MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Why are some marijuana dispensaries and abortion businesses allowed to operate as usual when other businesses aren’t?
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.
Also I’ll review a great movie to get homebound kids ready to celebrate Easter.
Plus, your listener feedback! What you like and what you don’t.
REICHARD: It’s Friday, March 27th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now the news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House set to approve relief bill as unemployment soars » Lawmakers in the House are expected to send the Senate’s $2 trillion economic rescue package to the president’s desk today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday…
PELOSI: Tomorrow, we will bring the bill to the floor. It will pass. It will pass with strong bipartisan support.
And relief can’t come soon enough for millions of Americans. Nearly 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week. That’s almost five times the previous record set in 1982.
Amid coronavirus fears and lockdowns, revenue has collapsed at many businesses.
Stephanie Myers is a waitress who was working two jobs to make ends meet. She lost both of them at the same time.
MYERS: I’ve been pretty good about holding it together, and I just finally broke down and cried, because you have to think about what’s in that bank account, how you’re going to start paying bills.
As job losses mount, some economists say the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 13 percent by May. By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10 percent.
Still, Wall Street was optimistic Thursday that the coronavirus relief bill will at least soften the blow in the short term. Stocks soared, with the Dow surging 1,300 points. That’s almost a six-and-a-half percent gain—wrapping up its second-best three-day run ever.
Worldwide coronavirus cases pass 500,000, more than 1,000 U.S. deaths » More than 500,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus worldwide. Italy reported 6,000 new cases Thursday, pushing the global total over the half-million mark. Italy now has more than 80,000 cases. That’s almost as many as China, which has seen its infection rate drop dramatically.
But while the virus originally spread outward from China, infected travelers have been bringing new cases back into the country. To prevent that, the government is temporarily banning most foreigners from coming into China —beginning at midnight.
Dr. Anthony Fauci with the National Institutes for Health said Chinese doctors are cautioning other countries about lifting travel restrictions too early.
FAUCI: And they wanted to warn us that when we get successful, make sure you very carefully examine how you’re going to release the constraints on input.
Right now, many other countries are worried about American travelers. The United States now has the dubious distinction of leading the world in confirmed coronavirus cases—roughly 82,000 as of Thursday. And the country has passed a grim milestone, as more than a thousand people have now died in the United States.
Health officials: New Orleans may be next coronavirus epicenter » New York City continues to wrestle with a mounting crisis as the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus.
But officials warn that another major U.S. city may be the next critical hot spot—New Orleans.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards this week said his state, particularly the New Orleans area is on a frightening trajectory.
BEL EDWARDS: In the last two weeks our growth rate has been faster than any state or country in the world.
On Thursday the governor said Louisiana is now tied with New Jersey for second place in cases per capita in the country. He also reported more than 500 news cases and 18 new deaths, including a 17-year-old. In total, more than 2,300 people have tested positive in the state, and 83 people have died.
Dr. F. Brobson Lutz Jr is former health director of New Orleans and a specialist in infectious disease. He said—quote—“It all boils down to Mardi Gras.” He called it “the perfect incubator at the perfect time.”
Mardi Gras celebrations took place a month ago before bans on large public gatherings.
Indianapolis 500 postponed » Another major sporting event will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: For the first time in 75 years, The Indianapolis 500 isn’t scheduled to run on Memorial Day weekend.
Roger Penske is the owner of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He said Thursday “like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule,” but he added “the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority.”
The race is now scheduled for August 23rd—three months later than its scheduled date of May 24th.
Weather has occasionally caused slight delays for the race over the years. But the last time it wasn’t scheduled for Memorial Day weekend was in 1945, during World War II.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
U.S. indicts Venezuela’s Maduro, others on narcoterrorism charges » Attorney General William Barr on Thursday announced several narcoterrorism charges against disputed Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and members of his inner circle.
BARR: The indictment of Nicolas Maduro and his co-defendants alleges a conspiracy involving an extremely violent terrorist organization known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, the FARC, in an effort to flood the United States with cocaine.
The Justice Department unsealed indictments against 14 officials and government-connected individuals, and rewards of $55 million against Maduro and four others.
Geoffrey Berman is the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. He said members of the Maduro regime have clearly committed criminal acts.
BERMAN: The scope and magnitude of the drug trafficking alleged was made possible only because Maduro and others corrupted the institutions of Venezuela and provided political and military protection for the rampant narcoterrorism crimes described in the charges.
Sitting heads of state normally enjoy immunity from prosecution. But the U.S. government and many other countries say Maduro rigged the last election and is not the country’s rightful leader.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the ethics of what’s open and what’s closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Plus, your listener feedback.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Friday the 27th of March, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up: Culture Friday.
After days of wrangling, Congress has finally reached a deal on a coronavirus stimulus bill. But the agreement was a hard time coming.
One of the biggest sticking points? Funding for Planned Parenthood.
Democrats reportedly fought to classify abortion providers as small businesses, making them eligible for aid.
Right now it appears they weren’t successful.
BASHAM: Yet even as our country faces shutdowns, sickness, and huge losses of life and livelihoods, abortion providers aren’t taking a break.
As WORLD reported on our web site Tuesday, despite local and federal governments calling on healthcare workers to delay elective surgeries, some states with the severest level of outbreak, not to mention those that were the first to move to shelter-in-place measures, like New York, California, and Washington, are all still allowing abortions.
We now welcome John Stonestreet. He’s the president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. John, glad to have you, as always
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Thanks. Good morning.
BASHAM: So, we’re seeing this even in a place like New Rochelle, New York, the first area in the country to be deemed a containment zone. Businesses and schools closed. The National Guard sent in. And yet abortion…no restrictions.
When you look at something like that in a moment of widespread tragedy—it feels like there may be an opportunity to highlight a disconnect between these exemptions and the argument that the pro-choice agenda is about protecting women’s health.
Do you see any unique ways Christians should be talking about abortion right now?
STONESTREET: I don’t know. There’s a level of frustration here that’s kind of stunning. First of all, we want it to be a business so that it can receive funding, but we don’t want it to be a business so it can be considered an essential healthcare service. Which is it? Is it healthcare or is it a business? And this is, of course, the tactic that Planned Parenthood and its supporters have used for a long time is basically changing the talking points to whatever is needed to accommodate the needs of the moment. And that’s what makes this thing so slippery and so deeply embedded. It is amazing—we talked last week about how so many of the conversations around LGBTQ seems so, kind of, out of touch and out of place at a time like this and yet the conversation around abortion is still front and center.
There’s so many inconsistencies across our country when it comes to abortion and that’s something I think that we have to continue to point out. Everything from the double homicide law if a woman is pregnant to whether a woman or a man has a say about this. There’s so many levels of inconsistency here and this is the other one. Why would abortion be considered an essential service at a time when we’re trying to save life across the board. It’s pretty frustrating.
What we are seeing more and more at almost every level is the importance of state-level restrictions. So we have states like Texas, for example, that are making that decision: no, this isn’t an essential service. We’re going to shut this down. While other states that are obviously more pro-abortion states are leaving these centers open. So it just underscores that this movement isn’t going to be settled at the court level, that this question is going to be settled at the local level. And that’s where we need to focus in our attention.
REICHARD: You know, John, a colleague of ours pointed out another, lesser disconnect, but I think it’s one worth bringing up.
Along with abortion, California also deemed marijuana an “essential” business that was allowed to remain open.
Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, that seems rather foolish. Now maybe politicians feel they’re over a barrel with lobbyists. They have to know it looks bad to hold up aid for these things, but they also need to fill their campaign coffers when this is over. What do you think?
STONESTREET: I think that’s probably part of the reason and, you know, the whole state of Colorado where I live we’re in a stay-in-place mandate from the governor as of Wednesday night. But alcohol, liquor stores as well as marijuana stores were still kept open while everything else was basically deemed unnecessary. So, yeah, it certainly has to do with the lobbyists. But I think it also has to do with this: listen, marijuana has proceeded from the very beginning on incentivizing the population’s basest instinct. It’s one thing to incentivize productivity. It’s another thing to incentivize lack of productivity. It’s one thing to incentivize mental health, it’s another thing to incentivize something like marijuana which basically masks mental health issues.
I mean, the whole thing was sold on two levels. One, is it’s not harmful. It’ll let you basically do whatever you want. In other words, a bad definition of freedom. And then it was also sold for the financial aspect of it, which is, hey, look at all this money that will come into our state through taxpayers. Not just campaign coffers, but tax dollars. And you can’t just pull the bandaid off once you kind of put that in play. That’s really one of the untold parts of this whole marijuana legalization story. The tentacles go everywhere and you can’t just rip the bandaid off.
BASHAM: I’d like to move to another front on which this epidemic is proving to have political ramifications beyond just how we should deal with it.
Last week I came across several stories that at first glance seem unrelated. But they set off a few alarm bells. And I’ll ask you to hang with me for a minute as I lay them out. There’s a lot of information here.
The first was the Justice Department petitioning Congress for new authority to detain people indefinitely in an emergency.
It was interesting because it marked the first time I’ve seen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rand Paul on the same side of something. Both were outraged.
The next was something a listener, Brooke Medina, tipped me off to. A North Carolina sheriff announced he would stop issuing handgun permits as a measure to restrict the virus’s spread. San Jose officials ordered a gun shop closed for the same reason.
The third was an odd little detail in a story about New Yorkers fleeing to Florida. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis mentioned the state has partnered with Google to monitor these travelers digitally.
Not much clarification on how that might work. But Israel’s high court has ruled their intelligence agency can use cell phone surveillance without a court order to track people who are supposed to be quarantining. So this is a thing that’s out there.
Now, we don’t have time here to dive deeply into each of these items. But, a survey from the Washington Post out just yesterday showed a remarkable number of people saying that they’re willing to give up their freedoms—at least for right now.
So just in a general sense, do you think encroachment on our civil liberties is something we should be concerned about right now?
STONESTREET: Yes, next question? No, this is a real big issue and it’s hard because how do you balance these concerns with the lives of individuals? So, as a result of 9/11, we have, for example, a complete compromise of the illegal search and seizure part of the Constitution. So, on a daily basis in a typical day, thousands and thousands and thousands of people are illegally searched and things are seized from them without cause. And, even more than that, the government has turned it into a way to make money by incentivizing these same people—who, by the way, if you haven’t figured it out are airline travelers dealing with TSA—are forking over money to have their freedoms compromised more conveniently and efficiently in the pre-check line instead of the regular line. It’s a racket. And, by the way, it doesn’t work. 90 percent of the time, it fails. So what have we given up? We’ve given up an essential part of our freedom for safety that we don’t actually get. And now it goes largely unquestioned. And it’s so deeply ingrained in government that there really is—and if you’ve ever done like I have, tried to do something about TSA’s for example threat to the health and safety of minors that are over 13 or dealing with the sales pitch for pre-check but not getting what you paid for, like we never do in Denver, for example. You know you have no recourse. There’s literally nowhere you can go. There’s nowhere even our congressional leaders can go. Now, thank you for giving me a time to rant and rave about TSA because I always like to do that.
But the warning is legitimate. So, yeah, I think a lot of us are looking, going wow, this is really surprising, the power that the state can wield and how quick people are to give that freedom up. The question is, we give that freedom up for a time, the government’s appetite is—I think Ronald Reagan famously said, I think he was talking about finances but it’s certainly true when it comes to control and power, once government gains ground, it rarely gives it up. So this is going to be a very interesting thing to see the power, for example, that the government has wielded over freedom of assembly. Not just kind of our religious freedoms and our freedom and rights to go to church and that sort of stuff, because, look, I think these are wise decisions to stay in place right now. What we’re going to have to watch very, very carefully is whether we get these freedoms back and to what degree and who says. This isn’t a small thing and we don’t have to look beyond 20 years to see the last time this happened to us.
REICHARD: Diligence required for all citizens going forward. Well, John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
John, thanks again for being with us.
STONESTREET: Thank you.
MARY REICHARD: When there’s a will, there’s a way, as we say.
And that goes for getting your exercise each day.
A 32-year-old Frenchman took that very seriously. He’s on lockdown along with everyone else in Paris, but Elisha Nochomovitz decided to run a marathon without leaving his apartment!
AUDIO: [Sound of running]
You can hear Elisha running back and forth on his 23-foot-long balcony and he ran back and forth for a total distance of 26.2 miles.
He didn’t exactly make record time. He couldn’t gain momentum or speed and had to constantly turn. It took him almost seven hours.
Now technically, France allows people to go outside for “individual sports” like running, with required paperwork.
But Elisha had been training for a marathon, and wanted to assure himself he could run whatever the condition. Physical and mental conditioning.
BASHAM: We each need that these days!
REICHARD: It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Friday, March 27th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.
Of all the at-home entertainment film studios and networks are suddenly making available for cooped-up kids, none will be so welcome by Christian parents as The Pilgrim’s Progress from Revelation Media.
The full-length movie was originally released to theaters as a Fathom event last Easter. Now it’s newly available to watch at home. Even better, unlike all those big studio movies going for twenty bucks for a 48-hour rental, it’s available absolutely free. At least until April 30th.
CLIP: We have to get out, Christiana. It says so in this and I believe it in here.
And war will destroy the entire city? So we must flee and get to the—
The Celestial City. The city of light.
It’s a book Christian.
If you’d only read it. You would understand.
The Pilgrim’s Progress would make a good option to help get little hearts prepared for Resurrection Day under any circumstances. But especially now as they may be missing lessons they used to get at Sunday school.
Though the movie stays blessedly faithful to the allegory John Bunyan wrote in the 17th century, it makes a few thoughtful concessions to modern tastes. The book gives us little information about how Apollyon—the stand-in for Satan—operates. The movie, however, gives his designs to enslave humankind a vividly gothic backstory.
CLIP: Many years ago, in the realm of Apollyon. Past the garden of four rivers. And in the region of Abaddon, there stood an old city. It’s name in the ancient tongue was Noit Curtsed. But time and space and the mind of a brilliant man named Luxe soon settled on the more pleasant name of Not Cursed.
In filling out the backstory, the filmmakers seem to have turned to another beloved Christian author—J.R.R. Tolkien. Though Tolkien by way of Dickens. Like Lord of the Rings villain, Sauron, Apollyon has made his relentless, smoke-billowing city of Not Cursed a machine in which people toil like hamsters on clanging wheels. The spindly, smoke-billowing workhouses that line the crooked alleys crush the souls of inhabitants who know nothing of a loving Creator or His Celestial City.
Until, that is, a man named Christian Pilgrim stumbles upon a book left by a man who escaped Not Cursed. A man named Faithful Pathfinder.
CLIP: We followed his footsteps beyond the borders you see. To the Swamp of Despondency.
So that’s where he ended up.
Well, that’s where the no part fits in.
What do you mean?
Well, you see, his footsteps, they sort of led in and out of the swamp. Toward the outer realms. It seems that Faithful is alive.
From there the story follows Bunyan’s tale closely, though it does mine humor out of sometimes-clueless Christian’s interactions with characters like Evangelist and Help.
A few of the characters are imagined as overly used tropes, like a nagging wife or snooty fop. But more than a few moments delight with ingenuity. Christian’s encounter with Mr. Legality in the village of Morality is especially creative.
The literal mountain man flings down chiseled tablets engraved with, as we might expect, demands for religious rule-keeping. But he also cleverly mixes in more modern commandments like, “You will not waste one second,” and “Be the best.” In other words, the law of self-empowerment that is no less burdensome in the impossibility of actually keeping it.
A few other scenes, however, show the seams of budget constraints, like when Christian battles Apollyon. The movie could hardly have skipped over the iconic moment, but something more creative than the straightforward approach might have ended up looking less like a 1960s Godzilla movie. But these gripes are surprisingly few, given that the film’s financing started on Kickstarter.
Really the only thing parents with more sensitive kids might need a warning on is that Apollyon and his minions are truly scary.
Though, for my part, I wasn’t sorry for it. In a world that so often makes cuddly cartoon characters, or snarky wisecrackers out of evil, I was glad for a correction. For a chance to explain to my daughters that the accuser isn’t cute, and he does want to devour us.
CLIP: You deceiver, you liar, you usurper of all that is good.
I served under you and found nothing but misery.
My allegiance is with the Celestial King.
Is it? How many times have you already failed him on this journey? You’re a disgrace to this King of yours.
Which makes his mercy and forgiveness all the sweeter. You are a deceiver who binds your subjects with invisible chains.
As Tolkien’s friend C.S. Lewis said of scary things in stories for children, “Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage… Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let villains be soundly killed at the end of the book.”
Well, spoiler alert, the villain is soundly killed at the end of the book.
It’s a good thing to tell kids we don’t need to fear though we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. It’s a better thing to show them.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Friday, March 27th. 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. And it’s time for your listener feedback! And for that, our managing editor J.C. Derrick is here. Hi, J.C.!
J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: Hey, there, Mary and Megan! Good to be with you in these, uh, interesting times. And because things are so uncertain right now, we’ve had some listeners say they’re glad we’re still here. Here’s Scott Roberts from Walnut Shade, Missouri:
ROBERTS: I just want to say thank you to all the team at The World and Everything in It for all your hard work and ask that you do everything you can to continue to provide the news on a daily basis. With all that’s going on around us, it’s just wonderful to have something that’s normal. And having your podcast every morning is a great way to be reminded that God’s still on the throne. Thanks for all your work. Blessings. Bye!
BASHAM: Here’s another email to the same effect. Listener Ann Tippins in Atlanta writes:
In times like these, I appreciate WORLD more than ever—a trustworthy source of information and counsel in a time when the “what ifs” abound. Thanks to ALL of you!
REICHARD: Aww, well, thank you for listening, Ann.
Next, listener Adrienne Disalvo left a message asking for the name of the book J.C. talked about in his recent commentary. Well, Adrienne, that was J-Curve, by Paul Miller.
DERRICK: Yes, and while we’re on the subject, that commentary drew a lengthy critique at worldandeverything.org. I won’t read all of Derek Brown’s comment, but it boils down to this: Derek makes the point that, theologically speaking, union with Christ is something that happens once—at conversion. Communion with Christ is really the more accurate term for what I was describing.
And this matters because conflating these terms could lead someone to believe you can somehow earn salvation. Obviously that’s not the case, so I appreciate Derek for raising this important point.
BASHAM: OK, turning now to our listener feedback line at 202-709-9595. Leigh Taylor from Dade City, Florida, called in to tell us how much she loves the series of stories we call, What Do People Do All Day?
TAYLOR: Let me tell you, I love this so much, so much that I can tell you the ones you’ve done. I remember the brothers who did the egg farming and the lady with the food truck that went around with her coffee to the car dealerships. I love her. And the lady who manages traffic on the waterways and how stressful and weird that was that someone was monitoring the boats. I mean, I never thought about that before and now today with the lady that monitors avalanches. Oh my goodness. These stories are fantastic.
So, please keep doing them. Please just for me. I love you guys. And will you please tell Kim Henderson I love her, too. I mean really love her. Like a lot.
REICHARD: Aww, lots of love there! Thank you, Leigh, for listening and for those words of encouragement. That’s great to hear.
DERRICK: Yes, and that wasn’t the only hat-tip for Kim. Listener Jane Craig emailed to “commend the excellent work of Myrna Brown and Kim Henderson.” She says they both have a “wonderful way of drawing you in” to their stories “to the point you feel you’re sitting right beside them.”
And Jane finishes saying, “Thank you for regularly featuring their heartfelt stories that point to Christ and His power to transform in difficult circumstances.”
BASHAM: Here, here! We are grateful for those ladies’ contributions.
REICHARD: And here we have some gratitude for Paul Butler. This email came from Naomi Gardner, who listens in Petoskey, Michigan. She was one of several listeners who wrote to thank Paul for his story about Anderson Design Group in Nashville, Tennessee. That’s the company that creates many of those posters and postcards you see for sale at National Parks.
BASHAM: Naomi says she and her sister bought a set of National Parks postcards to split between them. And for the last year and a half they’ve been sending them back and forth to each other. When she heard Paul’s story, she ran to find the last card sitting on her desk. She writes:
Sure enough! There on the front it says “Anderson Design Group.” I couldn’t have been more excited to make this connection! Thank you for sharing these encouraging stories about Christians in business and the impact they have on their community and around the world!
DERRICK: Next we have a call from Diane Ippolito from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
IPPOLITO: I was really disappointed in your story on the 19th of March about the people who defied the gathering ban for the livestock show in Texas and had a huge gathering of people. That just is so against, we were told to preserve life, and the show was banned to help preserve life. And these people were celebrated for going against that. So I felt like that was a poor choice of story.
REICHARD: On the other hand, listener Carol Listhartke said Bonnie’s story was—quote—“SOOOOO uplifting! Thank you so much for letting us know about it. God BLESS WORLD Radio and WORLD Magazine, and bless these folks for doing what they did.”
BASHAM: Now here’s a tongue-in-cheek request from Scot, who commented at worldandeverything.org about a kicker earlier this week. It was the one about the sportscaster doing play-by-play on everyday life.
Scot said—quoting now—“Please don’t do stories like that anymore. After my lunch I just ‘wasted’ a LOT of time looking through all of those very funny video clips. Great stuff. Stop it.”
DERRICK: [laughter] Oh, me too! It’s hard to stop watching those things.
And since we’re on the subject, seems like we should play one more?
HEATH: [Sound of shopper]
DERRICK: Nick Heath for the win!
REICHARD: We can’t top that. That’s this month’s listener feedback.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s that time to thank members of our team who worked hard to put the program together for you this week:
Maria Baer, Ryan Bomberger, Paul Butler, Janie B. Cheaney, Kent Covington, Nick Eicher, Kristen Flavin, Katie Gaultney, Kim Henderson, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Trillia Newbell, Onize Ohikere, Sarah Schweinsberg, and Cal Thomas.
MARY REICHARD: The men who put it all together in the wee hours are Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz. J-C Derrick is managing editor, and Marvin Olasky is editor in chief.
Of course, without you, none of this is possible. Thank you for your support.
How sweet are the Lord’s words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.
Go now in grace and peace.