The World and Everything in It — July 3, 2020

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!

The Supreme Court dealt pro-lifers a disappointing blow this week. We’ll talk about what it might mean for the movement going forward.

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

Also the second installment in a BBC documentary series about leaders in the early church. This week, it’s the Apostle Peter’s turn.

Plus a visit to Gettysburg to remember a pivotal battle in the Civil War.

And a special performance of the national anthem just for our listeners.

BASHAM: It’s Friday, July 3rd. 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 the news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: U.S. sees record job gain, but fresh shutdowns threaten recovery » New jobs numbers show that the U.S. economy continued to bounce back in June. The economy added 4.8 million jobs—a record gain. And it smashed expectations of just under 3 million jobs.

President Trump on Thursday touted the recovery and said the economy is “roaring back.” 

TRUMP: 80 percent of small businesses are now open. New business applications have doubled since late March. 

But while unemployment is down, it remains high at about 11 percent. And Trump’s presidential rival, Joe Biden on Thursday said he was very happy for the millions who returned to work, but… 

BIDEN: There is one number that I was stunned the president didn’t mention even once in the process in the entire time he talked about it. The number was 50,000. Yesterday, the number of new COVID-19 cases in America topped 50,000 in a single day. 

The positive jobs numbers were compiled during the second week of June, just before many states began to pause or backtrack on reopenings.

Coronavirus cases rising in 40 states » And coronavirus cases are now rising in 40 of the 50 states. Thirty-six states are also seeing an increase in the percentage of positive tests. 

Florida set a daily record Thursday, reporting more than 10,000 new cases. Speaking in the Tampa area yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis said the numbers suggest younger Floridians are fueling the spread of the virus. 

DESANTIS: You go back a month, the median age of our cases was in the 50’s. Now, the median age for the cases here in Hillsborough County for the entire pandemic has dropped to 34. And there will be days where we’ll get cases in Hillsborough County and the median age will be under 30. 

Colorado Governor Jared Polis shares the same concern. His state is the latest to shut down bars and nightclubs. 

POLIS: Our uptick, much like the major spikes in other states is largely among a younger demographic. And I think it is partially attributable to the bars and nightclubs and also potentially to the large public gatherings in the protests movements we’ve seen outside. 

And Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order Thursday requiring face masks in public spaces in nearly every county in the state. 

Health officials say Americans not wearing masks or socially distancing as states have reopened is largely to blame for COVID-19’s resurgence. 

Lawmakers move to block U.S. troop withdrawal from Germany » Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including some notable Republicans, are pushing back against President’ Trump’s plans to drastically cut the U.S. troop presence in Germany. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: About 35,000 U.S. troops are now stationed in Germany. The president’s plan would cut that number by nearly 10,000. 

But GOP Senator Mitt Romney is among the lawmakers worried that the withdrawal would weaken the security of NATO allies. And Romney said the move would be a “gift” to Russia. 

He’s pushing an amendment to the military spending bill for the next fiscal year that would block the use of funds to move troops from Germany. That is, unless the defense secretary can vouch for the move. Mark Esper would have to certify that it would not weaken NATO’s defense, hurt the U.S. military’s global objectives, or lead to big redeployment costs down the road.

And the GOP’s ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry said his committee could approve a similar measure. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Fire hits nuclear facility in Iran » In Iran, a fire and an explosion struck a centrifuge production plant above an underground nuclear enrichment facility on Thursday. 

The Natanz nuclear facility is one of the most tightly guarded sites in the country after earlier acts of sabotage there.

Iran downplayed the fire, calling it an “incident” that only affected an under-construction “industrial shed.”

But Iran’s state-run news agency published a commentary addressing the possibility of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the United States.

Prosecutors charge longtime Epstein associate » Authorities in New Hampshire have arrested a close associate of Jeffrey Epstein. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss made the announcement Thursday. 

STRAUSS: Today we announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls from a period of 1994 to 1997. 

Prosecutors say the 58-year-old British socialite helped recruit three girls for sexual encounters with the now-deceased billionaire—one as young as 14.

Epstein killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Strauss called the charges against Maxwell a “prequel” to charges prosecutors brought against Epstein a year ago.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: taking stock of the pro-life movement after a Supreme Court setback.

Plus, a special performance of the national anthem.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN: It’s Friday the 3rd of June, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.

On Monday, the Supreme Court blocked a Louisiana abortion law from taking effect. That law would have required abortion businesses to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles—something often required in the case of other minor surgeries like colonoscopies or laser eye surgeries. So a very reasonable precaution.

But in a 5-4 decision Chief Justice John Roberts once again joined the liberal majority to prevent even this slight obstacle to ending an unborn baby’s life. 

Many court watchers were surprised because Roberts’s reasoning in this case stood in direct opposition to his dissent on a similar Texas case only four years ago.

Here’s CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin speculating on what this means for the pro-life cause going forward.

TOOBIN: Something is going on with John Roberts. I mean, John Roberts has sided with the liberals now in three of the biggest cases of the year. It’s a major decision, it is a major message that Chief Justice Roberts may not be who we thought he was.

BROWN: It’s Culture Friday and time now to welcome John Stonestreet, President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. 

John, good morning.


BROWN: So John, a lot of Christians applauded President Trump’s conservative appointments to the Supreme Court. Over the last few weeks the applause has been replaced with heavy sighs of disappointment. Even words like betrayal are being used. 

My question is, does that kind of response suggest what Psalm 33:16 warns us about: The king is not saved by his great army, a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 

In other words are Christians putting too much faith in having the right person in the right role rather than faith in God?

STONESTREET: I think that’s probably true of some Christians. I think we kind of think that there’s a political solution or political appointee solution, in this case, to our problems. But I think that we’re rightly disappointed. We’re rightly disappointed and we should demand more. I think that this analogy that keeps coming up of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown is an apt one because that’s what we’re told when it comes to elections is that Supreme Court nominations matter. And, make no mistake, they do matter and they matter a lot and I don’t think anyone is under the illusion that the case would have been decided differently had President Clinton or something like that been in the office. And not only that one, but so many other cases. 

But I do think it underscores—especially the way this particular decision was written, in which a state-level legislation that was a different looking legislation when applied on the ground in Louisiana than it would have been in Texas, when it was struck down earlier—was a state-by-state sort of approach to the issue of abortion. Which is one of the best innovations of the pro-life movement now for quite awhile. And I think that can discourage the state-by-state movement. 

The state-by-state movement, the work on the ground, the pregnancy resource centers reaching out and finding ways to connect with abortion minded women on the ground, there’s never going to be a national solution for the sort of person-to-person love and care and ministry that needs to happen when it comes to women who find themselves in vulnerable situations and unexpected pregnancies and so on. That’s what can’t go away. It’s never going to be the Supreme Court and nothing else. It’s only going to be the Supreme Court because of everything else that has been done. And the Supreme Court’s going to be kind of a cherry on top of a culture that’s already decided that abortion is an unthinkable thing like slavery or some other great evil from the past. 

BASHAM: Now, John, I saw conservative writer David French cautioning against discouragement. He argued pro-lifers are actually winning on the cultural front. And he cited some statistics from the Guttmacher Institute that showed that the abortion rate in the U.S. is now lower than it was in 1973—the year that Roe v. Wade was decided. 

But of course the Guttmacher institute is affiliated with Planned Parenthood and their data likely doesn’t include abortifacients, so grain of salt there.

What’s your take on where the pro-life movement stands now?

STONESTREET: You know, I like David a lot. He’s been optimistic, or more optimistic than the rest of us on all of the Supreme Court decisions in this term that have been so negative. I think he’s wrong, unfortunately. 

Now, I think the pro-life movement has been tremendous and I think the innovation that we have seen, I think the technological innovation in terms of reaching through internet searches and so on to abortion-minded women, I think going medical, I think being combined with post-abortive care, I think there are all kinds of things that show that the pro-life movement is changing hearts and minds. 

I don’t think, though, that we’ve persuaded hearts and minds because I think the statistics still tell us that while more millennials and younger Americans don’t personally like abortion, they’re also full-blown moral relativists. And we don’t actually solve this problem until we think that abortion is just flat out wrong. Not wrong for me but not for you. Not wrong for me but I’m not sure we should legislate morality. But just flat out wrong. And that’s going to require a lot more work even than the very important work of just loving on women who are in crisis pregnancies, as important as that is.

BASHAM: Now John, I’ve been looking forward to catching up with you to ask about something else I could use some clarity on. And that’s removing statues and renaming things. I think on one hand most people feel good about Mississippi deciding to remove the Confederate symbol from their flag. And if a private university like Princeton decides to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from it’s public policy school, well, sure, that’s up to them.

But what about museums taking down Teddy Roosevelt statues. Or some news that just broke today—the Boston Art Commission voting unanimously to take down the Lincoln Emancipation memorial, a monument that Frederick Douglass dedicated. 

What should the principles be when thinking through this renaming and removing moment?

STONESTREET: Well, I don’t think we can get to principles yet because you can’t make these decisions unless you know your history. In other words, without a fundamental knowledge of the narrative—and I don’t mean the reconstructed narrative of the left or of the right or something like that—I mean just basic civic education. One that’s not whitewashed as it has been and also one that’s not just subject to this ridiculous notion that somehow we’re morally evolved past those who have gone before. There’s a complete loss of what the American story was all about.

And through those new lenses, we’re now trying to make a really hard decision like who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy throughout history. And does this statue connote some sort of superiority like we know that some of the Confederate statues were intended to do during the Jim Crow era or are these actually talking about history and telling us an important part of our story? 

It’s the same thing, by the way, with being a Christian. If we don’t know what a human being is, if we don’t know what creates us, what gives us inherent dignity as created and the common humanity and the common fallenness that we all share in our humanity, then we’re going to draw these artificial lines of good guys and bad guys. And it’s not going to make any sense. And this clearly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in how we’re proceeding. Because, by the way, the line that we’re seeing most commonly drawn by those who have lost their story is the good guy-bad guy line. I’m the good guy, you’re the bad guy. I would have been on the right side of history. I’m on the right side of history now. You’re on the wrong side of history. And it’s a bit of historical arrogance. What C.S. Lewis called it “chronological snobbery” at work here because there’s not a frame of reference. There’s not a framework by which to approach these questions at all. 

BROWN: Can I follow up real quick, John? As I hear you talking about this good guy-bad guy line and just Megan’s question made me think of something that I read not too long ago. A group of realtors want to get rid of the word “master” in their real estate listings. So, instead of saying master bedroom or master bathroom, they want to say primary bedroom. Of course, the reason, they say it carries a connotation to slavery and slave masters. What do you make of that? Is that going too far when you think about being the good guys, the bad guys? I don’t know. What do you think?

STONESTREET: Yeah, well, listen I don’t think it’s going too far. I actually think it’s going nowhere. I mean, we’ve been told that now for several weeks, we’ve got to do something. Well, you don’t always have to do something, especially if doing something is doing nothing. We need to do the right thing. And if you don’t have the right principles, you’re not going to know what to do. And so you’re just going to do stuff like this, which is, like seriously, I guess I might be missing something. But I don’t see the point. 

BASHAM: Well, John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. John, thanks as always for being here.

STONESTREET: Thanks so much.

MYRNA BROWN: These days, if you don’t speak a second language, no problem! Just whip out your phone and use any one of the dozens of translation apps now available. Or just navigate to Google Translate. You’ll find at least a rough real time translation for any relatively common language on earth, except for one: Sign language. 

There hasn’t been a way to translate sign language into spoken word in real time, until now.

AUDIO: I, L, Y, I love you.

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles say they’ve engineered a special glove that will translate hand signs. 

They say the glove has an intricate series of sensors that identify a word, letter, or phrase in American sign language. It then sends that translation to a smart phone app, which reads it out loud.

UCLA lead researcher Jun Chen said “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them.”

I call that eliminating the middle man.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN: Today is Friday, July 3rd. 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: the second installment of a documentary about the men who knew Jesus best.

CLIP: I’m David Suchet and I’m in search of one of the most puzzling characters in history. A simple first century fisherman who somehow became the founding father of the most powerful Christian church on earth. We know him as Saint Peter.

Think of actor David Suchet as a sort of Christian Rick Steves. With his 2015 documentary, In the Footsteps of St. Peter, he guides us cheerily along the highways of the apostle’s life, hitting major points recounted in the New Testament. He also takes us down intriguing little byways, based more on tradition and theory. Along the way, he may stop now and then to sample a local delicacy, like fried tilapia sold in Galilean parts as “Peter’s fish,” or to admire a particularly lovely 11th century fresco.

In other words, it’s a lot more fun than your average take-your-medicine educational documentary. And a lot more likely to leave you with an urge to book plane tickets.

CLIP: All around me is a group from Brazil. They are very fired up and photographing themselves for the family back home. The excitement and enthusiasm of these modern Christians perhaps captures something of the mood of 2000 years ago.

The film blessedly avoids any cheesy reenactments of men in sandals clashing with others in tin helmets. But Suchet is best known for playing Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. So he can’t resist hamming it up in high thespian style now and then. But that’s all part of the charm. We not only hear from experts on the theological significance of certain details of Peter’s life, we experience Suchet’s delight at, for example, casting nets with Galilean fishermen.

CLIP: Fishing is a kind of life. Apart from the modern winches and all that sort of thing, I’m doing what Saint Peter would have done and his brother Andrew and James and John. It’s as though I’m touching a little bit of history.

Like its predecessor, In the Footsteps of St. Paul, In the Footsteps of St. Peter was produced as a mainstream BBC production. This means it doesn’t proselytize. Suchet wrote of the film in a U.K. paper, “I’m not trying to evangelize. I’m just trying to bring to people one of the most extraordinary men that ever lived.” Yet his faith shines through.

When he exclaims in pleasure at how different scholarly Jewish debates are from the kinds of Bible studies he attends, secular audiences may find themselves intrigued to learn more about such gatherings.

CLIP: Being here has really taught me one thing and that is that this is nothing like a Bible study group would be in England. I’ve not seen anything like this. I’ve never seen anything so passionate.

Even more impressive are the experts he consults. None of them actively undermine Biblical narratives, as we’ve seen before with similar History Channel and National Geographic documentaries. A few, like King’s College London history professor, Joan Taylor, even subtly bolster it. Taylor straightforwardly explains that she doesn’t believe Christianity would have been possible without miraculous acts.

CLIP: It says that among the works of the Messiah, Messiah would heal the blind, raise up those who were bowed down, raise the dead, and preach the good news. So Jesus was doing this, proving that He had the power that was expected of the Messiah.

Longtime believers will likely find the second episode more engaging than the first as it leaves the well-worn particulars of Peter’s life described in the New Testament and moves into cautious speculation. Like where and when he might have travelled in Turkey, planting new churches.

That said, some Christians are likely to take issue with a few moments. Like here, where Suchet speculates about the age of the Cappadocian mountains.

CLIP: There are some places on this earth that don’t quite seem to belong here. They’re like fragments of an alien planet. The whole region around Gorem in Turkish Cappadocia is just one of those places. It’s the most extraordinary landscape, shaped by volcanic activity for the past 10 million years.

But overall Suchet makes such an amiable guide in a good-faith effort to shed light on the Apostle Peter’s life, few are likely to regret having followed along in his footsteps.

MEGAN BASHAM: Next up: Remembering the pivotal moment of the Civil War.

MYRNA BROWN: Today, July 3rd, marked the end of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. While the Civil War lasted two more years, Gettysburg was the defining moment of the conflict, as the Union army repelled a Confederate incursion into Pennsylvania. The two sides suffered a combined 51,000 casualties.

BASHAM: In 2013, at the 150th anniversary of the battle, managing editor J.C. Derrick produced this short piece on the thousands gathered there to re-enact, and remember.

AUDIO: [Battle yell]

Morning rain gave way to partly sunny skies as the charge took place. Thousands of civilians were lined into nine brigades and at 3 p.m. began the nearly one-mile uphill hike to where a sea of humanity stood representing Union troops.

AUDIO: Over the fence! Form up a line!

Citizen soldiers broke through war-era fence boundaries, just as Pickett’s men did on similar terrain in 1863. In addition to American and Confederate flags, many brigades made their solemn marches flying a flag with the name of one of their generals: Kemper, Garnett, Armistead. 

The re-creation of Pickett’s charge was unprecedented in the park’s history. Park rangers chose not to have a commemoration event on the battlefield in 1988 for the 125th anniversary, but organizer Katie Lawhon said thousands showed up anyway for an unofficial event.  

LAWHON: This year we decided we needed to get our arms around Pickett’s charge…

Another organizer, who was working at the park in 1988, told me more people were in Gettysburg for Wednesday’s event than at any point since the iconic battle took place 150 years ago. 

The march came amid a week of festivities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. As I made my way through the Union camp, I stumbled upon 74-year-old John Grant Griffiths, the great-great grandson of Union general and future U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant. 

GRIFFITHS: I had three ancestors who were in the federal army during the civil war. At this time they were all with the federal army of Tennessee, which Grant commanded.

Another man playing a Union soldier, Eric Mueller, traveled all the way from Hawaii for the week-long commemoration. 

MUELLER: I’m out here today…Hawaiians in the Civil War.

Mueller said it’s important for Americans not to forget what happened at Gettysburg. 

MUELLER: History is important… 

SINGING: “Angels to beckon me, nearer my God to thee.”

I’m J.C. Derrick in Gettysburg, Virginia.

MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Friday, July 3rd. 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. Earlier this year, vocalist Caroline Nielson accepted an invitation to sing the national anthem before a Major League Baseball game. That game was supposed to take place on May 27th, between the Texas Rangers and the Washington Nationals. But the MLB season still hasn’t started.

BASHAM: After last week’s baseball commentary from Marvin Olasky, listener Carolyne Nielson wrote to Marvin about her daughter’s missed opportunity. So he offered a consolation prize: a chance to sing the national anthem for us in celebration of this weekend’s Independence Day.  

And she accepted! Here’s Caroline Nielson, a doctoral student in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory in Boston, singing The Star-Spangled Banner.

CAROLINE NIELSON:O say can you see by the dawn’s early light.

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight

O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

MYRNA BROWN: It takes a lot of people to put this program together each week. Thanks so much to our team: Joel Belz, Ryan Bomberger, Paul Butler, Kent Covington, Nick Eicher, Kristen Flavin, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Jill Nelson, Trillia Newbell, Bonnie Pritchett, Mary Reichard, Sarah Schweinsberg, and Cal Thomas.

MEGAN BASHAM: 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.

Ephesians commands us, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Have a great weekend.

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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