MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The travel industry’s taken a huge hit. We’ll talk with tourism business owners who’ve been hurt.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also teachers resign over COVID fears, leaving some schools and parents scrambling.
Plus a church in Columbus, Ohio, chooses public praise and worship as response to unrest in the city.
And Les Sillars on absolute truth.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, August 18th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Democrats kick off virtual national convention » Democrats kicked off their national convention last night with a first of its kind made-for-tv production. Amid the pandemic, there was no cheering crowd and none of the usual pageantry.
Actress Eva Longoria Bastón hosted the evening’s events from what resembled a network evening news set.
BASTON: Tonight we stand together united by the values we cherish.
Joe Biden led a virtual panel discussion on social justice. And several prominent Democrats followed, speaking remotely by video—each taking aim at President Trump. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo accused the Trump administration of mismanaging the COVID-19 crisis.
CUOMO: The failed federal government that watched New York get ambushed get ambushed by their negligence and watched New York suffer…
Senator Bernie Sanders appealed to his base of passionate supporters, and said the president is—quote—“leading us down the path of authoritarianism.”
SANDERS: Many of the ideas we fought for that just a few years ago were considered radical are now mainstream. If Donald Trump is reelected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy.
And former first lady Michelle Obama urged Democratic voters to turn out in force in November.
M.OBAMA: A presidential election can reveal who we are too, and four years ago, too many people chose to believe that their votes didn’t matter.
Other featured speakers last night included Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and family members of George Floyd.
Among the featured speakers planned for tonight, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and former President Bill Clinton.
Pelosi recalls House to vote on legislation to halt USPS changes » House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling lawmakers back from summer recess to vote on legislation that would stop cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service.
Many Democrats believe newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has intentionally slowed service to prevent efficient mail-in balloting. DeJoy said he’s making changes to stop the post office from hemorrhaging money and make it sustainable.
President Trump on Monday insisted that he wants to speed up the mail, not slow it down and that DeJoy is doing the job he was hired to do.
TRUMP: We’ll take care of the post office. We want to make sure that the post office runs properly. And it hasn’t run properly for many years, probably 50 years it has run very badly.
Changes include stopping overtime pay, removing some mail collection boxes, and reorganizing the executive team. Pelosi wants to pass a bill to halt those changes past Election Day.
House leaders have called Postal Service officials to appear at an Oversight Committee hearing next week.
Iowa storm killed 3, damaged more than 8,000 homes » Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says an unusual storm that slammed the state last week damaged or destroyed more than 8,000 homes and 13 million acres of corn.
At least three people died during a weather event known as a derecho. It packed winds of more than 100 miles per hour. Tens of thousands were still without power on Monday.
Reynolds said she has filed an expedited presidential disaster declaration seeking nearly $4 billion for rebuilding efforts from the federal government.
Federal government moves closer to opening ANWR to drilling » The Trump administration on Monday took another step to opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—or ANWR—to drilling for oil and gas. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed the Record of Decision to determine where oil and gas leasing will take place in ANWR’s coastal plain.
Republicans have attempted to open the area to drilling for decades. President Bill Clinton vetoed a GOP bill to allow drilling in 1995, and Democrats blocked a similar plan 10 years later.
But Congress approved leasing in the refuge in a 2017 tax bill. And in 2018, the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management concluded drilling could be conducted within the coastal plain area without harming wildlife.
Alaska’s Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the decision “a definitive step in the right direction to developing this area’s energy potential.”
But environmentalists vowed to fight the decision.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Report: intel indicates Iran offered bounties for attacks on U.S. troops » U.S. intelligence officials reportedly believe Iran paid bounties to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan for targeting U.S. and coalition troops. That according to a report by CNN on Monday.
The intel community reportedly linked six attacks to Iranian bounties, including a December attack on Bagram Air Base when attackers killed two people and wounded 70 others.
Less than a month later, the United States launched the mission that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
NBA playoffs tip off in Orlando » The NBA playoffs tipped off last night from the league’s so-called coronavirus bubble in Orlando. ESPN had the call…
AUDIO: Driving, Mitchell, finishing!
Utah’s Donovan Mitchell with the bucket there in route to a 57-point performance. But it wasn’t enough. The Denver Nuggets beat the Jazz 135 to 125.
There were no fans in attendance. Like Major League Baseball, the NBA is piping in fake crowd noise for its games.
Also on Monday, the Toronto Raptors downed the Brooklyn Nets 134 to 110. The Boston Celtics edged out the Philadelphia 76’s 109 to 101 and the LA Clippers clipped the Dallas Mavericks 118 to 110.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: travel restrictions are forcing the tourism industry to adapt.
Plus, Les Sillars on subjective vs. absolute truth.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: It’s Tuesday, the 18th of August, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up: COVID-19 and travel.
Last year, the travel industry made up 10 percent of global GDP—making it a $9 trillion industry. And analysts predicted it would just keep growing. But that was before COVID-19 lockdowns and closed borders.
EICHER: The United Nations estimates that so far the world’s tourism industry has lost more than a trillion dollars. If travelers remain grounded for another six months—that number could triple.
WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg spoke to some of the people affected by the decline and brings us this report.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Polly’s Pancake Parlor has been serving up stacks of buttermilk, buckwheat, and gingerbread pancakes, for more than eight decades.
COTE: The restaurant was actually started by my grandmother Polly in 1938. And my grandfather, Wilfred Sugar Bill Dexter.
Kathie Cote and her husband, Dennis, are now the third generation to run the restaurant. It’s become a staple in Sugar Hills, New Hampshire—a small town nestled in the White Mountains.
Cote’s restaurant counts on tourists coming to visit those mountains.
COTE: About 80 percent relies on especially the summer tourist business.
Cote says compared to other businesses, she feels fortunate. Sugar Hill is still attracting people from New York City and Boston.
COTE: It’s probably around 70 percent compared to last year’s numbers, which I think is pretty darn good during a pandemic.
But it still dealt a blow to her profit.
Cote also removed a third of the tables in her restaurant to spread the rest farther apart. But to keep up with new cleaning regulations, she’s kept the same number of staff.
COTE: It’s taken us more work to serve less people. Definitely.
All of these changes have Kathie Cote rethinking the future of Polly’s Pancake Parlor.
COTE: Before COVID we sort of had this view that the kids would take over and run it and everything would be great going on for the fourth generation. But COVID has thrown a new twist at us that nobody saw coming. We’re discussing our alternatives.
Kathie Cote isn’t alone in her uncertainty about what the future holds for businesses that rely heavily on tourism.
In 2020, airlines expect to bring in just half of the revenue they made last year. The hotel and resort sector has lost nearly 5 million jobs. And home-rental company Airbnb cut a quarter of its employees.
One survey found nearly half of Americans cancelled their summer trips. Those cancellations reverberated around the world.
Judith Middlemiss is a sheep farmer in rural North Yorkshire, England. To help pay off her land, she rents out three Airbnb units.
When March lockdowns hit, international and domestic tourists canceled, and her income vanished.
MIDDLEMISS: I had forward bookings of 20,000 pounds, and they just disappeared.
The British government offered three months of mortgage “holiday.” Middlemiss says that helped. Now British city-dwellers are flocking to her rentals.
MIDDLEMISS: But from the Fourth of July, yes, I’ve been just about full.
Further north in Edinburgh, Scotland, Valentino Volante operated four Airbnb rentals. His renters mostly came from the United States, Spain, and Asian countries. Closed borders meant no bookings.
VOLANTE: So yeah, that was like my three sort of in markets sort of wiped out fairly quickly.
Volante had to let three of his properties go.
To avoid becoming COVID-19 casualties, some tourism businesses are adapting.
Whitney Holcomb directs operations at Hess Travel in Bountiful, Utah. The company mostly books corporate business trips.
Analysts predict spending on business travel will drop by more than $800 billion this year. Holcomb has witnessed that cliff-dive.
HOLCOMB: We’re doing roughly 10 percent of what we did last August.
Holcomb anticipates business travel will continue in the future, but safety will be more important than anything. So her company is beefing up security-related services.
HOLCOMB: If I’m in a situation, and I’m traveling, I can tap on the red button on my phone and let someone know if I’m safe and vetting airlines and hotels as to whether they’re meeting a standard of cleanliness. We’re really we’re recognizing booking travel is such a small piece of what we can do for our clients…
Other businesses are taking a new approach to marketing.
Stanley Roach rents out three apartment units in Boise, Idaho. In the past, his guests have typically rented for a weekend or a short vacation.
Now, he’s looking to appeal to the new remote employee who wants to get away but still work.
ROACH: If you have somebody here working full time remotely, you know, they have to have good high speed, reliable internet and Wi Fi. So we have a fiber optic feed. Depending on the situation there needs to be a couple of workspaces in the unit. They can go to places and they can work.
Erin Francis-Cummings is the CEO of Destination Analysts. She says to attract more customers moving forward, tourism businesses will need to emphasize cleanliness.
CUMMINGS: I think that consumers demand for cleanliness, and the personal health safety protocols, that’s going to be sustained into the future.
And Cummings is hopeful about the future. As devastating as this year has been for tourism, she says people still want to travel. Businesses just have to find new ways to help them do it.
CUMMINGS: Americans really see it as a wellness activity and something important to their emotional well being. And I feel like they’ve come to feel like it’s a large part of their identity. I think that they’ll return to it when they can.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: teaching challenges.
Parents aren’t the only ones struggling with the changes COVID-19 has brought to education. Whether their schools are welcoming students in person or offering classes online only, teachers face a very different workplace than the one they abruptly left in March.
MARY REICHARD: And some of them don’t plan to return. As schools across the country prepare for the new school year, many are bracing for a potential wave of retirements and resignations. That could leave some schools short-handed.
WORLD correspondent Laura Edghill has our story.
LAURA EDGHILL, REPORTER: Fifty-eight year-old Catherine Good never dreamed she would retire in the midst of a global pandemic.
GOOD: When the whole COVID thing came up, then it was like, OK, is this really how I want to end? Is this, you know, the way I want to go out?
Good taught special education in Warren, Michigan. And she had summer 2020 in her sights long before the coronavirus emerged.
During a 2015 short-term mission trip to Senegal, Good had an encounter that compelled her to embark on a five-year retirement plan. Then COVID-19 ended her last year much sooner than she expected. That caused her to reconsider leaving.
GOOD: But then in prayer I just felt like, OK, it’s not like God, when He told me five years ago, now He’s like “Oh, I forgot about this pandemic thing! Oh no, wait a minute – you should wait an extra year!”
While Good already had plans to retire this summer, many other teachers didn’t. Now they’re grappling with whether to retire, resign, or take an unpaid leave of absence rather than face a workplace riddled with uncertainty and health risks.
Like Good, many don’t want to close the curtain on decades of faithful service during such an unsettled time.
Veteran Spanish teacher Beth Leitch retired abruptly this summer from Garrett High School just north of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She and her husband Kevin are both in their 60s, and Kevin is a heart-attack survivor. Concerns about bringing the virus home outweighed Leitch’s desire to continue in a profession she loved.
LEITCH: It was tough. I had dreams, nightmares, and lost a lot of sleep.
And it’s not just those in higher risk age groups exiting the profession. Some younger teachers fear burdening their children with a parent compromised long-term by the virus.
Forty-two-year-old Heidi Hisrich is one of them. She recently made the tough decision to resign her position as an award-winning science teacher at eastern Indiana’s Richmond High School.
HISRICH: I feel at peace with it most of the time. I am not regretting the decision, but I am grieving very deeply. And it comes in waves.
No one knows how many more teachers will leave during the coming weeks as schools wrestle down to the last minute with their fall plans. But signs point to a looming wave of departures.
Michigan’s teachers union surveyed more than 15,000 of its members in May. more than 30 percent said they were seriously considering retiring early or leaving the profession. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average annual rate of teacher attrition across the country is just 8 percent.
The expected exodus could leave many schools with staffing gaps.
Eric Williams is superintendent of Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools, just outside Washington, D.C. He told school board members in late July that staffing concerns were a major consideration in the district’s decision not to return to in-person learning.
WILLIAMS: Based on the latest information we have, we believe that the school year should start with 100 percent distance learning, with very limited or no exceptions and proceed with implementing the planned hybrid model in stages.
Loudoun is one of three major districts around Washington to recently scrap plans for in-person classes. That includes Virginia’s massive Fairfax County Public Schools which reported about 10 percent of its teaching force requested health exemptions under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Back in Michigan, Catherine Good prayed about whether now was the right time to retire. She ultimately decided it was, but not for the reason she had five years ago.
GOOD: All along in my head, my plan has been when I retire, I want to go back into the mission field. My parents are 88, 89 years old and I help them out with lots of things because I live 10 minutes away. So I feel kind of like my plan was mission field, but I think for right now God’s plan is caring for my parents.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Laura Edghill.
NICK EICHER: You’ve no doubt grumbled when encountering problems getting from point A to point B by air. It’s always wise to remember: better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground!
Pregnant mom Chrystal Hicks is one of those who no doubt would’ve preferred being on the ground.
She had to board a plane in remote Glennallen, Alaska, population 483, because she needed medical attention. She was 35 weeks along and had to get to Anchorage—about 150 miles as the crow flies.
You know what’s going to happen right? She starts having contractions, goes into labor, and has to deliver before the plane lands.
As she filled in the birth certificate information 18,000 feet in the air and the choice of name for her son was obvious.
She named him Sky—of course. But the middle name is even more clever: Airon.
It’s all in the spelling. A-i-r-on. Airon.
Little guy is a preemie and needed to be placed on a breathing machine for a few weeks, but otherwise mom and baby are doing great.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, August 18th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you are! Good morning to you. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Economic shutdowns vary in severity across the country, even as protests continue in many U.S. cities. After the death of George Floyd, groups like Black Lives Matter and others have gathered for three months now—sometimes peacefully, other times not.
EICHER: In Ohio, officials estimate protests and riots have cost the state millions in property damage and overtime policing. In the midst of the chaos, one pastor is using a different method of protest: praise and worship.
WORLD correspondent Maria Baer has his story.
AUDIO: [CARS BEEPING, SINGING, PIANO]
MARIA BAER, REPORTER: On Pentecost Sunday, Bishop Johnny Amos of Shiloh Christian Center in Columbus, Ohio, marched his congregation downtown.
AMOS: I was expecting God to move greatly, but I didn’t know exactly what he was going to do. But I had a sense of expectation.
The day before, Columbus Police had declared a state of emergency as impassioned protestors marched downtown. Some broke windows, spray-painted buildings, and scuffled with police officers. The mayor asked the public to avoid the area. Bishop Amos heard another word.
AMOS: The Lord says I want you to go downtown. So I went, and I told the church, hey, the Lord says it’s time for us to be mobile.
Shiloh Christian Center is just a few blocks from the Ohio Statehouse. When Amos and his congregation arrived there on Pentecost Sunday, they made a bit of a scene.
AMOS: Black Lives Matter, and a group called Antifa, had taken over right near Broad and High Street…They heard us worshipping and praising God, and they all came around us and surrounded us, and they listened to us for a minute, then they started yelling: “black lives matter, George Floyd, black lives matter, George Floyd…”
Amos’s group included several other churches he’d invited through social media. A few minutes after the chanting broke out, there came a moment of peace:
AMOS: We began to kneel and pray at the seal, and a good portion of them kneeled when we kneeled. And it was powerful, because the news guy said, look these guys are kneeling down too!
It was the beginning of something. On one hand, it was the beginning of weeks of protests that would cost downtown Columbus businesses and the government an estimated $1.2 million in damage and counting. On the other hand, it was the beginning of a summer of praise for Shiloh Christian Center.
AUDIO: [WORSHIP MUSIC]
Bishop Amos, an African American man, says he too was outraged by George Floyd’s killing. He says God calls His people to stand for justice. One of the strongest weapons in that fight, he says, is worship.
AMOS: Our worship could be our protest. This could be our free right to protest.
So Amos declared 30 Days of Praise: two hours of lunchtime praise and worship every day—complete with pianos, guitars, microphones, and big black speakers. He and his congregation, and anyone else who wanted to join, gathered on the Statehouse lawn each afternoon for an entire month. Churches from all over Ohio volunteered to lead worship and traveled to Columbus to take part
At the beginning of the 30 days, Amos tried to get a permit. But the city had temporarily halted the permitting process because of the riots. The police told Amos he’d have to move his group from the Statehouse lawn to the city sidewalk. He complied. Then, police said the corporate tenants of nearby skyscrapers were complaining about the noise.
AMOS: So we redirected our speakers…And we turned it down again. So we kept adjusting. Once we got complaints and they told us, we adjusted to it.
Some days, the crowd grew to a few dozen worshippers, especially when churches brought groups from out of town. The music attracted onlookers every day, giving Amos and others the opportunity to share the gospel.
AMOS: We’ve had over 30, 35 souls save since we’ve been down here. We baptized two people yesterday…
Mostly, though, a dozen or so dedicated prayer warriors comprised the group that gathered each day on the statehouse lawn. The 30 Days of Praise came and went peacefully, but quickly. A little too quickly, it turns out.
AMOS: There needs to be a continual presence of the Lord downtown. We are now called the Summer of Praise, and we plan out being out here all summer until the Lord tells us not to be.
So, here on a sunny weekday afternoon in early August, Amos and his praying crew are still here. The Ohio Statehouse windows, all along the ground floor, are still boarded up with plywood. A handful of peaceful protestors wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts have set up a tent a few dozen yards from Amos’s group, but there’s no tension here. Just a few car horns and worship.
PRAYER: We pray for your glory, Father God, to come and change everything. We call on your presence, Almighty God…
Amos says the city police still drive by just about every day. They’ve told him he’ll probably get a citation soon. It hasn’t happened yet.
AUDIO: [WORSHIP MUSIC]
Despite the pressure from police, Amos says a few local state highway patrolmen have privately thanked him for what he’s doing. A handful of patrolmen are stationed at the Statehouse every day. They’ve told Amos they think his group has stopped some of the more aggressive protestors.
AMOS: When we sing this old adage says music calms the savage beast. They have told us, you guys disrupt their plans that they had.
Still, this isn’t about a battle with other activists. Amos says his ultimate goal is to bring the Word of God to a hurting city.
AMOS: This is exactly what needs to be released in our streets to have peace in our streets, in our communities. Is the presence of the Lord.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Maria Baer in Columbus, Ohio.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday, August 18th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here’s journalism professor and WORLD commentator Les Sillars now on Paw Patrol and the truth.
LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: During the recent riots, cancel culture warriors went after positive portrayals of police. Here’s Fox News commentator Stuart Varney in June.
VARNEY: The TV show Cops canceled after 32 seasons. And then, believe it or not, there is Paw Patrol.
What? My grandson loves Paw Patrol.
VARNEY: That is an animated TV show featuring Chase, a cartoon German shepherd who helps people. You know, does good things. In a police uniform. But that’s bad. Social media is full of demands to take Chase off the air.
This, Varney said, is a direct threat to free speech.
VARNEY: There is no real debate, no real free speech, if even mild pro-police opinion or shows are censored.
No no no, says Zach Beauchamp, a writer at Vox.com. The free speech debate isn’t really about free speech, he argued. And cancel culture warriors do so support open debate. There have always been limits on free speech, he pointed out. The question is, who gets to draw the boundaries?
Social justice activism doesn’t restrict freedom, he argued. It expands it. Sure, maybe they overreach a bit sometimes. But they’re just shifting the boundaries left to let silenced and oppressed minorities speak. And it’s about time.
It was an amazing piece of sophistry. Beauchamp turned a partial truth about free speech into an argument that silencing the views of half the country enhances free speech.
Yes, free speech has limits, and it should. The Founders never intended the First Amendment to mean, “Anyone can say anything.” They wanted to ensure citizens could criticize their governments without punishment. But they supported reasonable limits and laws against things like libel.
The recent shift leftward obviously narrows the bounds of free speech. But there’s an even bigger problem.
Free speech only works if everybody is seeking the truth in good faith. Milton argued in 1644 that (I paraphrase) if you let truth and falsehood battle it out in a free and open encounter, truth will win. That way we can find justice and settle conflicts with words, not armies.
But some people aren’t really searching for truth, not if it limits their autonomy. They want to win. That’s when free speech leads to chaos. It’s why truth doesn’t always win in the public square.
Cancel culture isn’t about searching for truth. It’s about “equity” and “power.” Beauchamp wrote that it’s about, quote, “making historically marginalized voices feel comfortable enough in the public square to be their authentic selves, to exist honestly and speak their own truths.”
Exactly. Their truths. Not the truth.
For cancel culture warriors, speech is just a tool for exerting power. Of course they’ll try to silence other views. We should stop being surprised by this.
Free speech is important, but we also have to affirm the existence of absolute truth. We can’t know all truth but surely we can know some. That’s because of the One who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Light.” We proclaim that truth regardless of what the culture tries to cancel.
I’m Les Sillars.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: We’ll check in on the presidential campaign with WORLD’s Jamie Dean.
And, last month marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We’ll hear from people whose lives improved as a result.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Go now in grace and peace.