MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Today, the electoral college showdown. We’ll talk about the ins and outs of that process.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also World Tour.
Plus, writing a record of God’s work in our lives.
And Janie B. Cheaney on transforming our minds and souls.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, January 6th. 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 now for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Democrats lead, but Ga. Senate elections too close to call » Control of the U.S. Senate is still undecided.
As of very early this morning, with 97 percent of the votes tallied, at least one of the two races in Georgia’s double Senate runoff was too close to call.
The Associated Press called one of those races at 2 a.m. this morning—declaring Democrat Raphael Warnock the winner in his race against GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
WARNOCK: And so Georgia, I am honored by the faith that you have shown in me. And I promise you this tonight: I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia.
Warnock led incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler this morning by about 36,000 votes—out of about 4.3 million counted.
But Loeffler told her supporters, she’s not giving up.
LOEFFLER: It’s worth it for this election to last into tomorrow. We’re going to make sure every vote is counted.
The margin in the other Senate race is even tighter. Republican Sen. David Perdue trails his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff by just a few thousand votes.
But Democrats are confident that the ballots yet to be counted will favor Ossoff and Warnock.
If they’re correct, Democrats and Republicans will have a 50/50 split in the Senate. But soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie, giving Democrats a razor thin majority in the upper chamber.
Vaccine rollout more slowly than hoped » Nearly 5 million Americans have now rolled up their sleeves for coronavirus vaccine shots. That’s good news for the most vulnerable, but it’s not happening as quickly as many officials expected—or at least hoped.
New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters…
CUOMO: We are in a foot race right now between the vaccine implementation vs the infection rate and hospitalization capacity. That’s the foot race.
Long lines of cars are forming around the country for coronavirus vaccine shots.
In Daytona Beach, Florida, a thousand people slept in their cars near a distribution center Monday night.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has broadened vaccine access to all Floridians age 65 or older—not just nursing home residents and healthcare workers.
In California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom says the pace of the vaccine rollout is “not good enough.” Distribution and logistical problems there have slowed the effort. According to a New York Times tally, so far, the state has only used about 22 percent of the doses it’s received.
Several countries introduce or extend lockdowns » Several countries are tightening or extending coronavirus restrictions as infections surge. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that her country will keep its lockdown in place for at least three more weeks. She said the move was “absolutely necessary,” especially with a more infectious strain now running rampant in England.
The U.K. began a new 6-week lockdown on Tuesday.
Merkel said “We must reach a point where we can once again follow the chains of infection.” She said “Otherwise, we will just keep going back into a lockdown after a short relaxation.”
Columbia is also tightening restrictions once again. Several Columbian cities, including the capital of Bogota are imposing curfews and stay at home measures that had not been implemented for months.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
WHO ‘disappointed’ at Chinese delays letting experts in » The head of the World Health Organization issued a rare critique of China on Tuesday for slow-walking a UN-led investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said he learned yesterday that China still had not granted final permission for a team of scientists to enter the country.
GHEBREYESUS: I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute.
Tedros said he “made it clear” that the mission was a priority for the WHO and that he was “assured that China is speeding up” its internal process.
The experts drawn from around the world are expected to visit the city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic.
The U.S. and several other nations have harshly criticized the UN health body for deference to China and its excessive praise for Beijing’s handling of the initial outbreak.
Venezuela’s socialists seize control of once-defiant congress » Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro has tightened his grip on power as the ruling socialist party took control of a once-defiant congress on Tuesday. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Venezuelan congress was the last institution that the socialist party did not already control.
Maduro’s allies swept legislative elections last month as the opposition boycotted the vote. They denounced the election as a sham. And many foreign governments agree, including those of the United States and the European Union.
The U.S. government recognizes the opposition leader, 37-year-old Juan Guaidó as the country’s rightful acting president, but Maduro has not relinquished power.
GUIADO: [Speaking in Spanish]
Guaidó addressed the Venezuelan people on Friday. He said Maduro and his allies use words like “dialogue’ and ‘reconciliation.’” But he said those “are empty words” when they hold “more than 300 political prisoners” and “when they are sanctioned for crimes against humanity.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: the fight over electoral vote certification.
Plus, Janie B. Cheaney on the necessity of repentance.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s the 6th of January, 2021. So glad you’ve joined us for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next, Washington Wednesday.
The United States Congress is gathering today in a joint session to tally the votes of the Electoral College.
Congress’ formal certification of the electoral votes is the final step in the presidential election.
But President Trump is pressuring Republicans to delay or oppose certification and some GOP lawmakers plan to do so.
And there’s another potential wrinkle in what is normally a smooth and uneventful process.
Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, is slated to officially announce Joe Biden as the country’s next president.
But President Trump is also pressuring him not to do so.
TRUMP: And I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you. I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.
But what does it mean if some lawmakers do indeed oppose certification or if Vice President Pence does not formally declare Biden’s victory?
Here to help answer these questions is Hans von Spakovsky. He’s an attorney and former member of the Federal Election Commission. Today he’s a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation. Good morning!
SPAKOVSKY: Good morning!
REICHARD: This congressional joint session, while generally not very newsworthy, is never a mere formality. Why does Congress convene to review these votes, rather than simply rubber stamping the Electoral College results?
SPAKOVSKY: Well, because there’s actually a federal statute that governs the opening and counting of Electoral College votes and the statute was passed in the late 1800s after the very highly disputed 1876 presidential election, because in that election there were three southern states where they couldn’t tell who had won the election. And there were disputes over which sets over which set of Electoral College votes should be counted. Does that sound familiar? [Laughs] It should. So, anyway, so Congress passed this statute. It’s in the U.S. code and it basically lays out that January 6th is the date for the opening and counting of the Electoral College votes that have been sent up from each state. It’s a joint session of Congress—both the Senate and the House meet together in the House chamber. It’s presided over by the vice president. And it has a provision in it and this is what folks have been talking about—some Republicans on the House side and the Senate side. There’s a provision in it that allows an objection to be filed, a written objection to the certification and counting of the votes from a particular state. The written objection has to be signed by both a Senator and a Representative. If an objection is filed, then they temporarily suspend the joint session and the counting of the Electoral College votes and each chamber then meets on its own. So, the Senators go back to the Senate, the Members of the House meet in the House. And they there then debate and take a vote on that objection. Should it be overruled? Should it be sustained? And that is the process that it looks like might be happening if objections are filed.
REICHARD: Well, we’ll soon find out. Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes to President Trump’s 232. The Electoral College affirmed that last month in each state capital. Is Congress legally obligated to defer to the Electoral College vote? I take it no?
SPAKOVSKY: Well, not if they believe that there was a problem with the election or the certification. What’s interesting about this is, look, both houses may vote to overrule the objections. OK? If that happens, then the joint session comes back together and they keep counting the votes. If there were to be a disagreement—let’s say the House said this objection is invalid, but the Senate voted the opposite way and said the objection is valid. Well, then, you’re kind of in a quandary. What’s going to happen? The statute says that if the two houses disagree, then whichever set of electors were certified by the chief executive of the state are the ones that shall be counted. So, that might take care of that dispute. But, again, we’ve actually never had this situation come up since this law was passed in the late 1800s.
REICHARD: Assuming lawmakers that have said they’ll oppose certification actually do that or if Pence does as Trump has asked him to do. What happens then?
SPAKOVSKY: See, I think what’s going to happen is, look, the Democrats on the House side are going to vote to overrule any objection. And I don’t think Republicans who have said they’re going to object on the Senate side have enough votes to sustain their objection either. So, I think what’s going to happen is that they are—the objecting Senators and Representatives—I think they’re going to take advantage of the fact that this issue, this objection has to be debated to bring up on the floor of the Senate and the House all of the claims and allegations of wrongdoing, irregularities, and fraud and unconstitutional behavior so that the public eye is really brought to focus on these issues. I think in the end, you know, they’re going to lose. I don’t think they have the votes to sustain this and I think Biden is probably going to be declared president. But I think that bringing publicity to this is what they really want to accomplish. And what that should do, I hope, is to make state legislators in those states realize that they have problems that they need to remedy and solve when their state legislatures meet, which as you know in most states starts at the end of January.
REICHARD: While this is highly unlikely to happen, suppose Congress were to disqualify enough electoral votes to deprive Biden of the needed 270 electoral votes, then what happens?
SPAKOVSKY: Well, if there’s still litigation and dispute going on, so that that could potentially be resolved, well then on January 20th, that’s the end under an amendment to the Constitution, that’s the end of the president’s term. And if who is the president is still in dispute and there are states outstanding where we don’t yet have final results, there’s a federal statute, again, that governs this, that says that the acting President of the United States shall become the Speaker of the U.S. House until that’s resolved. The other alternative is if it can’t be resolved, if neither candidate has enough Electoral College votes to meet, well then it goes to the U.S. House to decide who shall be the president. And in that case, each state gets one vote. So, that means that in a big state like Texas or California where I think Texas has something like over 30 members of the House, California has over 50, they have to take an internal vote to decide which of the candidates their one vote will go to.
REICHARD: Now, you touched on prior challenges to the electoral votes. Can you elaborate a little bit? And have any challenges succeeded in overturning an election result?
SPAKOVSKY: Well, like I said, the statute we’ve been talking about was passed because of the dispute over the 1876 election. If you’ll recall your history, it was Rutherford B. Hayes—a Republican—versus Samuel Tilden—the Democrat. But three states, there was a huge dispute over who had won those states with allegations of fraud and they were Southern states, suppression of the vote, of newly freed black slaves by, in fact, Democrats. Because of that and because they couldn’t figure out who had won those three states, Congress actually appointed a commission—a bipartisan commission—it had 15 members—to investigate what had happened in Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. At the end of their investigation, the bipartisan commission voted along party lines to count the Electoral College votes of the Republican electors of those three states. And that’s why Rutherford B. Hayes became the President of the United States with only one Electoral College vote to spare.
REICHARD: And then looking to the future, what effect do you think this might have on the longrunning effort to either change or completely do away with the Electoral College system?
SPAKOVSKY: I know there are some folks, critics of the Electoral College system that think this will help them, but I actually think this will help reinforce people’s understanding of the importance of the Electoral College. Because, remember, the biggest reason for the Electoral College system being put in was because the framers of the Constitution were afraid that if we had a national popular vote system, candidates would simply go to the big cities, the big urban areas to campaign for president and they would ignore all the smaller states, the more rural areas of the country. With the Electoral College system, yeah, the larger states with larger populations still have more Electoral College votes. But even the smallest state has a minimum of three Electoral College votes. And if a candidate can attract enough support in those areas of the country, they can still win the presidency. So I actually think what has happened this year actually helps once again establish the legitimacy and the wiseness of having the Electoral College system.
REICHARD: Well, as a rural American, I am very glad to hear that! Hans Von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow with the Heritage Foundation, thank you!
SPAKOVSKY: Sure. Thanks for having me.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Villages attacked in Niger—We start today here in Africa.
Niger is holding three days of mourning for 100 people killed in jihadist attacks on two villages Saturday.
AUDIO: [Man speaking French]
Niger’s prime minister promised investigators would find the attackers and punish them. No group has claimed responsibility, but Islamic State in the Greater Sahara is active in the region.
The two villages sit near the borders of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. It’s an area plagued by jihadist violence for years. Attackers in the region killed seven Nigerien soldiers in an ambush last month.
IS claims attack in Pakistan—Next to Pakistan and another militant attack.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Urdu]
Thousands of mourners from a minority Shiite community in Pakistan gathered Monday to protest an attack that killed 10 miners. Attackers kidnapped the men on Sunday as they slept near a remote coal mine.
Islamic State fighters have claimed responsibility, although Pakistani officials deny the group’s presence in the country. The province of Balochistan is rich in oil and gas and has long struggled with ethnic, sectarian, and separatist insurgencies.
Protests against Netanyahu—Next we go to the Middle East.
AUDIO: [Sounds of protest]
Several thousand Israelis gathered in the streets of Jerusalem to call for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down. He goes to trial on corruption charges later this month, and protesters say he cannot continue to lead the country during the court proceedings.
Prosecutors released more details in the case on Sunday. The indictment alleges Netanyahu traded favors with a powerful media mogul in exchange for positive news coverage. It details more than 300 requests, including more time for positive stories, deleting unfavorable stories, and altering headlines he didn’t like.
Netanyahu denies all charges.
The trial is set to begin several weeks before Israelis go back to the polls for their fourth national election in two years.
Dakar rally begins—And finally, we end today in Saudi Arabia.
AUDIO: [Sounds of engine revving]
One of the world’s most challenging off-road, endurance rally races began last week. The 12-stage event will take drivers through the deserts of Saudi Arabia.
Here’s three-time Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah after winning Monday’s second stage.
AL-ATTIYAH: It’s a good day but I don’t know how much we’ve won on Carlos and Stéphane. Look, we win the stage but I don’t know how far because yesterday we lost a lot of time.
The annual race started in 1978. Drivers then went from Paris through the deserts of Africa to Dakar, Senegal. This year, dozens of teams are competing in cars, trucks, and motorbikes.
That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Why drag your old Christmas tree to the curb, when this would be so much more interesting to watch?!
FERELS: Our goats love to eat the Christmas trees. Come here guys! Let’s take some over to the goats.
Yeah, let the goats go to work on ’em.
The Lewis Adventure Farm and Zoo up in New Era, Michigan started taking Christmas tree donations 17 years ago, after adding a herd of hungry goats.
They’ll eat anything.
FERELS: Here ya go guys! Remember these?
The zoo’s Jenny Ferels talking with television station WXMI…
FERELS: Animals get the winter blues kind of too, so they like anything new and unusual. It’s exciting for them.
Not only are Christmas trees irresistible to the goats, Ferels says they’re also a great source of vitamin C!
The more you know!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 6th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Hey Nick, do you have a New Year’s resolution?
EICHER: I’m reminded of the classic Calvin & Hobbes comic strip: Just what are you implying with the question? That I need to change?
But seriously—of course—read more, pray more, exercise more, eat less.
REICHARD: Right, boiled down to gain spiritual weight, lose the other kind!
And we’re not alone. Millions of people are considering New Year’s resolutions. Today, WORLD reporter Jenny Rough tells us about an exercise that’s worth adopting this year: a writing exercise.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR: You, O Lord my God, gave me my life and my body when I was born. You gave my body its five senses; you furnished it with limbs.
JENNY ROUGH, REPORTER: When Augustine wrote Confessions, he started from the very beginning: infancy. Er, technically, he started even before that, probing deep questions.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR: I have myself seen women who are pregnant. But what came before that, O God, my Delight? Was I anywhere? Was I anybody?
Augustine went on to recount the stages of his life. How he squandered his brains. Became infatuated with money. And how—eventually—he came to love the God who first loved him. Confessions is one of the earliest autobiographies of Western literature.
Fast forward about 1,600 years. Bill Haley—husband, father, Anglican priest—sits at a desk and writes his spiritual autobiography. Technology has changed a bit.
AUDIO: [COMPUTER TYPING]
But the Almighty God “who is and was and is to come” has not changed. Haley loves to read spiritual autobiographies and stories. He has an office full of them.
HALEY: This one is absolutely one of my favorites. Mother Teresa Come Be My Light. Of course all the John Stott there. This is one of my favorites: The Birds Are Our Teachers, do you know that one? Oh, He Leadeth Me, one of my favorite books of all time, by a guy named Walter Ciszek.
It never occurred to Haley to write his own story—until he had to for a job application. The assignment caused him to think about God’s activity in his life.
HALEY: There was a sense in which it became really a worship exercise of sort of tracing God’s fingerprints, and seeing some sort of coherence and being really, really grateful. So it really did end up being an experience of praise.
Haley now encourages others to write their spiritual autobiography. Not to publish and sell in a bookstore. To give to family, friends, and future generations.
HALEY: I just think one of the most powerful and meaningful reasons to do a spiritual autobiography is simply to bear witness to God.
He says putting memories on paper helps you see how you encounter God. That may be different than what others experience.
HALEY: And so there’s a huge development, transition, even a Rubicon in the Christian life, where we stop trying to have someone else’s relationship with God. And we discover what is the relationship with God that is mine.
Marcus Brotherton is a Seattle-based author who has helped everyone from celebrities to war heroes tell their story. His first tip for getting started? Outline.
MARCUS BROTHERTON: Begin by charting out the defining moments of your life.
The big and little pieces.
BROTHERTON: The high points, the low points, the big decisions, the transitions, the changes. How did you get from point A to B? Who or what helped you along the way?
Brotherton suggests picking a theme. Like overcoming obstacles. Or the importance of family. Write about incidents that illustrate that theme.
Be specific with names and dates.
BROTHERTON: Mom to you is going to be grandma to your kids.
Haley says a word limit will also help you focus on what matters.
HALEY: When you think, how am I going to write my life story with God? That’s really intimidating, right? Because you kind of want to capture it all. But if you put a word limit on yourself it immediately forces you to have to determine what are the things that I really want to say?
Say 2,500 words. That’s about 10 pages doubled spaced.
BROTHERTON: Shorter is often better these days because people tend to be kind of quick, cold readers. They’re used to reading blogs or Twitter or whatever.
Haley summed up high school in one sentence. But his post-graduate fellowship got much more space. Haley stretched a $18,000 scholarship for a trip around that world to learn about ministry. He worked with heroin addicts and the homeless. Visited L’Abri in Switzerland and volunteered at the Home for the Dying in Calcutta. The trip opened his eyes to the plight of man. He knew it belonged in his story.
HALEY: It just led to sort of this eruption of gratitude. And not in such a way that sort of like God was out there, and I was thanking him. As I’m writing, as I’m thinking, God’s with me right now. It ended up being not so much of a head experience, as much as it was a heart and relational experience with God.
Your story could focus on just one segment from your life.
HALEY: You could easily write a spiritual autobiography about 2020. The fact that you can have this bug that you can’t even see, that stops everything, and we can’t fix it tomorrow, I think has been shocking.
Other tips? Interview yourself.
HALEY: What is something about you that if I don’t know it, I don’t know you?
For Haley, the answer was his marriage to his wife, Tara. Another question: What scripture verses take on a deep meaning for you?
Also, be careful how you paint others. Remember God is working in their lives as well.
Painful times can lead us to wonder: Where was God in that? Both Haley and Brotherton say: Do the hard work. Be honest about those difficult times. Again, Marcus Brotherton:
BROTHERTON: So you’re talking about memories where you made a wrong choice, or you were in the wrong. Or memories where life didn’t turn out as hoped. Definitely go there. It can be really healing to write down those memories. Perhaps you tell the story of how you asked for forgiveness or maybe you just describe how you lamented for a season.
The way God works in every life is remarkable. Haley says not to worry if your story isn’t as dramatic as, I used to be a drug dealer and then—.
HALEY: A good life faithfully lived is a great gift on the planet.
Your story matters. Write it down.
AUDIO: COMPUTER TYPING
MUSIC: [Francesca Battistelli — Write Your Story]
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jenny Rough.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 6th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here’s commentator Janie B. Cheaney on the ongoing work of transformation.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Jesus himself taught us to pray this way, so it’s Biblically correct: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” We usually focus on the second half—our own obligation to forgive those who have sinned against us. But I’m having a problem with the first part.
You’ve heard the saying, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.” The more explicit form is this: “I know God will forgive me. That’s His job.” I’ve heard people say that, in those words. Most of us wouldn’t put it in such presumptuous terms, but do we catch ourselves thinking it?
It can become too easy to ask forgiveness, because, after all, God promises to forgive. He doesn’t have to; it’s a task He assigned to Himself, in order to reconcile rebels. But it’s not an easy thing for a holy God to do, because offenses against holiness must be paid for. Holiness Himself paid, as Peter writes in his first letter: not with silver or gold or any other perishable thing, but with the precious blood of his own Son, a perpetual spotless lamb.
But while it is God’s to forgive, it is mine to repent. He knows my weakness, and how I have to repent the same sins over and over. But I know this too: I am weak, but thou art mighty; hold me with thy powerful hand. It can become too easy to say, “and forgive me for . . .” and let it go at that. “Forgive me” puts the burden on him, and it’s true that only he can bear the burden of the penalty.
But I bear the burden of repentance. To pray, “I confess” or “I repent” or even “I am sorry for—” returns that burden to me. Where it belongs.
“Forgive us our debts” is biblical, and when it focuses our attention on God’s miraculous grace—not only in forgiving, but in making forgiveness possible –the request is righteous. But even forgiven sinners run the risk of assuming their less-heinous sins, like laziness, self-indulgence, neglect, and complacency, are covered with a blank check. After being delivered from obvious transgressions, even after achieving some level of spiritual practice like church attendance and prayer, so-called “Christian” habits can become as soul-defeating as secular ones.
I am not as sorry as I should be. I am not as repentant as I should be. I am not as resolved to do better as I should be. Sin doesn’t grieve me as it should. Grace covers this too, but as Paul writes in Ephesians, “Be careful how you walk,” and what you say, and how you think. True repentance comes from a transformed heart, and transformation isn’t a one-time deal. It’s always going on, and while praying for forgiveness, I must pray even more earnestly for the transformation of true repentance.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: A rare case of common sense in the transgender debate. We’ll tell you about what prompted that.
And, WORLD’s Jamie Dean joins us to talk about the fallout from Tuesday’s Senate runoffs in Georgia.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.
Go now in grace and peace.