MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
It’s clear we have political division both outside and within the body of believers in Christ. We’ll talk it out with seminary professor Katie McCoy.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.
Plus a storytelling podcast with admirable lessons of morality.
And your Listener Feedback.
REICHARD: It’s Friday, October 30th. 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: Time for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Trump, Biden duel in swing state campaign rallies » It is the home stretch of the 2020 campaign—the final weekend ahead of Election Day. And candidates across the country are pounding the pavement, including President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden.
BIDEN: Hello Broward County! Thank you all so much for being here!
Biden heard there in South Florida Thursday.
The president also campaigned in the Sunshine State, rallying supporters in Tampa.
TRUMP: So I’m thrilled to be here in my—our home state, Florida!
He later traveled to North Carolina.
And today, the candidates will hold dueling events in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
President Trump will also be in Michigan today. Biden will be there tomorrow, campaigning with former President Barack Obama.
The Trump campaign is counting on the polls to be wrong, as they were at this point four years ago. An average of national polls shows Biden up by nearly 8 points nationally. He also leads in most battleground states.
Economy grew at record rate in second quarter » The president got some good news to campaign on Thursday. The U.S. economy grew at a record rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter, recouping about two-thirds of the losses from earlier in the pandemic.
That’s the biggest increase in growth since the government started keeping records in 1947.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News:
KUDLOW: This is not a one-time impact. This is going to go on. It’s a strong, strong recovery. The v-shaped concept that I coined a while back, looking pretty good right now.
A “v-shape” recovery would mean the economy bounces back just as sharply as it fell.
And the White House says the Commerce Department numbers show the economy is bouncing back just as the president predicted.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that’s no thanks to the president.
PELOSI: The CARES Act deserves credit for that. We had lost ground in the second quarter. The CARES Act deserves credit for injecting the resources into the economy…
Also on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims fell last week to the lowest level since March.
A total of 751,000 Americans filed unemployment claims. That was down 40,000 from the prior week.
FBI warns ransomware assault threatens healthcare system » The FBI and other federal agencies have issued a warning to hospitals and healthcare providers to protect their computer networks. That as cybercriminals target the healthcare sector. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The FBI, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services have issued a joint advisory urging healthcare providers to beef up cybersecurity and back up all their data.
Cyberattacks have already targeted at least five hospitals this week.
Cybersecurity group FireEye blamed the attacks on a Russian-speaking Eastern European group known as UNC 1878. The criminals release a strain of ransomware into the systems that scrambles data. The only way to restore the data is to pay a ransom in exchange for a decryption key.
A previous attack in September struck all 250 facilities of Universal Health Services.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Zeta rampages through Southeast, leaves millions without power » The remnants of Hurricane Zeta sped across the Southeast on Thursday, leaving a trail of damage. Officials blame the storm for at least six deaths and widespread destruction across several states.
Zeta also knocked out power to nearly 3 million homes and businesses in Atlanta and beyond.
And many are still without power in Louisiana, where Zeta roared ashore as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.
Governor John Bel Edwards said some polling locations still have no electricity with the election just a few days away.
EDWARDS: As we get closer to Tuesday, obviously a determination is going to have to be made whether they’re going to be able to power those locations back up or not.
He said authorities have to make that determination far enough in advance so that if they have to move voting locations, they can inform voters of the change.
France on high alert following deadly church attack » France remains on high alert today after an attacker with a knife killed three people inside a church in Nice. It was the country’s third terrorist attack in two months. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: French authorities raised the security alert status to the highest level following Thursday’s church attack.
Police wounded the attacker and later transported him to a hospital. Two women and a man died.
The attacker reportedly yelled “Allah Akbar!” repeatedly during and after the attack.
Tensions are increasing between France and the Muslim world. That after the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo republished controversial caricatures of Muhammad.
The trial of suspects involved in a 2015 attack against the newspaper is nearly complete, with a verdict expected next month.
Some Muslim nations called for a boycott against French products after President Emmanuel Macron defended the cartoons as free speech.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Christians divided by politics.
Plus, your listener feedback.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: It’s Friday the 30th of October, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. We’re headed into the final weekend of a long, exhausting presidential campaign.
Of course the voting public is divided. Only George Washington was the unanimous choice. And you have to go back to Ronald Reagan’s campaigns to see a blowout win for anyone. Modern elections are always close and always indicate a divided electorate.
EICHER: But among believing Christians, this campaign seems particularly difficult. You have heard here two prominent believers argue the case for and against President Trump. That would be theologian Wayne Grudem making the case for Trump’s reelection and religious-liberty lawyer and journalist David French making the case against.
In the run up, in just the past week, two prominent Baptist leaders have taken opposite sides.
Well-respected pastor John Piper wrote a piece explaining why he will not vote for Trump (and I should stress, he won’t vote for Joe Biden either). Then theologian and seminary president Albert Mohler explained why he will vote for Trump.
Both of these men have appeared on this program and we respect them both enormously. (And I need to add one more disclosure, Al Mohler is a member of the board of directors at WORLD, and he respects our journalistic independence.)
REICHARD: Piper argued, and I’ll read from his conclusion:
“With a cheerful smile, I will explain to my unbelieving neighbor why my allegiance to Jesus set me at odds with death — death by abortion and death by arrogance. I will take him to Psalm 139 and Romans 1. And if he is willing, I will show him how abortion and arrogance can be forgiven because of Christ. And I will invite him to become an exile — to have a kingdom that will never be shaken, not even when America is a footnote in the archives of the new creation.”
EICHER: Mohler argued, and I’ll read from his piece:
“Let me be as clear as I know possible: President Trump’s behavior on Twitter and his divisive comments and sub-presidential behavior are an embarrassment to me. … But character is some strange combination of the personal, the principled, and the practical. Let me put it another way—I cannot accept the argument that a calm man who affirms the dismembering of babies in the womb has a superior character to a man who rants like Genghis Khan but acts to preserve that life.”
REICHARD: It’s Culture Friday and so let’s welcome Katie McCoy. She’s assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas.
EICHER: Katie, good morning.
KATIE MCCOY, GUEST: Good morning, Nick and Mary. Hey, what a time to be alive.
EICHER: [Laughs] That’s one way to put it.
Well, we thought we’d reach out to a Baptist seminary professor for analysis. These are two highly respected voices in the Baptist world, really, and beyond. And it’s significant to me that they are both theological conservatives, both pro-life. We’re not talking about Evangelicals for Biden (such people exist) and we’re not talking about people who excuse President Trump’s personal character flaws (again, such people exist).
But I think in the Mohler and Piper perspectives, you have the two poles of the argument, at least for the typical listener to this program.
REICHARD: I mentioned as we were getting started, this is our last Lord’s Day before the election, and I imagine many Christians are going to be examining their consciences or re-examining. So we’ll ask your help with that process.
So, be your best classroom self and give me what you think are the best arguments each one of them make.
Start with the pro-Trump argument by Mohler.
MCCOY: From what I can tell, the pro-Trump argument isn’t so much pro-Trump the person. So, with the Mohler argument, it’s looking at all of these other issues sort of stacked in comparison to the person of Trump and saying, “I will endure the person of Trump for the sake of having the policies, the platform, and the personnel that he would appoint.” We cannot go far from this argument without talking about abortion, which we perennially discuss. And it’s true that if Roe were overturned tomorrow, abortion would still occur. It would be a matter of the states. But it’s also true that if a state like my state of Texas or Oklahoma were to pass abortion legislation, it would be either upheld or struck down by the court system, and that’s where those court appointments are so crucial, not only the Supreme Court but the courts of appeals, the appellate courts.
Additionally, the issue of free speech and religious freedom is a concern, especially with our cultural climate today. Vice President Biden has already stated that he hopes to make the equality act signed into law within the first 100 days of his presidency. And not only would that affect issues of religious liberty and conscience, but it would also end up affecting parental rights. Parental rights that would affect whether a child has gender therapies like hormone replacements. And you’ll recall Joe Biden expressed his support for an eight-year-old child to undergo gender transition therapies.
So, the pro-Trump argument essentially is a very practical one.
EICHER: On that score, let’s dive right into the anti-Trump argument that John Piper makes.
MCCOY: The anti-Trump argument seems to look at the same categories and flip them in terms of importance. So, the anti-Trump argument prioritizes the person of Trump and his personal character, virtue, or lack thereof over policies, party platform, and the people that he would appoint in both his cabinet and the courts. So, for the anti-Trump argument, they look at his tendency towards narcissism, divisiveness, how he cares only for himself and say that it would be naive to think that a man with moral flaws like these could preserve, much less promote, a just society. This argument also looks at the issue of abortion not to brush it under the rug, but they sort of diminish or even at times dismiss the importance of the Supreme Court and other judicial appointments. They also look at issues like the 545 missing children who were separated from their parents, and that’s just what we know. Additionally, they look at issues like the racial injustice that we’re seeing across our country and believe that President Trump fans the flame of that.
So, some on that anti-Trump argument find it incongruent with Christian discipleship—or, in Piper’s case, “baffling”—for a Christian to vote for Trump.
REICHARD: These are serious arguments and only one will prevail on Election Day, but what drove the arguments will persist beyond. We can say we’re really divided on politics, but I think we also may be divided on civics.
I don’t mean Piper and Mohler. Those men are not fundamentally divided.
I’m speaking only about the sides they represent.
I think Senator Ben Sasse helps make this distinction.
This was a few weeks ago during the confirmation hearing for Justice Amy Coney Barrett. It was so helpful how he put it. It’s kind of a long bite, but let’s listen.
SASSE: I’d like to distinguish first between civics and politics, because there was a time when people that would be as different as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia—people that different—could both go through the Senate and get confirmation votes of 95 or 98 votes. And the Chairman said at the beginning of the hearing he doesn’t know what happened between then and now. I think some of what happened between that and now is we decided to forget what civics are and allow politics to swallow everything.
So if I can start, I’d like to just remind us of the distinction between civics and politics. civics is the stuff we’re all supposed to agree on regardless of our policy views’ differences. None of that stuff should be different if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or a Libertarian or a Green Party member.
This is basic civics. Civics is the stuff that all Americans should agree on, like religious liberty is essential.
So my question is, how do we live with one another after the election with such deep divisions among society at large and among Christians in particular?
MCCOY: Well, you’re right. We do have to live with each other. In fact, it’s even worse, Mary. We have to love each other despite our political differences.
And I think when we step back from this what we have to always remember is, first, who we are and then who our brother and sister in Christ is as well. Our citizenship is not of this world. We belong to a King and a kingdom that will outlast every nation.
And when you realize that you have more in common with the believer who votes differently than you do with an unbeliever who votes the same way as you, when you realize that all Christians who are taking shots at each other over Twitter will not only spend the rest of their lives together but eternity together, and then when we realize—I’m stepping on my own toes here with this one—that we will all have to give an account for every careless word that we speak, it will help us move forward, whatever the results of this election. And when I think about the issue of the Christian and voting, I’m always reminded of Romans 14 and what it says about Christian liberties, that our vote is a matter of conscience and the judge of our conscience is God alone. We answer to God, not to each other. And Romans 14 has a lot to say to us about how we navigate that, that we should be convinced in our own mind about what we are to do. That whatever we do, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. That we can’t show contempt for each other because we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. And that we will all have to give an account of ourselves to God.
So, I think on this last weekend before Election Day, that’s what we have to settle within ourselves of when stand before the Lord and we have weighed and measured all of the factors, what does our conscience dictate? And then beyond that, we love our neighbor as Christ commanded us to, regardless of whether their political beliefs align with our own.
EICHER: Katie McCoy, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas.
REICHARD: Thanks, Katie!
MCCOY: Always great to be with y’all.
NICK EICHER: Today is Friday, October 30th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a beloved canine security expert gets a new assignment.
Here’s reviewer Emily Whitten.
EMILY WHITTEN, REVIEWER: This fall, fans of John R. Erickson’s Hank the Cowdog books got a bonafide treat. An all new podcast version of a Hank story, read by actor Matthew McConaughey.
CLIP: It’s me again, Hank the Cowdog. It was your typical spring day, nothing out of the ordinary. Calm, bright, a little on the warmish side. The air full of cotton from the cottonwood trees. Myself, I was up in the machine shed hard at work, sleeping.
The podcast shares the same title as Book 11 in Erickson’s series of 75 Hank books. It’s called Lost in the Dark, Unchanted Forest. The plot kicks off as ranch owners Sally Mae and Loper bring home a new baby. Their oldest child, little Alfred, feels neglected and runs away into the nearby forest. So, Hank dutifully rushes in to rescue little Alfred, facing deadly dangers along the way, including Sinister the Bobcat and bumbling coyotes Rip and Snort. Here’s a clip from Episode Four:
CLIP: You could bite ‘em, kick ‘em, scratch ‘em, throw dirt in their eyes, chew on their ears, spit in their craw, and all it would do would just make em a little bit madder. I could see all 37 of Rip’s teeth. They were just about the longest sharpest teeth I’d ever seen, and I did not like the way they were decorating that smile. He flicked out his tongue, swept it around to the right side of his drooling lips, and then took it all the way back across his mouth and mopped up the left side. Now Rip, don’t go doing anything you might regret later!
Erickson fans will notice a few differences. For instance, Rip and Snort no longer sound like Native Americans but more typical American goons. The best parts of the narration and style do come directly from the book. It turns out, Austin-based creator Jeff Nichols became interested in Hank when he picked up Book 11 to read to his own son. Nichols had worked with fellow Texan, Matthew McConaughey, in the 20-13 movie Mud, and he originally proposed making an animated feature film starring McConaughey. But cost concerns and a growing need for family podcasts pushed Nichols toward an audio-only format.
And doggone it, it works. For one thing, the large cast, background music, and songs fill out the soundscape. That makes sense considering Nichols’s film background and the backing of film company Tri-Star Productions, among others. But the podcast format fits in another way, too. The original Hank stories grew out of the West Texas oral tradition of storytelling. Erickson explains in this 2014 interview at Abilene Christian University:
ERICKSON: I do all these stories as audiobooks because these stories come out of an oral tradition. It’s a cowboy tradition. It’s a rural tradition. Country people sitting around after breakfast or after supper and telling stories.
Erickson first realized he had something special when he began reading Hank stories aloud in the 1980s. He read them first to adults near his home of Perryton, Texas, and later began to read them to children in schools and libraries. When they asked to hear more about Hank, as he put it, he had enough sense to listen.
That’s not to say this podcast will be everyone’s cup of tea. Compared to, say, Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey podcasts, Erickson’s tales include a lot of violence and bad behavior. Hank rejoices when the cat gets tossed in the sewage pond, for instance, and characters bend the truth when it suits them. I should also say, some families won’t like the inclusion of a witch.
That said, Hank isn’t all bad. In fact, he reminds me a lot of Bugs Bunny, with much of the humor coming from a character’s immaturity. And you will find more than a few wholesome, family values here. Hank shows courage and loyalty, and kids of all ages will relate to his struggle to do the right thing … especially when facing an extra-ginormous bobcat.
Erickson says the tales reflect his Christian faith in important ways. He talked about that in this Compelled Podcast interview from 2019.
ERICKSON: I think in my case, I just try to write honest books and capture my wonder at God’s creation, and give people the gift of laughter, and make their children have sparkles in their eyes. Give them the equivalent of good home cooked food that will nourish their bodies. I think one of the best lines in Storycraft is, ‘Only the maker of galaxies would have thought to give mankind such a marvelous gift of a dog.’
Erickson has shared his gift of storytelling with fans for nearly 40 years now. He’s sold over 8 million copies of the Hank books worldwide, including versions in Farsi, Chinese, and Spanish. This podcast version aims to introduce a new generation of listeners to Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security. And on Apple Podcast alone, the five episodes of the first season racked up over 2,000 reviews averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars.
No word yet if that’ll be enough to earn Hank a second season, but I’d say he’s off to a rousing good start.
I’m Emily Whitten.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Friday, October 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, Listener Feedback!
BRAD SHEDD: This is Brad Shedd from Chesapeake, Virginia. I just wanted to say I enjoyed the God’s Girls Knitters special piece today. I loved the intentional or unintentional pun that they were a tight-knit group. I just have to add that I enjoyed the yarns that they spun, and the fact that they agreed not to needle one another about politics.
Well, you know, that’s the fabric of an interesting program we like to weave together each day.
REICHARD: He’s gotta million of ’em. And, nice try. We can talk later about textiles and, well, nevermind.
EICHER: I know. Just trying, yeah, nevermind. Speaking of my attempt at wit, here’s an appreciation for the genuine wit of our old friend Cal Thomas. This is from listener Grace Link of Ohio:
GRACE LINK: I want to express my appreciation for the reporting done by Cal Thomas. He often says direct and truthful things that I often think about but am unable to put it so clear or as witty as Cal. I look forward to chuckling at his weekly quips and listening to his Christian, fatherly advice. And here’s a big thank you to the entire team. It’s good to know that there are people out there that think like I do that are just trying to follow Christ’s teachings to the best of our abilities. As a young Christian it is comforting to know I have so many brothers and sisters in Christ.
You know, we discovered when we started doing the prerolls several years ago how much listeners enjoy hearing from each other. It’s encouraging to know that we’re connected to fellow believers all over the world. And that’s one reason we decided to end next week’s programs by giving all of you the last word, so to speak.
So thanks to all of you who have sent us recordings of yourselves, and in some cases entire families, praying for our nation or reading Scripture over it.
REICHARD: We can’t wait to play those for you next week. And we hope they will be as much of a blessing to all of you as they have been to us.
Well, we received a mixed mailbag of responses having to do with Whitney Williams’s commentary on political yard signs: a lot of email that was kind yet critical. One wrote to say she put up a Trump sign and that she lives next door to very sweet neighbors who have a Biden sign up. To her it was an opportunity to communicate to her children that their pro-Biden neighbor is a neighbor and not an enemy.
Here’s one from listener Les Asterlund of Minneapolis.
LES ASTERLUND: She was talking about political signs on her street and how they caused division in her neighborhood. I paused the episode right there and repent. But it wasn’t a sign in my yard that was causing division, but political posts on my Facebook wall. I know God is in control and His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and as Whitney reminded me we are called to be peacemakers and bear the fruit of peace and kindness. Listening to her, God showed me my Facebook activity was divisive and it was affecting my witness for Him. I deleted the posts right away and put up a confession on my wall and asked my Facebook friends to join me in praying for the peace of our nation. Letting my light shine for Christ is far more important than winning a political argument.
EICHER: Well, let’s hear Karen Badorff of Lyman, South Carolina who tells us she’s been listening for quite a few years:
KAREN BADORFF: It’s just recently that I’ve become really aware of what a great job that the sound engineers Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz do with each selection. And I just wanted to say a big thumbs-up to those two for all their hard work on making such an excellent program go along with excellent music that fits the theme perfectly. Way to go guys.
REICHARD: I’m so glad Carl and Johnny are getting the recognition they so richly deserve. But along with that, y’all, you’re drawing some questions, too. So we’ll end today with some questions we’ve heard more than just a few times. Here’s listener Patty Roberts from Walnut Shade, Missouri.
PATTY ROBERTS: Those little snippets of music that go between segments of the program, where do they come from? Does WORLD have to buy them? And, do you ever reuse them? How many of those music snippets go into every program, on average? And finally, how do you decide which one goes where? And, do you both have to agree? Thank you for all your excellent late night work!
EICHER: Alright, I am counting six questions! And I should mention, Johnny’s in the southeast and because of the remnants of Hurricane Zeta, he is without electricity.
REICHARD: So 2020.
EICHER: So Carl’s the designated spokesman and he’s flying solo!
CARL PEETZ: Thanks Nick, first let me say on behalf of Johnny and me, thank you to Karen and to Patty for your encouraging words to us. You know we have a really good time putting these things together and it’s just our joy. And if you enjoy that too then it’s that much better!
Well, let me try to answer these questions. Those little snippets of music that go between the segments of the program, where do they come from? We have access to a production music library that is designed exclusively for broadcast media, for film and web content as well. So when you hear one of these songs you can’t just go to iTunes and download an mp3, I’m sorry to say.
Does WORLD have to buy them? Yes, there are fees for these songs and there is an arrangement for them.
Do you ever reuse them? Yes, sometimes we reuse some of the pieces but we try to keep them as fresh as possible, and like I said every now and then we’ll reuse them as well.
How many of those music snippets go into every program? On average I’d say 5 to 6.
And finally, how do you decide which one goes where? The production music library that we use has a search feature. So for example, on our Culture Friday segment we began the program talking about the divided public and that we’re exhausted in the presidential campaign. So I’ll go to the search window and I’ll look for “divided”.
(song sample played)
That’s interesting. It has some encouragement, some drama. We try to get unique pieces that sound interesting to the ear and fit the topic at hand.
I hope that gave you a little bit of an insight of what we do late at night here for WORLD Radio!
EICHER: OK, Carl, roll the closing music!
NICK EICHER: Well, in addition to Carl and Johnny, it takes many souls to put this program together each week, so we want to say thanks to: Joel Belz, Mindy Belz, Myrna Brown, Kent Covington, Kristen Flavin, Katie Gaultney, Kim Henderson, Leigh Jones, Onize Ohikere, Jenny Rough, Sarah Schweinsberg, Cal Thomas, and Emily Whitten.
MARY REICHARD: Paul Butler is executive producer, and Marvin Olasky is editor in chief.
And you. Without you, none of this happens. Truly! We thank you for your support.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
I hope you have a restful weekend and worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.