The World and Everything in It — February 7, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Well, that half time show at the Super Bowl made for some strong opinions. Was it “all good” or did it objectify women?

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: We’ll talk about that ahead on Culture Friday.

And our editor in chief answers your questions about why we do the things we do. That’s on Ask the Editor.

Also, I’ll review a movie about loving well in the twilight years.

AUDIO: You bumped your head. Probably has something to do with it. Still I should remember, shouldn’t i? I wouldn’t worry about it. But I am worried.

REICHARD: It’s Friday, February 7th. 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: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Trump celebrates acquittal, blasts Democrats at White House, Prayer Breakfast » President Trump spoke out Thursday about his impeachment and his acquittal on those House charges. 

TRUMP: This is really not a news conference. It’s not a speech. It’s not anything. It’s just we’re sort of—it’s a celebration because we have something that just worked out. 

In remarks at the White House, the president thanked his attorneys and the lawmakers who supported him. He also chastised Democratic leaders who led the effort to remove him from office, calling them “vicious and mean.”

And with that, he picked up where he left off hours earlier at the National Prayer Breakfast. 

TRUMP: As everybody knows, my family, our great country, and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people. 

He said Democrats did everything they could to destroy him, and hurt the country in the process. He delivered those remarks as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat just a few feet away. 

And he seemed to single out Pelosi when he said he doesn’t like people—quote, “who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so.”

Pelosi later responded, telling reporters…

PELOSI: He can say whatever he wants. He can say whatever he wants, but I do pray for him, and I do so sincerely. 

The speaker criticized Trump’s comments at the prayer breakfast, saying it wasn’t the time or the place for political jabs. 

DNC chair calls for “recanvass” of Iowa results » Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on Thursday called for a “recanvass” of the results from Iowa’s caucuses. He said officials have to take steps to “assure public confidence” after three days of technical issues and delays.

He wrote on Twitter, “Enough is enough.”

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are nearly tied for the lead. Both candidates have declared victory. Sanders declared on Thursday…

SANDERS: Our campaign is winning the popular initial vote by some 6,000 votes.

But official totals give Buttigieg the slightest of advantages—26.2 percent to 26.1 for Sanders. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren is holding at about 18 percent with Joe Biden at 16 percent. 

Chinese doctor reprimanded for early coronavirus warning dies from the virus » A Chinese doctor who got in trouble with China’s communist government for sounding an early warning about the coronavirus has died from that very virus. 

The Wuhan Central Hospital announced Thursday that ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was “unfortunately infected during the fight against the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection.”

Li was reprimanded by local police for “spreading rumors” about the illness in late December. 

Meantime, American evacuees from the infection zone in China are waiting out their 14-day quarantine at multiple military bases, including joint base Lackland in San Antonio. The CDC’s Dr. Jennifer Mcquiston told reporters… 

MCQUISTON: While these evacuees are here, every precaution is going to be taken to quarantine them and isolate them from the base community and the San Antonio community. And we’re doing this to prevent transmission. 

Hundreds of Americans have arrived from Wuhan and surrounding areas over the past two days. 

The outbreak has now sickened 28,000 people globally and killed more than 560 people.  

NASA’s astronaut returns after marathon mission in space » NASA astronaut Christina Koch spent nearly 11 months in orbit on the longest spaceflight by a woman. But she’s home now, along with two of her International Space Station crew mates.

NASA live-streamed the landing of their Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

AUDIO: Well after 321 days in space, and 139 million miles for Christina Koch, and 201 days in space, 85 million miles for Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov, the Expedition 61 crew is officially home. 

Koch’s marathon mission on her first flight into space gives researchers the chance to observe the effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman. The study is important since NASA plans to return to the moon and prepare for human exploration of Mars.

Venezuelan government rounds up six American execs after Guaidó White House meeting » Venezuelan police rounded up six American oil executives, placing them under house arrest just hours after President Trump met opposition leader Juan Guaidó at the White House. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Family members of the detainees say intelligence police took them from their homes Wednesday night. The six men work at Houston-based Citgo. Their current whereabouts are unknown. 

The move comes two months after the men were granted house arrest after two years behind bars on what U.S. officials call trumped-up charges.

Disputed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro condemned Trump’s embrace of Guaidó this week. And socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello vowed to retaliate for the meeting.

Guaidó was an honored guest at President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

COVINGTON: DOJ to probe Mississippi prisons after string of inmate deaths » The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the Mississippi prison system after a string of inmate deaths.

Federal prosecutors are looking into conditions at several state prisons after 15 inmates died at those facilities since late December. The probe will examine whether state corrections officials are protecting prisoners from physical harm. It will also look into whether prisons have adequate health care and suicide prevention services.

The Justice Department said its civil rights division will mainly focus on conditions at four prisons—including the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, where most of the deaths occurred.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the debate over the Super Bowl halftime show.

Plus, WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky answers your questions.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Friday, February 7th, 2020. Glad to have you along for The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Perhaps you heard about an event that stirred up a little controversy this past weekend. I’m talking, of course, about the Super Bowl. The Kansas City Chiefs won the game. Very proud here in my home state of Missouri. 

But I want to talk specifically about the half-time show headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

Leading up to the big day, the NFL touted the fact that the show would feature two female pop stars. 

Here’s a bit of Lopez at a press conference before the game, promising a performance that would be empowering to women:

LOPEZ: When we finished the first run through, Shakira looked at me and was like, “That was amazing!” And I was like, “No, you were amazing!” And I think she was like it’s different what we do. It’s very Shakira and it’s very Jennifer. And I think that’s what you’re going to get from the performance. 

It’s a lot of energy. It’s very entertaining, there’s heartfelt moments. I think we run the gamut. I think it’s packed with a lot of awesome moments. I don’t want to say too much because I want everybody to be surprised, obviously, and I don’t want to give away too much.

BASHAM: Well, it seemed like a lot of people were surprised.

Specifically by Lopez and Shakira’s attire that left little to the imagination and sexually suggestive choreography. J-Lo’s had a simulated striptease, complete with stripper pole.

Their 12-minutes in the spotlight sparked plenty of debate on social media. Some argued the two pop-stars offered powerful representations of women and Latinas. They felt people watching at home should have celebrated that.

Others argued—the way I think everyone here would say rightly—that whatever positive aims these two may have had, they were overshadowed by the way the show objectified women.

We even had a bit of difference of opinion among WORLD staff. 

We now welcome Trevin Wax to the program. Trevin is the senior vice president of theology and communications at Lifeway and author of This is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel

Trevin, good morning.

TREVIN WAX, GUEST: Good morning, Megan and Mary.

BASHAM: So, Trevin, I should say that by “difference of opinion on staff,” I’m not talking about whether we found the performance acceptable. No one did.

But my first reaction when I saw all the shock on Twitter and Facebook was to kind of go, hey, where has everybody been? It could be because I cover entertainment, so I may be more aware than most that J-Lo’s big movie comeback a few weeks ago was in a film in which she played a stripper. 

Add to that her persona and Shakira’s persona have long peddled are sort of Madonna-lite. And in past years we’ve seen Madonna, Lady Gaga, Fergie, Beyonce, and others giving pretty similar half-time performances—similar lack of clothing, relatively similar dance moves. 

So, honestly, the only thing that surprised me was that this time people noticed.

REICHARD: Yeah and I was one of those people who really noticed. I mean, kids are watching, this is a family event, and I kept praying nobody would have a wardrobe malfunction because, let’s face it, there wasn’t much wardrobe in the first place.

But even more perplexing to me is that this is going on while the #MeToo movement is a real force in this country. Harvey Weinstein is on trial right now for alleging exploitation of women in the entertainment industry. I really had some hopes that things would be turning around these days.

It seemed utterly tone-deaf to me.

I’m wondering what was your reaction, Trevin?

WAX: Well, my reaction is only to the reactions because during the halftime show, I played a really good round of Hearts with a few friends. So I didn’t see it, but then I got back on Twitter and I saw all of these responses to what was going on and I thought, well, it’s actually good that we just skipped this one because I didn’t want to have to explain some of the things to my kids. But I think overall one of the paradoxes of our culture is there is an emphasis on female empowerment. There is an emphasis on valuing women as women. The distinctive contributions of women as women. While at the same time, in our culture, there is a push to erase many gender distinctives altogether. And there is the idea that the way you celebrate women is by putting them in situations where their bodies are objectified. And yet this one seems to have pushed the boundaries even further than what people have grown used to in previous years.

BASHAM: Here’s what I really want to know, Trevin. It feels like—and it seemed a little bit like this on some of the social media postings that Christians can come off as culture scolds. And I don’t want to be mistaken. There was a lot here that deserved scolding.

But I also think it’s important to give voice to the positive vision of what God created femininity to be. And I think that’s sometimes harder for us to do. To explain to the world, here’s what’s so valuable about women as God created us.

So, as a theologian, what are some ways you might suggest we go about doing that?

WAX: Well, it’s important for churches and for Christians to celebrate women and the distinctive contributions and what it is that women made in the image of God bring to humanity and to the world. And that doesn’t happen through, you know, a pseudo-striptease with a stripper pole in front of millions of people. 

The thing that always makes me question is when I see Christians who, I guess, in opposition to what they’ve seen in previous generations of culture scolding are really almost uncritically, very easy to embrace almost anything coming out of Hollywood and looking for some kind of redemptive element or saying it’s not as shocking as it could be. We should be more used to things. If you’re the one who’s shocked, it’s really a problem with you and not with what is actually happening. It reminds me of something that Chesterton said about something that would shock your grandmother but doesn’t shock you may be a sign that it’s your grandmother who’s more alive than you and that you’ve actually become more numb and have duller senses because of the way in which you’ve gotten used to some of the sin, corruption, or evil in the world. And that’s always stuck with me as something to consider when it comes to situations like this.

REICHARD: Yeah, good point. You know, it makes me glad that Megan’s the entertainment reporter around here, not me. 

Well, Trevin, I’d like to turn now to a topic that’s probably going to worry a lot of moms and dads with school-aged kids. Earlier this week I reported on a Supreme Court case related to Montana ending a scholarship program funded by tax credits. It did so because some parents chose religious education for their children and used the scholarship money that way.  The justices are going to decide whether Montana was correct to strike down the program sometime before July. 

But something that lies outside any court’s purview is how private companies approach financial support of education.

BASHAM: Yeah, that’s right, Mary. And last week, Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo responded to pressure from a Florida representative by announcing they’re dropping out of a program that funds school vouchers for low-income students. Their reason? Because some parents are using the vouchers for schools that maintain a biblical sexual ethic.

Something our founder, Joel Belz, said in a commentary about that Montana case seems applicable here as well. It’s not really the program or even the schools themselves Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo are objecting to. It’s the parents. Because they’re not using the vouchers in ways these companies deem acceptable.

So, I’m going to be honest, this story did shock me a little bit. Because this wasn’t an argument over a commercial or a scene in a movie. This was some big companies publicly saying that even low-income children don’t merit their concern as much as LGBT activists. It just seems like it would have been easy for Wells Fargo to say, look, we’re in this to help poor kids. It’s up to the parents to use the funding as they see fit. 

So, Trevin, do you think Christian organizations need to start making more of an effort, work a little harder to give voice to low-income parents who want to choose religious schools?

WAX: I think Christian organizations, Christian churches, congregations, I think we need to take responsibility for the children who are entrusted to our care and to families that, because of costs, may be prohibited from having their kids in a school that is going to inculcate some of the values that come from Scripture rather than the world. What we’re seeing here is really a battle over the education, a battle for the minds of the next generation. And, you know, Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option, one of the things that Rod brings out that I think is very applicable here and should be something that should give us some food for thought is this idea that we’re going to have to rally around each other to help support each other when it comes to Christian education in the future. If we really want Christian education to be an option for more and more Christian families, then we’re going to have to find ways to make it available financially, to make that sacrifice, to figure out what that might look like. And I’m not saying everyone should be in a Christian school as opposed to a private school as opposed to a public school or to homeschool. I’m simply saying that we need a big dose of intentionality as parents, as churches, as Christian organizations when it comes to the education of the next generation.

BASHAM: Yeah, I think that’s an excellent point. Well, Trevin is senior vice president of theology and communications at Lifeway and author of This is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel

Trevin, thanks so much.

WAX: Thank you!

MARY REICHARD: Anyone with a missing pet knows the worry and distress of it. You hope some kind person will find your pet and get in touch with you, whether through microchip or an animal shelter.

Well, a brewery in Florida decided to help solve at least some cases.  It put pictures of dogs in the local animal shelter on their beer cans. Adoption info listed along with the picture. 

And what a service that turned out to be for Monica Mathis.  The last time she saw her dog Hazel was back in 2017 while they were living in Iowa. The terrier mix just disappeared from her front yard one day.

MATHIS: She is an escape artist, so she was very good at, you know, getting loose, bolting right through the door, knocking you over, just to get out the door.

Well, Mathis was looking through social media recently. And to her amazement, she saw Hazel’s picture posted there from one of those cans! Even more amazing, Hazel was 1,300 miles away in Florida! 

No idea how Hazel got there, but three years later, the two are happily reunited—just in time for Hazel’s 7th birthday.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Friday, February 7th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan  Basham. Coming next: romance.

During this time of year, streaming services, cable channels, and cineplexes are overrun with tales of it. Picture dramatic runs through the airport. Dramatic confessions in the rain. Dramatic meetups at the top of the Empire State building.

What these stories have in common is they all focus on new love and grand, one-time gestures. What we don’t see nearly so often are stories about long years of faithful care and every day affection. A wonderful 2012 Canadian film that’s available on iTunes and Amazon Prime is a great antidote to a culture that’s only interested in new Valentines.

CLIP: Why is our bed in the living room? Because you fell down the stairs last week. Did I hurt myself? No. Nothing serious. It’s funny I can’t remember it all. Well, you bumped your head. That probably has something to do with it. Still, I should remember, shouldn’t I? I wouldn’t worry about it. But I am worried. So you can’t remember a couple of things. So what. We’re still here. We have each other. And isn’t everything else a bonus? I hope so. You know what scares me? What if I forget everything? You’ll still be my Irene.

Still Mine is a touching true story about how one man takes on maddening government bureaucracy to stay true to his vow to love his wife in sickness till death parts them. During an early scene, 87-year-old farmer Craig Morrison, played by Babe’s James Cromwell, learns that he won’t be able to sell his strawberry crop for the year. 

CLIP: Didn’t you get my letter? Not that I recall, no. I sent it back in February on account of new regulations. We can only buy from growers that ship their produce in refrigerated trucks. These were on the plants not two hours ago. There’s no heat of the day in them at all. Well, it’s a head office decision. 

The strawberries represent the minor inconveniences wrought by regulations. Craig spends the rest of the film learning how very personal impersonal government can become.

He returns from his meeting with the grocer to discover that Irene, his Alzheimer’s-afflicted wife of 60-plus years, has fallen down the stairs. He doesn’t want to put her in a nursing home. His father taught him all the skills of expert carpentry, and he owns a lovely piece of land. He has all he needs, he figures, to build a single-level home better equipped to meet her needs.

What he doesn’t figure on is a building inspector who flags his lumber not being stamped by a certified inspector, even though it far exceeds the quality of most certified wood. He doesn’t expect his trusses to be rejected for not being engineer-approved, though they are more sound than typical professional work. At first Craig attempts to meet reasonable requirements like drawing up blueprints and having his work approved by a builder. But these soon grow into unreasonable vindictiveness on the government’s part.

Complying with a work stoppage order means Craig won’t have his new home ready for the worst of his Irene’s illness. Ignoring it means a jail sentence.

CLIP: And in fact Mr. Morrison’s done exactly the opposite of what the commission is suggesting. He’s tried to address every, single one of their concerns. Is that all, Mr. Fulton? Yeah. I think so. Except sorry, you know it’s worth remembering that the National Building Code is not a set of rules but a set of standards. And it’s our belief that Mr. Morrison has not only met those standards, in most cases he’s exceeded them.

We’ve all read stories of bureaucratic overreach and shaken our heads. But the image of a husband fighting the powers of the state to care for his wife shakes our hearts.

The Morrisons’ relationship is real and complicated. Craig’s swearing and a brief love scene between the couple featuring near-nudity account for the PG-13 rating. No question, Still Mine would be easier to recommend without the language. But as for the love scene…consider how rare it is to see marital affection depicted between spouses who aren’t gym hardened and in the prime of youth. Their modest encounter is handled tastefully and clearly isn’t intended to inspire sinful desires. It’s the rarest of rare moments in a mainstream movie that doesn’t treat the marriage bed after many years as a joke or a bore. Rather it’s shown as something that becomes sweeter and more meaningful with time.

CLIP: It never gets old, does it? No, it doesn’t. We always did the passion part well. Remember that hotel in St. John when we were first married? Remember the drive to St. John before the hotel? You always seemed so prim and proper. I was! Until I met you. Who would have guessed it?

Craig Morrisons’ mighty, real-life labor of love illustrates better than a policy speech ever could what we lose when we promote a safety net mandated by government over the freely given support of spouses, families, and churches.

But even better, it offers a beautiful depiction of a husband and wife who model Proverbs 5:15, finding refreshment in their own cisterns even when life is drawing to an end.

MUSIC: [Mumford and Sons “After the Storm”]

MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Friday, February 7th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.  

First thing, Megan, let’s talk about WJI.

BASHAM: WORLD Journalism Institute!

REICHARD: Yes. You know, that’s how I got started with WORLD. Same for Sarah Schweinsburg, Anna Johansen, Kristen Flavin, Onize Ohikere, and J.C. Derrick. Intensive, focused training in journalism.

And our next WJI offering is another amazing opportunity for college age people.

BASHAM: It is! This is where budding writers get trained by top minds in Biblical worldview journalism. The instructors are people you hear on this program: people like Nick Eicher, Marvin and Susan Olasky, Mindy Belz, to name a few.

REICHARD: And you’ll work really hard, I can tell you that! And so worth the effort. W-J-I graduates are working at some of the biggest media outfits in the country, including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post

That can only be a good thing, spreading this kind of journalism.  If you’re interested, the deadline to apply is coming up: March 17. You can apply online. Just go to for more information. The course is the latter half of May, the 15th through the 30th at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa. Just a beautiful location.

BASHAM: Okay, once again: That’s to sign

OK, next up: it’s time again for Ask the Editor with WORLD Editor-in-Chief Marvin Olasky. You can ask Marvin a question about why or how we do what we do at WORLD. 

Just send us an email to [email protected]. Or record your question and send us the audio file. That’s our favorite way.

Today, Marvin answers a question about Booker T. Washington and how certain media portrayed him during Black History Month.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: Here’s a Black History Month request from one WORLD reader. He wrote, “I watched a PBS documentary that looked at how former slaves and their descendents were educated. The program demonized Booker T. Washington. It said he emphasized industrial education instead of going to college, so he harmed African Americans. Could you set the record straight?” 

I’ll try, because I’ve read a lot by and about Booker T. Washington, including his great memoir, Up From Slavery. He describes how he was 25 years old in 1881. He received an invitation to head a new school in Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute. 

Washington visited some homes in the area. He encountered a young black man who had some education and was studying a French grammar book. Great – but the man was sitting in dirty clothes. The floor of the shack had garbage all over it. 

That crystallized Washington’s thinking: First things first, food before French grammar. He lined up the students and led them in a “chopping bee.” He and they cleared the undergrowth, trees, and shrubs off land that would then be used for planting food crops. 

Was that demeaning? Washington knew that change sometimes takes two or three generations. John Adams famously wrote that he had to study politics and war so his sons could study commerce and agriculture, and their children could study painting, poetry, and music. Booker T Washington thought some ex-slaves should farm or become mechanics so their children could study French grammar and their children painting, poetry, and music. 

Some of Washington’s students protested. They said manual labor was slave work. Washington, though, swung his ax vigorously. He showed “there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” 

Dignity, Washington taught, comes from glorifying God wherever he has put us. We then work to improve our situation. He advised moving on up “by putting business methods into your farming, by getting a good teacher and a good preacher, by building a good school and church, by letting your wife be partners in all you do, by keeping out of debt, by cultivating friendly relations with your neighbors both white and black.”

Such thinking is unfashionable at PBS—but those who followed it helped their children and their descendants.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Marvin Olasky.

MEGAN BASHAM: It takes the efforts of a lot of people to put this program together every weekday. We want to thank Joel Belz, Paul Butler, Kent Covington, Jamie Dean, Nick Eicher, Kristen Flavin, Katie Gaultney, Kim Henderson, Dr. Charles Horton, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Onize Ohikere, Andrée Seu Peterson, Sarah Schweinsberg, Les Sillars, Cal Thomas, and Emily Whitten.

MARY REICHARD: The guys who stay up late to get the program to you early are Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz. Managing editor J.C. Derrick and Editor-in-Chief Marvin Olasky keep us all on track. 

Of course, without you, none of this happens. Your support really makes a difference. Thank you. 

I hope you’ll worship and fellowship at church this weekend, and we’ll meet you  back here on Monday.

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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