Culture Friday: Covering up crimes


MARY REICHARD: It’s Friday the 31st of August, 2018.

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.

I’m going to read a news story to you from Oregon. Typical wire-service report, nothing spectacular. Here’s some of it:

“The Washington County Sheriff’s Office arrested a woman who said she was playing a prank when she approached a group of people with a firearm Sunday night.”

“A group of three people said they were walking in the park when someone approached them and pointed a handgun at them. The group ran to a nearby house and asked the homeowner to call 911. They described the suspect and firearm to a dispatcher.

“Deputies … found and detained a person who matched the suspect description. …”

“The victims confirmed that the person deputies detained was the same person who pointed the gun at them.”

That’s it.

But that’s not it. What you need to notice is this story is in large part about accurate identification. Three people described a suspect who pointed a gun at them. Based on the description, police picked up the person. The victims then confirmed the person police picked up was indeed the person with the gun.

Here’s what’s missing: The story includes a booking photo that clearly, obviously shows a man. The story says that police arrested a woman.

No mention in this story of transgenderism. That you have to figure out by reading other accounts.

Well, it’s Culture Friday and John Stonestreet joins me now. He’s president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Good morning.

JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning, Nick.

EICHER: I don’t know this, John, but I cannot for a second believe that these frightened people called police and said a woman pointed a gun at them. Moreover, I cannot believe for a second that if police were told to look for a woman, that they would have picked up this suspect. This is terrible journalism.

But John, what does it mean culturally?

STONESTREET: I think what we have is because of this ideology that’s outrunning reality and outrunning, certainly, science and outrunning all of our cultural institutions, it’s just way ahead of all these things. And so we’re in a tough spot now where we’re asking people to say things that aren’t true.

A long time now we’ve been asking educators to call little boys girls and call little girls boys on the small condition that they say that that’s what they are. We have now forced medical professionals to do this. Now we’re forcing journalists to do this. And the police have said it as well. In other words, all of reality now is having to reorient itself around an ideology that is observably not true. And this gets us in trouble in situations like this.

There’s no way, as you said, that these people who were frightened called into the police and said a woman is pointing a gun at us. They said a man is pointing a gun to us, a young man who’s about 18 and has a  sad looking mustache, according to the mugshot.

This is how you do these things. This is how you have to do these things because the physical world matters.

And I often say, Nick, that the sexual revolution, which has been so successful, we have to call it a revolution because it has reoriented the way we think about most things in culture and it’s based on a couple ideas: The first is that sex, marriage, and babies are separable. And the other is that men and women are interchangeable. And, by the way, I owe those ideas to Dr. Jenny Morse at the Ruth Institute.

But that second one, that men and women are interchangeable, what we mean by that now is that women are on the cover of Time magazine being called men because they’ve had children and, “The first man gives birth” and things like this. I tweeted this a couple weeks ago when a transgender political candidate won the primary and of course the media the next day was breathless talking about how historic this thing was.

And I just think, man, the bar for what is historic is far lower than it used to be. And what it is, it’s people kind of willing to deny reality. We used to understand that to be something that should be pitied and should be addressed by the appropriate professionals. Now it’s we have to all reorient our language, reorient our cultural institutions, reorient our educational and political and social practices around something that in this case reveals is observably just not true.

EICHER: I want to return to an issue we talked about last week, John, and that’s the sexual-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church—because if the former Vatican ambassador to the United States is telling the truth, then what that means is that Pope Francis knew about this and covered it up. And that is a very big deal.

Now, we emphasized this last week, too: Protestantism has trouble of its own. I’d simply point you to WORLD Magazine’s current issue. Be sure to read our investigative report that we plan to release today online.

But having said that, John, I don’t think we can overstate the seriousness of this and I don’t see how the pope helps his credibility by refusing to talk about it.

Again, if true, that’s corruption of historic  proportions.

STONESTREET: Yeah, this might be the biggest scandal to face the Catholic church in several centuries. I’ve been following Rod Dreher, who has probably done more than anybody else as a journalist to expose this, at least historically, and now with this latest revelation that Pope Francis has been accused of knowing and covering up corruption and abuse at the highest levels. I mean, this is just cosmic. This is a big, big deal.

And I know this if for no other reason than I have had several conversations this week with friends and colleagues and others who are Roman Catholic and the personal injury to them as people of faith is just devastating. And this is a confidence shaker across the board.

And it’s an occasion for the enemies of God to mock the church. It is a final revelation, if it’s true, that this pope really has been a problem for a really long time, something that a lot of Roman Catholics have pointed out. And it also goes back to the question we just talked about.

We’ve got a situation here where a systemic sexual abuse of seminarians and altar boys and we want to call it a problem of pedophilia. I mean, some of this is a problem with pedophilia, but it’s a problem of homosexuality in the priesthood. And this is something that  individuals have tried to point out and that this particular papal administration has tried to avoid. And we’ve got a real crisis on our hands for the Roman Catholic church, and so I think we need to pray for our brothers.

My colleague Shane Morris this week wrote a terrific piece at Breakpoint.org from the perspective of a protestant to Catholic brothers and sisters and I think it’s something that’s worth reading as well, just an exhortation to what we hold to.  

I heard Robby George, of course, the brilliant Catholic professor at Princeton University of jurisprudence was on EWTN and he was very, very definitive in saying that faithful Catholics have to place their faith where they always should have placed it and that is in Christ himself. And that all the other things that are part of the Roman Catholic faith system point that Christ and, of course, we would say that’s the right place to put our faith and to find hope.

This is a big deal. We don’t have all the facts, and that’s important to note, too. We don’t have all the facts and it is—for Pope Francis not to talk about it is bizarre and it is just definitively unhelpful. We need him to say what he knows, we need him to say what he doesn’t know, and a whole lot of people need him to say that. He’s making the situation worse right now. So that needs to change. But there is more data to be mined and to be looked at before we know the full picture.

EICHER: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. It’s Culture Friday, John, thanks so much.

STONESTREET: Thank you, Nick.


(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Pope Francis salutes as he arrives for his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. 

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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