The World and Everything in It — October 1, 2020


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!

Environmentalists blame climate change for this year’s ferocious wildfire season. But misguided forest management policies play a big role.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also, opposition leaders in Belarus are appealing to the West for help, while the country’s autocratic president cozies up to Russia. The conflict could set the stage for another proxy war between the East and West.

Plus, people are still talking about Tuesday’s presidential debate. Today, Paul Butler revisits a number of past political debates and reminds us of some of their most memorable moments.

And Cal Thomas on the inevitable attacks on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s faith.

BASHAM: It’s Thursday, October 1st. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!

BASHAM: Up next, Kent Covington has the news.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: President debate commissions mulling format changes to restore order » After a chaotic free-for-all between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday… 

DEBATE: Are you in favor of law and order? [crosstalk]

The presidential debate commission says it will soon adopt changes to restore a little law and order to the debate stage. 

The commission said Wednesday that it’s—quote—“clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”

According to the Associated Press, one of the possible changes on the table, allowing the moderator to cut off the microphone of a candidate speaking out of turn. 

The next presidential debate is a town hall format scheduled for Oct. 15th in Miami.

Economy plunged in second quarter, record rebound expected » The U.S. economy plunged at an unprecedented rate this spring, setting the stage for a record rebound in the third quarter. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The U.S. economy will likely shrink this year, the first time that has happened since the Great Recession.

The gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4 percent in the second quarter, from April to June.

The Commerce Department adjusted that figure downward Wednesday by a fraction of 1 percent.

But economists believe the economy will expand at an annual rate of 30 percent in the current quarter as businesses have reopened and millions have gone back to work. That would shatter the old record for a quarterly GDP increase.

The government will release its July to September GDP report on October 29th, just five days before the presidential election.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Trump signs funding bill into law averting shutdown » Senate lawmakers sent a bill to President Trump’s desk last night that will fund the government into December. 

The president signed the bill into law ahead of a midnight deadline, preventing a government shutdown. Neither party had an appetite for that just a month before the election as evidenced by the lopsided vote. 

AUDIO: The yays are 84, the nays are 10. The bill is passed.  

The continuing resolution keeps current funding in place, kicking the can down the road on budget fights through December 11th. 

The House passed the bill earlier this month, also in a lopsided vote: 359 to 57.

Fires continue to blaze through Calif. wine country » Flames devoured large swaths of brush and trees in Northern California on Wednesday. Officials said wind-whipped flames led two firefighters to deploy the emergency fire shelters they carry.

The firefighters were battling the Glasser fire burning in wine country north of San Francisco. 

And CalFire’s Billy See told reporters that another incoming wind event could cause more problems. 

SEE: Now’s the time for our firefighters to buckle down. They’re going to work diligently to get that door shut and try to protect the communities of Kenwood, the Valley of the Moon. 

The National Weather Service said the conditions would last for several days because of high pressure centered over the state. Heat advisories were in effect or pending along about three-quarters of the California coast.

About 70,000 people are under evacuation orders in the state’s wine region. 

Man arrested in ambush of 2 Los Angeles County deputies » California investigators have arrested and charged a man in the shooting of two LA County sheriff’s deputies as they sat in their squad car. The attack occurred earlier this month in Compton, California.

Capt. Kent Wegener with the LA County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said officers recovered a pistol discarded by a car jacking suspect. And that turned out to be a key piece of evidence. 

WEGENER: It was determined through ballistic comparison that the pistol recovered was the pistol used to shoot the transit services deputies.

He said authorities forensically linked that gun to a 36-year-old suspect. And LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey told reporters… 

LACEY: This morning my office filed attempted murder charges against Deonte Lee Murray in the shooting of these two deputies. 

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the shooting shocked the nation. 

The suspect also faces charges in connection with the earlier carjacking. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

The deputies suffered head wounds in the Sept. 12 ambush and have since been released from the hospital. But both will require reconstructive surgeries and face a long recovery.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: the man-made disaster fueling West Coast wildfires.

Plus, Cal Thomas on antipathy toward public servants who take their faith seriously.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Thursday the 1st of October, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.

MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up: wildfires and land management.

Since August, firefighters have battled nearly 50 major wildfires in Oregon, Washington state, and California. More than 5 million acres of forest, brush, and grasslands have burned so far—adding up to the worst fire season on record.

BASHAM: While politicians tussle over the causes, fire and climate experts point to several factors contributing to the fires’ size and severity.

WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports now on the conditions that have created a fire fuel surplus.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Large, disastrous fires aren’t new in Butte County—an area of Northern California that’s split between a fertile valley and heavily forested hills. 

Two years ago, the Camp Fire burned through the region. It torched 19,000 structures and killed 85 people in the small town of Paradise. 

Chris Robins and her family lived in Paradise. They escaped the fast-spreading flames but lost their home. 

ROBINS: We basically lost our town in a matter of six to eight hours like that, just that day.

Now they’re in the process of rebuilding and Robins is back working at a charter school in Paradise. 

But the threat of another fire never seems that far away.

Last month, the North Complex Fire threatened the town again, turning the sky orange and dropping ashes. Robins says fire conditions can now send Paradise residents into panic. 

ROBINS: More often than not, I hear more families still moving, still relocating. Especially now with these new sets of fires. They can’t they’re not dealing well. 

Fire is becoming a reality that a growing number of Californians are expecting, breathing, and fleeing. 

Half of the state’s 20 largest wildfires have burned in the last decade. That’s according to records the state started keeping nearly a century ago. This year’s North Complex Fire is in the top five. 

Stephen Pyne is an environmental historian at Arizona State University. He says today’s big burns are the result of years of suppressing wildfires and letting dead vegetation build up. 

PYNE: We have a great fire deficit. Yep. And it’s manifest in terms of fuels, but also in terms of ecological deterioration.

Some researchers believe that in prehistoric California wildfires blazed through 5 to 12 million acres every year. That’s like burning an area somewhere between the size of New Hampshire and West Virginia. 

But that changed as settlement on the West Coast expanded. Severe wildfires in 1910 led the young U.S. Forest Service to begin seeing wildfires as a threat. They watched fires burn down towns and beautiful forests. So the agency adopted a policy of defeating fire—all fires. 

PYNE: The 1910 fires really skewed things. It traumatized the agency. They lost 78 firefighters in one day, six different incidents. I mean, this was a huge trauma. And three future chiefs of the Forest Service were personally on the fire line. They wanted not simply to suppress fires that were started, but to prevent fires from being started by people for any reason. 

Stephen Pyne says in the 1960s, scientists and officials began to recognize the harm those policies had done. Without fires, forests can become sick. 

PYNE: Forests are more vulnerable to insects and pests and problems. They are fighting each other for more water and resources. But also, you began piling up combustibles. 

But going back to controlled burns and more forest maintenance in California has proved difficult. Landowners and state and federal officials fear controlled burns could get out of control. They also face extensive state and federal regulations and limited funding. 

Pyne says the challenges are obvious when comparing California to other states. In 2017, Florida burned 2.2 million acres, while California torched just 50,000 acres.

PYNE: California in particular has really struggled. Its physical geography. Its demographic density. I mean air quality. Winds. The whole package makes it difficult. But people a century ago did manage it.

At the same time, climate scientists say years of drought in California has killed more plants and trees. Average temperatures have also increased by two degrees over the past century. Hotter and drier summers mean there’s more dead vegetation that’s even more flammable than usual. 

Noah Diffenbaugh is a climate scientist at Stanford University. He says finding ways to live with wildfires requires balancing all contributing factors. 

DIFFENBAUGH: Wildfires always result from multiple conditions coming together. The fuels matter, the conditions of the vegetation matters, and forestry management. 

Craig Thomas directs the Fire Restoration Group. He says another problem in crowded California is that more and more people are moving into fire-prone areas.  

THOMAS: What the realtors never mentioned is, do you want to move here? That’s great. Are you aware that this place used to burn every five to seven years? 

Thomas says living in a fire-danger zone takes extra work—like thinning trees, raking up pine needles and clearing a defensible, tree-free zone around homes. And city and county officials need to better enforce those regulations. 

THOMAS: The expectations of the fire agencies, when we ask them to come and risk their lives to save our house, we better make darn sure we’ve done the work we’re supposed to do.

And new efforts to improve forest management are in the works. In August, California officials signed an agreement with the federal government to encourage state and federal agencies to work together. They’ll implement more managed fires, work to thin forests, and streamline regulations. 

And in May, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced a bill that would provide additional funding to help the Forest Service catch up on forest maintenance.

Meanwhile, back in Paradise, Chris Robins and her husband Andy say living with fires is a burden they’re willing to bear, because they can’t imagine living anywhere else. 

ANDY: It’s home. It’s always been home. We’re gonna stay. We might as well come back here.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg in Paradise, California.


MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: unrest in Belarus.

This past Sunday marked the 50th consecutive day of protests in the country. Marchers say President Alexander Lukashenko has become a dictator, and they want him to resign. They also want justice for those injured in violent crackdowns in August.

MYRNA BROWN: Lukashenko shows no signs of leaving, but neither do the protesters. WORLD correspondent Jenny Lind Schmitt reports now on the latest developments.

CHANTING: [Sveta–the President]

JENNY LIND SCHMITT, CORRESPONDENT: Organizers called Sunday’s march through Minsk the People’s Inauguration of the Real President. That in reference to Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya, the opposition candidate observers say won the August presidential election.

Although Google maps showed virtually all major roads closed in Minsk, more than 100,000 people still turned out to march. And once again, riot police showed up in force to indiscriminately arrest, beat, and intimidate marchers and passersby.

Sunday’s event was a response to the secret inauguration Lukashenko held for himself on Wednesday.

AUDIO: [Lukashenko swearing oath]

That ceremony ushering in the president’s sixth term was held without public notice and not televised. Critics say that violates the law and renders the inauguration illegitimate.

But just days before holding his inauguration, Lukashenko visited Sochi, Russia, to seek support from his chief ally, Vladimir Putin.

AUDIO: [Putin speaking]

Putin promised a loan of one and a half billion dollars—enough to shore up Belarus’ faltering economy and pay the salaries of the riot police doing Lukashenko’s dirty work. Observers say this plays right into Putin’s hand, giving him more influence over Belarus. He frequently underscores the country’s “brotherhood” with Russia.

AUDIO: [People marching and chanting]

But that hasn’t deterred the protests in Minsk, even with opposition leaders jailed or thrown out of the country. Some people want churches in Belarus to take more political action. But the Baptist and Pentecostal Unions met earlier this month and recommended continuing in non-political acts of prayer, charity, and evangelism. That disappointed some members, and pastors feel the danger of disunity in the church.

For now, the protests remain a grassroots effort driven by ordinary citizens seeking change, often in innovative ways.

Belarus prides itself on a technology sector that has managed to thrive despite the authoritarian political system. Since the August elections, many developers have used their skills to help the opposition. 

MAXIMOV: [SPEAKING IN BELARUSIAN]

Andrew Maximov is an expat from Belarus living in Los Angeles. He’s using artificial intelligence to identify riot police officers from videos and photos. In a video on his YouTube channel Maximov matches the photo of an officer in a baklava, only his eyes visible, with a photo of the officer’s complete face.

He says the goal is to show police officers that they can’t act with impunity.

MAXIMOV: [SPEAKING IN BELARUSIAN]

“You have no masks,” Maximov says.

On Tuesday Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya met with French President Emmanuel Macron.

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: Belarus needs help in starting dialog between the nation and our authorities, and we need these mediators now. And maybe Mr. Macron alongside with the leaders of other countries, can be these mediators in starting dialog.

Earlier this week Macron went beyond calling for new elections and declared that Lukashenko must step down. Tsikhanouskaya will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week.

Tsikhanouskaya’s story is emblematic of what is happening in Belarus. Until earlier this year, she was a reserved stay-at-home mom. Her husband, Sergei Tsikhanousky, was the outspoken government critic.

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: The man I love was trying to topple a dictator and then he went to jail for it. 

In a video op-ed for The New York Times last week, Tsikhanouskaya explains what happened after his arrest.

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: So I did what any loyal wife would do. I ran in his place.

She didn’t expect authorities to allow her candidacy. But they did. And that was their mistake.

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I’m sure that they did this just to laugh at me. They were sure that people will never vote for a woman, for unknown person, for housewife.

The people of Belarus did vote overwhelmingly for Tsikhanouskaya. And now they’re turning out in the thousands, wearing masks of her face, shouting her name and declaring her the rightful president.

CHANTING: [Sveta–the President]

Tsikhanouskaya says her role is to be the symbol of a new Belarus that wants real democracy. Her goal is to facilitate a transition of power. Then she wants to organize new presidential elections, in which she does not intend to run.

The question now is, which side will wear out first? And can leaders in Europe, the United States, and Russia work together to resolve the crisis? If not, Belarus could become the stage for a new proxy conflict between East and West.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jenny Lind Schmitt.


MYRNA BROWN: A British zoo has had to separate five parrots that keepers say were causing problems at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Centre.

Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade, and Elsie joined the zoo’s colony of 200 gray parrots last month. Here is one of them serenading visitors…

AUDIO: [SOUND OF PARROTS]

Typical parrot behavior, right? But soon the parrots displayed a penchant for singing a more colorful tune.

Keepers, and guests, soon discovered the parrots were encouraging each other to swear. 

With the foul-mouthed birds cursing up a storm, zoo workers finally had to separate them. 

The wildlife centre’s CEO Steve Nichols said “We’re quite used to parrots swearing, but we’ve never had five at the same time.” He added that “most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it.”

Nichols said they moved each bird to different areas of the park so they don’t “set each other off.”

It’s The World and Everything in It.


MYRNA BROWN: Today is Thursday, October 1st. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: another in our occasional series: Notable Speeches, Past and Present. Today, instead of just one speech, WORLD Producer Paul Butler has combed through the archives and selected a handful of memorable moments from past presidential debates.

PAUL BUTLER, PRODUCER: Televised presidential debates have been around for more than 60 years. Most people think the first occurred on September 26th, 1960, between Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy. That’s mostly right, as it was the first time candidates from the two parties went head to head on TV. But four years earlier, on May 21st, 1956, ABC aired a debate between the top two Democrat candidates during the 1956 presidential campaign. That was between governor Adlai Stevenson and Senator Estes Kefauver.

HOWE: My name is Quincy Howe, my assignment here in Miami is to discuss the campaign issues…

The debate was courteous, certainly by modern standards, though they obviously felt strongly about the issues—as you can hear in this exchange about how America ought to respond to Russia’s nuclear testing…

CLIP: This military cut back, and that kind of thing, I think you’ve made your positions clear. I’d like very much if I could, point out to the senator that I have never suggested postponing the development of a missile…

The 1960 Nixon/Kennedy debate is one of the most studied and analyzed televised debates in American political history. The broadcast opened with the two candidates seated on either side of the moderator, CBS newsman Howard K. Smith. For their opening statements, candidates each approached their own podium, while the other remained seated. The first to speak was Senator John F Kennedy:

KENNEDY: I should make it very clear that I do not think we’re doing enough, that I am not satisfied as an American with the progress that we’re making. 

Then Vice President Richard Nixon:

NIXON: I subscribe completely to the spirit that Senator Kennedy has expressed tonight, the spirit that the United States should move ahead. Where, then, do we disagree? I think we disagree on the implication of his remarks tonight to the effect that the United States has been standing still. 

What makes this debate memorable isn’t any particular moment, but how it changed presidential campaigning afterward. Most analysts agree that Nixon out performed Kennedy as a debater: in fact people who listened on the radio, overwhelmingly thought so. But those who watched on television saw Kennedy as a young, dynamic candidate facing off with a tired and sweaty Nixon. The image was a powerful metaphor. Oh, and television viewers thought Kennedy won. “Looking good” became an important part of presidential politics. 

Moving ahead to the 1976 election between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. It marks the beginning of the modern broadcast debate, with campaigns agreeing to a handful of televised events. Their first debate was memorable for a technical glitch near the end of the debate…

CLIP: There’s break down in the trust between our people…[BUZZ] 

Host David Brinkley had to improvise for nearly 30 minutes while they worked out the technical problem. The candidates stood awkwardly behind their platforms during the delay. 

The most memorable exchange from that debate season occurred during the second event when Gerald Ford claimed that the Soviet Union was not dominating Eastern Europe. Associate editor of The New York Times, Max Frankel, couldn’t believe his ears. The exchange has been edited for time:

FRANKEL: I’m sorry, I – could I just follow – did I understand you to say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying mo- most of the countries there?

FORD: Each of those countries is independent, autonomous: it has its own territorial integrity and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union.

FREDERICK: Governor Carter, may I have your response?

CARTER: (chuckle) Well, in the first place, I would like to see Mr. Ford convince the Polish-Americans and the Czech-Americans and the Hungarian-Americans in this country that those countries don’t live under the domination and supervision of the Soviet Union behind the Iron – uh – Curtain. 

Television debates aren’t just between the presidential candidates, they also feature their running mates. During the 1988 vice presidential debate, Republican Senator Dan Quayle and Democrat Senator Lloyd Bentsen faced off. During that campaign, Quayle was often criticized for being too young and inexperienced. Moderator Judy Woodruff asked him about that. Quayle had had enough:

QUAYLE: I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.

WOODRUFF: Senator Bentsen.

BENTSEN: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy. 

Sticking with the vice presidential debates, one more clip. Probably the most talked about moments from the 2008 debate between Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin lead to a political catchphrase: 

PALIN: So that people there can understand how the average working class family is viewing bureaucracy in the federal government and Congress, and the inaction of Congress. Just everyday, working-class Americans saying, you know, government, just get out of my way. 

BIDEN: Can I respond? Look, all you’ve got to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie’s Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years…These people know the middle class has gotten the short end. The wealthy have done very well. Corporate America has been rewarded. It’s time we change it. Barack Obama will change it.

IFILL: Governor?

PALIN: Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. 

The next debate for this year’s election is on Wednesday, October 7th. It’s between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. 

One more soundbite. When searching online for the most memorable debate moments, one of the top results is from October 21st, 1984—a debate between President Ronald Reagan and challenger Walter Mondale. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Panelist Henry Trewhitt asked the president about his age:

TREWHITT: You already are the oldest President in history. And some of your staff say you were tired after your most recent encounter with Mr. Mondale… 

THE PRESIDENT: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience. [Laughter and applause] 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.


MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next, an excerpt from tomorrow’s episode of Listening In.

This week a conversation with author and Christian musician Alisa Childers. Childers is the daughter of Christian music pioneer, Chuck Girard of Love Song. She was also part of the CCM group: ZOE Girl. She grew up in a Christian home, but had a crisis of faith as an adult when she met a progressive pastor. She’s just published an apologetics book to help others answer critics of Christ.

WARREN SMITH: You were part of ZOE Girl, kind of raised in that Christian milieu, and you talk about being in the green room looking out on the stage. When an evangelist was issuing an altar call. Can you talk about that story and why that episode kind of put a pebble in your shoe so to speak about your faith.

ALISA CHILDERS: Yeah. So, when a lot of the critiques were coming in about evangelicalism about the late 90s early 2000s, I related with a lot of those critiques because I had seen a lot of things in evangelicalism that I just didn’t understand or I didn’t think were good things. 

And so I do remember one time we were doing this summer festival and I was in the green room, and the way that this green room was set up is, if I just sat at the table I was looking out the window right over to the stage which, you know, wasn’t that far away. And this pastor was giving this altar call and it was really impassioned, and maybe even a little angry, and he was, you know, doing the whole hell and brimstone thing and, really, it felt to me like it was really emotionally manipulative. And he just kept it going, and going, and going, and going, and to put that in context I think that was coming on the tail end of just a lifetime of seeing a lot of stuff like that. Not that there’s not a genuine version of that because of course there is.

I know many people who walked forward at a Billy Graham crusade or Harvest crusade and responded to the gospel and so I don’t mean to cast a shadow on that but there’s this other thing that just, it kind of felt like those knockoff Louis Vuitton bags you’d buy in New York on Bleecker Street there where you get all the knockoff merchandise and it just seemed like it really wasn’t about salvation but it was about filling out a card or being able to say, the number of people that responded and then everybody would would get all excited and this emotional crescendo would happen, and, and then the altar call would be over.

And then I was just left wondering, “well what happens now? What about all those kids that walk to the front, for whatever reason, if it was genuine or just because they just felt like if they don’t, they’re going to go to hell, I have to walk forward to the front of the stage in order to call myself a Christian?” And I began to really be concerned that the actual gospel wasn’t really getting communicated. That it really became more about, well, just say these magic words or pray this prayer or walk forward, and this is all you need to do. And then nothing really happens after that. So that was one of the pebbles in my shoe honestly about…not about the gospel, but about the way Christians were living out the gospel in the world, I guess you could say, or in that particular cultural moment.


BASHAM: That’s Alisa Childers talking to Warren Smith. To hear the complete conversation, look for Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.


MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Thursday, October 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Commentator Cal Thomas now on fear and faith.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: What is it about faith that so scares secular progressives? They are OK with a politician or a judge who is Jewish, as was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They don’t mind Roman Catholics like Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As long as faith doesn’t interfere with their liberal agenda, progressives are all for it. You can worship a tree, as long as you favor abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and the rest of the LGBTQ agenda.

I recall a talk show host some years ago commenting on a presidential candidate. He said, “What I like about him is that he doesn’t take his faith seriously.”

That attitude is truer today than it was then.

President Trump’s latest nominee for the supreme court, Amy Coney Barrett, is a practicing Roman Catholic who does take her faith seriously. Democrats are trying to smear her for this, especially her involvement in a group called People of Praise. It’s part of a Charismatic movement within the Catholic Church that dates back to the 1970s.

Amy Coney Barrett’s opponents want to paint the group as extremist, one that encourages the subjugation of women. They point to the group’s use of the term “handmaid” to refer to women in leadership roles. It was meant to be a reference to Jesus’ mother Mary as “the Lord’s handmaid.” But Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaids Tale, turned it into something sinister. People of Praise no longer uses the term.

Nevertheless, Judge Barrett’s critics have seized on the label to draw a connection between the group’s beliefs and the novel’s dystopian conclusion.

Peggy Noonan destroyed that argument in her recent Wall Street Journal column. She quoted Notre Dame law O. Carter Snead, who said Judge Barrett “appears to be failing at being submissive and a total disaster at being subjugated.”

I’ll say!

The Constitution specifically prohibits a religious test when considering someone for public office. But that doesn’t matter to the secular progressive agenda. Judge Barrett is faithful not only to God, but to the Constitution. Secular progressives are faithful to neither.

I’m Cal Thomas.


MYRNA BROWN: Tomorrow: Trevin Wax joins us for Culture Friday.

And, a new family-friendly movie featuring Detective Holmes. Not that Detective Holmes. This time, it’s Sherlock’s sister. 

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Myrna Brown.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Psalm 33 gives us this comfort today: The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever. 

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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