MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
House Democrats push broad federal voting regulations, but Republicans say it will further erode Americans’ trust in fair elections.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also, France targets Islamic separatists with a proposal that could curtail religious freedom across the board. We’ll talk about that.
Plus books for students that tackle the sensitive issue of race.
And Whitney Williams on her family’s call to prayer.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, March 23rd. 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: News is next. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Gunman kills 10 at Colorado grocery store » A gunman opened fire at a Colorado supermarket on Monday, killing at least 10 people.
One witness said saw a man holding a semi-automatic rifle shooting at people in the parking lot of the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder.
AUDIO: He shot I believe at somebody going up the ramp to one of the doors at the King Soopers. He shot multiple times, and then he ran inside…
Among the victims was 51-year-old Boulder police officer Eric Tally, who was the first officer on the scene.
Boulder police Chief Maris Herold fought back tears during an evening news conference.
MARIS: My heart goes out to the victims of this incident, and I’m grateful for the police officers that responded, and I’m grateful for the police officers that responded, and I’m so sorry about loss of officer Tally.
Police arrested a suspect. Officers were seen escorting a handcuffed, shirtless man with a bloody leg from the scene. Investigators did not immediately release any information about the suspect.
U.S. Phase 3 trial shows AstraZeneca vaccine safe, effective » The United States could soon have its fourth approved coronavirus vaccine.
AstraZeneca says it plans to ask the FDA for an emergency use authorization soon. Executive Vice President Ruud Dobber:
DOBBER: We are going to submit for the EUA in the first half of April, assuming the FDA is very supportive.
And the company has reason to think the FDA will be supportive after a U.S study of 30,000 people who received the vaccine.
The results, reported Monday, showed that the vaccine provides strong protection to adults of all ages. AstraZeneca’s Mene Pangalos described the results of the Phase 3 study.
PANGALO: Achieved a statistically significant 79 percent efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and it was 100 percent effective stopping severe or critical disease and hospitalization.
A very small number of blood clot cases in Europe recently led several countries to briefly suspend use of the vaccine. But EU regulators did not find a link between the vaccine and the clots. And the U.S. study also found no increased risk of blood clots.
President Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci:
FAUCI: An in depth search of the database for venous thrombosis revealed no events in this study.
The Biden administration already projects there will be enough doses for all U.S. adults by the end of May. But officials said the findings are a victory both for the U.S. supply and the global fight against the virus.
Supreme Court will hear Boston bomber case » The Supreme Court says it will consider reinstating the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The justices agreed on Monday to hear an appeal filed by the Trump administration. That will present an early test of President Biden’s opposition to capital punishment.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters…
PSAKI: President Biden has made clear that he has grave concerns about whether capital punishment as currently implemented is consistent with the values that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness. He’s also expressed his horror at the events of that day.
In late July, the federal appeals court in Boston threw out Tsarnaev’s sentence for the deadly 2013 bombing. It said the judge at his trial did not do enough to ensure the jury would not be biased against him. But the Justice Department quickly appealed.
The high court won’t hear the case until the fall, and it’s unclear how the Biden administration will approach the case. It was the Obama administration’s Justice Department that initially sought a death sentence for Tsarnaev.
Even if the court were to reinstate the death sentence, nothing would force Biden to schedule an execution date.
Israelis vote in fourth parliamentary election in two years » Israelis will vote today in their fourth parliamentary election in just two years. It’s a race that once again boils down to a referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The prime minister has held the post for the past 12 years, surviving several recent elections.
Netanyahu is hopeful that voters will reward him for leading the country’s successful vaccine rollout and his diplomatic outreach to the Arab world. But his challengers continue to highlight his ongoing corruption trial.
In Israel, people vote for parties, not individual candidates. Opinion polls forecast another extremely tight race, but Netanyahu’s Likud is again poised to emerge as the largest single party. But no party has ever won a 61-seat majority in parliament on its own. So it would still almost certainly need to form political alliances with other parties to create a governing coalition.
If no coalition is formed, it could trigger an unprecedented fifth consecutive election.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
EU sanctions Chinese officials over human rights abuses » The European union has approved its first sanctions against China in decades over human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.
The E.U. hit four Chinese officials with sanctions. All have ties to Chinese internment camps in the region.
However, the E.U. chose not to sanction the head of the Communist Party in Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, who the United States did sanction last year.
China has threatened to hit back with sanctions of its own. Ambassador to the E.U. Zhang Ming said last week—quote—“If some insist on confrontation, we will not back down.”
Record floods hit Australia » In Australia, more than 18,000 people have had to flee their homes as heavy rain and flooding slams the country’s most populous state.
Jane Golding with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said Monday…
GOLDING: We’ve seen some increased flooding and some pretty catastrophic impacts across eastern New South Wales.
She said some locations have seen close to a meter of rain—that’s 39 inches.
Emergency services have already conducted more than 700 high water rescues.
And rising water could displace more than 50,000 people.
The once-in-a-century floods are submerging homes a year after wildfires wrecked large portions of the region.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Democrats’ push to change the way we vote.
Plus, Whitney Williams on family prayer time.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 23rd of March, 2021.
You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad to have you along with us today. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up on The World and Everything in It: election reform.
After former President Trump’s 2016 win, Democrats argued Russian meddling compromised the integrity of the election. Then, in 2020, after President Biden’s win, Trump argued voter fraud stole the election from him.
REICHARD: In the wake of two contentious presidential elections, House Democrats have passed a sweeping bill to regulate them. A measure Republicans say will only further weaken Americans’ trust. WORLD’S Sarah Schweinsberg reports.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The bill is called H.R.1 or the “For the People Act of 2021.” Democrats approved the measure with a 10-vote margin.
AUDIO: On this vote the yays are 220. And the nays are 210. The bill is passed.
The 800 page proposal would dramatically overhaul election laws by setting federal standards for how states conduct elections.
Here are some of the most significant changes. H.R. 1 would require states to automatically register people to vote, unless they intentionally opt out.
It would guarantee voters same-day registration on Election Day. And it would require states to allow at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections.
The bill also limits attempts to keep voter rolls accurate.
It would ban state voter ID laws. Voters could cast ballots as long as they sign a statement verifying their identity.
The bill compels states to send no-fault absentee ballots and requires them to accept mail-in ballots up to 10 days after an election.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California said during the pandemic many states implemented these policies and, as a result, saw record voter turnout.
LOFGREN: More Republicans voted, more Democrats voted. And you know who won? The American people won. Because when people participate and own their own government, that’s what we need in this country.
House Republicans unanimously opposed H.R.1, arguing the proposed changes encourage cheating—like ballot harvesting, false voter registrations, duplicate voting, and ineligible voting.
Here’s Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas.
CRENSHAW: When people can see the faults in the process whether it’s ballots at the wrong house or careless validation processes, they believe people are cheating. You can’t just dismiss that. We have to fix that, but instead this bill makes permanent the problematic election practices that cause distrust.
H.R.1 makes many other big changes. It would require states to restore the ability of felons to vote once their sentence is complete.
In an effort to do away with gerrymandering, the law would mandate that independent state commissions draw up congressional districts instead of legislatures.
It would force super PACS to disclose their donors publicly.
And it would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to share 10 years of their tax returns.
Democrats and some voting rights advocates say American elections aren’t trustworthy because they aren’t accessible enough, especially for minorities. They say H.R. 1 would make voting as easy as possible for as many people as possible.
Maria Teresa Kumar heads VotoLatino, an organization that helps get Latino Americans registered to vote.
KUMAR: I think more than anything, it provides a real flexibility through mail in voting. It allows people to to participate. It encourages automatic voter registration. This idea that we have, everybody has to vote on Tuesday is antiquated because we have a whole subset of the population that their nine to five start at seven at night and they don’t get off until three or four in the morning, right. And so this is actually being very aligned with and in tune with how Americans actually conduct their life and their business and their participation.
But election security advocates say the proposed changes in H.R. 1 don’t come with enough safeguards to ensure that only eligible citizens vote.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy outlined those concerns on the House floor.
MCCARTHY: Madam speaker, Democrats call H.R. 1 For the People Act. But it really should be called For the Politicians Act. It’s not designed to protect Americans who vote. It’s designed to put a thumb on the scale in every election in America so that Democrats can turn a temporary majority into a permanent control.
Adam Carrington is a political science professor at Hillsdale College. He says both Democrat concerns about accessibility and Republican worries about election security are valid. And it is possible to advocate for both. But not in such a massive bill rushed to the floor.
CARRINGTON: I think that would be the compromise bill, something that respects both Republican concerns about protecting against fraud and respects Democrat concerns about broadening the electoral process…
Carrington says there’s another problem with H.R. 1: It oversteps the Constitution by taking control of elections away from states and giving it to the federal government.
CARRINGTON: The baseline of the Constitution is that these are supposed to be state run. And yes, Article 1, Section 4 allows Congress to step in and, and do what I would call quality control, to make sure that excesses are curbed and and really blatant bad things aren’t done. But I think that’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be them taking it over.
John Fortier is an election reform scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He says centralizing elections would sow more doubt than confidence in elections.
FORTIER: Many people worry if we had everything right at the federal level, well, a president running for office would be in charge of the election administration system. An outside influence could cause real havoc, rather than sort of more episodic problems. And so I do think there is some value in having a decentralized system. But on the details we could talk about where perhaps, you know, some more standardization or some more coordination of the states would be helpful.
But Republicans argue debates over election laws should take place in states—not in Washington D.C.
H.R. 1 has little chance of becoming law because Senate Democrats don’t have the 60 votes needed to pass it. But the bill offers a detailed roadmap for where Democrats will keep pushing for change.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: battling extremism in France.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Earlier this year, France’s National Assembly passed a bill targeting Islamic separatists. But the measures included in the law would apply to all religions. That has the nation’s evangelicals worried. WORLD European correspondent Jenny Lind Schmitt explains why.
MACRON: [SPEAKING ABOUT SAMUEL PATY]
JENNY LIND SCHMITT, CORRESPONDENT: The brutal murder of middle school teacher Samuel Paty last October shocked France. President Emmanuel Macron immediately vowed action against further sectarian violence. The tragedy fast tracked his plan to update French church-state separation laws. The goal is to keep a better eye on what is being taught in certain mosques and prevent potential hotspots of radicalization.
BERTHOUD: What this law is aiming at is radical terrorism.
Pierre Berthoud is professor and president emeritus at the Faculté Jean Calvin in Aix-en-Provence, one of France’s few evangelical protestant seminaries.
BERTHOUD: But it cannot name it, because if it named it, it would be accused of discrimination. But what the law is aiming at is radical Islamism, but it’s obliged to make a general law.
France passed the original law in 1905, when the main religious difference was between Protestants and the Catholic majority.
Kévin Commere is a Baptist pastor and coordinator for the National Council of French Evangelicals. He says that the old law has always been protective of the rights of evangelicals.
COMMERE: As Evangelicals we are grateful for that law because we have a kind of freedom of speech, we have freedom of cults, of living our faith together.
But the proposed changes are troubling. The first problem is administrative.
COMMERE: The treasurer of the association, of the church, his work is going to be much much much more complicated. The accounts that he has to handle will have to be handled almost professionally.
Financial reports would need to be certified by a public accountant, costing several thousand dollars. Evangelical congregations in France average 50 people, and many can’t afford to pay a full time pastor’s salary.
Smaller churches would be forced to either close down entirely, or to band together with other congregations to hold worship services, called “cults” in French.
COMMERE: The other main thing is that we’re going to have some kind of surveillance over what we’re going to teach and what we’re going to preach. This is a huge issue! There’s going to be some kind of cult police that’s going to watch over us, in this kind of surveillance kind of way.
Authorities want to know what’s being taught in separatist mosques. But in order to not discriminate, they’ll also be checking in to see what’s taught in other worship services. That could be problematic for churches that preach biblical views on marriage and gender in a society where the mainstream no longer holds those views. An official might decide biblical views are “separatist,” and this law would give the authority to close the church.
The law also takes aim at education and funding for religious organizations from abroad. That’s meant to curb the influx of radical Muslim clerics into France. But again, any potential measure would apply to Christians as well. David Niblack is executive director of the Bible Institute of Geneva.
NIBLACK: We’re a small evangelical Bible School here in Geneva, and we’re partnered with a number of French church groups. I’d say three quarters of our students are coming from France. Geneva sticks out into France, we’re surrounded by France. And so most students are coming from France to study here in Geneva and then go to do internships and then ministry in France.
Niblack says the school is keeping a close eye on the progress of the law. A ban on foreign training would shut the Bible school down. But for now…
NIBLACK: No one is worried that this is going to cause problems for French people studying here in Switzerland. It’s especially for those coming from outside of Europe. They may have to declare what kind of training and there’s a little bit more oversight from the government on their training. But it’s not an absolute: “No one can no longer study outside of France.”
Another problematic provision is that churches and other organizations will need to report all foreign donations over $12,000. But Berthoud says Christian mission organizations shouldn’t worry because the law is aimed at state funding, not donations from individuals or groups.
AUDIO: [NEWS CLIPS…]
Perhaps the hardest thing that’s surfaced in the debate over the law are the misconceptions about evangelical Christians that have been repeated by politicians and the media. In an effort to not to point a finger at the nation’s Muslims, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, said quote, “evangelicals are a very important problem,” and that, quote, “we can no longer have discussion with people who refuse to write on paper that the law of the Republic is higher than the law of God.” Such statements are difficult for a group that’s already very much the minority, making up only 1 percent of the population.
The National Council of French Evangelicals has reported to the government what it sees as the most troubling parts of the legislation, and it has made suggestions for changes. And they’re also calling Christians to pray. Kévin Commere says Christians need to peacefully speak up, even as they work for the peace of their nation.
COMMERE: We need to pray for evangelical churches as a whole. So that society could understand that evangelicals are not just Jesus freaks, to say such a thing, but we are wise, we can understand society. We are a friend of the Republic, a friend of the State, a friend of the Government, well in some ways. We do have faith, we do have beliefs, but we are not enemies of the State.
The French Senate will take up debate at the end of March.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jenny Lind Schmitt.
NICK EICHER, HOST: A video game aficionado in China is becoming a global sensation.
Yang Binglin is not a professional gamer. He just really loves video games and has beaten games hundreds of times.
Not unheard of among teenagers.
But Binglin, well, he’s no teenager. He’s the gaming grandpa—86 years old.
He started playing games with his grandson twenty years ago and got hooked. Binglin said he’s played every afternoon ever since, unless he’s traveling.
He’s collected more than 200,000 followers on China’s social-media networks.
And as all good grandpas do, he’s got some advice for the younger ones. Don’t spend all day with these games. One hour, two hours, take a break. You can always come back the next day.
You can take it from Binglin: He’s had more than 7,000 next days with video games.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, March 23rd. 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. A year ago, a book titled Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You became a number one New York Times and Amazon bestseller.
Today, WORLD book reviewer Emily Whitten tells why Christian families should be wary of this book, and she recommends some better ones.
EMILY WHITTEN, REPORTER: Ibram X. Kendi is a professor at Boston University and the director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. In 2016, he became the youngest person, at 34 years old, to win the National Book Award for his adult book, Stamped from the Beginning.
The 2020 version for teens, titled Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, was written by Jason Reynolds, an award-winning kids’ book author. It’s been embraced by the National Council of Teachers of English, which offers a curriculum guide for schools. This May, another version of Stamped launches for ages 6-10. And Kendi plans a documentary and an animated series for kids on Netflix.
Even if you haven’t heard of Kendi yet, you may have heard his key term, “antiracism.” He explained it during a 2019 appearance on CBS This Morning.
KENDI: White nationalists and supremacists today say they’re not racist. And so, we’re really thinking about a term in which people are denying they are racist. But antiracist, in contrast, has a meaning. A meaning of somebody who views the racial groups as equal. Someone who is pressing for policies that create racial equity.
Equality and equity sound great, but Kendi goes on to define the terms in anti-Christian ways. Take the source of racism. Instead of seeing racism as part of Adam’s fall and impacting every people group, Kendi describes racism as uniquely European. As he summarizes American history, he demonizes groups like the Puritans, calling the Great Awakening a “racist Christian awakening.”
In a recent WORLD roundtable discussion, senior writer, Janie Cheaney, described Stamped for teens this way.
CHEANEY: I have no problem with realistic history of the United States. We have a lot of sins in our past and we’ll always have sins. But the way it’s presented, I don’t see that it could have any other effect, but teaching children to hate their country.
Instead of Stamped, I suggest Christian families check out a few other books.
First, Trillia Newbell’s book, Creative God, Colorful Us. In over a hundred pages of playful fonts and colorful illustrations, Newbell teaches kids, ages 6-12, about the Creation of the human race in God’s image. And she explains in simple language that racism, along with all our selfish behavior, comes as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden. But when we trust Jesus and follow Him, He makes us part of His colorful family. He also helps us love one another better.
In a 2021 YouTube interview on the Keith and Kristyn Getty channel, Newbell described the inspiration for this book, and her previous kids’ book dealing with race, God’s Very Good Idea.
NEWBELL: It really started as I taught a Sunday School lesson about the Imago Dei, the image of God. As I was teaching, I taught about the image of God and our adoption into the family of God…
Bible verses and discussion questions make Creative God, Colorful Us an excellent pick for family devotions or a Sunday School curriculum. One suggestion because of current culture—as you read, make sure kids know that LGBTQ sins aren’t part of the Created differences and diversity Christians should celebrate. Rather, they’re part of the fallenness God helps us overcome.
The second resource I’ll mention today is Thomas Kidd’s 2019 textbook titled American History. Kidd is a historian and professor at Baylor University. He’s also a professor of Church History at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Kidd wrote his textbook to counter two extremes.
KIDD: It’s pretty simple, a Christian perspective that is able to be critical of American history from a Chrsitian perspective, and doesn’t ignore the more difficult issues about American History, including obviously slavery, but also isn’t trashing America and everything about…
When it comes to a history of America’s founders, including the Puritans, Kidd presents the good and the bad.
KIDD: English Puritans came to Massachusetts to try to set up godly churches and godly government but they’re not perfect. They certainly did not believe in religious liberty in modern terms. And they also had terrible conflicts with Native Americans neighbors that were partly their fault. They also owned Native American and African slaves. I have no problem being critical of the Puritans as long as we don’t assume we would have done better in their shoes.
Families with older teen homeschoolers might use Kidd’s book as a history textbook. But the writing is more geared to college level, so for most teens, the book might be a good supplement or reference book. I do think Christian families would appreciate Kidd’s focus on lesser known Christian heroes like Lemuel Haynes, an African American who fought in the Revolutionary War.
KIDD: He objects to slavery in a really pioneering way. And he uses the logic of the Declaration of Independence, if God has made all people equal, then we shouldn’t have slavery. That’s a very early Christian argument like that…
WORLD Magazine regularly provides reading suggestions for kids and teens in its book review pages. You can find those reviews online at worldmag.com. I also include a list of some of our favorite kids’ books on race and history in the transcript of this segment at worldandeverything.org.
I’ll close today with a musical version of one of those books, God Made Me and You by rapper Shai Linne. In this song, Linne and a chorus of children echo part of the Westminster Confession of Faith—a 17th century Christian catechism passed down by men and women who often got it wrong on race. That makes Linne’s song a striking example of the forgiveness and unity God has in store for His sinful, forgiven, colorful family.
SONG: [God Made Me and You] LYRICS: for our joy and for His glory, God made me and you. God made me and you.
I’m Emily Whitten.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, March 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD commentator Whitney Williams on the innocence of children.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Each night around 7:30, our family gathers for prayer in our youngest boys’ bedroom: My husband, me, our 7-year-old son and his 3-year-old twin brothers.
This time, though consistent, is often not pretty, despite the glow of the boys’ blue lava lamp.
“It’s time to PRAAAAY,” my husband yells across the house as he plops himself down on one of the twin beds, head in hands, elbows on knees. He’s exhausted from his day at work and the often frustrating business of brushing three children’s teeth.
Our eldest responds to the call, zooming down our hall on his hoverboard, inevitably running over little toes.
AUDIO: Wrestling noise [run under next graph, then fade out]
After my husband comforts whichever twin got flattened, the wrestling begins—father/son bonding time. I decide I have time to run some of the kids’ discarded clothes to the laundry basket and I find a few more chores on my way back to their room.
“Waitin’ on you, ol’ girl!” my husband has taught my boys to holler across the house. It brings a smile to my face, I’ll admit.
I drop whatever busies my hands and head that way, plopping myself down on wrinkled race car bed sheets. I let out a sigh. The day is almost done. I feel a release of tension.
Jake, one of the 3-year-olds, almost always volunteers to pray. And I’ve come to count on the ironic depth of his opening statement:
JAKE: “Thank you for God …”
The first time Jake prayed this, my husband and I chuckled. Now, each night when Jake thanks God for God, I pause to consider, “Where would I be without you, Lord?” And then, realizing what a treasure we have in God’s very existence, I join my son in his thanksgiving. Thank you, God, for … you!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: The next Billy Graham is coming out of the Williams’ household! But let me assure you that we have our share of silly prayers, as well. Our other 3-year-old son has uttered “Thank you for doodooo” on more than one occasion, followed by hysterical laughter. While my husband explains the importance of being respectful while praying, I’m spurred to thank God for our digestive systems. It’s something I’d never thought much about before my son’s silly utterance.
Though I do agree that we should teach our kids to revere and fear the Lord, He is, indeed a father—and a good one, at that. I imagine Him smiling down upon us, with so much grace as we endeavor to disciple our children.
“Do not hinder them,” Jesus said … “the kingdom belongs to such as these,” … these who haven’t yet learned “the proper way” to approach their heavenly father. These who come to him like they come to their earthly parents—with silly words, hysterical laughter, wiggly bodies, sticky hands, and oftentimes unique viewpoints worth considering.
I’m Whitney Williams.
JAKE: Thank you for God, and thank you for everything. Amen [laughs]
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: the Senate filibuster.
Democrats say it’s keeping them from steaming ahead with President Biden’s agenda.
But getting rid of it, that’s risky business.
We’ll talk about it on Washington Wednesday.
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.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Go now in grace and peace.