Canyon, go to Hawaii, go on a cruise, or you can go into space.

That’s right. They want to make a run at making space tourism a reality.


In the midst of all the positive press, some have been critical of this “Billionaire Space race.” Private funding has made travel to the edge of space more affordable, but it’s still way out of reach of many.

Faulkner believes that over time, that may change.

FAULKNER: When people argue that only the rich can do something, that's fine until everybody can afford it...it might be a rich man's game to go and put a guy into space, but it's conceivable that in a few decades, we could actually have affordable space travel for everybody...

Watching the post-flight press conferences, it was clear that organizers had done their market research. They attempted to convince their critics of the value of these ventures.

They both took the opportunity to announce undefined climate research initiatives. And Bezos even used the press conference to unveil a $100 million dollar award for people fighting for social change on earth.

For Danny Faulkner though, these flights provided a great opportunity for a different kind of message.

FAULKNER: It's like a giant billboard, the world around us, the space around us, advertising the fact that there is a creator...and that is the thing that's most important in this that people need to see that rather than just the cool factor of going into space.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.

PB: Finally today, religious freedom on the college campus. Recently, a federal appeals court slammed the University of Iowa for punishing InterVarsity Christian Fellowship because it limits leadership to Christians.

The court said the school violated the organization’s free speech rights. During Thursday’s program, host Myrna Brown talked with attorney Steve West.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: How did this controversy unfold?

WEST: Well, Myrna, the University of Iowa, like most if not all public universities, has a nondiscrimination policy that applies to recognized student organizations. But it’s not what is called an “all-comers” policy. That’s one where all groups must accept any student as a member or leader. The school permits student groups to require students to subscribe to the goals and beliefs of the group, or even have a characteristic that makes sense: sororities may limit membership to women; an Islamic group to Muslims; the Chinese Basketball Club to Chinese.

BROWN: Sounds reasonable, so what was the problem?

WEST: It is reasonable. And until recently, this was noncontroversial. InterVarsity had been a recognized group on the campus for 25 years, but in June 2018 the university told student leaders that limiting leadership to Christians violated this nondiscrimination policy. There was an attempt to seek an exemption, but the university would not budge. A few weeks later, the student group was deregistered.

BROWN: Now, in some places, state laws or local ordinances seek to prioritize things like LGBT accommodations over religious liberty. Is that the case in Iowa?

WEST: There is certainly a clash in Iowa as well as many other places over gay rights and free exercise of religion and free speech rights, and that will continue to be a subject of many lawsuits, there is an aggressive move to eliminate all public disagreement with the gay rights agenda, and the academy—university administrators—are caught up in this agenda.

PB: That’s it for this week’s WORLD Radio Rewind. If you’d like to hear the complete stories we featured today, visit our website: wng.org.

Stories we’re working on for next week: some municipalities are changing their mind about defunding the police—we’ll tell you about that. Plus, we’ll hear about the push to nationalize election laws. That and more, next week.

Check in each day for the latest news, features, and commentary from WORLD Newsgroup. Again that address is wng.org. For WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

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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