The World and Everything in It – July 24, 2020

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning! 

A viral podcast about the racial justice movement and the church has been sparking a lot of debate among Christians. 

We talk to theologian and host of that podcast, Darrell Harrison, about why he thinks the church is focusing on the wrong things when it comes to racial reconciliation.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday

Plus a new TV adaptation of a book series many Millennial moms remember fondly from their own childhoods.

And Word Play with George Grant.

BAHSAM: It’s Friday, July 24th. 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, news with Kent Covington.

Trump calls of Fla. segment of GOP convention » President Trump announced Thursday that he’s canceling his in-person speech at the Republican National Convention … and other RNC activities in Florida. 

TRUMP: The timing of this event is not right. It’s just not right with what’s happened recently, the flare up in Florida, to have a big convention it’s not the right time. 

The president had already moved the convention from North Carolina and scaled back its programming in Jacksonville in an effort to keep it on track. 

A small subset of GOP delegates will still formally renominate Trump on Aug. 24 in Charlotte.

Trump said he’ll deliver an acceptance speech in an alternate form, potentially online.

U.S. passes 4 million COVID-19 cases as two states record fatalities » His announcement came as United States passed 4 million confirmed coronavirus cases. And positive tests are still rising in 42 states.

While increased testing is part of the reason … more people are also checking into hospitals in many states. In Georgia, hospitalizations have tripled in just a month. 

And at least two states recorded new record highs this week in daily COVID-19 fatalities. Florida reported 173 deaths on Thursday. And 197 people died one day earlier in Texas.

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said the virus is exploding along the Texas coast. And he pointed back to Memorial Day weekend. 

MCCOMB: We had probably over a 100,000 people on our beaches. That meant they went into our grocery stores, our restaurants, department stores, everything here

The Republican mayor said the public seemed to let its guard down way too soon.

U.S. unemployment claims rise » The number of Americans seeking jobless benefits rose last week to 1.4 million, up from 1.3 million the week before. It was the first time new claims increased in nearly four months … a possible sign of the renewed toll the recent COVID-19 surge is taking on the economy. 

But chief economist for PNC, Shelley Faucher, said the news may not be as bad as it sounds. 

FAUCHER: Although the number of people who have filed for unemployment insurance is up, the number of people—total people who are getting benefits did fall slightly in mid-July. So perhaps that’s an indication that some of those people who lost their jobs are being rehired. 

Before the pandemic, jobless applications had never exceeded 700,000.

Largest U.S. theater chain further delays reopening » No industry has been hit harder than the movie theater business. Screens have been almost entirely blacked out for months … and there’s no end in sight. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more. 

LJ: The world’s largest theater chain, AMC, announced Thursday that it will not reopen next week as planned.

Regal Cinemas and Cinemark theaters have also announced further delays. 

Those announcements came as Warner Bros. indefinitely pushed back the release of its highly anticipated action-thriller Tenet … which was supposed to hit the big screen this month. And Disney delayed the release of its live-action remake of Mulan, slated for an August release.  

John Fithian is president of the National Association of Theatre Owners. He recently urged studios to release blockbuster films soon. He called the shutdown an “existential” threat to the industry, adding … “If we go a year without new movies, it’s over.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones. 

Justice Dept. dispatches federal officers to Chicago, Albuquerque » The Trump administration announced this week that the federal government is sending federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and Albuquerque … to battle rising crime in those cities.

The recent support includes at least 100 officers from the Department of Homeland Security. Federal agents are already on the ground in Kansas City, Mo., and Portland.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has sued the U.S. government, claiming its agents arrested protesters unfairly. 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler joined protesters in the streets Wednesday night, calling the presence of federal officers an occupation of his city. 

WHEELER: We’re demanding that they leave!

Wheeler was still among protesters when federal agents fired tear gas into the crowd. That after some began setting fires and launching fireworks. 

Democratic mayors from 15 cities signed a letter to Attorney General William Barr condemning the government’s actions in Portland. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had come to an agreement with U.S. officials, and local authorities “welcome actual partnership.”

China launches rover to Mars » China launched its most ambitious Mars mission yet on Thursday … in a bold attempt to join the United States in successfully landing a spacecraft on the red planet. 

SOUND (rocket NATS): [slowly out under start of Anna’s RV]

WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story. 

AJ: With engines blazing orange, a Long March-5 rocket took off under clear skies from an island south of China’s mainland.

China’s space agency said the rocket carried the probe for 36 minutes before successfully placing it on the looping path that will eventually take it into Mars’ orbit.

It marked the second flight to Mars this week, after a United Arab Emirates orbiter blasted off on a rocket from Japan on Monday. The United States is aiming its most sophisticated Mars rover ever from Florida next week.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.

Major League Baseball returns » After four months of coronavirus delays, baseball is back! 

SOUND (game call NATS): It’ll be a 1-1 to Stanton. And the pitch is swung on and hit high in the air to left-center. That ball is high, it is far, it is gone!

The Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton with the 2-run homer in the first official game of the 2020 season. The call, heard there on WFAN radio. The stands were empty, but Major League Baseball is using some recorded, “piped in” fan noise during games this season. 

The Yankees beat the defending world Series champion Nationals in Washington 4-to-1. New York’s new ace Garrit Cole out-dueled Nationals ace Max Scherzer with 5 dominant innings in a rain-shortened game. 

Washington was without one of its star players last night. The team announced Thursday that outfielder Juan Soto had tested positive for COVID-19.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: redefining racial reconciliation.

Plus, Word Play with George Grant.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: It’s Friday the 24th of July, 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, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

A few weeks ago, an episode of Just Thinking, a Bible teaching podcast from two theologians, went viral and became the number one podcast in Apple’s “Christian” category. Meaning, it ranked higher than podcasts from Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and a host of other religious celebrities with massive international platforms.

In the podcast, titled, “George Floyd and the Gospel,” Darrell Harrison and his co-host, Virgil Walker, argue that race is a social construct. They also argue that racial reconciliation is a misnomer because, according to Scripture, reconciliation isn’t something accomplished between groups but between individual hearts.

BASHAM: We now welcome Darrell Harrison to the program for Culture Friday. He’s the dean of social media at Grace to You Ministries and lead host of the Just Thinking podcast.

What he argues is controversial, but his perspective is worth airing. We’ll come back to this on Culture Friday with another leader who puts forward an opposing viewpoint.

Darrell, good morning.

DARRELL HARRISON, HOST: Good morning, Myrna, good morning, Megan. Thank you both for having me on. I appreciate it.

BASHAM: You know, Darrell, I have to say, dean of social media is an appropriate title for you because lately I see people posting your podcasts, or essays, or videos of your Grace to You preaching everywhere. And it often sparks some pretty heated debates.

So, to start, I’d like to ask you about the most common criticism I’ve seen. And I’ll use, as example, something I saw a couple weeks ago from VeggieTales creator, Phil Vischer.

He recently released an essay about white privilege and afterward he tweeted, “Fellow white people, let’s stop looking for the one black person who agrees with us … Don’t use the voice of the one to ignore the cries of the many.”

How do you respond to people who claim your teaching isn’t representative of the majority of black thinking and therefore merits less consideration?

HARRISON: Thanks for that question, Megan, you know, in answering that question, what immediately comes to my mind are the words of that great abolitionist and educator Frederick Douglass who said, “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false and to incur my own abhorrence.” So for me being true to myself means first and foremost being true to the Word of God. 

Now, I’d be the first to acknowledge that my perspective on what is currently happening in society is often considered a minority report. And I don’t mean that with any pun. But that’s primarily because I’m so dogmatic that God’s people are not to show partiality. I mean, scripture clearly teaches, teaches us that and texts like Leviticus 19:15, Deuteronomy 1:17, and so on. 

But as a Christian, I wouldn’t want Vischer or anyone else for that matter to regard any opinion of mine as being worthy of consideration on the basis of my ethnicity, but rather on the basis of whether or not I am rightly applying the objective truth of the gospel to the situations that are current in the world. So for me, truth should matter more than the color of my skin.

BROWN: So, after the killing of George Floyd a number of white Christians asked the question of black Christians, what can I do to come alongside you? 

What is your response to that question?

HARRISON: You know, Myrna I have no doubt that a question like that is well intended. Okay, well intended by those who ask it. So I give them grace in that regard. Nevertheless, I do see that question as being rooted in the same fallacious stereotype as what I mentioned earlier. In this case, the fallacy is that because George Floyd was black, that all black people are emotionally and intellectually processing what happened to him in the same manner again simply because we are black, and that all black people have vicariously attached themselves to George Floyd as a proxy victim of what happened to him. 

Now that kind of tribalist mindset treats black people as a monolithic collective and not as individuals who, being created in the image of God, are fully capable have forming and articulating different perspectives and opinions as individuals. 

So to my white brethren who want to know what they can do, okay, how they can come alongside their black brothers and sisters in the Lord in light of the George Floyd situation, my counsel to them is this: George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020. You should continue doing whatever it was you were doing on May 24, 2020. Because displaying the love of Christ toward others should never be an ethnic proposition. I mean, to do otherwise is to show partiality. And as we know from James 2:9, partiality of any kind is a sin.

BROWN: The killing of George Floyd pulled back the covers of the racial/ethnic tension in our country and everyone seems to have a solution to the problem of racial division. 

In fact, you recently wrote, racial reconciliation has become very marketable and some people are making money on that. 

Can you talk about that and the role you think the church is playing?

HARRISON: Oh, certainly Myrna. But first, I want to say that I for one, just speaking for myself, I do not subscribe to the popular and oft repeated narrative that there is quote unquote racial tension in our country. 

I think what we’re seeing today is certain individuals, certain organizations taking advantage of the George Floyd incident to advance and propagate their own socio-political agendas. But that is not new. Nothing about that is new. I mean, the same thing was the case after Trayvon Martin was killed, and Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, and Brianna Taylor and more recently, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. I mean, I mentioned a moment ago, right, that George Floyd was killed on May 25th 2020. 

On May 24, 2020, the day before George Floyd was killed, no one was making the case that the Aunt Jemima brand of products was offensive. There was no new wave of demands that statues of dead white men be removed from their foundations.

But that’s exactly what happens when you have certain organizations and individuals whose indignation is selective, which is understandable, really, when you when your definition of justice and injustice is subjective, as opposed to being grounded in the truth of God’s Word.

So it’s no wonder then, that there are myriad books, myriad books and other resources, many of which are being promoted and profited from by evangelicals and the churches and entities they lead, because they don’t understand that to whatever degree there’s discord and disunity, whether in society at large, or between a husband and a wife, or between children and their parents, they don’t understand that the origin of that discord, the genesis of that, is sin in our hearts.

And because the origin is in our heart, then it must be addressed and resolved at the heart level. That’s why it’s so often said that races don’t reconcile, hearts do. And you know, Myrna, I often wonder that if racism is the problem, and racial reconciliation is the solution, then why there’s so many books being written to explain how to remedy that problem. I mean, God has written one Book that tells us what is both the problem and the solution. And it’s called the Bible.

I mean, Jesus makes that clear in Mark 7. That the cause of the enmity that exists between human beings is our sinful hearts. And the solution is to have our hearts and minds renewed by the regenerative power of the gospel. But my fear is that the church, as it continues to embrace and sort of befriend the world under the guise of racial reconciliation, the church no longer believes that the gospel of Jesus Christ inherently possesses that kind of transformative power.

BASHAM: I’ve heard some pastors and teachers say that bringing up critical race theory, cultural Marxism, or even words like “woke” when we discuss these issues is divisive.

They argue that not everyone who’s concerned about systemic racism or white privilege is a closet cultural Marxist and that bringing up those terms is a way of shutting down the conversation.

How would you respond to that?

HARRISON: Well, Megan, I’ll tell you, at the risk of coming across as facetious, whenever I hear someone alleging that the terms you’ve mentioned are divisive, I’m convinced that what they’re really saying is they want you to concur with the presuppositions and the conclusions that they’ve already drawn as relates to what those terms mean, and the degree to which the church should adopt and apply them. 

The truth is those terms, critical race theory, intersectionality, cultural Marxism, those are all ideologies and philosophies that are blatantly antithetical to the gospel. I mean, each of them is founded upon the idea of sinful partiality and favoritism based upon dividing people into groups of victims, and then subsequently, under the guise of equality and justice, right, seeking social, social, legislative, and economic remedies on the basis of where they fit within those groups of victims. So for any sinfully prejudicial attitudes, right, and I think this is a point that church is missing, for any sinfully prejudicial attitude or mindset to be labeled systemic, it must, by definition, be objectively determined and proven to be pervasive throughout a society. 

That’s not the case in America today, even with regard to slavery, the penal system, and Jim Crow, such prejudice or policy policies were not systemic throughout the country. And I say that because many black Americans were able to find opportunities in the North that they couldn’t find in the South. That’s because the prejudice laws and policies that were systemic in the South were not systemic in the North.

So what many people they mean by systemic racism is that they envy what someone else has. And the mere fact that someone else has what they don’t have must mean they use their power and privilege to obtain it. Okay. But I would just remind people who think that way of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, that God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

BROWN: Well, Darrell Harrison is co-host of the podcast, Just Thinking and dean of social media at Grace to You Ministries. Darrell, thanks so much for being here!

HARRISON: Thank you all for having me. You’re welcome.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: A Pennsylvania couple recently noticed what they thought was storm damage after a heavy downpour. 

They found something dripping down their wall, but quickly realized it was not water. 

Homeowner Justin Isabell showed the wall in question on his Facebook page:

JUSTIN: We noticed these streaks coming down our wall, and we could not figure out what it was. So, with a very careful … lick … yup, that’s honey!

A beekeeper inspected the house the next day and estimated a colony containing up to 30,000 bees was residing in their attic and walls. Talk about the heeBEEgeeBEES!

Justin’s wife Andrea told WPVI …

ANDREA: I have three boys and they were wondering if we could set a tap up so we could just pour honey on our yogurt and granola in the morning. I wish we could. I wish we could share. But they need a better home where they’re safe and happy and not living with us.

The only sting the Isabells said they have received so far: the estimated repair cost of $3,000 to remove the bees.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Friday, July 24th. 

Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. 

Good morning. I’m Megan Basham.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a TV adaptation of a book series wildly popular with tween girls.

BASHAM: But as WORLD’s Emily Whitten discovered, this is not exactly The Baby-Sitter’s Club children of the ‘80s and ‘90s remember.

EMILY WHITTEN, REVIEWER: Families with middle-school aged daughters and a subscription to Netflix probably noticed the 10 episode series of The Baby-Sitter’s Club released July 3rd. With its G rating, its initial status as a Netflix Top 10 most popular show, and gushing reviews across the internet, it might seem worth watching.

The Baby-Sitter’s Club trailer, [1:50-2:07] “I started the babysitter’s club to take care of kids. But what I realized is, we were more than a club. We were best friends. Baby-Sitter’s Club!”

Here’s the problem: this series replaces some of the books’ traditional values with progressive, pro-LGBTQ themes. And that’s a shame, considering the series’ strengths. The sets, costumes, and characters look like an American Girl movie. The actresses aren’t aged up. They don’t wear skimpy outfits. And the five main characters embrace an entrepreneurial spirit as they create a babysitting business from scratch.

Characters like club founder, Kristy (played by Sophia Grace), and budding artist Claudia (played by Momona Tamada) overcome numerous conflicts to make the club a success. Here in Episode 1, Kristy and Claudia butt heads over whether they should take a client named Watson:

Netflix, The Babysitter’s Club, Episode 1, [17:39] “…he’s just some jerk who’s trying to find a way to abandon his kids on one of only two days a week he gets to see them. My club isn’t going to help him do that. Period. You mean, our club. And he’s the only person that’s called this entire meeting. Period. Mary Anne, is the calendar open? Kristy and I are free. Kristy has made her feelings very clear. Mary Anne, do you want to sit for Watson tomorrow? Mary Anne, no. Quit bossing her around. Honestly, you’re making me remember why I stopped hanging out with you so much.”

As the girls work out their problems, they learn how to listen actively and be quick to forgive. Potential boyfriends do play a role, but episodes focus more on relationships among the baby-sitters and their parents.

Unfortunately, creator Rachel Shukert also updates author Ann M. Martin’s beloved characters in unhelpful ways. Several parents of baby-sitters and their clients live gay lifestyles. Claudia dreams about her future “life-partner” rather than a husband, and she cheerfully describes painting nude models in her art class.

Worse, in Episode 4, Mary-Anne (played by Malia Baker) insists medical personnel use incorrect female pronouns for a transgender boy she’s watching.

Netflix, The Babysitter’s Club, Episode 4, [17:12-17:40] “I know that you guys are busy, but as you would see if you looked at her and not her chart, Bailey is not a boy and by treating her like one, you are completely ignoring who she is. You’re making her feel insignificant and humiliated. And that’s not going to make her feel good or safe or calm. From now on, please recognize her for who she is….”

The series presents transgender kids as normal, and Mary Anne stridently enforces the new morality, leaving no room for dissent. If that feels like propaganda, consider this: Shukert worked with LGBT activist organization, GLAAD, to “make sure everything was presented in a way that younger kids would be able to understand.”

And that’s just the beginning. From climate change to a wedding led by a self-proclaimed witch, this is a whole new Stoneybrook. Babysitter Dawn, played by Xochitl Gomez, leads a Les Miserables-inspired protest against her summer camp for charging money for its activities:

Netflix, The Babysitter’s Club, Episode 10, [18:16] “She’s back. Mimi’s jeep is heading towards us. Time to take a stand. Long live the revolution!”

We’re meant to chuckle at Dawn’s overreaction. But given recent political turmoil and violent protests, I’m not laughing. The logic is too insidious. Just think: The Baby-Sitter’s Club is a babysitting business created by girls who accept money in exchange for work. If you don’t give them money, they don’t babysit for you. But when camp workers ask campers to pay for services, Dawn calls it an “unfair pay system” that creates “haves and have nots.”

Instead of protesting, Dawn could give her babysitting money to pay for poor campers’ activities. But that solution would take away her opportunity to shine, revealing her real goal isn’t justice but self-actualization. 

As for why reviewers and parents seem to love the series, be aware that adult viewers make up part of the intended audience. According to an interview in The Hollywood Reporter, Shukert had them in mind when giving the babysitters’ parents larger roles and casting actors like Alicia Silverstone from Clueless and. I suspect their inclusion had something to do with the over-the-top humor and political posturing as well.

For all the inclusion and diversity here, one type of person doesn’t exist in the new Stoneybrook: anyone who disagrees with the new ideology. Thoughtful Christians clearly aren’t welcome in Shukert’s new club. For that reason, Christian tweens may feel more at home with a series like Disney’s Liv and Maddie, also available on Netflix.

I’m Emily Whitten.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, July 24th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.

Up next, George Grant with this month’s edition of Word Play.

GEORGE GRANT, COMMENTATOR: By now you may have seen the meme that complains, “Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Merriam-Webster has recognized irregardless as a word.” 

While irregardless has long been the bane grammar-sticklers and thesis-graders everywhere, the word has actually been included in Merriam-Webster’s Unabridgededition since 1934—albeit, as an erroneous or humorous conflation of irrespective and regardless

According to the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary, irregardless was first acknowledged in 1912 by the Wentworth American Dialect Dictionary as an irregular, rural colloquialism originating from western Indiana. But, sleuthing etymologists have found evidence that the word appeared in print in South Carolina as early as 1795. Most dictionaries today list it as slang: non-standard or incorrect usage.

The reason the word is considered irregular is that both its prefix, ir, and its suffix, less, convey the idea of being without. It is a double negative, or what grammarians call a redundancy. Redundancies are terms or expressions that say the same thing twice—echoing needlessly and often clumsily. Common English usage is actually cluttered with a host of such redundancies.

Maybe you have heard a few of these—or perhaps, you have even used them: free gift, closed fist, repeat again, and armed gunman; Or foreign imports, final destination, first discovered, and revert back. 

Then there is advance planning and end result. There is past experience and sworn avadavat. There is the cameo appearance and the head honcho. There is the old adage and the oft-repeated cliché. Technology has given us ATM machines, UPC codes, software programs, and RAM memory. And what about, adequate enough, summarize briefly, aid and abet, unexpected surprise, and sum total? Redundancies abound!

There are even a number of all too common single-word redundancies like: forewarn and preplan, intermingle and overexaggerate, or self-confessed and intermarriage. 

Irregardless may incur the odium of high-minded grammaristas and eagle-eyed grammandos everywhere, but it is hardly the worst of these inelegant constructions. Even so, as George Orwell quipped, “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.” So, by all means, let’s!

I’m George Grant.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It takes a lot of people to put this program together each week. Thanks so much to our team: Brian Basham, Paul Butler, Janie B. Cheaney, Kent Covington, Nick Eicher, Kristen Flavin, Katie Gaultney, Kim Henderson, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Vivian Jones, Onize Ohikere, Bonnie Pritchett, Mary Reichard, Jenny Rough, Sarah Schweinsberg, Cal Thomas, and Emily Whitten.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: The guys who stay up late to get the program to you early are audio engineers Carl Peetz and Johnny Franklin. J-C Derrick is managing editor, Marvin Olasky is editor in chief. 

And you. Without you, none of this happens.

Paul reminds us in Galatians that there is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; we are all one in Christ Jesus

We’ll talk to you again on Monday.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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