The World and Everything in It — October 2, 2020

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!

Today a new survey on voter attitudes among those of “evangelical belief.”

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.

Also a new movie about the sister of the world’s most-famous detective.

And WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky on how people we disagree with can sharpen our own understanding.

BROWN: It’s Friday, October 2nd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BROWN: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Trump adviser tests positive for COVID-19 » President Trump announced early this morning that he and first lady Melania have tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump tweeted—quote—“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

The president and first lady took coronavirus tests Thursday night after a White House adviser Hope Hicks tested positive earlier in the day. 

In a statement, the president’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley said the White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals. 

Conley added that he expects the president will continue to carry out his duties without disruption while recovering. 

House Democrats pass $2.2 trillion relief package » House Democrats approved their $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill last night. 

Eighteen Democrats opposed the measure, but it passed on a vote of 214 to 207.

AUDIO: The motion is adopted. Without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. 

The legislation would restore a federal boost to jobless benefits and send out another round of stimulus checks to most Americans. It would also send more than $400 billion to state and local governments.

Republicans contend it’s also loaded with—quote—“unrelated far-left priorities.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed ahead with a vote—one day after meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about a possible compromise bill. 

He told reporters Thursday…

MNUCHIN: We’re not going to do a $2.2 trillion deal. The good news is the speaker has come down from her $3.4 trillion deal. If there’s a fair compromise, we’re prepared to do it. 

Democrats say $2.2 trillion is a fair compromise. 

The White House is offering to shake on a $1.6 trillion deal, up from $1 trillion. 

Pelosi said a compromise is still possible and that, in her view, talks have at least edged in the right direction. 

PELOSI: We have come to—kind of in the ballpark of some things; still way off in terms of state and local government. 

But even if the White House and Democrats reach an agreement, they still have to sell Senate Republicans on a deal. And Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the two sides remain “very far apart.”

Last month, Senate Democrats blocked a $500 billion Republican-led bill from reaching the floor.

New jobless claims tick down amid mixed signals for economy » The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits ticked down to 837,000 last week as new data sent mixed signals for the U.S. economy. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Here’s the good news: 

The slight drop in new jobless claims comes as the number of people continuing to receive benefits fell to 11.8 million. That figure has steadily improved since spring.

Consumer confidence jumped in September, and U.S. home sales have surged in recent months to the highest level in more than a decade.

Also, payroll processing company ADP said private employers created almost 750,000 jobs this month—more than expected.  

The not so good news: New data show incomes and spending have declined.

And many large companies are announcing further layoffs.

The Walt Disney Co. is cutting 28,000 jobs. Allstate will shed 38-hundred workers. And American and United Airlines will furlough or eliminate 32,000 employees.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Trump admin moves to cap refugees at record low level » The Trump administration has proposed another cut to the number of refugees the United States will accept in the coming year. 

The administration notified Congress this week that it intends to cap refugees allowed into the country at 15,000 for the next fiscal year. 

That would be a new record low—down from 18,000 in 2020.

The notice comes just days after President Trump told supporters in Minnesota that campaign rival Joe Biden would turn the state into a refugee camp. 

TRUMP: Biden will overwhelm your children’s schools, overcrowd their classrooms and inundate your hospitals. 

The president froze refugee admissions in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration is committed to the country’s history of leading the world in providing a safe place for refugees.

But advocates say the government’s actions do not show that. Since taking office, Trump has slashed the number of refugees allowed into the country by more than 80 percent. 

Congress will review the proposal and members on both sides of the aisle will likely voice strong objections. But lawmakers are largely powerless to force changes.

Britain tightens restrictions in COVID-19 hotspots » Britain has imposed tougher rules on social gatherings in Liverpool and three other cities. That as scientists reported Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases in England has quadrupled in the last month.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Thursday that the infection rate in Liverpool had risen to 268 per 100,000 people. That’s seven times the national average. 

HANCOCK: We recommend against also social mixing between people in different households. We will bring in regulations, as we have in the northeast, to prevent in law social mixing between people in different households in all settings except outdoor public spaces. 

Hancock said “We’ve had to take difficult but necessary decisions to suppress the virus.” 

The measures announced Thursday are the latest in a series of new restrictions targeting local coronavirus hotspots. Confirmed daily new cases of COVID-19 rose above 7,000 in each of the past two days, the highest recorded since the pandemic began. Britain’s official death toll has passed 42,000—the highest in Europe.

But scientists have offered some hope. A large government-commissioned study found that the epidemic is not spreading as rapidly in the U.K. as scientists feared.

Navalny accuses Putin of ordering Novichok attack » Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Thursday he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack against him with a Soviet-era nerve agent. WORLD’s Anna Johnansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: In his first interview since the attack, Navalny told Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper, “I assert Putin was behind the crime.” He added that those who carried out the attack—quote—“cannot make a decision like that without being instructed by Putin. They report to him.”

Navalny, a corruption investigator and Putin’s fiercest critic, fell ill on a Russian domestic flight in August. The 44-year-old was later flown to Germany for treatment where scientists found he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Navalny’s assertion “groundless and unacceptable.” And he suggested that the United States is trying to pin the blame on Putin. Peskov charged that there was information that “specialists” from the CIA were working with Navalny “these days” and giving him instructions.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.

Trump adviser tests positive for COVID-19 » White House adviser Hope Hicks has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. 

Hicks, who serves as counselor to President Trump, traveled with him to a rally Wednesday. And she tested positive on Thursday. That according to the Associated Press. She is the closest aide to Trump to test positive so far.

The White House did not immediately comment on the report.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: a survey of evangelical political positions.

Plus, Marvin Olasky on listening to those we disagree with.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN: It’s Friday the 2nd of October, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher.

BIDEN: Will you shut up, man?!

He’s not talking about me!

BIDEN: It’s hard to get in any word with this clown.

There you have 15 of the most-memorable words from the television spectacle they called the presidential debate this week.

So much of it sounded a lot like this.

DEBATE: Sir, sir … with a billion dollars … that is absolutely … stop! … not true … you’re gonna … Gentlemen! I hate to raise my voice but … he’s on tape … why should I be different from the two of you?

We asked WORLD’s chief political correspondent Jamie Dean for her summary of the debate and this aired on Washington Wednesday. I thought it was a nicely constructed summary.

DEAN: It seemed like the dynamic reflected so much of the division and rancor in the country right now, when what we need are leaders who can model how to talk with people who we disagree with in ways that are respectful and productive. I certainly don’t think that happened last night, so in many ways, I found it to be a sad moment after such a long year.

BROWN: Now, all of this is not to diminish the important responsibility we American voters have and that responsibility doesn’t go away if we’re not really pleased with our options. We have to choose.

EICHER: We do. And some new research from Lifeway tells us that more than 60 percent of those defined as “evangelical by belief” plan to vote to re-elect President Trump. Less than 30 percent plan to vote for the Democrat challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.

BROWN: The survey shows an ethnic divide—an almost mirror image—among those who are evangelical by belief. In that category, black voters prefer Biden 69 percent to 19 percent. White voters support Trump 73 percent to 18.

EICHER: Those who are evangelical by belief agree with other Americans at large about the top two issues driving their political choices: managing the economy and fighting the COVID-19 virus, but they add abortion and religious liberty as serious concerns as well.

We should add that the survey came out before Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and the president named Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacated seat. So that clearly helps to place those two touchstone issues at the forefront of the campaign.

BROWN: It’s Culture Friday and so let’s welcome in Trevin Wax. He’s senior vice president of Theology and Communications at LifeWay Christian Resources and he’s a visiting professor at Wheaton College.

Morning, Trevin!

TREVIN WAX, GUEST: Good morning, Myrna. Good morning, Nick.

EICHER: Is there anything that really surprised you in your political survey, Trevin?

WAX: No, not really. This was one of those surveys I was waiting for. I love in my role to be able to see Lifeway Research the questions we’re asking and I’m always curious about the responses we’re getting. And I’m usually even more interested when we are repeating surveys that may be tweaked slightly from previous years. And so it was interesting for me to see how similar it is in many ways to the survey we saw from four years ago. But also to see some of the same divides. As you mentioned, there is a very big difference between evangelicals by belief who are African American and evangelicals by belief who are white in how they are making their choice this year. And that’s been the case for quite a long time and I don’t see anything that seems to really be moving the needle to change that in the future. We tend to go along with the party that we belong to and this is another example of evangelicals by belief really mirroring in many ways the parties that they belong to as to how they’re going to choose for president.

BROWN: Here’s what boggles my mind regarding the ethnic divide, if someone identifies as “evangelical in belief,” it stands to reason that person would also be anti-abortion. Proverbs 8:13 says “to fear God is to hate evil” and we know abortion is evil. So how would one explain the statistic mentioned earlier: black voters prefer Biden 69 percent to 19 percent. And Biden is clearly pro-abortion. Traditionally, blacks have voted Democratic. So, I wonder is tradition valued more than the shedding of innocent blood?

WAX: That’s a great question, Myrna. I don’t know that I would say that it’s tradition so much as there’s a constellation of issues leading to a hardening of these dividing lines, partisan dividing lines over decades in which abortion is one of the primary issues for evangelicals by belief. But for many, especially African Americans, it’s not the single issue that they’re looking at. I’m not saying that that’s necessarily right or wrong, just looking at it from a sociological lens and also recognizing how we tend to vote along with the people around us. And it’s fascinating to see the numbers of how many people actually don’t regularly interact with anyone voting for the opposite party. And when you have groups that are closely knit together—whether they be evangelicals in predominantly white churches or evangelicals in predominantly black churches—when they discuss these issues and they discuss their vote, there tends to be a unity that comes around what that vote is going to be. At times, that unity gets tested. So, I think it’s important for us to continue to say that abortion is a great moral evil and then to, as we ask questions, as we listen to evangelicals by belief who have a different perspective as to why that would not lead them to not vote for a particular candidate, to understand the rationale and the reasons for that. 

Many African American brothers and sisters are asking similar questions about how white evangelicals can swallow so much of what they see as just egregious behavior or just certain positions from Donald Trump. As I look at that, I’m grieved that that ethnic divide is so strong. 

But I’m also heartened to know that at the end of the day, Jesus Christ is going to get glory from his people and we rest in his sovereignty. For whatever reason he’s given us these two candidates just now as we saw with the debate, there’s reasons to grieve the fact that these are our two candidates, but at the same time, we know that God has entrusted us with stewardship and we seek to be faithful—as faithful as we can—as we exercise this stewardship of voting.

EICHER: I just the other day received my pre-order of “Live Not By Lies,” by the journalist Rod Dreher. I’ve been so looking forward to reading the book and so, naturally, I appreciated your review of it and your critique that Dreher seems pessimistic to the point of almost joylessness.

Have to say: I have my days of pessimism. I see our freedom at risk, our country’s principles under attack, and I turn often to Dreher’s writing for, I guess, the fellowship of the trenches. I’m not alone, and he’s really a very good writer.

But one thing you mentioned—and you should talk about your experience in a former behind-the-iron curtain country—you mentioned the importance, if indeed we are facing the prospect of having to live as Christian dissidents in a formerly free country, that we be joyful Christian dissidents. Talk about how you do that.

WAX: Well, learning from the experience of people that have gone through something like that, I think a lot of what Rod says is right in how we don’t simply cultivate communities of conviction but communities of joy that are able to be able to withstand persecution. One of my favorite hymn writers Nicolae Moldoveanu—he’s a Romanian hymn writer—some of his songs, they’re beautiful. They’re mournful in their melodic structure and yet have such beautiful words. And there is a story told of Nicolae Moldoveanu when the communists ransacked his house, took virtually all his belongings and he wound up—he was imprisoned later for a time—but after all of his earthly goods were taken away, he’s sitting there on the floor of an empty house writing a song of praise to God that says, “For all that you have given me, I praise you with thanksgiving. For all that you have taken from me, I praise you with thanksgiving.”

There’s something about that unshakable joy in the face of whatever it is that we are experiencing that is contagious and that is important. And I think there has to be a certain cheerfulness in following the savior who says, “Don’t be troubled, I have overcome the world.” Even though the world at times is going to send us through many trials and there’s going to be snares and temptations and tribulations, at the end of the day our victory is secure because we belong to Jesus. And without that sense of joyfulness pervading even some of our—rightly, and I think Rod is right in his pessimistic analysis of a lot of what he’s seeing—without that sense of joy, I’m not sure that that community that he wants us to build together is going to be attractive enough to other people for them to actually see what makes us distinct. It’s not simply the unshakable nature of our convictions, but it’s also the joy that we have in the midst of suffering.

EICHER: Trevin Wax, senior vice president of Theology and Communications at LifeWay Christian Resources, joining us for Culture Friday.

BROWN: Trevin, thanks for the visit as always!

WAX: Thank you so much.

NICK EICHER: Tickets for a recent Qantas Airlines flight from Sydney, Australia, sold out in just 10 minutes. 

It wasn’t an especially terrific bargain: $600 for a seat in coach, $2,800 for business class.

But you know the old saying: it’s the journey, not the destination.

And that really had to be true in this case because this flight was leaving Sydney International and arriving at Sydney International.

The 787 Dreamliner simply took the passengers on a brief sightseeing tour. It flew as low as 4,000 feet over sites like the Great Barrier Reef. 

But many were simply happy to get out of the house. 

Internal border controls during the pandemic have meant Australians have been unable to tour their country. Qantas Captain David Summergreene said he was “super stoked” because he’s been grounded for three months.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Friday, October 2nd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: A new Sherlock Holmes mystery that’s winning big audiences with teen and tween girls. 

But Megan Basham says there are some elements of the film she doesn’t want to come as a surprise to you if you’re a parent.

MEGAN BASHAM, FILM CRITIC: We’ve seen plenty of Sherlock Holmes variations in recent years. But with the possible exception of Hugh Laurie’s doctor on House, I don’t know if we’ve seen one as creative as Sherlock interpreted as a 16-year-old girl. In Netflix’s new original film, Enola Holmes, Millie Bobbie Brown of Stranger Things gives a delightful performance as the famed detective’s little sister.

CLIP: I believe our recent brush with death at least deserves a name. Enola Holmes. Holmes? Like Sherlock? And I am undercover so forget I told you that piece of information. Undercover working for him? Undercover from him. Hence why you are dressed as a boy. Hence why you are to say nothing.

After years of living cloistered away in a country estate, receiving an unconventional home-education, she wakes up one day to find her mother missing. Her two brothers—Mycroft and Sherlock are at a loss. It’s clear the Holmes matriarch left Ferndell Hall of her own volition, but they have no idea why. Enola rejects their plan of sending her to a girls’ finishing school while they sort things out. Instead she decides to make an escape in the most Sherlockian fashion, complete with plenty of disguises.

She goes to London with the idea of leaving coded messages in newspapers, hoping her mother will see and answer in kind. Along the way, she joins forces with a young aristocrat. Naturally, romance blooms. Charming, chaste romance, suitable for the tween and teen audience the film is intended to draw. It’s rated a mild PG-13 for a smattering of minor language and martial arts violence.

CLIP: Don’t look at me like that. I’m sorry. I don’t want your pity, Tewkesbury. If you don’t stop looking at me like that Viscount Irritation Marquis of Bothersomeshire, I’ll murder you myself. People don’t seem to want us, do they? No. Still, at least we’ve got each other.

But Enola’s age and gender aren’t the only twists to this otherwise tried-and-true Victorian mystery. The subtext to the story is surprisingly of the moment.

Enola’s life is populated with ideological types we will instantly recognize though their world is 100 years past. Most notable is how the story subtly shifts the way we view Sherlock. He’s always been an eccentric, cantankerous character. But this story argues that his eccentricities are merely one more benefit of his privilege.

He doesn’t read the newspaper and is disengaged from broad social currents because they don’t impact the high station he enjoys in English society as an upper-middle class white man.

CLIP: Whatever mischief you two are— Mischief! A poor choice of word. Try not to sound like your brother. You haven’t any hope of understanding any of this. You do know that? Educate me as to why. Because you don’t know what it is to be without power. Politics doesn’t interest you. Why? Because it’s fatally boring. Because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well.  

The film even goes so far as to imply that violence can be a legitimate means for ushering in change.

CLIP: Did you find the gunpowder and the bombs? I did. Why would she? I shudder to think. Perhaps she wants to change the world. Perhaps it’s a world that needs changing.

Clearly the producers feel that those who believe many principles of the past should be defended are in the wrong. But it’s a useful exercise to see why they think so and consider how to make a case that defense of some established orders isn’t unfailingly based in personal advantage.

CLIP: Beautiful, isn’t it? It always felt an honor to me that my family was given this part of England to protect. To protect? That is what it is to be an ancestral landowner. As the world becomes increasingly unstable, it feels important that these ideas of England are preserved. For the safety and security of the future of our country. It is lovely here. But you’re probably one of those new thinkers. My son was one of those new thinkers too. Never could focus on what was, it was always about what could be. I suspect my grandson is the same. England’s true glory is what is, do you see.

The story doesn’t portray all those who disagree with progressive aims as evil, simply blind. And there’s a certain arrogance in that, isn’t there? The arrogance that we’re all grappling with these days. To assume that those who don’t see the world as we do must not see as clearly as we do.

As the film is squarely targeted at girls the age of my oldest daughter, I asked myself while watching whether I would let her view it. Even though I take issue with the assumptions it makes of those who stand athwart history yelling, stop, I decided I will. And then we will talk about how the story portrays the various characters. Enola’s mother and her rebel friends, the revolutionaries. The Dowager Viscountess of Tewkesbury, the beneficiary of systemic privilege. And Sherlock, the entrenched member of the bourgeoisie, politically disengaged because the status-quo suits him.

We’ll talk about who each of these characters represent in our own society. And then we’ll talk about how accurately the story represents their views.

Enola Holmes does a neat job capturing current ideological debates in a pretty package. Along with being genuinely entertaining I believe parents of older children can use it as a launching point to start meaningful discussions…even if they’re not the discussions the filmmakers intended. 

I’m Megan Basham.

MYRNA BROWN: Today is Friday, October 2nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Marvin Olasky now on the power of a good argument.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: The current issue of WORLD has back-to-back interviews with theologian Wayne Grudem, who supports President Trump, and writer David French, who opposes him. A pastor complained, quote: “French’s thinking belongs in Christianity Today– NOT in World!”

I agree more often than not with readers’ critiques, because I know that all of us at WORLD, like all of you, have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Chapter 3 of Romans tells us that. This time, though, I talked back. I wrote, “Thanks for your note, but we had Wayne Grudem’s perspective alongside French’s. Do you want a magazine that only presents views with which you agree? What ever happened to ‘iron sharpens iron’ from Proverbs 27?”

The pastor surprised and impressed me by writing back, “Sorry!!!!! You are right! Thanks for the admonition!” I wasn’t surprised to see most of the comments on our website disagreeing with French. That’s fine. But one respondent complained, “I thought I clicked on World News Group but apparently I hit MSNBC or CNN.”

Well, we do not present MSNBC or CNN propaganda in WORLD. Those networks give you an unbiblical perspective and some fake news as well. We praise Amy Coney Barrett. MSNBC and CNN do not. But we do not excommunicate Christian conservatives who disagree with President Trump. French is a thoughtful Reformed Christian. He has spent years at conservative organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom and National Review. He volunteered to serve during the Iraq War. That’s iron. He can sharpen us. That’s why we put two opposing views, French’s and Grudem’s, side by side.

We apply that approach generally. When there’s a clear biblical position, as there is on ethical issues like honesty and social issues like abortion, we do not need to balance contrasting viewpoints. When there is not a clear biblical position, which is often the case at election time, we will help to sharpen you by presenting contrasting views. If we don’t sharpen you, we’re doing you a disservice.

Our chief goal at WORLD is to glorify God by describing with Biblical objectivity the world He has made and humans have messed up. The words at the top of our cover are “Earning your trust. Every day,” Not supporting your biases, every day. If everything in WORLD just confirms what you already think, you should not trust us—unless you think you’re always right on every issue. I know I’m not. 

I’m Marvin Olasky.

NICK EICHER: It takes a lot of people to put this program together each week. Our thanks to these hard-working colleagues:

Megan Basham, Joel Belz, Kent Covington, Jamie Dean, Kristen Flavin, Kim Henderson, Anna Johansen, Leigh Jones, Onize Ohikere, Andrée Seu Peterson, Mary Reichard, Jenny Lind Schmitt, Sarah Schweinsberg, and Cal Thomas.

MYRNA BROWN: 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! 

I’ll leave you with these words from the Psalms: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

May you have a restful weekend and worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

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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