MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
The Supreme Court just made transgenderism a protected class under the Civil Rights Act. Where does that leave feminists like Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, who refuse to accept biological sex isn’t real.
We’ll talk about that with women’s studies and theology professor, Katie McCoy.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.
Also a film that explores the frailty of the human mind by imaging the decline of the world’s greatest detective.
BASHAM: It’s Friday, June 19th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
BASHAM: Up next, Kent Covington has today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Supreme Court upholds DACA program » Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal wing of the Supreme Court on Thursday to uphold DACA.
That is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama-era program provides legal protections for immigrants who illegally entered the United States as children.
DACA recipient Alejandra Gonzalez said she breathed a big sigh of relief.
GONZALEZ: Obviously, I’m relieved. I’m really excited. I’m really happy because this means continued protection for dreamers.
The program provides legal shelter for about 650,000 immigrants.
Many opponents of the program did not oppose the policy as much as the manner in which it was enacted. After the DREAM Act failed in Congress, President Obama went around lawmakers to create the DACA program by executive order in 2012.
The Trump White House argued that Congress must replace DACA with legislation and that the courts had no authority to review its decision to end it.
The Department of Homeland Security moved to halt the program in 2017. And Chief Justice Roberts said the department did have the authority to do that. But he said DHS violated procedure by failing to consider—quote—“whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”
The court’s more conservative-leaning justices argued that the protections were illegal in the first place and the Trump administration ended the program by the book.
Bolton blasts Trump in interview ahead of book release » In an interview with ABC News, former national security adviser John Bolton this week blasted his former boss. Bolton sat down for an interview ahead of next week’s planned release of a tell-all book about his time in the Trump White House.
BOLTON: I don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t think he has the competence to carry out the job.
The Trump administration has sued to delay release of the book, saying it contains classified information.
In the book, Bolton said President Trump did tie foreign aid to Ukraine to investigations of his political rivals. That accusation was at the heart of Trump’s impeachment in the House.
He also alleges that Trump asked China for help with his reelection. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer disputed that claim.
LIGHTHIZER: Absolutely untrue. Never there. I have no recollection of that ever happening. I don’t believe it’s true. I don’t believe it ever happened.
On Thursday Trump denounced the book as “a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad.”
Trump campaign to hold first 2020 rally tomorrow » Meantime, President Trump’s reelection campaign is shaking off Bolton’s claims and moving forward with its first big rally tomorrow in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
But local officials are urging anyone at high risk for COVID-19 to stay home. The rally comes as the state has seen an increase in new confirmed cases.
Oklahoma GOP Senator James Lankford noted, however, that hospitalizations and deaths are not rising. He added that an uptick of cases was expected as the state reopened businesses. And he said the Trump campaign is putting several safety measures in place for the rally.
LANKFORD: We have 80 different test sites across the state. And they’ve told folks, they advise them to go get a test before they come and they’re going to pass out masks and hand sanitizer and do temperature checks as they enter the rally as well, so they’re trying to make it as safe as possible.
The Republican mayor of Tulsa, G.T. Bynum, called it a “tremendous honor” to host the president’s rally. But he also said—quote—“I’m not positive that everything is safe.” And he added “Any rational person looking at any large grouping of people would have concerns about this weekend.”
Brazil fighting coronavirus surge » Brazil is not the only South American country where the coronavirus is surging. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Peru now ranks second on the continent and seventh in the world in confirmed cases. The nation has reported nearly 241,000 confirmed cases. But that number likely understates the spread of the virus. Peru has conducted roughly half the tests per capita that the United States has conducted.
More than 7,000 Peruvians are confirmed to have died from the disease. The country’s government has extended its lockdown through at least June 30th.
Meantime, Turkey is now requiring citizens to wear face masks in three major cities after seeing an uptick in infections. And in China, the government is racing to halt a new outbreak linked to a food market in Beijing. Officials put up barricades around neighborhoods with confirmed cases after more than a hundred people tested positive in the area.
China’s top epidemiologist said the new outbreak suggests the virus thrives in markets with “seafood or meat.” He added, “the cold, wet environment may be able to keep the virus alive for a long time.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.
Twitter, Square to designate Juneteenth a company holiday » Employees at several corporations are enjoying today as a paid holiday. Juneteenth is recognized every year on June 19th and companies now giving employees the day off to celebrate include Nike, Twitter, Vox Media, and tobacco company Altria. At Target stores across the country, employees who work will be paid time-and-a-half.
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas and told slaves that the Civil War was over and they were free.
Many African-Americans view Juneteenth as another independence day. Forty-seven states recognize it as a ceremonial or state holiday.
World War II “Sweetheart” Vera Lynn dies » An entertainment icon of the World War II era has died.
AUDIO: [We’ll Meet Again]
Dame Vera Lynn became known as the “Sweetheart” of the Allied forces for serenading British troops.
During the war and long after, Lynn drew crowds smiling and singing along with favorites like “We’ll Meet Again,” and “The White Cliffs of Dover.”
She died in East Sussex on Thursday, surrounded by family at the age of 103.
Tributes poured in from political leaders, entertainers, veterans, and fans. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said her “charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours. Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come.″
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the conflict between feminists and the transgender movement.
Plus, Word Play with George Grant.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Friday the 19th of June, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.
MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. As most of you probably know by now, earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act must now apply to gay and transgender individuals.
Religious and legal scholars are already forecasting the immediate impact this decision is likely to have on religious liberty, women’s rights, education, and, really, just about every facet of American public life.
BASHAM: Even LGBT activists are admitting this was an unexpected decision. But maybe no one should have been surprised. At least no one who was paying attention to what happened to J.K. Rowling last week.
Arguably the most popular author in the world, Rowling, who is a feminist, received fierce backlash when she tweeted, “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.”
When the media then attacked her as transphobic and the stars of the Harry Potter films publicly shamed her, Rowling did something unusual. She didn’t back down.
Instead, she released a long essay in which she wrote, “I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it.”
It’s Culture Friday and we now welcome Katie McCoy. Katie is assistant professor of theology and women’s studies at Southwestern Seminary.
Professor McCoy, good morning!
KATIE MCCOY, GUEST: Good morning, Megan and Myrna. So great to be with you both.
BASHAM: You know we’ve often discussed here how LGBT rights are on a collision course with religious liberty. But we haven’t spent as much time on how it interacts with feminism.
And we know that the feminist movement isn’t monolithic. There are a lot of subgroups within it. So to start with, can you give us a quick overview of them and which one Rowling might be in?
MCCOY: You’re exactly right. Feminism isn’t monolithic. In fact, in the 100+ year history of American feminism, it’s taken many forms. The earliest days of feminism focused specifically on legal issues that women had to try to correct.
Fast forward to second wave feminism, as it’s called, in the 1960s and 70s and it moved from legal issues to more self-actualization issues. There were still legal fights, mainly the ERA, abortion, but most of the issues pertaining to women’s equality, women’s empowerment, had to do with a woman separating her identity from men and especially from men’s expectations.
Where transgenderism and feminism intersect in an interesting way is that feminism itself tries to liberate women from being defined by male expectations or gender roles, societal stereotypes, by virtue of the fact that they were born female, not that they act in a feminine way, but that they’re born female.
So now as we’ve collided with the transgender movement, we have two different sort of tributaries that have come off. One says LGBTQIA movement is in harmony with feminism. It is the next step in the quest for gender equality. The other group says that transgender women, meaning biological men who are sensing within themselves that they are female, that those cannot actually be women. Those people cannot actually be women because to be a woman means to participate in a collective experience of political oppression by virtue of the fact that you are female, not that you act feminine, but that you are female.
BROWN: Now, within those groups, I think the classic image of 1970s feminism is the one that most of us probably have. Bra burning, rejecting other traditional trappings of femininity.
How does that group, in particular, come into conflict with the transgender movement?
MCCOY: Precisely. So, the classic Second Wave Feminism that we think of—Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem and these historical women of feminism—what they were arguing essentially is that gender expectations are social constructs. Meaning that they are expectations imposed upon women. And what feminism came along in the second wave and said that these expectations should not hinder, limit, and define a woman. That she can present herself to the world however she chooses.
What’s interesting with how this intersects with transgenderism, however, is that a transgender person, a biological male, who believes himself to be a female, expresses that inner sense of female through how he acts, how he behaves, how he chooses to carry himself, what he wears, his hair, his body language. And he comports himself or expresses himself in a characteristically feminine way.
With feminism, however, classic feminism, this is almost a contradiction, if feminists are being honest with themselves, because what they want to say is that these expressions are not supposed to define a woman. These expressions are to be entirely separate from her biology, from her sex. So, the way that traditional feminism is insisting that these behaviors are to be not defining a woman, that we should liberate women from these expectations of behaviors, the transgender community says that it is precisely this pattern of gender expression that indicates their transgenderism.
BROWN: In a YouTube video that we’re going to link to in the transcript so listeners can go deeper with this subject if they’d like, you pointed out that if biological men can identify with women as a political class, then you can no longer have ideological feminism at all.
Can you talk about that a little more? And also, does that logic now apply to all women, feminist or not, in light of the court’s decision? How can the Civil Rights Act protect women if men also qualify as women?
MCCOY: Well, the recent court ruling just is something that we’re kind of having to sift through the implications of it. You mentioned that with feminism the political class of women is compromised. And so, one of the ironies of the transgender movement is that now not even a woman’s identity belongs to women. There is no sphere literally and metaphorically to which a man is not able to come into. So, now, men can come into women’s bathrooms, but then on a much grander scale, men can come into women’s identities.
But what it shows is that whether it’s feminism or transgenderism, you see just how quickly awry everything becomes once you have a society in which people are defining themselves. They are defining what it means to be human, what it means to be male, what it means to be female, what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, what it means to have a marriage. And so all of these things that God created when humanity attempts to define it ourselves, it just doesn’t take very long before we have quite a convoluted mess.
Now, you mentioned the court ruling. In the majority opinion, Justice Gorsuch said it’s impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or being transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex. What’s sort of a head-scratcher for me when I read that is I went, wait a second, that’s exactly what transgenderism is. It separates gender from sex. So, the definition of transgenderism actually contradicts the very defense and majority opinion that this Supreme Court justice gave to defend how he was applying the Civil Rights Act to transgender persons. It’s all quite convoluted, but it also shows how arbitrary this is and how anytime you move into trying to apply these things to laws, it just becomes activism. At some point it becomes activism. And that’s what we had with the Supreme Court ruling.
BROWN: When I hear you explaining this, Professor McCoy, the only conclusion I can reach is that while I may not share Rowling’s worldview, her logic does seem consistent.
And I have to wonder if her critics have such intellectual integrity. It feels like actress Emma Watson, for example, who played the character of Hermione Granger is just latching onto fashionable opinion and calling it principle.
What’s your personal assessment of the debate?
MCCOY: Well, J.K. Rowling’s logic is entirely consistent. If you take away the fact that women are an oppressed political class, then you don’t need feminism. So what’s the whole point of the movement at all if women themselves are not considered a political class that need to be liberated from the authority structures of society. The transgender movement isn’t really just about gender. When you boil it down, it is a way of knowledge and relating to the world. It’s a worldview and specifically if we’re going to put it in philosophical terms, it’s an epistemology, it’s a way to know something and to arrive at knowledge in the world. So, if a trans person says that despite my ideology, I believe that I am a different gender than that which corresponds to my physical body, he’s making a statement about what he knows to be true and that sense of what he knows to be true comes from his inner sense of himself or herself. And so it really is a way of knowing, of understanding the world, of understanding the self.
What we’re seeing with this outpouring of support for the trans community is—I forget who coined the term—but “safetyism.” Anything that would disrupt or contradict what someone has said about themselves is inherently not just wrong but a violation of someone’s personhood. And there’s kind of nowhere to go with that, Megan. There’s kind of nowhere to go in the argument with it. So some of what we’re observing, in fact, really what we’re observing in the whole Twitter debate is it’s a conflict of philosophy, of worldviews, and of sources of knowledge. How do we arrive at truth and what do we know to be true? And does it at all correspond to objective empirical, physical reality?
BASHAM: Well, Katie McCoy is assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Seminary.
Professor McCoy, thanks again for being here!
MCCOY: Thank you. Always great to talk with you all.
MYRNA BROWN: Chances are you’ve received a package or two at your home that was intended for another address.
Well, a Houston, Texas, area resident recently received a package that was clearly meant for someone else.
But this wasn’t the kind of misdelivered package you simply drop off at the post office.
And when the unidentified recipient opened it, he or she immediately called 911.
The package contained 32 large bags of marijuana—all of which are now in police custody.
But the Harris County Sheriff’s Department posted a friendly message on its Instagram account to the intended recipient.
Next to a smiley face emoji, the post said “If it is yours please contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to claim it.”
We should note that Texas is not among the states that have legalized pot.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN: Today is Friday, June 19th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Sherlock Holmes grapples with a deeper sort of mystery.
CLIP: Watson had married and I was alone. In fact it was on the very day he left Baker Street that case which was to be my last begin to unfold.
Using the famous Baker Street sleuth as a protagonist for Mr. Holmes is a brilliant bit of shorthand. The story of an aging man, desperate to right the wrongs of his past before slipping into senility, requires only a character who’s devoted his life to dissecting observable data.
He might be a police officer or a military analyst. He might be a social scientist, or he might be the world’s most famous detective. But the facts of his case are common. Though he possesses a towering intellect, he has only realized near his life’s end that his talent for discerning surface motives has not helped him understand the deeper purposes that drive people. For all he sees, his logic cannot penetrate human nature. Not even his own.
CLIP: What happens when the bees die? Is this a metaphysical question? I mean do you mourn them? Oh I can’t say that I’ve ever mourn the dead bee. I concentrate on circumstance. How did he die? Who is responsible? Death. Grieving. Mourning. They’re all commonplace. Logic is rare. And so, I dwell on logic.
To dispense with the backstory of establishing such a character, the movie gives us simply: Sherlock Holmes.
As a result, we need know nothing more to feel immediate loss when we see the brilliant investigator’s greatness flicker. When he can’t remember the name of the 10-year-old boy who lives with him or the name of a friend he’s been corresponding with for years. For the first time, the mystery Sherlock must solve has nothing to do with pinning the guilty to the wall and leaving them wriggling on a pin. Rather, to presume further on T.S. Eliot’s famous poem, he must spit out the butt ends of his own days and ways.
He must dig into his fading memory to discover what failure in his final case caused him to lose his bravado and abandon the world to keep bees by the sea.
CLIP: I didn’t know you wrote stories. Oh yes, Dr. Watson, he was the writer. Well I borrowed Mom‘s key and went into the study and there it was. And how much did you read? Just to where you stopped. It was a good part too, a man comes to Baker Street, you say you’ve come about your wife. How could you tell? When you are a detective and a man comes to visit you it’s usually about his wife.
Ian McKellen has an enormous task. He must imbue his Sherlock with enough of the qualities we’ve seen in dozens of incarnations before that we will thrill to his arch quips and brisk feats of deduction.
Yet we must still empathize with an old man increasingly lost in his world. McKellen succeeds in spades, charming us in one moment with his crotchetiness and breaking our hearts with his fear and weakness in another.
CLIP: It was my last case and if I brought it to a successful conclusion I wouldn’t have left the profession and spent 35 years here in this place away from the world. I chose exile for my punishment, but what was it for? I must’ve done something terribly wrong.
While the story will be too slow for younger viewers, it’s smart, funny, and appropriate for all ages. A single crude pun earns the PG rating.
Sherlock’s new housekeeper and her son Roger have something to teach him for once. Namely, that what average folks need more than answers from the cleverest among them is someone to share in their suffering.
When Sherlock hears Roger ape his elitism toward his illiterate mother he realizes that callousness toward others’ feelings is not a badge of brilliance but the mark of a stunted soul.
CLIP: She wants me to be a boot black. Roger. She wants me to do what she does. There is no shame in what I do. You complain enough about it, always going on about how hard things are and how you wish you had it better. She can barely read. Go after her!
He also learns that mourning, commonplace as it may be, is blessed as it draws our hearts toward one another.
It’s no spoiler to reveal that in one of the closing scenes, Sherlock lifts his hands in a prayer-like manner . He seems to release the souls of those he’s loved and lost. It’s a generic gesture, with nothing to suggest any specifically Christian faith. If anything, as Sherlock is inspired by events he witnesses in Japan, it has an Eastern undertone. But it’s clearly intended to demonstrate an emotional journey we have never seen Sherlock take.
CLIP: I had successfully deduced the facts of her case but I had failed to grasp their meaning. Never had I felt such an incomprehensible emptiness within myself. Only then did I begin to understand how utterly alone I was in the world.
The great human mind is humbled by the infinitely greater mystery of heaven, and falls to its knees in the face of it.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Friday, June 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Hey, before we get to Word Play, let me just say a huge thank you to those of you who have stepped up during our June Giving Drive. Yesterday we ticked over the 60 percent mark, so we’re in a solid position to reach our goal by June 30th.
BASHAM: Yes, and we know that is no small matter, especially this year. With the economic downturn this spring, we know not everyone is in a position to give. Maybe your role this year is praying for us. We are grateful for that.
BROWN: OK, next up, George Grant explores the legacy of William Tyndale.
GEORGE GRANT, COMMENTATOR: Who was the most influential writer in shaping the English language? Most experts would probably agree that it had to be William Shakespeare.
A good case might also be made for John Milton for the stunning innovations he introduced in Paradise Lost. Some might even argue that Samuel Johnson’s name should be mentioned in the conversation because of his pioneering dictionary.
But it may very well be that the single most influential English prose stylist was William Tyndale. He was a 16th century reformer and the father of the English Bible. His translations of the Scriptures published between 1526 and 1534 provided the basis for the King James Version—comprising as much as 90 percent of that literary masterpiece.
As a consequence, Tyndale was in fact one of the founders of the modern language—indeed, Shakespeare either quoted or appropriated Tyndale’s Biblical phrasings more than 2,000 times in his acclaimed plays and sonnets.
Tyndale bequeathed so much of the eloquent phraseology, the picturesque imagery, and the familiar cadence that have made English so rhetorically lyrical.
He had a knack for plain, yet elegant construction: “And God said, ‘let there be light, and there was light,’” “My brother’s keeper,” “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon thee,” “The salt of the earth,” “The powers that be,” “A law unto themselves,” “Filthy lucre,” all these proverbial expressions came from the pen of Tyndale.
As biographer Melvyn Bragg has asserted, “It would be hard to overpraise the literary merits of what he had done.”
But, it wasn’t just Tyndale’s turns-of-phrases that made his work so remarkable. He often found that English simply did not have the vocabulary to capture the meaning of certain Greek or Hebrew terms.
So, he coined a large number of words—words that have now become commonplace. Passover, Scapegoat, Mercy Seat, and Showbread were all his creations. He took the vowels from the Hebrew word Adonai and the consonants from Yahweh to create Jehovah. And, he crafted the elegant word, Atonement, from an awkward Hebrew phrase that Wycliffe had translated as “at-oneness” or “one-ment.”
His English rendering of the Bible was not the first—the 7th century monk, Caedmon created a few paraphrases; in the 8th century the Venerable Bede translated portions of the Vulgate; in the 9th century King Alfred translated a few selections; and in the 14th century John Wycliffe translated much of the canon.
But Tyndale was the first to translate from Greek and Hebrew. And of course, it was Tyndale who gave Shakespeare, Milton, and Johnson the tools with which they were able to mine their own great literary works.
I’m George Grant.
MYRNA BROWN: It takes a lot of people to put this program together each week. Thanks so much to our team:
Joel Belz, Paul Butler, Kent Covington, Laura Edghill, Nick Eicher, Kristen Flavin, George Grant, Kim Henderson, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Trillia Newbell, Onize Ohikere, Mary Reichard, Sarah Schweinsberg, and Cal Thomas.
MEGAN BASHAM: Our audio engineers are Carl Peetz and Johnny Franklin. J.C. Derrick is managing editor, Marvin Olasky editor in chief.
And it’s you who make it all possible. You have our deepest gratitude!
Hebrews urges us to strive for peace with everyone and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Have a great weekend.