MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
Polygamy has been illegal in Utah for more than a century. But state lawmakers are trying to end criminal penalties for those in so-called plural marriages.
HENDERSON: These government actions drove them underground and led to a culture of secrecy within their communities.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today, dating has gotten especially complicated in today’s political climate. We’ll tell you why questions about voting history are becoming a first-date prerequisite.
And we’ll introduce you to our newest commentator, who shares his thoughts on celebrating racial differences.
BASHAM: It’s Tuesday, February 25th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BASHAM: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: COVID-19 shakes markets worldwide » Markets slumped on Wall Street and around the world on Monday over fears of a global slowdown. Fueling those fears are new outbreaks of the COVID-19 coronavirus outside of China.
World Health Organization director general Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters…
GHEBREYESUS: What we see are epidemics in different parts of the world affecting countries in different ways and requiring a tailored response. The sudden increase in new cases is certainly very concerning.
He said COVID-19 is not a global pandemic yet, but it does have that potential.
In Italy, authorities set up roadblocks, called off soccer matches, and shuttered public buildings—including the famed La Scala opera house. There are 219 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy.
In Iran, the government said 12 people had died nationwide, while five neighboring countries—Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Afghanistan—reported their first cases of the virus. All those infected have links to Iran.
And South Korea is on high alert with more than 800 cases now, and seven deaths.
Appeals court upholds Title X rules » A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld rules that bar organizations that get Title X funds from referring women for abortions.
In the 7-4 ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned decisions issued by judges in several states. The court had already allowed the administration’s changes to start taking effect while the government appealed those rulings.
Beginning March 4th, the rules will also bar clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood has already left the program in protest, giving up about $60 million dollars a year in federal funding.
Public charge rule takes effect » The new public charge rule is now in effect. The guidelines aim to determine whether those immigrating to the United States are likely to become a burden on taxpayers. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The rule took effect yesterday after months of legal challenges and delays. On Friday, the Supreme Court removed the last legal roadblock, at least for now. That clears the way for the Trump administration to move forward while the court battle plays out.
Federal law already requires those seeking permanent legal status to prove they will not be a burden—or a “public charge”—to taxpayers. But the new rules include a wider range of programs that could disqualify them, including using Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers.
Acting deputy Homeland Security secretary Ken Cuccinelli says the rule is long overdue. He said “By requiring those seeking to come or stay in the United States to rely on their own resources, families and communities, we will encourage self-sufficiency, promote immigrant success, and protect American taxpayers.”
But critics argue the guidelines amount to a “wealth test” that violates due process under the Constitution. And they say the rule will lead to more poverty in the United States.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
COVINGTON: Weinstein found guilty on multiple charges » A jury has found Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of charges stemming from a 2006 sexual assault and a 2013 rape. He was immediately handcuffed in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday and led off to jail.
The jury of seven men and five women took five days to reach a verdict. The most damaging conviction, for the sexual assault of a production assistant carries up to 25 years behind bars. The rape charge is punishable by up to four years.
The jury found him not guilty, however, on the most serious charges, two counts of predatory sexual assault, each carrying a sentence of up to life in prison.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said he hopes the verdict sends a message.
VANCE: I hope that survivors will see that in this justice system, prosecutors, judges and juries will believe them, even when the facts are not simple.
Sentencing for Weinstein is set for March 11th. But that’s not the end of it.
He now faces additional charges in Los Angeles where prosecutors say he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another in 2013.
African American NASA pioneer dies » A pioneering African American woman who worked on NASA’s early space missions has died at the age of 101.
Katherine Johnson was one of the mathematicians who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits by hand for the space agency. She worked on top missions, including the Apollo 11’s moon landing in 1969.
In a 2011 interview with WHRO, Johnson said astronaut John Glenn trusted her calculations more than those of NASA computers.
JOHNSON: When he got ready to go up he said “call her, and she says the computer’s right, I’ll take it.”
Until 1958, Johnson worked with other black women in a racially segregated computing unit in Hampton, Virginia. Their work became the focus of the Oscar-nominated 2016 film, Hidden Figures.
20,000 fans honor Kobe Bryant and public memorial » AUDIO: [Singing]
Singer Beyonce heard there performing at a public ceremony Monday for the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
Friends, family, and 20,000 Lakers fans gathered Monday at the Staples Center in LA for the memorial.
BRYANT: I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting.
Kobe Bryant’s wife of 18 years, Vanessa, heard there. She remembered him as a devoted father and husband who arrived early for school pickups and wrote heartfelt cards and letters.
Michael Jordan called Bryant “a little brother” and said when he died, “a piece of me died.”
Bryant was among nine people who died in a helicopter crash near LA last month.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: political disagreements have become dating deal-breakers.
Plus, Big Tech’s addiction-based profit model.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Tuesday the 25th of February, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: dating during campaign season.
BASHAM: Don’t do it!
First dates, according to my old and increasingly hazy memory, are never easy. But in today’s climate of political divisiveness, they can be especially difficult. Political views and party affiliations have increasingly become criteria for screening potential romantic partners. And by screening, I mean screening out.
BASHAM: Joining us now to talk about this new speed bump on the road to love is WORLD’s Harvest Prude. She’s based in Washington, D.C., where she covers politics for WORLD Digital.
Good morning, Harvest!
HARVEST PRUDE, REPORTER: Good morning, Megan!
BASHAM: The most famous political odd couple has to be James Carville and Mary Matalin. He’s a Democrat. She’s a Republican. They worked on opposing political campaigns but still managed to fall in love and get married. Their romance seemed implausible in the 1990s, but it seems impossible now! Tell us what you found out about how single Americans factor political views into their dating life.
PRUDE: Right, so the American Enterprise Institute recently conducted a survey and they found that Americans increasingly think couples should be on the same side of the political aisle—so to speak. In 2013, only 17 percent of Americans saw politically mixed relationships as a problem, now it’s inched up to 24 percent. They also polled Americans on which issues are most divisive when it comes to dating; and that found that Americans don’t have a “single issue” that’s a dealbreaker, but rather it’s more of a range of disagreements on things like gun laws, religious liberty, and climate issues that would make dating across the aisle difficult.
BASHAM: A lot of singles these days use dating apps or online dating sites. How are those factoring into this new reality?
PRUDE: Yeah. So, some of the sites or apps have options where you can put your political affiliation and you can put this is a dealbreaker for me. So it won’t even show you the option of people who think differently. And the survey found that around a quarter of 18 to 29 year olds take steps to find a potential partner’s politics before they start a relationship. And sometimes before they even go on a date. So they’re increasingly wielding dating apps to kind of act in this way.
BASHAM: That’s interesting. And I noted in your story that it kind of was the opposite for the older generation.
PRUDE: Yeah, so only eight percent of those 65 and older acted in the same way. And some of them didn’t even report knowing their potential partner’s political views when they started off in their relationship and started progressing.
BASHAM: And I think that’s probably the old school way of dating. You noted in your report that while politics in general is divisive, there is one person—and we probably shouldn’t be surprised—who plays an outsized role in all of that.
PRUDE: Yeah, so it turns out that Donald Trump can claim to be a dating dealbreaker. Whether you love him or you hate him, a full 63 percent of Americans would not even consider dating someone who had a different opinion of the president.
BASHAM: That’s interesting but, as I said, probably not surprising. Now, you’re in D.C., and you’re single, you’re a smart, young professional. You’re involved in a lot of things. I’m guessing you probably have some single friends. What are you hearing from them about the effect politics and political views on their dating lives?
PRUDE: So, some people, they said they personally would date across the aisle, but they worry about what their parents or what their friends would think, how they would perceive their dating partner. Others say they only date across partisan lines either because of bad experiences or because that’s how they want to approach things. And then one young woman I talked to said she has had the frustrating experience of having someone ghost her, which means to suddenly stop talking to her without explanation, after she expressed a conservative opinion. So, it’s definitely a tricky issue that’s on the mind of a lot of young people and definitely something we could use wisdom for.
BASHAM: It’s funny you mention that she felt like she was ghosted for expressing a conservative opinion, and this is kind of a tricky question to ask, but I am seeing a lot of stories out there in the media, a lot of social media chatter that seems to suggest that maybe that rejecting somebody on the basis of their political views tends to go more in one direction than another. Is that something you found in your reporting?
PRUDE: You know, there’s not really hard data to back that up, but I did talk to the person who conducted the study—Dan Cox with AEI—and he kind of gave me some anecdotes telling me that some of the conservatives he talked to sort of reported self-censoring their views when they were in politically mixed company, with other young people, or when they were maybe going out on dates. So that could suggest that it does tend to cut more in one direction. But, on the flip side, we’re also seeing more dating websites and dating apps that are specifically directed to conservatives. One of these apps is called DonaldDaters, which that’s a reference to the president. So there are definitely groups on both sides that want to kind of avoid crossing the aisle—in the area of love, at least.
BASHAM: Harvest Prude writes for WORLD Digital, where she covers politics in a weekly roundup called The Stew. To find more of her reporting, visit wng.org/the-stew. Thanks so much for joining us today!
PRUDE: You’re welcome, Megan.
MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: decriminalizing polygamy.
NICK EICHER: Joseph Smith founded the Mormon religion in 1830. From its early beginnings, polygamy has been a part of its beliefs. Joseph Smith claimed God wanted Mormon men to marry multiple women. Historians say Smith himself had as many as 40 wives. Some were already married and one was only 14.
BASHAM: After Joseph Smith’s death, his followers brought the practice west to Utah. That was a barrier to the territory’s gaining statehood because federal law banned polygamy.
Under pressure from the U.S. government, Mormon president Wilford Woodruff ended the practice in 1890. Then, six years later, Utah became a state.
EICHER: Most—but not all—who call themselves Mormons gave up polygamy. Today, researchers say there could be as many as 100,000 members of polygamist families—many of them living in Utah.
Now, a new state bill there aims to diminish penalties for the practice.
WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The law known as Senate Bill 102, sailed across party lines and through Utah’s state Senate last week: 29 to 0.
The senators voted to remove the threat of jail time for consenting adult polygamists. Instead of being a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, polygamy would be classified as an infraction, like a speeding ticket.
AUDIO: Senate Bill 102: Bigamy Amendments. Senator Henderson.
State senator Deidre Henderson sponsored the bill. Arguing on the senate floor, Henderson said banning polygamy hasn’t stopped it from growing.
HENDERSON: Far from deterring the practice of plural marriage these government actions merely isolated polygamist families, drove them underground, instilled fear and led to a culture of secrecy within their communities.
Henderson, along with supporters in polygamist communities, argues by removing the threat of punishment, it will be easier for victims of abuse to report crimes.
HENDERSON: Abuse victims may not report to law enforcement because of the fear of arrest or losing their children to state custody if they are discovered to be in polygamous relationship.
Henderson also claims by driving polygamy underground, Utah has actually created a human rights crisis.
HENDERSON: There are also barriers to medical care to mental health treatment, to education, to employment to social services and to justice.
But some legal scholars and human rights advocates disagree.
Amos Guiora is a law professor at the University of Utah Law School. He’s researched and written extensively on polygamy. He says the practice itself is causing problems. Not the fact that it’s illegal.
GUIORA: The human rights crisis is that polygamy is occurring.
Guiora says polygamy systematically violates human rights. Marriage is chosen for women. Underage girls are forced into marriages. In Utah’s polygamous communities, many times men, women, and children are stripped of the rights to own property and to an education.
That’s why, even in socially liberal Canada, a Supreme Court judge upheld a ban on polygamy in 2017.
GUIORA: The Canadian court, having heard a significant number of experts, social workers, psychologist, law professors, came to the conclusion that polygamy, indeed is a crime of harm.
Guiora says one big reason polygamy hasn’t gone away in Utah is because the state attorneys general and police look the other way. Even though the state constitution says “polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.”
GUIORA: It’s fair to state that government authorities know that, they know the crimes being committed.
Angela Kelly leads the Sound Choices Coalition, an organization advocating for the end of polygamy.
She says the pending legislation isn’t tackling the right problem. Women and children struggle to report abuse because they don’t know how they will live afterwards. Not because they are afraid of the law.
KELLY: If you decriminalize domestic violence, would you have more victims coming forward? No. That’s not why victims don’t come forward. They don’t come forward because they don’t have any hope that their life will get better. Right? It’s only when you can show them, hey, we have resources for you. There’s a way out. We can help you with your kids. We can help you with food, shelter, necessities of life, that people then finally can step out of oppression.
SB-102 is now headed to the state House of Representatives where it is expected to pass. Republican Governor Gary Herbert has not said whether he supports the bill.
The University of Utah’s Amos Guiora says if the bill does become law, a legal battle between Utah and the federal government could flare up—bringing the polygamy debate full-circle.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
NICK EICHER: If you say there’s no God, don’t bother trying to persuade Jeremiah Cribb to atheism!
And here’s a big reason why: Neither he nor emergency responders have any earthy explanation for what happened last Wednesday along a major interstate in North Carolina.
Rescuers found him lying in a muddy bank after falling 75 feet from a bridge. That’s roughly equivalent to falling from a 6-story building—mortality rate, approaching 90 percent.
So by the numbers, you’re not likely to survive. But Cribb did. He stood to his feet as his rescuers fastened a harness around him.
Salisbury Fire Battalion Chief Nicholas Martin…
MARTIN: It’s entirely miraculous. We would not anticipate that the outcome from such a fall would be so positive.
It happened along Interstate 85 in the darkness of night. Cribb is a FedEx driver. He and his partner, pulled over to help a stranded motorist.
Firefighter Jacob Vodochodsky explained that’s when Cribb stepped out of his truck. He saw a speeding vehicle heading straight for him. He thought the car was going to hit him, so he jumped over a concrete barrier.
VODOCHODSKY: He thought that he was jumping into a grass median, that it was the same height, and realized of course that it was not, and fell 75 feet to the position where we found him.
Cribb suffered a collapsed lung and three fractured ribs, but doctors said he’d likely return home in a matter of days.
Cribb said after the fall, “I was not supposed to get up. I just thank God I’m alive.”
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Tuesday, February 25th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: “Notable Speeches, Past and Present.”
Today, an address from Missouri’s junior U.S. Senator Josh Hawley. He speaks on “Big Tech” and “Social media”—specifically, its role in the American economy and its impact on American society.
BASHAM: After he graduated from Yale Law School, Hawley served as law clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts. He also spent two years as Missouri’s Attorney General before taking his senate seat in 2019. At 40 years old, he’s the youngest serving senator.
EICHER: Last year, the Hoover Institution invited Hawley to speak during its “Big Tech and the Future of the Free & Open Internet” series. In his 15-minute speech, he argued that social media companies and investors unethically profit from their users’ addictions. Here’s an excerpt.
SENATOR JOSH HAWLEY: I want to focus your attention in the brief time we have together on the issue of social media in particular. What is its actual worth to the American economy and to American society?
My thesis is the evidence is more and more strongly suggesting there is something that is deeply troubling, maybe even deeply wrong, with the entire social media economy, that it does not represent a source of strength for America’s tomorrow but is rather a source of peril.
Consider for a moment the basic business model of the dominant social media platforms. You’re familiar with them. You might think of it as akin to financial arbitrage. Users’ attention is bought by the tech giants and then immediately sold to advertisers, for the highest price of course.
How is it that this attention arbitrage in the social media market is preserved and renewed over and over again? And that’s where things get really scary, because it’s preserved by hijacking users’ neural circuitry to prevent rational decision making about what to click and how to spend time. Or, just to simplify that a little bit, it’s preserved through addiction.
Social media only works as a business model if it consumes users’ time and attention day after day after day. It needs to replace the various activities we did perfectly well without social media, for the entire known history of the human race, with itself. So that addiction is actually the point. That’s what social media shareholders are investing in.
And I think that social media users actually understand this intuitively even if they would put it a bit differently. You don’t log onto Facebook to connect with a friend when you could just as easily call him or shoot her a text with your phone. You don’t log on to find an article that you’ve been meaning to read when you could just as easily go and find that specific article yourself using a service or a platform that’s designed to do that.
You log on to Facebook to be on Facebook. The attention arbitrage market itself becomes the destination. And we all know the effects. Our attention spans have dulled. Our tempers have quickened. We reduce our friends to their public presentation in short posts. We substitute comments and likes for phone calls and direct human interaction. And those are the benign effects.
Day after day it seems brings fresh data, fresh reports, fresh studies detailing the significant social consequences of social media use in such large quantities. Today’s Washington Post, for instance, I don’t know if you saw it, has a chilling story about the rash of teenage suicide especially in younger teenagers.
The researchers’ attempt to isolate what is driving this surge in teen suicide. And eventually what they discovered was the uptick – it’s not just an uptick, it’s a surge– in teenage suicide, particularly among younger teenagers, coincides eerily with the introduction of the iPhone, particularly in its later models, where the social media platforms and the social media apps were readily available and optimized for use.
Now it could just be correlation not causation, but day after day brings new studies that strongly suggest that there is significant correlation if not causal relationship between growing social media presence, and these terrible social consequences.
Depression is another example. We are struggling society-wide with an epidemic of teenage depression and rising depression rates among young adults and older Americans for that matter too. And again, many studies now suggest that the time spent on social media and on social media platforms at least correlates to some degree with increased depression, loneliness.
All of these social consequences, these are significant, you might even say that they are severe, and the question we need to be asking is what is the role of social media in driving them, in encouraging them, in promoting them, and is this really something that is good for our society in the long run, or for our economy for that matter?
While we are talking about the economy, think for a second about the opportunity cost that this social media business model and these social media platforms, what you might call the social media economy, think what it represents.
This is what some of our brightest minds have been doing with their time for years now. Designing these platforms, designing apps that integrate with them. What else might they have been doing?
We’ve encouraged an entire generation of our bright engineers in a discipline that provides a little or no productive value to the United States economy, sucking them from communities that need their talents out to outposts on the coasts, encouraging them to forget the problems of the people that they left behind, and of course capital then follows them to those places.
These are economic developments that reward some, there’s no doubt about that, but attention arbitrage like financial arbitrage is no foundation for long-term growth. And that’s my thesis to you today.
You know the most frightening thought of all of this is that the social media platforms might come to define our future economy. An economy that does not value the things that matter produces a society that is shaped in its own image. That, I want to suggest to you, is something that we cannot afford, it is something that we cannot allow, and it is within our power to change it. And that is the great challenge and task of our time.
And I think it is incumbent upon all of us as we consider the place that we’re in now, as we consider the new era that we’re living in, particularly those of us who believe in free markets, who believe in the free and open economy, to be asking ourselves, what kind of economy are we encouraging? What kind of a society is that producing? And what is our responsibility – all of us as members of that society – to shape it in the best way for the future? Thank you so much for having me here today. It’s a pleasure to be with you.
BASHAM: That’s Senator Josh Hawley from a 2019 address at the Hoover Institution. If you’d like to hear his entire speech, we’ve included a link to the full recording online: pull up this transcript at worldandeverything.org and you’ll find the speech link there.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Tuesday, February 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. We are excited to announce a new commentator joining our lineup today. Ryan Bomberger is an author and speaker who founded The Radiance Foundation with his wife, Bethany.
BASHAM: And let me add, the Radiance Foundation is an organization that uses creative methods to show that every human life has God-given purpose. One more thing, Ryan draws on his Emmy Award–winning creativity in his work there. It’s so cool.
EICHER: It is, and his story is compelling: Ryan was conceived in rape, yet adopted into a loving and diverse family of 15. Now Ryan and Bethany are adoptive parents too.
In the coming months, you’ll hear much more about their story. But for now, here is Ryan Bomberger with his thoughts on Black History Month.
[MUSIC: This Little Light Of Mine]
RYAN BOMBERGER, COMMENTATOR: Adversity makes us all better human beings. It is the narrative of this great country: people prevailing over hardships and being victorious even in the midst of the seemingly impossible.
As someone who is of black and white lineage, my heart is to counter those who still try to weaponize race and separate us by color. Our different hues are something to celebrate.
Black History Month is a great time to reflect on this celebration and those who fought for freedom. There are so many stories to tell. One of my favorites is of Fannie Lou Hamer. Born into a sharecropper family of 20 children in 1917, she continued to work on a Mississippi plantation even as a married adult.
At the age of 44, she was diagnosed with a tumor in her uterus. Instead of simply removing it, the doctor forcibly sterilized her. She called it a “Mississippi Appendectomy.” That’s because these unjust eugenic acts were so common and done to thousands of Americans across the country—a disproportionate number of them black.
When life is harsh and unfair, we can choose to stay bitter…or we can choose to be better. Fannie Lou Hamer chose the latter: She used her traumatic experience as the catalyst for social activism.
She became a fearless voting rights and anti-poverty activist. But many don’t know she was also a passionate pro-life adoptive mama. Fannie had no love for Planned Parenthood, and in her 1971 speech “Is It Too Late?” she denounced abortion as “genocide” in the black community.
She didn’t mince words. She famously said that politics made her “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” But her faith never let her give up. She wouldn’t let racism dim her light. She connected with people, black and white, and even demanded that she “wanted to see a change” for all people.
HAMER: I’m not concerned about just representing black people, because we have poor whites that’s in the same category with the poor negro. Well, I want to see a change for the people. And if we can get a good white man, alright, we’ll put him in office. But I don’t want it all black, and I don’t want it all white… If I hate you because you hate me, I’m no better than you are.
This Black History Month, remember that our history as Americans is inextricably intertwined. The civil rights fight was impossible without blacks and whites working together for freedom. Back then, they chose to be stronger than their circumstances.
And today, no matter the issues we face in our broken culture, Philippians 4:13 reminds us how we make it through. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
And like Fannie, we keep shining that light so we can overcome the darkness.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Ryan Bomberger.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: A rare cause that brings Republicans and Democrats together—surprise medical billing. In Congress, bipartisan legislation is moving ahead with the aim to fix the problem. We’ll talk about it on Washington Wednesday.
And, Paul Butler travels to the southern border to find out how pastors are doing ministry in a dangerous environment.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
What a great commentary we just heard, and so as we go, I’ll finish that chapter from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!