MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
A high-ranking U.S. government leader identifies the people’s House with cultural depravity.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And the 50th anniversary of Watergate—and the power of conversion—today on Culture Friday.
Also today a new movie now streaming on Paramount+ based on a true story, Jerry and Marge Go Large.
And Word Play with George Grant.
BROWN: It’s Friday, June 17th. 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: Up next, Kent Covington has the day’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: NATO to boost its forces, equipment on eastern flank » NATO leaders announced Thursday that they’ve shifted more troops and weapons to the eastern flank of the alliance, a move meant to ensure Russia doesn’t get any ideas about moving further to the west. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin:
AUSTIN: Our allies have activated NATO’s defense plans. They’ve deployed elements of the NATO response force, and they’ve placed tens of thousands of troops in the eastern areas of the alliance.
Leaders at a NATO meeting in Brussels said they’ve placed more than 40,000 troops under the alliance’s direct command, mainly on the eastern flank.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this will mean more “forward-deployed combat formations”…
STOLTENBERG: To strengthen our battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance, more air, sea, and cyberdefenses, as well as prepositioned equipment and weapons stockpiles.
This week’s meeting of defense ministers came ahead of a larger NATO summit in Madrid later this month.
European leaders gather in Kyiv, pledge support to Ukraine » Stoltenberg also said NATO is stepping up its military support to Ukraine.
And that came as leaders from several European countries gathered at a round table in Kyiv. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher reports.
SCHOLZ: [Speaking in German]
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country plans to provide rocket launchers specifically requested by Kyiv.
And French President Emmanuel Macron promised truck-mounted artillery pieces.
Germany and France have faced criticism for their reluctance to send arms to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.
Both countries, along with Italy and Romania, also voiced support for Ukraine’s move to join the European Union.
Sholz declared—quote—“Ukraine belongs to the European family.”
The European Commission is expected to officially endorse the country’s “candidate” status today. But whether the union will ultimately grant membership to Ukraine remains uncertain.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
House panel probing Capitol riot highlights alleged pressure on Pence » Members of the House committee probing the Capitol riot gathered for another public hearing Thursday.
They accused former President Trump of pushing then–Vice President Mike Pence to reject the 2020 election results.
The panel played recorded testimony of several people who were in the Oval Office on January 6th of last year and overheard a phone call between Trump and Pence.
The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump testified…
IVANKA: The conversation was pretty heated.
And former aid to President Trump Nicholas Luna testified…
LUNA: In my memory, I remember hearing the word wimp. Either he called him a wimp; I don’t remember if he said you are a wimp, you’ll be a wimp; wimp is the word I remember.
Others said they heard more profane language.
Former counsel to the vice president Greg Jacob told members that rejecting the election results would have created a constitutional crisis.
JACOB: A constitutional jump ball situation, political chaos in Washington.
Members also sought to show that Trump’s pressure on Pence led rioters to try to attack the vice president and led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
But the panel may not swaying the court of public opinion.
A poll by Politico and Morning Consult after the first day of hearings last week showed the spectacle wasn’t having the effect Democrats intended. The percentage of Americans who blame Trump for the riot steadily declined over the past 18 months and edged even lower after the first televised hearing.
Baby formula plant closes again » Abbott Nutrition’s baby formula plant in Michigan shut down again, this time due to extreme weather. This comes just two weeks after the plant reopened.
The facility closed in February due to unsanitary conditions. And that closure largely fueled a nationwide shortage of baby formula.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said they hope to see the plant back up and running soon.
CALIFF: The estimate is perhaps two weeks, but it’s too early to give an exact estimate of what the delay will be in the Sturgis plant.
Califf said Abbott “has revved its other plants and is currently meeting the supply production quotas they were using before the shutdown.”
Jane’s Revenge » A violent pro-abortion goup declared “open season” on pro-lifers in an online post on Tuesday. The group, known as “Jane’s Revenge,” calls for vandalism and other crimes against pro-life centers to pressure them into shutting their doors.
The group bragged about vandalizing and firebombing more than a dozen pro-life pregnancy centers across the U.S., including a facility in Wisconsin.
Micah Pearse works at Wisconsin Family Action’s facility in Madison.
PEARCE: Early on, Dave, one of our staff members, reminded us in just the first few hours of realizing we had a Molotov cocktail thrown through our office, he said ‘now’s a really good chance to remember to love your enemy.’
The group has no plans to stop. It declared—quoting here—“We have demonstrated in the past month how easy and fun it is to attack. Eventually your insurance companies, and your financial backers will realize you are a bad investment.”
I’m Kent Covington. And coming up: the 50th anniversary of Watergate and the power of conversion.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday, June 17, 2022.
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. It’s Culture Friday.
Let’s bring in John Stonestreet. He’s the president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast and he joins us now. Welcome back, John, we missed ya!
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Thank you. It’s good to be back.
EICHER: It seems like news that the Speaker of the House, second in the line of presidential succession, made a special TV appearance timed for “Pride Month.”
RUPAUL: Give a warm “Drag Race” welcome to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi! Welcome back.
PELOSI: My honor to be here, to say to all of you how proud we all are of you. Thank you for the joy and beauty you bring to the world. Your freedom of expression of yourselves in drag is what America is all about.
Nancy Pelosi on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. She posted the clip on her own social media, and so that’s how we have the audio there. Now, John, we have to acknowledge the House Speaker’s home district is more aligned with this than middle America would be. So in politics, it’s standard “coalition building.”
But culturally, it’s much more than that, isn’t it?
STONESTREET: Well, I do think there has been no greater example of the extremes that the idea of expressive individualism will take you than the trans movement—and specifically the drag form or the drag expressions of the trans movement. Because there is this idea that no matter what reality is, if I want it, if I feel it, then that’s actually what’s true.
There’s nothing beautiful about what the transgender movement is doing to children. Could you imagine a Speaker of the House going to a white supremacist event, saying that we’re so glad that you are teaching these children this evil ideology that teaches you to see other people in a way that it is not true and ultimately harmful?
That’s what’s happening here.
The Speaker of the House is going to a group of people who teach children to see themselves in wrong ways, ways that are ultimately harmful. And this is what the Speaker of the House is celebrating as a good.
It’s one thing if she decided to just say, “Well, you know, I don’t want to legislate this, I don’t want to actually say that it’s wrong. It would be you know, that we need to take care of our morality and let people choose their own morality or whatever.” But to actually say that this is a good thing, that this actually brings good into the world, she doesn’t really believe that I don’t think because you can’t. You can’t actually believe that the best thing for a child is to feel lost within their own body and to be convinced to physically harm perfectly healthy body parts in order to pursue identity that will always be elusive for them. I mean, you can’t actually believe this.
So it was a political calculation. It should be seen as every bit as evil and wrong as any politician that buys into white supremacy.
That’s what I have to say.
BROWN: Lots going on at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in California. Issues ranging from whether or not to abolish the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to defining the term Pastor to the issue of sexual abuse. John, you can weigh in on any of those hot topics, as you wish. But I’m interested in hearing what you have to say generally about where denominations seem to be headed? Have they become more cultural than Christian?
STONESTREET: Well, some have, and some have actually become more orthodox. We’ve seen both of those things in recent memory.
And you also in many denominations, even in some that are as far progressive as the Episcopal Church, continue to have kind of a faithful remnant in, for example, Central Florida diocese and that have largely maintained faithfulness to Christ, while the larger denomination can’t even be called Christian in any meaningful sense anymore.
The Southern Baptist is such an interesting annual story because they’re the second largest religious body in the world and just like when the archbishops get together to do something in the Roman Catholic Church, it’s a national and international story. People want to know.
But I will say that the top headlines that get so much of the attention can be confused with the whole story. When you actually back up and see that what the Southern Baptists are doing on the ground around the world, what they’re doing in disaster relief, what they’re doing in terms of, you know, kind of theological re commitments, what they mean when in terms of mission and, and just their commitment to evangelism. It’s a denomination that outshines a lot of others.
And I know that there’s a lot of Southern Baptists who think that the denomination is going the wrong way. And among that group, they think that for opposite reasons, you know.
This is a challenge right now, for denominations of all kinds, but I think that for the rest of us that aren’t Southern Baptist, it is a very important thing to realize that there’s a lot to this denomination beyond what we read in the headlines.
EICHER: So today is June 17th, 2022, let’s subtract exactly 50 years. On June 17, 1972, small news story about a second-rate crime that would become a massive story: police arrested burglars in the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Eventually, evidence would link the break-in to President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign. One person at the center of the political scandal, special counsel to the president Chuck Colson. Interesting that we have the January 6 commission going on. Some say this is a straight line to Watergate, some say it’s just a show trial, but what do you say as president of the Colson Center, John, as you reflect on the 50th anniversary of Watergate?
STONESTREET: You know, at our recent Wilberforce weekend, we remembered Chuck Colson, given that this was the 50th anniversary of Watergate, this is also the 10th anniversary of his passing. And, you know, there’s a lot of remembrances that will be had about Watergate and certainly a lot of connections that will be made to the January the 6th hearing.
And I think that one of the things that will be missed is that, that maybe the most significant positive legacy that came out was the conversion of this man, Chuck Colson. And when you think of the scope of the work, Nixon was known for being tough on crime, and because of Chuck, there has been remarkable advances made in prison reform, dramatic efforts to reduce the recidivism rate, caring for communities. Understanding human dignity.
When you think about the number of people whose lives have been impacted by Prison Fellowship, about the number of people who have been inspired by his life, I can’t tell you how many people come up and say, “Chuck mentored me” and they never met, and it was just through a book. “And this is the book that meant the most to me,” they’ll say, and I’ve heard 20 different titles. I mean, of course, Chuck wrote 30 books. I think that’s huge. Now, of course, that’s not the only thing that the story of Watergate is about, but you won’t hear that being a part of the story. Now, there’s an immediate legacy of Watergate, there’s no question about it. And it was a pivotal moment in the loss of trust in American governmental institutions. And that’s something that has only gotten worse.
You know, people are connecting it to the January the 6th incidents. And you’d look at how the whole break in Watergate and why did with Nixon ever want to do this when he was, you know, almost guaranteed reelection? And none of it makes any sense. And you look at January the 6th, and what seems to be coming to the top is there wasn’t any sort of mastermind. You know, it was people behave badly in large groups, and especially people that are disaffected. And when you have a larger cultural setting, which people don’t trust anyone who’s in authority, and, you know, we were in a two year cycle of rioting and doing really dumb things. And we had a president who showed awful leadership that day, who had enough of an ego that wanted people to fight for him, even if it wasn’t right. And then you had people faced with incredible ethical and a moral crisis like Vice President Mike Pence, and this was all part of it.
And maybe, maybe that’s the connection with Watergate is that there was no genius behind it. It just kind of all happened. I say all that to say this. There is a deep loss in American institutions. There’s a deep loss in the American government. This is the larger scenario upon which we get our leaders, upon which the leaders morality and integrity is questioned. And the path we’re on is absolutely unsustainable.
But there’s a bigger thing at work than any government headline and that’s the kingdom of God. In the midst of Watergate here you have this man who once said he would run over his own grandmother to secure Nixon’s reelection who ends up becoming a servant of Christ—a humiliated and then humbled man of incredible giftedness that in any sort of equation that takes Kingdom math into account is the most important headline of that whole thing. And I thank God that I get to be a part of it, it certainly
means a lot.
BROWN: John, as we remember Chuck Colson, the one verse comes to mind, therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come, amen.
BROWN: Well, John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thank you, John.
STONESTREET: Thank you so much.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Do you still have any old VHS tapes laying around the house? Well?
Maybe they’re worthless, but not necessarily.
A VHS copy of Back to the Future just sold at auction for a record-setting price.
I know, all prices are setting records these days, right? But not like this!
The tape actually belonged to Tom Wilson, who played the role of Biff Tannen in the movie. The VHS was still in its original shrink wrap and was rated in near-mint condition.
It just sold for $75,000!
DOC: Great Scott!
Shouldn’t be so surprised, Doc.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, June 17th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up next, arts and media editor Collin Garbarino reviews a new movie streaming on Paramount+ about a couple who win the lottery again and again.
COLLIN GARBARINO: Jerry and Marge Go Large is a film based on the true story of Jerry and Marge Selbee—a retired couple from central Michigan who twenty years ago found a way to use the lottery to help their struggling small town.
Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening play Jerry and Marge. Jerry has recently been forced into retirement after years working at a local factory. Marge looks forward to their golden years together. But Jerry feels adrift.
MARGE: You’re going to have to tell me what’s going on. I’m too old to wait it out.
JERRY: Oh. I missed my chance. I did everything I was supposed to do—everything I had to do—now it’s too late to do anything else.
MARGE: Oh. Your life isn’t over.
JERRY: Everybody seems to think it is.
While mulling over his lack of direction, Jerry picks up an advertisement about the state’s new lottery game, WinFall. Jerry has always had a head for numbers. He reads about how the lottery works, and he does some quick calculations. Jerry discovers a flaw in the game.
JERRY: It’s not gambling.
STEVE: The lottery?
JERRY: Yup. There’s a way to win every time.
STEVE: Are you having a stroke?
JERRY: There’s a loophole they didn’t see, and it’s right here in the math.
Once the jackpot builds up to a certain amount, tickets that only get three or four numbers out of six have higher than normal payouts. If someone buys enough tickets on the right weeks, they’ll always win more money than they spend.
JERRY: It means that on the rolldown weeks you are guaranteed to win.
STEVE: That can’t be true.
JERRY: Why not?
STEVE: Because it’s the lottery, Jerry. There’s a building of people in Detroit whose job it is to know how the numbers work. And they do.
JERRY: I cannot believe that you are my accountant.
Jerry’s not a gambler. He’s a conservative guy who doesn’t like taking risks. But he’s also someone who believes that math doesn’t lie. He wants to test his calculations, so he starts buying WinFall tickets, at first without Marge’s knowledge.
HOWARD: Oh, by the way, a bunch of us are pooling money for the lottery tonight. They’re doing that roll down thing where you can win more.
MARGE: We’re not lottery people.
HOWARD: It’s probably for the best. You know there are some people who blow thousands on those things.
Once Marge finds out about Jerry’s scheme, she’s excited. She’s not excited about the money. She’s excited Jerry’s found a use for his talents. And she’s excited that the two of them can work on Jerry’s project together. They’re not playing the lottery. They’re working the lottery.
BILL: Hey, Jerry. Hey, Marge.
BILL: Hey, uh, if we’re going to do this again, I’m going to need to charge you for using the microwave.
JERRY: Heh. We are betting 40,000.
BILL: Are you guys drug dealers?
MARGE: No. We’re professional lottery players.
BILL: I don’t think that’s a thing.
MARGE: It is now.
Jerry and Marge don’t keep their lottery work a secret. They tell their entire small town about it. They form a lottery-ticket-buying corporation and let everyone buy shares. The corporation ends up benefiting both investors and the community.
JERRY: Anyhoo, as you might have imagined, we’re going to use the majority of our capital for betting, but there are dividends you can access. Right, so I know a lot of people would like to see the jazz festival come back. And, uh, Frank can sure use a mail truck he doesn’t fall out of.
Jerry’s always worried the lottery commission will try to stop what he’s doing, but his biggest competitors come from some Ivy League students who also figured out the loophole and want to exploit it without Jerry’s group of old folks diluting their profits.
Jerry and Marge Go Large is sweet little movie about family and friends sticking together, and it’s more interesting because it’s based on a true story. Cranston and Bening have wonderful chemistry, and they bring a tenderness to Jerry and Marge’s autumnal romance. This isn’t a movie about scamming the lottery—Jerry and Marge never do anything illegal. It’s a movie about two people who love each other, love their family, and love their community. And the movie doesn’t promote gambling. Jerry and Marge work hard, and just like the real-life Selbees, when the loophole closes, they stop buying tickets.
It’s a shame the movie is rated PG-13 for suggestiveness and language. There’s some talk about marital relations. And there are a few instances of bad language, mostly uttered by the snotty college kids. But ultimately, Jerry and Marge Go Large is a great film about the importance of family, friends, community, and math literacy.
TV ANNOUNCER: Alright folks, check those numbers. We wish you the best of luck.
JERRY: Well, we’ve got 8,000 tickets to check. Let’s get started. We’ll probably see sunrise.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, June 17th. 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. The book of Matthew says “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.”
Our resident wordsmith George Grant has some straight talk now about meandering public speech. Here’s Word Play for the month of June!
GEORGE GRANT, COMMENTATOR: George Orwell declared that although “thought can corrupt language… language can also corrupt thought.” And often, that corruption is perpetrated by the use of euphemisms.
Euphemisms are mild, indirect, or nebulous terms used to replace words or phrases thought to be harsh, blunt, or offensive. Euphemistic discourse attempts to put a positive spin on unpleasant, difficult, or taboo subjects. Thus, euphemisms can be a form of doublespeak—one of the central themes of Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, 1984, where oppressive falsehood paraded as truth in the form of doublethink and newspeak. When political rhetoric rises to little more than “the defense of the indefensible,” he argued, sugar-coated wordiness can serve as camouflage, artifice, and diversion allowing politicians to vaguely discuss issues “without calling up precise mental pictures of them.”
So, for example, Vladimir Putin has euphemistically described Russia’s devastating war on Ukraine as a “peacekeeping mission,” or a “defensive pacification,” or a “crucial de-nazification,” or a “special military operation.” As Orwell lamented, “Such political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give appearances of solidity to pure wind.”
But, it is not just Putin! Political debate in the modern world is nigh unto impossible without a full arsenal of euphemisms, and there is no shortage of censure for those who discuss hot-button issues without them.
The current debate over runaway inflation, budget shortfalls, and profligate spending plans is littered with euphemism. “Revenue tools” are just taxes and fees. “Unfavorable variances” are actually cost overruns and deficits. “Chained consumer price indices” are ledger adjustments to justify reduced benefits. “Stimulus packages” are a form of off-budget welfare programs. And “infrastructure bills” are often just special interest omnibus spending schemes.
The abortion debate is likewise rife with euphemistic language. Celinda Lake, one of President Biden’s pollsters during his 2020 campaign, admitted that “the broadest possible abortion rights coalition” requires using language people feel comfortable with. Most politicians, Lake says, “have realized, particularly in more marginal districts, that you should talk much more about the shared value than the medical procedure.” Thus, when talking about abortion, they avoid using the word “abortion.” Instead, they rely on innocuous terms like “choice” and “privacy” or on ambiguous phrases like “women’s health,” “reproductive freedom,” and “bodily autonomy” lest the brutal realities be exposed for what they really are.
All of the politics-as-usual, spin-controlled sound-bites call to mind the gallant plea of Theodore Roosevelt a century ago, “Weasel words from mollycoddles will never do when the day demands prophetic clarity from greathearts.”
I’m George Grant.
One last word, if I may, on the clarity that this day demands!
We’re in the home-stretch of WORLD’s Spring Giving Drive, and I’ll spare you any mollycoddling weasel words and say it plainly:
We need your financial support!
Reporting news and producing first-rate programming delivered faithfully each day takes resources.
Your generous giving has sustained us over the years, but the need never goes away.
So would you support WORLD’s Spring Giving Drive?
Please visit WNG.org/donate and do your part so we can keep doing our part.
No euphemisms. No artifice. Just our sincere thanks!
NICK EICHER, HOST: Well said, as always!
Time to thank the team that helped put this week’s programs together:
George Grant, Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Joel Belz, Leah Savas, Cal Thomas, Kent Covington, Josh Schumacher, Kristen Flavin, Anna Johansen Brown, Emily Whitten, Kim Henderson, Onize Ohikere, Bonnie Pritchett, Janie B. Cheaney, John Stonestreet, Collin Garbarino, Steve West, and our recent World Journalism Institute graduates, Katelyn Rafferty and Anna Allen.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz are the audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Paul Butler is our executive producer.
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: “Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, …” And later on it urges us to stand “firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.” (Philippians 1:27-28 ESV)
Remember to worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend, and God willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.
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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