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Does God Love War? with Chris Hedges

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Event Name: Does God Love War? with Chris Hedges
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/9/2019
Transcript Version: 1


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anguage they use inaudible
what is the threat that they pose
I think the religious right you know it
what it's done if you look closely is
appropriated language of evangelical
Christians as well as of course the
language of American patriotism but they
have really changed or they have taken
over the institutions and shunted aside
those people within evangelical
institutions who don't buy into this
concept that they have a right to create
a Christian America you I all urge you
to look at Jimmy Carter's book you know
he does a pretty good job of this Jimmy
Carter himself being an evangelical who
when the Southern Baptist Convention was
taken over by these so-called Christian
Reconstructionist these people who
wanted to organize and
and create a drive for political power
but when when all those evangelicals who
didn't buy into this were ruthlessly
shunted aside and you can go back and
read about the the purges that took
place in the Southern Baptist Convention
in 1980 to see this and and and so what
we're seeing is a kind of
cannibalization I mean I don't come out
of the evangelical tradition I come out
I'm a Presbyterian and come out of the
sort of liberal wing of the Presbyterian
Church but these people are not
evangelicals although they look like
evangelicals and and I think that that
that's important to remember that these
people have to have appropriated these
issues that many people care about these
value issues appropriated the language
and and I think the other the other
important point to remember and I think
you've spoken very eloquently about this
is that we do live with a kind of moral
rot I mean the and sometimes there are
most prescient social critics I think
what they what they offer as a solution
is far worse but they're not always
wrong about understanding the problem
but and I just want to say one other
thing I think that the big draw is that
we have created in modern society all
sorts of forms to destroy the human
community so that these people are very
lonely and very isolated you know the
biggest growth of this movement is in
the exurbs
why because there's no community center
there's no connection with their
neighbor they live in these big empty
houses with palladium windows they get
in these big empty cars they drive to
these big soulless offices and they go
home and and I think as writers like
Karl Popper and Hannah Aaron have
understood well and Aaron calls it
atomization as but it's that that
solitude that loneliness that despair
ultimately that is the the essential
element that creates totalitarian
movements this is a movement that and
you know all you have to do is turn on
the 700 club or TBN or you know they
listen to Benny Han or any of these
people who reach tens of millions of
Americans within their households in a
parallel information
system network by which these people
never have to hear reality base news at
all I listen to the language they use
about us I'm just curious I think there
is no III you know I there is reality
base news and and it's it's you don't
see it much anymore on television but
there is such a thing as going out and
reporting a story and and a belief that
other viewpoints are important that
there isn't you know that that not
everything that you report about has to
conform to a law of history that leads
to Armageddon and you know and and and
and much of much of the attack on the
public school system and the effort to
promote the teaching of creationism and
the attack ultimately on the reality
based news media I mean they hate the
New York Times and I was just in a and
and I'm sure we can all critique the New
York Times but the I was just in a
seminar in Missouri where they were
teaching teachers how to teach
creationism and in the middle of it they
went off on a diatribe against the time
so I'm sure was the only Times reader in
the room but what they were doing was
the same thing they were doing by
creationism they were trying to create
this is a system that believes in magic
it's in superstition and signs and
wonders it's not a reality based system
in all reality based systems Inc like
science for instance you know honest
dispassionate intellectual in course it
inquiry and and and you know news
reporting that is not that doesn't carry
a particular is a threat to them and so
they are trying to destroy those
institutions and and and it is not a
matter of wanting their voices heard
it's a matter of wanting that those
reality based systems to be eradicated
but as some people believe that that
that's what the leading to is kind of
borders on being fascism do you think
this is fascism in some form I think
that I thinking the mentality is a
fascist mentality I think if you take
the
the main pillars of fascist ideology yes
I think that they are America's fascist
and humble use of do you think there are
similar fascist leanings and other
religions in Islam and why they're
definitely you know whenever a person
who is informed by faith irrigates to
themselves the gods voice that that's
the most dangerous type of religion one
of the beauties of Islam that I love is
that any scholar that ever gave a relief
at WA they would always end the fatwa by
saying and God knows best you know in
other words this is the best that I can
do at understanding this issue but I'm
human I'm fallible and and and there's
their God speaks through language for
people that believe in revelation and
language is symbols and symbols are open
to more than one interpretation
literalness tradition in religion
historically is not the majority of
religion it's always very small sects
within religion but unfortunately it is
becoming a much larger movement that it
ever was I mean the Catholics are not
literalist they've never been literalist
the the predominant Muslim tradition
both Shia and Sunni is not literalist
tradition I mean there are things that
are taken literally you know because
language is language and something if it
means something it means something just
like law the law is what it stated but
much of the tradition is open to
multiple interpretations and you know
the rabbi's say if you get three rabbis
you get four opinions that there's a lot
of truth in Islam like that you know
that that you really and Islam is closer
to rabbinical Judaism in that it really
does have a very fluid interpretive
community so but the these people do not
have I mean I was just on a Danish
television program
and they brought up this person and he
said there's no such thing as extremist
Islam or moderate Islam there's only
Islam and you're either Muslim or you're
not in other words you're either
following my definition of Islam or
you're not a Muslim that's what he was
really saying and you know my response
to that was my Islam encompasses his
voice I mean I'm not going to negate
that he's a co-religionist but his Islam
does not encompass me you know he's
drawn a very narrow circle and defined
that as Islam my circle is much broader
and I think religion by its nature if it
is not inclusive it's dangerous and and
and these voices that want to arrogate
for themselves the voice of God and tell
us what God is saying without any
ambiguity I don't believe that because I
I boot you know it's very interesting
that in the Islamic tradition before you
can comment on the Quran you have to
master jihad poetry which is pre-islamic
poetry it's actually a prerequisite
before you can interpret the Quran and
and part of the reason is that poetry
precedes revelation all great revelation
is preceded by by poetry and in fact you
know this is in in the Hindu tradition
in India in the Islam even you know if
you consider Plato or Socrates at least
from some kind of prophetic tradition
which many Muslim scholars did
there is no Socrates without Homer I
mean Homer is you know it's he is the
basis for a Socratic thought and the the
beauty of poets is they're never
melodramatic I mean if you look at Homer
and you know William Blake thought we're
never gonna get rid of war until we
changed the foundational book Western
civilization he thought yet to get rid
of the Iliad
but the Iliad could be read as as a
really anti-war testimony and the thing
about Homer that I love is Homer's a
Greek but he never lets you know whether
he's really on the on the Trojan side of
the Greek side he just he won't he won't
do that he won't fall into that trap
and he presents the nobility of the
Trojans and he presents the nobility of
the Greeks and he presents you know he's
actually I think a little harsher on the
Greeks you know if anything
Menelaus I mean there's people in there
that just don't come out looking very
well whereas Hector you know it looks a
lot better than than the Greek leader so
I think when when you teach poetry and I
really believe that that's what we have
to reintroduce into these curricula I
think poetry is a antidote for for
fascism
I think it's an antidote for fanaticism
I really believe that and I'm and people
who know me know that I really believe
in in in teaching literature and and in
spreading literature great literature
for that reason and one of the things
that I've noted is I've never met you
know any of these people that had an
appreciation of literature and somebody
once said to me you said that the
fanatics never liked poetry and then he
quoted some line of poetry which was
doggerel you know from some fanatic and
and I couldn't give him a lesson on what
doggerel was as opposed to really
worthwhile poetry well and I enjoy
reading doggerel everything I write some
doggerel on the issue of literalism
certainly among you know the Christian
literalists is that they're not actually
literalized they're selectively
literalists having studied the Bible
they clearly pick out what is useful to
them and ignore the rest there are many
things in the Bible for instance they
don't believe they don't believe as many
writers in the Hebrew Scriptures wrote
that we have a big dome over us and God
is looking down on us through little
people's cold stars they there are Pat
there are laws in Leviticus that they
don't want to try and enforce such as if
you curse your parents you shall be
executed you know they they create you
know this whole concept of the rapture
is not in the Bible there are
contradictions all throughout
Gospels in the story of the life of
Christ with some Gospels have Christ
being baptized by John the Baptist and
in Luke John's already in prison I mean
it you can't do it I mean the the
writers of the book of Genesis thought
the earth was flat
how can you talk about teaching
creationism in schools among people who
don't understand that we live on a globe
and so clearly there's actually Tom
Thomas Friedman who writes for the New
York Times
yes he clarified that it's actually flat
but I think that those are all tip offs
that there's something else behind this
agenda right and that it is very much in
our interest as Americans who want to
protect the pluralistic and open society
that we live in that we begin to peel
back that religious veneer and uncover
what it is they're actually seeking I
mean look closely at the way they
actually define basic terms of American
democracy such as Liberty you'll hear
them talk a lot about Liberty and
President Bush often speaks in code to
that but when they define Liberty it's
the liberty of being liberated by Jesus
Christ
it is they've taken traditional concepts
that that everyone that is a kind of
common currency in this room and
distorted those concepts so that they
may use the word but they say one thing
it means one thing to us and another
thing to their believers and and in many
ways the book that I'm writing on the
Christian Right is a kind of literary
criticism of the religious right to give
people another vocabulary and another
language by which they can explain and
understand this movement which i think
is very dangerous to our country
obviously I want to
[Applause]
a couple more you said you were saying
earlier that you know that your concept
of Islam is wider and perhaps more
tolerant there's room for and in
relation to what Chris head is talking
about in Christianity I'm wondering
whether people would say similar things
that he's talking about the religious
right people would say about say the
Wahhabis well we don't understand that
but I'm curious what whether you think
that your concept of Islam enclosed them
and if so how do you steal well it does
in that I can't deny they're there from
my faith I mean their their
understanding is not my understanding of
a lot of the same words we're looking at
the same texts and we're coming to very
different conclusions about those texts
so I can't I'm not going to say they're
not Muslim and I actually have some
friends that are from that tradition the
more educated you get I mean there's
there's something that Imam and Matt
city was one of the great Tunisian Imams
they said that he became so
knowledgeable in Islam he rarely saw any
sin because he would always say oh
that's the even of so-and-so you know
that it just there was he found excuses
for people and the Prophet Muhammad
peace be upon him he said the believer
is somebody who looks for excuses for
others and and the hypocrite is the one
who's always looking for the faults and
and you know there's there's a verse
there's a hadith that says that the
believer will look for 70 excuses before
he'll find fault in a person and I had a
friend who was trying to get in touch
with me for a while and I wasn't getting
back to him and he said he'd left me a
message said I'm at 69
ah good I just wanted you know I think
the point that you made about inclusion
is a really important one that you know
having lived much of my life outside the
United States in other faith communities
I fully understood that virtuous and
righteous people arose in all societies
among all faiths to stand up for the
oppressed for me God you know didn't
give any one people one nation and
exclusive ability to understand the
power of the transcendent and this was
of course you know having lived seven
years in the Middle East you know the
the my close contact with Islam
especially how important it was for
Palestinians struggling for their own
dignity and their own survival and and
and I think that that this issue of
inclusion is key because there there
must be a kind of respect for the
various paths that that cultures and
religions have made to struggle with
that experience of the transcendent and
for me that's the greatest testament to
the reality of God and but what this
hard religious right is doing is
excluding that possibility that for them
they are denying my right to be as a
believer and much of my anger against
them comes from that I don't deny their
right to be I don't deny their right to
worship as they see fit and find meaning
in the paths that they take what angers
me and I think when you spoke about the
church names is that that they dismiss
my struggle and the struggle of all
others including people of others faith
as not only worthless but a force of
darkness and and once we cross that line
it's not a matter of dialogue it's it's
a fight for survival
and this becomes the great paradox of
tolerance because I believe in tolerance
I believe tolerance is a great virtue
but if we tolerate the intolerant
then both tolerance disappears and the
intolerant along with it and tolerance
and you know virtue theory is actually a
mean between intolerance and soft
headedness you know the ability of just
not to because even the Buddhists who
are usually they really get off easy
with the world religions because they're
always kind of seen as the good guys and
and you know and I not you know my
mother actually practices Tibetan
Buddhism so our family get together
interfaith dialogues but but one of the
things that whoo suey I think is his
name he was a Chinese Buddhist teacher
from the 7th century um he said when
enlightened beings tolerate evil and
allow it to spread they are no longer
enlightened beings they're demons and
and the the Buddhist actually do have a
just war theory I mean they believe that
there there are times when it's actually
right to to take up arms monks are not
supposed to do that but but Buddhist
laypeople are actually allowed to do
that so and that and that I got that
from dr. Thomas Cleary who's you know
just a phenomenal Buddhist scholar and a
resident of the Bay Area but you know
unfortunately religion is often used as
a justification for for war and and but
I mean the the the most fundamental
verse about war in the Quran actually
states that it permission is granted to
fight for those who are being aggressed
upon and had it not been granted mosques
synagogue in 'z with
synagogues temples churches and mosques
would be destroyed and so the idea is
really it's the defense of the sacred
that that is something worth defending
and there's a verse in the Quran that
says party to whom at acuña fatahna
fight those who are aggressing on you
until persecution ends you know the idea
of religious persecution which is a lot
of what this country is about was was
about that I mean people look on the the
Puritans as as a really negative group
of people and and there's some negative
things about that but they you know when
they when they came here they were
fleeing a persecution that was going on
in England and it took a little while
but if you look at the founding father I
mean I find it really interesting that
they were so set on this issue this one
single issue and they really wanted a
plurality of face and and if you look at
some of the early documents when they
were when they were discussing the
question during the Continental Congress
of what they're called religious tests
which is where they wanted to test
people to make sure they were
Trinitarians before they could hold
public office but one of the things that
one of the arguments that was made was
if we don't have religious tests it's
it's possible that a Mohammedan or a Jew
could actually become president of the
United States and ayrton who was from
Zizek South Carolina actually said this
recorded I'm missus in our you know
founding documents he said if the the
American people ever chose a Mohammedan
to be President it would be for one of
two reasons the country had become
Mohammedan and or they found him to be
the most upright and acceptable person
for the job and in that case that was
their prerogative so the fact that they
discussed that issue is really
interesting to me and I think it gives
lie to allow the Religious Right who
quote people like Patrick Henry you know
Patrick Henry's I really he was I mean
we just
had his great-great
great-great-great-great granddaughter
was just here a Virginia gray Henry she
stayed at my house one night so and I
and I always kind of chide her on that
you know what a great grandfather you
had cuz give me liberty or give me death
right every American's supposed to know
that not that maybe did mean that type
of Liberty that the fundamentals were
talking about but um Patrick Henry was
after the Revolution you don't hear
about him anymore because he those type
of people are completely marginalized
people like Thomas Paine was too radical
do you know because he was totally anti
religion and Patrick Henry was too
radical because he was too religious you
go to the top and and so I really think
people fail to recognize how weary they
were of that encroachment of religion
and the reason they that a lot of
historians believe john adams lost the
presidency his his second term to
jefferson was because he was too
religious he started these thanksgiving
days where everybody in the country was
supposed to fast and americans didn't
like that you brought up this issue and
that's one of the questions from the
audience i'm going to bring that up when
you were talking chris up there and your
opening remarks we came across sort of
as being completely so anti-war and that
you do not believe this any so the
question really is is there a just war
do you believe in a just war and i know
you've said before in your writings that
you're not a pacifist so can you just
talk a little bit about that idea with
where you come from
i am i just have problems with the term
just war because it appears to give a
moral quality to war i think that there
are wars that are inevitable sitting
around Sarajevo at the height of the
siege with the people in the city and
having a discussion about pacifism would
have you know evoked gales of laughter
you know the fact is you know we knew
that the Serbs were a few hundred yards
away we knew what they've done in the
Drina Valley we knew that if they broke
through those lines at best people would
be displaced and many of them would be
killed and they would lose their homes
that was not a question
so one fully understood that very
natural reaction in the case of Bosnia
for people to pick up a weapon and
defend their families their community
and their city but that didn't save them
from the poisonous effects of war and
and I think that's what I I think that
that part of that mythology of wars
being glorious and and or that you know
the the way this war was sold to us that
it's you know just a big video game that
that disconnect from the reality of war
allows us to fall into morasses
such as the one we've fallen into Iraq I
think we always have to understand what
war is that war when we carry out war
it's always tragic and it always is
corrupting to the soul even if it's done
in what we could quote on Poe call to
Just Cause there I wanted to reinforce
what you'd said about the the Jewish
tradition about blood and because
there's a prophetic hadith that that the
Prophet Muhammad was a lot of said he
actually said that everyone will have
room on the day of judgment except
people that have spilt blood the and
that's actually the first thing
according to some tradition that people
are judged on and there's a very
interesting Imam Shahani who's a
theologian early theologian he in his
section on jihad he mentions a very
intriguing tradition about David that
when he was building the temple every
time he would build he would come back
the next day and the rocks were all they
were back where they started and so he
asked God to explain to him and he said
you're building this on blood
and he said but it was blood that was
shed in your path and he said it was
still blood that was shed and so you
know Imam Xiao Tong Xiao Tong he says
about that he said this is a proof that
shedding blood is never a good thing in
the eyes of God and that even when it's
done and and has some legitimacy like in
self-defense and things like that
something is taken from the the people
that shed blood and that restoration is
part of what religion is is very good at
is trying to restore and renew the
person by you know the rituals that are
done that people do to purify but it's
that process of a tone which I think is
real I think that you know that's why
you find I think the people who can cope
best are those people who after being
forced in that situation where they had
to take life really make an effort after
war to dedicate their lives to
protecting and conserving life and and I
think that I very healthy would you know
Vietnam and I and I'm really troubled
about these young people that are going
to come back from Iraq but we forget one
of the things are blinded out in iron
John was that there have been more
suicides from Vietnam vets than people
then people died in the war 54,000 we've
been more suicides and you know my
brother used to drive a cab in in the
city and and who told me many times he'd
picked these people up at night late at
night at bars and he would drive and
they would weep the whole way back to
their home and tell him about what they
did in Vietnam and there's still people
out there you know 20 percent of our
homeless or Vietnam vets you know I mean
there's there's a whole generation that
we haven't really dealt with very well
and the pain and suffering that goes
with that which is is I was I was
telling
Kail earlier that I met a guy in Memphis
and you know I spent about half hour
with him and you know I just asked him
at the end eval you said you were you in
Vietnam he said yeah a nice
you're in combat he said yeah and it was
just something there was a look in his
in his eyes you know it's I mean there's
there's there's a look that some people
get that just have seen a little bit too
much you know things that they shouldn't
have seen and I I just think that we
fail to really understand how
traumatizing these events are and you
know a lot of these people are going to
need a lot of help from us from the
community you know in reintegrating them
one of the things that happened in
Afghanistan was that after the Russians
you know people forget 1.5 million
Afghan people died - 13 thousand Russian
soldiers I mean it's you know pirate
victory but one of the things that was
done is it is that this you know the CIA
went there and supported this this whole
effort and gave them RPGs and you know
all this weaponry and when it was all
over there was no rebuilding there was
it we just washed our hands this country
washed our hands of that event and left
these people there to their own devices
you know really traumatized people that
just saw an incredible amount of
suffering and and it hardens people I
mean you know I worked in an intensive
care unit and the first time you stick a
person it's very difficult you know but
you just you get inured to it and and
you know inflicting putting that IV I'm
an 18 gauge needle it's always asked for
a 21 gauge needle or something he chose
it those 18 gauge ones hurt um let me
we've got a couple time for a couple
quick questions I want to work these in
you both have you know Chris you've
written from the occupied territories
and and West Bank and Gaza and and you
both have studied this issue quite a bit
is this and it's not a trick question
but it's is this really about religion
is that a big part of that of the
conflict between Israelis and
Palestinians or is it as a lot of people
believe simply a territorial issue I
mean I tend to agree with a massage
it's a real-estate issue and it needs to
be sorted out I personally believe that
the
the Jewish community today living in
Israel most of them are not from the
original occupying generation and I
think that that that needs to be
understood that a lot of these people
were born and raised in that country of
known no other country but that country
and I think it's it's time for people to
yeah it's just such a complex issue and
I don't even you know we can go there I
know dr. bezu hands here as well so I
mean he's certainly a lot more informed
about than me but I I do believe that
religion has obviously some component
because the the Jewish claim is a
religious claim even though a lot of
Jews there I mean I think it's around
you know 60 or 70 percent are considered
secular Jews but the Orthodox Jews don't
even recognize there at least one large
branch of the Orthodox Jewish community
doesn't recognize the state because the
Messiah has to bring about the the
formation so it's a complicated issue
but Christian want to jump in there
you've written about recently about in
about the issue that lies within the
Christians and yeah and and and well
real estate is huge I mean you know
Palestine was a Muslim country from the
7th century until 1948 and most Israelis
have terrible historical amnesia in
confronting that issue the
I think it's an issue about real estate
but it's also an issue of repression for
those of us who have to work in places
like Gaza and watch these people be
stripped of their dignity and humiliated
the notion that you know take a list
drop a list of the restrictions imposed
on South African blacks during the
apartheid regime and draw up a list of
the restrictions imposed on Palestinians
and it's pretty much the same with the
difference being that as far as I know
the South Africans never sent attack
helicopters and f-16s to bomb townships
I think that the American supply
american-supplied and I think that the
what has happened you know when I first
went to Gaza in 1988 Hamas was a
nonentity and what happened is that
people have been reduced to you know
subsistence living at this point would
be kind there's been a kind of African
ization of the Gaza Strip with people
struggling now to live on less than $2 a
day they can't move they don't have you
know potable water often running water
it is just become a desperate desperate
situation and one of the things that
strikes me when I'm in the refugee camps
and and watching the power of Islam is
that everything has broken down in terms
of structure and control but people get
up for the morning prayers five times a
day they don't have jobs they don't have
enough to eat chip we're seeing terrible
malnourished now among Palestinian
children but it is the structure of
Islam in its various forms and it has
various forms in Gaza just as it does
throughout the Muslim world gives a kind
of foundation to the lives of these
people and holds them together and it
just breaks my
are to you know and I think it breaks
the heart of all of us who have spent a
lot of time in the territories because
what what the Israelis did to Gaza they
are now doing to the West Bank this is
really about breaking the back of the
Palestinians in the West Bank and again
reducing them to the same struggle to
survival that we see in Gaza and and and
and where do people finally turn in that
desperation
so is it religious no I mean I think
that that you know the the wars that
I've covered are usually manufactured
Wars they're built out of terrible
repression and terrible injustice and
terrible abuse but of course they often
times especially when people are pushed
to the extremes that's all they have
left to cling to unfortunately they
often cling to very apocalyptic visions
and and that huge religious social and
political center gets swept away I'm
going to leave you guys with one last
quick question that some people have
asked here and I think it's a good way
to end the evening what how would you
what advice do you have what would you
tell people who about fighting these
strains within our own religions and and
how do we speak of how do we affect
anything what what's not looking for
practical advice particularly about how
to think about this maybe well I mean
I've said this many times and I do
believe it um Jonathan Swift said that
we have just enough religion to hate one
another and not enough to love one
another and I really believe that what
we're suffering from in our religious
traditions is a lack of religious
understanding I think when you really
delve deeply into religion you arrive at
very similar centers and primarily you
know the Dhammapada which is that one of
the earliest Buddhist texts said that
hate can never be fought with hate but
it must be fought with love and this is
an eternal truth and there's a prophetic
tradition that says none of you truly
believes until you love for your fellow
man or any woman
what you love for yourself and one of
the things about I spoke about pseudo
speciation and Guantanamo zhing others
that the antidote for that is to
recognize that we are one self we come
from oneself and the Quran says that
your creation was from oneself and your
resurrection will be of one self and to
see oneself in the other you know that
this is a part of me John Donne said no
man is an island but each is a part of
the of the main that we we are united in
a common bond of humanity and there are
demons amongst us and and that is
without a doubt but they're not the norm
you know they're there they're very
unusual people I don't know how they got
that way but they're out there and
they're in their very dark and and
they're difficult I mean they cause for
me a very disturbing resonance you know
just in trying to understand what that
is but I really feel that and teaching
that to our children you know live the
dream I mean this is a school you know
celebrating Martin Luther King and and
and dreaming moral imagination is very
important and teaching our children that
it does not have to be this way every
great movement of social change in human
history came from people imagining
something different than what was and I
think we have to teach our young people
to imagine a world with social
institutions that engender human
flourishing because we we've inherited
social institutions a lot of us don't
even know where they came from but we've
inherited social institutions that have
become very dystopic they're very
dysfunctional and and I really think
that that we as as as as thinking
citizens we're not subjects I mean that
this not yet the this this you know this
country is based on citizenry and
citizenry is a response
ability you know we were answerable to
what goes on you know we really are and
that's why we owe it to our children
I've got five children and I owe it to
my children not to become a cynic not to
become a pessimist I can't do that I
can't do that for their sake and for all
our children's sake because they remind
us of what's right in the world and and
and so I really for our children's sake
we have to help them imagine something
very different than what it is
[Applause]
Chris I wanted to just ask you the same
question but with one observation in a
lot of our writings and and what you
said tonight also you seem to have a
sense of despair and that's one thing
perhaps you can address how do how do we
overcome that I have despair that I got
pretty depressed realize I did too I
write I write a happy book I have
despair because I hear the radical
fringes of my country in my society
speak in hate talk and having covered
conflicts I always know that you first
get people to speak in the language of
hate and violence before you get them to
act carry out acts of hate and violence
that language is not benign and why is
the radical fringe of the Christian
Right fighting hate crimes legislation
because then they know the things they
say about secular humanists and gays and
lesbians and Jews and Muslims and and
nominal Christians can often be defined
as hate talk and I think that that
tolerance as we spoke before is
extremely important but there are
moments and I think we have reached a
moment in our society when those of us
who care about a tolerant society have
to stand up and fight for it and we have
to say that that there are things that
you cannot say you cannot call for the
eradication of people of other faiths or
other lifestyles or other ways of being
you cannot demonize them you can't
dehumanize them which is really of
course what they're doing they're
dehumanizing them and you know there was
a great quote by dr. King you know and
it's probably fitting that we end with
his words he said I can never be who I
ought to be until you are who you ought
to be and you can never be who you ought
to be until I am who I ought to be
[Applause]
thank you so much
[Applause]
you