The World and Everything In It — April 9, 2021

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!

Everyone’s talking about Arkansas after that state became the first to ban experimental transgender medical treatments.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday.

Plus the latest installment from the Marvel Universe.

And WORLD founder Joel Belz on the lifelong blessing of confession and forgiveness.

BROWN: It’s Friday, April 9th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BROWN: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Unaccompanied minors at border hit all-time high in March » The surge of unaccompanied children at the southern border set a new record in the month of March.

Border authorities picked up nearly 19,000 children traveling alone across the border last month. That shattered the previous record of just over 11,000 in May of 2019.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters …

ABBOTT: These problems are a byproduct of President Biden’s open-border policies and the lack of planning for the fallout of those disastrous policies.

Abbott and Republicans in Washington are calling on the White House to reinstall some of the border policies that President Biden scrapped when he took office.

But Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell on Thursday echoed the Biden administration’s argument that the president’s policies are not to blame.

DINGELL: We have a broken, fractured, fragmented system that President Biden inherited. 

March’s count of unaccompanied minors was roughly double the February number and five times greater than March of last year.

Murder-suicide suspect is former NFL player » The suspected gunman in an apparent murder-suicide this week is reportedly a former NFL player. WORLD’s Paul Butler has more.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: The Associated Press reports that the suspect in Wednesday’s shooting in Rock Hill, S.C. is former NFL cornerback Phillip Adams.

The victims included Dr. Robert Lesslie, who had previously treated Phillips, along with Lesslie’s wife, Barbara, and two grandchildren, ages 5 and 9, were all pronounced dead at the scene.

38-year-old James Lewis, who was working at the home, was found dead outside. A sixth person is in the hospital with serious gunshot wounds.

An AP source said Phillips killed himself after midnight.

Robert Lesslie was a prominent doctor who served as emergency department medical director at Rock Hill General Hospital for almost 15 years. He was an elder at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Rock Hill and the author of the book Angels in the ER.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.

Biden announces executive action on gun control » President Biden on Thursday cited this week’s South Carolina shooting as he announced new executive action on gun control.

The president took aim at so-called “ghost gun” kits, which enable people to build guns with no serial numbers or background checks. He said he wants to see the kits treated as firearms.

BIDEN: Which is going to require that the seller and the manufacturers make the key parts with serial numbers and run background checks on the buyers when they walk in to buy that package.

The Justice Department will issue a proposed rule requiring the kits be treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act.

But Biden said he’s limited in what he can accomplish without Congress. And he called on the Senate to take up measures passed in the House aimed at closing background check loopholes.

He also called on Congress to eliminate legal exemptions for gun manufacturers and ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Virginia becomes first Southern state to legalize marijuana » Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize marijuana this week. Lawmakers approved Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed changes to a bill that will allow adults to possess and cultivate small amounts of the drug.

The amendments lawmakers agreed to Wednesday would accelerate the timeline of legalization by about three years.

The final version of the legislation would allow adults 21 and up to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis without the intent to distribute beginning July 1st.

It also would allow the home cultivation of up to four plants per household. Public use of the drug will be prohibited.

Myanmar coup extends to London embassy » The military coup in Myanmar has now extended to London. WORLD’s Leigh Jones explains.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Myanmar’s ambassador to Britain slept in his car on Wednesday night after a military attache seized control of the embassy and he remains locked out of the building.

Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn said the delegates claimed they received instructions from the ruling junta in Myanmar.

The ambassador, who has served in his role since 2013, has spoken out against the coup. He’s also called for the release of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Minn has been meeting with U.K. officials and other leaders to try to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Myanmar.

The non-profit group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reports that the military has killed nearly 600 people and detained nearly 3,000 others since the February coup.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: the rift in women’s studies over what it means to be a woman.

Plus, Joel Belz on the power of telling the truth.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday, April 9nd, 2021.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

The governor of Arkansas this week vetoed a bill that would ban minors from receiving so-called gender-reassignment services from medical providers.

Banned practices would include hormone treatments and puberty blockers, or referring children for surgery.

State lawmakers called the measure the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act, the SAFE Act.

But Governor Asa Hutchinson, a conservative Republican said the bill to his way of thinking is not conservative.

HUTCHISON: House Bill 1570 would put the state as the definitive oracle of medical care overriding parents, patients and health care experts. While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human, and ethical issue. This would be, and is, a vast government overreach.

Afterward, the state legislature overrode the governor’s veto and the measure is set to take effect in July.

BROWN: But LGBT groups said they’d challenge the law in court and try to block it from ever taking effect.

It’s Culture Friday and so let’s welcome Katie McCoy. She’s assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Katie, good morning!

KATIE McCOY, GUEST: Good morning, Nick and Myrna, good to be with you all.

EICHER: Katie, I’m turning to you not for legal analysis here, but I want to draw on your expertise in women’s studies because this issue strikes at the core of that academic discipline.

Either way, in transgenderism you have biological males who seek to take on female characteristics or females who seek to deny them.

And beyond that, you also in the classroom deal with young people, and these issues are constantly before them. The current administration in Washington is working hard to promote transgenderism. A week ago, we had a Transgender Day of Visibility proclaimed at the White House. There’ve been executive orders, and there’s the Equality Act making its way through Congress.

But the state of Arkansas is pushing back on this, at least where children are concerned, the governor’s objection notwithstanding.

So, to get the discussion going here, how does your understanding of women’s issues square with this sort of modern gender ideology, that it’s more of a state of mind than a biological reality?

McCOY: Well, this debate has been brewing for a little while and coming to a head.

One of the things that’s happening, at least in women’s studies is there’s this real schism, some people will say that the whole point of things like the feminist movement, and Title IX was to protect biological females from discrimination. And now, there’s this entire different contingent that says that transgender is just the next step in gender equality.

And, and there’s really no room on this debate, either. You’re either on one side or the other. You even hear that in the language. The language here and the semantics is really important, because like so many issues, the way that it’s framed linguistically ends up lodging in people’s minds and, and forming their opinion on whatever that view or legislation may be.

EICHER: I’m curious, though, in your field of women’s studies, if you’re not dealing with gender roles driven by biological realities versus gender roles driven by a person’s state of mind, how a person identifies, doesn’t that just turn women’s studies on its head?

McCOY: You know, you would think so, except that we’ve been coming to this point for several generations. There’s an important book that every Christian needs to read by Carl Trueman called The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. It’s essentially an intellectual history of how we got to the cultural moment that we’re in today.

But really what we have is an entire philosophy and a culture that believes that people are not created by an actual personal God. And so with the denial of God comes, How is our identity formed? And it believes that the identity is a self-determined one, that we are autonomous individuals, and that our highest good is to express socially, relationally, who we psychologically believe ourselves to be—and that psychological identity need not conform at all with physical reality. So now, now, it’s expected that socially, relationally everything would conform to the psychologized self. And that’s why it’s considered almost an act of of personal violation, because that other person in society is not giving unqualified, unmitigated support for the psychologized self that expresses itself according to the gender of one’s preference.

BROWN: Katie, I know you’re aware of the change in public opinion on LGBT issues. Survey after survey shows greater acceptance shows resistance melting away, and it’s moved pretty fast.

But there is also a growing belief that gender/sexuality will become the defining issue of orthodoxy for a generation of Christians. Do you see it that way? And why wouldn’t the defining issue of orthodoxy be something more traditionally theological, like the divinity of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity—issues like that?

McCOY: It’s a great question, Myrna. Well, first, let me start with the first part about the surveys.

I actually don’t really believe that people are eroding in their beliefs. I think it is just become too dangerous to say what we really think—and then along with that, this fear that if parents don’t give unqualified affirmation of their child’s gender confusion, that despite the fact that their child is likely to grow out of it at the time of puberty, they’re told by doctors that they could lose their child to suicide.

And one of the most painful and heartbreaking things is that you see parents wanting to do what is right by their children, and ushering them into therapies, and then eventually surgeries that might be causing irreparable harm. Nevermind, we’re just starting to hear about some of the backlash that that could cause as well.

Now, you mentioned how does this fit within orthodoxy, and there really is a direct line first, in every generation, we have issues of doctrine that become our watershed litmus tests, and, and the doctrine of humanity is probably going to be one of them for our generation.

But like all doctrines, it goes back to what is truth? And who defines what is truth? And that goes back to the authority of God. General revelation is a doctrine throughout the history of the church. And it says that there are things that we can know about God from creation and conscience. And gender is one such aspect of creation, it is declaring the order and design and the beauty that God created us to have.

And so when we are suppressing that, like Romans 1 says, We are worshiping the creature instead of the Creator, we are turning that which was given as a gift, to cause us to seek our Creator whose glory we were made for, and in whose image we were made, as well. That becomes eroded and it becomes a source of idolatry. And that is everything that we’re seeing right now.

So it’s not a side secondary issue. It has to do with the purpose and identity of our lives. And what is our highest good, why were we made, who made us and who has the authority and right to say who we are. That’s what this goes back to, and it will indeed be a watershed issue for the church in our generation.

I would encourage every believer to become as informed as he or she can, but then also not to despair. You know, we have technologically what the Greco Roman world did not, but they were just as far from God. They were just as enslaved to ideas of the spirit of the age and also to different sexual sins. And the church in those early centuries turned the world upside down. They did it by proclaiming Christ by living holy lives, and by loving their neighbor. It really is that simple.

And it really is the power of God that will work through us as we as we conform to what is true first in our own lives, in our churches and then in our communities.

EICHER: Katie McCoy, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas.

McCOY: Thank you both. Good to talk to you.

NICK EICHER, HOST: A formidable foe recently infiltrated a $6 billion U.S. Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine and forced sailors to evacuate.

They began reporting evidence of the infiltration back in December. It took months, but Navy experts finally identified the adversary. Turns out, the enemy intruders were bed bugs.

In the fight against the insects, sailors moved to sleeping arrangements on dry land at the Naval Base where the U.S.S. Connecticut is moored.

This is not the Connecticut’s first encounter with enemy wildlife. Back in 2003, a polar bear attacked the submarine, chewing on the rudder after she popped through polar ice.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, April 9th.

Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

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

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Disney Plus is back with a big new Marvel series.

But Megan Basham says it may not provide the superhero escape some viewers are hoping for.


Anyone hoping to turn to Disney+’s latest entry in the Marvel franchise to escape our fraught cultural debates, may feel a little cheated. So will those hoping its small screen stature might lend itself, as WandaVision did, to something gutsier and more creative than its big-screen brothers. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is more conventional than its streaming predecessor.

CLIP: You see these guys? They’re the guys you gotta worry about. I’ve been stumbling onto their manifestos on message boards. They call themselves the flag smashers. Is that a new thing? Bad guys give themselves bad names? There’s a lot worse names than that one. But basically they think that the world was better during the blip. Trust me, it wasn’t. 

It’s also more reflective of our present troubles.

CLIP: Trust me. Every time something gets better for one group, it gets worse for another. Yeah, essentially these people, they want a world that’s unified without borders. So you could see why a lot of people are into that.

As with WandaVision, the story opens a short time after the Avengers have reversed Thanos’ “blip.” The half of the universe the Infinity rings reduced to dust have returned. And the spectacle of societies struggling to find a way to get back to normal after a cataclysmic event feels all too familiar. This is a world that is indeed experiencing a great reset. The last generation’s leading defenders of life and liberty—Captain America and Iron Man—have left the stage. Smaller players like Sam “Falcon” Wilson and Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes find themselves uncomfortably called on to fill their friends’ shoes.

CLIP: You shouldn’t have given up the shield. Good to see you too, Buck. This is wrong. Hey, look, you think it didn’t break my heart to see them march him out there and call him the new Captain America? This isn’t what Steve wanted.

If the Mad Titan and Hydra offered more serious threats, they were also more morally clear. There’s little question whether your cause is just when you’re fighting Nazi sympathizers and genocidal environmentalists.

At first, our heroes’ mission seems similarly straightforward.

CLIP: We lost contact with the plane shortly after he took off…

But as the series develops, we start to suspect the characters who are supposed to represent “America” might eventually cause more problems than they solve. In a possible early foreshadowing of this (and of the show’s intention to include current political divides) we see cops harassing the black Sam while presuming the white Bucky’s innocence.

CLIP: [SIRENS] Hey, what’s up man? Is there a problem here? No, we’re just talking. We’re fine. Can I see your ID. I don’t have ID, why? Sir, just calm down. I am calm. What do you want? We’re just standing here talking. Just give him your ID. Is this guy bothering you? No, he’s not bothering me. Do you know who this is?

Parents who would prefer their kids not absorb pop-culture that reinforces this characterization of police, as well as those who would rather avoid the smattering of foul language, would do better to skip this superhero story.

If the show’s villains are a bit murky, they’re also its biggest asset in the first three episodes. The writers have clearly considered what that anomalous five-year interim would mean for those left behind.

CLIP: The GRC care more about the people who came back than the ones who never left. We got a glimpse of how things could be. I need to know that you’re all committed because after tomorrow there’s no going back. One world. One people. One world. One people. One world. One people.

We’ve seen those who suffered in WandaVision and Spider-Man: Far From Home, but this series considers who might have benefited from the blip. How would they feel when the cosmically displaced return and require government assistance to get back on their feet? What resentments might develop from suddenly having to compete for jobs, housing, or even food and medicine?

The vigilante Flag-smashers aim to wrest resources from the returned. That’s as interesting as their name, which suggests a desire for a borderless, one-world order. To use a phrase we’ve heard a lot in these times of riots, they believe violence and mayhem represent the voice of the unheard. As here, where they blow up a government building.

CLIP: There were still people in there. This is the only language these people understand.

What works less well is the dynamic between Sam and Bucky.

CLIP: In my miracle, he would talk less. Exactly what I was going to say. Isn’t that ironic? 

They’re meant to have the love/hate chemistry of classic buddy cops in films like Lethal Weapon or Men in Black. But somehow Sam and Bucky never quite gel at that level.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a less ambitious, inventive project than other Marvel outings. But it is at least a smart one. If the franchise resists the urge to simply regurgitate the pat answers elites in the real world are offering for contemporary problems, it could yet grow into something special.

I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, April 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

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

WORLD founder Joel Belz now with the story of how he became a believer in Jesus.

JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: “Don’t you think,” a long-time friend asked me recently, “that your WORLD readers would be interested in having you tell them how you first became a believer?”

My friend’s suggestion reminded me of a Saturday night some 70 years ago. I was just 10 years old (or so), when Dad loaded half a dozen of the kids from our church into our ’48 Ford to go to a Youth for Christ rally. The speaker was a convicted—but then converted—bank embezzler. On the ride home, Dad told us how glad he was that we could all hear this man’s story about God’s power to straighten out a crooked life. But Dad also hoped none of us would think we had to do something as bad as robbing a bank before we would think we had a story about God’s mercy good enough to share with others.

Dad told us that night, and many other times as well, that everything we did that was wrong—even the little stuff—needed to be confessed to God. At first, that scared me. It reminded me of the toy I had stolen from my best friend Wendell. It made me think of the lie I had told my teacher about my homework. I thought of the smart-aleck insult I had directed at my mother just the week before. How could I possibly remember all the wrong things I had done?

“But if you confess your sins,” Dad told us, “God will forgive your sins.”

I was blessed, beyond measure, to grow up in a home where such a worldview was persistently, consistently, and attractively taught. So God’s plan of salvation made sense to me, even as a youngster. But God’s goodness to me went even further. He put me also in a tiny church and in a tiny school where the things I was being taught at home were reinforced and fortified.

That integration didn’t come through some artificial curriculum, but through the powerful impact of three truth-telling agents.

The first was the Bible itself. Daily reading and Bible classes were assumed. We took notes on the sermons we heard. And we memorized Scripture—so that all these years later, 20 or more entire Psalms are still stashed away in my increasingly Parkinsons-wobbly memory.

The second potent influences were the historic confessions of the church. Weekly memorization of the Westminster Shorter Catechism gave me an organized cabinet for stashing away the Biblical truth I was also learning.

The third truth-enforcer is a late-in-life surprise. It is my trusty hymnbook, which my wife Carol Esther and I keep right next to our kitchen table. Here you will sing the glories of God’s creation, confess the terror of mankind’s fall, begin to explore the redemption of his people, trace the wandering of God’s fickle sojourners, remind yourself of the marvel of Jesus’s incarnation, his death, and his resurrection. And because you’re singing and not merely reciting it, you’re memorizing long stretches of unforgettably basic biblical truth. There’s no better teaching tool.

So that’s how I became a believer in Jesus. Just as it is for every sinner, mine is a story of what God has done for me—not what I have done for him.

I’m Joel Belz.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It takes a team to put this program together and deliver it to you each morning.

Thanks are in order:

Megan Basham, Joel Belz, Janie B. Cheaney, Kent Covington, Katie Gaultney, Kim Henderson, Onize Ohikere, Mary Reichard, Sarah Schweinsberg, Cal Thomas, and Emily Whitten.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz are our audio engineers. Leigh Jones is managing editor. Paul Butler is executive producer. And Marvin Olasky is editor in chief.

And, thanks to you. Because of your support, you’re helping make it possible to bring Christian journalism to the marketplace of ideas.

From Psalm 89, I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever. With my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.

Have a wonderful weekend of worship with your brothers and sisters.

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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