The World and Everything in It — March 4, 2020

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!

Super Tuesday votes have been cast, and Democrats are a step closer to their nominee to face President Trump in November. We’ll talk about where the race stands ahead of the next round of primaries.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

Plus the story of a holocaust survivor and her lasting legacy of faith.

KARL: We always knew she believed in Jesus and as a young Jewish kid that was the deep dark secret of our family.

And Cal Thomas calls for a truce in the political war over the coronavirus.

BASHAM: It’s Wednesday, March 4th. 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: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden and Sanders Divide Super Tuesday, turn Democratic nomination into two-man race » Voters went to the polls in 14 states last night, and however you slice it, it was a big night for Joe Biden. 

BIDEN: They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothin’! 

He swept the south, winning Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He also won Virginia, Minnesota and Massachusetts. 

BIDEN: It’s still early, but things are looking awful, awful good!

And as Biden noted, just days earlier, many said his campaign was on life support. 

BIDEN: For those who have been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign!

But Senator Bernie Sanders had a few big victories of his own. He easily won Colorado and Utah, and he cruised to victory in his home state. 

SANDERS: Thank you, Vermont!

And crucially, he also grabbed the biggest prize of the night, winning in California. 

SANDERS: Tonight I tell you with absolute confidence, we are going to win the Democratic nomination!

But as of 2 a.m. Eastern Time this morning, two states were still too close to call—Texas and Maine. 

Biden held slight leads over Sanders in both states. The margin was less than one percent in Maine, about 3-and-a-half percent in Texas. Assuming his lead holds up in the Lone Star State, the former vice president will emerge from Super Tuesday as the new frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Tornadoes devastate Tennessee » Families in Tennessee are mourning and surveying the damage today after tornadoes ripped across the state early Tuesday. The twisters killed at least 22 people and shredded at least 140 buildings. Governor Bill Lee said the tornadoes left an unprecedented trail of destruction.  

LEE: This stretches all the way, you know, from the middle of the—actually from one end of the state to the other. 

One twister caused severe damage across a 10-mile stretch of downtown Nashville, wrecking businesses and homes and destroying the tower and stained glass of a historic church. 

One visitor staying at a Nashville hotel said guests huddled in the stairwell. 

AUDIO: The roof from the other building next to us was blown off of it, and our roof or our wall and windows and the roof our hotel below us was ripped off, and it was hitting our stuff. And, yeah, it was pretty scary. 

On Tuesday morning, Nashville residents walked around in dismay as emergency crews closed off roads. Uprooted trees and debris littered streets and sidewalks. Walls were peeled away, exposing living rooms and kitchens in damaged homes. And snapped power lines caved in the roofs of cars.

President Trump offered his support on Tuesday. 

TRUMP: We send our love and our prayers of the nation to every family that was affected, and we will get there, and we will recover, and we will rebuild, and we will help them. 

The president said he’s been in touch with the FEMA director and the governor, and he plans to survey the damage in person on Friday. 

Coronavirus continues to spread in U.S. » Tensions over how to contain the fast-spreading COVID-19 coronavirus escalated Tuesday in the United States as the death toll climbed to nine. 

All of the deaths have occurred in Washington state, and most were residents of a nursing home in suburban Seattle. The number of cases in the United States overall climbed past 100. 

Dr. Nancy Messonnier is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MESSONNIER: We expect to continue to find new cases. These will probably result from a mixture of travel related, contact related, and community associated cases where we don’t immediately know where people became exposed. 

She said “What is happening now in the United States may be the beginning of what is happening abroad.” She noted that older and sicker people are about twice as likely to become seriously ill. 

Worldwide, more than 92,000 people have been sickened and 3,100 have died, the vast majority of them in China.

Fed cuts interest rate to counter COVID-19 threat to economy » Meantime, in a surprise move, the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate by a half-percentage point Tuesday. That in an effort to bolster the economy in the face of the spreading coronavirus.

Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters… 

POWELL: We do recognize that a rate cut will not reduce the rate of infection. It won’t fix a broken supply chain. We get that. We don’t think we have all the answers. But we do believe that our action will provide a meaningful boost to the economy. 

It was the Fed’s first move since last year, when it reduced its key short-term rate three times. It’s also the first time the central bank has cut rates between policy meetings since the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed’s policy committee backed the move unanimously, lowering its benchmark rate to a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: WORLD’s Jamie Dean joins us to analyze the Super Tuesday results.

Plus, one family’s cassette-tape legacy.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Wednesday the 4th of March, 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: Washington Wednesday.

EICHER: Well, Democrats took a big step toward picking their presidential nominee yesterday. What started as a very wide field has narrowed considerably in recent weeks. But it may not have narrowed enough to avoid a showdown in July, when the party gathers in Milwaukee to name its nominee.

BASHAM: And a showdown is what at least one candidate needs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got into the race late and appeared on the ballot for the first time last night. 

Ahead of yesterday’s voting, Bloomberg downplayed expectations that he could win at the ballot box. He told reporters his expectation is to win the nomination through a contested convention.

EICHER: A word about that. Contested conventions happen when no single candidate is able to muster a majority of delegates. And Democrats haven’t faced that prospect since 1968. Four years before that, Republicans had a similar delegate split between the liberal wing represented by Nelson Rockefeller and the true-believer conservatives led by Barry Goldwater.

Nothing new under the sun, perhaps? 

Joining us now to talk about this year’s ideological tug-of-war is Jamie Dean. She is WORLD’s national editor and chief political correspondent. Jamie, good bleary-eyed morning.


EICHER: Long-awaited Super Tuesday’s come and gone. To your eye, what is the lay of the land?

DEAN: This time last week, we were looking at a seven-person race. I think the headline this morning is that we’re now much closer to a two-man race. And those two men are Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.

EICHER: That happened quickly, didn’t it?

DEAN: It did. Joe Biden performed pretty poorly in the first three nominating contests of the year. Some people were ready to put the nail in the coffin of his campaign. But he really came roaring back in South Carolina on Saturday.

Once Biden won that primary, two other candidates—Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar—quickly dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden. Some other prominent Democrats endorsed him. So that set him up nicely going into Super Tuesday, and paved the way for wins in key states like North Carolina and Virginia.

EICHER: Sometimes I think the “big-mo” is overstated in politics, but Joe Biden really earned some momentum. Why do you think the primary in South Carolina had such a dramatic impact for the former VP?

DEAN: I think it wasn’t just Biden’s victory, but the size of it. He won in a landslide. Biden won nearly half the vote in South Carolina, and Sanders won less than 20 percent of it. So that was a rather emphatic moment for Biden, and it’s worth noting: Biden has run for president three times, and that was the first time he’s won a primary. So it was a big night for him.

EICHER: Big night, big margin, with voters who seem turned off by the Bernie revolution. What does that tell us about Biden’s ability to appeal to that same voter base elsewhere?

DEAN: One thing it tells us is that Biden has proven he can appeal to African American voters. About 60 percent of the voters in South Carolina’s Democratic primary were African American, and Biden won about 60 percent of those votes. He also won over African American voters in other Southeastern states on Super Tuesday.

We know that black voters often lean toward the more moderate or conservative end of the Democratic spectrum—and especially in South Carolina, with a large population of churchgoers. So I think it also tells us that moderate voters prefer Biden.

I know that’s not a huge newsflash, but I do think it’s going to be a huge part of the storyline going forward: This race is shaping up to be a fight for the identity of the Democratic Party. Will it ally with a democratic socialist or with a Democrat who says he’s not ready to go quite that far?

EICHER: You were in South Carolina last week, and you saw both Biden and Sanders. Tell me about that.

DEAN: I attended a rally for Bernie Sanders in a park in downtown Columbia the afternoon before the Democratic primary. A few hours later, I went to a Joe Biden rally at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. 

At the Biden rally, I’d say many people in the audience were in their 50s or well above. At the Sanders rally, most of the supporters appeared in their 40s or well below. So there was a visible difference in the ages of the two crowds.

The crowd at the Biden rally seemed excited to see him, but when the event got going, it was pretty low-key. Voters asked questions, and Biden gave answers that were quite long and sometimes a little hard to stick with. It got very quiet in the room. At one point, Biden said: “Look, I know this is boring, but it’s important.”

The Sanders rally was not quiet. He usually comes out rhetorical guns blazing, and delivers these succinct talking points in an aggressive and engaging way. This crowd was booming for Bernie.

It all kind of reminded me of the difference between a PTA meeting and a pep rally. And I don’t mean that in a trivializing way for either group or candidate. But on the PTA side, the Biden crowd was full of local citizens who had put on their coats and gone out on a cold night to file into a school gym and listen to someone talk about how to address problems. 

On the pep rally side, the Sanders crowd were eating up everything the candidate said, they were responding with visceral energy, and some were even wiping away tears during the event. 

You could even sense the difference listening to the two soundtracks at the events. One of the songs playing after the Biden event was the easy-listening tune from the 1980s: “Bring Me a Higher Love.” One of the songs at the Sanders rally was a 2009 rock anthem called “Uprising.” That song talks about: “Interchanging mind control. Come let the revolution take its toll.”  Slightly different styles there.

So there were two different crowds, two different styles, and also two different messages.

EICHER: Define those two messages for me…

DEAN: Joe Biden seems to be saying: “We’ve gotten off track and we need to fix the systems that are giving us trouble.” We could talk more about the merits of his policies and whether his solutions would work, but overall, I think that’s the core of his message.

Sanders seems to be saying: We’re using the wrong systems altogether. Things can’t be fixed without dismantling some of those underlying systems, fundamental and starting all over again.

EICHER: A clash between political worldviews—how are the Democrats responding to this?

DEAN: Very nervously. I think we’ll see more Democrats consolidate behind Joe Biden to try to block Bernie Sanders. They worry Sanders can’t win a general election because of his proposals. Others worry Joe Biden may not be able to take on President Trump because of his style. But both of them seem to have a lot of supporters, and they may both be able to keep going in these Democratic contests.

Remember, the Democratic primaries award delegates proportionally. There are no winner-take-all states. So it’s possible that Biden and Sanders could both keep racking up delegates, without reaching the number that either candidate needs to secure the nomination ahead of the Democratic National Convention. That could make things very interesting this summer.

EICHER: Jamie Dean is WORLD’s national editor. You can keep up with her coverage of the 2020 election at Thanks, Jamie!

DEAN: You’re welcome.

MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Crisis at Turkish-Greek border—We start today in Europe. 

AUDIO: [Protestors yelling, police firing tear gas]

Locals on the Greek island of Lesbos clashed with riot police last week as they protested the ongoing refugee crisis. They used chains and rocks to block the road to a nearby camp in an effort to stop a busload of migrants from arriving.

Boris Cheshirkov is with the UN Refugee Agency.

CHESHIRKOV: We are also quite concerned that in the last two days we’ve seen an increase in intimidation and violent attacks against humanitarian workers, but also arriving refugees.

Greece currently hosts about 42,000 refugees in overcrowded camps. And the country now faces a new wave of migrants from Turkey. 

Last week, the Turkish government announced it would not stop refugees from crossing its borders into Europe. It is trying to pressure the European Union into stemming the flow of migrants across its eastern land and sea borders.

The Greek government has tightened border security in response. On Saturday, it claimed to have stopped over 4,000 migrants from crossing. 

Sectarian clashes in India—Next we go to India.

AUDIO: [Sound of trucks, scraping up debris]

Crews in New Delhi shoveled broken bricks off the streets last week after days of violent riots. At least 43 people died during clashes between Hindus and Muslims. Hundreds of others were injured.

Since December, thousands of Muslims and other activists have staged mostly peaceful protests over a law that offers citizenship to Christians, Hindus, and other migrants fleeing persecution. It does not extend the citizenship offer to Muslims.

Human rights groups have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party of encouraging the sudden surge in violence. A local party leader issued a three-day ultimatum for police to clear out protest camps.

Witnesses say police participated in violent attacks against Muslims—a charge officials deny.

Threats against Christians in Kenya—Next to Africa.

The Islamic terror group al-Shabaab issued a new threat against Christians in Kenya. In a 20-minute recording, an al-Shabaab spokesman demanded Christians leave three Kenyan counties on the border with Somalia. He also called on local residents to evict all non-Muslims from the area.

The threats did not come as a surprise to many Christians in the region. In January, al-Shabaab attacked a Christian school, killing three teachers. Last week, the U.S. State Department warned terrorist groups may be plotting an attack against a major hotel in Nairobi.

Former rivals in South Sudan voice forgiveness—And finally, we end today in South Sudan.

Leaders of the new unity government issued a statement of reconciliation after holding their first official meeting last week. President Salva Kiir said he had forgiven former opposition leader Riek Machar and had asked for his forgiveness in return.

KIIR: And I am inviting all the people of South Sudan to forgive one another.

The rift between the two leaders began not long after South Sudan became its own country. Rival factions spent the next six years fighting a civil war. Machar vowed to work with his former rival to end the people’s suffering.

That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere. reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.

MEGAN BASHAM: Several weeks ago we told you about a new trend among churches: paying off medical debt. Through a nonprofit debt collection agency, churches can buy unpaid bills for pennies on the dollar.

Well, last week, a megachurch in Cincinnati announced it would get involved. $47 million involved, to be exact.

With such a large congregation, Pastor Brian Tome back in November illustrated how his church might be able to wipe out its neighbors’ debt.

TOME: The entire Cincinnati community, as an example, would get a letter and say, “Congratulations, your debt has been paid.” Because someone loves you and there is a God who has not forgotten about you.

The contribution from Crossroads will pay off the medical debt of more than 40,000 households.   

Those families will soon be getting bright yellow envelopes in the mail letting them know the good news.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, March 4th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a series of Nazi camps where more than 1 million Jewish people were murdered.

EICHER: Auschwitz was the largest extermination facility, but it was just one of a network of more than 20 other camps—with hundreds of subcamps and holding locations spread across Europe.

BASHAM: One family’s prized possession is an oral history left to them by their mother, a holocaust survivor. WORLD reporter Myrna Brown recently spoke with that family and has the story.

CHARLIE EISENBERG: Where were you born?
RUTH LIEBER RYDELNIK: I was born in Germany.

MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: Forty-five years ago, in a Brooklyn, New York, living room, holocaust survivor Ruth Lieber told her story. Next to her, a Messianic Jewish rabbi held a compact cassette recorder.  

CHARLIE EISENBERG: You had an opportunity to leave…
MIRIAM KARL: His name was Charlie Eisenberg and he really wanted to see my mother’s story printed. 

That’s Ruth Lieber’s eldest daughter, Miriam Karl. 

RUTH LIEBER RYDELNIK: I remember at a very young age, I was searching…  

MIRIAM KARL: When I hear my mother’s voice, I feel comfort and I miss her.

RUTH LIEBER RYDELNIK: I believed in God at a very young age…  

MICHAEL RYDELNIK: When I hear my mother’s voice, I think of teasing her, which I did frequently.

As a child, Michael Rydelnik remembers his mother’s jet-black hair, her 5’7 frame, keen memory, and distinctive accent. 

RYDELNIK: And the teacher said, Michael’s very bright, but he doesn’t work. And my mom looked at me and said in her accent, “Vee have vays of making you vork.”  

Lieber died in 1984. Nearly every detail of her six-plus decades of life are bundled with rubber bands, on 10 cassette tapes. 

RUTH LIEBER RYDELNIK: My mother was a very submissive woman and my father was very domineering.

Ruth Lieber was born in Germany in 1922 into a traditional Jewish family. When the Nazi party came into power, her father was forced to flee to Poland. Her mother, gravely ill, remained in a German hospital. Ruth was placed in an orphanage run by Evangelical Lutherans.

KARL: She came to faith when she was 12. But she couldn’t get baptized until she was 16.

Lieber was given a small German Bible. A few weeks later, Rydelnik says his mother was reunited with her father in Poland. It was a rocky reunion.

RYDELNIK: He took her Bible when she was reading it and tossed it into the wood burning stove they had. Apparently he tossed it beyond the little bit of wood they had in there. It survived. And when she went to take out the ashes, it was in the back there and unburned. It was the providence of God…

After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Lieber’s mother, still ill, was immediately taken to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Lieber spent time in 12 different facilities:

KARL: Some were transit camps. That means she was only there for a couple of weeks. She brought her Bible… 

As the camp’s infirmary nurse, Lieber hid her Bible in the one place she knew the soldiers would never search.

RYDELNIK: And there were typhoid patients that would come and the straw on the cot of the typhoid patients was just fully infected with typhoid germs.

KARL: So my mom kept whatever was precious to her with the typhoid patients so they never came near them.

Lieber never contracted the deadly disease. On May 8th, 1945, she was liberated by the Russians near the Czechoslovakia border. No one else in her family survived. 

With her Bible in tow, she traveled to a Jewish hospital in Berlin to care for other Holocaust survivors. While there, she took care of a premature baby whose mother died in delivery. 

KARL: And she wanted to adopt him. My father said, “I come with the baby”. Four weeks later they got married. 

Meyer Rydelnik knew his new bride was a follower of Yeshua, but he hoped it would pass. Four years after they married, they emigrated to America in 1952. Meyer Rydelnik forbade his young wife to ever speak openly of her faith. 

KARL: We always knew she believed in Jesus and as a young Jewish kid that was the deep dark secret of our family.

In 1971, Ruth Lieber Rydelnik broke her silence and her husband of 24 years divorced her. 

RYDELNIK: I felt like she had betrayed the Jewish people because Jews don’t believe in Jesus.  

With his sister’s support, Rydelnik decided to confront and challenge the woman who helped convince his mother to go public.

RYDELNIK: Hilda Koser. She served with Chosen People Ministries…

After months of debating Messianic prophecies, both Rydelnik and his sister reluctantly accepted their mother’s invitation to watch a film about the restoration of Israel.  

RYDELNIK: And I agreed with that. And then I came to the second part they talked about the same Hebrew prophets foretold the Messiah and I think at that moment I realized that if I were to be a good Jew, I would accept all that the prophets said. I would believe in the Jewish Messiah even if I was the only one who ever did. 

After the film, an invitation to accept salvation through Jesus Christ.

RYDELNIK: The man said, I see that hand. And Clair blurted out in front of 200 people, (gasp) it’s Michael. And my sister Miriam was angry. She came up to me and said “you rat fink!”

KARL: …You sold me out. I had a lunch date with Ms. Koser so I couldn’t leave and she said “well honey what would you like?” And the first words out of my mouth were to receive Jesus. So we prayed in Jan’s Ice Cream Parlor. Michael has always been two hours older in the Lord than me.

OPEN LINE: Hello Friends, welcome to Open Line. I’m Michael Rydelnik, professor of Jewish Studies and Bible.

Today, Michael Rydelnik is a Bible scholar, author and faculty member at Moody Bible Institute.

RYDELNIK: I feel part of the legacy that she gave me is that the Messiah comes first—that we have to follow him.

Mariam Karl, a wife, mother and business owner still treasures her mother’s German Bible and the passage from Matthew 18:22 Ruth Lieber Rydelnik modeled. 

RUTH LIEBER RYDELNIK RECORDING: Lord, don’t let any hate grow in my heart against the Nazis against the guards. Against the Germans. And I can say to God’s glory, that God listened to my prayers.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Myrna Brown reporting from Lawrenceville, Georgia.

MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, March 4th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Cal Thomas now with a call for peace.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: There is a disease going around, and I’m not talking only about the coronavirus.

It’s a political disease, and it seems to be spreading among those who are desperate to expel President Trump from office.

Last week on the ABC program The View, co-host Meghan McCain responded to applause from the audience after co-host Sunny Hostin took a political cheap shot. Hostin suggested that President Trump is setting up Vice President Mike Pence to be the “fall guy” should the response to the coronavirus turn out to be inadequate. 

McCain responded—quote—”I don’t know why anyone would clap about that, because if crap goes wrong, it’s going to be bad for all of us. … I do not like the politicizing of this.” End quote. 

Meantime, some of the Democratic presidential candidates are blaming the president for not doing enough to control the virus. What they are really suggesting is that the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the secretary of health and human services are not doing their jobs. But these people and their staffs have the experience to fight it. We should trust them. 

Viruses, like storms, do not discriminate. We’re not talking about an angel of death that “passed over” the homes of the ancient Israelites. Disease can affect everyone. So each of us ought to get behind those in charge of fighting it and take whatever action we can to avoid infection.

We know what those steps are because we have been repeatedly told about them. Since the coronavirus is spread through personal contact, wash your hands frequently. Avoid people who sneeze and cough. Do not travel to places where there’s an outbreak. 

We can pray these precautions will be temporary and that the coronavirus will be a seasonal phenomenon, like the flu. The CDC reports at least 18,000 people have died so far this flu season, but it has not brought panic or political posturing. 

So can we call a political truce? If we can sign a peace deal with the Taliban, can’t we sign a “peace treaty” with each other over this virus?

During World War II, one of the slogans that gained prominence was: “We’re all in this together.” My mother told me stories about neighbors sharing ration stamps and sugar with each other when one or the other ran low. No doubt some had voted for Franklin Roosevelt and others for his Republican opponents, but that didn’t matter when it came to the greater good.

This is the attitude we most need now in order to beat this virus. 

I’m Cal Thomas.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: More public school districts are requiring history lessons that emphasize LGBT Americans. We’ll talk to teachers about that.

And, we’ll tell you about a new effort to unionize the tech industry and what it could mean for free speech online.

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.

Paul reminds us to pray that God would make us worthy of His calling. That Christ may be glorified in you and you in Him.

I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you 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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