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Chess and hope at the U.S.-Mexico border // After Scalia

M A RCH 5 , 2 0 1 6



MAR0516 / VOLUME 31 / NUMBER 5



Cities under siege

For the Middle East’s urban war zones, caught now for years under bombardments and ­deprivation, survival amid the ruins often means living in the hell brought by Islamic State

44 Knights preparing to joust

The poorest city in the United States has built a rich tradition of excellence in chess



48 The big gamble


Donald Trump bills his business savvy as a top qualification in his bid for the White House. But his legacy in Atlantic City—including those left behind—tells a different story

ON THE COVER A woman walks through a devastated section of Homs, Syria.

Photo by Dusan Vranic/AP


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4 Joel Belz 7 DISPATCHES News Human Race Quotables Quick Takes

20 Janie B. Cheaney 23 CULTURE Movies & TV Books Q&A Music

34 Mindy Belz 55 NOTEBOOK Lifestyle Technology Science Houses of God Sports

63 Mailbag 67 Andrée Seu Peterson 68 Marvin Olasky

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Donald the inevitable?



WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

‘Trump got everything he wanted in the New Hampshire primary— and a whole lot more.’ —Fred Barnes



When a political observer as experienced and astute as Fred Barnes says so, you’re probably wise to pay attention. And Fred Barnes suggests the race is virtually over. Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard magazine, of which he was co-founder in 1995. Before that, he had become one of the nation’s pre-eminent journalists while serving at The Baltimore Sun and The New Republic. So when Barnes asserted a few days ago that Donald Trump is in the driver’s seat to win the contest to become the Republican nominee for president, I had to take notice. Barnes has now and then missed a call for an election here and there. But for the most part, he’s a pretty reliable prognosticator. Note well that Barnes is not arguing in ­support of Trump; I’m sure he has other preferences. Nor is he predicting that Trump, even if he becomes the Republican nominee, will win the November election over the Democrats. But as a political analyst, Barnes thinks the odds now greatly favor Trump’s unlikely quest for the nomination. Barnes reports: “Donald Trump got everything he wanted in the New Hampshire ­primary—and a whole lot more.” Ironically, the “whole lot more” Trump carried away from New Hampshire was the durability of the field of his opponents. So long as Trump has a ­handful of opponents, rather than just one, his divide-and-conquer strategy works pretty well. No one knows how he might fare in a one-onone contest with John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, or Marco Rubio. So Barnes concludes: “Trump’s not only a stronger front-runner in the Republican race than ever; he’s now in the driver’s seat on the road to the presidential nomination.”


And it’s actually better for Trump to maintain that diverse structure of the field of ­competition for as many weeks and months as he possibly can. If he can hold on to 35 percent of the vote in state after state, while watching his opponents divide up the other 65 percent four ways, he stamps himself in the public eye as a sort of inevitable winner. To avoid that scenario, at least one or two folks (and probably three) in the Kasich-CruzBush-Rubio quartet are going to have to bow out soon. Of course, a really low vote by any candidate in an upcoming race—especially if it’s paired with a lower-than-expected performance by Trump—would have the same clarifying effect. Stopping the Trump momentum has become a preoccupying goal. Barnes hints that the two governors, Kasich and Bush, are most likely to be forced out of the race, leaving Cruz and Rubio to challenge front-runner Trump. But the process leading to such a reduction of the field of players is worse than painful. Barnes notes the damage sustained as each of the five remaining candidates viciously beats the others to a pulp. They’ve formed “a circular firing squad,” he says, destroying each other in the process of finding the best man to represent the party in the general election later this year. All of which blurs the question: What on earth is the 2016 general election going to look like? If Trump lives up to Barnes’ present expectations, nailing down the GOP nomination during the spring months and removing all doubts about the Cleveland convention in July, will the other two-thirds of the Republican family simply fall in line? Or will such skeptics back a call for a “brokered convention” in which standard rules are set aside and the famous smoke-filled rooms become the domain of the real decision makers? Or might a third party take shape between now and the convention? And how much might all that force the GOP to shape its response to the equally unpredictable Democratic Party? How can the GOP wisely choose its nominee until it knows for sure whether the opponent is a self-declared socialist or a brazen woman perceived by an overwhelming majority of voters as a habitual liar? Hang on. America may never have experienced anything just like this. A


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After Scalia



by Emily Belz

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MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 




The death of a sitting Supreme Court justice in the middle of the court’s term is a rare event, and a death on a tightly divided nine-person bench in a presidential election year is potentially a political and legal powder keg. The leader of the court’s conservative wing, Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, died of apparent natural causes at a West Texas ranch on Feb. 13. Scalia was a devout Catholic, who had nine children with his wife of more than 50 years, Maureen McCarthy. Now the Supreme Court, in another high-octane term, must likely operate for months without a justice to replace Scalia. No new justice could fill his shoes; even his liberal colleagues praised Scalia, whom friends called “Nino,” as a “legal titan.” “Nino Scalia will go down in history as one of the most transformational Supreme Court justices of our nation,” said Justice Elena Kagan in a statement. Cass Sunstein, a noted liberal constitutional lawyer, echoed her, calling Scalia “among the greatest” justices in the nation’s history. Scalia’s passing has thrown the legal and political worlds into confusion. Senate Republican leaders have said the next president should fill the vacancy in 2017, setting up a duel with President Barack Obama, who plans to submit a nominee soon. Democrats will try to


Scalia poses with his wife and children in his chambers in 1986 (above); Scalia at the swearing-in of new Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on the South Lawn of the White House in 2006.


WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

paint Republicans as obstructionists, and Republicans will use the election as a referendum on the future of a court that already has two Obama appointees. But political sands are ever-shifting. If in the fall it seems clear that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will win the presidency, or that Republicans will lose control of the Senate chamber, Senate leadership might compromise on a nominee with Obama. The immediate concerns of pro-lifers and religious freedom advocates are ­several major cases whose outcomes are in doubt with Scalia’s absence. The high

court will move forward now with eight justices. If the vote on a case is tied 4-4, the lower court ruling in that case will stand, without imposing a national precedent. On March 2, the court will hear the first major abortion case in nine years, Whole Women’s Health v. Cole, which ­concerns two provisions in a Texas law regulating abortion centers. (Look for coverage of the arguments on With Scalia’s absence, Texas needs Justice Anthony Kennedy’s swing vote to achieve a tie, which would affirm the lower court ruling in favor of Texas. That

‘Nino Scalia will go down in history as one of the most transformational Supreme Court justices of our nation.’ —JUSTICE ELENA K AGAN



“Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where ­well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” —Scalia on the right to bear arms

would leave similar laws in other states in question. “Although Texas might win, the rule of law across the country is probably going to have to wait until there is a new justice,” said Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel for Americans United For Life, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of Texas legislators in the case. More in doubt now is the case from religious nonprofits, like Little Sisters of the Poor, challenging the contraceptive and abortifacient mandate. The nonprofits’ cases have been consolidated into one argument, Zubik v. Burwell, scheduled for March 23. Kennedy’s position on that issue has been unclear. These particular nonprofits lost at the circuit level, so even if the nonprofits do win Kennedy’s vote and a 4-4 tie, the lower rulings against them will stand. The justices decided the parallel for-profit case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, on a 5-4 vote. Several other major cases now have an uncertain outcome: in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley the court will examine when state aid can go to religious institutions. Before Scalia’s death, religious freedom advocates thought the church had a good chance of winning that case. Trinity Lutheran lost at the circuit level, so a tie would be a loss for the church. The court had already heard arguments this term in a case from a group of Christian public school teachers ­challenging their union dues, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. In the

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President Reagan announces the nominations of Scalia and William Rehnquist (right) to become a justice and chief justice, respectively, in 1986.

arguments the conservative justices seemed ready to deliver a heavy blow to public sector unions, but without Scalia’s vote the case would likely end in a 4-4 tie. That would affirm a lower court ­decision against the teachers objecting to the dues. This term the court will also weigh a challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration —a tie in that case would be a loss for the Obama administration. But the court’s next steps aren’t clearcut. The justices could decide on some of the more controversial cases to hold rearguments after their numbers return to nine. That decision might occur soon after the original arguments—when ­justices cast their votes on a case, but before they pen a ruling: If a case is tied 4-4, they might decide to wait on a ruling and reargue. But even seasoned Supreme Court observers aren’t sure how the justices will proceed under these complex circumstances. The Alliance Defending Freedom is involved in the contraceptive mandate cases and the Trinity Lutheran case. When I talked to Alan Sears, the head of ADF, on the night of Scalia’s death, he mourned the loss and then said about the future of his organization’s cases: “Lord have mercy.” A

“Like some ghoul in a late-night ­horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, [the test] stalks our ... jurisprudence once again, frightening the little ­children and school attorneys.” —Scalia on the Lemon test for ­church-state separation “I will become a believer in the ingenuousness, though never the propriety, of the Court’s newfound respect for the wisdom of foreign minds when it applies that wisdom in the abortion cases.” —Scalia on the court’s citing of ­foreign law to justify rulings “My view is that regardless of whether you think prohibiting abortion is good or whether you think prohibiting abortion is bad, regardless of how you come out on that, my only point is the Constitution does not say anything about it.” —Scalia on the Roe v. Wade decision “This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it re-writes the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.” —Scalia on the court’s decision upholding Obamacare

MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 




RIOT IN MEXICO Mexican officials arrested the superintendent, warden, and a guard at the Topo Chico prison near Monterrey after an early morning riot within its walls left 49 inmates dead and 12 ­persons injured. The riot revealed a ­f undamental problem within Mexico’s criminal justice system: Drug cartels rule not just neighborhoods, but prisons. The fight at Topo Chico occurred between rival factions of the Zetas cartel. Inmates were essentially ­running the prison themselves: Many ran food stalls, and more powerful inmates enjoyed “luxury cells” with digital TVs, minibars, aquariums, or portable saunas, local officials said. Prison guards apparently exercised minimal oversight over the prisoners, who fought one another with dozens of knives and hammers during the riot.

FEB. 9



WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016


Technical safety systems failed to prevent a deadly head-on collision between two passenger trains in Germany. The wreck occurred on a rural, wooded stretch about 40 miles southeast of Munich, leaving 11 persons dead, including the two drivers, and dozens injured. The trains had been carrying about 150 passengers at the time and may have been traveling 60 mph. A senior prosecutor said the wreck was likely the result of human error, due to a dispatcher who had not “complied with the rules” and was being investigated for involuntary manslaughter. German media reported the dispatcher may have disabled an automatic braking system in order to allow one of the trains to run off-schedule. German trains were fitted with automatic braking following a 2011 crash that killed 10.

FEB. 6

TEMBLOR IN TAIWAN For most residents of Tainan, a city of 1.9 million in southern Taiwan, the ­magnitude-6.4 earthquake that struck on a Saturday morning was merely enough to sway homes and apartments and jolt families out of bed at 4 a.m. But the outcome was far grimmer at a 17-story apartment complex that ­collapsed, trapping hundreds inside. A week later, rescuers had pulled 175 alive from the rubble and counted 114 dead (two others died elsewhere in the city). With only a handful of buildings in Tainan badly damaged by the quake, including a bank and a seven-story building, attention turned to the ­construction quality of the high-rise: Paint cans, apparently used as filler, were found encased in the building’s concrete layers. Taiwanese officials arrested the builder and two architects on suspicion of professional negligence.

FEB. 9


REFUGEES ATTACKED Two young women detonated explosive vests inside a refugee camp in northeastern Nigeria, killing at least 58 men, women, and children—only the latest tragedy in a six-year insurgency waged by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The bombers, p ­ ossibly captives of the militants, had been ordered to carry out the attacks at a camp for internally d ­ isplaced persons in the town of Dikwa, where 50,000 persons were taking refuge from the region’s ongoing violence. A third intended bomber—a teenage girl— tore off her suicide vest after getting out of sight of her captors, The Associated Press reported, because she knew her own father was living in the refugee camp. “She said she was scared because she knew she would kill people. But she was also frightened of going against the instructions of the men who brought her to the camp,” said a local self-defense fighter who helped to question her.

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MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 




Around the globe

MORE NEWS OF THE WORLD IS ON OUR WEBSITE: WNG.ORG FRANCE The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, voted to recognize the Islamic State’s targeting of Christians, Yazidis, and other religious groups as “genocide.”

NORTH KOREA The secretive nation launched a satellite into orbit Feb. 7, purportedly for scientific purposes. Western officials condemned the launch, viewed as a front for testing a ballistic missile.

UNITED STATES Voters propelled Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders to the front of the presidential candidate pack at the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9. Sanders led rival Hillary Clinton by 22 percentage points. Trump led underdog John Kasich by 19 points.

CUBA The heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches met for the first time in nearly 1,000 years as Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill exchanged an embrace in Cuba on Feb. 12.

NEPAL Ethnic minorities protesting Nepal’s new constitution finally ended a five-month blockade that had caused severe fuel and medicine shortages.

SYRIA Airstrikes destroyed four medical facilities and a school in northern Syria on Feb. 15, killing at least 50 persons. The Russian and Syrian governments, whose aircraft are combating rebel groups in the region, did not immediately accept responsibility.


WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

SOUTH CHINA SEA Civilian satellite photos in early February revealed China had deployed surface-to-air missiles on the disputed Paracel Islands, a move that heightened tensions over China’s military activity in the region.

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YEMEN A suspected U.S. drone strike killed a top al-Qaeda commander, Jalal Baleedi, who had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head.



Voters in a dozen states, including Texas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, will cast primary ballots on “Super Tuesday” as the 2016 presidential field continues to narrow. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will vie for 21 percent of their party’s delegates while Republican candidates will fight for one-quarter of the GOP delegate pool.


The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the NFL’s oral arguments today stemming from the New England Patriots’ “Deflategate” controversy last year. A federal District Court judge vacated the four-game suspension quarterback Tom Brady received for, the NFL claimed, knowingly using deflated game footballs. The NFL hopes to win on appeal.


The Omaha World-Herald will end production of its afternoon edition beginning today, marking the end of the era of “all-day” subscription newspapers. For decades, the World-Herald has published both morning and afternoon editions and claims to be the last such all-day paper in the world.


Political season rolls on with six more primary contests: Republicans will compete for delegates from Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi while Democrats will vie for delegates from just Michigan and Mississippi. Republican candidates will debate in Detroit on March 3.


After winning the Super Bowl Feb. 7, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will likely have until today to decide if he wants to retire. The 39-year-old stands to make a salary of $19 million this year—but only if he’s still on the Broncos’ roster when the new NFL season officially kicks off.

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DIED Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, one of 12 to walk on the moon, died Feb. 4 at age 85. He died during the 45th anniversary of his historic mission with Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa, from Jan. 31-Feb. 9, 1971. Shepard and Mitchell covered about 2 miles on the moon’s surface, collecting samples and famously golfing. But Mitchell wasn’t a typical astronaut, with an eccentric interest in Eastern spirituality and extrasensory perception. He later accused the U.S. government of hiding signs of alien life. Seven moon-landers are still alive.



WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

RESCINDED Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Feb. 11 apologized to the family of Tamir Rice, an African-American boy killed by police in 2014, after the city billed his estate $500. The charge for ambulance rides is routine policy, Jackson said, but supervisors should have noticed the person it involved. A rookie police officer shot the 12-year-old in November 2014, seeing him playing with a pellet gun. Authorities did not charge the officer, and the family has sued the city in federal court.

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In a class-action lawsuit, a Dallasbased law firm accused Gospel for Asia Inc. (GFA) of fraud and racketeering. The Feb. 8 lawsuit accuses founder K.P. Yohannan of diverting to a “personal empire” money that tens of thousands of donors had designated for specific supplies. Plaintiffs demand GFA return hundreds of millions of dollars, but the Texasbased international ministry claims donations have gone to the poor or to preaching the gospel. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability rescinded GFA’s membership last year.

Former InterVarsity Christian Fellowship President Alec Hill returned to work Feb. 1 as he continues to recover from bone marrow cancer. InterVarsity says Hill, as president emeritus, will work with Interim President Jim Lundgren, mentoring and counseling on various projects. For now, Hill will work via teleconferencing from home as his immune system is still compromised from a ­successful August bone marrow transplant. Hill announced his cancer and resignation last May. The board of trustees has not yet named a new president.

By the numbers Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom, similar to the U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom. Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion criticized the office Jan. 28 as singling out one human right over others. Both the ambassador’s term and the office’s funding run out before April. Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups all petitioned the government to maintain the office, as people increasingly suffer for their beliefs worldwide. Christian Elia, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League, accuses the Liberal government of expressing a “radical secularism.”


QUESTIONED Seattle police are investigating Tracy Dart, a selfprofessed three-time breast cancer survivor, for allegedly faking her battles with ­cancer. Dart had become a local celebrity, working with her “Team Tracy” s­ upporters to rally well-wishers and raise well over $400,000 for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. Early February revelations dumbfounded Komen and Dart’s supporters alike. So far, information points to the money all going to ­cancer research, without any benefit for Dart. A ­former supporter told KOMO-TV that Dart “needs help.”


The percentage rise in health insurance premiums by 2025 under Obamacare, as predicted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

$4.1 ­trillion Maurice White

BORN Kim and Vaughn Tucci welcomed naturally conceived quintuplets Jan. 28 in their hometown of Perth, Western Australia. Thousands had followed the difficult, 1 in 60 million pregnancy on the Tucci’s “Surprised by Five” Facebook page. The mother of now seven rejected abortion after seeing a video about the procedure. Just shy of 30 weeks, Tiffany, Penelope, Beatrix, Allie, and Keith each weighed at least 2.5 pounds, and they were reportedly healthy. Many in the Perth community are offering to provide meals and support.

DIED Dispensationalist theologian Charles C. Ryrie died

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Feb. 16 at age 90. Ryrie taught systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and was the author of multiple theological works written at layman’s level, including Basic Theology and The Ryrie Study Bible, which sold 2.5 million copies in several languages. Ryrie once wrote, “The Bible is the greatest of all books; to study it is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it the highest of all goals.”

DIED Maurice White, the leader and founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died Feb. 3 at age 74. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for perhaps well over 20 years, halting his travels with the band in 1995. The nine-piece band sold more than 90 million albums in making hits like “September” and “Shining Star.” At the band’s 2000 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the group’s iconic falsetto Philip Bailey said, “We experienced pure magic together.”

The amount of ­spending in President Obama’s proposed ­fiscal year 2017 ­budget. Congress rejected the budget.


The percentage increase last year in the number of human trafficking victims who called a national hotline, according to the advocacy group Polaris.

DIED Zdravko Tolimir, a Bosnian Serb general tied to the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre, died Feb. 8. He was serving a life sentence at a United Nations detention center. Tolimir, 67, was chief of military intelligence when his army captured the town of Srebrenica in July 1995, killing some 8,000 Muslim prisoners in what is now known as Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 




‘I am going to get a bigger flag.’

‘Texas women are having more babies since Planned Parenthood was defunded ’ A Feb. 4 tweet (since deleted) from COSMOPOLITAN.

‘Anyone worried about a front-running candidate shouting obscenities in front of children?’ JEB BUSH at a forum for Republican ­ residential candidates on Feb. 12 at p Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson also attended the event. Frontrunner Donald Trump did not attend. He was campaigning in Florida. 16 

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MARC EDWARDS, a pro­ fessor of civil engineering at Virginia Tech who helped expose the lead water crisis (see p. 55) in Flint, Mich., on the reluctance of scientists who receive funding from the government to criticize government agencies.

‘I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record.’ BARACK OBAMA, on Jan. 26, 2006, when he was a sena­ tor, on why he would vote against the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court despite Alito’s intellect and personal character.

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HANY BARANSI, an Arab Christian immigrant from Israel, after Mohamed Barry, a Muslim and an immigrant from Guinea, attacked with a machete patrons in Baransi’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The restaurant—Nazareth Restaurant and Deli—has an Israeli flag in its entryway. Barry injured four persons in the Feb. 11 attack. Police later shot and killed him.

‘Unfortunately, in general, academic research and scientists in this country are no longer deserving of the public trust. We’re not.’



Sea lion’s choice

It isn’t unusual for hungry visitors to enter the Marine Room, a San Diego seafood restaurant, and take a seat in a booth. But they are usually humans. On Feb. 4, a young and malnourished sea lion wandered into the restaurant and curled up to sleep in a prominent booth several hours before the restaurant opened. Executive chef Bernard Guillas took pictures of the sea lion ­peering out the seaside restaurant’s window before animal control workers took him away and delivered him to San Diego’s SeaWorld for rescue. “He was a little bit early for his high tide breakfast reservation,” Guillas quipped on Facebook.

Like mothers, like daughters

Powerful touch

Thousands of Tulsa, Okla., residents lost power Feb. 5 when a squirrel touched the wrong wires at a local electrical substation. More than 5,000 customers, including three schools, lost power in the outage. According to a utility spokesman with the Public Service Company of Oklahoma, the unfortunate squirrel likely felt little pain when it tripped the outage. “I’m sure the squirrel probably didn’t know what hit it,” spokesman Ed Bettinger told the Tulsa World . “We put all kinds of ­animal guards on our equipment that occasionally these critters find a way to circumvent.”

Wheels of fortune

With no bank willing to lend it more money, an Italian dairy cooperative has secured about $6.7 million in bonds using a massive stockpile of Parmesan cheese as collateral. Seeking to expand its market presence in the United States, the Modena-based dairy collective discovered it was already too leveraged with banks to get more loans. Thankfully for the 4 Madonne cooperative, enough creditors were willing to purchase bonds backed by massive aging Parmesan wheels.


WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016


Twin sisters Stephanie Edginton and Nicole Montgomery were born minutes apart—and so were their daughters. The sisters both went into labor on Feb. 8 and delivered daughters Cora and Louisa six minutes apart at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees, N.J. Stephanie told the local ABC affiliate that her baby wasn’t due until Feb. 12: “We actually had a doctor’s appointment today because we were due on Friday, so we got there and they were like ‘you have to go to the hospital’ and we get a call that Nicole and Rich are on their way, too.” Stephanie and Nicole were born three minutes apart.


Built to last

It would be difficult for manufacturers today to build a better mousetrap than the 155-year-old antique on display at a British museum. The vintage 1861 mousetrap there managed to snare a new victim—and it didn’t even use any cheese. According to the blog of the University of Reading’s Museum of English Rural Life, an assistant curator at the museum discovered a dead mouse caught in the trap on Feb. 3. “The trap itself was not baited, but this did not stop our mouse from wriggling inside and, ­finding itself trapped, [meeting] its demise,” a staffer with the museum blogged. A label on the 1861 mousetrap bragged the trap “will last a lifetime.”

All flash, no flavor

One San Francisco vendor decided to celebrate Super Bowl 50 by selling hot dogs covered in gold flakes. Levi’s Stadium concessionaire Centerplate named the beef and pork sausage the “Big 5-0 Sausage” and served it with sautéed peppers and edible gold flakes. San Francisco Chronicle reviewer Bill Disbrow tried the $12 hot dog during the Feb. 7 game and reported the gold flakes added little to the flavor: “The flakes were completely overpowered, thanks largely to a completely unanticipated cheese eruption from the dog itself.”

Chore challenge

She doesn’t cook, and she doesn’t clean. And for that, one 42-year-old Italian woman may face six years of jail time. An unidentified husband from Sonnino, a village south of Rome, made a formal complaint to Italian police claiming his wife had violated article 572 of the Italian penal code, which “punishes ­whoever mistreats a person in their family.” According to the complaint, the man’s wife, besides refusing to cook or clean, also kicks him out of the bedroom occasionally. Rather than dismiss the charges, Italian police referred the case to a judge who set an Oct. 12 trial date.

Photo trap

A thief in Batavia, Ill., chose his target poorly during a recent robbery. On Nov. 25, a man pried open the cash drawer of a Funway Amusements photo booth and took $75 in cash. Unbeknownst to the robber, the photo booth’s security system automatically began snapping pictures of the perpetrator as he committed the ­robbery. It took months for the owner of the photo booth to repair the damage and access the photographs. But on Feb. 4, Batavia police released the pictures, hoping the public could identify the thief. Suspect Chancellor Terrell turned himself in a few days later.

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Kidding around

Hopeful of a Denver Broncos Super Bowl victory, a Colorado rancher spent the weeks leading up to the Feb. 7 Super Bowl knitting 150 Broncos-themed sweaters—for a bunch of baby goats. Rebecca Herberg, who runs a 400-acre goat ranch in Montrose, Colo., said she expects her baby goats to be born this spring. “When they’re born, typically they weigh 8, 9 pounds; and they’re cold, it’s April,” she told KCNC. According to Herberg, the male kids will wear blue sweaters while the female kids will don orange sweaters. Until the goats are born, the rancher has been putting the sweaters on her 15 dogs. “They look like a bunch of little Broncos fans running around down there,” she said.

MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 



Upside-down headship



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Marriage is intended to build two people up, not to puff up one partner at the expense of the other.

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I know a woman who married for complex reasons: Her sordid past made her fearful and distrustful—of herself most of all. She met a man who was strong and committed to the faith she had recently discovered. A ­godsend! Or that’s what she told herself, even when she questioned some of his demands. But perhaps that was her fault; she had tons of sin to purge. Soon enough, though, she began to wonder if this was what Jesus meant by “abundant life.” None of the churches they visited lived up to her husband’s standards, so they began “meeting” at home, as a congregation of two. He did most of the talking. The hothouse atmosphere produced strange fruit, and she couldn’t help noticing that while he zealously corrected her faults, he seemed blind to his own. As her ­loneliness intensified, so did her doubts— about him and about her own judgment. He began dictating how to dress and what to read and whom to befriend, backing himself up with Bible verses. They could scarcely have a conversation anymore; even the most trivial ­subjects led to lectures or arguments. Her heart shriveled, and thoughts of getting away devoured thoughts of pleasing him. Finally she turned to the elders of her former church. After prayer and further counsel, they advised her to separate. The marriage died, but her faith survived. This woman is not alone in her experience: I could name several others who followed a similar path, though it may have stretched out over several years. Most of them are no longer married, and in at least one case, the wife packed a suitcase one day and walked out—even leaving her kids behind, with vague promises to claim them later. She should have done what my


friend did and turned to the church, but by then she had lost faith in the church, and perhaps even in the Lord. None of these women were physically abused, but their faith had taken a beating. Their husbands disregarded their testimony, scoffed at their feelings (women are too emotional), told them they didn’t understand ­headship, tagged them with the worst possible motives, and met any objection with, “Wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” How do we get from Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church to “God says I’m the boss”? By the same fatal shortcut we take to any other pet doctrine, which is bypassing Christ, or making Him justify the lifestyle or principle we love more than Him. A wife who seeks her identity in a man’s love rather than in Christ is easy to manipulate. But a husband who finds his identity in authoritarian headship has lost sight of the One who led by serving. In certain circles, “wives, submit” receives far more exegesis than “husbands, love.” After all, submission is quickly elaborated in Ephesians 5:22-24, while the kind of love husbands are supposed to cultivate (verses 25-33) takes longer to explain and is much harder to practice. Some men appear to think their wives must submit to them before they can show Christlike love. Is that leadership? Did Jesus ask the same of His bride before loving her? Gender complementarianism (the teaching that men and women are equal in worth but assume different roles in the church and in ­marriage) is clear in Scripture, but also clearly ­misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that a trembling, apologetic nature complements an unshakable, unbending nature, any more than soft flesh complements hard fist. The internet is littered with websites for runaway wives to tell their stories and lash out, sometimes at God Himself. But for each runaway there are many fearful women who remain, while wondering why they can’t find joy in a “biblical” marriage relationship. Marriage is intended to build two people up, not to puff up one partner at the expense of the other. Jesus will not be used to justify tyranny. Husbands, if a worldly view of leadership has made you confuse authority with authoritarianism, it’s time truly to take the lead—in repentance. A


Joseph Fiennes as Clavius

Epic renewal MOVIE

RISEN MAY GIVE NEW LIFE TO BIBLE EPICS  by Megan Basham Hollywood has suffered several false starts in the last couple of years in its attempt to revitalize the genre of the biblical epic. Despite boasting massive production budgets and A-list directors and casts, Noah (Paramount) and Exodus: Gods and Kings



(20th Century Fox) didn’t interest audiences much. Both went down as two of the biggest box office ­disappointments of 2014. There were many reasons, from scheduling to promotion missteps, for their failure, but the biggest seemed to be that both

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films went out of their way to undercut the clear ­spiritual implications of their source material, thus alienating the very audience most likely to buy tickets. If that’s the case, Sony’s Risen could be the first Biblebased historical film to reverse the trend.

Rather than dramatizing straight scriptural narrative as The Ten Commandments did in 1956, Risen (rated PG-13 for realistic violence) follows the tradition of classics like The Robe and BenHur, telling the story of a fictional character through the lens of biblical events. Leading actor Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, 1998) turns in a phenomenal performance as Clavius, a Roman tribune charged with investigating the disappearance of MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 





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Clavius to decide what he believes about Jesus based on the testimony of witnesses. Instead, he crosses paths with the apostles just before they reunite with the risen Christ (Cliff Curtis) and becomes more of an onlooker. Here, he sees the miracle of the fish recorded in John 21. There, he sees Jesus heal a leper. The relevance of Clavius’ doubts are lost to forgone conclusion, and we begin to feel like New Testament tourists along for the ride. Risen would have been stronger and more profound had it continued to let Clavius wrestle with his belief without seeing. Still, it’s undeniably one of the higher-quality faith-based films to hit theaters in recent years, with acting, writing, and production values to rival other mainstream releases. And it takes Christianity ­seriously as an element of the story rather than simply as a marketing hook. Based on the recent triumphs of indie productions like God’s Not Dead and War Room (and of course 2004’s The Passion of the Christ), Risen seems in a perfect position to score with churchgoing audiences. A

BOX OFFICE TOP 10 FOR THE WEEKEND OF FEB. 12-14 according to Box Office Mojo

CAUTIONS: Quantity of sexual (S), ­violent (V), and foul-language (L) ­content on a 0-10 scale, with 10 high, from


1 Deadpool* R................................................ 8 8 10 ` 2 Kung Fu Panda* 3 PG...................... 1 4 1 ` 3 How to Be Single R............................ 7 3 6 ` 4 Zoolander 2* PG-13............................ 6 6 5 ` 5 The Revenant* R.................................. 5 10 6 ` 6 Hail, Caesar!* PG-13.......................... 3 3 3 ` 7 Star Wars: The Force `

Awakens* PG-13..................................... 1 6 2 8 The Choice* PG-13............................... 4 4 4 ` 9 Ride Along 2* PG-13........................... 5 5 5 ` 10 The Boy* PG-13......................................... 3 5 2 ` *Reviewed by WORLD

Egerton and Jackman


Eddie the Eagle R Eddie the Eagle is a cliché sports movie, but the good kind of cliché, like your mom’s cookie recipe she makes over and over. The movie’s tropes are warmly familiar. The story is based on Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards (Taron Egerton), a British skier who teaches himself to be a ski jumper after failing to make the British Olympic team. At the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Canada, Edwards became the first British Olympic ski jumper ever and an underdog favorite. Hugh Jackman stars as Eddie’s coach, Bronson Peary, a washed-up American ski jumper and alcoholic who is the foil to Eddie’s pure heart and milk-drinking habit. Yes, we have the typical sports movie “training” montages, where our hero goes from klutz to Olympian under Bronson’s tutelage. Yes, a British Olympic committee member tells Eddie, “You aren’t Olympic material,” and Eddie’s blue-collar dad says, “You’re not an athlete,” and Eddie says he will “prove them all wrong.” The movie is not breaking new ground. But Eddie is a lovable main character, a lonely outsider whose glasses fog up on the slopes.

The real Eddie was ­ opular in 1988 because he p was an everyman with no money who barely made it to the Olympics. He wore hand-me-down ski boots in an event designed for elite athletes who trained since they were toddlers. The movie is rated PG-13 for some inappropriate moments: Bronson, while training Eddie, compares ski jumping to sex in a sort of When Harry Met Sally diner scene. Bronson also drinks constantly, though part of his character’s development involves addressing his alcoholism. In another scene, Eddie walks into a sauna that turns out to be full of nude Scandinavian ski jumpers, with strategically placed camera shots. The 1988 Winter Olympics hosted another memorable underdog story about the Jamaican bobsled team, the subject of the 1993 film Cool Runnings. In a subtle acknowledgment of the parallels, a radio in Bronson’s cabin plays a news bulletin about the Jamaican team. Eddie is not the first underdog sports movie, but it’s a fun ride down the slopes. —by EMILY BELZ


Christ’s body after the Resurrection. Well-paced and sharply written, the first half of Risen does a better job of clarifying the cultural and political ­context of Christ’s crucifixion than any other film or TV miniseries I’ve seen. As we watch Clavius and Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth) trade quips and plot how to manage the Sanhedrin, we’re reminded these players were men of free will, with their own ambitions that rumors of a resurrected Jewish sect leader threatened to thwart. Likewise, the Pharisees’ immediate message-spinning can’t help but bring to mind how our own leaders respond to unexpected events, the truth being less important than which side is fast and savvy enough to shape the public conversation about it. Amid all this House of Cards–style maneuvering, however, undeniable evidence continues to tug at Clavius, and he determines to discover the facts about Jesus for himself. At this point, the story shifts away from speculation and sticks closely to events recorded in the Gospels, unfortunately cutting short a narrative arc involving Clavius. It’s while watching the ­tribune attempt to ­reconcile his natural skepticism with certain forensic evidence and the accounts he’s hearing from Christ’s followers that his journey feels most compelling. Risen misses an opportunity to go from good to great by following this theme through to the end and forcing



Providence R Without audible ­dialogue, the independent Christian film Providence tells a story of God’s sovereign guidance throughout the lives of two off-and-on-again friends. The unrated (but familyfriendly) limited-release film is the latest project of Fred and Sharon Wilharm, who in 2014 produced the silent feature The Good Book . Providence follows two young Christians (a guy and a girl, in their teens played by Josh Allen and Stacey Bradshaw) growing up in the same small town. They don’t meet each other until they reach high school, where their friendship begins to blossom into something more. But they grow apart when one begins to study (and follow) the Bible more seriously while the other chases earthly pursuits. Decades later, as middleaged adults (played by Rich Swingle and Juli Tapken), the two cross paths again. It’s the viewers’ job to recognize the clues—even simple things like characters’ names—that the film slowly provides to give meaning to the story. The


need for patient attentiveness, at first a bit of an irksome task, actually reinforces the message. We might not always know why our lives unfold as they do, but that doesn’t mean we should give up looking (and praying) for God’s leading. Viewers do get some help from the lyrics of the indie folk-pop soundtrack that includes Kevin Max’s gorgeous “When We Were Young.” Each song, though, transitions to the next with no downtime and in some cases with startling choppiness. Other minor flaws— some exaggerated facial expressions, the camera crew’s reflection in a chap­ el’s glass door—detract only a little. The film’s camerawork stands out from the start, with smartly lit shots, richly designed sets, and scenes framed from interesting angles. Providence is a gentle story of love, not only of a man for a woman, but of a Heavenly Father for His children. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear His still, small voice.

Tapken and Swingle

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Deadpool R That Deadpool is not your typical Marvel film is clear within the first minute. The opening credits, rolled over a slow-panning freeze-shot of men soon to be wedgied, decapitated, and gutted like kebabs, inform the audience that this movie is directed by “An Overpaid Tool” (Tim Miller) and stars “God’s Perfect Idiot” (Ryan Reynolds). Look at us being all selfaware and unconventional, the filmmakers prate, and for the next 100 minutes, that’s their running gag— and people are loving it. Deadpool had the best opening night ever for an R-rated movie, and Hollywood suits have already greenlighted a sequel. For any other comic-book movie, an R rating (for nudity, splattered brains, and F-bombs) equals death, but Deadpool puffs its scarlet letter with

neon and glitter. That’s because its target audience is not pubescent geeks—it’s grown-ups with pubescent minds. The title character was once Wade Wilson (Reynolds), a nice-looking, crude-talking, motormouthed ex-Special Forces mercenary who meets hooker Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Their romance blooms over a montage of kinky sex scenes. Then, during an underground medical operation to treat his terminal cancer, Wade turns into Deadpool, a splitkicking mutant with superfast regenerative abilities. Deadpool retains his trashy mouth, but loses his pretty-boy looks. The entire plot centers on Deadpool’s revenge on the posh-speaking villain (Ed Skrein) who disfigured him. He dismembers plenty of humans as he does so, while burping out every dirty, half-digested thought that pops into his psychopathic mind. Without so much as a moral compass, what’s left for the sequel? How many more ways can you devastate a human body, how many more reproductive organs can you phrase into an insult? Well, liberal web magazine Slate did grouse that Deadpool isn’t “pansexual” enough. But while some audiences may find Deadpool entertaining and refreshing, in reality, it’s pretending not to be something it is: a ­cleverly packaged product of the very establishment it mocks. —by SOPHIA LEE

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Staring down danger


As America faces Islamic fascism and some U.S. leaders refuse to lead, three new books on Winston Churchill are worth reading. Larry Arnn’s Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government (Nelson, 2015) fluently shows us the great man’s physical courage as a young soldier. That’s important because if Churchill had not been shot at and missed, his 1940 rhetoric—“If this long island story of ours is to


Churchill end at last, let in France, it end only 1946 when each one of us lies choking in his own blood”— could have been seen as merely office bravado. Churchill was no hawk. Before World War I he ­accurately predicted that “a European war can only end in the ruin of the vanquished and the scarcely less fatal commercial dislocation and exhaustion of the conquerors.” Before World War II he

predicted that “each side, at the outset, will suffer what it dreads the most, the loss of everything that it has ever known of.” But Churchill was a realist. He was unimpressed when 62 nations in 1928-29 signed a treaty renouncing war. Arnn shows he was right not to be, because one early signer, Germany, was “already busy rearming itself even before the rise of Hitler.” Nor did Churchill in 1930 get excited about the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armaments: One of its signers, Japan, was busy building a fleet. Ten years later Churchill became prime minister at probably the lowest time in England’s history: John Kelly vigorously narrates Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain’s Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940 (Scribner, 2015). As with all historical turning points, we tend to see inevitability after the fact—but aside from Churchill’s determination, Britain may well have followed Neville Chamberlain, who had stepped down as prime minister but was a still-influential inner cabinet member. Chamberlain did not totally reform after his



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Don Glickstein’s After Yorktown (Westholme, 2015) shows how the American Revolution wasn’t over till it was over. Battles continued into 1783 as negotiators huffed and puffed. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates , by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger (Sentinel, 2015) is a good read if you’ve ever wondered what Marines did before they fought their way through the halls of Montezuma. Mark Tooley’s The Peace That Almost Was (Nelson, 2015) tells of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and its desperate attempt to avert a war that would leave behind 600,000 corpses: The conference failed, probably inevitably, but the ­delegates’ fondness for giving long speeches didn’t help. —M.O.

Munich disaster: When the French army disintegrated and Britain stood alone, Chamberlain was “ready to consider decent terms if such were offered to us.” Furthermore, had Churchill not been available Lord Halifax would have become prime minister, and Halifax was also open to talking turkey with Hitler, even though it was clear the Führer had a roasting pan ready. Most Conservatives and King George VI preferred Halifax, but his seat was in the House of Lords rather than the Commons, and Churchill had greater military understanding. Halifax deferred: Churchill became prime minister and received the harshest welcome possible, since on May 13, the day of his inaugural speech as prime minister, the German army pierced French defenses in the Ardennes and began the envelopment of British and French troops in Belgium. Within days it became obvious that Churchill’s May 13 promise of “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” was no exaggeration. France surrendered, but Britain survived under the leadership of Churchill and his war cabinet. Jonathan Schneer in Ministers at War (Basic, 2014) tells how Churchill for the following five years brilliantly led a mix of Conservative, Labour, and Liberal politicians who would normally have been at each other’s throats—and were once again in 1945. Which book to read? Schneer portrays individuals well, Kelly is an excellent ­storyteller, and Arnn offers fine analysis of the underlying ideas.

Notable books

FOUR BOOKS ON BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC POLICY  reviewed by David Bahnsen THE COURAGE TO ACT: A MEMOIR OF A CRISIS AND ITS AFTERMATH  Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke, appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve just before the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, penned his 600-page memoir to highlight the drama of the 2008 crisis from his vantage point. He’s proud to say that the Fed brought us back from the brink of disaster when world financial systems were collapsing amid a housing and credit market implosion. The victory lap he takes for those efforts, though, feels premature. As long as interest rates remain near 0 percent, it is too early to know how the “unwinding” of Fed efforts will play out.

SONS OF WICHITA: HOW THE KOCH BROTHERS BECAME AMERICA’S MOST POWERFUL AND PRIVATE DYNASTY  Daniel Schulman Press coverage of the powerful and influential Koch brothers generally depicts them as self-serving, conspiratorial cronies who are politically active for business reasons. This refreshing narrative from a liberal writer at a liberal magazine thoroughly refutes that flawed narrative. This fine work leaves no doubt that what drives Charles and David Koch each day is their heartfelt commitment to free markets and limited ­government: Koch supporters and Koch opponents will both benefit from reading it.


Given the present political environment, some will be surprised to learn that in recent history a political ideologue could proclaim his case without being belligerent and could seek to enact change without being obstructionist. Jack Kemp died in 2009, but his legacy in driving the tax reform of the 1980s remains with us. Kondracke and Barnes do a splendid job here showing us not just Kemp’s political effectiveness and policy impact, but the heart from which Kemp’s work came. Today’s political right would do well to pay attention!


AMERICA’S BANK: THE EPIC STRUGGLE TO CREATE THE FEDERAL RESERVE  Roger Lowenstein Few organizations engender more controversy than the Federal Reserve. The Fed has fans who believe it is the ­panacea for all that economically ails us, and it has ­detractors who believe it to be part of a sinister global ­conspiracy to enrich bankers and suppress the middle class. Somewhere between wild conspiracy theories and statist fawning lies the truth. Lowenstein’s book unpacks the history of the c ­ entral bank’s formation, the concerns that preceded it, and the Jacksonian heritage of a country that has always been, and perhaps always will be, skeptical of central banking.

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SPOTLIGHT In Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do (Crossway, 2015), Paul David Tripp argues mankind has an awe problem. We substitute awe of self for awe of God. Tripp’s counseling background shows up in the street-level examples he gives of people having awe for something other than God. Sins like fear of man, doubt, materialism, need for control, and workaholism grow out of this ­misdirected awe. His clunky terms for the condition—awe ­wrongedness or AWN, and awelessness—are unlikely to catch on. His helpful ­antidotes—passages like Isaiah 40—should. Rebecca Manley Pippert’s slender Uncovering the Life of Jesus (The Good Book Company, 2015) focuses on six encounters with Christ taken from Luke’s Gospel. It includes the relevant passages and asks probing questions based on the text. Pippert’s book is meant for “anyone who is genuinely seeking; who has ­honest questions and who wants to find out about the real Jesus.” Come, she writes, “with an open mind and heart, and see what you find.” —Susan Olasky

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Children’s books


AWARD-WINNING BOOKS FOR AGES 9-13  reviewed by Janie B. Cheaney and Betsy Farquhar ROLLER GIRL  Victoria Jamieson

Astrid and Nicole have been best friends since kindergarten, but going into seventh grade their interests are diverging— especially after Astrid becomes obsessed with girls’ roller derby. This graphic novel doesn’t tone down the violence of the sport, and parents may not appreciate the wild makeup and nicknames the players use. But the game is a metaphor for facing your fears, standing your ground, and playing fair. Roller Girl is funny and insightful about friendship, honesty, and setting things right after you mess them up. Cautions: one misuse of God’s name, and Astrid’s mother is apparently divorced or never married. (Newbery Honor Book)

THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE  Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada’s cruel mother has never allowed her to leave their dreary London flat because of the girl’s clubfoot. But with war looming, Ada smuggles herself and her little brother Jamie aboard a train filled with urban children being evacuated to the English countryside. When a lonely woman reluctantly takes them in, the reader can predict a happy ending; but the road to happiness means learning to trust and accept good gifts as they come. Bradley paints a truthful picture of Ada’s anger and a sense of worthlessness not easily overcome, and her story becomes a picture of grace. (Newbery Honor Book)


Fannie Lou Hamer’s indomitable spirit shines as she travels the country throughout the tumultuous 1960s, urging folks to step up and fight for equality. Hamer even runs for office, all the while belting out the traditional spirituals that thrill her audiences. First-person free verse carries this story, but the real beauty is in the collage illustrations by Ekua Holmes. Sunshiny yellow accentuates Hamer, making her the “light” in nearly every scene. Meaty text, weighty issues, and a couple of crude words make this a picture book for older students, but it is a nice complement to other, longer works about the civil rights movement. (Caldecott Honor Book)

ECHO  Pam Muñoz Ryan


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Friedrich must escape Nazi Germany, Mike must protect his brother from the orphanage, and Ivy’s Mexican-American family faces discrimination: All three youngsters, at separate times and places, find solace in a magical harmonica. Their stories come together in an epilogue that reveals a mystical, unifying thread. The harmonica plays the major theme of this four-movement symphony: that the underprivileged—whether physically ­handicapped, socioeconomically disadvantaged, or victims of prejudice—all have a song to sing. The story is expertly executed, but readers should remember that music and vague spirituality aren’t enough to ­foster true hope in adverse circumstances. (Newbery Honor Book)

In 2010 Rita Williams-Garcia ­published a novel about 11-yearold Delphine and her sisters Vonetta and Fern, and the summer spent in Oakland, Calif., with the mother who had abandoned them years before. One Crazy Summer (Amistad, 2010) won numerous awards, but WilliamsGarcia wasn’t done: P.S. Be Eleven (Amistad, 2013) follows the Gaither sisters back to their home in Brooklyn, where their father has a girlfriend and their uncle has some Vietnam War– related issues. The final volume, Gone Crazy in Alabama (Amistad, 2015), sends the girls to their Southern roots. Though the stories play out against events of the 1960s, including the Black Panther and Freedom Rider movements, their heartbeat is family dynamics. In each volume the girls learn more about themselves and their roots while dealing with disappointment and learning to accept each other. WilliamsGarcia tackles problems like divorce, drug use, and violence with a light touch, ending with a loving and ultimately optimistic snapshot of African-American family life. —J.B.C.










An unlikely match BIOGRAPHER SANTAMARIA UNVEILS THE WOMAN WHO CAPTURED C.S. LEWIS’ HEART  by Marvin Olasky  photo by Najlah Feanny/Genesis

Here’s a great “man bites dog” headline from last fall’s Wall Street Journal: “The creator of Aslan and Narnia married a Jewish communist from Manhattan.” Here are edited excerpts from my recent interview with Abigail Santamaria, the author of a new biography, Joy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), that shows how C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman became a couple.


You did excellent detective work, finding some ­ ocuments in New York City, others in Massachusetts, d others on Malta in the Mediterranean. Letters, poems,

checkbooks, her marriage certificate to C.S. Lewis, Joy’s parents’ papers … I wanted a subject that hadn’t been done and done and done.

Joy Davidman, born in 1915, became a communist during the Great Depression. Why? She and many others

bought into the image that Josef Stalin was creating jobs: Everybody has abundant food and clothing and fresh air. Soviet art exhibits that traveled to reputable museums in the United States had these ruddy-


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cheeked children and families that were so happy, not like the poverty-stricken, depression-weary people she saw in the streets all around her. Soviet life in reality: terrible famine, with millions dying or sent to prison camps. Yes, it was the exact

opposite of the propaganda, but in 1937-38 Joy had almost a religious conversion to communism. She went to Communist Party rallies at Madison Square Garden with 20,000 attending. People would get up and give testimonials about how the Communist Party changed their lives. They would lay flowers on the stage and sing Soviet songs. There were processions of children. It really was like a religion, and she felt a surge of energy. The Communist Party gave her the community she yearned for. She became a highly regarded poet and the poetry editor of the New Masses, a communist magazine. She also married Bill Gresham. He was

a very talented writer also, and a troubled man.

love. They all lived together in a huge farmhouse out in the woods for several months in horrible tension. Joy said, “I’m getting a divorce and taking the boys to move to England because it’s cheaper there.” That obviously wasn’t the reason. Bill said, “No, let’s get back together, let’s do whatever, don’t take the boys away, please.” She moved to England later that year with the two boys. The divorce came in 1954. Did Lewis know he was being manipulated? I don’t think he understood the extent, but I also think she genuinely loved him and respected him and loved his mind. When she moved back to England in 1953, they got married twice, once for legal purposes in 1956 so she could stay in England and not have to go back to

Today he would probably be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being in the Spanish Civil War. Their ­marriage started out great and she called him the “mythical perfect husband,” but his depression, anxiety, nightmares, and drinking escalated. At some point he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and was largely sober for the last five years of their marriage. How did his problems contribute to Joy’s turning to Christ? Bill was drinking

heavily. Joy was at home and they had two babies. One night Bill called her from his office, said he was having a nervous breakdown, and hung up. She called back and he didn’t answer. She was terrified that he was killing himself. She was an atheist and had written that there’s only one final beauty, to stand on your feet, and only one ultimate weakness or ugliness, to fall on your knees. She sensed another presence in the room and found herself praying on her knees. Bill returned, but from that point on she believed in God. The question was, who is this God? She had read The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, and briefly became a Reformed Jew, but then through reading more of Lewis ultimately came to Christ.

‘If Joy hadn’t pursued Lewis and ultimately married him, several of Lewis’ greatest books … would not have been written, or at least not as comprehensively and effectively.’ America, and then for real love in 1957. It became the beautiful love story that the Shadowlands movie portrays. So God can make something beautiful out of all kinds of motives. Exactly. If Joy hadn’t pursued Lewis

and ultimately married him, several of Lewis’ greatest books that have had a huge impact on people’s lives and spiritual lives would not have been written, or at least not as comprehensively and effectively.

When did she fall in love with Lewis?

People were telling me Joy was in love with C.S. Lewis before she even met him. I was skeptical, but I discovered a collection of love sonnets that Joy wrote for C.S. Lewis beginning before she ever met him. She had dated the poems and his name is in them.

What was their marriage like? You write that they played Scrabble together, tennis … What else did they do? They did a lot of drinking beer in pubs and took a

lot of walks. They gardened together, and sat in the garden and talked. She crocheted and he smoked and they just would talk for hours. They mostly loved talking, whatever they were doing.

He is in his 50s and never had been married, and she was married. What was Lewis’ reaction? How much

she told him of her feelings, and when, is unclear, but he valued her as a pen friend. Her letters stood out from others. She was clearly very well-read, as Lewis was, and she could reference and understand his ­references to all kinds of literature from every age. She was invited to stay for some time with Lewis and his brother and she asked to stay for longer and he writes about this in several letters to friends. She stayed over Christmas, and he writes about her talking from morning to night—he couldn’t think or breathe or write. She overstays her welcome, then returns to America, but that’s not the end of the story. By Bill’s

account Joy told him she loved Lewis. While she was away, Renee—Joy’s young, beautiful, vulnerable cousin—stayed in their house. Renee and Bill fell in

  @MarvinOlasky

Last question: If any of these Patrick Henry students go to graduate school and want to write a thesis on something historical, any advice as to looking for ­topics, thinking them through, and doing what hasn’t been done before? Be thorough. Go to the original


sources as often as you can because a lot of the ­secondary sources are wrong. Finish: See it through to the end. Writing a big paper, a big thesis, or a book is really hard, and one reason that more people who want to do these things, don’t, is a lack of followthrough. Even if it’s not exactly what we want it to be in the end, see it through. A

For more about Jack (Lewis’ friends called him that) and Joy, go to “More about young Joy” and “More about Jack and Joy’s relationship” at

MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 



MUSIC What Podger and Anderson have in common is that they both seek to recreate heightened states of spiritual awareness resulting in deep understandings of love and that they’re both good at masking the effort required to do so. Non-violinists would never guess from Podger’s agile playing, for instance, how difficult Biber’s music is, let alone appreciate the relationship of its difficulties to the beauty that results when they’re overcome. And Anderson is such a skillfully deadpan blender of observation, pathos, and humor that one can easily interpret her failure to arrive at a meaning any deeper than “that the ­purpose of death is the release of love” as a kind of victory. Perhaps the best way to appreciate Heart of a Dog is to imagine Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as a onewoman show. Anderson shares Beckett’s ear for capturing the telling nuances of the way people talk. And her sparse, electronic musical settings are as evocatively barren as Beckett’s blasted heath. Where Beckett and Anderson diverge most sharply is their Christian allusions. Beckett’s blink out like dying but oncereal stars. Anderson’s often sag like lynched effigies. Her latest straw man is the late, rapture-obsessed radio preacher Harold Camping. (About Kierkegaard and a Catholic priest named Fr. Pierre, both of whom make cameos, she’s more sanguine.) Where Podger and Anderson diverge is their goals. Podger’s Biber embodies the desire to have life and life more abundantly. Anderson’s narratives amount to one large act of emotional divestiture. “Buddhism,” writes Frederick Buechner, “says, ‘Those who love a ­hundred have a hundred woes. Those who love ten have ten woes. Those who love one have one woe. Those who love none have no woe.’ Christianity says, ‘Whoever does not love abides in death’ (1 John 3:14). The trouble is that each speaks a different kind of truth.” Ultimately, Podger’s Rosary Sonatas and Anderson’s Heart of a Dog do as well. A

Podger (left) and Anderson

Strings and words



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enable, and at times practically force, the melodies to incarnate the agonies and ecstasies of Jesus and Mary. Anderson, on the other hand, uses words almost exclusively, requiring ­listeners to attend to her meticulously enunciated stories (mostly about her late rat terrier Lolabelle, her late mother, and post-9/11 New York City) and to ponder what those stories have to do with each other and with Anderson’s practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Her libretto is helpful too, as are the numerous interviews that she has given to explain what inspired the project. (Most useful of all, presumably, would be the accompanying film, but theatrical showings have so far been limited. The trailer, meanwhile, is online. And HBO plans a full-length broadcast in April.)

  @ArsenioOrteza


The latest albums by the British violinist Rachel Podger and the American performance artist Laurie Anderson are illuminating and enjoyable on their own. Juxtaposed, they dramatize important similarities and differences between Christian contemplative prayer and Buddhist meditation. Podger’s album is Rosary Sonatas (Channel Classics), a recording of the 17th-century composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s sonata cycle based on 15 focal points of the Roman Catholic prayer beads. Anderson’s album is Heart of a Dog (Nonesuch), the eponymous, mostly spoken-word soundtrack to her latest film. Podger’s album is word-free, requiring her audience to listen for the connections between her interpretation of Biber and the biblical episodes that inspired him (“The Annunciation,” “The Crowning with Thorns,” “The Resurrection,” etc.). The CD booklet is especially helpful in this regard, containing essays by Podger and her fellow violinist Mark Seow that explain how Biber’s imaginative uses of scordatura (alternate string tunings)


Notable CDs


Steve Reich’s own 1978 recording of this composition is where many people fell either in love or in hate with minimalism. Haters will have no use for this impressively precise recreation. Lovers, enamored of ­repetition as by definition they are, will enjoy it as much as they enjoy the original. They’ll also wonder whether the versions significantly differ. Caveat: If they’re curious enough to rig two devices and play both v ­ ersions simultaneously, they run the risk of never wanting to hear the piece in any other way again.


These Lucerne Festival recordings are truly special. Annie Fischer’s performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto dates from 1960, when she was in her ­mid-40s. Leon Fleisher’s performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 dates from 1962, when he was in his mid-30s and just shy of losing his ability to play with his right hand. The carpe-diem urgency that pervades the alternating delicacy and grandeur of their playing could almost make one believe that they somehow suspected they would never grace the Lucerne Festival stage again.

MASTERS OF THE ROLL  Arthur Friedheim Arthur Friedheim died in 1932, leaving little behind in the way of audio. Of these 14 piano-roll recordings first made available by Dal Segno Records and now reissued by Blue Pie, 10 are given over to Liszt (with whom Friedheim studied), one apiece to the 19th-century German ­composer-pianist Adolf Henselt and the 19th-century American composer-pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and two to Chopin. Francis of Assisi inspired two of Friedheim’s Liszt selections. And even in these semiersatz renditions, their inspirational properties endure.

SPOTLIGHT The late Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache was apparently not among the Shostakovich enthusiasts who discount the Russian composer’s Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9 in E flat Major, Op. 70/Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47 (Weitblick) presents live, Celibidache-conducted performances by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1964 and 1967 respectively. At the height of the Cold War, Celibidache can be heard fanning flames. Some background: Shostakovich composed the selfconsciously anti-modern No. 5 in 1937 to placate Stalin, who had officially denounced him the year before. He composed the uncharacteristically lighthearted No. 9 in 1945, and Stalin denounced him again. The symphonies therefore illuminate the narrowness of the Soviet Union. They also sound surprisingly uninhibited compared to many contemporary pieces, a phenomenon illuminating the disquieting possibility that many “free” composers have spent the last 60-plus years imposing a greater narrowness upon themselves than any dictator ever would. —A.O.



Lisa Garner Santa, Nataliya Sukhina

On her last album, the flutist Lisa Garner Santa focused on 19th- and 20th-century works by mostly well-known French composers. This time she focuses on 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century works by relatively obscure composers from the United States, Italy, England, and Czechoslovakia. Bohuslav Martinů’s First Sonata for Flute and Piano comes the closest to elucidating Santa’s stated intention of “explor[ing] the internal aspects of shade and light through … sound.” But a lyrical empathy between Santa and the pianist Nataliya Sukhina is evident throughout.

To see more music news and reviews, go to

MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 





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‘Long-term Christian workers in Iraq say there is an openness to the gospel like they have never seen before.’

Yazidi refugees arrive in Greece.

  @mcbelz


Sometimes it seems the news from Iraq and Syria can’t get any worse. And then it does. But the bad news shouldn’t overwhelm surprising good news, which is part of the better story we know God is writing. For a better understanding of life in the cities under ISIS control, see our special cities story in this issue (p. 36). And for an indelible portrait of how desperate some Syrians are to flee the living hells of life in those cities, consider the story of a family of 12 who escaped a few weeks ago from the Syrian city of Raqqa, the self-­proclaimed capital of the Islamic State. Ibrahim, 48, and his wife Turkiye, 45, stowed away in a cattle truck with their 10 children on Jan. 30. They paid a smuggler $159 to transport them, evading the checkpoints leading out of the city, once a diverse home to 220,000 Muslims, Christians, Kurds, Turkmen, and others. If they had been caught, they would’ve been killed. Ibrahim said life in Raqqa had become impossible. ISIS imposed higher and higher taxes and exacted grotesque penalties for petty crimes. Men caught smoking, Ibrahim said, had their index and middle fingers cut off. Stonings and beheadings had become the norm. But leaving town in a crowded truck was just the beginning for Ibrahim’s family. Using darkness as a cover, they walked for 10 days most of the way to the Lebanon border—189 miles. Syria’s five-year war is exacting a terrible toll on families. The death toll stands at 470,000, almost twice the number cited 18 months ago. In Iraq more than 19,000 civilians have been killed in under two years of fighting ISIS. Christians continue to suffer disproportionately. For 20 months now, at least two-thirds of


the Christians who remain in Iraq are displaced from their homes, living in Iraqi Kurdistan after being chased from the city of Mosul and the ­villages and towns of Nineveh Plains. Now we are learning of new threats to Christians in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, this time not from ISIS but from Shia militias backed by Iran (and allied with the Iraqi government). The militias have used Iraqi officials to falsify documents, confiscating Christian property. No churches have been taken so far, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako told me by email, but homes, land, and businesses owned by Christians in some of the city’s most valuable neighborhoods have been seized. Sako and ­others have appealed to the government but so far have received no response. Each new encroachment—especially in the face of little to no international pushback—is a setback from which Christians who have lived in the region for more than a millennium may never recover. And all the while, the terrible toll of abuse, rape, and mutilation continues for those living under ISIS control. Where in this tableau can we find good news? Sometimes we forget that God’s power “is made perfect in weakness.” Alongside the displaced Christians in northern Iraq and Syria are thousands and thousands of Yazidi and Muslim families who also suffer. For months now Christians have been working among all three groups. Over and over again I hear from those workers, as one recently told me by email: “Long-term Christian workers in Iraq say there is an openness to the gospel like they have never seen before.” Another worker told me of visiting a Kurdish village housing 150 displaced families, mostly Yazidis who traditionally isolate themselves from Christians and Muslims. They no longer have that luxury. Many of the Yazidi women attended a lunch put on by a local church organization. “We came because we want to have your heart and mind,” one of the Yazidi women said. “Your Jesus is the only Savior that we know.” The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 could not stop boasting of the miracles ­taking place in desperate times. May we look past sour headlines to see the miracles happening in these desperate times, too. A


Last train out to get off-the-grid?

Amazing “Solar Generator” Is Like Having A Secret Power Plant Hidden In Your Home!

Generate An Endless Supply Of Free Electricity From The Sun BY MIKE WALTERS



f you have ever wanted to have an emergency backup system that supplies continuous electrical power in an outage, this will be the most important message you will ever read. Here is why. There is now a completely portable (and ultra-high efficient) solar power generator which produces emergency household electricity on demand when you need it most. News of this “solar backup generator” (it’s the biggest “off-the-grid” breakthrough in 50 years) is spreading like wildfire all across the country! Why? The answer is easy. You see, this solar generator is extremely powerful and yet very simple to use. It produces continuous electricity and runs with absolutely no noise whatsoever. It also emits no fumes. But the best part about the solar generator is that once you own one, you can...

Generate Free Electricity From The Sun! Charged by the sun with a powerful solar panel, the unit then stores the power for your use when you need it. We all face disruptive threats to the grid, with hurricanes, tornadoes, snow and ice storms cutting off electrical power to millions of Americans each year. Then there are man-made disasters and outages. Blackouts and rolling brownouts are becoming common in many parts of the United States as our grid gets stretched beyond its capacity and has now become a target for terrorists.

Gas Stations Can’t Pump Gas Without Electricity! It’s true. When the power goes out, you’re left with whatever gas you have on hand because the gas station pumps all run on electricity. A few gallons stored in a gas can means a little electricity for a little while, then it’s quickly “back to darkness.” Here’s the thing: I could go on and on about life without electricity and what a nightmare gas generators can be. But here’s the bottom line: Solutions From Science, a Thomson, Illinois technology company is now offering an amazing power generating system that can provide plenty of electrical power in the event of an outage or emergency. And the best part is that you can have the power safely in your house.

A True Breakthrough In Home Power Generation! If I could bring one over to your house and let you start plugging in appliances, you would immediately understand what all the fuss is about. But I can’t do that. So, I’ve made a special new website that explains everything in detail: The emergency backup system comes ready to go. (It’s called plug and play) Just start plugging in your favorite household essentials. By the way... the units sell retail for almost $3295.00 plus shipping and handling. But I’m going to show you a way around that. I have negotiated a very special offer for World readers. Here’s what you can do right now. You can use coupon code WLD16 to override the price on the site and get one of these new units for more than half off as a World Magazine reader. In fact, you can get one now for just $995.00 if you move quickly. To do that, the absolute fastest way to get one is by going to the website at:

The truth is, we are extremely vulnerable to all kinds I’m so convinced every American household needs a Solar of meltdowns that can create temporary or even long-term electrical outages. With that in mind, many smart Americans Generator, that I’ve arranged for this special deal to get one to you at this dirt cheap price. I truly believe there’s never been now want… a better time to have a way to generate your own electricity.

A Solar Powered Backup In Place!

When you compare a solar generator to a gas generator, the difference is pretty remarkable. Here’s why. First, gas generators make an incredible amount of racket… if you can even get them started in the first place. With a gas generator, you pull and pull some more, all because your generator has been sitting in the cold and the carburetor is playing hard to get. This, of course, is not a lot of fun in the dark. Another reason to avoid gas generators is that you just can’t safely run one in your house. But the number one reason you don’t want to be caught in a time of crisis with a gas generator is…

Sincerely, Mike Walters P.S. One more thing. It’s very important. Make sure you use coupon code WLD16 to get all the discounts you have coming as a World Magazine reader. P.S.S. The website again is There’s a ton of informational videos there for you to do some research on solar powered backups.

Cities und


For the Middle East’s urban war zones, caught now for years under bombardments and deprivation, survival amid the ruins often means living in the hell brought by Islamic State BY MINDY BELZ

Destroyed buildings in the city of Homs, Syria YAZAN HOMSY/REUTERS/NEWSCOM


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der siege

At St. Mary’s, a Syriac Orthodox church built over an underground church dating back to A.D. 50, the delegation had tea with Christian and Muslim clergy. A British businessman, one of the Christians in the delegation, told movingly of his brother’s death in the twin towers and his desire for an end to terrorist bloodshed and the jihadi ideology driving it. Around the room the clergymen nodded in agreement. In 2013 one of the pastors from Homs sent me photos of the city’s


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destroyed churches, and I recognized the room where we had met: Plaster from bombed-out walls covered the ­velvet couches where we sat, and glass from exploded windows spilled over everything. By that time the country’s civil war had forced nearly 400,000 Syrian Christians from their homes and destroyed at least 40 churches. Islamic insurgents who joined the fight against President Bashar al-Assad took over the

Old City, where St. Mary’s and other churches were located, killing early on more than 200 Christians who lived there. They kidnapped residents, too, demanding ransom. Riad Jarjour, a Presbyterian pastor from Homs, warned me that not only the churches, but the nation itself could not survive a continued onslaught. In 2014, blocked from visiting Homs, I met refugees from the city in neighboring Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. One family arrived on a blustery March day barefoot, wearing pajamas. They had lost everything. Mothers from Homs told me of weeks and weeks trapped inside their apartments, “bombs falling on our heads all night long,” one said, with snipers waiting should they venture outdoors. The families ran out of food, made stews from grass and weeds, and kept cook fires going by burning feathers pulled from pillows and mattresses. A month later, assassins believed linked to al-Nusra Front killed Dutch priest Frans van der Lugt. The wellknown Jesuit, aged 75, had spent 50 years in Syria and refused to leave the besieged Old City, negotiating with ­government and rebel groups to deliver food to trapped residents.



N 2002 Homs was a city of about 1 million people, Syria’s third largest after Aleppo and Damascus. I visited the city on a sunny spring afternoon in the company of a ­delegation meeting with Muslim and Christian leaders in the wake of 9/11. The boulevards were tree-lined. Afternoon sun slanted across open cafés, where men sat at tables smoking their hookahs or playing backgammon. Women crossed the street in loose scarves, some wearing pants or jeans, ­others in knee-length skirts, ­walking their children home from school.


“I do not accept that we drown in a sea of hunger, letting the waves of death drag us under,” van der Lugt said in a video he made to show how little food he had on hand, just a few weeks before he was shot in the head in his garden. By the time of his death, the 60,000 Christians who once lived in Homs’ Old City had been pruned to 30. As with other once-populous centers, Homs became a vicious battleground after rebel groups and Islamic insurgents took up posts there. Syrian forces used barrel bombs and airstrikes to combat them, followed by Russian and U.S. coalition bombardments. Today the Syrian army controls some sectors of Homs, but Islamic State rules others throughout the city and surrounding province, ensuring its branded reign of terror: After capturing nearby Qaryatain last August, ISIS militants abducted 230 Christians and bulldozed the 1,500-yearold monastery there. To describe Homs as a shell of its former self is inaccurate. All that’s left of the once-vast city are its skeletal remains. Block after block, rubble sits piled near broken buildings, rebar protruding like so many stray antennae. Here a robe hangs eerily from a bombed-out doorway, there

a heeled shoe sits atop a heap of busted concrete. A kitchen sink, abandoned tires, and an exploded car chassis lie strewn over the same cratered street block. Residents have tried to return to Homs, including Christians to the Old City. Last summer a couple got married in St. George’s Church, taking their vows in a bombed-out sanctuary with no roof and only blown-out windows. In February newlyweds Nada Merhi and Hassan Youssef took their wedding ­photos amid the ruins. Their Syrian ­photographer, Jafar Meray, said they wanted to prove that “life is stronger than death,” but Meray told me he had to have ­permission from the Syrian Army and ­navigate checkpoints to reach the demolished area near the Old City. The groom wore army fatigues, suggesting he’d be heading back to war soon after. Most residents who return to Homs discover they cannot stay. In February a Russian film company captured by drone aerial video footage of Homs, which was broadcast by Russia Today. Besides panning for several minutes over nonstop devastation, the camera catches the eerie quiet of a city gone dark: Not a car moves over the streets, not a soul is seen, anywhere.

A poster of President Bashar al-Assad hangs on a destroyed building in Homs (left); Nada Merhi and Hassan Youssef pose for a wedding picture in Homs (right).

Homs is emblematic of many cities across Syria and Iraq under siege now years into deadly war with Islamic insurgents. The largest—Mosul in Iraq— remains in the grip of Islamic State. All have witnessed human atrocities and devastation that not only reach across city landscapes but extend forward and backward in time—their ancient sites obliterated, their futures a vast unknown. The dystopian future Americans see in movies is one their residents have to live day in and day out.


OSUL, Iraqis say, hasn’t been this clean in 30 years. Since the Islamic State captured the city of 2 million in June 2014, the militant group saw to clearing the streets of trash and cigarette butts. It closed down stalls run by illegal sidewalk vendors and put up new streetlamps. ISIS militants worked around the clock to repair roads, spiff up public spaces, and refurbish hotels. Beneath the civic refurbishment, Mosul feels like a prison, say residents MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 



2 `

3 `

4 `


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5 `

Churches not destroyed in the Old City, once full of ancient landmarks … have been converted to market bazaars, selling war booty plundered from the homes of Christians.


(1) The damaged St. Mary’s church in Homs. (2) A member of the Islamic State destroys an icon of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the wall of a church in Mosul. (3) A former Iraqi army member holds the “repentance card” he received from the Islamic State shortly after the militants took over Mosul. (4) Islamic State members, left, distribute niqabs to Iraqi women in Mosul. (5) Priest Frans van der Lugt in Homs.

who’ve managed to communicate with outside relatives. To leave the city requires lengthy paperwork, and residents are required to put up collateral— a home or a car. Those possessions are confiscated if they don’t return. Residents also must have a guarantor, someone inside the city who signs a paper pledging their return. Traveling into Mosul requires signing an ISIS covenant, risking the unpredictability of ISIS militants once inside the city, and perhaps not being allowed to leave. Few attempt it. Women cannot leave their homes without a male relative escorting them. At all times outdoors they must wear a niqab, the full-length black veil that leaves only a slit for eyes. Black gloves, too, are mandatory. Shops selling the niqab veils are everywhere, and women complain of exorbitantly priced coverings now that demand for them is so high. Men living in Mosul under ISIS have had to grow beards. Ever since the 2014 takeover, beauty salons and barbershops have been closed. Churches not destroyed in the Old City, once full of ancient landmarks and a traditional souk or covered marketplace, have been

converted to market bazaars, selling war booty plundered from the homes of Christians. Most schools are closed. Those that are open must teach from an ISISapproved curriculum. The University of Mosul, one of the largest and most highly regarded in Iraq, has been ­shuttered now for 21 months—the first time the university has closed since 1957. Perhaps close to a million people still live in Mosul. The city’s Christians—a population estimated at 30,000 following a decade of U.S.-led war—all have left. Like all the cities overtaken by ISIS, a rich diversity has vanished: Mosul’s Yazidis and Turkmen are all gone, and most Muslim Shiites and Kurds have fled, leaving only Sunni Muslims. “They destroyed everything,” said Sinan, a 26-year-old Mosul native and Christian who fled with his family overnight in June 2014. Sinan told me he snuck back into Mosul three times, dodging ISIS checkpoints and street sentries each time. He wanted to collect family valuables, his mother’s jewelry, and his father’s documents. “All our house was destroyed. In the beginning they don’t seem like they will

do anything to Christians. They said they came to give us freedom from the government, that sort of thing. I saw them on the street many times when I was there again. You felt even then they would not stay the same.” Sinan’s family joined thousands of others from Mosul who left with what they could but lost everything they had. ISIS forced them to relinquish deeds to their homes. For many families, those documents represented property maintained since the Ottoman era. Without those, they have little to return to, even if Mosul some day is retaken. Sinan and his family now live in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where he works for a local aid group. For Mosul’s remnant, including many of Sinan’s former classmates at the University of Mosul, everyday life unfolds under strict Sharia law, publicly enforced. Anyone caught stealing has a hand amputated. Anyone caught in ­adultery is stoned to death or thrown from a building. The BBC spent months collecting cell phone video footage shot secretly inside the city, moving it house to house to smuggle it out, revealing amputations taking place on street ­corners, stonings in open lots. MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 



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Raqqa or to other “slave markets” under ISIS control.


merican hopes for Mosul a decade ago could not have been more different. Mosul seemed to thrive under U.S. control, while places like Anbar province fell to insurgency early on in the Iraq War. David Petraeus, then a major general commanding the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), took charge of Nineveh province in 2003, and the locals soon adopted him as something of a governor. In 2004 Petraeus and his troops walked the streets of Mosul freely, even at night. And unlike U.S. commanders elsewhere, Petraeus welcomed former Baathists, the Saddam Hussein loyalists stripped of their posts in Baghdad. Once they signed a pledge of good faith, they remained on duty, allowing the Nineveh government, unlike the governments of nearly every other province, to function. With a trained local cadre, Petraeus stood up an Iraq Civil Defense Corps, the first in the country. It was a homegrown security force of Kurds and Arabs who successfully policed the city alongside the 101st. They patrolled into the rural areas of surrounding Nineveh province,

settling tribal feuds and land disputes while doling out money. Using funds confiscated from Saddam’s coffers, Petraeus began numerous reconstruction projects. “Money,” the commander said, “is ammunition.” Petraeus understood like few the challenges ahead. “We’re in a race with ourselves,” he said at the time. “Now we’re seen as liberators. Eventually we’ll be seen as occupiers.” Mosul residents long remembered those early days of liberation. “The first year with Petraeus in Mosul was good. All the people see Americans as liberators, not occupiers—visiting houses, waving to children, eating with them in their homes,” Nineveh’s deputy governor, Khasro Goran, told me in 2008. Mosul in many ways made a military career for Petraeus, who went on to become a four-star general in charge of all forces in Iraq and later Afghanistan (he afterward led the CIA briefly before resigning in 2012 over revelations of an affair involving misuse of classified information ). The city under his command was poised to model what the rest of a new Iraq could look like. The 101st led the way on D-Day, playing a role in decisively turning the tide of World War II,


Enslavement of non-Muslim women and children is legal in Mosul, as well as taking girls as young as 9 years old in marriage. In fact, the decrees for slavery and sexual exploitation are posted on the walls of mosques throughout the city. At the time of the ISIS takeover, militants killed or captured thousands of Yazidis and hundreds of Christians. They traffic their victims between Mosul and ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria, where they are held in churches turned into prisons, or in actual prisons. When militants in 2014 overran Badush Prison, a large facility about 6 miles north of the city, they emptied it and executed about 600 inmates—mostly Shiites, but also Yazidis and Kurds, with a few Christians among them—dragging them to a nearby ravine and shooting them. (Fifteen men survived and gave accounts to Human Rights Watch.) Over the coming months the militants moved abducted Yazidis, Christians, and Turkmen in and out of the Badush cells. They systematically separated young women and teenage girls from their families. They raped the women and girls, many of them repeatedly, before sending them off to

The lightning strike by Islamic State on June 10, 2014, took Baghdad and its supporters in the West by total surprise. But to Mosul residents who had survived years of low-level insurgency, it seemed almost inevitable.


Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, left, and Ambassador Paul Bremer walk past a defaced mural of Saddam Hussein in Mosul in 2003 (far left). The Mosque of the prophet Jirjis in Mosul destroyed by the Islamic State.

and it looked as if the airborne division might create its own beachhead in Iraq. But the gains unraveled. Civilian authorities in Baghdad, starting with Ambassador Paul Bremer, overruled Petraeus’ efforts at a civilian-military partnership. They wanted all government activities and funding run out of Baghdad. That meant overruling a federalist approach, one that appeared better suited to Iraq, for a highly centralized one. Next, the Shiite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad installed a mostly Shiite police and army presence in mostly Sunni Mosul, just as U.S. troops began pulling back from the city proper. The new Iraqi army sidelined the local forces trained under Petraeus, stirring resentment. Suddenly the Sunni Arab soldiers and former Baathists reinstated under Petraeus had nothing to do. The Petraeus-led surge that worked so well in Baghdad and Anbar province chased many al-Qaeda in Iraq militants into Mosul, where they joined forces with some now-powerless Sunni enlistees. From 2008 onward, Mosul became a seedbed for terrorist activity, while the U.S. coalition paid it less and less attention. The lightning strike by Islamic State on June 10, 2014, took Baghdad and its

  @mcbelz

supporters in the West by total surprise. But to Mosul residents who had survived years of low-level insurgency, it seemed almost inevitable.


ow more than 18 months under ISIS rule, Mosul—once full of commerce, history, ethnic and religious diversity—is on its way to ruin similar to Homs and other cities. The once-looming tomb of Jonah the minor prophet has been leveled, and the ancient ruins of Nimrud that dominated the city’s eastern bank of the Tigris are gone, all destroyed by ISIS. The city’s 45 churches also have been demolished or converted to ISIS use. The 19th-century Latin Church, also known as the Dominican Clock Church, was one of the last to go. ISIS leveled the structure a year ago. Its landmark tower, with a four-sided clock that until the 1980s was wound by hand, its ticking heard across the neighborhood, now sits with other rubble piled in the street. A Christian population of about 30,000 in 2014 has been whittled to 68 believers too elderly to leave. Iraqis who long for the liberation of Mosul also fear what it might look like. An intense air war likely would precede a ground offensive, destroying remain-

ing landmarks and pushing Mosul’s revival decades into the future. Retaking from ISIS the city of Kobani in Syria last year took three months—with intense fighting plus U.S. airstrikes extending over seven months. The offensive left nearly half a million residents homeless. Iraqi forces persistently hint a Mosul offensive will happen this year. They’ve even dropped leaflets on the city from time to time to alert residents on what to do once it begins. But in recent weeks Pentagon officials began tamping down expectations. “Mosul will be a complex operation, and so I’m not as optimistic,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 9. “It’s a large city. I’m not as optimistic that we’ll be able to turn that in the near term. In my view, certainly not this year.” Time, for now, appears on Islamic State’s side while timetables are in the hands of outsiders, leaving under siege ISIS-held cities, and the survivors living day-to-day hells within them. A —Mindy Belz is the author of They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East (Tyndale, 2016), due out next month. Some of the material in this article will appear in the book.

MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 



Knights preparing to joust The poorest city in the United States has built a rich tradition of excellence in chess BY MARVIN OLASKY IN BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS


TRUGGLING CITIES find different ways to change their ­reputation. Liberals tend to chase “the creative class,” which includes people in the arts, media, and technology. Conservatives tend to emphasize small business. Brownsville, Texas, a city of 183,000 at the bottom tip of Texas where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico, is following a different and surprising strategy: chess.


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N FRIDAY NIGHTS chess coach Ray Martinez takes up one side of a table in the food court of Brownsville’s Sunrise Mall. He stakes out this space for kids and parents who pay him to train them “in the art of thinking.” Music from a merry-go-round plays in the background, and odors from the nearby Chick-fil-A, Charley’s Philly Steaks, Italia Express, Chinese Gourmet Express, and other outlets waft through the air. Marcus Aguillera, 10, stares at the chessboard as Martinez instructs: “Develop the vision …  Boom … Chase him away … Attack here …  Create the wall. No protection for this guy. Two pieces is not a strong attack. Three or more pieces, attack.”


In Brownsville, which is 93 percent Hispanic, kids play chess—as many as 2,000 from kindergarten through high school compete on Saturdays in Brownsville school district tournaments— and so do grand masters. The chess team of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), which has its main campus in Brownsville, has just made the Final Four of collegiate chess: It will compete in New York City on April 2 and 3 (one day before the NCAA men’s basketball final) against Columbia University, Webster University, and Texas Tech. In 2014 the U.S. Chess Federation named Brownsville its Chess City of the Year. Not bad for the poorest city in the United States.

Martinez uses strong, aggressive verbs and nouns to inspire his disciples, mainly boys: “Attack. Pin him. Battle stations. Boom. Capture. Trap the queen. Boom. He’s threatening you. Destroy him.” He mixes those words with homely descriptions of sandwiches: “Get the king. That’s your peanut butter and jelly.” Jessica Aguillera, a single mom who works long hours, sees chess teaching her son Marcus to focus and analyze. Martinez tells Marcus, facing a difficult position on the chessboard, “Don’t just react, slow down. Just because you’re in trouble doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.” It’s 3 miles from the mall to UTRGV, but only 300 yards from the u ­ niversity to the Mexican border—and the Latin American connection is part of why the university’s chess team is heading to the Final Four. The five or so other schools trying to build reputations by g ­ iving chess scholarships emphasize Eastern Europe in their recruiting, but UTRGV depends on players who learned to play in Argentina, Cuba, and Paraguay.

Guillermo Vazquez, 19, is the fourthbest player on the team. He’s the tall one in the photo on the next page: A 6-foot10 freshman from Paraguay, he fell in love with chess at age 10 and never aspired to basketball. His father introduced him to the chessboard, showed him how the pieces moved, and let his son’s brain take over. When his small town offered little ­competition, Vazquez developed his skills through internet games, then national and international competition. He is double-majoring in physics and computer science. (Team members a­ verage a 3.8 GPA.) Holden Hernandez, 31, is the thirdbest player. He grew up in Cuba and started playing 20 years ago: Since his school had classes only in the morning he played chess for four to six hours every afternoon and became Cuba’s under-16 champion. He then became a chess ­professional, playing around the world but particularly in Spain and Mexico. His father sold the family car so Hernandez could travel: The son eventu-

ally earned enough, tour­ nament by ­tournament, to buy a house for his family. But touring all the time is a hard life and not often a lucrative one: A chess world champion can bring home $1.5 million, but the drop-off is fast. Five years ago Hernandez “saw everyone of my generation graduating from university,” stopped playing pro­fessional chess, and came to UTRGV to major in computer science. One appeal: Brownsville is close to the beach, and “I thought I could go every weekend”—but as a computer ­science major and chess team member he has gone to the beach only five or six times in the past three years. He’s in line to graduate this summer. The team’s top player is Anton Kovalyov, 23: The name indicates his more-typical Eastern European connection. Fifteen

Chess grandmaster Cristhian Cruz of Peru (right) considers his next move during the 2015 Spring Break International Chess Tournament in Brownsville.

years ago his parents hoped to emigrate from Ukraine to Canada, but that country’s embassy in Kiev turned them down: Despondently roaming the streets, they saw the embassy of Argentina, applied, and gained acceptance. Kovalyov at age 8 started playing in tournaments. He spent six to seven hours each day learning and playing, but took a circuitous route to Brownsville: When he was 15, he and his parents moved to Canada, where his father, a math professor in Ukraine, works at a metal refinery. Kovalyov wanted to be a chess professional: “I was promised money and went to Spain. It didn’t work out, and I was really angry.” He opted for a full scholarship to a university in a warm place—“I prefer to sweat than to feel cold”—where Kovalyov’s knowledge of Spanish would help him fit in. Now a junior majoring in computer science, he plans three to 15 moves ahead and feels a team responsibility: If another UTRGV player is losing, “I’ll have to take more risks. Sometimes you get killed.” MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 


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WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

Now, the Texas Chess Association divides the state into 10 regions, and Brownsville’s—Region 8—has the most participants. Children head to Saturday tournaments carrying cases filled with vinyl roll-up boards, white and black pieces—sometimes red and gray or blue and red—in separate compartments, and chess clocks. (Players have a limited number of minutes in which to move.) Some have chess piece ornaments ­hanging from case zippers. BISD invests about $350,000 per year in student chess. Christopher Martinez, an eighth-grade science teacher wearing at a Saturday tournament a “Knightmare” T-shirt, points to studies showing that chess leads to higher scores on reading and math tests and improvement in ­concentration (including among kids diagnosed with ADHD). One doctoral ­dissertation found junior-high chess players scored higher on tests of critical and creative thinking than those who spent free time working with computers, attending a creative writing workshop, or playing Dungeons & Dragons. Region 8 director Edward Guetzow sees another reason for Brownsville’s chess dominance: poverty. Chess is cheap: $10 will buy a standard tournament chess

set, and chess clocks cost less than $30. Parents see chess as a safe way for boys especially to build discipline and exercise aggression by figuring out how to beat opponents—and if their academic scores improve, scholarships await. (About 20 percent of parents pay for extra tutoring at $15 to $20 per hour, with a chess master able to demand more.) This year Brownsville’s Simon Rivera High School is hosting the 2016 Texas State Scholastic Chess Tournament on March 5 and 6. Chess players and parents from affluent schools in Dallas and Fort Worth, some with trepidation about going to a poor Hispanic-majority area by the border, will encounter brags like this one about an 8-year-old tournament winner: NUESTRO PEQUENO GIGANTE GANA TORNEO ABIERTO ORGANIZADO POR BISD EN LA ESCUELA RUSSEL (“Our little giant wins open tournament ­organized by Russell BISD school”). Brownsville’s level of commitment is rare in America, but not so unusual worldwide. Armenia in 2011 became the first country to make chess compulsory in schools, which have two hours of chess instruction each week for students starting at age 6. Spain, India, Turkey, and Norway also have chess in schools.


EAM MEMBERS sometimes give lessons in elementary and middle schools, but chess in the schools has its own heritage. In 1989 J.J. Guajardo, a teacher at Brownsville’s Russell Elementary, had a tough assignment: Find a way to calm down student “troublemakers” believed to have broken a gym teacher’s vinyl square dance records. Guajardo knew how to move chess pieces, so he explained the rules to kids who often had trouble sitting still. He showed them they could be winners. Soon they could beat him. The next step was a trip to Austin in 1990 to play kids from affluent schools for the Texas championship. Russell didn’t win that year but became state champion in 1993 and won each year through 1999. The Brownsville Herald trumpeted the results, school public address systems boomed out players’ names, the Brownsville school district (BISD) in 2002 started funding chess instruction and competition, and soon other schools gained bragging rights as well. In 2007 Texas Monthly and CBS ran stories on surprising Brownsville, and last year a movie, Endgame, made an actor modeled on Guajardo the Texas version of California’s Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver.

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(1) Coach Ray Martinez teaches chess at the Brownsville Sunrise Mall. (2) The UTRGV chess team (Vazquez is third from the left). (3) Director Carmen Marron instructs young actors during filming of Endgame. (4) UTRGV team members Holden Hernandez and (5) Anton Kovalyov. (6) Eighth-grade science teacher Christopher Martinez.

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‘MANY Latin American players … are able to find instantly amazing moves that wouldn’t be obvious even to world champions, while at the same time they may lose an ending that a Russian kid would defend easily.’ —UTRGV COACH BARTEK MACIEJA Chess promoters in England and other countries list the intellectual and psychological value of teaching chess in schools. (Correlation is not causality, but chess-happy Brownsville has the least crime per capita of any Texas metropolitan area.)


RIME: Just across the border from the UTRGV Brownsville campus lies the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, home to “homicide, armed robbery, ­carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault,” according to a U.S. State Department advisory: “No highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered safe.” Many residents of northern and central Texas consider Brownsville guilty by association with Mexican ­problems. When Texas Tech and The University of Texas at Dallas invested in scholarships for chess players, that seemed nice but ho-hum. The ascension of a chip-on-the-shoulder Brownsville university was different. Some among the Eastern European old boys network were not happy when strong Latin American players helped the upstart make it into the Final Four in 2009 and 2011 and come close to winning in 2010. This year, UTRGV coach

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Bartek Macieja says, “We are not the main favorites; but … we have the strongest team ever, and our key to success will be determination.” European players, he says, are superior in chess theory and endgame technique, but Latin American players often have more “creativity in the middle game.” That makes them unpredictable: “They are able to find instantly amazing moves that wouldn’t be obvious even to world champions, while at the same time they may lose an ending that a Russian kid would defend easily.” The favorite in the tournament is Webster University, a little-known St. Louis school that has been national champion three years in a row. The story behind that: Texas Tech was the national champion in 2011 and 2012 with Susan Polgar, the former Women’s World Chess Champion, serving as coach. According to emails obtained under the Texas open records law by a college newspaper, the Webster Journal, Polgar asked Texas Tech for a tenfold increase in annual scholarship funding, along with a $250,000 salary for herself and a $150,000 salary for her husband. Texas Tech said no, and Polgar decamped to Webster, which had never made the Final Four before.

Webster announced, “Having the No. 1 ranked college chess team in the U.S. is a strategic initiative that brings exponential recognition to Webster in media outlets around the world.” But others are gunning for it: Texas Tech and Columbia University are also in the finals. And, although chess is a lot cheaper than football, which at a minimal collegiate level costs $3 million to $4 million per year, not counting the huge cost of a ­stadium, some grumbled after Webster President Elizabeth Stroble on Jan. 26 told faculty she expected a budget shortfall of about $7 million—and some academic programs face cuts. UTRGV has good coaching and a good physics department that can attract students like Vazquez: Will the upstart school, with its Latin American starters plus backups named Ynojosa, Cortez, and Ruiz, upset the reigning power of collegiate chess? Win or lose, Macieja says chess has a place in UTRGV education. This semester chess team members are taking a new not-for-credit course, the Mathematics of Chess, and next year it will become a 3-credit course for students majoring in math. Macieja proudly states, “Only the Harvard University offers a comparable seminar.” A MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 



n a recent Sunday afternoon in Atlantic City, hundreds of tourists hunched over rows of neon slot machines and packed poker tables on 161,000 square feet of gaming floor at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Patrons sipped cocktails from short glasses delivered by roving waitresses and dropped money into machines with names like “Rich Girl,” “All That Glitters,” and “Mine, Mine, Mine.” Less than 3 miles away, a different scene had unfolded an hour earlier. About 20 local residents gathered in a drafty room with exposed pipes in a run-down neighborhood for a morning worship service. Churchgoers dropped cash into a small basket during an offering at New City Fellowship. They sipped from tiny cups of grape juice as Pastor Santo Garofalo reminded them of Christ’s death on the cross. “Blessed be the Lord,” the Jersey Shore native read from Psalm 72 during the worship service on a cold February ­morning. “Let the whole earth be filled with His glory.” For Atlantic City, glory is in short supply. The city once famous for its boxes of saltwater taffy, horse diving shows, and miles of beach along a broad boardwalk now pushes garish casinos, sleazy strip clubs, and conspicuous sex shops with elaborate window displays.

The big gamble Donald Trump bills his business savvy as a top qualification in his bid for the White House. But his legacy in Atlantic City— including those left behind—tells a different story



WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016


WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016


ight casinos still stand in Atlantic City, including one with a famous namesake glowing in red block letters against the oceanfront skyline: TRUMP. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump once owned three Atlantic City casinos in the town’s gambling ­heyday. Only one remains open: the Trump Taj Mahal, an overblown homage to a cartoonish version of India with more than 3,000 slot machines and 1,200 hotel rooms in a 42-story tower. A half-mile away, the former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino sits empty along the main strip, closed to business in 2014.


Workmen remove letters A couple of blocks from (above) from the Trump Plaza the main strip along Pacific sign after the casino closed in Avenue, crumbling row 2014; Trump Plaza had homes and Section 8 towered over the famed Atlantic City boardwalk (right). ­housing lie in the shadow of towering casinos. Despite the casinos’ $2.5 billion in revenue and millions of visitors last year, some 30 percent of Atlantic City residents live below the poverty line. The town is $400 million in debt and could run out of cash by April. New Jersey legislators are considering a state takeover of the famed city. The casinos aren’t immune. Along Pacific Avenue, four of the former gambling giants sit shuttered and empty, like monuments to a bet lost on high stakes. Legalized gambling in New York and Pennsylvania hurt Atlantic City’s fortunes as patrons stayed closer to home, and the chronically mismanaged city never adjusted to competition. David Cohen, a member of New City Fellowship, grew up in the area and went to high school in Atlantic City. He watched as the city overbuilt casinos and drove local merchants out of business. These days, the city crumbles under the weight of a casino industry once pitched as its savior, and many local residents still languish as tourists whiz by blighted neighborhoods on the way to elaborate casinos, looking for a moment of fleeting glory. “This place is a house of cards,” says Cohen. “And when the wind blew, it just fell over.”

Until recently, the outline of Trump’s name was still visible after workers stripped the letters off the hotel’s glaring white tower. When it comes to presidential politics, Donald Trump isn’t the only Trump hasn’t controlled or managed the player with gambling credentials. ­casinos he built since 2009, when his casino enterLas Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson spent some $100 million prises declared bankruptcy for a fourth time—a on the GOP race in 2012, and many are watching to see whether the considerable record, even by Atlantic City standards. 82-year-old billionaire puts his chips on a Republican But Trump’s name remains, reminding locals candidate during the primary season. of the man who promised to make Atlantic City Politico reported Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and great, much like the candidate promises to “make Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, were among GOP candiAmerica great again” if elected president. dates who have met with Adelson. So have Ohio Trump still owns a small part of the Taj Mahal, Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb but casino operations belong to Carl Icahn, a bilBush. But by mid-February, the owner of the lionaire friend who bought the casino’s debt after posh Venetian casino hadn’t backed a the company went into bankruptcy again in 2014. contender. Icahn says he plans to revive the casino’s profits. Rubio has sponsored a bill to ban online gambling, a move Adelson would approve: Less gambling Today, burned-out letters greet visitors, and rows online means more gambling in casinos. But Rubio also of slot machines remain empty on a Saturday night. opposed other forms of gambling expansion as a Florida state In 2013, the casino tried a new venture to revive its ­representative and once called gambling money “fool’s gold.” It’s prospects: a 35,000-square-foot strip club on the unclear whether any of Adelson’s gold will go to a GOP candidate second floor. The casino still nearly closed last year. before the general election. Other casino operators have faced similar The Jewish businessman counts support for Israel as a top financial woes, and Trump’s company isn’t the ­concern and remains decidedly liberal on social issues. In a 2012 only one to declare bankruptcy. But Trump is the interview with Commentary magazine, Adelson said Republicans only one running for president, and he does should take a softer line on social issues and added: “If somebody ­portray his time in Atlantic City as a success, wants to have an abortion, let them have an abortion.” despite the serial bankruptcies. “I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City,” he said during a presidential debate last year. “I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered. And I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I’m very proud of it.” American dream is dead: “But we’re going to bring it back—big Those left behind weren’t as proud. time.” Indeed, Trump’s company left local contractors, vendors, At its opening, the Taj Mahal was the largest casino complex and low-level investors with pennies on the dollar when his in the world, and Trump spared little expense: gold doorknobs, enterprises declared bankruptcy. “He had stiffed hundreds of marble countertops, $14 million worth of chandeliers, and bell local businesses and left them with financial claims that they hops wearing $1,500 turbans. It was ornate and glitzy. would never recover,” Steven Perskie, a former state lawmaker, It was also unsustainable. told NJ Advance Media last fall. (Some Republicans also have A year after the grand opening, Trump’s casino declared criticized Trump’s use of eminent domain to obtain private bankruptcy. The mogul had financed the construction with property for his casino projects.) $675 million in junk bonds, and the casino’s profits couldn’t Reuben Kramer, a reporter for The Press of Atlantic City, told make up for the lavish spending and high-risk debt. Even a $65 a local radio station last year: “If you define success as building million bailout package for Trump from several banks in 1990 a sustainable long-term business that benefits you and others, I didn’t prevent the bankruptcy. think he [Trump] failed abjectly.” Similar scenarios unfolded three more times for Trump’s Kramer added: “If you define success as being scrappy and casino interests over the following decades, and while the doing everything you can do to remain personally solvent and ­casinos stayed open for years, financial trouble never faded. live to make money another day? Well, Donald Trump may have A similar story played out at other casinos in Atlantic City, been very successful in Atlantic City from that viewpoint.” and the city itself fared even worse. Though the casinos still take in more than $2 billion each year, little of it benefits the city’s residents. he grand opening of the Trump Taj Mahal in 1990 It wasn’t supposed to work this way. Indeed, New Jersey state offered an uncanny foreshadowing of the business lawmakers pitched the idea of legalized gambling in 1976 as a mogul’s presidential campaign some 25 years later. way to fight social and economic problems plaguing the city. On April 2, 1990, Trump bounded onto the city’s famous Legislators framed the idea as a “tool of urban renewal.” boardwalk to the song “Eye of the Tiger”—a tune he still favors A group of pastors warned against the excesses and potential for intros at rallies. Thousands of spectators swarmed, much as addictions of gambling; but the referendum passed, and the they do now. local paper ran the headline “CITY REBORN.” After taking the stage, Trump rubbed a giant genie lamp, and Tourists did pour into Atlantic City, but crime also increased. a promise appeared on a massive screen: “Your dream is our Within a few years, local merchants were closing down, and a command.” At campaign rallies now, Trump tells spectators the




MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 


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hat makes life tough for Nikki Hanley, a single mom who attends New City Fellowship. Hanley, 29, lives in a housing project with her three small children and is excited

WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

about starting a new job cleaning vacant apartments in town. After a Sunday morning worship service, Hanley says she wishes the city and casinos considered families more: “It’s like they forget we have kids.” For now, the mom who encourages her kids to read everything teaches them to look away when they drive through certain parts of town. Here at the church, the children read Sunday school material, and Hanley follows along as Pastor Garofalo reads a passage from the book of Matthew about preparing for Christ’s return. Hanley met church members last summer when they held a Bible club for kids in her neighborhood. She had looked for other churches to visit, but never quite connected: “This church found me.” Garofalo hopes to find more local residents like Haley. The church holds outreach programs in neighborhoods in the summer, and it has created a separate nonprofit agency called Hope for Atlantic City to ­mentor youth and help local residents with simple home repairs. When Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, the church became a hub for volunteers helping with disaster response. Dave Cohen, the church member who went to high school here, heads Hope for Atlantic City. On a Saturday afternoon drive through town, Cohen and Garofalo pointed out some of the parts of town they target for outreach. Some areas struggle with crime compounded by a casino culture that fosters markets for prostitution and drugs. “Back Maryland,” a notoriously dangerous neighborhood, sits directly across the highway from the gleaming tower of the Borgata Hotel Casino. “They’ll never touch it, they’ll never reach it,” Cohen says of the locals walking through a housing project parking lot. “It just looms over them.” That makes true redevelopment a long-term haul focused on building relationships in the context of the local church. Cohen plans to launch a project in the fall to match kids at risk for dropping out of high school with local Christian mentors willing to give them summer jobs if they complete the program. Garofalo is thankful the church has a place in a city that needs better news than a glitzy new casino. During Sunday morning worship in the drafty room without chandeliers or gold knobs, the pastor prayed with his small congregation: “Thank you for calling us out of our darkness and into the kingdom of light.” For now, at least one person is unlikely to show up in Atlantic City: Donald Trump. “Atlantic City is a disaster,” he said at another debate last year. “And I did great in Atlantic City. I knew when to get out. My timing was great.” A

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brutal reality was clear: Visitors came to Atlantic City to gamble and leave. The average tourist stayed six hours. Many never ventured outside the gaming resorts. Casinos, including the Trump Taj Mahal, designed layouts to keep people inside: no windows, no clocks, and nowhere to sit except at slot machines or game tables. Footbridges over Atlantic Avenue meant a visitor never had to step onto an Atlantic City An elderly woman (above) plays street. slot machines in an Atlantic City “The idea is to lock casino; Pastor Garofalo. people inside and take their money,” says Bryant Simon, author of Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America. “That’s a bad business model if you’re hoping for money to flow back into a town.” Many local restaurants couldn’t compete with casino ­buffets offering free meal vouchers to gamblers. Though conventions came to town, other entertainment businesses struggled. The last movie theater in the city closed in 1983, until an IMAX theater opened in 2004—at the Tropicana Casino. Meanwhile, casinos did create jobs, but many employees commuted from nearby towns, taking their money to the suburbs. Casino owners took their profits to outside ventures too. Earl Grinols, a professor at Baylor University and a gambling researcher, says casino owners like Trump operate like a “tollhouse” instead of reinvesting in the community. “He collected money from Atlantic City and took it elsewhere,” says Grinols. “When casinos operate that way, it sucks life out of the community.” A New Jersey law does require casinos to reinvest 1.25 percent of their revenues into community projects through the state-created Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. But authority officials often have poured the funds back into casino development, with projects like roads and a tunnel to ferry tourists quickly past poverty-stricken neighborhoods and into casino parking decks. Such projects help keep casino jobs and tourism alive, but they deaden the rest of the city and downplay other attractions in town, like the beaches and boardwalk that made it famous. (Neighboring towns do fine promoting beach tourism minus the casinos.) Instead, huge billboards on Atlantic City streets advertise gambling addiction hotlines, while others feature scantily clad women at strip clubs with names like “Delilah’s Den” and “Bare Exposure.”

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In summer 2014, LeeAnn Walters of Flint, Mich., noticed a ­peculiar rash on her 4-yearold son, Gavin. Doctors at first diagnosed it as contact ­dermatitis, then scabies. It seemed to get worse after every bath or swim in the backyard pool. Later that year, when brown water came out of the faucet and an older son got sick, the Walters family stopped drinking the water. At that time few people outside Flint, a city of 100,000 about 65 miles



north of Detroit, knew that city children were becoming victims of lead poisoning. Now the whole United States knows, and officials are pointing fingers at each other in an attempt to avoid responsibility—but the tragedy is one that could happen to any cash-strapped city. The Flint saga began when Flint leaders in 2013 signed a contract to access a new pipeline that would bring water from Lake Huron at a lower price. One problem: The pipeline would not be completed

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until 2016. Detroit, unhappy at losing Flint as a customer, said Flint would have to look elsewhere when its contract with Detroit ended in 2014. That left Flint looking for alternatives and deciding, ­temporarily, to use water from the Flint River. The decision proved catastrophic. Authorities failed to use corrosion controls needed to maintain the The Flint ­protective River in lining that downtown keeps lead Flint, Mich.

and other heavy metals in old pipes from leaching into the water. The city promised residents that the new water “meets all our drinking water standards and Flint water is safe to drink,” but problems—E. coli and coliform—led to boiling advisories. GM noticed rust forming on newly machined parts. Water tested high for kidney- and liver-damaging TTHMs. In January 2015, residents showed up at community meetings with jars of brown, smelly tap water. MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 





WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

LeeAnn Walters empties a bottle of store-bought drinking water into a pot to make dinner while Gavin watches (above); a Flint resident holds a sample of water taken from her home at a town meeting at Flint City Hall (below).

cities use inaccurate testing methods—running water for several seconds before ­collecting samples, for instance—that yield lower levels of contaminants. Some people are finding out that their own officials don’t trust the water. The water in St. Joseph, La., often runs brown, but authorities have assured residents their water is safe. When the local CBS affiliate asked the mayor if he drank the water, he said, “I haven’t drank the water since I moved back here.” That was more than 20 years ago. On a crisp, sunny day in early February, we asked joggers on the hike and bike trail around Lady

Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, what they knew about their city’s water quality. Ellen Smith, a bird-watcher and recently retired physician who wore a pair of black binoculars around her neck, had just finished filling up her empty water ­bottle at a nearby fountain. When asked if the Flint water crisis made her concerned about Austin water, she took a long pause and said: “Remotely.” Others were similarly unconcerned. Robert Rodriguez drinks water from the tap and doesn’t know where it comes from.

Ken Booser said he feels sorry for Flint residents, “but I’m grateful it’s not going on here.” Others aren’t so sure. Alvin Cantu stood in front of a row of canoes at the Texas Rowing Center and said he’s bought bottled water for 20 years. A concerned young mother in large sunglasses, out with her 4-year-old son, said she was planning to purchase a $300 water purification system. Some people who live in old houses with aging water pipes are worried. Steve and Anna Walker said the Flint situation had motivated them to look into buying a water filter. Giggling college students Janie and Belle had never heard of Flint, Mich., but after hearing a brief summary of the problem, Janie said, “I want to know where my water comes from.” A —with reporting by World Journalism Institute mid-career course graduates Laura Finch, Elizabeth Tracy, Gary Bauman, and Andrew Stebbens

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When LeeAnn Walters asked the health department to test her water, it showed lead levels of 104 parts per billion (anything over 15 is trouble). A week later it showed 397, and Gavin tested positive for lead poisoning. She told Michigan Radio, “We should be able to trust the fact that it’s not going to harm our kids.” Over the spring and summer, state and federal environmental agencies downplayed the problem. But in August 2015, Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards discovered the Flint River’s link to lead in the city’s water, resulting in elevated blood lead levels in children. Not until December did state officials switch Flint back to Detroit water, and they are still trying to assess the damage. Some pipes can regain their protective lining with proper corrosion controls. Others will need replacing. The real tragedy involves children like Gavin. Although chelation therapy can reduce lead in the body, it can’t reverse the effects of lead exposure on the neurological development of young children and unborn babies—although some researchers believe early education enrichment services can help. Residents of other cities often share LeeAnn Walters’ feeling that you should be able to trust the water from the tap. Maybe they shouldn’t. Virginia Tech professor Yanna Lambrinidou told The Guardian that many cities in the eastern United States may have problems similar to Flint’s. Too many

TECHNOLOGY GyroGear founder Faii Ong with an early prototype

A calming spin

A GLOVE CONTROLLED BY GYROSCOPES COULD FIGHT THE TREMORS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE  by Michael Cochrane One of the most ­debilitating and demoralizing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is an uncontrollable shaking of the hands that makes ­ordinary tasks, such as tying a shoelace or drinking a glass of water, difficult or impossible. But a new device that patients wear like a glove and that uses the physics of spinning gyroscopes could


restore function to sufferers of hand tremors. London medical student Faii Ong invented the device, called GyroGlove, after caring for a 103-yearold Parkinson’s patient who could not bring her soup spoon to her mouth because of her severe tremors. According to Ong and his team, the fingerless, elasticized glove under

development will have a tiny housing mounted on the back of the hand containing gyroscopes spinning at 15,000 revolutions per minute. Anyone who’s tried to move a spinning gyroscope knows that it resists motion—a phenomenon the GyroGlove incorporates to dampen the tremors. The gyroscopes should allow the wearer to experience smooth motion. Ong’s initial tests using a motorized hand that simulated the shaking due to Parkinson’s showed an almost 90 percent reduction in tremors, according to the website Medical Daily. Human testers reported that the sensation of wearing the GyroGlove is like moving one’s hands in a thick liquid. Doctors who specialize in musculoskeletal diseases


believe the GyroGlove could help many of the estimated 10 million Parkinson’s sufferers and the more than 200 million people who suffer from “essential tremor,” another neurological disorder, lead more normal lives. “Being able to control or manage the tremor associated with Parkinson’s can make a range of daily tasks we all take for granted achievable, from writing a letter [and] putting a key in the door to dressing and feeding yourself,” Alison McGregor, professor of musculoskeletal biodynamics at Imperial College London, told Medical Daily. According to Fast Company, Ong’s business, GyroGear, is launching a crowd-­ funding campaign and plans to offer the GyroGlove for sale early next year at a price of between $550 and $850.


DEEP WEB The internet generates a lot of heat. The data centers that power social media networks and video streaming host racks of servers that also “rack up” a sizeable air-conditioning bill. But a radical new experiment by Microsoft Corp. could lead to data centers that are cooled by the ocean and perhaps even powered by ocean currents. The company recently completed a successful 105-day trial of an ocean-cooled, ­prototype server rack sealed in an 8-foot-long steel capsule placed 30 feet under the Pacific Ocean near San Luis Obispo, Calif. The experiment worked so well that Microsoft engineers extended the time and even routed some of Microsoft’s commercial cloud ­services through the system. “When I first heard about this I thought, ‘Water … electricity, why would you do that?’” Ben Cutler, a Microsoft computer designer who is working on “Project Natick,” told The New York Times. “But as you think more about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.” Future undersea data centers likely won’t boil the surrounding water, as engineers say the vessel only heated water a few inches away. —M.C.

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Zika hazard

THE OTHERWISE MILD ZIKA VIRUS THREATENS THE UNBORN  by Julie Borg More than 50 people in the United States have returned from travels to Latin America with an unwelcome souvenir: the Zika virus. The World Health Organization declared the virus a public health emergency in February, and it has now spread to 31 countries and territories. Both medically and politically, Zika has quickly proven to be a serious danger to unborn children. In most cases Zika is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, an aggressive species that bites by day or night and is found in tropical and subtropical regions and in the southern United States. But the first locally acquired Zika infection in the United States, confirmed in Dallas on Feb. 2, was sexually transmitted by a traveler who had just come from Venezuela. Four out of 5 people infected with Zika experience none of the mild symptoms, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or eye inflammation. But the frightening



A mother holds her daughter, who was born with microcephaly in Brazil.

aspect of the virus is that infected pregnant women can pass it on to their unborn babies, and it is potentially linked to some cases of microcephaly, a condition in which newborns have an abnormally small head and associated brain damage. Scientists have not yet proven the virus causes the birth defect, but there has been a marked upswing in microcephaly cases among newborns in regions where cases of Zika have skyrocketed, especially Brazil. There is no treatment for Zika, and scientists are scrambling to develop a vaccine. Compounding the tragedy, activists are using the crisis as an opportunity to push abortion: Some have called for Columbia, El Salvador, and Brazil to lift their existing abortion restrictions. Since microcephaly is difficult to detect in utero, activists want abortion to be legal for any pregnant woman who has been diagnosed with Zika.

Johns Hopkins researchers have found that slightly modifying practice sessions can help people master new skills more quickly. In an experiment, the researchers asked subjects to move a computer cursor in a set pattern as quickly and accurately as possible by squeezing a pressure-sensitive controller. All participants practiced the test several times, but for some participants, researchers altered the amount of pressure needed to operate the controller with each ­practice session. Gains in performance nearly doubled among the subjects who used the altered practice sessions compared with those who repeated the task the same way each time. The findings, published online Jan. 28 in Current Biology, could help patients with neurological injuries to regain lost motor function. —J.B.

In 2014 police briefly arrested Ashya King’s parents after they whisked him out of a hospital in Southampton, England, and took him to Spain for treatment of a malignant brain tumor using proton beam therapy. Doctors in England would not consent to proton therapy for the boy, then 5 years old, because the therapy was not yet approved in the United Kingdom to treat Ashya’s type of brain cancer. Now, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found ­evidence that backs up the King family. In a study of 59 children and young adults with brain cancer, published online in Lancet Oncology in January, the researchers found that proton beam therapy was as effective as traditional radiation treatment, but with many fewer side effects. Unlike radiation, proton therapy does not destroy healthy brain tissue along with cancer cells. As for Ashya, he did eventually receive proton treatment, and last year ­doctors declared him cancer-free. —J.B.


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COPPER MOUNTAIN, COLO. Lay ministers at Copper Mountain Community Church hold regular services for Sunday skiers at Copper Mountain ski resort, meeting in an open-air pavilion perched at 11,000 feet.

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MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 





one of the world’s most famous female Olympians show why countries are scrambling to prepare and reassure their athletes. “We have to explain to those coming to Brazil, the athletes, that there is zero risk if you are not a Hope Solo pregnant during the FIFA woman,” Women’s President World Cup Rousseff’s Canada chief of 2015 match staff Jaques Wagner says. Since only 20 percent of victims actually exhibit any of the virus’ mild symptoms, most of the 4 million people the World Health Organization expects to become infected won’t even know they have it. But Wagner isn’t entirely correct. Diverse medical experts and cautious countries like El Salvador are telling infected women to wait anywhere from three months to two years to conceive a child. Zika can also be sexually transmitted, particularly by men. That

mix of facts and uncertainty places long-term concerns on athletes’ marriages. “My wife’s not going to Rio,” U.K. rower Andrew Hodge, 36, told The Times. “For anybody who wants a family, Zika is a very real and frightening threat.” Most agree it’s too early to make a final decision on the August games. Many athletes haven’t even qualified yet, so Rio isn’t their top concern. Some athletes, confident enough in their precautions, have traveled to Rio for test events. They’re wearing long sleeves,

applying bug repellent, and sacrificing sunbathing on Copacabana Beach—more business, less fun. The U.S. Olympic Committee has hired disease specialists to help plan for the games. Australian officials are providing bug repellent and advising the use of mosquito nets. But Kenyan officials haven’t ruled out withdrawing their whole team from the Olympics. The United States is also pledging to support athletes and staff who stay home—even encouraging them to stay if uneasy.

Stabler’s sufferings Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) further cemented its mark on the NFL Feb. 6 with the election of Ken “The Snake” Stabler to the Hall of Fame. The late Oakland quarterback died in July at age 69, donating his brain to Boston University’s CTE research. Researchers found the 1974 Most Valuable Player suffered from Stage 3 of the debilitating brain disease, believed to be caused by hits to the head. He played football for 28 years, beginning at age 9, and suffered from headaches and memory loss in his later years. The late Junior Seau, believed to have committed suicide while suffering CTE-linked depression, entered the Hall last year. —A.B.


WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

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More than 200,000 Brazilian troops are waging “war” on mosquitos, authorized by President Dilma Rousseff to raise awareness, inspect homes, and eradicate breeding grounds. With the beleaguered Olympics in Rio de Janeiro less than six months away, the Zika virus has become not only a health emergency, but a public relations one. “If I had to make the choice today, I wouldn’t go [to the Olympics],” U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo said, concerned with the uncertain risks to pregnant women. The 34-year-old is not pregnant, but she told, “I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child.” Solo, of course, refers to fears the virus has caused skyrocketing rates of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head (see p. 58). While Brazil had 147 cases in 2014, officials are now struggling to investigate 4,000 reports since October. The concerns of


The world Market EMPLOYMENT B New Song Mission seeks Christian couples to parent at-risk kids in ­beautiful southern Indiana. SCHOOL EMPLOYMENT B The Christian Academy, Brookhaven, PA, is seeking applicants for Director of Development for the ’16-’17 school year. The Christian Academy is a fully accredited K-12 Classical Christian school with an enrollment of 350 students. TCA serves the suburban Philadelphia area. Contact Dr. Timothy Sierer at (866) 822-5080 or tsierer@tca-pa. org. Visit us at B Alameda Christian School located in the San Francisco Bay Area, ­, seeks K-8 teaching principal for 2016-2017. Est. 1944, CSI, 48 students, ethnically and culturally diverse. Contact/inquiries at

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Do you or your church struggle with this question? Are these chapters real history? This pamphlet will answer these questions. You can receive a Free copy by writing to or calling: Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church 1945 84th St. SW, Byron Center, MI 49315 Facebook: Website: • 1-616-878-1811



‘A time for plain speaking’

g I was shocked, not that Planned Parenthood v­ iolated some law, but that aborted babies were being cut up for research. The next thing will be a market for breeders, sellers, and buyers. The ­organizations and attitudes are already in place; we’ll just have to get over a few antiquated scruples. BILL POWERS ON WNG.ORG

g #ShoutYourAbortion? These individuals did not want another human being to interfere with their mobility or future. They are without reason or excuse.

his rights. But I do not have the right to take my life, because it is in the image of God and is sacred. JENNYBETH GARDNER ON WNG.ORG


, Abortion is still legal in this

country, and a majority believe it should stay that way. My advice to those of you who disapprove of abortion is simple: Don’t have one!

g Promoters of assisted suicide have worn out their thesauruses implying that it is legal in Montana, but it is not. Our state Supreme Court ruled that a doctor charged with homicide might have a potential defense based on ­consent, but vacated a lower court ­ruling that assisted suicide is a constitutional right. BRADLEY WILLIAMS ON WNG.ORG

‘No-confidence vote’

 Christians who did not vote are guilty of allowing the most pro-abortion leader ever to run our country. As Bonhoeffer wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.” KELLY DENOYER RUSSELL ON FACEBOOK

Oberwesel, Germany submitted by Chris and Lori LaPlatney

g I was one of those 38 million Christians who did not vote for president in 2012. I could not in good


 When we tell others what a brutal practice this is, we need to remember that there is forgiveness for those who repent and that God changes hearts. SHERI BAILEY ON FACEBOOK

‘In God’s hands’

, It is only a matter of time before assisted suicide is mandatory for the terminally ill and the elderly. It can be as simple as denying medications, but there will be other methods. DAVE DAHLKE / PORT ORCHARD, WASH.

g If rights are the highest moral good, then sure, I have the right to die, and eventually somebody else will have the “right” to take my life if it infringes on , Mail/email g Website

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MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 


MAILBAG c­ onscience vote for a man who thinks that the Book of Mormon is true. I have been earnestly praying God would raise up Christian leaders we can respect. So far this year looks promising.

brushing past a woman in a hallway? If so, it plays into feminist ideology and trivializes true sexual offenses like rape and human trafficking. BECKY KEMPF / EUREKA, ILL.


, I am so angry I could hardly finish this article. Are we to thank those 38 million for the last eight years and the downhill slide of our nation? Inconvenience? Disdain for politics? They should blame themselves. RHONDA STARK / PALMER, AL ASKA

‘Sailing into history’

, I have puzzled over Donald Trump’s

lead in the polls, and this column makes sense of it. The correlation between past movements and historical lessons is intriguing.

, I am saddened to see my favorite Christian magazine attack Trump. He says what has needed to be said for a long time. Perhaps God will put him in office and show mercy to our country. STUART L ATIMER SR. / TAYLORS, S.C.

‘The ABC scientist’

g I would love to take a class from a professor like Joel Brind. It would be fun, but it could be hard to separate his expertly crafted conclusions from attempts to stir up hornets’ nests. NEIL EVANS ON WNG.ORG

g If I had just read a profile of a

“zany” professor who belonged “in a nutshell” according to colleagues, I would be inclined to agree with the writer. But as I caution my own students about drawing conclusions from published reports, readers should beware of nonobjective language. JOEL BRIND ON WNG.ORG

‘Keep it quiet, please’

, I love WORLD but I wonder about your “reliable statistic” that 1 in 3 American women has suffered “sexual intrusion or offense.” Does the definition include things like a co-worker 64 

WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

, Mindy Belz spoke of how effectively God used a stick of wood. He was also very effective with two sticks tied together to form a cross.


, Joel Belz got it right. A young rela-

tive, raised in church, was recently charged with the sexual exploitation of a minor. It came as a complete surprise, for he was living a secret life. JAMES MARSHALL / CONCORD, N.C.

‘The happiness specialist’

, What a great issue for Sanctity of Life Sunday. I especially appreciated Dr. Camilla Hersh’s comment: “To kill the victim doesn’t really treat the crime.” So many people think it’s OK to have an abortion after a rape or incest. PAUL MATLOCK / PAGOSA SPRINGS, COLO.


‘God so used a stick of wood’

, I’m still reeling at the implications of the incest story. Praise God for Hersh and others like her, who get inside the story to protect life and bring justice to abusers. CAROL ROBINSON / CENTENNIAL, COLO.

‘Away from the big city’

g My father’s 30 years of ministry in Montana included visiting nursing homes, typing bulletins, and shoveling snow. Mom taught Sunday school, played the organ, led the women’s group, and did whatever else needed doing. Small-church ministry is a fulltime venture that pays very little in material benefits. LOIS DROEGEMEIER ON WNG.ORG

g I also am from Montana, and my husband is an associate pastor at a small rural church. I wish the article had been longer; these congregations face more challenges than just paying the pastor and building community. KATIE POWNER ON WNG.ORG

‘Rules of the road’

, Michael Cochrane made some valid points but also asked, “And who among us always comes to a complete stop at stop signs?” Well, I do, and he should. DOUGL AS H. CARLSON / VESTAL, N.Y.

‘The riddle of Isaac’

, Could God have tested Abraham’s faith to show mankind that God would require and accept only one human sacrifice—His Son, Jesus? DOT TY HASH / WYLIE, TEXAS

‘The Big Short’

, This entertaining movie blamed Wall Street greed for the mortgage ­collapse, but a more accurate portrayal would include the irresponsibility of those who lied to get loans they could never repay and utopian policies that pressured banks to give out bad loans. The Big Short came up short by not showing that you reap what you sow. JOE KESLER / MISSOUL A, MONT.



, The cover of the Dec. 12 edition fits perfectly with your abortion issue. The dark, hulking figures leading Christians to their deaths powerfully remind me of what people are doing at Planned Parenthood, and what our ­culture is doing. WORLD’s graphics are the best. MALCOLM POWERS / ANN ARBOR, MICH.


Total U.S. giving by individuals, ­foundations, and businesses is now more than $360 billion (“Love and charity,” Feb. 6).

LETTERS & PHOTOS , Email: , Mail: WORLD Mailbag, PO Box 20002, Asheville, NC 28802-9998 g Website:  Facebook: WORLD.magazine  Twitter: @WORLD_mag Please include full name and address. Letters may be edited to yield brevity and clarity.


The spreading plague

HOW LONG WILL WE PRETEND A RADICAL VIRUS POSES NO DANGER? “The ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution” (opening lines of “The Masque of the Red Death,” Edgar Allan Poe). Something wicked this way comes, and its name this time is Zika, a pathogen virtually unheard of in the Americas a year ago. See it popping up in our fair cities, one victim here, one victim there. But the inveterately allegorical-minded may find a parallel here between the latest virus incarnation and another pestilence abroad in our land of a nonbiological variety. Albert Camus, in his 1947 novel The Plague, ostensibly wrote of a cholera epidemic in a town in Algeria. But no one believes he was not really speaking of the penetration of Nazism in France during World War II and the fascinating disparate reactions of the populace to their imminent overtaking. And no one believes he was not making an even broader point about how men of all times react in the face of ­invasions of their fragile peace. After a description of the Mediterranean town and its inhabitants’ hidebound habits, the story opens with the narrator of the book, Dr. Bernard Rieux, discovering underfoot the soft, bloated body of a dead rat in the apartment complex where he lives. The crotchety concierge defensively denies there is a problem. It is just one rat. Soon more lifeless rodents are found but are explained away. The comment of Rieux’s mother is not uncommon: “It’s like that sometimes.” (Note to the modern reader: A little




A virus is an interloper ­seeking an unwary cell,  … and having penetrated … [it] perpetuates its evil plan of conquest until all that is of goodness and of wholesomeness is dead.

­ utbreak in a Boston marathon, a little outbreak o in a cartoon office in Paris, a little workplace violence in San Bernardino, a lone ranger cop shooting in Philadelphia. Nothing to see here.) Even when warnings are finally published in Oran, in obscure corners of the newspaper or buried among a collage of competing announcements on public posts, they are optimistic and downplay the menace: Be sure to exterminate rats; report mysterious fevers; observe commonsense rules of cleanliness. (Public service advisory to the modern reader: Report suspicious activity; refrain from racial profiling.) Prince Prospero of Poe’s “Masque” invites “a thousand hale and lighthearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court” to the refuge of his masquerade ball in an abbey. (Note to the modern reader: Compare to Beltway insiders who fiddle while Rome burns, who dither and blather and feather their nests while terrorists may be hiding among the streams of immigrants to our shores. See Camus’ Monsieur Grand, who is more finicky with his oratorical skills than concerned about the condemned citizens of Oran, endlessly overworking the beginning of his manuscript and healing the sickness lightly, coining clichés like “his secret grief” and “his grim resolve.”) The conscientious Dr. Rieux’s next obstacle is bureaucratic red tape. His earnest recommendations run into the refusal of others even to put a name on the problem (as if one can fight against an enemy one cannot even name). Colleagues insist there is no definite proof that the disease is infectious. (Note to the modern reader: There is no proof that “radicalization” of citizens is contagious, and to say so is to be a xenophobe.) In the lull between attacks, concern evaporates as fast as a jet’s white contrails. The Paris bombing we thought for half an hour to be a day we would never forget, we have ­forgotten. Apologies to Pharaoh. What is the plague that struts our land? Who can name it? Who will dare? A virus is an interloper seeking an unwary cell, and by some ­subterfuge attaching to the host; and having penetrated, multiplying its vile code of death. It thus perpetuates its evil plan of conquest until all that is of goodness and of wholesomeness is dead. Which is the allegory, and which the real? Is it Zika, or foreign hotbeds of radicalism? Or is “the plague” a sickness in the soul, a­­rampage only our return to God can halt? A MARCH 5, 2016  WORLD 





WORLD  MARCH 5, 2016

Ted Cruz

Marco Rubio

Candidates need Cuban DNA, the kind gained from seeing totalitarianism face to face and understanding its soul-­ sapping evil.

  @MarvinOlasky


The way we learn most about presidential candidates now is through debates, which are to real governance as Home Run Derby is to real baseball. So be it. Who can avoid brain freezes? Who can strike out in one game and go 4-for-4 in the next? These next two months will tell. We can already lay to rest, though, the silly debate of the early primary season: Does a ­senator or a governor make the best president? It’s silly because a president needs to understand both big and little, both vision and the devilish details. The capacity to comprehend both varies enormously from individual to ­individual, regardless of experience. The more important question is worldview— and in this election, how a candidate views the world. We’ve elected each of our last three presidents (two governors, one senator) as domestic policy chiefs. Bill Clinton ran immediately after the Cold War ended. George W. Bush sadly became a foreign policy president after 9/11: His play in an uncompassionate arena allowed Barack Obama to gain the White House with a 2008 pledge to bring troops home and ignore as much as possible the rest of the world. (Bow, “reset,” smile.) Given this history, it’s irrelevant whether governor or senator DNA is better. The candidates need Cuban DNA, the kind gained from seeing totalitarianism face to face and understanding its soul-sapping evil. In Havana and Miami I’ve interviewed Cuban Christians who learned crucial lessons by spending years in Fidel Castro’s prisons, but you don’t need Cuban genes to have the kind of Cuban DNA I’m describing. It comes whenever you learn to fight dictators. We were blessed in the United States to have a run of presidents with Cuban DNA:


Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, then John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. With all their differences in policy and character, they were all ready, in Kennedy’s classic words, to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of ­liberty.” They all acted in support of other parts of Kennedy’s inaugural address: that “the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” That the United States should not “permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed.” Jimmy Carter did not understand that and lost to Ronald Reagan, who had Cuban DNA after battling Communist influence in Hollywood and staring down threats to throw acid in his face. Many Americans were tired of hardships, and had Reagan not gained the ­support of Democrats disgusted by abortion, Carter could have been reelected. Soviet leaders would have carried on. The Cold War would have continued. We might now all be dead after miscommunication and fear led to nuclear war. But we survived, and a generation arose that did not know Josef Stalin or Mao Zedong or Pol Pot or the Ayatollah Khomeini. Unwilling to bear burdens, and listening to the pied piping of a president who thinks the problem is too much American power, moviegoers cheer ­rebels like Katniss in The Hunger Games, but in life most are rebels without a cause. One reason is that we live now in a new book of Judges, where arbiters of legal right and wrong declare there is no God in America and everyone should do what is right in his own eyes. While America falls into cultural anarchy, dictators who mix nationalism with remnants of communism rule Russia and China, and Middle Eastern clerics worship a god created in man’s authoritarian imagination. The antidote to both anarchy and oligarchy is Cuban DNA. The only good that came out of my youthful Communism was an appreciation of the reality of evil. Some ISIS-watchers are gaining a similar education. Many millennials lack that understanding, but there’s still time. Maybe their teachers can be the two senators in our presidential race with Cuban DNA bequeathed them by their fathers, who saw Fidel Castro and ultimately refused to bow, scrape, and grin. I find both to be attractive candidates, but others may also have it: We’ll learn much during debates to come. A

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Lana “We’re going to give up on this concept of insurance and trust God and His people?! Yeah, of course! That’s a no-brainer!”

For more than twenty years, Samaritan Ministries’ members have been sharing one another’s medical needs, without using health insurance, through a Biblical model of community among believers. Samaritan members share directly with each other and do not share in abortions and other unbiblical practices. Come see what our members are saying and start your own Samaritan story today at:

Biblical community applied to health care

• More than 50,000 families (over 167,000 individuals)* • Sharing over $15 million* in medical needs each month • The monthly share has never exceeded $405 for a family of any size* 888.268.4377 * As of November 2015

WORLD Magazine, Mar. 5, 2016 Vol. 31 No. 5  

Real matters.

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