MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
How is Ukraine responding to the impeachment efforts in the United States? We have a report.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today Hurricane Dorian left behind destruction in the Bahamas. We’ll hear about the ongoing recovery efforts there.
Plus a visit to a town founded by the last Africans brought to America.
PATTERSON: They were brought here against their will. And they had the wherewithal to say, ok, let’s do this. And they formed this community…
And Cal Thomas with a call for political civility, beginning with our president.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, October 17th. 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: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Pence, Pompeo meet with Turkish president, as Trump defends pullout » Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are in Turkey today to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pence is leading a delegation—hoping to broker a ceasefire in northern Syria.
Pompeo said they are clear on the objective.
POMPEO: Most importantly for the United States to ensure that the work that has been done to reduce the risk to the American people—which after all is our first and foremost priority, to reduce the risk to the American people—is fully addressed.
But President Trump on Wednesday suggested the conflict in northern Syria poses very little risk to Americans. He called it a “semi-complicated problem” and said it’s—quote—“very nicely under control.”
TRUMP: If Turkey goes into Syria, that’s between Turkey and Syria. It’s not between Turkey and the United States like a lot of stupid people would like us to—would like you to believe.
As the president again defended his decision to pull U.S. troops out of the region, Capitol Hill continued to push back. Lawmakers in the House approved a non-binding resolution Wednesday condemning the move on a vote of 354 to 60.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate is considering similar action.
GM, union strike tentative deal to end strike » Negotiators for General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative deal that could end a month-long strike. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Union officials say the deal offers “major gains” for employees, but won’t bring an immediate end to the strike by 50,000 hourly workers. They will likely stay on the picket lines for at least another day or two as union committees vote on the deal. After that, members will have to approve it.
Neither side made terms of the deal public, but it’s likely to include pay raises, lump sum payments to workers, and requirements that GM build new vehicles in U.S. factories.
Analysts say the strike likely cost GM about $2 billion in lost production.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Parents of U.K. crash victim appeal to Trump » President Trump met Tuesday with the parents of a 19-year-old British man who died in a crash involving a U.S. intelligence official’s wife in August.
Anne Sacoolas pulled onto the wrong side of the road when leaving a military base in Croughton, England, and crashed into Harry Dunn’s motorcycle. The mother of three claimed diplomatic immunity from prosecution and returned to the United States.
Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, has been calling on Sacoolas to return to the UK and own up to her actions.
CHARLES: Just do the right thing. She needs to set an example to her own children that you can’t run away when you’ve done something so terribly wrong.
During the Oval Office meeting, Trump surprised the parents by telling them that Sacoolas was waiting in the next room to meet them. They told the president they would only meet with her after she turned herself in to police in Britain.
Ruling protects healthcare conscience rights » A federal judge has partially overturned regulations in the Affordable Care Act that critics say trampled on conscience rights. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that “sex discrimination” as defined in Obamacare does not include limits on abortion or gender transition services.
The ruling is another legal blow to the Obama-era regulations mandating that insurers or providers that receive federal money offer those services.
O’Connor issued an injunction in 2016 blocking enforcement of the regulations. This week’s ruling solidifies that injunction.
The Trump administration proposed a new healthcare rule earlier this year to erase “gender identity” from the definition of sex discrimination.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.
Hong Kong lawmakers shout down chief executive » In Hong Kong…
AUDIO: [Sound from Hong Kong]
Pro-democracy lawmakers Wednesday heckled and shouted down Chief Executive Carrie Lam as she tried to deliver her annual state of the union-style address. They held up posters depicting Lam with blood on her hands.
Lam left the chamber and posted a video recording of her address instead. She later told reporters…
LAM: I do not agree or submit to the view that Hong Kong’s rights and liberties and freedoms have been eroded in whatsoever way. Hong Kong is still a very free society. We have freedom of speech, freedom of journalism and so on.
Pro-democracy lawmakers say Lam has been working on behalf of the Chinese central government to chip away at Hong Kong’s liberties. And lawmakers like Claudia Mo once again called on Lam to resign.
MO: I wish Carrie Lam would understand that her sweetened, lacquered political gobbly-gook, her political propaganda is not going to work to appease the society.
Mo said Lam is conducting “political PR” while “conducting the biggest sell-out of Hong Kong.”
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: how is America’s latest political scandal playing out in Ukraine? Plus, a visit to an Alabama community founded by former slaves. This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Thursday, the 17th of October, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up, American politics overseas.
House Democrats are building their latest case for the impeachment of President Trump. It all began about three weeks ago and at the center of the controversy is the largest country in Europe: Ukraine.
The American political kerfuffle is not headline news in Ukraine. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky scheduled an all-day press conference last week to talk about it anyway. Journalists from around the world peppered him with questions for a whopping 12 hours. They mostly centered on his July 25th phone call with President Trump.
REICHARD: The young Ukrainian president is now in a tough spot: He’s caught between getting dragged into an American political scandal and maintaining American support for an ongoing war with Russian separatists.
WORLD Radio’s Jill Nelson unravels the Ukrainian perspective on that momentous phone call.
AUDIO: [Servant of the People TV clip]
JILL NELSON, REPORTER: Less than a year ago, Volodymyr Zelensky was busy filming Servant of the People, a popular television series in Ukraine. He played a high school teacher suddenly catapulted into the presidency after a rant about corruption went viral.
AUDIO: [Zelensky victory celebration]
Six months ago, Zelensky swept presidential elections in real life, becoming the sixth president of Ukraine. And before he could get his own agenda up and running, he found himself embroiled in an American political scandal.
Just two months after he took office, President Donald Trump gave Zelensky a call.
He urged the Ukrainian president to investigate possible corruption involving his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, and his son. One week before the phone call, President Trump froze a nearly $400 million military aid package to Ukraine. But Trump denies any quid pro quo.
TRUMP: My call was perfect. The president yesterday of Ukraine said there was no pressure put on him whatsoever, none whatsoever, and he said it loud and clear for the press.
President Zelensky is doing his best to avoid getting entangled in American politics. He even made light of the call during a September press conference with President Trump.
TRUMP: It’s a great pleasure for me to be here, and it’s better to be on TV than by phone.
Despite Zelensky’s joking, the phone call scandal threatens to derail Ukraine’s most important objectives: fighting government corruption, ending the war with Russia, and recovering occupied Ukrainian territory.
But it could also serve a good purpose. David Satter is a Russia expert and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He says the scandal could empower Ukraine and other countries to take a closer look at foreigners linked to corrupt companies abroad.
SATTER: It gives false respectability to those companies that they don’t deserve. If this has the effect of discouraging people like Hunter Biden from taking the easy money that’s available to them for serving on the boards [of countries that are, not of countries] of companies that are corrupt, then it might be a good thing.
And the battle against corruption could aid the battle on the ground, Satter added.
SATTER: A developing and prosperous Ukraine [would be uh] would have an affect on Russia. In fact it would be a strong argument for democratization in Russia and the kind of conditions that would make it possible to bring an end to these conflicts.
But corruption isn’t the only concern for Ukrainians.
Zelensky unleashed a firestorm of controversy in early October when he announced plans for peace talks with Russia and elections in the occupied eastern region known as Donbass.
PROTESTS: [Sounds of protests]
Nearly 10,000 people gathered in the nation’s capital to protest the proposals. They accuse the president of capitulating to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2014, Ukraine lost the Donbass region and the Crimean peninsula to Russian separatists armed by the Kremlin. Nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians were displaced and roughly 10,000 killed. Russia then illegally annexed Crimea.
During the September press conference, Trump urged Zelensky to sit down with Putin.
TRUMP: I really hope that Russia, because I really believe President Putin would like to do something, I really hope that you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem. That would be a tremendous achievement.
Andre Barkov is managing director of a Christian-based micro-loan company in Ukraine. He compared that suggestion to putting someone in a cage with a lion and trying to facilitate peace.
ANDRE: There is no way to get together with Putin and get something that is in Ukraine’s interest. Putin’s agenda is to swallow Ukraine.
President Trump has done more to aid Ukraine than his predecessor. In 2017 he authorized sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles.
That’s what makes his decision to delay the recent aid confusing and potentially problematic. The president gave no explanation for the freeze. He eventually lifted it on September 11th.
Zelensky said he wasn’t aware of the postponement until after his call with President Trump. And he claims he was not pressured into investigating the Bidens.
Barkov says there is a silver lining in the latest events: Thanks to all the press coverage, Ukraine is back in the news. And Americans are getting a reminder that it’s not a part of Russia.
And for the sake of Ukraine and its Christian community, Barkov hopes it stays that way.
ANDRE: Churches are growing, evangelicals are in good shape, nobody persecutes us, we can celebrate our salvation, we can worship whenever and wherever we want.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Jill Nelson.
EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: recovering from natural disaster in the Bahamas.
It’s been six weeks now since Hurricane Dorian ransacked communities on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. The storm flattened or flooded homes and businesses, obliterating entire communities. The official death toll stands at 56. Still missing, another 600 people.
REICHARD: Thousands of people had to leave their communities and wait for rebuilding. Some traveled to the United States. But many ended up in parts of the Bahamas not affected by the storm, including the capital Nassau.
That’s where Julian Russell pastors Covenant Life Presbyterian Church. He’s also a team leader for Mission to the World Bahamas. And he joins us now from Nassau to talk about ongoing recovery efforts.
Pastor Russell, thanks so much for joining us today.
JULIAN RUSSELL, GUEST: Thanks for having me.
REICHARD: Let’s begin with recovery efforts in Abaco and Grand Bahama. Are they still mostly disaster zones? What’s the progress being made to restore services and make repairs?
RUSSELL: Yeah, they’re still disaster zones. Abaco is far more down the road, but there are efforts to at least bring in personnel. And let me say right off the top, we thank the Lord for our friends in the United States—the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, USAID, Samaritan’s Purse, and the many organizations from the U.S. and Europe and Canada and even the Caribbean—who have come in and have really done a great job, a yeoman’s job in trying to assess the monumental disaster in Abaco and eastern Grand Bahama as well…
REICHARD: Now you’re in Nassau, which wasn’t affected by the storm. But the city’s taken in a lot of people who were displaced. What’s life like for them, as far as housing, jobs?
RUSSELL: My wife and I—by God’s grace—we were able to accommodate 10 people for a week and a half and they’ve subsequently moved on to the United States. But we, Nassau, has absorbed at least 10,000 students into its public school system and many families have come in.
So they estimate that there are at least 40-50,000 people who have been absorbed into one of the smallest islands in the Bahama Island chain. And it’s different. One can only imagine how folks have lost everything and they’re trying to move on.
We have people who attend our worship services and you listen to them and you realize that it’s a strange new world for them. They’re still, the government still has shelters open. There’s one remaining where they’ve consolidated just last weekend—by the way—they’ve consolidated all the evacuees who didn’t have families to stay with. And they’re now in one huge area and it’s under 1,000 people. It’s about 900—I think the exact figure as of Friday was 983 persons.
REICHARD: You mentioned churches earlier. And we’ve just talked about physical needs. What about their spiritual and emotional needs? Are churches addressing those?
RUSSELL: Wow, in so many ways. There’s a group of psychologists and counselors who have come in and they’ve been working with the government and working with other agencies. There is a Bahama Psychological Association and even Mission to the World, when they came in and did the assessment, there’s an effort underway to bring in counselors, therapists, to deal with the trauma that almost everyone is experiencing here in the Bahamas.
Our church is—we’re a small mission church. We started a year ago and we understand that folks are hurting and so there is massive individual efforts.
But thankfully what Dorian has done for us as a community of churches is we realize we have to work together. And so I was just on the phone with another brother from an EPC church, and he and I have been working closely together to try to deal with issues of just people having to move on, yet having lost everything.
The reality, Mary, is that we are aware that many families have left Grand Bahama now and they’ve gone to the United States and Canada and some have relocated here. What that translates into is that many churches have lost a huge quotient of its members and so one pastor told me he lost 75 percent of his members and he’s wondering what to do. Many pastors have lost homes. They’ve lost everything and so that is a great question because that is the big issue that faces everyone right now, the amount of trauma that everyone faces.
REICHARD: What do you see as next steps to recover in the Bahamas?
RUSSELL: Oh boy. I learned a few years ago, Mary, to stop, listen, and then follow. I mean, right now as I speak, people are still recovering dead bodies and there are those experts who know how to do that.
But there’s still that physical rebuilding that needs to take place. There’s policing that needs to take place. But people have to live every day.
So it’s caused every one of us to become more sensitized to the holistic needs of people. But, obviously, we have to provide shelter and food and clothing for people and then continue on in trying to rebuild their lives one day at a time.
REICHARD: Julian Russell pastors Covenant Life Presbyterian Church in Nassau, Bahamas. Thanks so much for joining us today.
RUSSELL: Thank you very much, Mary. You’re welcome and continue to pray for us.
EICHER: After almost 50 years, NASA is planning to return to the moon. And when the new generation of American astronauts walk on the lunar surface—it’ll not be in those old duds from 1972. No, they’ll be wearing bold, dramatic, heroic new suits.
Reminds me a little bit of The Incredibles!
INCREDIBLES: A new suit? It will be bold. Dramatic. Yeah … Heroic! Ooh, the cape and the boots! No capes!
OK, well, they never had capes. But those old astronaut suits were pretty stiff. NASA chief Jim Bridenstine says the new ones are more flexible.
BRIDENSTINE: You remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, they bunny hopped on the surface of the moon. Well now we’re actually going to be able to walk.
And they’re safer, too, designed to block moon dust from seeping into life support systems.
NASA plans to test them out at the International Space Station before suiting up the first woman and the next man to tread the moon by 2024.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
EICHER: Today is Thursday, October 17th. So glad you’ve joined us today! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: A visit to an Alabama town founded by the last African slaves brought to America.
WORLD Radio’s Myrna Brown has the story of Africatown.
AUDIO: [Sound of bells ringing]
MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: In a grass-covered courtyard, Darron Patterson and Jocelyn Davis stand shoulder to shoulder with dozens of other men and women. In their hands, tiny silver bells. Every ring marks the memory of the men and women who came before them.
DAVIS: I am a direct descendant of Charlie Lewis, sixth generation.
PATTERSON: Who was your relative? Pollee Allen. I’m his great-great grandson. Cooply was his Africa name. He was one of the leaders of Africatown.
Africatown is a small community north of Mobile, Alabama. It was founded by Davis and Pattersons’ ancestors, the last group of Africans to be kidnapped and enslaved in America. Today the descendants of those men and women are participating in the Africatown Healing Day Bell ceremony.
PATTERSON: They were brought here against their will. They burned the boat, the Meaher’s, so they couldn’t get back. And they had the wherewithal to say, ok, let’s do this. And they formed this community.
The U.S. Congress made importing slaves illegal in 1807. But in 1860, Timothy Meaher, a wealthy landowner and shipbuilder secretly chartered a ship named Clotilda and smuggled a cargo of Africans into Mobile Bay. To hide the crime, Meaher burned, exploded and sunk the Clotilda in the Mobile River. Most of the Africans became Meaher’s property. When slavery ended in 1865, the freed slaves bought land from the Meaher family and established Africatown. For the next century, Jocelyn Davis says the town grew and thrived.
DAVIS: Well there were barber shops. There was a grocery store, a washer and dryer. There was a post office. We really didn’t have to go outside the community for anything.
That all began to change in the late 1960s.
WOMACK: Let me get you to pass that over to me please. Yes sir.
Joe Womack is a fourth generation Africatown resident. Wearing a white T-shirt with his hometown written across his chest, the Marine veteran pulls me and my husband away from the bell ringing ceremony.
BROWN: So where are we going?
WOMACK: We are going to take a quick tour around Africatown, the perimeter.
As we drive off in his black pick up truck, Womack points to a vacant lot, where an elementary school once stood.
WOMACK: That’s the school that the slaves established. Did you go there? Yes, I went there.
Womack says this community once overflowed with children.
WOMACK: That house right there may have had eight kids, the house next to it may have had six, the house next to it may have had nine. And so three or four houses, you got three baseball teams.
As we continue down the narrow streets, more vacant and overgrown lots. Some houses are still standing, but with peeling paint and boarded up windows.
WOMACK: I’m just going to ride down this street here real quick to give you an example of some of the things we’re facing. Most of these houses were built in the 20s and 30s. This house…this lady just died. So we need to get somebody in there or it’s going to fall in.
Womack turns onto Center Street.
WOMACK: Ok, you want to see where I was born?
He points to an old shed that was once a garage. Above that garage was a studio apartment.
WOMACK: My older brother and I were born there. My great-granddaddy’s house was right there. It’s gone. That’s where my mamma was born.
As we round the corner, we pass by the town’s active community garden. Womack says it’s at least six acres.
BROWN: And what do you plant?
WOMACK: You see a lot of sugar canes up here. A lot of greens, cabbage, tomatoes, hot peppers, beans, peas.
Looming over the sugar cane and the cabbage is a rusted shell of what was once Africatown’s biggest employer.
WOMACK: Across the street, International Paper. They had a big expansion in 1945. That’s where the community really swelled up with people.
As industry and local businesses began leaving Africatown, jobs were eliminated and families moved away to find other opportunities. But the churches in the community stayed.
WOMACK: And this is the church they established, Union Baptist Church. So the slaves established this church? Right, right.
Not far from that red-brick church is an empty field. Perched on top of the hill sits a simple, red and grey brick chimney. It’s not hard to imagine the hands that built it.
WOMACK: That’s the only thing that remains from the slavery era.
Below the chimney, a mural of the Clotilda. Earlier this year, a remarkable find – divers uncovered the burned remains of the destroyed vessel. The slave ship is more than likely beyond preservation. However, it’s discovery is raising new hopes for renewing Africatown.
WOMACK: My vision for Africatown is to have all these houses in the community renovated. We want Africatown to be a black cultural heritage destination.
As the tour nears its end, we stop to watch a young mother and her children wait for ice cream and other treats.
AUDIO: What you want? I’m getting bubble gum.
And next to them, a dozen or so boys enjoying a game of touch football.
AUDIO: [Sound of boys rough housing]
A page from Africatown’s history and a hopeful glimpse into its future.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Myrna Brown reporting from Mobile, Alabama.
REICHARD: Next up on The World and Everything in It: an excerpt from Listening In. This week, a conversation with Christian apologist Mark Mittelberg.
EICHER: Mittelberg first came to prominence in the 1990s as evangelism director at Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago suburbs. He’s written many books and training materials for churches since that time. This summer Warren Smith caught up with him in Colorado.
WARREN SMITH, HOST: Obviously, we’ve been taught discussing the apologetics side of things, which is, truth and logic and that sort of thing. But being a contagious Christian involves much more than that.
MITTLEBERG: It absolutely does. And for me, it’s the desire to have an infectious faith or a contagious faith that touches other people, that leads them toward the Savior and ultimately to faith in Christ. That’s what motivates my apologetics, my, you know, studying these things, presenting 20 arguments and so on. I, I’m not motivated to be an academic person who can spout a lot of facts or win arguments. I’m motivated to win people to Jesus. And I view apologetics as a key part of that. In fact, our mutual friend Jay Warner Wallace wrote an article somewhere. Uh, he said, you know, evangelism today is spelled apologetics. And he did a whole piece on that.
And I agree. I don’t think it always does, but I think apologetics is such a key component because when you’re dealing with people who have doubts and questions or misunderstandings of what Christianity teaches, a lot of what you do need to do is straighten out wrong beliefs and give answers and give reasons for our faith. So I think that’s vital, but it’s not the whole thing.
I know a lot of apologists that, you know, rarely really go on to share the gospel or lead people to Christ. And that comes to much more of a broad mission mindset and awareness that Jesus left us on this planet for the central purpose of making disciples, leading people to Christ, teaching him what he had taught in, you know, baptizing them into the family.
And that involves, you know, praying for people who are far from God, taking relational risks to get up close and hang out with people who don’t believe what we believe. Inviting them into a conversation about spiritual matters, you know, and sharing your testimony, sharing the gospel message. And then it may or may not go in apologetics direction, but we need to be ready to go there.
REICHARD: Today is Thursday, October 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Americans got a lesson in civility from pop culture recently, and Cal Thomas wishes President Trump would pay a little attention to it.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Depending on the polls you read and how you read them, nearly half of those surveyed want the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump to continue. That is not the same as wanting him removed from office, but it represents a momentum the president must address.
The president is correct when he says the left still resents his election. Of course they do. Still, would President Trump be in such deep water if he displayed more kindness to his political opponents?
Last week at a rally in Minnesota, the president said Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008, because—quote—“Biden understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s…” Well, I can’t say the final word in polite company. And that’s not unusual. President Trump uses foul language in public like no other president before him.
Ellen DeGeneres recently demonstrated a different model for relating to political opposites. She was seen at a Dallas Cowboys football game sitting in a box and smiling with former President George W. Bush. That sparked criticism from some on the left who wanted to know why she would fraternize with a political opponent.
DeGeneres’ response echoed Bush’s father, the 41st president, who called for a “kinder and gentler” nation.
DEGENERES: Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush. And in fact I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t have the same beliefs I have. We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different. For instance, I wish people wouldn’t wear fur. I don’t like it, but I’m friends with people who wear fur. I don’t like it, but I’m friends with people who wear fur. And I’m friends with people who are furry as a matter of fact (audience laughter); I have friends who should tweeze more (laughter), and I have, but just because I don’t agree with someone on everything does not mean I’m not gonna be friends with them. When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter. [applause]
It’s worth pointing out, as The New York Post did, that DeGeneres has banned numerous celebrities from appearing on her show after they vocalized opposition to same-sex marriage. But she was right.
The late Congressman Jack Kemp once said—quote—“The purpose of politics is not to defeat your opponent as much as it is to provide superior leadership and better ideas than the opposition.” End quote.
Kemp said you don’t beat a thesis with an anti-thesis; you beat it with a better thesis. That’s what we need today.
President Trump is pushing back against his critics in ways no other recent Republican president has done and good for him for doing so. But there is a way to do it that wins votes and another way that detracts from achievements and leads to political disaster.
The president must learn the difference between being combative and being mean.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.
EICHER: Tomorrow, Culture Friday. John Stonestreet will be here.
And, Megan Basham reviews HBO’s comedy act called The Great Depresh, a comedy about clinical depression.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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