History Book

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, May 13th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Next up on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.

Thirty-five years ago, the death of one of the most influential evangelical thinkers of the 20th century.

Plus, 10 years ago, a Swedish computer programmer releases the first version of one of the world’s most popular video games.

EICHER: But first, 50 years ago, California governor Ronald Reagan takes a hard line against protests at the University of California-Berkeley, and sadly, it turns violent and results in one lost life. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: In the early morning hours of May 15th, 1969, Reagan orders law enforcement to the Berkeley campus:

AUDIO: You are now trespassing…

That’s sound of officers fencing off a parcel of land belonging to the University of California.

The school purchased the site two years earlier using eminent domain. They set aside the lot as the future site of athletic fields. But it sat empty and soon became an eye-sore. Students, faculty, and neighbors took it over—planting grass, trees, and flowers. It became a gathering place for anti-war protestors.

AUDIO: [Sound of protests]

On the afternoon of May 15th, 3,000 students and protestors attend a middle-east rally near the campus. News of the park’s closing spreads. A student leader shouts: “Let’s take the park!”

AUDIO: Let’s go down to the People’s Park! [CHANTING] We want the park! We want the park!

The protest turns violent. Hundreds attempt to remove the fence, while others throw bricks and bottles at police. The crowd quickly doubles in size. Reinforcements arrive in full riot gear, swinging nightsticks and firing buckshot at protestors.

In the end, one person is killed and more than 125 injured. Governor Reagan speaks briefly with protest representatives in his office:

REAGAN: All of it began the first time when some of you who know better, are old enough to know better, let young people think they had the right to choose the laws that they would obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest.

UC Berkeley abandoned its plans for the land. The People’s Park became the site of many other protest movements over the decades. Last year the University of California announced it was going to finally build on the plot, but promised to maintain a portion of the park as a monument to its protest history.

Next, in the spring of 1984, a renown Christian apologist admits he’s fighting for his life:

SCHAEFFER: I’m going through a difficult time…It would be unfair to say that it’s been easy…

That’s Francis Schaeffer speaking to a L’Abri conference meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee. Doctors first diagnosed him with cancer in 1978.

SCHAEFFER: The doctors four times thought I would die, but each time the Lord brought me through it.

Schaeffer speaks hopefully of future ministry plans in Rochester, Minnesota. But less than two months later, he dies of his illness at home.

Ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Schaeffer moved to Switzerland in 1948 as a youth minister. In the 50’s, he and his wife began L’Abri. For decades the apologetics ministry attracted thousands of students from around the world.

MUSIC: [Whatever Happened to the Human Race — Opening Theme]

In the 1970s he crusaded against abortion with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop.

SCHAEFFER: Until recently, human beings have generally been considered special…

He believed legalized abortion was the giant step toward a complete devaluation of human life. He’s credited with awakening evangelical political activism.

SCHAEFFER: In the west, in the second half of the 20th century, this high view of life is changing drastically.

He considered himself an evangelist, not a philosopher. But he influenced many Christian thinkers and leaders: including Chuck Colson, Mark Noll, and Albert Mohler. Schaeffer died at age 72.

And finally, May 17th, 2009. An unassuming programmer releases the first version of the video game—Minecraft.

MUSIC: [Minecraft theme]

Minecraft’s most recognizable feature is its simple graphics. As other game systems develop life-like realism, Minecraft remains relatively low-resolution. The open-ended play allows users to fit pixelated blocks together to create objects, buildings, or worlds. Other modes include adventure play and collaboration.  

The game’s popularity is largely due to robust online forums and millions of “tutorial” videos on YouTube.

YOUTUBE USER: Ok let’s get started here. This right here is your life bar…

Five years after its first release, the creator Markus Persson sold the game rights to Microsoft for $2.5 billion.

Its proved a worthwhile investment. Microsoft reported last year that they’ve sold more than 150 million copies of the game and support 90 million monthly active users. It is the second-most popular video game of all time—only behind Tetris.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, 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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