The World and Everything in It — September 16, 2020


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

President Trump released a new list of potential Supreme Court justices.  We’ll talk about the political ramifications.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also WORLD Tour. 

And telling Bible stories with comics.

And some thoughts from WORLD founder Joel Belz.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, September 16th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!

REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Hurricane Sally slows, set to make landfall today » Hurricane Sally slowed to crawl on Tuesday over Gulf waters. The storm did not slam the coast last night as expected. But outer rain bands and tropical storm force winds still lashed barrier islands in Alabama. 

AUDIO: [SOUND OF STORM]

Instead, it will make landfall today. It’s now expected to move ashore as a Category 1 hurricane, rather than a Cat 2, as earlier forecasts predicted. 

That means top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour when it strikes land, likely somewhere around the Alabama shoreline. 

But while the storm has been downgraded, wind is not the biggest concern. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham…

GRAHAM: There is even a core in here over 20 inches of rain, so a very dangerous situation, that is torrential rainfall, flash flooding and big issues here from the Florida Panhandle to the Alabama Coast.

And Graham noted that the slower this storm moves, the more rain it will drop as it pushes to the north. Flash flood watches and warnings are now in effect as far inland as north Georgia. 

Israel, UAE, Bahrain sign historic pact at White House » A historic moment at the White House on Tuesday, as leaders from Israel and two Gulf Arab nations signed diplomatic pacts. 

President Trump introduced the leaders to a socially distanced crowd on the South Lawn. 

TRUMP: We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East. 

The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in formalizing the new agreements. 

NETANYAHU: Those who are with us today and those who will join us today and those who will join us tomorrow I say … peace unto thee. Shalom to all of Israel’s friends in the Middle East.  

The new  pacts do not address the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The UAE, Bahrain, and other Arab countries support the Palestinians. But the Trump administration has persuaded the two countries not to let that conflict keep them from making mutually beneficial alliances. 

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that in fact, he sees the agreements as a step toward broader peace in the region. 

Al NAHYAN: A just, comprehensive and enduring two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be the foundation and the bedrock of such peace. 

He added—quote—“Today, we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East—a change that will send hope around the world.”

Trump warns Iran following reports of assassination plot » The Arab nations and the world’s only Jewish state have found common ground in their common opposition to Iran.

And on Tuesday, President Trump issued a stern warning to Iran on Twitter. He said—quote—“Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!”

His warning follows reports that intelligence officials have warned about a possible plot by Iran to assassinate a U.S. ambassador. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News…

POMPEO: The Islamic Republic of Iran is engaged in assassination efforts all across the world. They’ve assassinated people in Europe and in other parts of the world. We take these kinds of allegations seriously. We’ll do everything that’s within our means to protect any one of our officials. 

The plot is said to involve U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks.

Iran’s alleged plans could be in retaliation for the January U.S. strike that killed Irianian General Qasem Soleimani, who commanded terrorist operations for Iran.

Louisville reportedly paying millions in Breonna Taylor settlement » The city of Louisville, Kentucky, will pay millions to the mother of Breonna Taylor months after she was killed by police. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: A person who has seen the settlement told The Associated Press it is the largest sum paid by the city for a police misconduct case. 

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed the lawsuit in April. It alleges the police used flawed information when they obtained a “no-knock” warrant to enter the 26-year-old woman’s apartment in March. 

Taylor and her boyfriend were roused from bed by police, and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, has said he fired once at the officers thinking it was an intruder. Investigators say police were returning fire when they shot Taylor several times. Investigators found no drugs at her home.

The state’s attorney general is still investigating the incident. The city has since banned the use of the no-knock warrants.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Navalny posts hospital photo and greeting to supporters » Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Tuesday posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed. He’s still recuperating in Germany from being poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. 

The photo shows him with his wife and two children as he sits upright in his bed in a hospital gown.

He posted the photo while wryly joking about his recovery and being able to breathe on his own. 

On Monday, the hospital said he had been removed from a ventilator and was able to leave his bed for “short periods of time.”

A spokesperson for Navalny says the 44-year-old plans to return to Russia soon.

I’m Kent Covington. 

Straight ahead: campaigning on Supreme Court picks.

Plus, WORLD founder Joel Belz on the appeal of a leader who knows what he thinks.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Wednesday, the 16th of September, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up: Supreme Court nominees.

Last week, President Trump released a list of 20 potential Supreme Court nominees he has promised to pick from, should he get elected to a second term and have a high court vacancy to fill. Here he is making the announcement at the White House.

TRUMP: Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment, and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed.

BASHAM: The president already had a list of potential high court nominees. He released two, in fact, during his 2016 campaign. And that was widely credited with helping him win the White House. But the Supreme Court had an empty seat at the time, and there’s not one now. Still, the president warned, that could easily change during the next four years.

TRUMP: In all likelihood, one, two, three, and even four Supreme Court justices. The outcome of these decisions will determine whether we hold fast to our nation’s founding principles or whether they are lost forever.

President Trump warned that his rival for the White House would put forth nominees who are “extremely far-left” and who could never stand up to public scrutiny. Joe Biden has not released his own list of potential nominees. He’s only pledged to nominate the first black woman to the high court. The president says that’s not good enough and challenged Biden to name names so that voters have a more informed vote come November. 

But will the Supreme Court play as big a role in this election as it did last time?Joining us now to talk about it is John Malcolm. He’s director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Thanks for joining us today.

JOHN MALCOLM, GUEST: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Good to be with you.

REICHARD: President Trump’s first list of potential Supreme Court nominees came in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. That amplified the importance of who would get to fill that seat—that is, whoever won the White House. President Trump amended the list in 2017 and added Brett Kavanaugh, who became his second nominee and is now Justice Kavanaugh.

A lot of names remain on this current list. John, talk about timing. Why put out a refreshed list right now?

MALCOLM: I think for a variety of reasons. One, it’s to remind people who supported him about how important the Supreme Court list was to his past election and, obviously, the next president is likely to have other vacancies on the court to fill. And also to highlight the importance that the Trump administration has placed on naming high quality men and women who are committed textualists and originalists not only to the Supreme Court but also to the lower federal courts as well.

REICHARD: Three of those new additions are sitting U.S. Senators: Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri. Senators Cruz and Hawley say they’re not interested in the job. So what do you make of the president including them?

MALCOLM: Well, so before this latest iteration of this list, there had only been one non-judge on the list. That was Senator Mike Lee. This last iteration adds quite a few names, so not only the three senators whom you just named, but also Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky attorney general, and five current or former government officials who have never served as judges. So, clearly, the president has widened his aperture somewhat. I think many of the names on the list, including those three senators Cruz, Cotton, and Hawley, are all known and well-liked and admired by social conservatives. I detected a slight nod toward social conservatives with respect to this latest list. But all of these—all four of the senators, including Senator Lee, are certainly well-qualified if they were interested in serving on the court. Three of them clerked for Supreme Court justices and the fourth, Tom Cotton, clerked for Jerry Smith on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. So, they have bona fides in their own right. Whether they would accept a nomination if offered one, I don’t know.

REICHARD: Is this a big departure from the norm to have people on the list that have never been judges?

MALCOLM: Yes. But it’s not unprecedented. Elena Kagan, who sits on the Supreme Court and whether you agree with her or disagree with her, you have to admire her legal acumen. She never served as a judge on any court before and so it is unusual. Most of the people who get named to the Supreme Court are not only judges but usually are federal appellate judges. But it’s not unprecedented.

REICHARD: President Trump pledged to fill vacancies with people in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and current justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Why so specific as that, do you think?

MALCOLM: Well, because I think that those three justices are admired widely in conservative circles as being committed originalists and textualists. That is a judicial philosophy that the president obviously admires, as do I.

REICHARD: Joe Biden has not released his own list as we said in the intro. He says he’s working on one but no word on whether he plans to make it public. The Supreme Court influences so many areas of our cultural and political life, for good or for ill. Does this mean naming names of potential nominees will become a common practice in presidential campaigns?

MALCOLM: Might be. So it had never happened before and Donald Trump broke the mold in 2016 when he came out with his list. It was actually instrumental in terms of his winning the race. There were a lot of people who were very, very skeptical. Some of them probably still are skeptical about President Trump and his conservative bona fides. But they cared a lot about the judiciary and at the time the vacancy that existed on the Supreme Court and when President Trump—then candidate Donald Trump—put out that list, there were a lot of people who breathed a sigh of relief and said, well, we may not know or trust Donald Trump on a whole host of issues, but on this issue which we care a lot about, this is a solid list. And he has certainly performed during his first term, keeping to that pledge.

REICHARD:  Along those lines: This past term with two justices Trump chose turned out decisions that were a disappointment for many conservatives. For example, ruling that federal employment discrimination laws protect LGBT employees, essentially redefining terms not intended when the law was passed. Do you think this changes things?

MALCOLM: Well, so you’re referring to the Bostock decision, which was written by Justice Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice Roberts. I do think it changes things in this regard: As I pointed out a moment ago, I think this new list contains a lot of names of people who are known and admired by social conservatives. It doesn’t make them any less qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, but they’re names that people will have a certain comfort level. They might have taken position as judges in religious liberty cases or in abortion cases that were pleasing to social conservatives, or before they became judges they served for religious liberty organizations—like Lawrence Van Dyke working for the Becket Fund, Sarah Pitlyk working for the Thomas More Society. So, I detected a slight shift away from judges who had expressed reluctance or had criticized the administrative state more towards people who have a bit of a track record on issues that social conservatives would care about.

REICHARD: And finally, John, I want to return to the question we started with. How big a role do you think the Supreme Court will play in this year’s election?

MALCOLM: Well, it oughta play a big role. There is a very, very narrow conservative majority, if you could even call it that, on the court now. The next president is going to get to name at least one, if not, as the president said, three or four—and that is a possibility—justices to the Supreme Court and, of course, will have many opportunities to fill hundreds of vacancies on the lower federal courts. And, as you pointed out, these judges decide issues of great consequence, both statutory cases and constitutional cases that affect all of us. So I think that the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts of appeals ought to be considered to be on the ballot in every election and they certainly are with this one.

REICHARD: John Malcolm is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Thanks so much for joining us today.

MALCOLM: Good to be with you.


MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: DRC mine flood, collapse—We start today here in Africa.

AUDIO: [DRC mine collapse recovery]

More than 50 people died after a gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo flooded on Friday.

Heavy rains drenched the area, and a nearby river overflowed. The floodwaters filled the mine’s tunnels with a strong current, and the rain triggered landslides that caused the mine to collapse. Rescue crews dug through the mud in a futile search for survivors.

The DRC has huge reserves of gold, copper, and other valuable minerals. Accidents in rural mines are common due to poor safety standards and dangerous working conditions.

Nepal landslide—Heavy rain is also causing problems in Asia.

AUDIO: [Nepal landslide reaction]

Monsoon rains have pounded Nepal over the past month. They caused a foothill to collapse, triggering landslides that swept through three villages on Sunday. The landslides killed at least 11 people and injured five. Twenty others are still missing. The mud swept away trees and buried homes up to the roofline, leaving behind swaths of tumbled boulders and chunks of concrete.

The villages are located near Nepal’s border with China. The region has suffered multiple landslides this year. A local mayor says a 2015 earthquake may have weakened the area, leaving it more vulnerable to landslides.

Japan prime minister—Next, we go to Japan.

SUGA: [SPEAKING IN JAPANESE]

Yoshihide Suga is set to become the country’s next prime minister. Japan’s governing party elected Suga as its new leader after current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation last month. Suga previously served as Abe’s chief cabinet secretary.

The Japanese parliament will vote on the new prime minister today. Because Abe and Suga’s political party holds a majority, Suga is almost certain to win the vote. He has promised to maintain Abe’s economic approach and foreign policy strategies. That includes prioritizing trade with the United States while keeping a good relationship with China.

Ancient dates revived—And finally, we end today in Israel.

Scientists have brought a handful of 2,000-year-old date seeds back to life. After discovering the Judean date seeds at an archaeological site, scientists soaked them in water, planted them, and watched them sprout. After years of cultivation, the date palms finally produced fruit. The scientists harvested the dates just last week.

ISRAELI SCIENTIST: Historically, of course, it’s fascinating to wake something up that’s been asleep that long.

The Judean date was extolled in ancient writings for its delicious flavor and medicinal value. It reportedly died out around 500 A.D.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.


MEGAN BASHAM: Zack Wheeler is a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Wheeler missed his last start against the Marlins this week after injuring his right middle finger.

But the injury did not occur on the field.

Phillies Manager Joe Girardi told reporters, well, you can’t make this up.

GIRARDI: What happened was he caught his fingernail on his middle finger on his jeans and separated the nail from the nail bed. It was really swollen.

And the notoriously tough sports media in Philly pulled no punches. WCAU in Philadelphia ran a headline that read …ready for this?

“Top Pitcher Out With Freak Injury as Phillies Can’t Even Put Their Pants on Right”

Wheeler is in the first year of a 5-year $118 million contract, you know they want that finger to heal up fast!

It’s The World and Everything in It.


MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, September 16th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad to have you along today. Good morning. I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: animating Scripture.

Some of America’s most famous heroic characters are brought to life in comic books and comic strips: think Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Captain America, Spiderman … and the list goes on. 

Well, ten years ago, a new comic book came out that centered around a much more important hero. One who didn’t use might to make right.

BASHAM: The comic book is called the Action Bible and it tells the story of Jesus from the creation account to His death and resurrection. So far, it’s been translated into more than 30 languages and has sold well over a million copies in the United States. WORLD’S Sarah Schweinsberg met up with the illustrator.

CARIELLO: Let me show you something. 

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Like many garages, Sergio Cariello’s has a good number of boxes. But these aren’t packed with old tax returns, family photos, or birthday cards. 

These contain Cariello’s comic drawings. 

CARIELLO:  This is the Action Bible right here. All the originals. 

SCHWEINSBERG: How many: 750, 750 pages.

Pages of battles, miracles, romance, sacrifice, prophecies, and instruction. The Bible, told through comics. 

Each page has several illustrations on it, adding up to thousands of individual drawings that started as simple pencil sketches. Once Cariello was happy with the rough drawings, he had to trace each one with ink. 

CARIELLO: We don’t want the pencil to show through. So we erase the pencil and the ink will remain.

Then he enlarged, scanned and emailed each layout to the publisher. All-in-all, the process took more than three years. 

CARIELLO: 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. 

The project was a dream come true.

Sergio Cariello was born in Brazil, but he grew up loving American comics.

CARIELLO: Whenever I wanted to read American comics, I will go to the local airport and read the the original English, colorful comic books.

He also learned to create his own. 

CARIELLO: My brother and I, we would fill you know every piece of paper with our scribbles and sometimes we will draw on the walls, on the furniture…

Cariello dreamed of coming to the United States to study and work for comic studios like Marvel or DC. 

When he was 20, a Bible college in Dover, New Jersey, gave him a scholarship. There, Cariello covered the rest of his tuition by drawing caricatures of students. 

CARIELLO: I had made a big sign here. Have your caricature, 1 minute caricature drawn by Brazilian artist for only $3. 

Then he attended a graphic art school. There he landed an internship with Marvel Comics. Marvel liked his work so much, they hired him to freelance. 

CARIELLO: So I got work to do Daredevil and Spider Man and Conan.

Not to be out done, DC picked him up too. 

CARIELLO: Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern. 

With those experiences under his belt, publisher David C. Cook approached Cariello about creating the Action Bible. 

Cariello said he wanted to use the style that made DC and Marvel comics so popular: action. And action is created by what Cariello calls dynamic drawing. 

CARIELLO: You feel the emotion by making the figures pop out of the page with a choice of angles, and choice of poses, even exaggerating the pose a bit more from reality to make it really pop. And thus, we marvel at it, right?

Back inside his house, Cariello’s small office looks like a toy museum.

CARIELLO: I’m a big little kid. 

The office is filled with figurines of superheroes, animals, a sword, and even a donkey’s jawbone. 

CARIELLO: I use it to draw, Sampson, and I wanted to know how somebody would hold a Jawbone in his hand, to kill 1,000 Philistines

Today, Sergio Cariello no longer uses a pencil. He draws on a large digital pad with an electric stylus. 

CARIELLO: I have this little guy here. He helps me a lot.

He sits in his office chair and holds a figurine of a man in his right hand and draws with his left. 

CARIELLO: See he moves and stuff.

He stretches out the model’s arms and starts to sketch. 

AUDIO: [SOUND OF STYLUS]

CARIELLO: And I can take pictures or just pose them in a way that I know how to draw them. 

But sometimes knowing what to draw is more difficult than knowing how to draw it. Figuring out how to convert the words of Scriptures into pictures that would make those words clear was a challenge. 

CARIELLO: Whenever I don’t know what to do, I just asked the Lord, you know, what would you have me do here? And sometimes  I just open a good book from art, and start flipping the pages, and my juices start, you know, pumping again and oh, I know.

Cariello creates a fresh page on his drawing pad. He starts sketching the fight between David and Goliath. 

CARIELLO: So right off the bat, you see a big foot of a giant. And you see that David is much smaller. You want to convey in a story that we are dealing with a small guy fighting a huge guy, and we want to show that in a drawing. 

After he finished drawing the Action Bible, Carellio worked with artists to color the comics. Sometimes people have criticized the way characters look. For instance, Jesus has brown hair, brown eyes and fairer skin. 

Cariello says while it’s important to portray historically accurate characters, getting caught up too much in physical attributes misses the point. 

CARIELLO: I’m not saying that the way I drew him is exactly the way he is. I’m saying that God uses our gifts when we present it in a way that we are glorifying him. So he anoints it and uses [it] regardless of us.

This month, the Action Bible publisher is releasing a 10th anniversary edition. 

Sergio Cariello says he believes the Action Bible continues to attract an audience because many people are visual learners. They also love a good Superhero story. And it doesn’t get better than the Bible. 

CARIELLO: It was a little bit different than drawing Batman and Captain America. Because all of those superheroes are for entertaining, but the Bible is not only for entertaining, but it’s for life changing.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg in Holiday, Florida.


MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, September 16th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD founder, Joel Belz.

JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: Of all the criticisms President Trump has to live with, being a middle-of-the-roader isn’t one of them. You may not like his position on an issue, but you’ll know what he thinks.

Immigration? Free trade with China? Prisoners of war like the late John McCain? No hugging the stripe at the center of the road. You know what your president thinks. Or at least what he says he thinks today!

My guess is that this Trumpian straightforwardness is one of the main reasons for whatever popularity he enjoys. Here at WORLD, we regularly get mail saying something like this: “I don’t have to agree with all his policies. I just like the fact that he knows what he believes.” 

Or, as an Iowa farmer told me recently, “I like it that he doesn’t beat around the bush. I don’t have to guess what he thinks.” For my farmer friend, it doesn’t even matter much that the Trump record (like most presidents) includes almost self-contradictory positions on issues of agricultural trade.

This Trump certainty has won the support of large numbers of evangelical Christians along the way. These folks are tired of leaders who constantly seek the mushy middle of the road, and who equivocate on issue after issue. More and more, you can find such leaders within evangelical academia and media, too. 

These opinion-shapers are constantly nudging their followers to move to the middle, to trim the sharp edges off their thinking processes. But hordes of voters worry that in the process of trimming those sharp edges they may also be saying goodbye to their cutting edge. Lots of them voted for Trump four years ago, and many loyalists who will vote for him again in November. 

In choosing that route, these folks will be largely rejecting the counsel of the “evangelical intelligentsia.” For years many colleges, universities, and seminaries have called for a more “open-minded” approach to issues such as the origin of man, the meaning of marriage, and economic structures. The move from “right” to “left” on such issues historically starts in intelligentsia—for both society writ large and evangelicalism specifically.  

Of course, in terms of what is biblically right and wrong, grassroots folks are no more likely to be on target. But the direction of the flow of ideas is worth noting. 

By their very nature, professors and writers are creative folks unwilling to accept the status quo. They’re always looking for new explanations. And we should be thankful God made some people that way. In the right context they keep us looking for His truth.

But, in all that unsettled scheme of things, it’s easy to see why significant numbers of voters find themselves saying: “Forget it! Give me a leader who knows what he thinks!”

I’m Joel Belz.


MEGAN BASHAM: Tomorrow: Russia’s influence. We’ll find out what’s going on behind the scenes on Moscow’s political stage.

And, we’ll bring you the second part of my interview with California megachurch pastor John MacArthur.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Megan Basham.

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.

In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!


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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