MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Some tech industry workers have voted to unionize. That could result in changes to how companies treat free speech and other freedoms.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also several states now require public school lessons that endorse the LGBT lifestyle. And that includes every subject—from history to math.
Plus we’ll meet a Nashville artist whose work celebrates God’s creation.
ANDERSON: I think we’re made in the image of our creator and that’s what He does, and I think we glorify God when we do the same thing.
And Jamie Dean considers a political “what if.”
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, March 5th. 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: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House approves $8.3 billion to fund coronavirus fight » Lawmakers in the House passed an $8.3 billion measure Wednesday to battle the coronavirus outbreak.
AUDIO: On this vote the yeas are 415. The nays are 2. Two-thirds being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended. The bill is passed.
The bipartisan vote offered a rare display of unity on Capitol Hill.
It came just nine days after President Trump asked for $2.5 billion to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus. When lawmakers on both sides of the aisle voiced concerns that might not be enough, the president said he’d gladly accept more.
The Senate is likely to pass the measure today and send it to the president’s desk for his signature.
Death toll rises from Tennessee tornadoes » The death toll from tornadoes that ripped across Tennessee early Tuesday has risen to at least 24. Authorities said some were killed in their beds as they slept.
In Putnam county, in between Nashville and Knoxville, 18 people died in the overnight hours of Tuesday morning.
PORTER: There were five children under the age of 13 and 13 adults.
The twisters shredded more than 140 buildings across the state and they moved in so quickly that many did not have time to flee to safer areas. Baxter, Tennessee resident Billy Dyer…
DYER: It was like a freight train, whirlwind, explosive sound, and it was through fast. I mean, it seemed a long time, but after it went through, it went through pretty fast.
Rescuers have continued searching through the debris of shattered homes and buildings looking for victims. The governor declared an emergency and sent the National Guard to help with search-and-rescue efforts.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said Wednesday that there was some good news to report.
COOPER: I am pleased to say there are no reports of missing persons in Nashville, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Now that can change, but right now that’s great.
Early findings by National Weather Service survey teams indicated that a tornado of at least EF-3 intensity hit Nashville and Wilson County to the east.
U.S. military launches airstrikes against Taliban » The U.S. military on Wednesday conducted its first airstrike against Taliban forces in Afghanistan since signing an ambitious peace deal with the militant group.
Military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a tweet that the strike was “defensive” in response to a Taliban assault on Afghan government forces. It was the first U.S. attack against the militants in 11 days.
And it came just one day after President Trump expressed optimism about talks with Taliban leaders. He told reporters on Tuesday…
TRUMP: We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today. They’re looking to get this ended, and we’re looking to get it ended. I think we all have a very common interest.
Leggett said Taliban forces had conducted 43 attacks on Afghan troops on Tuesday in Helmand. According to a spokesman for the province’s governor, at least two police officers were killed.
Leggett called on the Taliban to stop the attacks and uphold their commitments based on the peace agreement signed on February 29th.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said Wednesday that four civilians and 11 Afghan troops were killed in a wave of Taliban attacks in the past 24 hours.
UN: Iran multiplying enriched uranium stockpile » Iran has multiplied its stockpile of enriched uranium as it continues its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The United Nations reports that Iran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium by more than three times the limit agreed to under the 2015 nuclear deal. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in its report said the current stockpile amounts to more than 2,200 pounds. The deal with world powers set the limit at 660 pounds. Back in November, Iran had already increased its production to 824 pounds.
The current stockpile provides Tehran with the amount needed to produce a nuclear weapon. The UN agency also criticized the country’s leaders for refusing to provide access to two unidentified locations or answer questions about its activities at the sites.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
COVINGTON: Bloomberg ends presidential bid » Michael Bloomberg is out. The former New York City mayor ended his presidential bid Wednesday. On Tuesday night, he told supporters he had no intention of quitting.
BLOOMBERG: No matter how many delegates we win tonight, we have done something no one else thought was possible. In just three months, we’ve gone from just 1 percent of the polls to being a contender for the Democratic nomination for president.
But after a lackluster showing in Super Tuesday contests, Bloomberg changed his tune. He said his presence in the shrinking field could make it harder for the party to defeat President Trump in November.
Bloomberg spent an estimated $500 million on his campaign. And he vowed to keep spending to defeat the president.
Meantime, the Associated Press on Wednesday called both Maine and Texas for former Vice President Joe Biden. That caps a Super Tuesday that saw Biden wrestle frontrunner status from Senator Bernie Sanders overnight.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: weaving the LGBT agenda into public school curriculum.
Plus, the designer behind National Park souvenirs.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s the 5th day of March, 2020. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It. We’re so glad you are! Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: advancing homosexuality in public schools.
Back in 2011, California became the first state to require public schools to teach about LGBT accomplishments. Last year, four states followed suit: Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, and New Jersey.
WORLD reporter Anna Johansen now on how that’s changing classroom lessons.
OLIVEIRA: Almost a full year before the law was signed by the governor, Garden State Equality knew that we wanted to be in this space, uh, working on inclusive curriculum.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Jon Oliveira is the communications director for Garden State Equality. That’s a group promoting LGBTQ values in New Jersey. The organization has been working in schools for almost a decade. Now, it’s developing a pilot curriculum set to go state-wide in the fall.
OLIVEIRA: As part of our initial phase of curriculum development, they designed 45 lesson plans, um, that are currently being piloted in 12 New Jersey schools. And that started in January of this year.
New Jersey’s law requires all public schools to teach students about the accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. And it’s not just limited to history. The curriculum covers social studies, language, literature, health, performing arts, math, and science.
Shawn Hyland works with the Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey. He explains what the new lesson plans might look like.
HYLAND: So in math, like when it comes to data and statistics, they’ll do an entire, you know, day or two on LGBT surveys and polls and the data, you know, that that relates to the LGBT community.
At lower grade levels, lessons might include word problems involving a man and his husband.
HYLAND: So just trying to normalize the LGBT lifestyle even when it comes to the narrative and the questions that are asked in math class.
Laurie Higgins writes about cultural issues for the Illinois Family Institute. She says schools have been teaching about the contributions of homosexual people for years. But this type of legislation takes it a step farther.
HIGGINS: They want to teach kids, Hey, here’s these people who have made these significant contributions and they’re homosexual. Therefore homosexuality must be good.
And according to Higgins, that’s a whole different ball game.
HIGGINS: Their homosexuality has nothing to do with their contributions. Sally Ride’s homosexuality is irrelevant to her being a physicist or her being the first woman in space.
Jonathan Byham is a teacher in Illinois. He says we don’t always know for sure about a historical figure’s sexuality.
BYHAM: Oftentimes that was something that was not overtly talked about. I think that’s a very thorny historical question.
On top of the historical uncertainties, Shawn Hyland says it’s dangerous to talk about such complicated topics with young students, age 10 or 11—or even younger.
HYLAND: They talk about gender identity and gender transition and gender expression.
That’s confusing to young children.
HYLAND: And studies show that if one, uh, teen comes out as transgender, like 3.5 other teens within their peer group, they can become transgender as well. So it’s really a peer pressure type of group thought that goes on.
Advocates for this kind of curriculum say it reduces bullying by normalizing LGBTQ lifestyles.
Laurie Higgins says she is, of course, against bullying and harassment. But she also points out there are other ways to reduce it in schools.
HIGGINS: You don’t have to affirm an ideology in order to address bullying. Every school in this country has substantial anti-bullying policies and so they need to be enforced. The job of public schools is not to validate or affirm the sexual feelings and volitional acts of children or teens.
Each individual school district will decide how to implement the curriculum: What books to read, how to teach the content, how to train teachers on the new standards. And teachers may have some flexibility on how they present the material. Jonathan Byham says he doesn’t have a problem with teaching about the accomplishments of LGBTQ people. But he doesn’t feel comfortable promoting their lifestyles.
BYHAM: To me this is a struggle. And yeah, that’s, I don’t know if there’s a good solution to how to handle that, um, that would be acceptable to the powers that be and to my own my own beliefs and my own morality.
Byham hopes parents will go to their school boards and state representatives and express their views.
Shawn Hyland is working on a petition in New Jersey.
HYLAND: We want to amend that law to simply state that in any course or class that parents object to based upon their moral or religious views of human sexuality…they’ll have the ability to opt their child out of that class.
But he also wants families to remember that God has placed all of us here for a reason.
HYLAND: I wanna encourage Christians that it’s days like this…where we are found faithful to scripture that brings glory to God…And if we stay faithful to that truth…I believe that that the light will shine in darkness.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: a first in union organizing in the tech industry.
NICK EICHER: Kickstarter is a crowdfunding tech company. It runs a website that lets people raise money for various projects and causes. It has about 145 employees at its Brooklyn, New York headquarters. And last month, those workers became the first white collar employees in the tech industry to unionize.
REICHARD: Typically when workers unionize, they want better bargaining power to get things like pay and benefits.
But that’s not what motivated the Kickstarter employees. Their push to unionize started after a disagreement with management over what kinds of projects are allowed on the Kickstarter website. In other words, they think they deserve a say in company policy.
Joining us now to talk about that is Sarah Randow. She’s a history professor at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. Good morning, professor!
SARAH RANDOW, GUEST: Good morning!
REICHARD: Well, let’s start with a brief history of unions. When did they first show up and why?
RANDOW: Ok, the first time we see unions here in the United States is going to be after the Civil War, the latter half of the 19th century. We really do not see labor unions before the Civil War because of all the immigrant population coming in and it’s very hard to come together without that common language. What we really see after reconstruction the pop-up of understanding, well, our wages, our working conditions, something needs to change. So when we see the pop-up of the labor unions in the latter half of the 19th century, it really deals with working conditions.
REICHARD: Well, generally speaking, it seems that unions have lost some of their power and influence. I’m thinking of a Supreme Court decision in 2018 that said public sector unions couldn’t charge non-members dues, for example. Is it accurate to say unions’ are a lesser influence than they once were?
RANDOW: Yes, because I really think they are because when you look at the difference today, we have the working conditions—the 8-hour working day, we do get a fair wage—and so now the labor unions don’t have that influence over management, upper management and company owners like they used to.
REICHARD: The Kickstarter union is a first in the tech industry. But there are some similarities with unions in Hollywood. Or maybe the better word is guild. I don’t really know. I know creative rights issues enter into film industry union activism. Can you explain those?
RANDOW: So a guild is when you organize an association of people for mutual aid or pursuit of a common goal. And we see with the guilds, here, especially in Hollywood, you don’t allow people that aren’t working in Hollywood to be a member of the guild. So the guild is specifically for directors, makeup artists, hair—just anyone that deals with Hollywood. And usually you have to have certain requirements to be a member of the guild.
REICHARD: Would you say that the Hollywood situation has worked to get movie studios to change?
RANDOW: I did see that they did do some changes in especially who gets the credit after the movies. Before anyone that was a hairstylist, anyone that worked on sets, they did not get credit. And with the guild, they were able to get their individual credit after the movie as a thank you that these people worked on this movie. So I do say it was a success.
REICHARD: Kickstarter is small compared to major tech companies like Google and Facebook. But what if this unionizing trend spreads throughout the tech industry? Employees would influence things that affect all of us. Christians have reason to be concerned about censorship and free speech, for example. What does the history of unions tell us about the effect employee activism usually has on companies?
RANDOW: Usually the activism that you see from unions on a company has actually been in a negative. Historically, when labor unions try to do the collective bargaining and the management does not listen, we see strikes. And the strikes that happen usually do not get the results that they want.
Looking at the goals of the Kickstarter union, kind of goes against—in my opinion—the goals of a labor union.
So, they’re kind of spreading out to other areas that really don’t fall in under what you would think historically of a labor union. And they actually joined the local office of the Office of Professional Employees International Union. So they’re not an independent labor union. What looks like with this Kickstarter union they’re trying to drive policy instead of trying to help the workers out. They want their voice to be heard so they thought by unionizing, especially with the comic they were looking at—always punching Nazis—and so they’re looking at trying to drive policy by forcing upper management to listen. Which is kind of like a union, but it’s not the heart of a union.
REICHARD: Sarah Randow teaches history at LeTourneau University, a Christian polytechnic university in Texas. Thanks so much for joining us today.
RANDOW: Thank you. I appreciate it.
NICK EICHER: Well, if you weren’t able to make the trip to Wisconsin for this year’s big competition, you’re no doubt on pins and needles waiting for the winners to be announced!
We’re talking, of course, about the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison.
And this year, there was a new record set with nearly 3,700 entries from 26 nations!
The judges include cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors, and researchers from all over the world.
Bruce Workman was the last U.S. champion. He said judges start by evaluating the appearance, and then they dig in!
AUDIO: They’ll smell it. They want to make sure it has a good aroma. Then they will taste it. It’s a mouth feel. It’s a flavor profile. So it’s multi-points.
The last world champion cheese was a hard cheese made of sheep’s milk called Esquirrou made in France.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, March 5th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Every year, millions of visitors enjoy our national parks and historic destinations. Even though most people snap hundreds of photographs, many still stop by the gift shop for something more tangible. Postcards, refrigerator magnets, posters—artwork to remember the trip by.
EICHER: And some of the most distinctive of that artwork available in those shops is by a Christian artist in Nashville, Tennessee.
WORLD reporter Paul Butler recently met him and has his story.
JOEL ANDERSON [OFF MIC TO ONE OF HIS ARTISTS]: I like where this is going. We might want to get a little more range of color here…
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: In a second floor studio in downtown Nashville, Joel Anderson checks in with his team of illustrators and designers. They’re sitting at large computer screens with digital drawing tablets on their desks.
[JOEL ANDERSON WORKING WITH ARTISTS]
This morning, artist Aaron Johnson is working on a souvenir poster of California’s Muir Woods National Monument.
The poster features a winding path through old-growth redwoods. Warm oranges, yellows, and browns fill the foreground, while cool shades of green fade into the background with beams of light weaving in and out through the trees. Joel offers some critique and lots of encouragement.
[JOEL ANDERSON WORKING WITH ARTISTS]
Anderson graduated from Ringling School of Art & Design in 1986. He’s been in the commercial art business ever since. He began by doing projects for others: publishers, music labels, and manufacturing companies. But in 2007 he started the Anderson Design Group and began producing posters. One of his biggest clients is the National Park Service.
Anderson says he’s always been inspired by the Golden Age of poster art.
JOEL ANDERSON: And this is an era when poster art was made to simplify and amplify a message or a concept. And when people see our stuff, often times they mistake it for a vintage poster that was done in the early 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s. Because we style our typography, our color palette, our rendering techniques after that.
Anderson’s interest in art began as a child.
JOEL ANDERSON: I can remember some bad illustrations in Sunday School—flannelgraphs and all that—and I was like: “I don’t think Jesus looked like that.” Or, just noticing how things were rendered or designed or laid out. I’ve always been interested in the visuals we see around us all the time.
For Anderson, creativity goes beyond personal giftedness. He says we all reflect the image of God when we imitate Him—when we take the things He’s made, and rearrange them into something beautiful.
JOEL ANDERSON: I think we’re made in the image of our Creator and that’s what He does, and I think we glorify God when we do the same thing.
Many Christian artists focus on religious or sentimental themes. Anderson says painters like Thomas Kincade effectively evoke a longing for something lost—but he sees his own work as fulfilling a different purpose.
JOEL ANDERSON: It’s like the bird feeder in my backyard. I keep it full of birdseed and all kinds of creatures eat and leave, and keep coming back. And I think that’s sort of my calling as an artist and creative person is to not only create visual art, but to create opportunity. Whether that’s economic opportunity, or opportunity to start conversations, or opportunity to just commemorate and enjoy life. That’s what our art does.
That’s not to say Anderson doesn’t produce religious art. One large piece he did for his church presents the story of God in four panels: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. But Anderson believes faith should be more than just the subject of his art—he says it should inspire everything he does.
JOEL ANDERSON: That’s our mission actually, is to just take everything that God has created and use it for His glory, for the good of others…so I feel like my duty is to live out my life and handle those things carefully and use them well. I don’t really see a distinction between the secular and the sacred. I think every moment of our lives should be God-honoring. How we use those things can be selfish or generous…
These days, Anderson does more coaching than creating. He sees his role as encourager and mentor.
JOEL ANDERSON: I’ve learned how to collaborate, direct, how to use a team of artists and do things as a collect effort and it’s probably made the art better than what I used to do by myself back in the day.
A year ago, Anderson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The prognosis for the 54-year-old artist came as a shock. The onset is slow, meaning he can continue to make the art he loves, but he knows his days are limited.
JOEL ANDERSON: It’s easy to just assume you have control of your life and that your plans are yours. But that little wake-up call that I can’t control the future, I can’t call the shots, I can’t command my own destiny. I’ve got to go with this design that’s already mapped out for me. God’s providence. He knows what’s coming. And He’s already given me everything I need right now, and will give me what I need in the future.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler in Nashville, Tennessee.
EICHER: Just a quick follow-up on Paul’s story, we checked in with Joel Anderson after the tornadoes that hit Nashville, and thankfully, everyone at the Anderson Design Group is safe and sound—though they have not forgotten about their neighbors across the river who suffered.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next, an excerpt from Listening In. This week, Warren Smith visits with author and songwriter Matt Hammitt.
In 1996, Hammitt and a buddy from his Christian high school formed the alternative rock-band: Sanctus Real.
MARY REICHARD: After years of scraping by, the band began headlining shows and traveling a lot. But that success came with a price—Hammitt’s marriage suffered. That’s where we pick up the conversation with host Warren Smith.
WARREN SMITH: So Matt you have this period from 2000 to 2010, more or less, where you know you guys are just on the road and it’s a hard slog but you’re married. As you mentioned, your wife is traveling with you. What happens around 2010?
MATT HAMMITT: Yeah, so, 2010, two things, I’ll say. Number one, I had this little song that I had written out of the struggles in my marriage, called “Lead Me” that I didn’t want to share with anybody. But, the band heard it, and the label heard it and said: “Man, you’ve got to share this song with people.” So that was one of the leading tracks off our fifth album.
At the same time, one one month after Pieces of a Real Heart, our fifth album with “Lead Me” on it, came out, my wife and I went for a 21 week ultrasound for our third baby. And we found out that day we were having our first boy, which was so exciting. But we also found out that our little boy only had half of his heart.
And so, that was definitely a defining moment for us as parents—to move into such an uncertain season, health related with a child that we couldn’t even really tangibly help because he was still in my wife’s belly. And so it was like, just from April to September, while this record had just come out, while we’re starting to see more success we’ve ever seen behind some of the songs, I’m like, trying to figure out how my wife and I are going to care for a child with special needs.
And knowing that I’m going to be spending all kinds of time in the hospital and going through multiple open heart surgeries after this child was born, and so, you know, I’m trying to really process the fact that everything I’ve been chasing in my career is kind of happening, but things in my personal life, feel a little bit like they’re crumbling.
EICHER: That’s Matt Hammitt talking to Warren Smith. To hear how the story ends, look for Listening In wherever you get your podcasts.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Thursday, March 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Not long ago there was a dizzying number of Democrats running for president. A whopping 24 candidates have dropped out of the race, leaving just four.
One of those recently departed candidates made an impression on WORLD National Editor Jamie Dean. She has some thoughts.
JAMIE DEAN, COMMENTATOR: It’s been a big week in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Joe Biden’s string of victories, other contenders started dropping out. One of those was Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Buttigieg rose from political obscurity less than a year ago to win the Iowa caucuses a few weeks ago.
His appeal is understandable: Buttigieg is smart, calm, and articulate. He also gained attention for becoming the first openly gay presidential candidate to raise big money and win big contests.
It was notable that the first openly gay frontrunner was also the most openly religious. Buttigieg often discussed his ideas about Christianity. Those ideas apparently began forming as he studied at Oxford University. Back in South Bend, he started attending the Cathedral of St. James.
Buttigieg had not publicly announced he was gay, but he had found a church that did not teach homosexuality is unbiblical. He settled into a pew and embraced the false doctrine that the Scriptures are inconsistent internally and—quote—“you’ve got to decide what sense to make of it.”
So if Buttigieg is out of the race, why am I still thinking about this?
I think it’s because I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if Buttigieg had encountered a different kind of church. One that welcomed him with kindness, but also taught him the truth with sincerity and love.
I’ve wondered the same thing about Hillary Clinton. During the 2016 presidential race, I learned more about her religious background and discovered she grew up in the United Methodist Church. She was very active in a traditional congregation.
But the church had hired a youth pastor who heavily influenced Clinton’s thinking. Don Jones introduced the youth group to the civil rights movement, but also to existentialist philosophy and radical thinkers like Saul Alinsky. Jones gave the teenaged Clinton a subscription to Motive—a now-defunct publication that ran a mock obituary of God. He remained a spiritual adviser to Clinton for decades.
What if the formative pastoral influence on Clinton’s thinking had been a Biblically orthodox minister who taught her about the importance of serving others—but also about the inerrancy of Scripture and the centrality of repentance and faith in Christ?
We know God is sovereign, and we don’t have to get hung up on what ifs. His plans are unfolding just as He ordained.
But that shouldn’t stop us from considering: Might we have an impressionable Hillary Clinton or a searching Pete Buttigieg in our pews? Let’s assume that we do. And let’s pray God helps us to hold fast to Biblical truth in a world that finds it objectionable—for His glory and for the good of their souls.
And let’s do that with joy, too. We can hold out the gospel as a reflection of God’s goodness and an invitation into the life of Christ. In a world saturated with political squabbles and personal uncertainty, what could be better news?
I’m Jamie Dean.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Owen Strachan joins us for Culture Friday. We’ll talk to him about polyamory and the Billy Graham rule.
And, we’ll review an animated kids movie that has a lot of Christian parents concerned.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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