The World and Everything in It — March 17, 2021

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

President Biden has signed a lot of executive orders since he took office 56 days ago. Is this a good thing?

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also World Tour.

Plus the real St. Patrick. 

And WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on what happened to Ravi Zacharias.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, March 17th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

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

REICHARD: Time now for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Homeland Security chief defends border policy shift » Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is defending changes in immigration policy that some believe have fueled a growing surge at the southern border. 

MAYORKAS: Give us the time to rebuild the system that was entirely dismantled in the prior administration, and we have in fact begun to rebuild that system. 

Mayorkas, heard there are on Good Morning America. 

His remarks come as GOP lawmakers take aim at President Biden’s border policies. Thirteen Republicans traveled to the border this week to get a firsthand look at what they say is a growing humanitarian crisis.

Texas Congressman Michael Cloud… 

CLOUD: The willingness to overlook this as a crisis is very troubling coming from the White House. This is very predictable. Anyone who knows anything about this knew this would happen. 

Democrats say the surge is not a crisis. 

In a reversal of a Trump-era policy, the Biden administration is allowing teens and children who cross the border by themselves to remain in the country. And following that reversal, many more children are showing up at the border. 

Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol Raul Ortiz told The World & Everything in It that in the 2020 fiscal year, the Border Patrol had 29,000 encounters with unaccompanied minors. So far in this fiscal year …

ORTIZ: We’ve already surpassed that, and that’s going to continue to increase because traditionally, our high traffic months are April, May, and June. 

The surge of unaccompanied minors is on pace to hit a 20-year peak. 

Mayokas conceded that presents a challenge, but said the policy shift was the right thing to do, adding “they are vulnerable children.” 

Blinken, Austin meet with Asian allies in Tokyo » Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke to reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday. He and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are leading the Biden administration’s first Cabinet-level trip overseas. 

The secretaries talked strategy with regional allies about shared challenges, like containing North Korea. 

BLINKEN: We have no greater strategic advantage when it comes to North Korea than this alliance, and we’ll approach that challenge as an alliance.

As U.S. officials arrived in Japan, Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong said the United States should refrain from—quote—“causing a stink” if it wants to sleep in peace for the next four years. 

Blinken brushed aside the tough talk. But he did have some tough words for China. He said the Chinese government has used—quote—“coercion and aggression to” undercut  freedom and democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” and to commit human rights abuses within its own borders.

And Secretary Austin added…

AUSTIN: China has modernized its military. In addition to that it has engaged in aggressive, and in some cases coercive behavior, and some of that behavior has been directed against our allies in the region. 

The secretaries will also hold meetings in South Korea this week before returning home. 

EU regulator stands behind AstraZeneca vaccine as probe continues » The European Union’s drug regulator said Tuesday that as of now, she and her agency still stand firmly behind the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. 

The European Medicines Agency is investigating concerns that the vaccine may have caused blood clots in a small number of people. 

But the EMA’s Executive Director Emer Cooke said Tuesday…

COOKE: We are still firmly confirmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 with its associated risk of hospitalization [and] death outweigh the risk of these side effects. 

She also said that right now, there is “no indication” that the vaccine causes blood clots. 

Dr. Jeffery Weitz is president of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. He said perspective is key. He noted that out of about 5 million people vaccinated in Europe, there were 30 reported cases of blood clots.

WEITZ: In 5 million people with COVID-19, we would expect 100,000 people with blood clots. So getting the vaccine reduces your risk of blood clots by over 99 percent. 

The European Medicines Agency urged governments not to halt use of the vaccine.

Some officials worry that even brief suspensions could erode public confidence in vaccines all over the world. 

Missed cancer screenings could add to pandemic death toll » Health officials say COVID-19 will kill thousands more Americans in the years ahead because of missed cancer screenings.

Dr. Otis Brawley is former chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. He said the National Cancer Institute has studied the impact of interruptions in medical care during the pandemic, and it now projects…

BRAWLEY: It’s going to lead to 10,000 additional breast cancer deaths and 10,000 additional deaths from colorectal cancer by the end of this decade. 

As COVID-19 vacuumed up medical resources last year, millions of cancer screenings were delayed and doctors diagnosed fewer cases. 

Archeologists discover more Dead Sea Scrolls » Israeli officials have announced the discovery of more Dead Sea Scrolls. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Israel’s Antiquity Authority said it found nearly 80 first-century parchment fragments containing Greek text of the minor prophets Zechariah and Nahum. 

It’s the first new scroll discovery in the area in 60 years. Archeologists believe the pieces come from a scroll placed in the cave between A.D. 132 and 136. 

The researchers also discovered a 6,000-year-old mummified child skeleton and what could be the oldest known intact woven basket in the world.

In 2017, the Israel Antiquity Authority launched an operation to beat plunderers to the remaining artifacts in the West Bank’s desert caves. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: are executive orders allowing presidents to legislate from the Oval Office?

Plus, Janie B. Cheaney on the sad saga of Ravi Zacharias.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 17th of March, 2021.

You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad to have you along today.  Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up: executive orders. Immediately after moving into the Oval Office, President Biden got busy with the pen. 

BIDEN: Today I’m going to sign a few executive orders / Today I’ve approved a new executive order / But today I’m about to sign two executive orders…

And that’s not unusual. All presidents have a stack of orders awaiting their signature on day one. But President Biden has been signing them at an especially furious pace, rewriting policy on immigration, energy, climate change, abortion and more.

REICHARD: The last several U.S. presidents have looked to test the limits of their executive powers. You could make the case that those powers are expanding. 

Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and is here to talk about all things executive orders. 

Good morning!

GENE HEALY, GUEST: Hey, thanks for having me on. 

REICHARD: First of all, we hear a couple of different terms: executive orders and executive actions. Or proclamations and memorandums. Are these the same things?

HEALY: No. They’re all forms of unilateral action. But an executive order is a specific form that gets tabulated in the federal register. An executive order can be everything from there’s a periodic executive order to give a half day closing early on Christmas Eve for federal workers. But then executive orders have been things like Japanese internment under FDR, wage and price controls under Nixon. So, you really have to know the details of what’s in a particular unilateral action before you can say whether it’s something to be concerned about or not. 

REICHARD: When did executive orders become a tool for presidents? 

HEALY: In a sense they’ve always been there. The law doesn’t execute itself, so presidents from George Washington on have put their names on a piece of paper that has some action carried out as a consequence. But what’s happened over particularly from the mid-20th century on is an increasing number of these start to look more like law.

REICHARD: Do you think executive orders are changing the presidency? Would you go that far? 

HEALY: They’ve become an increasingly important weapon. Increasingly it’s becoming who gets to come in the country and who gets to stay, what the rules are going to be at colleges and universities for sexual assault cases. So, very broad directives that impact a lot of people’s lives. And this wasn’t really the way the law was supposed to be made. The law was supposed to be made through deliberation and consensus. You have two houses of Congress and the president have to agree on something. Increasingly what’s happening is you’re just whipsawed from one administration to the next and that is really no way to run a country. 

REICHARD: How do you think President Biden’s use of executive orders so far compare to previous recent presidents? 

HEALY: Well, he’s come out of the gate especially fast. By any standard, he has at this point in his presidency, he’s using unilateral action more rapidly than his two previous predecessors have. And, you know, President Trump ramped up the use of executive orders from President Obama. And, predictably, the people on the red team who complained about the blue team’s president’s executive orders are now on the other side complaining about Biden’s executive orders. But, I think in the bigger picture, one of the arguments that Hamilton made for energy in the executive was that it was supposed to lead to steady administration of the laws. And I think in the modern context it leads to anything but steady administration of the laws. What you have is essentially the laws being changed by the stroke of a pen from one presidency to the next. 

REICHARD: Let’s talk about constraints. Are there legal constraints that confine executive orders? 

HEALY: Yes, but it’s very rare for courts to overturn executive orders because Congress tends to delegate a lot of power. There tends in many cases to be a plausible rationale rooted in statute for what the president has decided to do. But, yeah, the one famous case, the steel seizure case in the Truman administration struck down an executive order that seized steel companies and had the federal government run them. But it’s been rare since then for executive orders to be overturned. And, in some cases, that’s because Congress has actually delegated massive amounts of power to the presidency so the president has a colorable argument to be able to do what he’s doing. 

REICHARD: One historical point: In 2014, President Obama issued sweeping executive actions on immigration to protect so-called “Dreamers,” people brought into the country illegally as children. That was after Congress rejected the DREAM Act legislation, and after President Obama himself repeatedly made the case that he didn’t have the legal authority to do that on his own. The courts didn’t stop him, so did that reveal greater authority that presidents may have to act via executive orders? Or was it a moment when we saw executive powers expand? 

HEALY: Well, I think it points up that presidents will shift their views of their own power under political pressure. And I think there are going to be enormous pressures on this president as well to show that he’s “getting things done.” There’s actually a lot of pressure from the left wing of the Democratic party now for Biden to do big bold things by executive edict. There’s pressure from Elizabeth Warren and some others for him to cancel up to $50,000 per person in student loan debt with the stroke of a pen. He’s been resistant to that. But gridlock is not an argument for more presidential power, but it does give presidents an incentive to strike out on their own when their initiatives are stymied in Congress. I think that’s part of the story with Obama and the DREAM Act, but it’s not healthy for when legislation for the president to strike out on his own and seize the power and do it unilaterally. 

REICHARD: We’ve heard it said that executive orders by the current president can be undone by the next president. But courts stopped President Trump from rescinding Obama’s executive action related to Dreamers. So is it the case that only an act of Congress can roll back certain presidential orders? 

HEALY: Well, yeah, the courts have gotten in the way in those cases and others because of reliance interests created by the initial executive order. But I think that Congress needs to get serious about reining in its own tendency to delegate power because what happens is it becomes — we’ve almost turned the Constitution upside down. Congress delegates vast amounts of power to the president. The president, through the power of the pen, issues orders that have the effect of law. And then it’s up to Congress if they want to try to overturn what the president decided to do through legislation. Legislation was supposed to be hard to pass. It has to develop a lot of consensus. Now you have the president essentially legislating and all the constitutional barriers that were put up in the way of hasty lawmaking are now in the way of repealing hasty lawmaking by the president. I think many—if not all—of President Trump’s vetoes over his one term were of things like Congress trying to repeal his national emergency declaration over the border wall. In other words, there were attempts to reverse unilateral actions that he took and the president gets to veto that, which makes for even more power concentrated in the presidency and makes it even more difficult for Congress to reclaim the authority that the Constitution grants it. 

REICHARD: Anything else the public should understand about executive orders? Philosophy?

HEALY: Well, I wish people would take a broader view rather than who’s up, who’s down, red team, blue team. The presidency routinely changes hands, so there’s this kind of sad process where if the president’s wearing a different colored jersey than you prefer, then you get concerned about executive power. But, as I say, the presidency routinely changes hands. So, I think we ought to be thinking more about do we want to go through this whipsawing between vastly different policies that are made at the behest of one person and do we want to reform this?  

REICHARD: How do we do that?

HEALY: Well, that’s a long conversation. There’s any number of decent proposals that have been made. Something called the REINS Act, which would essentially — major regulations issues by the executive branch would have to be approved by Congress. There’s a similar proposals to rein in presidential emergency powers, similar measures with the president’s unilateral trade powers and war powers. I think all of those sorts of measures that ought to be considered right now in Congress and I think could go a long way toward putting the presidency back in its constitutional place.  

REICHARD: Gene Healy is a vice president of the Cato Institute. Thank you so much for your time today. 

HEALY: Thanks for having me on.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: School kidnapping in NigeriaWe start today here in Africa. 

AUDIO: [Sound of students]

Armed men attacked another school in Nigeria on Thursday, kidnapping 39 students. 

A video released over the weekend showed the students huddled together as their captors hit them with sticks. 

It’s the third large-scale attack on a Nigerian school since the start of the year. 

Last month, a group of men kidnapped almost 300 girls at gunpoint before releasing them days later.

Kidnapping for ransom is a big problem in parts of Nigeria. Attackers target schools and students of all ages. And state governors regularly pay ransoms in exchange for victims’ safety.

China sandstorm smog—Next, we go to Asia.

AUDIO: [Beijing street/wind]

Beijing is choking on thick smog after a massive sandstorm hit the city. It’s the biggest storm in nearly a decade. Drivers had to turn on their headlights in the middle of the day as the sandstorm clouded the city in a yellow haze. 

The storm also forced schools to close and flights to be cancelled.

AUDIO: [Speaking Mandarin] “I feel every breath of air will give me lung problems.”

Residents said the orange haze looks like the end of the world. One woman said she felt like every breath would give her lung problems.

The air in Beijing was already thick with pollution. When the sandstorm hit, the air quality dropped to hazardous levels. Health officials urged residents to stay indoors.

UK police break up vigil, protest—Next, we go to Europe. 

AUDIO: [Vigil]

Thousands of people held a vigil this weekend for Sarah Everard, a young woman killed in London while walking home from a friend’s house. But not long after the crowds gathered, things turned ugly.

AUDIO: [Vigil yelling]

Police officers said the crowd was violating coronavirus restrictions and tried to break it up. Several women began yelling and shoving the officers, who then arrested and handcuffed several women.

That touched off massive protests across the country and sparked a national debate about whether the government can restrict protests in the name of public health.

Women are also demanding more protection from street violence and harassment.

AUDIO: To feel safe walking down the street, not to have to second guess, ‘Should I be going down this street or shouldn’t I?’ I don’t want that for my kids.

In the wake of Sarah Everard’s death, the government has promised to fund more street lights and security cameras to increase womens’ safety.

France returns Klimt—Finally, we end today in France. 

AUDIO: [Speaking French]

The French government is returning a painting to its rightful owners, more than 80 years after it was stolen. Nora Stiasny was a Jewish Holocaust victim forced to give up the painting in 1938. After World War Two, many paintings stolen by the Nazis ended up in art museums all over Europe. 

This painting is by Gustav Klimt, an Austrian symbolist painter. It dates back to 1905 and is titled “Rosebushes under the Trees.” It has been hanging in a Paris art museum for decades…and officials just discovered its history. The museum will return the painting to Nora Stiasny’s family members.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Last Saturday a woman placed a frantic call for help in upstate New York. It seems her kangaroo had escaped!

This baby ‘roo is still too young to be outside a pouch for long. And with the cold weather, the situation felt desperate.  

More than 40 volunteers fanned out across Yates County to help find the joey. A call for prayer went out. Hours of searching paid off when a sheriff’s deputy spotted her!

The volunteers surrounded the joey, and the deputy threw a blanket over the animal to capture her.

AUDIO: [Sound of rescue]

Little Kaia the kangaroo was scared, cold, and hungry. But she’s going to be okay. 

REICHARD: A hoppy ending!

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 17th. We’re so glad you’ve tuned in to WORLD Radio. 

Top of the mornin’ to ya. I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Top of the mornin’ to you! 

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: St. Patrick’s Day!

Have you ever wondered who the real St. Pat was? Well, today we have a biographical sketch of him by D. James Kennedy. He was senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida for decades. In March 1999, Kennedy preached from Phillipians 1:21. Note that we’ve edited his comments for time.

D. JAMES KENNEDY: Well, this week, no doubt some of you will be a’wearin’ the green. But there are a few things that probably we ought to get straight about St. Patrick before we begin the celebrations, so we’ll at least know what we’re doing. Not only was he not Irish, but he wasn’t born on March 17th. And if that’s not bad enough, may I also point out to you that he wasn’t a saint. So a lot of the myth is, of course, just that it is a myth. So you’re going to hear the real story of St. Patrick.

At age of 16, living right there as he did on the beach of the western coast of England, just south of Scotland, of Dumbarton, he and two of his friends had spent the day in the breakers in the ocean. They were sitting up in the mouth of a cave at a crescent shaped beach, planning their escapades for the morrow. When suddenly they looked over here, and they saw a whole group of freebooters, of pirates, of the Irish pirates. 

As Patrick himself describes it in his confession, he said: “and we ran, rushed incontinently–pretty good for a 16 year old–and we rushed incontinently right into the arms of the other half of the pirates who were coming the other way. And they were bound hand and foot, dragged aboard their ship with several hundred other English young boys and girls, taken over to Hibernia and they were forced at whip point to march 200 miles inland, in the northern part of Ireland, up north of what is now Belfast. And there, Patrick and the others were sold into slavery. 

And he was sold to a fierce Druid chieftain who had little concern for his own life, and no concern whatsoever for the lives of anyone else. But while he was there, he began to remember…his father had said to him: “Patrick, there is a God, and He is a God who is able to deliver you. Do not forget that.” And he remembered hearing his father talk about how God had loved the world. And he sent His only Son and in some remote extreme corner of the British Empire. Way over on the other side of the world. And there on a cross He had died for sins: not for His own, but for our sins. 

And in his confessions Patrick says, how God opened his blinded eyes and gave enlightenment to his confused mind. And he saw and he understand understood, and he committed his life to Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior and master of all. It obviously, in those several years that he had left there, he made a tremendous impact upon those that he met. They thought of him as that holy youth

But at last one night, after six years, in the middle of the night, he had a dream. And in the dream, he heard a voice, and the voice said: “Behold, your ship is ready.” And he left the swine and he staggered through 200 miles of frigid forest and finally burst out onto the beach. And there was a ship, a ship! So he sailed to Gaul and from Gaul back to England, to be reunited with his family. 

He tried to put it out of his mind, the terrible experience, but the people of Ireland kept coming back to his mind. And one day, 20 years later, he had a dream. And in the dream he saw a whole host of the Irish Druids standing on the beach, looking out across the sea saying, “Come back, holy youth, and dwell and walk henceforth among us ever more.” And he took that to be the call of God upon his life and prepared himself and set sail across the western misty sea and landed in Northern Ireland.

He built over 300 churches, he found Ireland totally pagan, and left it resoundingly Christian. He had an extraordinary impact upon the land. His accomplishment was absolutely gigantic. And by the power of the gospel, he changed that entire nation. Saint Patrick, was a saint, in the only real sense of that word. Made such because he was sanctified–the meaning of the word–by God, by His Spirit, as he submitted himself wholly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and received Him as Savior and Lord. And he accomplished incredible things. A hero far greater than the myth. And one that challenges every one of us today. For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain.

REICHARD: That’s the late D. James Kennedy on the life of the “real St. Patrick” from a 1999 sermon at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.  Here’s commentator Janie B. Cheaney on the double-mindedness of man.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: What happened to Ravi Zacharias?

On the American Conservative website, Rod Dreher wrote, “The only way I can explain it is that you must be psychotically double-minded, or you must not really believe in God.” Unquote. One thing is clear: it would have been better for everyone, but especially for Zacharias, if the scandal had broken while he was still alive. That would have given him an opportunity to repent. 

But he had many opportunities, especially in the last few months. He must have known his time was short. He could have confessed. Or he could have destroyed all his phones and wiped his laptop. The fact that he did neither of those suggests that he was living in an unreal place.

“Psychotically double-minded” seems the more likely of Dreher’s alternatives, but double-mindedness may be more common than we think. In fact, it may be the Christian’s default position. Every deliberate sin, from adultery to tax cheating, requires a certain double-mindedness. 

We all know what we should or shouldn’t do: the elder who makes nasty comments about troublesome church members, the pastor who develops a gambling habit, the Sunday school teacher who constantly talks down her husband. And me, who wastes an hour and a half on Netflix when I should be checking up on my neighbors during a sub-zero cold snap. 

We know how we should act. But on the way to action, knowledge can get sidelined into a storage room called “Holy to the Lord,” where we perform our sacrifices and good deeds. And then we claim our “free time” to do what we want. 

Ravi Zacharias traveled the world, spoke at conferences, counseled world leaders, and wrote dozens of books that sold millions of copies. In that role, he may have believed every word he was saying as the legendary head of RZIM. Once outside that persona he was a slight, elderly man with chronic back pain. Perhaps one justified the other. RZ spoke a blessing over Ravi. When he prayed with women he was preying on, when he told a potential partner she was his “reward” for godly service, he might have been sincere, in an all-too-human, double-minded way.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,” says Jeremiah, and the first person my heart deceives is me. Could Ravi have made an idol out of RZ? Given the convoluted reasoning we tend to indulge in, he may have indulged himself with a clear conscience. In his holy capacity, he may have made atonement for himself as his own high priest, crowding out the Christ he claimed to serve.

All idols replace Christ. Idolatry is the primary temptation. This sad saga should, if nothing else, serve as a warning to the rest of us. “Little children,” John writes in his first letter: “Keep yourselves from idols.” 

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: Saudi Arabia. We’ll find out how the Biden administration’s approach to the country differs from how President Trump did things.

And, the red hot housing market.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.

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

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

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name.

Go now in grace and peace.

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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