MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Friday, November 6, 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, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Before we get to Culture Friday, just a quick word about support for this program.
Maybe you remember a comment I made on Monday’s program, specifically that we’re not starting our end-of-year giving drive early, but rather that in November we’ll be encouraging you if you’ve never given before to join the thousands of listeners who make this program possible.
What that also means is that hundreds of thousands have not given yet. That’s both a good thing and a less-good thing. It’s good in that listeners who do give tell us they happily do so in order to reach more people. At the same time, we know what kind of impact we could have if we could increase the number of people who support the program.
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REICHARD: Well: The election was Tuesday.
The counting was Tuesday night. Wednesday. Thursday…
EICHER: But one election result that seemed immediate was this one:
MONTAGE: Another rough night for pollsters … the polling was once again off … we’re heading for a polling reckoning … deja vu all over again … people who distrust institutions support Trump more and respond to surveys less …
That’s putting it mildly. The polling was really off but more than that, the behavior of legacy media can be considered scandalous.
REICHARD: And so let’s talk about it with John Stonestreet, the president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
EICHER: John, good morning.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning.
EICHER: Here’s what I think: It’s got to be some combination of contempt and living life in a bubble, journalists living life apart from a big slice of the population.
Maybe pollsters just don’t know how to poll people who distrust them and possibly that’s understandable.
But there’s no excuse for professional journalists. The job is to get to know people, understand them, and report fairly.
So my question: I don’t want to overly narrow the choices—answer as you like—but is it contempt or life in a bubble that explains the bias that caused the media to get this election so wrong?
STONESTREET: Well, probably the answer is yes at some level. It’s both. But both of those are sourced, I think, even more deeply, and it’s becoming more and more obvious of the worldview divide that exists.
Look, I’m not saying that it’s Christian versus secular. I think that’s probably too simplistic, but I do think there’s a radical secularism or a militant secularism that dominates the media so much that it does affect who they actually think exists and what they think actually drives people.
For example, from the very beginning of the Trump administration, the narrative was that the thing that is driving people who support Trump is some form of white supremacy. Some form of nationalism. Some form of racial superiority. I’m not saying that doesn’t exist. It does. It exists in certain corners. That’s just not where most Americans are, but it’s actually where people in kind of elite positions in America think most of America is. And so they just missed it, again.
And, you know, they’re not interacting on a daily basis with average people. But they’ve already got the answer. They’re hammers looking for nails. They’re actually looking for every way possible to support a narrative that they’ve already decided on that’s not driven by data at all.
They think people operate off different operating systems. It’s not just that they’re talking to different people. They’re starting with completely different assumptions about who we are as human beings, what drives our deepest beliefs and therefore behaviors. And, of course, one of the things they missed—and this is, of course, something that’s been a narrative of the left for awhile, but really over the last couple of years is the idea of critical theory being that the thing that is most definitive about who we are is our tribal alignment, which isn’t based on belief, it’s not based on our independent thinking or rationality or reasoning, or even our emotional experience. It’s based distinctly off of things that we didn’t chose, things that we were born into—our race, our sex, or something like that.
And so there was just no thought, for example, that Hispanic Americans in Florida would come out in the numbers that they did for President Trump. And why? Why did they not think that? It wasn’t because they weren’t talking to them. It’s because they came in with this lens, this worldview that starts with a different assumption about who we are as human beings. And what we found was that people are actually driven by more than just the race or the ethnic group or the sexual binary that they were born into.
So, it’s a worldview issue at the end of the day. And, by the way, we probably should say it’s a pure mechanical issue. No one picks up their phone anymore because we can all see who’s calling and we’re all tired of it. So, that probably should be factored in at some point.
REICHARD: This idea of what drives people, I want you to interact with an idea. I’m working on analysis of a Supreme Court argument for Monday that happened this week. It’s Fulton v City of Philadelphia, about whether Catholic Social Services can abide by its religious belief and not place children in same sex households—as they’ve done for 200 years now.
I’ll play a very direct question that Justice Samuel Alito asked the lawyer for the city, and then ask you to comment. But let’s listen to this:
ALITO: If we are honest about what is really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents. It’s the fact the city can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old fashion view about marriage. Isn’t that the case?
So, John, what about that idea? Philadelphia argues it sends a bad message to children who are LGBT that Catholic Charities won’t work with same-sex couples, that gay people’s dignity is harmed by those religious beliefs. What’s the counter to that?
STONESTREET: Well, this is a huge case and it happened while everyone was distracted. This is such an incredibly important question because all of the—the main conflicts with our religious liberties have to do with sexual liberties. Those are the two forces that are colliding and it’s elevated right here. And that’s what I think Alito recognizes. Justice Kavanaugh clearly stated that as well in the oral arguments and in the questions that he asked, that this was basically Philadelphia looking for somebody to go out and get.
But, again, this gets at the heart of why worldview fundamentally matters. The fact that someone would believe that our sexual preferences and orientation is not at the core of who we are and not the most important thing about us is an intolerable thing. It’s something that has already been predetermined to be part of who we are at the level of race or anything else. And so it’s determined to be harmful.
And the attorneys for Catholic Social Services are actually asking the court to consider overturning it. It doesn’t look like—it looks like what we have here are clear evidences the city of Philadelphia engaged in animus. And we already know from the Masterpiece Cake Shop decision that the Supreme Court doesn’t like animus and that a state or a governmental organization can’t mistreat someone, some organization, or degenerate religious belief. And the evidence in this case is pretty obvious that that’s what they have done.
And my guess is that’s what this is going to be decided on and it’s not actually going to get to employment. Which is going to be good. It’s going to mean that Catholic Social Services is going to continue the work that they’ve done for a couple centuries now.
But at some point we’re going to have to get to this decision. We’re going to have to decide not only that the state can’t be mean to people of faith, but that the state is not going to trample on people of faith and are going to allow them to operate according to their deeply held views. We have to get there in some case. We might get there here, but it didn’t look like it from the oral arguments. Although, for the record, judging Supreme Court decisions on oral arguments is kind of like judging elections based on polls. It’s not a very reliable sort of thing.
EICHER: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
REICHARD: Thanks, John!
STONESTREET: Thanks, Nick. Thanks, Mary.