MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
The mess halls and cabins at many Christian camps will be empty this summer. But that doesn’t mean camp counselors are giving up on reaching kids.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also, the social media scene is dominated by just a few very big players. As they lose public trust over free speech, alternate players are springing up.
Plus our Classic Book of the Month. Reviewer Emily Whitten recommends two books on radical forgiveness and reconciliation.
And WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky on the mind-numbing drumbeat of the liberal media.
BROWN: It’s Tuesday, July 7th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with the news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Supreme Court upholds state laws banning faithless electors » The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that states can bar so-called faithless electors. That means members of the electoral college cannot cast a vote for someone other than the candidate backed by voters in their state.
The ruling centers on cases in Washington state and Colorado but it upholds laws in 32 states and the District of Columbia, binding electors to vote for the popular-vote winner.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold…
GRISWOLD: So state laws binding electors are just so important to make sure that, frankly, it’s harder to run disinformation campaigns. You know, it’s a lot harder to have to trick lots of people, millions of people, hundreds of people than one or two electors.
Faithless electors have not decided a presidential election, but that could change in a race decided by just a few electoral votes.
Justice Elena Kagen wrote in her majority decision that a state may instruct “electors that they have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens.”
In a separate ruling, the high court upheld a law that bars robocalls to cell phones.
Judge orders shutdown of Dakota Access pipeline » Also on Monday, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending a more thorough environmental review. The decision is a legal victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, three years after the pipeline first began carrying oil following months of protests.
Ron Ness is president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. He said the pipeline “absolutely has met the environmental standards,” and he said the ruling could kill jobs in a time of economic hardship.
NESS: It will not only hurt the oil industry, but the tens of thousands of people that work in North Dakota’s oil industry—run and operate these types of facilities, but it’s going to substantially hurt the state of North Dakota and our economy.
But Tribal Chairman Mike Faith called it a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux. He said “This pipeline should have never been built here.”
The roughly 1,200-mile pipeline straddles the North and South Dakota border near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It crosses beneath the Missouri River, just north of the reservation. The tribe draws its water from the river and fears pollution.
Construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline was the subject of months of protests in 2016 and 2017.
Fla. governor: coronavirus outbreak largely stabilized » Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday that despite a recent surge of newly confirmed cases, he does not believe the coronavirus is getting out of hand in his state.
The positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in Florida has risen in recent weeks and that could be due in part to more young people getting tested. DeSantis told reporters…
DESANTIS: The age that has the most cases in the state of Florida is age 21. And again, without comorbidities present, you’re looking at practically a 0 percent fatality rate.
He noted that the positivity rate has held steady over the past 7 days at about 14 percent.
But the state’s hardest hit county, Miami-Dade finds little solace in that number. The mayor has issued an emergency order closing restaurants and gyms.
Israel announces new lockdowns amid virus surge » Meantime, Israel has announced a new round of lockdowns amid a resurgence of the virus there. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Israeli government on Monday announced the first new lockdowns in two months.
Bars, gyms, event centers, public pools, and other gathering places are shutting down. And restaurants and synagogues will be limited to partial capacity.
The Israeli government is also raising the fine for not wearing a mask in public to the equivalent of nearly $150 U.S. dollars.
The country’s health minister said “to save lives and to save the economy, we must flatten the curve.”
With the recent spike in new cases, Israel now has more than 12,000 active cases and nearly a hundred people hospitalized in serious condition.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Beijing blasts U.K. for “interference in China’s internal affairs” » China’s ambassador to the UK said Monday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was out of line to offer citizenship to 3 million people from Hong Kong.
XIAOMING: This move constitutes a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said Hong Kong is part of China, and—quote—“no one should underestimate the firm determination of China to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Johnson announced the new visa and citizenship route for certain Hong Kong residents last week after Beijing imposed a law that strips Hong Kong of key liberties. Johnson said China was in “serious breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. That was the agreement by which the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.
Johnson’s office said the government was “also reviewing extradition arrangements with Hong Kong.”
Country music legend Charlie Daniels dies » Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died Monday at the age of 83.
The singer-songwriter was best known for his 1979 crossover hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
MUSIC: [Devil Went Down to Georgia]
Daniels’ career took him to the White House, the Super Bowl, and even to the Middle East, where he often played for U.S. troops.
Daniels also played himself in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy. The North Carolina native wasn’t shy about his faith. He said “I want to see people understanding the gospel message. I think sometimes the reason they don’t is because of the simplicity. There’s nothing you can do but repent and believe. You can’t earn it.”
Daniels is survived by his wife of 55 years, Hazel, and their son Charlie Daniels Jr.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the shifting social media landscape.
Plus, Marvin Olasky on mainstream media and mandolins.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN: It’s Tuesday the 7th of July, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: seeking social media alternatives.
Senator Ted Cruz announced last month that he would start using a relatively unknown social media platform called Parler. It describes itself as an “unbiased” alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Senator Cruz announced his decision by way of the video sharing site YouTube.
CRUZ: Big Tech is out of control. Filled with hubris and flagrantly silencing those with whom they disagree. From conservative media organizations to the president of the United States, and millions of Americans in between. That’s why I’m proud to join Parler. This platform gets what free speech is all about. And I’m excited to be a part of it.
BROWN: Cruz’s announcement comes amid a growing dissatisfaction with the major social-media platforms. Republicans, conservatives, and Christians are especially unhappy with attempts to silence their views on issues like abortion, sexuality, and gender—not to mention political positions.
EICHER: But social media platforms also face criticism from their big advertisers for not clamping down enough on certain kinds of posts. Last week, companies ranging from Adidas to Coca Cola, from Ford to Verizon began an advertising boycott of Facebook. The goal was to force the company to curtail so-called hate speech on its platform.
BROWN: Joining us now to talk about the current social media landscape is Jason Thacker. He’s an associate research fellow at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. And he specializes in technology. Good morning, Jason!
JASON THACKER, GUEST: Good morning, Myrna. Thank you for having me.
BROWN: We mentioned Parler already. What other alternative social media platforms are gaining popularity?
THACKER: Yeah, and that’s the really important question is “gaining popularity.” Much like Parler, there are countless number of applications, but honestly, not many that are super viable. Because you see a lot of these startups like Vine and even Tik Tok that have grown immensely in popularity but most of the time they merge with other companies. They’re purchased up. Or some just really lose that sustainable user base and fall under the radar before being shut down.
BROWN: You mentioned being able to be sustainable, do you think any of them have a chance of dethroning the major social media platforms that have become so ubiquitous?
THACKER: I mean, reality is we don’t have a lot of the major kind of early adopters of platforming and social media that we had with Myspace anymore. These things do have life cycles. But the reality is that your major platforms like a Twitter and Facebook are so large that they do kind of have outsized influence and sustainability and especially in this modern day, but I don’t think you’re going to have somebody knock off some of the major ones, even though there’s a lot of distrust and a lot of anger and misformed opinions, often, about the way these online communities function.
So it’s just kind of an ongoing revolving question about the viability of these platforms and are they really going to have a chance to gain that type of user base to make an impact.
BROWN: From a free market perspective, having a variety of social media platforms is a good thing. But is there a downside, especially if they increase our tendency to talk past each other in areas where we disagree?
THACKER: Yeah, and as you said, there are many benefits to these things and I think that often we overlook that because there are real problems and questions we need to debate. But just like any technology, there’s always downsides to it. And so it’s so easy now to find an application that’s suited just for you that really becomes kind of an echo chamber. I mean, even Twitter itself has become an echo chamber because we often fail to realize that these platforms that the majority of Americans or even users across the world are not actually on these platforms. Comparatively, they have very small user bases. But it’s so easy to act like that is the world and kind of get into these echo chambers or sub communities within these larger communities. And so I think for us we need to realize there’s always benefits and there’s always dangers to these types of technologies, and as Christians we need to approach them with wisdom, with caution, with thoughtfulness, which is not often something that’s super prized in kind of this reactionary age where we have to respond immediately to something. Sometimes taking that step back and being thoughtful and wise in our approach will really help to set us apart from the rest of our communities and culture.
BROWN: Cruz and others say efforts to control what people post on social media stems from the pervasive political and cultural perspective in Silicon Valley. But won’t there always be a need to set certain limits, given what we know about human nature?
THACKER: Yeah, I definitely do think there will be and we’re even seeing that with the rise of Parler. I mean, they already have certain content moderation policies and that’s really where the core of the debate gets to is that conservatives say that we shouldn’t have such stringent or intense kind of content moderation policies. More left-leaning or more liberal folks when they approach these things said we should have stricter things about hate speech and about bullying or harassment and about misinformation and about mistruths. And so, really, the debate isn’t so much about is it free or not free as much as how free is it?
But how do we have content moderation policies that are healthy, that are appropriate, and that do foster deeper dialogue and connections with other folks.
BROWN: Jason Thacker is with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He’s also recently released a book about artificial intelligence. It’s titled, The Age of AI. Thanks for joining us today, Jason!
THACKER: Thank you for having me.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: summer camps and COVID-19.
For many kids, summer time means trips to camp. Back in the day, it was hockey camp up in the northwoods of Haliburton, Ontario.
If I were a kid today, I couldn’t even cross the border for a purpose deemed nonessential.
Now, you’d think Canadians of all people would understand that hockey is an essential activity, but such is the seriousness of COVID-19 that they don’t.
MYRNA BROWN: They’re not alone, either.
Most Christian camps won’t be hosting any kiddos this summer.
But camp leaders aren’t letting the pandemic keep them from reaching campers for Christ.
WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg has our story.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Louis and Carrie Nelson believe there are few things better than camp. They run Camp Hope high in the mountains near Grand Junction, Colorado.
CARRIE: We really think that’s what Heaven is gonna smell like. Like bug spray and sunscreen.
Camp Hope typically puts on camps in June and July. Many of the campers come from difficult circumstances and unchurched homes. Local churches and donors offer scholarships so any child can attend.
CARRIE: We have hiking trails. We have a craft room, game room, just everything that a kiddo would expect to camp to have.
In April, the Nelsons decided they wouldn’t be able to do camp this year. For them, enforcing social distancing in bathrooms, buses and the camp mess hall would be nearly impossible.
So they started to ponder how they could reach children still at home.
CARRIE: God has called us to these kids. He’s not called us to a camp.
Their answer? Online Bible studies hosted by the people who would have been camp counselors. The Nelsons call their counselors Kingdom Buddies.
CARRIE: We have about 15 Bible studies going through Zoom… Our Kingdom Buddies, we encourage them to let it be organic. Meet with a kiddo. What do they need? Some of them needed to get their schoolwork done. Or they’re struggling with, you know, being home all day and they’re just lonely. They just want to talk.
Louis and Carrie Nelson are also using this slowed down summer to do repairs and remodel their facilities. Usually, they don’t have time for that during the camp slam.
LOUIS: We have the time to fix roofs and decks and windows… and so it really is giving us the opportunity to take a look at what our next 20 years is going to be like and start making those repairs, renovations now.
For other camp ministries, this summer could permanently change how they do camp moving forward.
Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado trains high school and college students in Christian worldview and apologetics. About 200 students come for two weeks at a time. They all stay in a renovated, historic hotel.
Jeff Myers is the president. He says when COVID came, his team members began brainstorming how they could still fulfill their mission.
MYERS: Our mission is to equip and support a rising generation to champion a Biblical worldview and to embrace God’s truth. That mission doesn’t go away just because our facilities might not be operable.
In eight weeks, the team turned their curriculum into an online experience called Summit Virtual. But when parents found out their children couldn’t attend the in-person training, many canceled.
MYERS: That alarmed me because I do not believe we’re in a cultural moment where we can wait a year to give young adults the kind of Biblical worldview training they need…
So Summit offered parents free samples of the online classes, and students can get three college credit hours for attending. That boosted attendance for each session by about 20 percent.
Jeff Myers says going virtual is also allowing the ministry to reach students in other countries.
MYERS: There’s a huge group of students joining us from Singapore. So we believe God has led us through this crisis to develop a whole new avenue of ministry that is global and not bound by time or space.
Another ministry making the most of COVID-19 changes is Royal Family Kids Camp. RFK puts on camps for foster care children in 44 states.
President Paul Martin says nearly all of the camps for this summer have been called off. So instead, RFK is urging its roughly 18,000 volunteer counselors to partner with overwhelmed social workers.
MARTIN: There might be a social worker in a certain state that just needs…coloring books or masks… There might be social workers that need trained nationally background checked volunteers to accompany them with visits.
Martin says the canceled camps are pushing the ministry to think more holistically. Now, RFK is asking more chapters to implement year-long mentorship programs and to put on events for foster children throughout the year.
MARTIN: Increasingly COVID is causing us to think, you know, yes, we’re going to continue to have camps. But we also want to make sure that with our growth that we are equipping these vulnerable children to actually be contributors to their communities.
Still, some camps are adapting so they can offer kids a real-life, traditional camp experience. Joel Young directs Grove Christian Camp near Eugene, Oregon.
YOUNG: Our lodge and our cabins are all kind of out in an open area between the two forests and the river.
Typically, the camp hosts about 1,000 children for overnight and day camps. This summer, no one will be staying overnight. But Young says the camp and its partner churches are working to create day camps that follow state and CDC guidelines.
YOUNG: Like we have a rock climbing wall. After each stable group, it has to be fully sanitized. And everybody will wash their hands before and wash your hands after. We’re doing sack lunches a lot. So kids don’t touch anything with their own sack.
Young says so far not that many parents have registered their children. But even so, he says the extra effort is worth it.
YOUNG: Even if we just have 10 or 12. We want to do it.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
NICK EICHER: Me and you and a dog named Boo—remember that old tune?
Here’s a story about a dog named Roux, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois.
Roux became a hero over the Fourth of July weekend when she noticed something terribly wrong.
Her owner Jeff LeCates told television station WTVF how Roux woke him up.
LECATES: She started barking frantically and turning circles at the front door, which is not a normal behavior for her.
When he opened the door to investigate, Roux burst outside, leading the owner to notice flames lapping the roof of his neighbor’s house.
So LeCates banged on their door, waking the family of three to get them to safety.
Here’s the kicker: the woman whose house caught fire, she’s the one who helped arrange the adoption of Roux. So Roux’s a rescue dog who’s just returning the favor.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, July 7th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. It’s time for our Classic Book of the Month and I’m so happy to get to introduce Emily Whitten. Good morning!
EMILY WHITTEN, BOOK REVIEWER: Good morning, Myrna!
BROWN: What book do you have for us today?
WHITTEN: Two books this time. The first one you’ve probably heard of: The Hiding Place. It’s the story of Dutch Christian Corrie Ten Boom during World War II.
BROWN: Ah, yes, good choice.
WHITTEN: Leading up to the war, Corrie, her father, and her sister, Betsy, ran a watchmaker’s shop in the city of Harlem in the Netherlands. They lived over the shop in the tall, three story building—so they had plenty of room for guests. When Jewish neighbors came to them for help, the Ten Booms invited them in. Eventually, they built a small hidden room in Corrie’s bedroom: a “hiding place” for their guests in the event of a raid. In the documentary Corrie Ten Boom, A Faith Undefeated, one of Corrie’s friends explains:
AUDIO: Everybody was welcome in their house whether Jewish or not. Father Ten Boom said quite distinctly that I will take in anybody who comes to my house whether Jewish or not.
Keep in mind, they didn’t set out to defy the Nazis. Each time the Ten Booms accepted a refugee, God provided the resources to help them—things like ration cards or a more permanent home in the countryside. By the time she got arrested, Corrie led an entire network of underground activity.
BROWN: I’m reminded of the Bible verse, he who is faithful in little will be faithful in much.
WHITTEN: Exactly. Corrie was definitely faithful. Although, after her arrest, that faithfulness looked very different. Rather than work to save others, she struggled to endure persecution with patience and to comfort others. Corrie suffered physically and emotionally in German prisons. She lost four members of her family. Not surprisingly, she struggled to forgive those responsible, especially the man who betrayed her to the police. When she learned that man was on death row, Corrie prayed and wrote him a letter. She forgave him and invited him to find hope and healing in Christ.
Corrie described the man’s response in this Youth With a Mission video:
AUDIO: He wrote, ‘That you could forgive me is such a miracle, that I said, when you give such a forgiveness and love in your followers, there is hope for me. And I have received Jesus as my savior.’ And that man was killed a week later. But he was reconciled with God. And who had God used for that? Me. Me. Who had hated him with a strong hatred.
For much of the rest of her life, Corrie took that message around the world. The hiding place she wanted people to know about wasn’t in her home in the Netherlands. Instead, she wanted people to realize they were safe only in God’s will and His steadfast love.
BROWN: Sounds like an inspiring story. Is this something families could share together? Or would it be too frightening for young kids?
WHITTEN: It’s a great family read aloud. Most teens and older kids should be able to handle the challenging material—things like guards beating prisoners. Families with younger kids could skip over the saddest parts if needed, or they might want to check out one of several kids’ book versions of Corrie Ten Boom’s story.
BROWN: Very good. What’s the second book you wanted to mention before concluding today?
WHITTEN: Yes, thanks. The Hiding Place deals pretty prominently with Nazi ideas of race. That made me think of another helpful book called Beyond Racial Gridlock by George Yancey. Yancey is a Christian sociologist. I disagree with some of his opinions—things like his idea of structural racism. But the core concept of his book really hits the target. He calls it “mutual responsibility,” or “mutual obligations.” He explained during a 20-16 presentation at Covenant College:
AUDIO: So I define it as a Christian based approach whereby we recognize that everyone has a sin nature that has to be accounted for. Thus everyone has an obligation to work toward healthy interracial communications to solve racial problems.
Yancey points out that minority groups in America often focus on white responsibility for racial strife. Many whites, on the other hand, tend to focus on the responsibility of blacks and minorities to fix racial problems. It’s easy to see the speck in your brother’s eye, isn’t it? In contrast, Yancey calls Christians, no matter their skin color, to repent and work together to solve racial problems. He sees that as the Biblical solution.
BROWN: I appreciate that insight. I’m curious, what does a mutual responsibility approach look like in the real world? How would we apply it practically?
WHITTEN: He doesn’t give many specifics, but in that helpful Covenent College talk, he asks us to listen in ways we haven’t before. He talks about “active listening” and assuming others have the best of intentions.
AUDIO: If we want a conversation, we have to assume the best of intentions. We don’t have to be naive. But let’s assume at the beginning and let’s see where we can get. We have to make efforts to listen to others and not assume that only those of our race have all the right answers.
BROWN: Definitely a challenge in our soundbite culture.
WHITTEN: My final thought would be, one way to get beyond soundbites is to pick up a book. To go deep with wise Christians who came before us—people like the Ten Booms who lived out love for their neighbors in creative and selfless ways.
BROWN: Thanks for these recommendations today, Emily.
WHITTEN: You’re very welcome, Myrna. Happy reading!
BROWN: For July, Emily recommends The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. She also mentioned Beyond Racial Gridlock by George Yancey. For more classic book ideas, just search for Classic Book of the Month at worldandeverything.org.
MYRNA BROWN: Today is Tuesday, July 7th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky on how the mainstream media make it hard to think.
MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: As my four sons were growing up I used The Chronicles of Narnia for bedtime reading. C.S. Lewis provides dozens of memorable passages. One of the great moments of book four, The Silver Chair, comes when the evil Queen of Underland tries to lull the heroes into sleepiness. The queen’s main tool is a mandolin she plays with “a steady, monotonous thrumming that you didn’t notice after a few minutes. But the less you noticed it, the more it got into your brain and your blood. This also made it hard to think.”
We’ve heard a similar kind of thrumming for years now from big liberal publications. They make it hard to think. There’s a lot to like about President Trump but also a lot to criticize, so I don’t blame them for criticism: I blame them for having a double standard. For example, remember when a White House leaker let reporters know that President Bill Clinton was using the famed Lincoln Bedroom in the White House as an enticement to big donors: Donate $100,000 or more, get a night? Imagine the attacks if Trump did that!
But a Washington Post reporter told Clinton he was surprised that “anybody would begrudge somebody having guests in their own house.”
Compare the treatment of President Obama and President Trump. To Time magazine’s Joe Klein, Barack Obama was “the political equivalent of a rainbow… inspiring awe and ecstasy.” ABC’s Lara Spencer called Obama “a baby whisperer.” She showed film of the Obamas with a baby: “Watch as the First Lady tries to quiet down the fussy little friend. . . . She then hands the bawling baby to the big man and, presto, the tot is simply transfixed.” Reporters were also transfixed. Thrum, thrum.
I used to write a column once a year quoting big media silliness. Now I’ve stopped: It’s just too easy. But I need to say a goodbye to the journalist I quoted most often, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. He retired in March. He gained notoriety in 2008 for describing what he felt whenever Obama spoke: “this thrill going up my leg.”
Matthews came to mind as we learned more about the Chinese regime’s responsibility for covering up the coronavirus epidemic. Matthews once turned a U.S. train derailment into an advertisement for dictatorship. Matthew said, “In communist countries like China, they just draw a straight line, whether it goes through your house or not. [Amtrak] doesn’t go in a straight line. In this case, it tried to make a turn and turned over, because there’s so many turns on that route. How do you get rid of the turns?”
The answer is obvious: stick in prison anyone who gets in the Communist Party’s way. But Matthews didn’t touch ground-level reality. Like the Queen of the Underland, his non-retired colleagues keep playing the mandolin.
I’m Marvin Olasky.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Russia is accused of offering bounties to Taliban fighters who kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. We’ll talk about that on Washington Wednesday.
And, we’ll visit a restaurant reopening after COVID-19 and learn how deep family traditions are seeing them through the difficulties.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!