MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! A federal judge has blocked conscience protections for doctors and nurses who want to opt out of life-ending procedures. We’ll talk about what that means for them.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Also, trying to work while you grieve is difficult. Some Christian employers aim to ease the load. We have a report.
Plus a visit to a Mississippi school that’s found a way to honor veterans…
ANDERSON: We have a hundred people coming, so we have one, two, about 12 pans of biscuits. So we have a lot.
And managing editor J.C. Derrick on how to handle differences among Christians.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, November 12th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now here’s Kent Covington with the news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Arctic blast brings freezing temps from Great Lakes to Gulf Coast » An Arctic blast is sweeping across the country this week.
Freezing temperatures could shatter records from New England to Texas. Temperatures in Dallas dropped into the 20s this morning—about 25 degrees below average.
There’s even a freeze watch in effect for the Florida Panhandle today.
Bryan Jackson with the National Weather Service says the frigid weather is blowing in from one of the coldest places on earth.
JACKSON: It’s basically this dome of cold air that came from eastern Siberia, across the Arctic Ocean, down Alaska, the Yukon…
The early winter front has already buried parts of Michigan in more than a foot of snow and the powder could keep stacking up throughout the day.
And if you live in central New York to northern Maine, AccuWeather’s Courtney Travis says you should get your snow shovel out as well. Snow started falling there yesterday, and she said “accumulations could climb into the double digits.”
U.N. nuclear watchdog: Iran continues nuclear advances » The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog is sounding new alarms about Iran’s nuclear program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it has discovered man-made uranium—quote—”at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.”
That revelation came in the quarterly report it distributes to member states. It marks the first time the agency has acknowledged in a report that allegations the U.S. and Israel have made against Iran are true.
Netherlands Foreign Affairs Minister Stef Blok said he plans to take up concerns over Iran with Europe’s so-called “E-3” countries—Germany, France, and the UK.
BLOK: I am very worried about Iran’s behavior, and we will discuss of course with E-3 what our common European reaction should be, but the Iranian stance is indeed very worrying.
European leaders have not given up on saving the 2015 nuclear deal. But Iran continues to break from its terms.
The IAEA also reports that Iran is enriching uranium at its underground Fordo facility. That violates the nuclear agreement. And the country is still building its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium, which also violates the deal.
Violence continues amid Hong Kong protests » More violence in Hong Kong on Monday. A protester is in critical condition after taking a bullet to his abdomen. A police officer was aiming his handgun at the man and after the protester appeared to swipe at the gun, the officer opened fire at close range.
AUDIO: [Sound from Hong Kong protest]
In a separate incident, a man was seen arguing with protesters when someone doused him with fuel and set him on fire.
Pro-democracy protests began six months ago, and most have demonstrated peacefully. But Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Monday painted the protesters with a broad brush and declared that her government won’t back down.
LAM: If there is still any wishful thinking that by escalating violence the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure to satisfy so-called political demands, I am making this statement clear and loud here, that will not happen.
She said her administration will “spare no effort” to bring an end to the protests. Lam said she did not want to go into details, but many see her comments as a signal that harsher legal and police measures are coming.
Mexico offers asylum to former Bolivian president » Former Bolivian President Evo Morales announced last night that he is leaving Bolivia for Mexico.
That announcement came just hours after Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced that his country was offering him political asylum.
EBRARD: [Speaking in Spanish]
Morales stepped down Sunday after weeks of massive protests—amid allegations that his government rigged the last election.
Meantime, senior officials at the U.S. State Department said Monday the situation in the South American country is not a coup—despite what Morales and his supporters claim
They said while Bolivia’s top military commander pressured the president to resign, there were no immediate signs that the military itself was trying to grab power. They added that constitutional order in the country will be maintained as long as an interim president calls for elections within 90 days.
Bolivia’s deputy senate speaker, Jeanine Añez, is in line to become interim president. And on Monday, she pledged to call fresh elections.
Disney’s streaming service officially launches » AUDIO: [Disney movie intro music]
Disney officially jumps into the digital streaming battle today. Its new subscription service called Disney Plus launches this morning.
The service is debuting with a price tag of about $7 per month—undercutting its biggest competitor, Netflix, by more than 40 percent. Its catalog cannot yet compete with Netflix in volume.
But Disney bringing some of the biggest brands in the world largely under its own banner.
TRAILER: We’re the Avengers. We’ve got to finish this.
It’s hoping blockbusters like Avengers: Endgame and a brand new live-action Star Wars series will help it shake up the media landscape.
The stakes are high for Disney. Its dive into digital streaming comes as the number of streaming subscribers recently surpassed cable subscribers worldwide. The company announced fourth-quarter earnings last week, with its stock jumping almost 4 percent.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the fight for religious liberty in healthcare. Plus, a school that throws a big thank you party for veterans every year. This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday, the 12th of November, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Next up, protecting the conscience rights of people who work in healthcare.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration issued a rule widely praised by Christian healthcare workers. The rule expanded protections for those with religious or moral objections to certain medical procedures. It was set to take effect on November 22nd.
REICHARD: But last week, a federal judge blocked the rule. He said the U.S. Health and Human Services Department overstepped its authority in expanding conscience protections. The judge also said the rule could be costly, burdensome and damaging to emergency care.
Joining us now to talk about it is Dr. Mike Chupp. He’s the new CEO of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.
MIKE CHUPP, GUEST: Good morning, thanks for having me.
REICHARD: Thanks for coming on. Well, in last week’s ruling, the judge disputed the government’s claims about an increase in complaints from healthcare workers being forced to violate their consciences. In fact, he called that “flatly untrue.” What are you hearing from CMDA members? Has there been an increase?
CHUPP: Well, we actually happened to conduct a poll this summer. It was the second one we’ve done in 10 years. Mary and we got results back from 1700 of our members. We were joined by the Catholic medical association as well as nurses, Christian fellowship, and Christian pharmacy fellowship. 1700 responses. Three out of four respondents said that there’s no question that discrimination and incidences of conscience discrimination have increased since our poll 10 years ago and one in four say that they themselves had been discriminated against because of a moral or religious belief. I think that 91 percent said that if there’s not some sort of protective conscience regulation in place said they would rather leave medicine, uh, than to be forced to perform some procedures or treatments that are against their deeply held beliefs.
REICHARD: You know, it’s hard to imagine healthcare providers in this country, in the United States being forced to do something they disagree with. But that’s not uncommon in other countries, as I understand it.
CHUPP: Well, certainly all we have to do is look to our neighbors to the North in Canada to see what’s transpired. Mary, in the last five years to know the sorts of threats that are out there. We’re not talking about, uh, a far off and distant place, but we’ve been working together with the CMDS of Canada and they’re, they desperately would not like to see the same things happen to us that have happened to them there.
REICHARD: I’m wondering how does your organization, CMDA, talk to medical students about these issues? Is this something they’re thinking about and grappling with? Do you see it changing the way some view their potential careers, or even affecting the specialties they pick?
CHUPP: Well I, I wish I could say that they are very in tune with this. We, there are some very bright exceptions among our trainees, our students and residents. In fact, this summer at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, we had some students very motivated to speak out against physician assisted suicide. And the group that showed up for that actually made a big difference and surprised us and I, maybe the AMA as well that they turned the tide against the AMA going neutral against physician assisted suicide. And the delegation, the house of delegates decided to stick with the traditional long-held stance that it was not appropriate. It was not Hippocratic to switch to a neutral position regarding physician assisted suicide. So I believe there are some young healthcare professionals. We’re very proud of them. But I would say for the most part they’ve got their heads down just like I did when I was a medical student. Uh, in a resident, very busy. And the idea of fitting in public policy and the, your future of conscience rights isn’t exactly in the forefront of their thinking.
REICHARD: Dr. Chupp, is there any good news out of this discouraging court decision?
CHUPP: Well, the ruling is disappointing last week in New York, but I think the encouraging thing is that there are 25 conscience protection laws and statutes in place and they remain the law of the land. Praise God. They’re protecting healthcare professionals today. The 2011 conscience regulations that were put into place, we feel are inadequate, but they do provide an open door and invite for the Office of Civil Rights to take complaints about discrimination. And the current director, Roger Severino is dedicated to enforcing the law. So we want to encourage Christians in healthcare out there of faith and maybe of all faiths, uh, are able to turn in complaints that they’ve been discriminated against. And our disappointment mainly, Mary, is that there is not teeth to this regulation. And that’s what this new regulation would have brought to us as Christians in healthcare, discouragement to those who employ Christians, uh, to avoid discrimination because of the cost that it would be, especially those who receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
REICHARD: Dr. Mike Chupp heads the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. Thanks so much for joining us today.
CHUPP: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: Christian companies and grieving employees.
American businesses want to attract and keep employees, particularly with the labor market so tight. In addition to offering financial benefits like retirement funds and healthcare coverage—employers now think about employees’ holistic wellbeing. One recent business survey found that offering a wellbeing program is a top priority for most businesses.
MEGAN BASHAM: And that includes supporting an employee’s emotional wellbeing, especially after the death of a loved one. Christian organizations are also creating bereavement-leave policies, but with a difference: offering spiritual support.
Here’s WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Across the board, more companies of all kinds are offering paid bereavement leave. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 survey, 89 percent of employers now have a paid funeral-leave policy. That’s 10 percent more than three years ago.
Some big companies have also adopted generous leave time. In 2017, Facebook doubled its bereavement time to up to four weeks. Others like Airbnb and Mastercard upped theirs to 20 days.
But that’s still not the norm.
GRIFFIN: More generous organizations are going to look at three or five days tops.
Mark Griffin is the founder and president of In HIS Name HR. It’s a Christian human resources consulting firm that’s worked with Christian nonprofits and Christian-owned businesses in industries like manufacturing, trucking, construction, and retail.
Griffin says most companies haven’t drastically increased bereavement leave. But he sees a growing number of Christian organizations doing what they can to work with employees on a case-by-case basis.
GRIFFIN: There’s not a formula for everybody. You have policies and procedures, but you always need to have some flexibility in the way that you administer those policies and procedures.
Griffin says many Christian organizations are also recognizing bereavement leave as an opportunity to meet spiritual needs. More companies now offer employees access to counseling and chaplain services.
GRIFFIN: We’ve seen people that didn’t know Jesus come to know the Lord because of that chaplain relationship.
Cindy Beresh-Bryant heads HR Solutions By Design, a firm that consults with both Christian-owned and secular companies. She sees similar trends in Christian-run organizations.
BERESH-BRYANT: In today’s world, it’s pretty popular to talk about self care, and in our Christian companies, we talk about soul care.
Sioux Falls Christian School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has always offered funeral-leave. But Superintendent Jay Woudstra says the K through 12 school started to rethink its bereavement leave policies seven years ago. That year, the school lost two students and their parents in a car accident.
WOUDSTRA: It taught us a lot about the importance of flexibility. The importance of coming around someone and a family that extended family at the time.
Today, the school still has a pretty standard policy on the books. If an immediate family member dies, the school gives employees three days off. For an extended family member or friend, a day. But Woudstra says, since that accident, the school has made those policies flexible.
WOUDSTRA: A parent dies and that parent might’ve been out of state. So you have to travel to be with the family, then you’re the executor. So there’s a lot of paperwork and a lot of things that have to happen immediately. And, in that case, three days is probably not gonna be enough time. So we work with that as well.
And Woudstra says the school also now connects staff with mental health professionals or Christian counselors. And if an employee struggles on a particular day, the school does its best to help.
WOUDSTRA: If we need to get a sub in for a teacher or if we need to cover for that person, if they’ve got ongoing things, we will do that.
Some Christian organizations are also taking steps to incorporate spiritual care into the regular work week. One reason: when employees lose a family member, they’re already comfortable looking for spiritual support at work.
Aric Van Voorst is the HR director at Pizza Ranch headquarters in Orange City, Iowa. Pizza Ranch is a Christian-owned restaurant franchise. Van Voorst says every Tuesday and Thursday morning, co-workers gather to share prayer requests.
VAN VOORST: It’s really created a family environment where I think they feel supported and truly feel like we are a family.
Van Voorst says creating that family environment makes the office a place some grieving employees want to be.
VAN VOORST: Coming back to work after an event like that is in some ways healthy and, coming back to family.
Cindy Beresh-Bryant says sometimes providing flexible bereavement leave can put companies in a financial or personnel pinch. Finding the balance between caring for an employee and maintaining profitability can be tricky. But it’s a problem worth wrestling with.
BERESH-BRYANT: We’re asking ourselves have we treated our employees the way we would want to be treated and have we done the right thing?
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
MEGAN BASHAM: Cupid, you know, the chubby little baby with the arrows, may have arrived nine months late for you this year. That is, if you are among the nearly 170,000 people awakened early Wednesday morning by a peculiar text message.
People got strange, out-of-context messages on their phones. In many cases, even the sender had no memory of composing the message.
The reason? Well, the texts were sent months ago, but not delivered.
Turns out the company responsible to deliver the messages had a major glitch. Syniverse delivers mobile data services to cell phone companies. But one of its servers went offline on Valentine’s Day.
Really bad timing. When it was brought back online last week, all of those messages got delivered from a backed-up queue. No word on why it took so long to fix the problem.
Get this: One Twitter user said he just got a text from a girl he almost dated saying, “Yes, I’d love to go out for Valentine’s Day.” He added, “Now I know why we never dated.”
BASHAM: Big time whoops!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Tuesday, November 12th. So glad you’ve joined us today! Good morning. I’m Megan Basham.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Honoring veterans.
The number of Americans with military experience is on the decline. According to the Census Bureau, only 7 percent of American adults are veterans. Forty years ago, it was over twice that much. Which means fewer children grow up hearing stories from family members who served in the military.
BASHAM: To mark Veterans Day, many schools held special programs. But some have found even more creative ways to inspire respect for those who’ve served.
WORLD Radio’s Kim Henderson takes us to a small school with a big heart for vets.
KIM HENDERSON, REPORTER: When Wesson Attendance Center rolled out the red, white, and blue carpet for veterans last Friday, they started with breakfast. And that meant cafeteria workers started at sunrise.
CAFETERIA WORKER: How many biscuits did we do? We have a hundred people coming, so we have one, two, about 12 pans of biscuits. So we have a lot (GIGGLES)
Members of the student council came early, too. They wore their mandated Sunday best to greet veterans at the door.
AUDIO: [Sound of student welcoming a veteran]
After breakfast, vets sat in chairs lining the school’s hallways.
AUDIO: [Sound of students greeting vets]
Students from the elementary grades—600 of them—shook each veteran’s hand in a sort of “hall parade” that lasted at least half an hour.
Wesson Attendance Center is a public school for students grades K through 12. It has embraced this annual tradition for more years than administrators can remember. Organizer Susan Berch says it’s all about instilling honor in a generation that’s wrestling with entitlement issues.
BERCH: To help make the children aware that we’re not just given the freedom, but people fight for it each day. I’m emotional when I think about it because my dad was a veteran who attended every year, and he really looked forward to it…
Producing the event requires something veterans can appreciate—strategy. Beginning in September, students hold planning meetings and address invitations.
AUDIO: [Sound of band director counting off]
The band practices the Air Force song, as well as those of the other service branches.
And the day before the event, they decorate…
STUDENT: These are like streamers, right, and we’re going to fill them all over this door in a pattern of red, blue, and white…
…work on the sound system…
ANNOUNCER: Mic check one, two, three, four…
SOLOIST: Land where our fathers died…
…and move lots of chairs.
AUDIO: [Sound of students moving chairs]
It’s hard work, and the students genuinely seem to want to make the most of Veterans Day. After spending a few hours with them, it’s clear they’re trying to understand what it’s truly all about.
Rod Martin teaches eighth grade American history at Wesson. He’s been at the blackboard for 23 years.
MARTIN: Ironically, our students today are more connected than ever and yet, uh, the type of information that they’re accessing doesn’t really expose them to, um, the realities of what’s going on in the world.
That means he has his work cut out for him as he tries to explain the sacrifices of veterans. During a unit on the Revolutionary War, he ties in the Continental Army.
MARTIN: After a battle they would often just walk home. And we talked about how our soldiers can’t do that. They can’t just walk off the battlefield and come home because they don’t want to fight anymore. How they miss birthdays and holidays and things like that because they’re overseas.
When a fellow teacher left to serve in Afghanistan, Martin displayed pictures from the deployment on his classroom walls.
MARTIN: They could really see the connection between, wow, this, this really affects people that we know.
Senior Emma Anderson has veterans in her family—her dad, as well as both of her grandfathers. But she thinks school events like Friday’s make a difference for classmates who lack those kinds of relationships.
ANDERSON: You can tell that that hearing experiences from the veterans themselves definitely impacts, um, the students . . .
AUDIO: [Sound of administrator opening program]
Veterans walk in to the gym to a standing ovation. They represent an 80-year age span—from youngs Marines, to a not-so-young Navy man, Georger Mercier.
MERCIER: My age is 102.
Their service stories are wide-ranging, too.
MERCIER: I was in the ordinance branch of the Navy for five years during World War II.
CURRIE: The summer of eleventh grade, I went to boot camp . . .
JOHNSON: I have three overseas deployments, two to Iraq and one to Kuwait. I recently just got back September of this year . . .
FRAZIER: I served in the military twice, really. Served in the Army, which called back in for the Berlin Crisis . . .
BEASLEY: I’ve been in 14 years now with 3 deployments . . Iraq, Africa, and Kosova-Serbia . . .
AUDIO: [Sound of kindergarteners singing National Anthem]
Landon Beasley used to attend the Veterans Day program as a student. Now he’s an Army vet with 14 years of active service. He hopes the young people in the gym leave with new insights about what veterans have done for them.
BEASLEY: The biggest take away is the sacrifice that 1 percent of the United States population makes in order to provide for the, the other 99 percent. The freedoms that we have in America are definitely not seen throughout the world…
SPEAKER: As young Americans we honor you, the men and women who served this great nation. May God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (APPLAUSE)
For WORLD Radio, I’m Kim Henderson reporting from Wesson, Mississippi.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday, November 12th. Good morning! You’re listening to The World and Everything in It from WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Let’s take a minute here, Mary, and note that you and I will be in Music City next week!
REICHARD: You, me, and a bunch of other WORLD Radio folks! Nick will be there, Emily Whitten, a bunch of other—all there in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s our third World and Everything in It Live! event.
Seats are free, but you do need to register first. Go to worldandeverything.org, hover over the “engage” tab, then click “live events.” You’ll see all the info right there.
BASHAM: And big thanks to our host, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The date is next Thursday, November 21st, at 7 p.m.
Okay, well, now on to WORLD Radio’s managing editor J.C. Derrick. He’s got some thoughts on navigating differences among Christians.
J.C. DERRICK, COMMENTATOR: My colleague Sophia Lee writes a regular online column for WORLD Magazine. It’s called—appropriately enough—Sophia’s World. And if you’ve never read it, you’re missing out.
Sophia has spent much of this year reporting on the border crisis. She’s made numerous trips to the border and interviewed countless stakeholders from all angles of the story.
As you might guess, covering a complex, politically charged issue has brought criticism. Lots of it.
In her October 14th column, Sophia wrote—quote:
“In my six years of reporting for WORLD, I have never received so many negative, impassioned emails and comments as I have over the topic of immigration and the border.” End quote.
It’s no surprise that Christians would disagree, but how we handle that disagreement makes all the difference. Sophia challenged us to do it with more charity. Quoting again:
“It’s OK that we Christians disagree on certain policies regarding immigration. But precisely because immigration policies are not something that the gospel is all that clear about, we should keep an open mind and not just rely on our favorite news source to form staunch opinions. The truth is usually a lot more complex than quick news bites and tweets.” End quote.
That’s sound advice we need to hear.
Earlier this year the American Enterprise Institute released a study on American community and society. Among lots of interesting data, one disturbing fact stood out: more Americans get a sense of community from their political ideology (64 percent) than their place of worship (54 percent).
In fact, “place of worship” ranked eighth out of nine categories.
To borrow a phrase from the book of James: “My brothers, this should not be!”
Jesus moved toward people of all kinds. He called political enemies—a zealot and a tax collector—to be among his disciples. And in the garden He prayed that His people would be one.
Where does that oneness come from? It’s not the shifting sands of politics. It’s Jesus and His finished work on the cross. That’s our orienting principle.
And because of that, I have more in common with my political opposite who is a believer in Jesus than I do my God-less neighbor who may happen to share my political ideology. If that’s difficult to swallow, then we might have made an idol out of politics.
And to find out if that’s the case, Dallas pastor Robby Higginbottom recently suggested asking some diagnostic questions. One of them is this: When was the last time my favorite cable news channel made me want to move toward my political opponent and get to know them better?
Or how about this: When was the last time I got as animated talking about some spiritual concept or lesson as I do when I’m talking about politics?
The ultimate question is what we’re allowing to shape our minds: Am I soaking in God’s Word every day?
May God give us open hearts to ponder the real answers.
For WORLD Radio, I’m J.C. Derrick.
MEGAN BASHAM: Tomorrow: universal basic income. It’s making headlines on the campaign trail. We’ll talk about what that is and how it fits with other economic policies.
And, the Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago. WORLD reporter Jenny Lind Schmitt was there. She’ll tell us about that.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Megan Basham.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Colossians says to bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Thanks for listening, and please meet us back here tomorrow.