MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
The spike in COVID-19 cases has spread from the coasts to the Heartland. Now communities there are battling the virus and quarantine exhaustion.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Meanwhile schools and churches across the country are coming up with creative ways to meet in person and stay safe.
Plus a former pro-football player talks about the gospel’s power to unite what divides us.
In light of everything that happens, the gospel gives us hope because we are already reconciled, through Christ. We just have to live it.
And Cal Thomas on the difference between the slogan “black lives matter” and the organization by the same name.
BASHAM: It’s Thursday, July 30th. 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.
U.S. to pull 12,000 troops out of Germany » The United States is moving nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the plan on Wednesday.
ESPER: Of the 11,900, nearly 5,600 servicemembers will be repositioned within NATO countries. and approximately 6,400 will return to the United States, though many of these or similar units will begin conducting rotational deployments back to Europe.
That will reduce the American military presence in Germany by a third, but 24,000 U.S. troops will stay put.
Esper said the military will consolidate various headquarters at other locations in Europe outside of Germany.
He added that the cost of the plan will be in the billions and will take years to complete.
President Trump explained the move, saying once again on Wednesday that Germany isn’t spending enough on defense.
TRUMP: We’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple.
Secretary Esper said the move also supports larger strategic goals to deter Russia, reassure European allies and shift forces further east into the Black Sea and Baltic regions.
But members of President Trump’s own party have expressed concerns over the move. Senator Mitt Romney on Wednesday called the plan a “grave error,” saying it’s a slap in Germany’s face that will do lasting harm to American interests.
Federal agents to begin withdrawal from downtown Portland » Federal agents will soon begin a “phased withdrawal” from the city of Portland. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has more.
LJ: Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement … that DHS negotiated the plan with Oregon’s Democratic Governor Kate Brown. He said to allow a drawdown of federal agents … more Oregon State Police officers will be positioned downtown, especially around federal properties.
Governor Brown said agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and ICE will begin leaving today.
But Federal Protective Service agents—who are always posted at the federal courthouse—will work alongside state police to guard the facility.
Wolf said that although federal agents will leave the downtown area, they will maintain a presence in Portland—quote—“until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
Lawmakers grill big tech CEOs in antitrust hearing » The CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google were in the virtual hot seat on Capitol Hill Wednesday. House members grilled them on whether they’re stifling competition.
Most of the lawmakers sat inside the hearing room wearing masks, but the tech executives testified remotely. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg told members …
ZUCKERBERG: I recognize that there are concerns about the size and power of tech companies. Our services are about connection and our business model is advertising and we face intense competition in both.
And Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said his company accounts for less than 4 percent of U.S. retail sales.
BEZOS: We compete against large established players like Target, Costco, Kroger, and of course, Walmart, a company more than twice Amazon’s size.
Google’s Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook also argued their markets are highly competitive.
But the four top execs sometimes struggled to answer pointed questions about their business practices. Pichai and Zuckerberg in particular also faced tough questions about alleged political bias. GOP Congressman Jim Jordan …
JORDAN: The power these companies have to impact what happens during an election, what people—what Americans get to see prior to their voting is pretty darn important.
Ahead of the hearing, President Trump tweeted …“If Congress doesn’t bring fairness to big tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with executive orders.”
Coronavirus death toll in U.S. reaches 150,000 » The confirmed death toll from the coronavirus in the United States hit 150,000 this week. That’s according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
That as several states have recently reported new highs for COVID-19 deaths. California reported a record 197 new deaths on Tuesday.
In Florida, despite a recent drop in new hospitalizations … more than 50 hospitals have reached ICU capacity. The Agency for Health Care Administration reports that 54 hospitals have no critical care beds available. The AHCA says statewide, just 16 percent of Florida’s intensive care beds are empty.
Rep. Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 » Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert tested positive on Wednesday for COVID-19. He got the news just as he was planning to join President Trump aboard Air Force One en route back to Texas.
The Republican immediately faced criticism from some colleagues for shunning masks on Capitol Hill. Gohmert responded …
GOHMERT: Look, I’ve worn a mask more the last week or two than I have in the whole last four months. And I was wearing my mask at the Judiciary hearing.
The 66-year-old Gohmert said he tested positive at the White House and planned to self-quarantine. He is at least the 10th member of Congress known to have tested positive for the disease.
NBA season resumes » At long last, NBA basketball is back. The season resumes tonight inside the league’s coronavirus safezone in Orlando. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story.
AJ: The NBA halted its season on March 11th when players began testing positive for COVID-19.
But so far, the so-called “bubble” at Disney’s Wide World of Sports is holding up. There have been no confirmed infections since teams began training at the complex.
And with tonight’s double-header, the season will officially resume.
The New Orleans Pelicans take on the Utah Jazz … before the L.A. Lakers battle the L.A. Clippers.
Only 22 of the league’s 30 teams are resuming play, and of course, the stands will be empty.
The field for the 16-team playoff bracket will be finalized next month … and a champion is now scheduled to be crowned in October.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: COVID-19 hits the Heartland.
Plus, Cal Thomas on the gospel’s cure for our cultural ailments.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: It’s Thursday the 30th 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.
First up … COVID-19 hits the Heartland.
In June and July, COVID-19 case counts quickly climbed across the Midwest especially in cities like Wichita, Kansas and St. Louis, Missouri.
BASHAM: But quarantine exhaustion is also on the rise. People are desperate for personal interaction, even as they struggle to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports now on that tension.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The Beacon of Hope Shelter in Fort Dodge, Iowa houses men transitioning from prison or struggling with addiction and mental illness.
Steve Roe runs the shelter. Back in March, when the coronavirus first hit, Roe quickly adopted C-D-C guidelines. He told the men if they weren’t willing to lockdown in the shelter, they had to leave. Half of them did.
ROE: We have a number of elderly guys that come to us that have some pretty major health issues. If we were to get the coronavirus, you could almost compare us to a nursing home because of the health of many of the guys that live with us.
The shelter had the men wear masks, wash hands, and didn’t let them leave. But, Steve Roe says after five months of lockdown, something had to change.
ROE: We were now at that point, you can’t live in a bubble for the rest of your life either. And so we’re allowing them to go out and do some day jobs like doing yard work, and stuff like that.
That even as the total number of coronavirus cases in the area have multiplied 12 times since June 1st. An outbreak at the Fort Dodge State Correctional Facility caused part of that increase, but more than half of the county’s nearly 500 cases occurred outside the prison.
Roe is personally concerned about catching the virus. His wife and daughter have autoimmune disorders. But he says, life has to go on while taking precautions. The shelter’s men still wear masks, and staff check their temperatures three times a day.
ROE: We have made a decision that we’re not going to live in fear, and that we’re just going to do the best we can to prevent the virus.
During the spring months, COVID-19 case counts mostly stayed low across the Midwest. And even though they’re rising now, deaths from the disease have not increased. Still, no one wants to be responsible for spreading it to a friend or neighbor.
Michelle Vann is a Christian speaker and pastor’s wife in Wichita, Kansas. Her congregation is primarily African-American. Vann says that made the church especially cautious because data shows the virus can disproportionately affect minority communities. The church closed in March and didn’t reopen until late June.
Vann: We started having parking lot church for a couple of weeks and then it got really, really hot. And so we are meeting in our gym at our church so that we can social distance and spread out and things of that nature.
Now cases are surging in the area. The city of Wichita and its surrounding county went from about 150 active cases on June 1 to nearly 18-hundred seven weeks later. That led the county’s top physician to ban gatherings of more than 15 people.
Churches are exempt but Vann’s church is considering going back online.
Vann: What we don’t want to do is be that cluster.
But it’s hard to think about going back online when the church is socially and spiritually nourishing families after months of separation.
Vann: There’s only so much, you know, so much feeling that you can get when you were hearing a message online on your computer … so that that disconnect of computer fatigue happens.
Dr. Ron Ferris runs a Catholic family medical clinic in Wichita. He says the rise in cases is frustrating.
Ferris: People were ready to hopefully return to normalcy, but that didn’t happen. So everything is canceled. Some people are saying life is canceled…
Going back into lockdown also has wider effects. Ferris says hospice patients he cares for are spending their dying days in isolation. Parents have stopped bringing their children to his clinic for check-ups. And elderly people are missing appointments that would help maintain their health.
Ferris: Most of the cases like we’re seeing are not fatal. But it’s those fatal cases that drives the fear factor into everyone.
In St. Louis, cases have also climbed in June and July. And data shows infection rates among Black and Hispanic people are three times higher than among whites.
Reverend Stanish Stanley is an immigrant from Mumbai, India. He directs the Christian Friends of New America. It’s an outreach to new immigrants and refugees in the area.
The people he serves are from Africa and the Middle East. Stanley says people from these cultures rely on physical affection and close proximity much more than most Americans.
Stanley: The virus, kind of in a way is, is breaking that bond of social togetherness.
The Reverend Angel (On-gel) Viveros in Lincoln, Nebraska echoes Stanley’s concerns. He says his Spanish-speaking congregation likes to hug and shake hands. But while cases also surge in his city, and church members stay away from each other, he encourages them to do their best with technology.
Viveros: We keep our brotherhood by Zoom, by social media, calling them or sending personal letters. I think that is our best things you know taking taking time for to spread that love each other.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: creative meeting management.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: More than a century ago physicians believed fresh air helped keep tuberculosis at bay. So in 1908, teachers at a Rhode Island school bundled-up the students, threw open the windows, and held class. None of the children contracted the disease that year.
BROWN: Within two years, 65 other schools nationwide followed suit. Today, school and church leaders are giving that lesson a modern upgrade.
WORLD correspondent Bonnie Pritchett spoke with educators and pastors about the creative ways they’re bringing people together again.
REPORTER, BONNIE PRITCHETT: Mater Amoris Montessori School sits on 13 rural acres in Aston, Maryland. Alicia Davis Enright is head of school. She says her teachers have always incorporated the grounds into the curriculum for their students, who range in age from two-and-a-half to 12.
But for the upcoming school year, using outdoor space will not only be instructional … it will be imperative.
1 ALICIA ENRIGHT [0:22 -]
ALICIA DAVIS ENRIGHT: It just seemed so evident to me that the priority is bringing children back to school. And knowing that being outside is a safe option, it just seemed like the only real solution…
Keeping the students safely separated requires splitting them up. While some students work on lessons indoors—with windows cracked and fans blowing—others will meet outside.
1 ALICIA ENRIGHT: [6:22 -]
ALICIA ENRIGHT: So, there are many expenses that go along with this. It’s not an endeavor we’re taking lightly… [6:32 -] So, we’re taking the time to… get the professional grade tents, invest in new furniture having outdoor sinks installed [ENRIGHT STARTS TO SAY ‘STINKS’ INSTEAD OF ‘SINKS’. CAN THAT BE CUT PLEASE?] …
Enright hopes to offset the non-profit school’s additional expenses with grants and sponsorships.
Andy Zawacki is head of Arborbrook Christian Academy in Matthews, North Carolina. He says his school will most likely dip into reserves to develop the outdoor areas necessary to space out their 200 K-through-12 students.
ANDY ARBORBROOK: [26:36 -]
ANDY ZAWACKI: The outdoor space [RUN UNDER VO]…
Building a pavilion to accommodate outdoor lunches and classrooms will probably be the most expensive outlay, around $10-thousand dollars. Other spaces are more simply designed and constructed using tree stumps for seats and triangular fabric awnings to protect students from the sun or rain.
The school has ways to off-set some of the unplanned expenses.
ANDY ARBORBROOK: [26:42 -]
ANDY ZAWACKI: We have parents that have to volunteer… [26:51 -] We use all our own people. So, we’re not paying contractors for that.
Indoors, staff and students 11 years old and up will have to wear masks. Daily activities will minimize co-mingling among the grades.
Response to Arborbrook’s return to in-person learning has been mostly positive. The surrounding public schools will begin the semester online, with students meeting on campus only once a week. Parents who want their students in a classroom have been calling Zawacki.
And K through 12 schools aren’t the only ones meeting outdoors. Earlier this month, Houston’s Rice University announced plans to pitch large tents on campus for outdoor lectures. Students are invited to bring their own chairs.
About half of U-S colleges are planning for in-person classes according to a recent survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. About one-third will use a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning.
Standard disease mitigation practices on campus include social distancing, mask requirements, and monitoring daily symptoms.
Natasha Martin is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego. She outlined another proactive measure her university is taking in a video posted online.
NATASHA MARTIN: [0:05] U – C San Diego Return to Learn program is an effort to test all students, faculty and staff in the U- C San Diego community for the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19…
In May, almost 16-hundred UC San Diego resident students were screened for the virus. None tested positive. Beginning in September, the school plans to test all students, faculty, and staff every month in an effort to thwart a potential outbreak.
Churches are also anxious to avoid outbreaks in their congregations. But they’re equally anxious to start meeting in person again.
To ensure worship services do not exceed state-mandated gathering limits, the three campuses of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota require worshippers to reserve seats for services.
MUSIC: PLAY UNDER VO. FADE OUT BEFORE VOICES COME UP
Shoreline Church in Willoughby, Ohio, spreads out worshippers by separating interlocking chairs into small groups. To avoid overcrowding, the church added a second morning service soon after returning to in-person worship.
Even so, Pastor Scott Kennedy noticed some members stayed away. He believed the popularity of an outdoor service on Memorial Day weekend held the solution.
SCOTT SHORELINE CHURCH [11:25 – ]
SCOTT KENNEDY: Outdoors seems to breed a little bit, at least a little bit, more, I’d say, peace of mind for people as it relates to virus spread…
People seemed to feel normal, less anxious outside. So, the church is considering moving all services outdoors for the month of August.
Changing seasons will require new solutions. Kennedy doesn’t think outdoor services can endure Ohio’s winter.
But in at least some schools, outdoor classrooms won’t close as the temperatures drop. Both Alicia Enright and Andy Zawacki say they are committed to using their schools’ outdoor spaces year-round.
BEGIN ANDY ARBORBROOK [11:20 RUN UNDER VO]
Zawacki admits parents will need to plan their student’s wardrobe accordingly.
ANDY ARBORBROOK [11:25]
ANDY ZAWACKI: Your shoes? You can expect they’re going to get muddy… They’re going to get dirty… Don’t spend a ton of money on shoes, even your polos – buy the cheap ones. Because they will likely get dirty… [11:43 -] We want them to see God’s creation….and we want them to know him as Creator.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Vermont farmer Joe Marszalkowski recently found something rather bizarre in his soybean field.
Partially dug into the soil between green rows of soybean leaves he found … a prosthetic leg. Very odd, considering no one on the farm owns a prosthetic leg. And how it got there was even stranger.
It fell from the sky.
The leg belonged to double amputee Chris Marckres, who lost the leg while skydiving. He told NECN tv …
MARCHRES: I think my adrenaline was so high and I was just so excited, I didn’t even realize that I had lost it.
He then put out the word on social media that he’d lost his leg. Joe Marszalkowski saw the post and soon thereafter, spotted the leg. Beyond a few scratches, it was undamaged.
MARSZALKOWSKI: Always gotta keep an eye out … a needle in a haystack.
Marckres had offered a reward to whoever found it, but Marszalkowski turned it down.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, July 30th.
Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: another in our occasional series: Notable Speeches Past and Present. Today an excerpt of a recent message from former N-F-L football player Benjamin Watson.
BROWN: Watson was a well-known tight end with several teams, including the New Orleans Saints. In 20-14, he wrote a very personal social media post expressing his concerns over the unrest in Fergusson, Missouri. It went viral. As an African American Christian, Watson ended his comments by saying that: “ultimately the problem is not a skin problem, it is a sin problem.” He added that it’s only through the gospel that we have hope.
BASHAM: Last month, he addressed a gathering of Capitol Hill staffers during a Faith and Law Friday Forum lunch over Zoom. His message was titled: “Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race.” Here are excerpts of that talk.
BENJAMIN WATSON: When we talk about the concept of race, I always hesitate to even say that word because scripture talks a lot about there being one race. Talks about the book of Acts that for one race He made God made all nations, all those all peoples, and even by using the term race. I feel that we sometimes reinforce that ideology, and the idea of racism in the idea of a hierarchy of specific races.
The sad thing though is that that’s sometimes the only word and vocabulary I have to use to describe what we’re going to talk about. So on a larger scale I am going to use the word race, when I, when I talk to you all about this topic but, I think as we step back it’s vitally important that we all think about the terms that we even use to describe other people.
Think about if those terms are Biblical terms, or are they simply cultural terms that allow us to communicate, but within those cultural terms, we reinforce bad, non-Biblical ideology that reinforces what we’re actually trying to confront.
This issue of racism is insidious, and it touches so much of our lives in ways that we don’t know. It touches it obviously in ways that we can point out, but there are many other ways that go unseen, that are unheard, that that seem to just bubble up to the surface, and for many of us sometimes we seem surprised when they happen but they are, they are all along.
When we look at these, this specific issue of racism or policing, or whatever it is that you’re that you see as the clarion call at this moment. God has a heart for justice. He also has a heart for kindness, how we speak to one another, how we treat one another. The empathy that we show to one another is vitally important.
We’re in a very very polarizing time. All you have to do is turn on the television set, and you can see how polarizing things are right now. And there is nothing in the middle—you have to stick to your tribe, you have to stick to the mantra of your tribe, hell or high water. There’s no empathy, there’s no kindness. God is a God of kindness. He’s also a God of righteousness. He’s a God of a supreme moral standard that He calls all men and women to in the Bible.
We obviously do that as believers through the blood of Jesus. We cannot do it on your own. But there is a specific moral standard that God has called all of us to, and that He expects us to live by. And that goes with every issue that we’re involved with. So when it comes to the issue of dealing with racism, there’s a moral standard.
He expects us to lead. He expects us to live our lives in accordance to not just our culture, not just our experience, nor even other people who aren’t like us, not just our family’s experience or ancestors are even really what’s true in a culture today. He expects us to live with each other, especially believers, with a standard of righteousness that He calls us on all to. And that comes directly from his word.
The tough thing that we deal with is walking the fine line between progress, and the projection of what we want to happen. To the progresses, yeah, you know, we vote. We’re allowed to go to school and ride on the bus, you know we’re allowed to engage in ways that my parents weren’t able to. You look across when it comes to racial issues, there seems to be, you know, progression when it comes to blacks in certain positions. Hey, there was a Black president. Now does that mean everything’s okay? No, it doesn’t, by far, but the fact that it even happened is progress.
So we must acknowledge the progress, but at the same time, we have to be real about the gap in wealth and income, we have to be real about disparities in education we have to be real in maternal mortality rates, we have to be real with all those things as well, so I wrote that I was hopeless but I’m also hopeful, and then finally I wrote that I was encouraged because, in light of everything that happens, the gospel gives us hope. And the gospel gives us hope because we are already reconciled, through Christ. We just have to live it.
And that’s where we get messed up with our culture. Our culture, black, white, in between, whatever, it becomes a stumbling block, because that prevents us as believers to walk in what has already happened. And so that is the challenge that we pray that the Lord deliver us from our culture sometimes and the expectations, and really the limitations that it creates when it comes to this issue specifically.
In John 17, Jesus is praying, and my grandma always said that, you know, that’s the real Lord’s Prayer. We say the Lord’s Prayer is, you know, “Our Father in heaven…” She says no, the real Lord’s Prayer is John 17, because that’s when Jesus was actually praying to the Father. So that’s the Lord’s Prayer.
And that prayer is very lengthy and he prays, he prays about, you know, first he He talks to God about what he was about to go through, but he also prays for his disciples and He prays for us, who would hear about him through the work of his disciples. But He said that our unity is imperative because it is a witness to God for proof that God sent Christ.
So our unity, especially as believers. It’s not just about us. It’s about pointing people to the unity of the Father, and the Son, and Holy Spirit, but also pointing people to the fact to be proof, as Christ said, that God sent Him.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Thursday, July 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
Cal Thomas now on the difference between the slogan and the organization Black Lives Matter.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Politicians and advocacy groups have long used labels that have nothing to do with the real intent of legislation or an organization. In essence, they often mislead the public.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a prime example of this. It’s one thing to say “black lives matter,” because they do. It’s another thing entirely to support the organization Black Lives Matter, or BLM.
Of course, you wouldn’t know this from the mainstream media. Reporters have paid scant attention to the background and founding principles of this rapidly spreading organization, even as white CEOs are contributing gobs of money in what appears to be an attempt to protect themselves and their businesses from accusations of racism.
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty has exposed the ideology of BLM in a helpful post that we’ll link to in today’s transcript. WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky has also written an explainer about this.
Acton points out that the founding principles of BLM include a guaranteed minimum income for all black people, free health care, free schooling, free food, free real estate, gender reassignment surgery, and yes, free abortion—even for minors. Apparently unborn black lives don’t matter to BLM.
Defunding the police is another major demand. The local BLM chapter in Washington, D.C., has called for “no new jails. These policies would undoubtedly lead to an increase in crime.
BLM also demands reparations and wants to create a “global liberation movement” that will “overturn U.S. imperialism (and) capitalism.”
BLM also wants to—quote—”disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another.”
There’s much more, but you get the idea. Ironically, many of these policies would only hurt the communities BLM says it wants to help.
Black lives matter because, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, everyone is “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But BLM’s foundational principles and goals seem closer to those of China and the former Soviet Union.
As you just heard from Benjamin Watson, the gospel is ultimately our only hope. Any real solutions to our societal problems must have that at the center. And any purported solution that omits it is no solution at all.
I’m Cal Thomas.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Tomorrow: Disgraced comedian John Crist returned to the spotlight last week, saying he’s healing from his brokenness. What does his statement tell us about how Christians talk about sexual sin today.
That’s on Culture Friday.
And, a new Afghanistan was drama that’s winning lots of praise.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Myrna Brown.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Apostle Paul warns us in Galatians to beware those who preach a Gospel different from the one he preached.
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!