MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Christians in Nigeria are under attack by Islamic militants in what human-rights activists say is genocide.
NICK EICHER, HOST: John Stonestreet joins us to talk about that on Culture Friday.
Plus a review of a documentary film about Boys State, where a thousand teenage boys compete for political power.
And Word Play with George Grant.
REICHARD: It’s Friday, September 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: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: High water rescues ongoing as Ala., Fla. brace for more flooding » Rescuers on the Gulf Coast used high-water vehicles Thursday to reach people cut off by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally.
At least one person died in Alabama, where Governor Kay Ivey told reporters…
IVEY: Sally was a record-breaking rain and flooding event. And as the water continues to recede, which may take a few days, we will see a more accurate report of the full devastation.
Across southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, homeowners and businesses began cleaning up, and officials inspected bridges and highways for safety.
Sally’s remnants continued to push deep inland with heavy downpours, threatening flooding across the South—from Alabama all the way to Virginia.
And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned Thursday that means the flood risk has not passed.
DESANTIS: All that water ends up coming down in the different streams, rivers, and tributaries. So all these bodies of water in northwest Florida, you’re probably going to see them rise and crest, and you could see even more flooding over the next couple of days.
At least eight waterways in Alabama and the Panhandle were expected to hit major flood stage by the weekend. Forecasters warned that some could break records, submerge bridges, and swamp homes.
Judge blocks USPS changes blamed for slowing mail » A federal judge on Thursday blocked Postal Service changes blamed for slowing down mail delivery.
Fourteen states sued to halt measures like the so-called “leave behind” policy, where mail trucks have been leaving facilities on time regardless of whether there is more mail to load.
The ruling came as President Trump renewed his attack on expanded mail-in balloting.
TRUMP: The biggest problem we have right now are the ballots, millions of ballots going out. That’s the biggest problem.
In some states, millions of ballots will go out to voters who didn’t request mail-in ballots. Trump has predicted that will result in increased voter fraud.
In his ruling Thursday, District Court Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima, Washington noted Trump’s attacks on expanded mail-in balloting. And he called the changes—quote—“a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has strongly denied that accusation.
Last month, he announced he was pausing many of the cost-cutting changes until after the election. And he said he would approve new measures to help ensure on-time delivery of election mail.
But the 14 states that filed suit said some of the changes remained in place and asked the court to block them.
Jobless claims dip slightly » The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped slightly last week. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Labor Department reported Thursday that 860,000 Americans filed jobless claims last week. That was a drop of 33,000 from the week before.
Overall, 12.6 million are collecting traditional unemployment benefits, compared with just 1.7 million a year ago.
Until the pandemic, weekly U.S. jobless aid applications had never exceeded 700,000. That has now happened for 26 consecutive weeks.
But the economy and job market have recovered somewhat from the initial shock. Employers added 10.6 million jobs from May through August—that’s roughly half of the jobs lost in March and April.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Showdown set over Iran sanctions » The Trump administration is set to announce tomorrow that all UN sanctions on Iran eased under the 2015 nuclear deal are back in force.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained that the nuclear agreement included a provision…
POMPEO: Where under U.N. Security Council provision 2231, any of the nations identified there had the right to say we want the sanctions that were in place prior to that moment to snap back, and that’s what we’ll do.
But the other members of the U.N. Security Council, including U.S. allies, disagree and have vowed to ignore the step. They say the United States can’t invoke a provision of that deal after withdrawing from it in 2018.
That sets the stage for confrontations as the world body prepares for a coronavirus-restricted General Assembly session next week.
The question is how the Trump administration will respond to being ignored. The United States has slapped extensive sanctions on Iran, but also could impose penalties on countries that don’t enforce the U.N. sanctions.
President Trump plans to address Iran in a speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday.
More Iranian nationals charged in US with hacking crimes » Meantime, for the third straight day, federal prosecutors have announced criminal cyber hacking charges against Iranian nationals. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Prosecutors announced the most recent charges Thursday in a U.S. District Court in Virginia. They accuse a member of the Revolutionary Guard and two others of stealing the identities of people working in aerospace and satellite technology.
The hackers used those identities to launch so-called phishing campaigns on the tech workers’ peers to steal sensitive data and intellectual property.
One of the men charged is identified as a leader in the Iranian Dark Coders Team.
The indictment describes it as “a notorious group of Iranian hackers responsible for numerous computer intrusions worldwide.”
Earlier this week, an Iranian national and a Palestinian national were indicted for allegedly defacing U.S. websites. And on Wednesday, the department announced charges against two other Iranian nationals accused of stealing data in a hacking campaign.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: persecution in Nigeria.
Plus, George Grant on the difference between glitter and glister.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Friday the 18th of September, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: Culture Friday.
AUDIO: The Fulani militants came out of nowhere and just started shooting.
This is from an eyewitness of an attack on Christians in Nigeria this summer. You may have noticed the term “Fulani militants.”
To explain: The Fulani are believed to be the world’s largest nomadic group—about 20 million people dispersed across Western Africa.
According to Open Doors, the Fulani are engaged in a campaign that can be described as ethnic cleansing of the Middle Belt of Nigeria. The middle belt is exactly what it describes, the part of the country that separates the north from the south.
In one of the states of the middle belt, Fulani militants are waging “a massive campaign to displace indigenous Christian farmers.”
REICHARD: Nigeria is among the countries where Christians are most in danger for practicing their faith. The country ranks number 12 on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List.
The group Christian Solidarity International issued a genocide warning in Nigeria in response to the rising violent conflict caused by Islamic militants.
EICHER: Let’s hear a bit more of that eyewitness from the July attack.
AUDIO: I am from the Kagoro tribe. Our village was attacked on July 19th. So there we were at the wedding celebrating. The children were dancing. The Fulani militants came out of nowhere and just started shooting. The children were just running. They followed them and shot them down. They shot over 17 people. We took those we could to the hospital. Some we lost along the way. And the rest are in the hospital struggling.
John Stonestreet joins us for Culture Friday. John is president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
REICHARD: John, good morning.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning!
EICHER: John, you were part of a panel this week—a bipartisan group—trying to call attention to this human-rights crisis and specifically trying to get the attention of the White House. Please do talk a bit about this situation in Nigeria, but I would like to know whether you expect to hear anything from the State Department or the White House.
STONESTREET: I’m encouraged because of the attention that the good work of ICON, the International Conference on Nigeria, is getting. On this panel on Wednesday, my comments were really two-fold. First, is that there was a very carefully used word throughout the press conference that I participated in, the panel I was one. And it was the word genocide. Genocide has been very carefully defined for official reasons and for good reasons, so that we have something to escalate a crisis when it needs to be escalated in the attention of political figures or governments. By every aspect of the official definition of genocide, what Christians there in the northern part of that country have faced—first Boko Haram and then the Fulani militants—qualifies under this definition. And the person on the panel who so specifically used that term over and over and over and has the street cred, really, to do it is former Representative Frank Wolf who served in the U.S. House for 30 years and during that time became known as an incredible champion of religious freedom both here and abroad. What Frank really encouraged over and over and over was the appointment of a special envoy, much like what has happened before by the president, by the secretary of state. These people can basically go into these situations with all of the force of the U.S. government. And that’s what we’re all hoping to hear as a result of this gathering and as a result of the ongoing advocacy by Congressman Wolf, Congressman Smith, as well as ICON.
We were also joined on Wednesday by two others, which are really interesting. The first was Representative Tulsi Gabbard. She, of course, also this week—and I thanked her for this in my comments—immediately came out and condemned Netflix, unequivocally, of their exploitation of pre-teen girls in the movie Cuties. I was really grateful for that. Obviously we would disagree on all kinds of things, but when it comes to that which she considers to be wrong, she doesn’t seem to hedge at all.
EICHER: No, she doesn’t. She is not an afraid person.
STONESTREET: Well, she’s not. And she’s unequivocal in her condemnation of what’s happening in Nigeria.
And then finally we were joined—and I say finally, but obviously he stole the show because he’s bigger than all of us and he also has this enormous presence and an incredible platform that he’s been using to defend the unborn as well as now to defend persecuted Christians in Nigeria and elsewhere, and that’s Benjamin Watson, who retired from the NFL and has just become an incredible voice.
Let me just say one more thing. On that website, ICONhelp.org, they have put together a calendar and you can actually just walk day-by-day, it looks like the calendar you’d have on any other app on your phone or on your laptop. And each day they are documenting, and this only goes back right now to about Christmas of 2019, so it’s not that long ago. But they’re documenting day by day by day what’s happening to Christians in Nigeria and the northern parts of Nigeria—how many are killed, how many are abducted, how many are injured. In the last week, over 20 Nigerian Christians have been killed and over 60 have been abducted. And that’s just within the last week. And then if you go all the way back just to Christmas of 2019, you can see day by day that this is one of the great human rights tragedies of our day.
REICHARD: You mentioned Benjamin Watson, the Super Bowl champion, one of the panelists on Nigeria.
Watson, I understand, has made a foray into documentary film?
EICHER: He has. He’s executive producer of “Divided Hearts of America.” Just out yesterday, let’s hear a short bit of the trailer.
AUDIO: When does a person get rights?
When does a person get rights? When a person’s a person.
When is a person a person?
And that’s the thing. When a, when a child is born, then the child is a child.
… There is no personhood under law for fetuses. We don’t have that in this country.
… Abortion is targeting black America. That’s not an accident. That’s genocide.
REICHARD: Hard-hitting stuff.
STONESTREET: Yeah, this is one of the reasons I’m a bigger fan of Benjamin Watson off the field than even on the field. He is just using this platform—I was at a gathering, I know that sounds like a long time ago, and it was right before all the lockdowns of the pandemic, hosted by Live Action. This is the group that Lila Rose runs in LA in which they awarded champions of life and a number of people were honored. Benjamin Watson was one of them. And the reason is he has been just unafraid to not only tackle those issues—he has been outspoken, too, when it comes to the police conflict and police brutality, the issues within the African American community with policing and sentencing laws and everything else. But he’s also been just ferociously clear on the issue of life. And now, as he’s wading into this territory that a lot of African American leaders and a lot of even pro-life leaders themselves are fear to tread, which is the imbalanced and overwhelming targeting of abortion against the black community in America and how that is not a bug of the abortion industry in America, it’s been a feature since the very beginning. It’s built into the system. It’s part of the hardware or the DNA of the whole system. And he’s wading into that here and he’s doing it in a very, very powerful way. So, I look forward—I’ve seen the trailer, I haven’t seen the film—Overall I look forward to seeing it.
EICHER: Yeah it’s an amazing thing. It’s part of one of the things that we have talked about—and it’s been awhile since we brought this up, the idea of making culture to try to roll back this terrible scourge from our country.
STONESTREET: Yeah, Andy Crouch says something in, I think, his book Culture Making is that those of us who really advocate worldview thinking, the danger for us is to think analysis changes things. You can’t change things without analysis, but analysis itself is not enough to think about something, to categorize something. There has to be some level of creating cultural artifacts. We can certainly see this both across human history. Anytime there’s been a social revolution—if you’re talking about the Reformation, it was the printing press. If you’re talking about the sexual revolution, it was porn and the pill. And just the absolute necessity of—the technological revolution takes on a new level with the iPhone. You just have part of the human condition, part of the human reality, part of the human story is that we make stuff. We do stuff with the world that we have. Which, by the way, also has implications on why economic theories need to take into account not only that humans consume but that humans produce. And, anyway, that’s probably another conversation for another time, but it’s an important aspect. We’re not talking about anomalies here, we’re talking about this is what humans do. They actually do stuff with the world and they tell stories about it. And that’s what we’re seeing here from Benjamin Watson about something that needs to be addressed and it’s the worst kept secret about abortion in America, but too many people are too afraid to say anything about it. I’m grateful for his leadership in speaking up.
EICHER: I was about to say, John, you sounded a little bit like David Bahnsen talking about supply side economics.
STONESTREET: [Laughs] I’ll just let that go.
EICHER: Yeah, it’s high praise.
John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. John, thanks so much!
STONESTREET: Thank you.
NICK EICHER: Well, if you are a history buff, here’s your chance to bid on a unique piece of history.
James Hyslop with Christie’s auction house in Manhattan says it’s truly one of a kind.
HYSLOP: Special doesn’t even begin to describe him.
He has a nickname: “Stan.”
A long time ago, he weighed at least 7 tons and his bite could have crushed a car.
HYSLOP: What we have coming up for sale on Oct. 6th is the best T-Rex to come to auction in nearly a generation.
Stan is one of the most complete and most studied T-Rex skeletons on the planet.
Christie’s expects the apex predator to fetch 6-to-8 million-dollars. So if that’s not too rich for you, you also need to know he’s 37 feet long. Meaning, you may have to clear out the garage and knock out a wall.
Or just have Stan do it for you.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Friday, September 18th. Thanks for joining us today for The World and Everything in It. So glad to have you along!
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Coming next: an award-winning documentary about mock elections and very real political drama. Here’s reviewer Emily Whitten.
EMILY WHITTEN, REVIEWER: Every summer, the veterans organization American Legion hosts nearly 20,000 young men in week-long camps called Boys State. (There’s a Girls State, too, but that’s another story.) At least before COVID-19, hundreds of boys would come together in each state to create a sort of mock government. The focus is on the political process. Running for office, campaigning, holding elections. It’s a lot of fun, and viewers can get a glimpse of it all in a new, award-winning documentary called Boys State filmed in Texas in 2018.
TRAILER: A message of unity as good as it sounds is not winning anyone any elections. Primary polls are now open. Get y’all selves ready for a turbulent election. Whatever happens, dude. Best of luck. You win, I support you fully. My name is Steven Garza and I’m running for governor.
You could summarize the film this way—two liberal documentary-makers crash a conservative boys camp. On the other hand, despite Democratic bias, filmmakers Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine use a cinema vérité style that lets the boys speak for themselves. That does give viewers some level of insight.
At times Boys State feels relaxed or tongue-in-cheek, but other times it bursts with excitement … and a lot of testosterone. Think running of the bulls, as more than a thousand raucous and rowdy 17 year olds converge on Austin.
CLIP: [Hoo-ahing and cheering]
In the midst of the chaos, McBaine and Moss focus on four boys—Steven, Robert, René, and Ben. Much of the time they portray the boys as three-dimensional people who make real moral choices. Choices like whether to lie to get ahead. Here’s Robert:
CLIP: This is a very, very conservative group we have here. Very conservative. My stance on abortion would not line up well with the guys out there at all. So I chose to pick a new stance. That’s politics. I think. That’s politics.
Unlike grown-up politics, here we get to peek behind the curtain to what’s really in the boys’ hearts and minds. Also valuable, the model of servant leadership we see in the golden boy of the film, Steven Garza. Steven begins Boys State in a Beto O’Rourke T-shirt and ends the film speaking at the 2018 Texas Democratic Convention. But whatever you think about his politics, the way Steven treats other people stands out.
CLIP: I’m one of the nationalists running for governor. I don’t want to sound fake about it. If you have any questions. What’s your name? Steven Garza. All right, I’m gonna come back to you.
From the beginning, Steven sets out to be a servant. He talks with the boys he disagrees with and looks for ways to represent their views as well as his own. Most of all, he doesn’t belittle his opponents.
In contrast, Ben is a Reagan-loving conservative. But as the week progresses, Ben smears his opponents with whatever dirt he can find. For example, he misrepresents Steven’s stance on guns. In his mind, it’s just part of the game.
I found Ben the most intriguing and disappointing of the group. It’s true that the filmmakers don’t treat him with the same kid gloves as Steven.
You don’t hear magical twinkle music when Ben appears, the way you do with progressive Steven.
And the filmmakers may have skewed his treatment. But that doesn’t excuse the self-serving behavior we do see and hear.
CLIP: I have no regret about that decision, morally or politically, at all. Because politically, it worked. I don’t know, maybe God will judge me differently.
Boys State does contain bad language and negative role models. But we also see a clear difference between servant leadership and self-serving politicians. And the fact that these young men get the opportunity to vote for leaders at all is worth celebrating, even as human flaws show through.
One final point. Since the film’s release on Apple TV in August, many media outlets have focused on boys in the film with progressive views. For instance, René wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times. But the most powerful reflection I’ve seen comes from Ben, the conservative Reaganite. Ben says that when he first saw the film, he felt misrepresented. Then, he had a change of heart, as he explains in this interview with the Aspen Institute.
AUDIO: But then as I reflected on it more, I said, that’s kind of right. I shouldn’t be defensive, I should be probing about it. You know, when Steven’s gun control issue came out, my first instinct was, let’s smear him on it. It wasn’t me trying to be mean, it was like that’s what all the adults are doing, so of course we’re going to do that. It just seemed natural. Boys State was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on it and say, just cause that’s how it’s been, that’s not how it should be.
That kind of mature introspection and repentance feels almost shocking in our culture today. And it gives me renewed hope that God isn’t done with these boys—or our country—just yet.
I’m Emily Whitten.
NICK EICHER: Today is Friday, September 18th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s George Grant now on nuance in the meaning of words.
GEORGE GRANT, COMMENTATOR: “All that glitters is not gold” is a familiar aphorism meaning that what you see, or what you think you see, may not be quite what you get. Not everything is as good as it might appear to be at first glance. In fact, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Early expressions of the idea make their appearance in the English language by the 12th century and may have been drawn from Aesop’s Fables. Geoffrey Chaucer, Alexander Pope, and John Dryden all variously adapted the phrase to their purposes—as did such divergent voices as J.R.R. Tolkien and Led Zeppelin: “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold and she’s buying a stairway to Heaven.”
But of course, it was William Shakespeare who gave us the most familiar version of the saying in his 1596 play, The Merchant of Venice. Though most modern editions of the play render the line, “All that glitters is not gold,” Shakespeare actually wrote it as “All that glisters is not gold; Often have you heard that told: Many a man his life hath sold; But my outside to behold: Gilded tombs do worms enfold.”
The “glitters” version long ago superseded the original “glisters” and is now almost universally used. Glitter and glister can be synonyms, but they are not entirely interchangeable—each conveys individual nuances and intonations.
The words are also etymologically distinct. Glitters passed into English from the Old Norse, glitra, and the Saxon, glit, meaning sparkling, shining, twinkling, and glinting. Glisters on the other hand comes from the Low German, glisteren, and Middle Dutch glistereen, meaning gleaming, glistening, scintillating, and shimmering.
Sand glitters, but dew glisters.
This distinction is evident in the King James Bible where glistering is used to describe the lustrous glory of Solomon’s temple in 1 Chronicles 29 and the transcendent luminescence of Christ at the transfiguration in Luke 9. Glittering hardly suits the gravitas in either of these evocative scenes. But glistering is altogether apt.
Word choices matter. Often even the tiniest distinctions in our word choices matter. The fact is, all that glitters does not glister.
I’m George Grant.
NICK EICHER: It takes a lot of people to put this program together each week. Our thanks to these hardworking folks:
Megan Basham, Joel Belz, Myrna Brown, Kent Covington, Kristen Flavin, George Grant, Kim Henderson, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Vivian Jones, Jill Nelson, Onize Ohikere, Sarah Schweinsberg, Les Sillars, Cal Thomas, and Emily Whitten.
MARY REICHARD: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz stay up late to get the program to you early. Paul Butler is executive producer. Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief.
And of course, you. You make this program possible with your support. Thank you!
The Apostle Peter tells us that the grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord remains forever.
May you have a restful weekend and worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.