MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
Businesses usually discourage expressions of faith at work. But some companies are starting to see the benefit of workplace chaplains.
BOWMAN: I think it creates a culture where people recognize, okay, even if I don’t necessarily like some aspects of my job, I feel cared for and loved…
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also homeschool advocates are on the lookout for new laws that could affect parent teachers. We’ll tell you about those.
Plus National Right to Life Committee president Carol Tobias talks frankly with WORLD’s Marvin Olasky about the Supreme Court and the future of the state-by-state pro-life battle.
TOBIAS: I understand pro-life people getting impatient, you know, this has been going on for 47 years. How many more babies have to die?
And Cal Thomas on Michael Bloomberg’s effect on the Democrats.
BASHAM: It’s Thursday, February 27th. 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: Brazil confirms first coronavirus case in Latin America » Officials in Brazil have confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Latin America.
MANDETTA: [Speaking in Portuguese]
At a press conference Wednesday, Brazilian Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said a 61-year-old Brazilian man who recently traveled to Italy tested positive.
He said “We will now see how this virus behaves in a tropical country in the middle of summer.”
The Brazilian man spent two weeks in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, where he contracted the virus.
Italy is struggling to contain an outbreak of the virus. As of Wednesday, the country had 323 confirmed cases, and 11 deaths.
Court sides with Trump admin on funding for ‘sanctuary’ cities and states » A federal appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned a lower court decision ordering the administration to release funding to New York City and seven states.
In 2017, the Justice Department said it would withhold grant money from local and state governments that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration laws and authorities. That triggered a years-long court battle, which could wind up at the Supreme Court.
The 2nd Circuit said the plain language of relevant laws make clear that the U.S. attorney general can impose conditions on state and local governments receiving the money.
And it noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly observed that the federal government maintains broad power over states when it comes to immigration policies.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.
Religious riots escalate in India » More than 20 people have died in three days of fighting between Hindu and Muslim groups in New Delhi. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Many Muslims fled their homes and shops as Hindu mobs armed with iron rods and sticks set fires and destroyed property. The Delhi region’s chief minister had to call in the army to stem the violence.
At least 24 people died and nearly 200 others were injured.
Violence surged during President Trump’s visit to India earlier this week. He flew out of New Delhi on Tuesday after a two-day visit.
Since December, demonstrators have marched against a law that offers Indian citizenship to Christians, Hindus, and other migrants who fled religious persecution, but not Muslims. Trump has shown support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, but has not taken a position on the citizenship law.
He told reporters, “I want to leave that to India, and hopefully they’re going to make the right decision for the people.”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
COVINGTON: I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: laws that could create problems for homeschoolers.
Plus, meeting spiritual needs at work.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: It’s Thursday the 27th of February, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. First up: homeschooling.
EICHER: Parents in all 50 states have the legal right to teach their children at home. But every legislative session brings the potential for new restrictions and regulations. That’s why homeschooling advocates keep close tabs on what lawmakers are doing.
BASHAM: Joining us now to talk about what’s on the legislative horizon this year is Mike Smith. He’s president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. A mouthful so I’ll just say the HSLDA.
So, Mike, to start, let’s talk about federal laws and regulations. What’s happening in Washington that could affect homeschoolers?
SMITH: Megan, the good news about federal law is federal law doesn’t really impact homeschooling or local education issues, as you know. But one of the recent things that has been introduced by way of a resolution in Congress is the reintroduction of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is not only a homeschool problem but basically a problem for parents in making decisions for their own children. And so we’re monitoring that and we’ll possibly do some lobbying on that in the near future. But beyond that, we’re working on some positive things. But, negative things, that’s the only thing we have right now.
BASHAM: OK, I want to ask specifically about the Trump administration’s proposed tax credit scholarship program. Now, I know HSLDA has been leery of these kinds of programs in the past, but when this legislation first came out last year, your organization supported it. Is that still the case?
SMITH: Yes. We do support that and the reason we support it is because it will actually put money in the pockets of families to make decisions—really good decisions—about where their children are going to be educated. And then of course spending money on curriculum, etcetera, for homeschoolers. And the reason we support that and oppose a lot of other efforts on school choice is because there is no direct money actually flowing from the government to the family, hence no ability to regulate it. That’s the difference. So these credits actually put more money in the pocket, but it’s their money. They’re just not sending it to Washington D.C. So we do favor that.
BASHAM: OK, that makes sense. What about state-level legislation? Are there any trouble spots you’re keeping tabs on, or troubling trends you’re just monitoring?
SMITH: Well, the trends that we have been facing have been efforts to basically regulate homeschooling in states where there’s little regulation. And we’ve actually been successful in the past at being able to stop all that. Probably the biggest threat we had was three years ago in California arising out of an unfortunate situation with parents abusing their children. But none of that happened and so we’re actually advancing legislation in Alabama, for instance. We have legislation that would allow parents to be able to participate in extracurricular activities and, in some states, we even have—the law actually allows homeschoolers to participate in courses as well. So that’s a trend that is happening that we’re favorable, we like it.
BASHAM: I know HSLDA has also started advocating for some international homeschooling families in recent years. What trends are you seeing in other countries?
SMITH: A lot more homeschooling. And, fortunately, many of the countries are allowing parents to be able to teach their children at home. But really where that movement is about where we were 30 years ago. So they’re actually having to fight the battle, the legal battle. And, of course, the country of Cuba has actually imprisoned a family, a man is in prison today, a husband, for homeschooling. So there’s some exaggerated situations, but they’re few. Few and far between. So, homeschooling is going to go everywhere, especially internationally.
BASHAM: OK, and then just to ask about a country that I’m personally curious about because I see so many headlines and social media chatter. What’s going on in Germany?
SMITH: Germany has not changed. They are trying to do away with homeschooling. That’s what they’re trying to do. And most of the families, unfortunately, have actually moved out of Germany that homeschool. But what we have seen, actually, is some of the local judges—in other words, they would be equivalent to our family law judges here in the United States—they’re refusing to actually follow the line. So, in a couple of situations, we have families in Germany that are homeschooling and they’re homeschooling because a judge has told officials to basically leave them alone. But that’s rare, OK? That’s on a case-by-case basis. The official line of the government of Germany is homeschooling is illegal.
BASHAM: Gotcha. Well, I hate to end on a down note, so let’s turn back to maybe some positive news. What are the bright spots you’re seeing out there?
SMITH: Well, I would say both trends would be the growth of numbers in homeschooling and there are just more and more people that are considering it and we’re seeing it in every state—almost every state for sure and internationally. And as I mentioned before, we’re seeing the trend of allowing homeschoolers to be able to utilize public services. Thirdly, we’re seeing more and more colleges, the military, employers, on and on, that are actually accepting a homeschool diploma the same as they would a public school diploma. That’s increasing, too. Doesn’t mean all the battles are won. We’re still fighting for that. But certainly we’re improving and doing better on that.
BASHAM: Well, Mike Smith is president of HSLDA. Mike, thanks so much for joining us today!
SMITH: Thank you, Megan!
NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: faith in the workplace.
MEGAN BASHAM: Corporate America isn’t known for being open to expressions of faith. Unless, of course, that faith is secular progressivism. But in the last few years, a growing number of companies are starting to see the value in supporting employees’ religious beliefs.
EICHER: About 20 percent of the Fortune 100 now have religious-based employee resource groups. And workplace chaplains are becoming more common in large and small companies alike. WORLD Radio correspondent Katie Gaultney reports.
KATIE GAULTNEY, REPORTER: Adam Bowman is one of two chaplains at Interstate Batteries. The Dallas-based company has 600-employees in its home office.
BOWMAN: Heavenly Father, we do thank you for today. We thank you for Misty and her love for her boys…
Today he’s meeting in his office with Misty, an administrative assistant. She’s seeking advice on giving spiritual guidance to one of her sons. Bowman spends a good part of his day having similar conversations.
BOWMAN: And most of the people that come talk to us, it’s, “I’m having issues with my kids.” “I’m having issues with my manager.” It’s light counseling, just interpersonal relationships.
Bowman is one of two chaplains at the company who offer counseling and discipleship from a Christian perspective. They also manage prayer requests, oversee company Bible studies, and make the occasional hospital visit. Bowman’s counterpart even performs weddings and funerals for company personnel.
Interstate Batteries was founded by Christians, so Bowman’s work is gospel-centered. But not all the company’s employees are Christians.
BOWMAN: This is kind of a weird deal in the sense that I’m doing ministry, but I’m doing it in a business. I’m not a pastor. I don’t have any authority in people’s lives in the sense of their spiritual… So it’s much different.
Still, even non-Christians appreciate the chaplaincy. Bowman gets calls and visits from all types. And people from a variety of faiths participate in the company’s volunteer opportunities and humanitarian trips. It makes them feel like a part of something bigger. And while that may not directly pad the company’s bottom line, it does make a difference.
BOWMAN: Doing things where team members can see, okay, we’re doing this because of the purpose, not because it’s going to help us sell batteries. I think it creates a culture where people recognize, okay, even if I don’t necessarily like some aspects of my job, I feel cared for and loved and that’s gonna make people happier. And it brings in all the ROI things that you can say about business…
But it’s not just Christian companies that are beginning to prioritize employees’ spiritual development.
Earlier this year, the Religious Freedom in Business Foundation released an index ranking companies for their support of faith in the workplace. The report noted that only one out of five Fortune 100 companies includes religion as a sort of workplace accommodation. But that actually represents an increase. Walmart and PayPal added their first-ever religious employee resource groups last year. And the report gave high marks to companies that support a variety of faiths, not just Christianity. Google nabbed the top spot.
At a recent conference in Washington, D.C., Religious Freedom in Business Foundation president Brian Grim said the best workplace faith resources include a variety of belief systems—or, even a lack of belief.
AUDIO: You would think, okay, these faiths would be pulling in different directions, including, you know, atheists and agnostics, instead, there’s common ground. Isn’t that hopeful?
But this trend isn’t just limited to Fortune 100 companies. Smaller companies also see the value in offering employees spiritual care, even if they don’t have a full-time staffer devoted to it. That growing demand has given rise to chaplain temp agencies like Marketplace Ministries. Its chaplains provide employee care to businesses in all 50 states, plus Canada and Mexico.
Dan Truitt is one of the company’s directors. He says there’s a long list of reasons why adding spiritual care offers a good return on investment. Increases in retention and employee satisfaction, for example. But there are plenty of intangible benefits for employers, too.
TRUITT: We do have anecdotal testimonies from employers that say after a few months or, or a year or so, they began to see employees having better attitudes, maybe more productivity.
And the agency’s growth shows that more and more companies recognize the importance of supporting employees’ religious needs.
TRUITT: We’ve had record growth over the last two or three years. We added 187 new companies in 2019, which is just phenomenal for us to add that many. That was 32,000 employees added under our care just in that one year. So, we’re finding just such an openness with businesses that want to provide that extra level of kind of a soft touch for management to care for their employees.
Despite that growth, secular companies are still better known for shying away from, or even penalizing, expressions of faith at work. That’s especially true for any beliefs that contradict the secular orthodoxy on things like sexuality and gender. But maybe the increasing interest in offering religious support to employees—while not limited to Christianity—will revive tolerance for Biblical viewpoints as well.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Katie Gaultney reporting from Dallas, Texas.
NICK EICHER: Take a guess: Which major city holds the coveted title, horn-honking capital of the world?
L.A.? New York City? Nope! It’s Mumbai, India. That’s at least according to the police.
Mumbai’s finest posted a video to social media explaining the problem.
AUDIO: Here, people honk even when the signal is red. Maybe they think that by honking, they can make the signal turn green faster.
The noise pollution can be deafening. But police say they’ve figured out a way to “hit the mute button.”
Late last year, they tested out traffic lights that punish drivers for incessant honking. Here’s how it works:
There are two digital screens below the traffic signal. One of them is a timer, counting down the seconds until the light turns green. The other screen shows the decibel level—how loud it is—at the intersection. And if it reaches 85 decibels, the timer resets, and the drivers have to wait out another red light.
The display then posts the message “honk more, wait more.”
I love it. That idea had to be dreamed up by an economist: incentives! It’s always about the incentives.
In any event, it’s working, and the police plan to try it at 10 more locations next month.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Thursday, February 27th. 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 up next, another in our regular series: The Olasky Interview.
Before last month’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., Marvin Olasky spoke with pro-life veteran Carol Tobias. She’s been on the front lines of both state and federal efforts for 40 years. Today, she serves as president of the National Right to Life Committee.
BASHAM: It’s known as the NRLC. It’s is the oldest and largest pro-life group in the country with 3,000 chapters operating in all 50 states. In this excerpt of their conversation, Tobias describes the NRLC’s goals for this year’s election and beyond.
MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: Well, Carol, thank you for coming by today.
CAROL TOBIAS: It’s my pleasure.
OLASKY: The latest poll I’ve seen is from May of 2018. Still, you have 77 percent of people saying the in cases of rape or incest, abortion should be legal. Do we work on that now or do we ignore that now and work on work on things that actually have more public support, what’s your strategy?
TOBIAS: Until we get a Supreme court that is going to dismantle Roe V Wade, a lot of these arguments are—I don’t want to say not helpful—but we need to get a majority of people in this country electing a good president who is going to put good judges on the court and electing senators who are going to confirm those judges. If that doesn’t happen, if we get a pro-abortion president and a pro-abortion majority in the Senate, it doesn’t matter what our disagreements are, our hands are going to be tied.
OLASKY: And so what do you say to people who are pro-life but look at president Trump and say he is unfit to be president?
TOBIAS: He’s doing everything we need him to do. He’s cutting off our tax dollars that would go to organizations like International Planned Parenthood to kill babies and other countries. He’s cutting off funding to them here in this country. He is allowing medical personnel to object that they don’t want to be involved in an abortion procedure or assisted suicide because their conscience or their religious and moral values tell them that’s wrong. He is putting justices on the federal bench on the courts of appeals, on the Supreme court, that will look at the constitution and not legislate from the bench. There might be some things that you don’t like about this president, but he is doing what we need him to do to save babies.
OLASKY: Is NRL’s major strategy this year to reelect president Trump?
TOBIAS: Yes, yes. We need to get one or two more judges on the Supreme court and I, you know, not that that’s going to solve all problems, but if we can get the court to dismantle Roe and give us a 50 state battleground, that’s going to be much better. And we’re going to save many more lives than we can now.
OLASKY: Now state by state. It varies. And there are sometimes tough battles on which has the right strategy to have, let’s say a personhood bill or a heartbeat bill or you know, a 20 week bill or something. Do you have a dog in that hunt? What do you recommend?
TOBIAS: I don’t know if this is the right perspective, but I really truly believe it comes down to the Supreme Court. Until we can get rid of a national law that has tied our hands, a lot of what we’re trying to do could actually be counterproductive.
I understand pro-life people getting impatient, you know, this has been going on for 47 years. How many more babies have to die? Let’s do something. But we’ve got polling that shows right after New York passed their law last year saying: “We’re going to remove all limits on abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.” And people were just flabbergasted. You know, that was really the goal of the abortion industry. “I can’t believe that’s really happening.”
And we were getting so many people coming out of the woodwork saying, “you know, what can we do?” And, you know, a couple of the polls that were out there made it look very much that the pro-life movement was gaining in, you know, people agreeing that abortion is wrong. And then we started getting states passing some of the tougher restrictions, either no abortions at all or the heartbeat. And then of course, the national news glommed onto that, ignoring what New York had done and what Vermont was doing and what Illinois was doing. They were then promoting all these stories about, you know, look at all these states that are trying to stop abortion before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Pro-life numbers again, basically took a dive.
We can have these battles, but I would like to be more confident of where the court was before we start putting national elections in jeopardy. Because if Donald Trump loses, if Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg is president, we have lost our chance at taking back the court. So I think all the battles that we’re having are fine, but I would like them to wait a little bit.
OLASKY: So right now you are against personhood bills?
TOBIAS: Well, we’ve never been in support of personhood bills because they really don’t have any legal impact. Um, you know, if you pass the bill, that isn’t going to change the law.
OLASKY: And so you’re against heartbeat bills for the same reason?
TOBIAS: Our affiliates are kind of split on whether or not to support them. Uh, we know certainly the pro-life movement wants to see them pass. National Right to Life was the one that many, many years ago came up with the slogan: “Abortion stops the beating heart.” So it’s logical that, you know, if we’re going to protect a baby once she can feel pain, then why not protect that baby when there’s a heartbeat?
If the American public isn’t with you, are we pushing them into the abortion camp when they walk into the voting booth? That would be my concern.
OLASKY: So I hear you saying, tell me if this is an accurate summary, that things are basically moving slowly in our direction. Every time people see how radical the pro abort agenda is, that actually helps us move more people move. And so given that that’s happening in a sense, don’t rock the boat politically?
TOBIAS: I think that I would. A lot of people aren’t sure where they are on abortion. I think many of them would say, “I don’t like the way it’s practiced today,” and if they look at our opponents and they say: “they’re crazy, they don’t want any limits on abortion? I can’t support that.” They’re at least open to hearing our arguments. I think right now maybe it is, don’t rock the boat.
EICHER: That’s WORLD’s Marvin Olasky speaking with Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. Excerpts of their conversation appear in the February 29th issue of WORLD Magazine.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next, an excerpt from Listening In.
This week, host Warren Smith visits with Christian author and apologist, Vishal Mangalwadi. In this excerpt of their conversation, Mangalwadi speaks to how the Bible is responsible for the fundamental rights declared in the founding documents of this country. Here’s Warren Smith.
WARREN SMITH: The Bible made possible all, or the vast majority, of the great achievements of the West. You talk about the Bible, it’s teaching us: the importance of the word, covenants, of our loving our neighbors as ourselves, and so on, caused there to be great breakthroughs in technology, agriculture, medicine, the legal arena and the economy. Can you say a little more about that?
VISHAL MANGALWADI: Well, it is amazing that people don’t realize that your belief that you exist as a person different than a robot is because of the Bible. There is no logical way to prove that you exist as a permanent individual soul, self-thinking subject.
Descartes tried to prove that: “I think therefore I am.” But David Hume and other philosophers quickly pointed out the fallacy that when you doubt that God exists, what you’re proving is that the doubting exists.
So all the rationalists who decided that, well, uh, the infant knowledge of truth comes to us through our senses, eyes and ears, and uh, touch and smell and taste. Well, we can’t see, smell, touch, uh, taste your soul, yourself, your person. So yes, thinking exists. Doubting exists.
It’s like a computer, a robot who can play chess and beat you in chess. Uh, answer lots of your questions. Do, solve mathematical problems. Thinking is existing in a robot. Is he a person? Does it self exist? Not this is, uh, to say that every human person is endowed by their creator with inalienable rights. So you are a person different than a robot because you have a self or a soul that’s foundation to believing that human beings have unique dignity and rights and that all human beings are created equal.
If we are not created in God’s image, then did we evolve equal? Obviously we didn’t. So every high school student in public high schools in America no longer believes that all men are created, let alone created equal. So the very foundation of the Declaration of Independence—that people are all created equal, all are made in God’s image, all have unique dignity and inalienable rights. These foundational assumptions come from the Bible.
EICHER: That’s Vishal Mangalwadi talking to Warren Smith. To hear their complete conversation, look for Listening In wherever you get your podcasts.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, February 27th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It—a listener-supported daily news program from WORLD. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Commentator Cal Thomas now with thoughts on the presidential campaign of billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: The Democratic Party is in trouble. After the debacle in Iowa, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has gone on a tear—and sent the party establishment into a panic.
To make matters worse, a change in party rules allowed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the debate stage—and a political bludgeoning ensued.
To say Bloomberg is a flawed candidate doesn’t even begin to describe this 78-year-old billionaire. He’s a former Republican, a former Democrat, and now an independent who wants to win the Democratic Party’s nomination.
But he’s not only politically confused. He has not been able to defend himself against past racist, sexist, and misogynistic comments, including when Elizabeth Warren challenged him for calling women “fat broads” and “horse-faced lesbians.”
The Washington Post reported on a former Bloomberg aide who once gave him a booklet of profane, sexist quotes she attributed to him. They’re too profane to say here, but other outrageous statements will help you get the picture.
In one 2016 video Bloomberg claimed he could—quote—“teach anybody to be a farmer.” Why? Because all one has to do is dig a hole, drop in a seed, cover the hole with dirt, water it and voila, up pops a field of corn.
Apparently, he is not aware of entire schools of agriculture that exist to teach real farming. He then pointed out the difference between workers in an agricultural economy and today’s information economy. Quoting again: “You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter.” End quote.
That sound bite should play well in Republican TV ads in farm belt states.
Another video features Bloomberg saying—quote—“There is an enormous cohort of black and Latino males, aged let’s say 16 to 25 that don’t have jobs, don’t have any prospects, don’t know how to find jobs, don’t know what their skill sets are, don’t know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively.” End quote.
Wow. Let’s see how those remarks look in TV ads in South Carolina, which has a large number of African American voters—and who are seeing black men gaining employment.
These kinds of blunders would have already knocked out a candidate with less money. Bloomberg’s bottomless pockets may keep his campaign alive, but they can’t save his credibility.
Ultimately, Bloomberg’s rise says more about the state of the Democratic primary than it does about the man. Much of his baggage was already known, and yet Democrats desperate for another option have lined up behind him.
He may make a splash on Super Tuesday, but I predict it won’t last.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Culture Friday. We’ll talk about the YouTube sensation: Rhett and Link. They’re a favorite of Christian young people, but they’ve left the faith and they’re encouraging others to go and do likewise.
And, a review of the new ABC series For Life.
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.
The psalmist reminds us it is the fool who says in his heart, there is no God.
But trust in His steadfast love; rejoice in his salvation; sing to the Lord. Because he has dealt bountifully with you.
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!