The World and Everything in It — February 6, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Protesters rally in Montenegro against what they say is religious suppression of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today, the story of a woman who’s helped children who’ve endured unspeakable hardship.

WILSON: We do have some parents who love their children, but the drugs have taken over and they are not the same people.

And commentator Cal Thomas on changing the culture from the bottom up.

REICHARD: It’s Thursday, February 6th. 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: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Impeachment trial ends with Trump’s acquittal » President Trump’s fate is now in the hands of voters after the Senate voted Wednesday to acquit him of House impeachment charges. 

On one of the charges, obstruction of Congress, it was a straight party line vote—53-to-47. But on the other charge, abuse of power… 

ROBERTS: On this article of impeachment, 48 senators have pronounced Donald John Trump, President of the United States, guilty as charged. 52 senators have pronounced him not guilty as charged.

Chief Justice John Roberts heard there with the tally after Senator Mitt Romney broke with the GOP. He said on the abuse of power charge, he could not in good conscience vote to acquit. 

ROMNEY: My promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside.  

Romney said “the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.” 

All Democrats voted to convict on both charges. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s now time for the Senate to get back to work. 

MCCONNELL: It’s time to move on. This decision has been made. As far as I’m concerned it’s in the rearview mirror. 

McConnell added that it’s not only President Trump who voters will judge this November. He said Democrats may come to regret voting to impeach the president.

Trump to speak at National Prayer Breakfast » Meantime, President Trump says he’s moving on. He’ll deliver his first post-acquittal address today at the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast.

He’ll speak to an audience of 3,500 at the Hilton International Ballroom in Washington. That audience will include elected officials and guests from more than a hundred countries. 

The Prayer Breakfast dates back to 1953. President Dwight Eisenhower established the event at the urging of the late Reverend Billy Graham. 

With 86% of results in, Buttigieg’s lead holds in Iowa » Iowa’s Democratic Party has released more results from Monday’s caucuses. As of Wednesday night, the counts in 86 percent of the precincts were final.

Former South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg still holds a slight edge over Senator Bernie Sanders. 

Buttigieg’s lead is holding at about 27 percent and Sanders has about 25 percent of the delegates. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden is still in fourth place with 16 percent. 

BIDEN: I am not going to sugarcoat it. We took a gut punch in Iowa. That whole process took a gut punch, but look, this isn’t the first time in my life I’ve been knocked down. 

He trails Senator Elizabeth Warren by about two-and-a-half points. She is in third place with 18.3 percent.

Jets carrying American evacuees from China land in U.S. » Two jets carrying about 350 Americans fleeing the virus zone in China landed Wednesday at an Air Force base in California. 

Dr. Nancy Messonnier with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters… 

MESSONNIER: CDC staff are there meeting the planes and assessing the health of each passenger. The passengers will be screened, monitored, and evaluated and medical and public health personnel, including before takeoff and during the flight. 

Other planes carrying Americans from Wuhan will arrive today at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Officials will quarantine all passengers for 14 days. Messonnier said the CDC does expect some of the passengers will test positive for the coronavirus. And she said health workers are ready to provide care at the first sign of symptoms.

The coronavirus has now killed nearly 500 people with about 25,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

Macy’s closing underperforming stores, cutting 2,000 jobs » Macy’s has announced that it’s closing more than a hundred stores and cutting 2,000 corporate jobs. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The iconic department store chain is shutting down a total of 125 underperforming stores. That represents about one fifth of Macy’s current total. 

The company is also closing its corporate offices in Cincinnati and San Francisco, leaving New York as its sole corporate headquarters. The 2,000 jobs it’s eliminating account for about 9 percent of its corporate workforce.

Macy’s didn’t say how many employees will lose their jobs at the shuttered stores

Overall, Macy’s currently employs about 130,000 people.

Like many of its brick and mortar competitors, Macy’s is struggling to reinvent itself in the age of online shopping. 

The company is testing a new smaller-store format that’s located at a strip center, instead of a mall. The store will feature a mixture of Macy’s merchandise and local goods as well as food and beverage options. It’s opening its first so-called Market by Macy’s in Dallas today. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

COVINGTON: Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas dies at 103 » Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas died Wednesday at the age of 103. 

He appeared in more than 80 films, in roles ranging from Doc Holliday in “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” to Vincent van Gogh in “Lust for Life.”

In a 1992 interview with the Associated Press, Douglas said he never really aspired to be in the movie business. 

DOUGLAS: I never thought of myself as a movie star. [SIC] a failure because I did not succeed in what I set out to do. What I set out to do was to be a star on the Broadway stage.  

Douglas never received an Academy Award for an individual film, despite being nominated three times.

But in 1996, the Academy awarded him an honorary Oscar. And 15 years earlier, President Jimmy Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: a battle over church property in tiny Montenegro.

Plus, sharing Christ’s love with kids in crisis.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: Well, on now to: Politics, religious freedom, and the tension between the two.

That tension is on display now in a tiny country in Eastern Europe, Montenegro. And when we say tiny, we mean it: Population of the whole country is about the size of Louisville, Kentucky: about 600,000. Montenegro split off from next-door Serbia 14 years ago, and three-quarters of its people belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church.

NICK EICHER: That church is highly influential in the country. And the government in Montenegro isn’t happy about that. In December, Montenegro put in place a law that defines how religious groups can and cannot operate. 

WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has our report.

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: In Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, tens of thousands of people gathered on a recent Thursday. Some carried candles. Others sang or prayed out loud. They’ve been doing this every Thursday and every Sunday for the past six weeks.

They’re protesting the new law on religious freedom. 

VLADIMIR BOZOVIC: In my opinion, this is a brutal hijacking wrapped up in a law that is innocently referred as a religious freedom act. 

Vladimir Bozovic is a member of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He walks in the protests almost every single week. 

BOZOVIC: Honestly I cannot find any rational basis for the government’s actions passing such discriminatory law.

The law protects religious expression and bans religious discrimination. But it also includes a few controversial articles. 

BOZOVIC: If you read the law in its essence, then you see that their intention is to take some properties from the Serbian Orthodox Church without even civilized trial. 

The law says all churches in Montenegro must prove ownership of their property from before 1918. If they can’t, the state can take it over.

DOJIC: We are talking about churches from 12th and 13th century, right?

Constantine Dojic is a bishop in the Serbian Orthodox Church. There are about 700 orthodox churches in Montenegro. Many of them are ancient monasteries. Dojic says it’s unreasonable to ask for records dating back hundreds of years. 

DOJIC: When your presumption of guilt is the thing, not presumption of innocence…when burden of proof is transferred to the accused. Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark, right? That’s not the way to conduct law.

The law doesn’t explicitly target the Serbian Orthodox Church, but critics say, in practice, that’s what’s happening.

Vesna Bratic lives in Podgorica and regularly walks in the protests. She says this isn’t a law about religious freedom. It’s a political maneuver. Bratic points out Montenegro’s complex culture. 

VESNA BRATIC: In one single family, you have mothers and fathers who consider themselves Serbs and their children are Montenegrins or vice versa.

The Montenegrin government wants a stronger national identity. It has accused the church of fostering ties with Serbia and undermining national unity. But Bratic says the government just doesn’t like the amount of influence the church has. People trust the Serbian Orthodox Church. 

BRATIC: This is real power. People like the church, people believe the church because the church has never failed them. They do what they preach. Unlike the political parties.

Dragan Sljivic studies democracy and religion in the Balkans. He worries that this law might have consequences outside Montenegro. 

DRAGAN SLJIVIC: The immediate consequence of this law would be to introduce this principle into the set of European standards, which is even worse.

He says European legal systems often look for the precedent set by other countries.

SLJIVIC: So for example, if you wanted to reintroduce religious education and public schools, you would say, listen, we have this in Germany or in Austria. If you did not want to do this, they would say there is a precedent in, in, in France, they don’t challenge. So, uh, by allowing this to happen in Europe, there might be another government who come to a similar idea just to confiscate church property in 21st century. 

Sljivic hopes the protests will gain international attention. That way, other countries might start pressuring the Montenegrin government to rethink the law. 

So far, the government doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to the protests. On January 19th, the president of Montenegro said no one should expect him to withdraw the law.

MILO DUKANOVIC: [Speaking Montenegrin]

But if the state does move to confiscate church property, Constantine Dojic doesn’t think they’ll get very far.

DOJIC: You have 200,000 people on the streets in a country that has 600,000 inhabitants. The same people that are on the streets will just flock into the churches and defend them. There is no police force strong enough, uh, to kick out half of Montenegro from the churches.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.

NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: judges and the rules they live by.

Now, all practicing attorneys are guided by rules of professional conduct. For judges, though, special ethical considerations apply. For example, are they allowed to serve on governing boards? Are they permitted to raise funds for charitable groups?

Recently, judges received some possible guidance on questions like those and others. It’s in the form of a draft advisory opinion, and it comes from the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct. That’s the group that frames policy guidelines for the administration of the court system.

MARY REICHARD: The committee’s latest policy proposal discourages membership in certain law-related organizations. 

Judges, their clerks, and staff attorneys are advised against joining groups like the conservative Federalist Society or the liberal American Constitution Society. 

Sounds neutral. But is it really? WORLD Radio correspondent Katie Gaultney reports.

KATIE GAULTNEY, REPORTER: The committee that proposed the rule said it wanted to prevent political action on the part of judges—maintain impartiality. But lawyer Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network says that’s likely a thinly veiled attempt to quash conservative and libertarian ideals.

SEVERINO: What looks to me like really it’s a politically motivated effort to get judges out of the Federalist Society.

The Federalist Society is dedicated to the philosophy of limited government and an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. And it’s become increasingly influential during the Trump administration: A majority of the appeals court judges appointed by the president are Federalist Society members.

If the concern is about organizations lobbying, carrying out grassroots activism, or filing amicus briefs…

SEVERINO: All of those things are things the Federalist Society does not do. It creates a false equivalency too. Cause it says, well, you can’t be members of either them or the American Constitution Society, a liberal group. That group does do all those things. So it’s a really false equivalency. 

It’s also selective in which groups it targets. Under the proposed policy, membership in the American Bar Association is just fine. The ABA is arguably more political than either the Federalist Society or the American Constitution Society. And it leans left.

Severino says she thinks it’s fine for lawyers to belong to bar associations. But she argues all such memberships should be allowed.

SEVERINO: I think it’s, it would be shocking and it very much out of keeping with American tradition to say that judges now aren’t able to take part in any of those civic organizations, in fact, contrary to the code of conduct itself, which encourages judges to take part in civic life, to bring their knowledge and expertise on the law into all these areas.

In 2006, the same ethics committee advised that the Federalist Society is not a political organization because it’s non-partisan and doesn’t direct support to specific candidates. But that was before so many society members started getting judicial appointments.

Severino says the political ideologies of the judges on the committee may be behind this proposal: Over half the committee’s members were appointed by Democratic presidents.

She says it’s also worth evaluating how democratic this process is—or isn’t.

SEVERINO: So you know, when there are people who are concerned sometimes about, um, judges who have not ever been elected legislating to the bench, this is several steps removed from it. This is judges legislating what the other judges can do and sometimes judges who’ve never even been appointed by anyone elected by the American people, um, having a voice in it. 

Word of the proposal spread quickly. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at a Federalist Society conference in Florida over the weekend. He joked that certain elements within the government are trying to “silence the Federalist Society,” so he wouldn’t be able to address its members again.

John Sullivan leads the group’s Dallas chapter. It counts judges and clerks among its ranks and often hosts judges for speaking engagements. He says its goal is more informed, better equipped lawyers.

SULLIVAN: But that if you’re, if you’re telling judges that they can’t come, then that we do lose that not just networking aspect but also kind of the mentorship aspect of having judges that, that come in and speak to student chapters at the law schools. You lose  that mentorship teaching aspect that the judge would bring as well. 

Sullivan says bright law students who aspire to become clerks gain a lot from Federalist Society membership. But they might hesitate to join the organization for fear that what has historically been an advantage might turn into a black mark on their resume.

Right now, the proposed rule is undergoing internal discussion in committee. That process will take 120 days and conclude on May 20. Severino said the rule is already under so much scrutiny, if implemented, it’s sure to face challenges.

SEVERINO: We can’t have a committee that’s a part of the, the administrative office of the courts behaving in such a blatantly political manner that’s really bad for the, the impression that people have of the integrity of the courts. But I think if you, if you did see it implemented, you probably have a lot of court challenges to it immediately cause there’s real questions as to whether it could withstand First Amendment scrutiny. 

Chief Justice John Roberts supervises the Judicial Conference. And the proposed rule is personal: He belonged to the Federalist Society for one year in the late 1990s. 

Roberts has had a busy few weeks on Capitol Hill. But when that wraps up, he’ll likely have a new political controversy waiting for him to address.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Katie Gaultney.

MARY REICHARD: Well, today we have an important update on a story we brought you last week. 

It’s about Perdita, the black and white tabby cat.

EICHER: You mean “the world’s worst cat”?!

REICHARD: Exactly what I’m talking about!

Remember that at first, veterinarians thought grumpy ol’ Perdita was sick, but it turned out she was just obnoxious—in a contemptible fashion. 

And that’s how the animal shelter honestly characterized her in that light-hearted Facebook ad.

Well, that post turned out to be Perdita’s ticket out of the shelter. Nearly 200 applications to adopt her arrived. We’re happy to report that she was adopted by a couple from Tennessee who must’ve figured with a name like Perdita, the poor little thing would just live down to her name.

So they renamed her Noel.

The couple said that’s “just in case the name is the cause of her anger.”

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Thursday, February 6th. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It, and we are so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next: Helping children in need. 

More than 400,000 children in the United States are  in the foster care system. Some wind up in group homes.

That’s where Joyce Wilson fits in. She’s a steadying force at a cluster of residential homes known as The Baptist Children’s Village. It’s an agency of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. 

WORLD Radio’s Kim Henderson brings us her story.

KIM HENDERSON, REPORTER: It’s a good day to be on a swing set on the rambling, rural campus called Dickerson Place

Children age 2 to 20 arrive here one of two ways: through Child Protection Services or by the voluntary request of a legal guardian. Most have experienced some type of abuse, or they’ve witnessed it. Some have suffered from neglect. 

WILSON: A 5 year old or 6 year old trying to find a can opener to open something just to eat…a baby in dirty diapers for a week or more with just just horrible rashes…Kids who have STDs because they’ve been sexually abused…

Campus Director Joyce Wilson has seen a lot over the course of her 35-year career. She says addictions are changing the heart of parenting.  

WILSON: We do have some parents who love their children, but the drugs have taken over and they are not the same people. 

Kids have arrived needing breathing treatments.    

WILSON: Parents making, manufacturing drugs which cause respiratory issues for the children living in the home. 

Kids that have seen much.

WILSON: A 5 year old who could tell you how to do a cocaine pipe, um, hiding from the cops in the bushes. 

Kids that have suffered much. 

WILSON: Who’ve been hit or beat with just about anything you can think of. Starvation, lack of food. Sometimes that’s because of drugs that parents were on a high or a binge and they leave their children alone. 

Helping these children is consuming work. It may account for Wilson’s shock of white hair. 


But her petite frame moves at a Millennial’s pace. 

Her small office is a good 100 yards away from the girls’ cottage. There, young artwork covers the door. A cut-out Valentine. A pencil drawing of Dalmatians. 

Inside, tangible effects of Wlison’s life’s work line shelves and walls. 

WILSON: So, this is a bulletin board that actually doesn’t hold all of the pictures of kids that have been here through the years…

In an unstable world, Wilson has been a sure thing for hundreds of displaced children.  

WILSON: There was a young lady who came to us when she was about 13. She was able to finish high school. She was able to get at least a couple of years of college. And she talked about the fact that this was the most stable time in her life… 

That’s because the teenager could concentrate on her schoolwork instead of trying to figure out how to feed her siblings. She also had time to consider what God wanted her to do with her life.

WILSON: Our lives only change when our hearts change, and our hearts only change when Jesus changes it. And so the different perspective we have is that to move families in a direction and children in a direction, to at least expose them to what it is that Christ did for them and the hope that He has. He can heal our hearts if we’ll let Him. 

Wilson’s role means she’s on the go. Today, she’s popping in at the rink where residents are skating.


But it’s not all fun. Wilson also describes herself as “the heavy.” Like when she had to decide what to do when a resident was caught shoplifting.    

WILSON: If you steal from a store, then you don’t go back in any store for three months, and it had to have enough bite so that it would be something like, “I don’t want to do this again because I want to go shopping . . .” 

Community service was another requirement: Picking up trash. Helping a neighbor with yard work.  

WILSON: Something that gives back to the community. If you take from the community, you give back to the community. It’s not just a punishment. It’s, “What can we help them learn from the situation?” 

Wilson says residents like these posing for a picture beside caring houseparents have an advantage. Many just like them remain in tough situations because there’s a national push to keep kids in the home.

Even while parents are treated for addictions.  

WILSON: I have a concern that, that that’s going to lead to more children um growing up in situations where they don’t know right from wrong. The patterns will continue. Um, or that those children will be traumatized, uh, abused in some other manner.

Wilson compares drug abuse to a cancer that can afflict an entire family tree. That’s why living with close relatives isn’t always a good option when kids are removed from homes. She’s frustrated when faith-based entities like theirs are the last to be considered for placement. 

WILSON: I don’t know if that’s because we’re faith-based or because we look more at the heart and a change in a family as opposed to just six months is up and you need to go home. 

Even so, that’s not the biggest challenge facing Wilson. It’s the kids themselves. Teaching them to love their families from a distance. 

WILSON: You have to figure out a distance that you can love your family, but not get caught back up in that. It’s almost like a vortex, and it’ll, it’ll just suck you in.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Kim Henderson.

NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, the 6th day of February. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Contemporary culture is frequently toxic. WORLD commentator Cal Thomas thinks we can change that.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: I love definitions because they help focus the mind. For decades, we have been in a culture war. As in any war, it helps to know one’s enemy.

One online dictionary defines culture this way: “the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.”

A secondary definition is under the subheading anthropology: “the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.”

I especially like that second definition. Culture is a sum total. It is also about ways of living by more than a few humans, with all of that being willed to succeeding generations.

Those of a certain age remember what their parents or grandparents transmitted to them following the Great Depression and World War II. It was the sum total of values and beliefs they shared, the values held by those Tom Brokaw correctly labeled “the greatest generation.”

Yes, they were imperfect, just as we are, sinners incapable of saving themselves apart from God’s mercy and grace. But they saved a nation and redirected history because they embodied the things that mattered most in life: duty, honor, and country.

They not only wanted to restore such things to Europe and preserve them for America but also sought to pass these down to their children and grandchildren. They had learned them from their parents. It is why they went to war. And although thousands did not come back, their values remained.

Today that clash of their culture with ours is stark. My grandmother once admonished me for using words she said nice young men don’t say in public. The two words that offended her were “toilet paper.” Imagine what this woman, born in 1888, would think of the words heard on our streets today.

In that definition of culture I gave, recall the words “built up.” This suggests to me that the way to change a culture is not from the top down but from the bottom up. It’s not through Washington but through the human heart and individual choices.

Those choices include especially where we send our children to school. It amazes me that so many parents see no problem in sending their children to state schools for primary, secondary, and college education. Why would you willingly send your child to places that undermine the values and beliefs you have tried to teach them?

Children must be trained and indoctrinated with the knowledge and principles of the nation (or kingdom) they are expected to serve. The Bible gives this responsibility to parents in Prov. 22:6. We must never shrink from it.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

NICK EICHER: Culture Friday tomorrow: how about that half time show at the Super Bowl? Trevin Wax weighs in, along with Mary and Megan Basham, who have slightly different takes on it. So that’ll be spirited!

And, we’ll have a review of a film about love and sacrifice in the twilight years—just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

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.

Proverbs says a dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Thanks for listening today. I hope you can join us again tomorrow.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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