The McGovern Report
By Joel Allen
The McGovern ReportJun 28, 2021
2:13 A Friendship Forged by Time: An Interview with Sen. Gary Hart
Welcome back to another episode of "The McGovern Report." I'm your host, Joel Allen, and today, we're delving into the remarkable and enduring relationship between two iconic American senators: George McGovern and Gary Hart.
In 1972, Gary Hart took on a pivotal role as the national campaign director for George McGovern's historic presidential bid. Their shared vision for progressive change in America united them as they embarked on a political journey that would shape the nation's history. But the story doesn't end there. Hart and McGovern went on to serve together in the U.S. Senate, fighting for their respective causes and ideals side by side.
What sets this political partnership apart is the twist that occurred in 1984 when Gary Hart and George McGovern found themselves in an unexpected position – as competitors in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. It was a moment that could have strained even the closest friendships, yet these two men remained not just allies but good friends throughout it all.
So, join us as we explore the fascinating journey of Senator Gary Hart and Senator George McGovern within the context of "The McGovern Report" – a podcast that takes you deep into the heart of American politics, where friendships are forged, tested, and endure.
MR 2:12 A Dynamic Friendship: An Interview with Senator Thomas Daschle
We embark here on a journey through history exploring the unique bond that united two excpetional people and ignited a passion for change. Join us as we uncover the dynamic friendship between Senator George McGovern and our special guest, former Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle.
In this episode, we recognize the enduring friendship and shared vision that paved the way for monumental shifts in American politics. Sen. Daschle, a true statesman in his own right, not only followed in the footsteps of his mentor, Sen. McGovern, but together they shaped policy, championed social justice, and stood unwavering in their commitment to a better world.
So, whether you're a political aficionado, a history buff, or simply eager to witness the power of friendship in action, this episode beautifully conveys stories that chronicle a remarkable and dynamic friendship. We proudly present, "The McGovern Report" featuring the esteemed Senator and former Senate Majority leader Thomas Daschle.
MR 2:11 Interview with Ann McGovern, Jim Rowen and Mark Lempke
Sen. George McGovern was born on July 19, 1922. To celebrate his 101st birthday, and to extend and enliven his legacy, I offer this conversation. Ann McGovern, the eldest daughter of George and Eleanor, and her brother-in-law Jim Rowen, joined us to get a glimpse of both George and Eleanor on a more personal and intimate level. Historian Mark Lempke led our conversation. Thanks to all for your participation!
MR 2:10 George McGovern's Anti-Hunger Work: A conversation with Marshall Matz, Alan Stone and Catherine Bertini
The bios for Marshall Matz, Alan Stone and Catherine Bertini
Marshall has devoted his career, for the most part, to domestic and global food security. Starting as Counsel to the Senate Committee on Agriculture he crafted all the nutrition legislation championed by Senators George McGovern (D-SD) and Bob Dole (R-KS). He was also counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition when it published Dietary Goals for the United States, which has been memorialized as the USDA-HHS Dietary Guidelines and updated every five years. This focus on food security has led to a devotion to sound science, agriculture research, and biotechnology. He now works with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa helping them to grow themselves out of poverty. Other areas of interest have been Native American policy and rural development including forestry. He represents South Dakota State University on the New Beginnings Program for Tribal Students and the Intermountain Forest Association.
Began to work on anti-hunger and anti-poverty issues while in law school. Worked as a VISTA attorney and a Reginald Heber Smith Poverty Law Fellow before joining The Senate Nutrition Committee as Counsel and remaining as Staff Director. Alan wrote all the child nutrition legislation during the 1970’s, when the federal commitment to hunger programs grew from $1 billion to $10 billion annually. He capped his 20 year career in D.C. at the Clinton White House as one of a handful of senior speechwriters, a role he also performed in the '92 campaign in Little Rock. He then served consecutively as Vice President of Columbia University and Harvard University, and has recently retired in Cambridge, MA.
He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and George Washington University Law School in D.C. He is a Chicagoan by birth.
An accomplished leader in international organization reform, Catherine Bertini has a distinguished career improving the efficiency and operations of organizations serving poor and hungry people in the United States and around the world.
She was named the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her transformational leadership at the World Food Programme (WFP), which she led for ten years, and for the positive impact she had on the lives of women. While in the US government, she expanded the electronic benefit transfer options for food stamp beneficiaries, created the food package for breast feeding mothers, presented the first effort to picture healthy diets, and expanded education and training opportunities for poor women.
Later, she co-chaired a successful effort to impact American policy supporting poor farmers in the developing world. The U.S. program is known as “Feed the Future”. As a United Nations Under Secretary General, she initiated efforts to reform the global system for security of staff and for the recognition of all staff marriages. She interacted with all UN agencies and their leadership through a variety of UN bodies in humanitarian, development, nutrition, security and management roles, and led UN humanitarian missions around the world.
She was appointed to senior positions by three UN secretaries general and five US presidents and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
MR 2:9 An Interview with Judy Harrington in "George McGovern: an Oral History"
I’m here today to interview Judy Harrington. This is a part of a larger project called, “George McGovern: an Oral History.” The goal of this project is to document the personal memories of those who worked closely with Sen. McGovern and to preserve those memories for posterity. My hope is that some day, historian may draw on these episodes as a primary source in crafting the history of that period and particularly the legacy and import of the life of this truly great American. Of particular interest here is the pertinent question for our time: How did Sen. McGovern become so respected, so impactful, so influential as a moral hero. As I have come to know those persons who worked so hard in that ill-fated election of 1972, what strikes me is their reverence for this man. They often say, “Don’t get me wrong. He wasn’t perfect and he was totally human. But he was a truly decent and kind man. He respected the dignity of the individual and cared deeply that his life poured a sweetening flavor into the pot of common good. At the McGovern Centennial Event on Sept. 22, Gov. Harvey Wollman, just a few days before his recent passing, said in the words of the old hymn, “What better legacy could you use to describe George McGovern? He wanted to throw out the lifeline to the hungry, the depressed, the people than needed healthcare, people that were prejudiced, soldiers that were dying unnecessarily. . . . If you remember anything of what I said today, know that I believed in George McGovern, the man that tried with his life to throw out the lifeline to millions. That is the highest tribute I could say to that man.” If you would like to see Gov. Wollman's commemorative talk about Sen. McGovern. here's the link. George McGovern was something like the biblical Abraham - he was a “Father of many.” He was a father-figure to many who saw him as a moral hero, an exemplar of prairie goodness, a beacon of the best of humanity. He exemplified what “the better angels of our nature” looks like. Even ten years since his passing, he is remembered so fondly by so many. But more than that, his influence carries on in so many who still labor to build a world a peace where hunger is no more. So, this podcast intends to capture the memories of the graying “McGovern Army” but more than that, to ponder with them the depth and scope of the morally salubrious influence of Sen. McGovern and his lovely wife Eleanor. In today’s episode, I interview Judy Harrington. Judy was with George from 1971. She worked for his campaign and then was the office manager of the Senate office in Sioux Falls SD. Judy has spoken about the senator many times over many years. She spoke recently at the McGovern Centennial event on the campus of DWU. She worked more closely with him over a very long period of time (from his re-election in 1973 to 1980). It is my privilege to interview here Judy Harrington. I hope you listen through to the end. Happy Veteran’s Day, George McGovern!
McGovern Center Update / Uganda Initiative w/Andrea and Kristy / David Aylward on the significance of George McGovern
This episode is the first in a long while - about 1/2 a year. So there's a lot of catching up to do.
1) An update on the McGovern Center
2) An interview with Andrea Hult (a student at DWU - Non-Profit Admin major) and Kristy Zink (Academic Success and Career Services Coordinator) about why they love going to Uganda with AsOne Africa.
3) A delightful interview with David Aylward (see bio below) who campaigned for the senator in New Hampshire and has been deeply impacted by Sen. McGovern.
David K. Aylward
David has devoted his career in recent years to providing strategy and leadership to organizations and initiatives that improve population health and wellbeing for disadvantaged people. He has a 45-year history of using his skills and experience in innovation, startups, and coalition building to cause or exploit policy change and disruptive innovation. He is an expert on the intersection of US and global health with social innovation, public policy, communications and IT, finance, and related fields, particularly in understanding and designing the new complex coalitions and systems required for systemic transformation.
He is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the School of Medicine of the University of Colorado and a Senior Advisor the Farley Health Policy Center of the School of Medicine (https://medschool.cuanschutz.edu/farleyhealthpolicycenter). He is focused on the design of systems to advance challenged communities by addressing systemic inequities and health disparities. The designs use a transformational, family-centered combination of next generation primary care fully integrated with necessary social services, intended to help people thrive while lowering the overall cost of health. Delivery is built on collaboration between community leaders, safety net clinical providers, and social service organizations and agencies, with a financial design emphasizing healthy outcomes, not sick care.
Prior to this work David led the design and startup of a national program to train Medical Assistants in person-centered primary care as the first Executive Director of the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement (www.nimaa.org) founded by Community Health Center Inc. of Connecticut (www.chc1.com) and Salud Family Health Centers of Colorado (https://www.saludclinic.org/). He also served as a Senior Advisor to CHC on matters related to health system transformation. Prior to that he was a Senior Advisor to global charity Ashoka’s Health for All initiative where he helped design and lead global initiatives to increase the wellness/vitality of disadvantaged populations (not just provide illness care) in low-income countries. In addition to cutting edge “doorstep” primary health care using the latest digital solutions, these person-centered and community-based approaches included a major focus on full nourishment, sanitation, mental health, empowering people on these matters, and other key contributors to human well-being and capacity. www.ashoka.org. Until June 2016 he was the Executive Strategist of the iThrive Initiative (www.ithrivegames.org) in its design and start up. Its mission is to accelerate the development of digital games to strengthen the emotional capacity and skills of adolescents, and thus improve their ability to succeed in life and reduce later mental health disorders. He was the first Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance at the United Nations Foundation focused on improving global health systems in low resource areas with mobile ICT.
Prior to launching the mHealth Alliance, he was Chief Strategist of the national non-profit 100 organization COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance, which he founded in 1998. At COMCARE, David helped develop a new vision and interoperable architecture for US emergency response of all kinds, including medical, based on modern IT, broadband, and wireless. As Chief Counsel and Staff Dir
Sen. George McGovern's 100th birthday: A commemorative conversation with Tom Knock and Mark Lempke
Senator George McGovern would have turned 100 on July 19, 2022. It has been almost exactly 50 years since he received the nomination of the Democratic Party to run for president. It has almost been 10 years since his passing in October of 2012. This podcast is a commemorative conversation between three people who know and deeply appreciate the contributions made by the Senator.
Professor Thomas Knock is a chair of the history department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas. He is also the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor History and author of "The Rise of the Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern."
Mark Lempke is that author of "My Brother's Keeper: George McGovern and Progressive Christianity" and has completed a Ph.D. in history at State University of New York at Buffalo and taught history in Singapore at the Singapore Institute of Management. He and his wife Heather now live in Rochester New York.
If you are interested in attending or simply want to learn more about our McGovern Centennial Celebration event on Sept. 22, you can go to McGovern Centennial Celebration on Sept. 22.
If you wish to read the commemorative piece I recently wrote about Sen. McGovern, you can click at this link: Remembering George.
If you wish to contact me with question or comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MR 2:6 Interview / Update with Don Messer of the Center for Health and Hope
Don is a great friend and partner in crime or ministry (whichever makes greater sense to you :). Don is a graduate of DWU, a former president of DWU (our youngest ever), former president of Iliff Theological Seminary and now the executive director of the Center for Health and Hope. Here is his latest newsletter which we will discuss.
MR 2:5 Sarah Nearman Herbert on her children's book "George McGovern: South Dakota's Legendary Legislator"
Sarah is a retired educator in Sioux Falls, SD who, in her retirement, has now written a lovely book about George McGovern. She holds undergraduate and master's degrees from University of South Dakota in Vermillion SD. She was motivated to write this book about McGovern after he died in 2012. She realized that nothing for children had yet be written even with the great impact he had on South Dakota and the US. Sarah felt that elementary children should know more about McGovern's leadership in the House and Senate and Democratic candidacy for president in 1972. His work as the United Nations Ambassador to the World Food Program and school lunch program continues to influence millions of people worldwide.
MR 2:4 The Legacy and Future of Progressive Christianity: A Conversation with David Gerber and Mark Lempke
Since 1980, progressive Christianity, once the powerful force for civil rights and against the Vietnam war, has faded from the scenes. Voices like George McGovern and Walter Mondale who proclaimed a social gospel, are fading. In their place is a more conservative muscular version of evangelical Christianity that downplays the need for social justice and works instead to preserve traditional values. Why the shift? Is there a role for progressive Christianity in the future? How can progressive Christian find its voice again?
Included in this conversation are David A. Gerber and Mark Lempke. David A. Gerber is University at Buffalo Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus. David A. Gerber taught American History at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) from 1971 to his retirement in 2012. He was founding Director of the Center for Disability Studies at UB, and served in that capacity from 2009 through 2012.
Mark is the author of My Brother’s Keeper: George McGovern and Progressive Christianity. Mark is a historian of post-war religion and politics. He specializes in progressive Christianity and the Christian left that developed in the 1960’s and 70’s. He completed his Ph.D. at the SUNY at Buffalo and previously taught in Singapore at the UB Singapore campus. He lives now in Buffalo NY.
MR 2:3 The Stark Lectureship with Dr. Shawn Moore (and Joel Reinesch) on "Race and Policing Reform"
Shawn is the pastor of Living Spirit United Methodist Church in Minneapolis and a former US Navy Security Specialist. He's worked as a policeman in Brooklyn Center MN and has 10 years combined experience in law enforcement and law enforcement training. Shawn continues to work as a police trainer in racial bias. Shawn teaches reconciliation studies at Bethel University and diversity studies at Metropolitan State University. Shawn recently completed a doctorate at United Theological Seminary with a focus on race relations and reconciliation in South Africa. He has a master's degree in cultural anthropology and missiology from Bethel University and is a certified life coach.
Joel Reinesch is an assistant professor of criminal justice at DWU. From his bio page on the DWU website, I'll include the following.
Strengths: Context | Harmony | Consistency | Empathy | Responsibility
Education History: Dakota Wesleyan University (B.A.), American Military University (M.A. in Criminal Justice)
Professional History: Joel is a Marine Corps (Infantry) veteran of two combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Not long after being Honorably Discharged in 2006, he started with the Mitchell Police Department. There, he held the ranks of Patrol Officer, Detective/Investigator and also Patrol Sergeant. Joel completed his undergrad officially in 2013 and his Master's in 2018. He worked for the Mitchell PD for more than 11 years before being hired by Dakota Wesleyan, his alma mater.
Areas of Expertise: Joel has obtained specialized training in death/homicide investigations, advanced crime scene processing, advanced interview and interrogation, arson origin and cause, mental health and also crisis/hostage negotiations.
Hobbies: golfing with my family and attending as many DWU and Mitchell HS activities as possible
Family: My wife, Liza; son, Coy; daughter, Emma; beagle, Bo; black lab, Chaos.
MR 2:2 An Interview with Stephanie Bolman-Altamirano - on the Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council
Welcome to Stephanie Bolman-Altamirano of Chamberlain SD! I especially appreciate Stephanie's patience as we had to record this more than once due to some technical difficulties and had to reschedule several times before that. Stephanie is a 1998 graduate of DWU in biology. She was elected to the Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council on Oct 7, 2020 and has been an enthusiastic leader accomplishing much in a short period of time. I'm interested in persons who have left DWU to become leaders in their communities and provide models for integrity and authenticity. Thanks for being on the podcast, Stephanie!
MR 2:1 A Conversation with Don Hedrick (Rapid City Chief of Police) and President Amy Novak
Don Hedrick has steadily climbed the ranks in the Rapid City police department, starting as a patrol officer in 2002 and ultimately being appointed as chief of police on August 17 of this year.
He was named a Bloomberg Fellow in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he is working on his Ph.D. in public health. In addition, he serves on the boards of a number of organizations in the Rapid City community.
MR 1:16 The Troublesome Transition - A Conversation with Dr. Sean Flynn
A conversation with Professor Sean Flynn, chair of the history department at Dakota Wesleyan University. We discussed the troublesome transition from the Trump to the Biden presidency. Just how destructive can these days become to our national well-being? Where are we headed and are there any historical precedents? I found this conversation comforting and grounding. The center will hold. I've paste below some information from Dr. Flynn's bio page at DWU.
Year Started: 1999
Education History: South Dakota State University (BA degree), Texas Tech University (MA and Ph.D. degrees)
Professional History: He has been awarded the United Methodist Church General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Teaching Excellence Award and the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence Award. He has written four books, including "Without Reservation: Benjamin Reifel and American Indian Acculturation" (Pierre: South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2018), a biography of South Dakota's only American Indian congressperson; and "Chief, Marine Corps Warrior" (2003), a military biography of Flynn's father, a decorated aviator and Korean War POW and one of the few pilots of American Indian descent to fly combat missions in World War II and Korea.
1:15 An Interview with Anne Kelly about Community-Based Learning and Suicide Autopsy
Anne Kelly is Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Psychology at Dakota Wesleyan University. She is also the Dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service. Anne and I had a discussion about her work in Community-Based Learning. She describes the work she's done with students matched to senior adults at the James Valley Community Center. She's also done fascinating work with the Abbott House here in Mitchell.
MR 1:14 A Conversation between President Amy Novak and Leon Washington
Dakota Wesleyan has initiated a speaker's series between Amy Novak and notable DWU graduates. First on this list is this conversation with Leon Washington. Leon is the Dean of Enrollment Management at Villanova University. He's a gentle and strong leader whose life of wisdom and kindness make him a stellar example for others to follow. You'll enjoy this conversation.
MR 1:13 An Interview with Lynn Hart about MLK Day in South Dakota.
MR 1:12 A Conversation with Arthur Bellinzoni - Memories of George and Eleanor McGovern
Arthur and I met only several weeks ago. I've enjoyed our emails and conversations. He's an impressive scholar whose written a collection of books and articles - mostly on Christian Origins and Early Christian Thought. Arthur knew George and Eleanor for many years and shares his appreciation for their humility, hospitality and humanity.
If you want to learn more about his work, go to http://arthurbellinzoni.tripod.com/home.htm .
MR 1:11 Memories of George and Eleanor McGovern: A Conversation with John Solberg
John Solberg shares his memories of George and Eleanor McGovern.
MR 1:10 Ruth Page Jones and the South Dakota Women's Suffrage Movement
In 1918, the South Dakota legislature passed a bill granting women the right to vote. This extraordinary achievement did not occur after a few mild asks. Women had been campaigning vigorously for 100 years for this right and their movement simply would not take rejection without coming back again. Time after time the South Dakota legislature denied women this right. Ruth Page Jones, of the South Dakota Humanities Council Speaker's Bureau tells us this great story. Ruth especially tells of the important role played by school suffrage, something most of us know nothing about. We also discussed the role the Bible played on both sides of this debate.
MR 1:9 A Conversation with Cici Schneider on Child Nutrition in the developing world and the Global Children Nutrition Foundation
Cici Schneider graduated from DWU in 2018 with degrees in Psychology and Non-Profit Administration. She now works at the Global Child Nutrition Foundation in Seattle Washington which began while still a student at DWU. CiCi exemplifies the continuing impact of George and Eleanor McGovern who sought to alleviate food insecurity in the developing world and the role played by school lunch programs.
MR 1:8 Climate Change and the Bible - A Conversation with David Hollis
I'm re-publishing a conversation I had a few months ago with David Hollis about the Bible and Climate Change. Many folks who take the Bible seriously doubt the reality of climate change and see it as a pseudo-science driven by a confirmation bias aimed at the expansion of big government. David and I are both Christian leaders of the United Methodist variety and very concerned about the future health and viability of our climate. So we discuss climate change from biblical and theological perspectives. I hope you enjoy!
MR 1:7 Climate Change: The Challenge and the Solution - a Conversation with Paula Mazzer and Kayla Miller
During this pandemic and racial unrest, we've almost forgotten about what is perhaps an even more threatening challenge - that of climate change. In this episode, I had a conversation with Drs. Paula Mazzer and Kayla Miller, about their experiences as scientists and their understanding of the science of climate change.
In the Outro, I discussed the fact that in November of 2022, we'll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1972 McGovern political campaign. I mentioned that if you have personal memories of involvement in that campaign, or personal memories of George and Eleanor McGovern, please use the following link and on the page that comes up, click on the "Messages" option.
MR 1:6 McGovern and the Social Gospel: A Conversation with Mark Lempke
Mark Lempke, Author of "My Brother's Keeper: George McGovern and Progressive Christianity" joins me today to discuss the influence of the social gospel on George McGovern and how this message might resonate today. Mark is a historian of post-war religion and politics. He specializes in progressive Christianity and the Christian left that developed in the 1960's and 70's. He completed his Ph.D. from the State University of New York in Buffalo and taught on the SUNY campus in Singapore before he moved back to Rochester NY. Mark and I discussed the importance of Walter Rauschenbusch on McGovern's thought and politics.
MR 1.5 A Conversation with Joel Reinesch about Criminal Justice and Police Reform
We all watched the video in absolute horror. How could this police officer, charged to guard and protect, so casually murder an unarmed and handcuffed person? How could others have stood by and watched without ever intervening? We are in a time when, as a nation, we're having a serious and much overdue conversation about how we can police ourselves better. It isn't just about rogue cops, its about rogue cultures that turn a blind eye causing community outrage. Of course, the looting and rioting is only worthy of opprobrium. And most police officers and departments want only to uphold the law and protect all persons regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. So let's discuss policing, police reform, police unions and how we can make this a better nation for all Americans. I interviewed Joel Reinesch, chair of our Criminal Justice Department at DWU and a former police officer and marine. We looked at some interesting approaches taken in Camden New Jersey and Eugene Oregon. I hope you find this a helpful and engaging conversation. Many thanks to Joel for taking this touchy topic on!
MR 1:4 The COVID-19 Pandemic and Food Security in the Developing World: A Conversation with Don Messer and Andrew DeVaney
We are all tired of talking about the pandemic! We've heard stories from every angle imaginable. Yet this episode covers an aspect that is going unreported in the American press, even though it is impacting millions of people around the world. The pandemic, tragic as it is for those in the west, is more tragic by far in the developing world. Don Messer, founder and CEO of the Center for Health and Hope (https://www.centerforhealthandhope.org/) is one of our guests today. Don was president of DWU from 1971-1981 and has been deeply engaged in meeting the needs of those with HIV/AIDS in the developing world. Andrew Devaney is the founder and CEO of AsOne Ministries (https://www.asoneafrica.org/), a development ministry working in several villages in Uganda. I do encourage you to make donations to these two ministries if you want to help meeting desperate needs in this part of the world.
MR 1.3 Don Messer: Memories of George and Eleanor McGovern and Dr. Martin Luther King
I've wanted to interview Don for some time. He's a perfect guest for this podcast and what an interesting life! He was president of Dakota Wesleyan University (1971-1981) and Iliff School of Theology (1981-2000). Don went on to found and direct the Center for Health and Hope which advocates and promotes health (particularly HIV and AIDS) and clean water. He and his wife Bonnie were good friends with George and Eleanor McGovern for many years. Don also marched with Dr. King on several occasions. Don has been passionately engaged in issues of world hunger, and in fact, he and George McGovern wrote a book on world hunger called Ending World Hunger Now: A Challenge to Persons of Faith.
Let me speak personally for a moment. I get a little emotional toward the end. This took me completely by surprise. I hate to cry in public but . . . it happens. I decided not to cut it out. I'm not a person who can cry on demand. I get uncomfortable when others cry in public. But its a part of life and maybe some tears are warranted when there is such sorrow.
MR 1:2 The Curious Case of South Dakota House Bill 1212
This podcast examines a recent experience I had advocating for South Dakota HB 1212 which would have added clergy to the list of mandatory reporters of suspected cases of child neglect and abuse. 45 states already mandate that clergy report suspected cases. Reporting suspected abuse does not mean that anyone gets in trouble. It just means that a qualified professional checks in on the child's welfare. Teachers, counselors, healthcare providers, social welfare workers and many other professions are already mandatory reporters. The Board of Ordained Ministries of the Dakota's Conference of the United Methodist Church says, "House Bill 1212 not only aids in offering protections for our most vulnerable members of society but also frees our clergy to be better disciple-makers who model the teachings of Jesus and speak up on behalf of children." You would think it would be a no-brainer, right? Enter Norman Woods of the Family Heritage Alliance - a conservative organization that "seeks to defend the values that you cherish" - namely the protection of family, faith and freedom. Norm testified against the bill claiming it was an impingement on first amendment protection of the free exercise of religion. Legislators there clearly know Norman and respect his opinion. The bill passed out of the Judiciary committee on a 9/3 vote and was voted down in the House of Representatives on a 30/35 vote. I believe if the FHA hadn't opposed it, it would have passed. I argue in this podcast that the biblical support provided on the FHA website for their work in protecting religious liberties completely misses the point of the two passages on which it is based (1 Peter 2:11-14 and Romans 13:1-3). It is a great example of reading what you want to see into the Bible and ignoring what it actually says. Secondly, the FHA didn't provide any explanation on what exactly makes HB 1212 a 1st amendment curtailment. Norman simply said it was. But there is a very clear argument otherwise (provided in the podcast). Furthermore, as far as we can tell, there has not been a single 1st amendment challenge brought against any of the 45 states where clergy are mandatory reporters. Not a single one. If we were truly dealing with a curtailment of the free exercise of religion, someone would have noticed and brought a challenge. But this is not the case. There is absolutely no good reason to say that HB 1212 threatened 1st amendment religious freedoms. I think it is clear that children are now less safe, less protected, their welfare less prioritized because of this political influence. It is hard to prioritize the welfare of children. It so often gets ignored because people don't want to disturb their church with information about sexual abuse that may occur. So it gets swept under the carpet with the claim, "The state has no business telling the church what to do." As I say in the podcast, the state cannot tell a preacher how to interpret the Bible, but it sure can tell him how fast he can drive on his way to Bible study. In the judiciary hearing, one wise representative asked an opponent of HB 1212, "Can you explain to me exactly how the practice of your faith would change if HB 1212 were passed?" That is the question and the failure to answer proved the point! Churches should place greater important on the protection of children than upon the protection of 1st amendment privilege. The FHA folks are good well-intentioned godly people. They are also unable to see how their fierce attention of protection of religious liberty is blinding them to a deeper calling. So South Dakota continues on its path of prioritizing the needs of adults over those of children in voting down of HB 1212. And it is a curious situation when the misapplication of the 1st amendment supersedes Jesus clear command that we "suffer the little children to come"
BC 1:1 DWU Cares Event
In this episode, I've interviewed Ryan Chase and Anna Schwader about their leadership role in planning/transforming our Great Wesleyan Give Back day. So every year we do a major all-campus service day which is organized by the McGovern Center. This year, with the pandemic, we all expected it to dissipate along with everything else. But it didn't. Ryan, Anna, the Alumni Office, and others organized a virtual event that would combine our service day and our Day of Giving day into a two day event called DWU Cares. It was a tremendous success and everyone had a great time doing service in communities all over the US and even around the world.