The World and Everything in It — March 4, 2021


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Cryptocurrencies are becoming less mysterious and more mainstream.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Also The Equality Act is a clear threat to religious liberty. We’ll tell you why. 

Plus a guitar maker who used his talent to ease the pain of a stranger.

And commentator Cal Thomas on the need for moral guiderails.

REICHARD: It’s Thursday, March 4th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: General: Pentagon hesitated on sending Guard to Capitol riot » The commanding officer of the D.C. National Guard testified Wednesday that the Pentagon hesitated for hours before sending troops to help quell the Capitol riot.

Maj. Gen. William Walker told a Senate panel that former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund called him just before 2 p.m. on January 6th. 

WALKER: He informed me that the security perimeter of the United States Capitol  dire emergency at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency at the Capitol. 

Walker said it took more than three hours for him to get the green light to send guardsmen to the Capitol.

He said Defense officials were worried about the optics of a large National Guard presence at the Capitol. Some were concerned it could further inflame the rioters. 

A senior Pentagon official said it took time for the Army to sort out what the National Guard was being asked to do, especially since the Capitol Police days earlier had not asked for any help. 

Other officials told lawmakers Wednesday that threats against the Capitol persist. Acting Under Secretary of Homeland Security Melissa Smislova told senators …

SMISLOVA: We issued a bulletin last night, co-authored with the FBI about extremists discussing March 4th and March 6th. 

Acting US Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said Capitol law enforcement will not be caught off guard again. She said the department has greatly stepped up security on Capitol Hill. 

Pentagon: U.S. contractor dies in rocket attack at Iraq base » A U.S. contractor died in Iraq on Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops.

The Pentagon said the contractor suffered a heart attack while sheltering from the rockets and died a short time later. 

No service members were injured.

At the White House on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is still investigating the incident. She said—quoting here—“if we feel further response is warranted, we take action again in a manner and time of our choosing.” 

PSAKI: And the president was briefed by his national security team this morning and was of course monitoring the details overnight. What we won’t do is make a hasty or ill-informed decision that further escalates the decision or plays into the hands of our adversaries. 

The attack was the first since the U.S. struck Iran-backed militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week in response to an earlier rocket assault. 

No one claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack. 

CDC dir. warns states may be reopening too early » CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that she worries that some states may relaxing COVID-19 restrictions too quickly. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week that as of next Wednesday, the state is lifting public mask mandates. And businesses will no longer have to limit capacity. 

ABBOTT: It is now time to open Texas 100 percent. 

But Walensky says now is not the time. 

WALENSKY: We at the CDC have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions. I do think the next month or two is really pivotal in terms of how this pandemic goes. 

New daily cases of COVID-19 are down sharply in the United States. And hospitalizations are at the lowest levels since October. But Walensky said we risk halting our progress against the virus by reopening too quickly. 

Gov. Abbott said “Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility.” He added “It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed.”

The governors of Michigan, Mississippi and Louisiana are also easing up on bars, restaurants and other businesses.

Deadly SUV crash linked to human smuggling » A deadly collision that killed more than dozen people in an SUV in Southern California Tuesday was apparently linked to a human smuggling operation.

The Border Patrol said the SUV drove through a large hole in an old section of fencing along the Mexican border. The breach occurred in a busy area for illegal crossings near the Imperial Sand Dunes. 

Officials have revised the number of people killed in that collision to 13. Chief Omar Watson with the California Highway Patrol…

WATSON: There were 25 occupants in the Ford Expedition, including the driver, who was 22 years old. Twelve of the occupants including the driver succumbed to their injuries, 12 on scene and one at the hospital. 

Republican Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs said it’s not uncommon for smuggling rings to dangerously pack dozens of people into a vehicle. 

BIGGS: They’ll cram ‘em through, 20, 25 people in an 8-passenger Ford Expedition or some other SUV. That’s what happened yesterday. So that’s normal that we see along the border. 

A semitruck smashed into the side of the SUV just north of the border after it crossed into the path of the truck. The Border Patrol said it was not pursuing the SUV at the time of the crash. 

Cuomo addresses harassment claims, vows to stay in office » New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday rejected calls for him to resign following sexual harassment allegations. 

CUOMO: I wasn’t elected by politicians. I was elected by the people of the state of New York. 

The Democratic governor speaking publicly for the first time since three women accused him of inappropriate touching and offensive remarks.  

Cuomo said he—quote—“learned an important lesson” about his behavior around women.

He added, “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”

Two of Cuomo’s accusers rejected his latest apology. They say he’s attempting to excuse his behavior as his way of being “playful.” 

New York Attorney General Latita James is overseeing an investigation of the allegations against the governor.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: growing acceptance for digital currencies.

Plus, Cal Thomas on disappearing boundaries.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 4th of March, 2021.

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

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. First up: digital currencies.

The idea for electronic money first surfaced in a paper published in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. That’s when nearly 500 banks failed and Americans lost $10 trillion. The paper’s author, Satoshi Nakamoto, said financial institutions can’t always be trusted. And he posed what seemed then like a futuristic solution: What if consumers could cut out the middleman and pay each other directly, bypassing banks and government regulators?

REICHARD: A year later, Nakamoto released the first cryptocurrency to the public. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s called Bitcoin. Since then, dozens of other cryptocurrencies have popped up. But Bitcoin is still the most valuable. For several years, it floated in the back alleys of the Internet. But increasingly it’s hitting Main Street. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Kurt Ward has a PhD in kinesiology. But he enjoys dabbling in investments on the side. He first heard about Bitcoin seven years ago. He thought about buying some, but… 

WARD: I went, looked it up. And like, yeah, that’s a little sketchy.

Sketchy because it was so new. Ward didn’t know if a coin would hold its value or if the technology behind it really worked.

But that didn’t quench his interest. He kept researching and watched as Bitcoin and other digital currencies grew in value and popularity. In 2017, Ward bought in. 

WARD: A small portion of Bitcoin, Litecoin, and some Ethereum.

And he’s glad he did. Last year, cryptocurrency’s aggregate worth grew 300 percent. 

WARD: Just through trading, basically, since August, I’ve tripled what I’ve put in.

Ward says the longer Bitcoin and other digital currencies stick around the more comfortable people like him are getting with them. 

WARD: I think it’s becoming more mainstream, easier to access.

A January 2020 survey found a third of U.S. small businesses now accept some digital currencies for payment. Bitcoin debit cards convert the currency’s value into dollars, allowing purchases and ATMs withdrawals.  

Big box names like Whole Foods, Overstock, and AT&T also accept Bitcoin. Car company Tesla, recently purchased $1.5 billion dollars worth of the currency and will also accept it as payment. 

Financial institutions are jumping in too. Paypal lets users buy and hold Bitcoin on its platform. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance recently bought $100 million dollars worth of it. Some Wall Street investors are also buying it up. 

And pressure from employees is pushing banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to consider investing. 

So what do businesses see in Bitcoin that they didn’t see before?

Glen Goodman is the author of The Crypto Trader. He says financial institutions are buying Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation in uncertain financial times. 

GOODMAN: Bitcoin’s become hugely popular in recent times, I think, largely due to the fact that Coronavirus, set off a situation where the Federal Reserve felt that it needed to create huge amounts of new money in order to try and buoy up the economy while everybody was in lockdown. By printing huge amounts of money, they scared a lot of investors and made them think, Oh no, you’re devaluing the dollar, and we need a harder currency. And originally, they started turning to gold and the price of gold was rising. But then a lot of investors started turning to Bitcoin and saying Bitcoin is a hard currency like gold, because it has a very limited supply.

Bitcoin’s mathematical algorithm will only allow 21 million coins to ever exist. So like gold, it has a limited supply.  

Right now computers have mined 18 and a half million coins. Mining is the process of high-powered computers solving complex math puzzles to create new Bitcoins. 

This limited supply also means investors don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to buy in and make money. 

GOODMAN: The fact that you just can’t print it in endless quantities, like you can with national currencies. That, arguably, is what makes Bitcoin the most attractive cryptocurrency and why its prices are soaring.

Bitcoin also attracts customers because it’s decentralized. That means it isn’t controlled by a government or a bank. It’s regulated by Bitcoin users who all have to use compatible software. 

But it does have downsides. Joel Griffith is a financial regulations scholar at The Heritage Foundation. He says Bitcoin’s biggest problem is its volatility. In February Bitcoin reached its highest value ever, then plummeted 21 percent in a week. 

GRIFFITH: With the dollar, it depreciates in value almost every year. But with Bitcoin, you have very wide fluctuations. And that can happen in the course of a day. 

There’s another risk. So far, Bitcoin and other digital currencies have evaded government regulation. But that could come to an end. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says they allow criminals to finance terrorism and drug traffickers to launder money. 

Author Glen Goodman says the federal government could also step in if Bitcoin keeps growing. 

GOODMAN: It’s already worth a trillion dollars. If it becomes more and more powerful, and starts to threaten the dollar’s position as the global reserve currency, then the Treasury Secretary and the, the SEC and other regulators may decide to really clamp down on Bitcoin and that will have a massive impact on Bitcoin if they did that.

While Bitcoin’s future may be uncertain, Glen Goodman says cryptocurrencies in some form are here to stay. 

GOODMAN: There will still be loads of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, I suspect will now stay around because of all the companies and financial institutions that are investing in it and giving it strength, but we still can’t guarantee that the Bitcoin will hang around for the long term.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: an assault on religious liberty.

Last week, Democrats in the House passed a controversial bill almost entirely down party lines. 

The so-called “Equality Act” would rewrite civil rights statutes to prioritize LGBT protections over religious liberties.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Last year the Supreme Court extended sexual orientation and gender identity protections to cover employees in secular workplaces. 

But the Equality Act would further extend those protections to many other areas without adding religious freedom safeguards.

This isn’t the first time House Democrats have pushed this legislation. Lawmakers passed a virtually identical bill in 2019. But Republicans controlled the Senate then, and the bill didn’t stand a chance there.

Now Democrats have the slight edge in the upper chamber, and they’re prepared to try again.

REICHARD: Here now to help us understand exactly what is in this law and what it could mean for religious rights is Sarah Parshall Perry. She is a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Sarah, good morning!

PERRY: Good morning! Thanks for having me.

REICHARD: This is aggressive legislation, is it not? What exactly would this bill do if it were to become law? 

PERRY: Well, we had a sense of what was coming in Biden’s sweeping executive order on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation protections on the day that he was sworn in. What this actual bill does is it expands in federal law—in any context—the definition that the Supreme Court decided they would interpret for sex under federal law in Title VII—the Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia case—and unilaterally extend that to all federal references to the term “sex.” It also expands the definition of public accommodation whereas before it was a very narrow definition that was relegated strictly to things like courthouses and hospitals. This at this point is now extended to any particular good or service provider. So, you can imagine with the sweeping regulation, the sweeping impact of a bill like this, it’s not just Title VII that we’re talking about. But there are actually 59 substantive changes made to federal law under this version of the Equality Act. 

REICHARD: Obviously, this would affect religious liberties. How would you see that playing out? 

PERRY: Well, it’s interesting because the Supreme Court had demurred on the balance between religious liberty and SOGI rights. And, in fact, had the opportunity to consider that. But the petitioners at the Supreme Court level in Bostock decided not to raise their religious liberty rights on their appeal to the Supreme Court. So, the Supreme Court has yet to actually consider what the appropriate balance is between religious liberty rights and sexual orientation, gender identity protections. So, we are headed ultimately, I believe, for a showdown. And I do think when that time comes, it will be an individual who will have to raise this issue.

And they’ll have to raise that at the Supreme Court level to actually make the court determine what the appropriate balance is. Gorsuch in writing for the majority, the 6-3 majority in Bostock, sort of cavalierly waived off any considerations that might stem from other bills related to sex or sexual orientation and gender identity, saying we’re not addressing religious liberty, we’re not addressing bathrooms, locker rooms, anything of that sort. And was rather inviting future litigation on the issue. So, I do believe if the Equality Act becomes law, it will ultimately be headed to the Supreme Court. 

REICHARD: You’ve also written that in addition to religious Americans, there are two other groups this bill targets: biological women and parents. Explain what you  mean there. 

PERRY: Sure. Well, biological women we know being protected by Title IX in an interscholastic environment have been deeply impacted by their anxiety on the Equality Act and what it will mean for the future of sex separated sports. Back in 1972 when the educational amendments were passed specifically to protect equal educational opportunities for women, the purpose was to give biological females the opportunity to compete in their own athletic programs, understanding the physiological differences between men and women, that they are immutable, and that the simple changing of what you wear or the taking of hormones does not change your body’s biological DNA makeup. These are women who are now faced with the prospect of losing championships, titles, the opportunity to compete on sex segregated sports. So, the arena of athletics, Title IX obviously would be swept into the Equality Act. That would be something that would directly impact biological women. But it goes further than that because the Equality Act, expanding the definition of public accommodation, would now take, for example, your local neighborhood shopping mall and make all of the bathrooms gender neutral.

Religious Americans as well, obviously, deeply impacted by this. And one of the co-sponsors of the bill, Jerry Nadler, said that religious Americans can keep their ministerial duty religious protections. In other words, we envision that you can keep your religion within the church or the synagogue or the mosque walls, but don’t bring it out into the public sphere. And that is ultimately where we are headed for a showdown, I believe, at the Supreme Court.

We cannot coexist as religiously free Americans with the right to exercise religious liberty in all aspects of our lives with a bill like the Equality Act. 

REICHARD: Now, I understand this bill still faces an uphill climb in the Senate. Democrats have a slim majority, but likely not enough to overcome a filibuster? 

PERRY: Well, it’s hard to say at this point. We understand based on the composition right now we’re relying ultimately on some of those more moderate Republicans to defeat the Equality Act. Mitt Romney, for example, has already spoken on the fact that he believes the religious liberty protections are insufficient in this bill and so he will be voting against the Equality Act. If we come down to a tie, obviously, we’re dealing with Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. We know which way she would come down. So I think there are some conservatives who are a little anxious about what the Senate portends. The uphill battle this year is not nearly as steep as it was two years ago.

REICHARD: Sarah Parshall Perry is a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Sarah, thanks so much for joining us!

PERRY: Thanks for having me.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: This story will either strike you as great or awful. Depends on whether you are the seller or the buyer. 

A man in Connecticut recently bought a small porcelain bowl at a yard sale. About 6 inches in diameter with blue flowers on a white background. 

It so happens that the man is an antiques enthusiast. He had a hunch that the sale tag’s $35 might just be a bargain. And that is putting it mildly, as it turns out. 

The buyer later emailed information and photos to the auction company Sotheby’s, asking for an evaluation. 

Angela McAteer is an expert on Chinese ceramics and art. She told WCCT-TV…

MCATEER: So the bowl itself dates to the early 15th century during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who certain in terms of Chinese history is one of the all time great emperors. Blue and white porcelain production during his reign reached its zenith.

Nobody knows how such a rare Chinese artifact found its way to a yard sale in Connecticut. 

But here’s the part you’ve been waiting for: That $35 purchase? McAteer thinks the bowl will fetch between $300,000 and a half million dollars!

BASHAM: I’ve heard of buyer’s remorse. 

But this has to be a grave case of seller’s remorse, right?

It’s The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 4th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. 

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: making music.

A little over two months ago on Christmas Day a bomb exploded in Nashville, Tennessee. Lives were lost and property destroyed, including seven guitars owned by a country music artist.

What happened next caught the attention of WORLD Senior Correspondent Myrna Brown. Here’s the story.

MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: When Bud Veazey heard about that downtown Nashville explosion, and the musician who lost it all, he fired up his old-fashioned desktop…

BUD VEAZEY: I sent him a message through his Facebook page and just said, hey you want a guitar, I’ll send you one. So of course, he said yes.

Then, Veazey moseyed on down to his basement, handpicked one of his $1,200 custom-made guitars and rushed it to Nashville—no charge.

BUD VEAZEY: When you can step in, when there’s something you can do to help somebody in a situation like that, it’s just a good feeling.

Named after his father, Charles Wesley Veazey was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

BUD VEAZEY: My mother didn’t want to call me junior and she didn’t like Chuck, she just started calling me Buddy. I changed it to Bud because it sounded a little more sophisticated.

AUDIO: [VEAZEY STRUMS A FEW CHORDS]

Veazey, the teenager, enjoyed playing the guitar. But by the time he was studying journalism in college, he had lost interest in the instrument. After serving abroad in the Army during the Vietnam War, he returned to Tennessee, resumed his career in television news and started a family. 

VEAZEY: And then as I got oh into my 40s, I started thinking, well, I might want to play guitar some more.

But at that stage of life, Veazey was interested in more than just guitar picking.

VEAZEY: Well the best way to get a deal on a guitar is find one that’s damaged. So I would buy damaged guitars on eBay, repair them and then resell them.  And I actually would make a little money doing that.

That’s how V-Z Custom Guitars started when he retired 13 years ago. Today, nearly every inch of his 1000-square-foot basement is covered in tools.

VEAZEY: When I see one that I think I need, I buy it. And then sometimes I’ll buy a tool and realize, oh I already had that and it was under that pile over there.

Wearing a dark bib-apron and a salt and pepper ponytail, Veazey sits on the edge of a black, swivel bar stool.

BUD VEAZEY: Got to remove the masking tape from inside the neck pocket.

AUDIO: [SOUND OF REMOVING TAPE]

The neck is the long skinny part of the guitar. Veazey attaches it to the body of the instrument. 

VEAZEY: Let me show you how the bodies look when they come to me.

When Veazey buys his guitars they’re unfinished shells of mahogany, maple and other kinds of wood. Building a guitar often begins with finishing it. Take his latest creation for instance, a bright, emerald-green electric guitar.  It took him weeks to get the shade and the shine just right.

MYRNA: What’s this called?

VEAZEY: This is my paint room. This is where I do all the painting and finishing….

It’s a tight fit because the room is no larger than a walk-in closet. Splotches of color dot the flattened cardboard box propped up against the wall. 

VEAZEY: And so, It’s going to get noisy… [Turns on painting machines]

With his new guitar in one hand and a silver hose in the other, Veazey sprays the neck with a clear liquid that looks a lot like apple juice.

VEAZEY: It’s pretty smelly. If I was painting more, I’d be wearing a respirator.

It’s called clear lacquer. Stored in recycled spaghetti jars, lacquer is a finishing agent that makes the guitar shine. 

VEAZEY: Allow that to dry oh, for a couple of hours. Then I’ll spray another coat, and let it dry overnight and then tomorrow I’ll spray a couple of more coats. 

Veazey will repeat that process at least fives times. Experimenting with color is just as time consuming. He’ll use jars of clear lacquer for that as well. 

VEAZEY: So I’ll take a jar of this and mix it with a dye, that’s orange dye and I wind up with this orange lacquer. And that’s what I’ll spray for the color coat.

AUDIO: [TURNS ON BUFFER]

Then for the final sand and polish, Veazey uses a special buffer that resembles a dumbbell. But instead of heavy weights, the wheels are made of fabric that spin. 

VEAZEY: Then I put in the electronics myself and do what’s called the setup. Which means you adjust all the parameters of the guitar, like the distance between the strings and frets. Complete the setup and it’s ready to play.

AUDIO: [VEAZEY PLAYING GUITAR]

While he hasn’t forgotten the joy that sound brings, Veazey says there’s another phrase that’s music to his ears.

VEAZEY: To me I’m successful or I’ve succeeded when somebody else has one of my guitars.

That new emerald-green guitar already has an owner! It joins the first one Veazey rushed over to Nashville on Christmas Day.

VEAZEY: Yeah, I gave him one, then he decided he wanted to buy one with his insurance money, so now I’m making one to sell to him.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown in Lawrenceville, Georgia.


REICHARD: If you’d like to see Bud Veazey building one of his guitars, Myrna produced a companion piece for WORLD Watch, our video news program for students. We’ll post a link to that story in today’s transcript.


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: a preview of Listening In. 

This week, host Warren Smith talks to Western music singer-songwriter R.W. Hampton.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Hampton drew on his experience as a rancher to write the soundtrack for life on the range. He’s lived and worked on ranches all over the American West. In 2011, the Western Music Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame.

In this excerpt of their conversation, Hampton reflects on where country music and western music parted ways. Here’s Warren Smith.

WARREN SMITH, HOST: Country music kind of went Hollywood, but Western music kind of stayed true to the roots, kind of true to that faith, freedom, family, God and country message. Is that a fair characterization?

R.W. HAMPTON, GUEST: Yeah, Warren, that’s a very fair characterization, and I think, you know, that years ago it was Country and Western. And there was the BlueGrass and the country music from east of the Mississippi and the middle part of the country. What I tell people is that Western music is the country music of the West. And, you know, when I first started listening to country music, artists like Eddie Arnold and of course Marty Robbins, who I got to meet later, had a valid place. You know, radio played their Western music. And at some point, like you say, they parted company. 

And I think country music got younger and younger, and Western music remained as it was. At one time, I had hoped to re-carve out a place for Western music in country music. But you know, in all my trips to Nashville and … I had an agent out of Nashville for years, people would say, we love him, we love his voice, we love the way he sings a song and writes it, but we don’t know what to do with him. They were very into categories at the time.

SMITH: There was a song you wrote called “Shadow of the Cross.” That’s a song that deals with the brokenness of the world and how we deal with that brokenness in the power of Christ. Did that song come out of the Nashville experience or other experiences in your life?

HAMPTON: It came out of other life experiences. Everybody’s got a Nashville, or LA story. You know, even the big guys have one where they got turned down, told go home, don’t quit your day job. So, you know, my disappointments there were not, they were disappointments but they were not devastating. You know, I’ve been through divorce, cancer and some things like that. You know, sometimes we’ve got to come to the end of ourselves, and that’s what “The Shadow of the Cross” is all about.


BASHAM: That’s R.W. Hampton talking to Warren Smith. To hear their complete conversation, look for Listening In tomorrow, wherever you get your podcasts.


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 4th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s commentator Cal Thomas now on what happens when society ditches its moral guardrails.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Every sport has boundaries. Rules for playing the game may occasionally change, but the boundaries remain. In baseball, it’s called foul territory. In football, a pass caught out of bounds is ruled incomplete. No one would think of erasing boundaries and expect an orderly contest.

But boundaries are rapidly being erased in modern American culture. Everything seems to be in danger of sacrifice to opinion polls, campaign contributions from certain advocacy groups, and editorial support from major newspapers.

The Equality Act targets what few boundaries remain about human behavior. Its popularity with Democrats should tell us something about that party and the moral and cultural direction of the country.

Is there any human sexual behavior they would oppose? 

Conservatives have warned against granting special rights for what they regard as chosen behavior. They predicted that strategy would open the door to myriad claims from groups that want federal protection for their behavior. Looks like they were right.

Polygamists groups began campaigning for the legalization of their relationships soon after the Supreme Court narrowly approved same-sex marriage in 2015. What is to stop them now? Who will say, “no, this is too far”? On what would such an assertion be based? The Constitution? The Bible? Not likely when both sources of law and morality have been diluted to the point of being unrecognizable in much of modern and increasingly secular America. Both are now considered open to individual interpretation, or ignored.

In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes about moral claims people make on one another. He notes they often say you should or should not do such and such, or you ought to say, or not say certain things. In this, he says, they are appealing to a standard outside of themselves.

Here is how Lewis puts it: “Now what interests me about all of these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about…”

Today’s “other man” may know about such standards, either because he has heard them from parents or grandparents, or has a limited reservoir of them in his DNA. But he is afraid to speak of them lest he be ostracized from what used to be called polite society.

So, please, tell me if you can: do any standards still exist? If they do, based on what? If they don’t, based on what? Because denying a standard is itself a standard, is it not?

I’m Cal Thomas.


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Tomorrow: Bethany Christian Services. The evangelical adoption agency will now place children with same-sex couples all across the country. We’ll talk to John Stonestreet for Culture Friday. 

And, Sarah Schweinsberg brought you on Wednesday the story of the lone survivor of Arizona’s Yarnell fire. Tomorrow, I’ll review a movie based on the lives of those heroes.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Megan Basham.

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.

The Bible says the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.

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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