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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 18, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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: is horrible your we can't continue to have these things happening. but the mindset that the police installed sometimes, sometimes in their officers really lends
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to this problem perpetuating itself. so please officials need to think about a different way to train their officers so they don't overreact to innocent circumstances so tragically. >> following on that question doesn't help to have police in the community and not just driving by in a car? cops used to walk the beat and get to know their neighbors. does that helped other community police officers knowing who the residents are? >> i think that is the essence of what we want to eventually get you. is that police officers know the people in the communities that the police and understand that they are people, not statistics. they are not willie hortonized. they are people with people just like any other group of people. and police are there to protect and serve these people. we understand their job in the
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context, all lot of good things get done. >> you talked about colin kaepernick's protest during the playing of the national anthem. that's extended to some of the professional, college and high school athletes. do you believe this is a good thing? what do you believe they should give to push more tangible solutions to the problem they are drawing attention to the? >> the only way you can do that is to get involved in the political process. i'm coding president obama. so times i've seen it and he says don't get mad, boat. so we have to participate. we have to people from minority communities that are willing to run for public office and become lawyers and district attorneys and police officers or serve on the police commission. people from minority communities have to be involved that way. if they can't be involved in that way bad things will continue to happen.
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when they are involved that way, their voices heard and their community gets the type of service that they should get from the police department. >> question from the audience. is there too much pressure do not speak out, too much fear about not speaking out the? >> there's a lot of fear for a special professional athletes. they think they're going to ruin their brand. we have a great and signing example -- shining example of muhammad ali who was one to sacrifice three of its primary years as the world heavyweight champion because of the fact that we are fighting an unjust and illegal war in vietnam, and he had to make a choice. he made the right choice. people didn't agree with him at first but within a couple of years, both the american public and the supreme court agreed with them. we did the right thing with regard to vietnam but it took some sacrifice and it took
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somebody with the courage to stand up to him. this is what we have to deal with now. the issues are that vital and our country sorely in need of people with the type of courage and vision. >> you talked about muhammad ali who lost his title and probably millions of dollars doing what he did. you yourself have lost some endorsements for speaking out. to you believe this change is the completion for athletes and start to speak up because there's less of a price to pay? >> i don't know if there's a less of a price to pay but i think the athletes are starting to see that their value and what they can achieve on a positive side is worth the risk. my good friend michael jordan has decided to commit, and he's given some money to the naacp or legal defense fund, it is some of the police organizations in north carolina.
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i don't know if you remember several years ago he just wanted to be, to opt out of it, saying that republicans by tennis shoes also. well, they are still by his tennis shoes and he's able to involve himself politically. so it's not as bad as it sounds. you just have to have the courage to make a stand. >> we've been talking a lot about celebrities. let's talk about ordinary people. what does it take to get some people like neighbor to neighbor conversations, to get out of their comfort zone and actually engage in the conversations? what can we do to have them step out what they may not feel comfortable? >> gee, i'm the wrong person to ask that because i don't have any choice. i feel that i have to do it, but other people, they might have some issues.
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something you have to discuss. but if you care about your community and your going to be silent, i think that's a cowards way out. i would like to see more americans with the guts to speak their minds and find out what actually is going on and try to help activate some real remedies. >> a lot of questions. let's go to the election for a few minutes. how does the current -- [laughter] i thought that was the reaction is going to give. how has the current presidential election affected relations and attended and was pleased to understand each other? >> i think the current election has really pulled the scar off the racial divide in america. mr. trump has said a number of things that really are disappointing from an american presidential candidate with regard to raise and the value of
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various communities. what he has to say about muslims and people coming into our country as immigrants. he mentioned mexicans, but some of the things he has to say are just reprehensible and have really course and the dialogue here in our country. >> kareem abdul-jabbar, children of the national press club our in our video library at taking you now to a live forum on political polarization and will of pluralism. live coverage on c-span2. >> we welcome our c-span viewers and those of you who are joining us via well, thank you all for being here, i think we can all agree is a timely and much-needed discussion. about one of the most challenging questions of our time and that is of course how will we live with our deepest
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differences? we are very pleased to cosponsor this event with the federalist society for law and public policy studies. i'd like you to please join me in acknowledging jean mayer who is the president of the federalist society who is here with us today somewhere. there he is in the back. [applause] modestly in the back next to the window. and a special thank you to the john templeton foundation for helping to make this event possible. david greene austin director the foundations freedom and free markets program i think is also in the house. i haven't seen david but if he is i want to acknowledge him. let's acknowledge the john samples and foundation for their support. [applause] at the heart of our mission at the religious freedom center is a commitment to prepare leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to uphold religious freedom for all.
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and work across differences for the common good. so in our audience today there are 27 religious and civic leaders currently enrolled in our religious freedom courses. they represent 22 different traditions of religion and belief. they come to us from nine different states. i'd like us to the role in our courses to please stand and be recognized. [applause] >> that's our future. we are thinking carefully about how to prepare leaders in the various sectors, journalism, education, and religion to carry this vision forward of one nation for many people, many faiths, freedom for every human being. now let me turn the podium over to lee otis who did so much to
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make this program possible. she's senior vice president of the federalist society and she'll introduce our keynote speaker. thank you very much. lee? [applause] >> thank you so much, charles. and let me extend our warm thanks and appreciation to the newseum institute and its religious freedom committee for hosting this splendid event. i would like to particularly thank charles as well as the executive director, stephanie, a fellow here, and actually have been who have done an extraordinary job -- ashley hampton -- in making this all come together. i would also like to thank the
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john templeton foundation for its generous funding of this event, which is a culmination of series of book events and other activities that the federalist society has, faculty division has been hosting over the past three years. i want to welcome everybody on behalf of the federalist society. we don't have a shorter movie but i will just say one minute about the federalist society, an organization of conservative and libertarian's interested in the current state of the legal order. it's founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is and not what it should be.
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and we seek to promote awareness of these principles and further application through our various activities. and one of the core ways in which we do this is by sponsoring events where there is we hope lively and civil discussion on various topics among people who do have significant and important disagreements. so this event is a particularly splendid opportunity for us to do that, we hope. i would also like to say, to briefly introduce our keynote speaker, john inazu. job is to sally d. danforth distinguished professor of law
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and religion and a professor of political science at washington university in st. louis. he is a graduate of both duke university and of the university of north carolina at chapel hill. so this may tell us something about how he is, to live peaceably among people with whom he is chief differences. [laughter] his scholarship focuses on the first amendment freedom, on the first amendment freedoms of speech, assembly and religion and related questions of legal and political theory. most significantly for present purposes he is the author of a terrific book, "confident pluralism: surviving and thriving through deep difference." john? [applause] >> well, good morning. it's a great pleasure to be with you all today, and i like to extend my gratitude to both the
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newseum and the federalist society for having me and sponsoring this event, laurie for moderate to the distinguished panelists who have taken the time to engage with my book and be with us today. in these brief introductory comments i would like to set out the basic ideas of confident pluralism and then offer some reflections on the challenges that confront today. the need for confident pluralism begins with the recognition of the deep and a resolvable differences around us. we don't choose to have these differences are crowded, we encounter them in the world as we find it. ic-3 responses to this challenge of different stakeholders. chaos, control or coexistence. chaos is not sustainable in the long term. it's all flat as a political possibility. it leads boldly to violence that destroys lives.
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15 years ago is that am a pentagon office a few miles from your is people who saw only the possibly of chaos who smashed a plane into a building, or just as a matter of survival. control finds its logical end either in theocracy or totalitarianism. some people in our country are lured by the possibility of control. we've seen this in the nostalgia in the nativism from some on the right. we also see in the moralistic assurances by some on the left who believe opposing viewpoints are simply bigoted and ignorant and, therefore, worthy of suppression. neither chaos nor control represents the best of this country or its people. i've been writing lately about this third post of the of coexistence to what i call confident to listen. confident pluralism argues we must and can live together peaceably in spite of our deep
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differences over politics, race, religion, sexual and other important matters. we can do so in two interrelated ways, by insisting on constitutional commitments that are to protect difference comment by embodying practices or relationships across differences. these two dimensions, the legal and personal, are interrelated. the inclination to shut certain viewpoints down to the acceptable bounds of civil society begins with personal antipathy but it is with legal prohibition. it's feasible to extend the laws and ultimately an effort to turn the law against them. the legal and personal dimensions of confident pluralism both require significant reform and -- in our present-day. we need the ability to form and sustain groups of our choosing.
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we need the ability to meet and protest in public spaces, and we need fair access to some form of government funding to sustain those possibilities. our current constitutional approaches to the right of association, the public forum, and certain kinds of public funding by both under theorized and underprotected. we must insist that the people we entrust to govern us on our basic constitutional principles that protect difference and since. the confident pluralism also depends on us in the everyday decisions that we make without the constraints of law in what we say and how we interact with others. in other words, the shortcomings of our civic practices hours to overcome. to do so we might focus on three dispositions, tolerance, humility and patience. tolerance recognize that people are for the most part free to
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pursue their own beliefs and practices even those we find morally upchuck shareable. tolerance does not require embracing all beliefs is equally correct. instead of an anything goes kind of tolerance, we can embrace a practical and enduring difference for the study -- the sake of codependence. not all ideas are equally valid or morally harmless. it does mean respecting people aiming for fair discussions and alone for the space to differ about serious matters. the second disposition issue military which recognize not only that others will find our beliefs and practices objectionable, but also the we can't always prove why we are right and they're wrong. some of our most important beliefs stem from contested premises that others do not share. the third is patients. patience and courage is efforts to listen, understand and
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empathize. that does not mean we ultimately accept a different viewpoint. effectively turn out that patience leads us to a deeper realization of the anger or harm of an opposing view. but we can at least have posture that moves along others before we even care what they have to say. tolerance, humility and patience help us build relational bridges across differences that help us to find common ground can't even when we can't agree on the common good. but finding common ground begins with acknowledging the reality of the differences between us. without the ability or the avenues to air real disagreements, genuine dialogue occurs less frequently and contested assumptions go unchallenged your tolerance he comes a demand for acceptance. utility is supplanted by moral
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certainty, and patience loses to outrage. i were our failure to practice genuine dialogue across real differences, ultimately deprives us of our capacity even to such dialogue. we see this across a range of issues but perhaps not as he did currently as our differences about race. people in this country deeply split about the causes and solutions to our current challenges. in some cases whether these challenges even exist. this digit is particularly evidenced in the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. in the midst of our differences about race and other important matters, we also confront a crisis of authority that feels relatively new. the weakening of major institutions across politics, education, the media and religion, the demise of truly national leaders in any of these
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sectors, and the rise of social media have all contributed to this crisis of authority. they have created a lot of mac ththe guitar do now know who or even want to be these days. the fracturing of authority and institutions poses significant obstacles to obtaining what i've called and the book a modest unity, a minimal amount of consensus and sense of belonging that we the people of this country need to believe and experience in order to make possible confident pluralism. so is there any place for hope in this vision? some people have accused me of asserting a naïve optimism in confident pluralism. one reviewer who is otherwise fairly positive about the book nevertheless argued that it was quote doomed to immediate irrelevance. [laughter] because it lacks an audience that can comprehend and respond to it. i don't think that's right.
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for all of the challenges that lie ahead, and there are many, i remain hopeful. one reason for hope is that the american experiment in pluralism for all of its failures and shortcomings has actually worked pretty well for much of our nation's history. this is not the first time we've confronted racial tensions, divergent views of morality, religious differences and course record. in many ways the success of the american political experiment has always required finding and maintaining a modest unity against great odds. second, we have a lot of smart, caring and creative people in this country. this election season has not highlighted our vast. [laughter] but we ought not to forget the everyday americans who are doing a great deal of good outside of the spotlight. we needed help each other stories about this good work, the work that harnesses our collective imagination towards a
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shared future. one challenge we confront in imagining a shared future is that some people are still looking to the past. the fractured republic describes a deep nostalgia from both left and right that longs for a bygone era, albeit different era for each side, in which the world seemed to work better. of course many people in this country are not interested in any kind of retrieval project, on back to the good old days is not a good bet if your race, gender, religion or sexuality asia outside of the local consensus that ruled those times. this tension between those who long for the past and those who have happily transcended it is one of the inherent tensions in a pluralistic society. the more we recognize the actual differences among us, unless consensus were able to assume. if all observed even if the
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claims are correct, there time down solutions do not help us today. emerging immigration, social media, the global economy, technology and other facets of our life make political solutions of past eras both antiquated and unworkable. we need new solutions and new possibilities, and that will require a greater imagination and anything we have seen in recent months. part of our collective imagination begins with actual conversations. this morning's gathering is one such example. in some ways it and ask a confident pluralism by drawing together people from very different backgrounds to talk with issues of common concern. not everybody has the luxury of devoting two hours on a tuesday morning to such a discussion, and that means we have to be creative in how we facilitate the conversations.
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we have to put time, money and effort into creating efforts that are scalable, portable and realistic. my hunch is these efforts will work best on a local apple and feel happen only through institutions -- local level. that's one reason part of the constitutional vision of confident pluralism is to strengthen protections for the private institutions of civil society so that they can flourish on their own terms. inevitably, this is that a protection will benefit groups that you and i dislike, even those we find immoral, and a list of groups will differ. that is part of the rally of pluralism. this diversity of groups and ideas comes with a tremendous upside. it offers the possibility of better and more creative solutions are working across difference and of navigating the challenges of pluralism without succumbing to the spirit that leads to chaos or the fear that
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leads to control. this isn't the end of relatively modest vision but it is an important one. confident pluralism does not give us the american dream but it might help avoid the american nightmare. that is a possibility for which we cannot lose hope. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you so much, john. let me invite our panelists to come up to the stage. while they are doing so let me introduce our distinguished moderator. lauri goodstein is the much decorated national religion correspondent for the "new york times" where he has been for nine years. she previously was a reporter for the "washington post." much of the reporting focuses on how americans live out their
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faith in an era of increasing religious diversity and conflicts, and about the limits of religious expression. she's received many awards for reporting and she's a graduate of berklee college of the columbia school of journalism. but returned is not over to lauri. [applause] >> thank you. it's really a delight to be here to try to -- some the issues that we're all confronting and certainly in my reporting, i confront. hearing john's discussion, my reaction was similar to something my mother said when she first met my fiancé many years ago, which is what's not to like? you know, it's a vision of the
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country i think is possible but how do we get there? so that's what we are here to do today is to do some of the heavy lifting, the hard work, one of the obstacles in the way to confident pluralism and that various assumptions and concrete issues that are now blocking? so to unpack this a little bit of want to introduce really a wonderful panel we have today. i think i will go from close to me and to the end. big panel. kimiko. yuval levin is the editor of national affairs, senior editor of the new atlantis magazine and a contributing editor to the national review and "the weekly standard." he was a member of the white house domestic policy staff and executive director of the presidents council on bioethics. john we've already had introduced so we are familiar with the john.
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charles haynes should be introduced, vice president of the newseum institute, founding director of the religious freedom center and a senior scholar at the first amendment center. he writes and speaks extensively on religious liberty and religion in american public life. is also a go to person for journalists trying to clarify religious freedom issues. he's best known for his work on first dynamic issues in public schools out and three of his guide on religious liberty were disputed by the u.s. department of education to every public school in the nation trying to solve issues, all kinds of issues that school administrators face. meira neggaz is the executive director of the institute for social policy and understanding. before joining, she was the
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first executive director of wings in guatemala. there she brought the organization from its beginnings to become a national leader in the health sector and she was the guatemala country representative. and then we have brett mcdonnell, but dorsey and whitney chair at the university minnesota law school. he teaches and writes in the areas of business association, corporate finance, law and economics securities regulation, mergers and acquisitions, contract and legislation. and perhaps he thinks the reason he is here with us today is an article he wrote just last year in the arizona law review that is called the liberal case for hobby lobby. and then finally we have tried 12 -- garnette cadogan who is a visiting fellow at the university of virginia.
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each editor at large for nonstop metropolis, a new york city outlet, and coeditor of the forthcoming harlem renaissance. his current research explores the promise and perils of urban life, his vitality and inequality of cities, and the challenges of pluralism. his article, walking while black, has been widely read and discussed. so welcome to you all your i wanted to start with a little bit of diagnostics so that we're all on the same page. so we can we diagnose the problem a little more clearly. when we talk about the problems with to listen and religious liberty, can't teach if you describe perhaps a particular contemporary issue that has gotten us to this situation that is perhaps different and even what the united states faced in the past?
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so that we are all, you know, we are aware of what's on your minds and how you diagnose the problem. yuval, do you want to begin? >> thank you. and thank you to the newseum and the federalist society for doing this. i would say one overwhelming sense that is so powerfully felt in this election is that the bu -- has to do with her subject is simply the sense of frustration within the ways in which our institutions seem to us to be dysfunctional. it seems as though we are at each other's throats all the time over everything. every question becomes a federal case, often literally, and we somehow lost the ability to resolve differences in the ways that our media institutions have often enabled us to do it. i think a lot of people have a sense this is being done on purpose by people they disagree with. one example of that from one side is the sense that a lot of
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religious traditionalists in america have, that the obama administration picks a fight with them over religious liberty by creating by choice, not in the law, requirement in the affordable care act that raised this divisive issue of whether employers need to fund house insurance that includes contraception is an some abortifacients. the argument about that is not only the substance but the needless us o of it, the sense some is picking a fight and forcing this issue. on the other side i think you see a lot of instances where people feel as though it isn't necessary for business owners to suddenly raised objections, say, to the type of event for which they're baking a cake. they never asked for in the past the edit ask you, is your daughter well behaved before make her birthday cake? and now suddenly there are fights about these things, and it seems to people on the other side as though those sites are being picked on purpose.
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i think that's part of the since we live with now on this question of pluralism, that is not just that our society is diverse and short lived together since as a are picking fights with each other and drawing actively to create situations that divide us. i do think that's part of the since we have that makes this time in our political life and our common life in general so hard to take. >> i think there's a challenge of sort of a special feeling that goes on the pluralism is good for my people and my interest but not in a social for others. so it's a shame of an argument if it only works to one's own benefit. there are a lot of people out there from different perspectives the argument that invent a related sense, that it is me and my group that is most under siege, most left out, denied the protections of the
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law. especially across ideological divides. so there's a growing sense of urgency for oneself and the lessening of in the building to see the importance of goods and rights for other people. >> we have the data on that even recently. pew did a poll on religion and freedom when you look at du have sympathy for people who are on the other side? for instance, can business owners deny service to gay couples? and can you see the other point of view. and that poll found that, in fact, they very few americans have any empathy for people who disagreed with them. >> i would echo what john just said, having negotiated nine s.o.f.a. agreement on religion in schools over the past couple decades and also work in local
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communities struggling to find common ground, ma and most of the times finding common ground, i would say we're very capable of doing this and we are doing it anyways that are not reported or discussed widely, unfortunately. so there's a lot of good news out there. i think what's missing at least in our national conversation is trust. all of the agreement we reached have to be built on trust, since there's going to be fairness in the process and, of course, there will be winners and losers as there are in any public policy dispute. but if people are treated fairly in the process and their voices heard, they tend to accept the outcome. but building that trust i think is difficult in the current environment and that's i think a great challenge we have the. we need a unity in the country but it has to be a unity that is not at the expense of our differences as it has been for
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much about of our history frankly. it has to be a unity that's in the interest of our differences, our diversity. that's what confident pluralism is about, decided what it is that unites us in order to help us negotiate the deep divisions that are very important in our lives. we establishing a shared vision of the common good, should understand that there'll of religion and public life is very deeply important if we're going to get through this. religious freedom now is a contentious word, a phrase that many people think of, signifies bigotry. others think it's been denied at every turn. so to reestablish a shared vision or what that means and for what the appropriate role for religion is in public life is i think an urgent necessity as we grow more religiously
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diverse. >> my sort of role here is as the head of a research organization that does research both for and about the american muslim community. so my lens on this will be with that background. i think one of the greatest challenges to religious pluralism is fear. fear is very strong factor. i think in a way that american muslims in particular are treated come and sort of their place in society. fear, neuroscientific studies have shown that fear kind of allows people to do things that they might not normally accept any normal society. so things like authoritarianism become much more palatable when someone is scared. and so i think we need to disentangle that from some of the other issues. because fear sort of allows people to step outside the box and say, you know what, i
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totally agree with religious pluralism and not when it comes to this group because i'm kind of scared of them. we are going to do things that it can outside of the box. this fear has played into, for example, the debate over the headscarf, or the bikini at the beach where many people thousand outward expression of the faith. for others they fear it the way to cover up mass ammunition at a beach. and this allowed sort of an authoritarian decision to ban something that for many people is just a normal everyday piece of clothing. so i would say fear. >> i distinguish a couple different types and layers of religious liberty, and there's a debate going on on all of those levels. the most basic level there's individual speech and assembly,
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the ability of individuals to express their religious beliefs, groups likely to come together to practice. something china stressed the law. that is relatively well established in this country but something going on in moscow around the country raised some concerns. there's a level that looks at, that discrimination, that discrimination that explicit discrimination that gives particular religious groups are intentionally discrimination against religious groups which is again to my mind deeply disturbing that we are seeing some of that happening in the election today, the proposed ban on muslim immigration. that's an example of sort of explicit intentional discrimination. i think it is very troubling to me. so i have the highest level, the one that decides the attention,
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the religious freedom restoration act picks of this is dealing with cases where non-discriminate on their face laws but laws which in practice burden the actual practice of religion for some of the so is the hardest one can erase a lot of questions and they will dig into some of those like they dated, anti-gay is one area that is a major debate. it's a hard case but i do think people want to my side of the political aisle, progressives, liberals, whatever you want to call us, i think apple back on the traditional strong support for that principle of religious freedom, the hobby lobby case which i've written about, the reaction of people on the left was very disturbing to me, the indiana rfra law. so that's comfort area for me because there really aren't hard, and i think part of the
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reason there's such debate is because a really hard, it really is hard to know how to strike that balance but both sides in the debate don't seem to recognize in many cases the strength of argument on the other side. >> one of the things that's been on the can you all hear me? is the increase in numerical fact of pluralism, that the this increase towards citizen urban areas -- [inaudible] that think differently that speak a different language than you. so what is happening in many instances, universitie universir debates in the name of buildings or seen it in debates and a civil war monument. we have seen it even in our awareness of things happening abroad whether brexit or refugee
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crisis, is how to coexist in public space? and what does it mean to coexist in the shared space, and a much more shared vision and public space? and this issue -- a loss of the unlike anything we've experienced before. these are questions we've been asking for some time, but it feels as bush in the last two or three years -- just the velocity. should we have woodrow wilson spent on rebuilding at princeton? should we, should we have certain refugees, in and what do we think of brexit? so all these issues having to do with coexistence in public space in an environment which shares much more pluralistic world for
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which are more likely -- [inaudible] so much more fraught than they had been before. >> it strikes me, meira spoke about fear and of that is affecting the muslim community. one of the things we are seeing that has not gotten a lot of public attention is that right now i would say almost every week i am hearing reports of houses of worship that are being vandalized, that are being firebombed, members of religious faiths that are being physically attacked, sometimes very seriously injured. and i'm talking about mosques and the muslim faith but we also have examples of the institutional level where mosques attempt to get zoning permits for building permits to
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build a mosque. the muslim community is asking permission from a city council or from a zoning board, and they are denied, you know, often told that there's a reason, perhaps it's parking or noise or something like that. if this were happening to other kinds of houses of worship or people in another this group, do you think, what would be going on? why is this not a bigger issue our country? who wants to take that? it doesn't have to be meira by the way. >> i'll start. part of the effect my previous comment about the insular looking focus on protecting one's own freedoms at the neglect of others to a lot of religious conservatives, christians and catholics, for
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example, are very concerned about current challenges to religious liberty. some of them not only ignore muscles but actively opposed muslim religious freedom and that's not a sustainable view of religious liberty. to add to the mosque scenario, there have been stories in the past weeks about government and law enforcement infiltration of muslim groups. this happened to muslim student association of years ago as well. think of your own religious group if not a muslim and what it would mean when you pull back in a safe place to pray and to liberate with one another and some and as a secret agent turned infiltrator group? there is no evidence of the front and there's a reason for the person to be there. inc. about the tremendous loss of trust and safety and security that you would feel calm and to recognize that the our fellow citizens are experiencing that right now, sort of demands like a city much stronger reaction then we've been seeing. >> i'd like to say, i would add that propaganda works, and
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religious illiteracy hurts. combine those two and i think that's where we are in a crisis. people have for the last decade spent tens of millions of dollars, i think it's about five groups or so, convincing the american people under the radar but in queues and a places around the country that islam is the root of the problem, of the terrorist problem. that it is not just some muslims and so forth and so on but it is actually islam itself that is the problem. this is very convincing to people, and it is gone unanswered in many of these venues. i've been traveling around the country during this period and i come across this all the time and i meet a great many americans who feel that they are already deeply educated about islam, thank you very much, and they want me to educate myself and they give me books.
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they know, or they think they know. and if we wonder why these protests and 30, 40, 50 communities when a mosque this proposed and being built, there are lots of people who are not ignorant about islam interview. they are knowledgeable and annual the enemy is coming to build an institution there. and i think this is a very underappreciated problem in our country. if i tens of millions of dollars, some estimates as much as 100, 200, if i had that money to counter the narrative maybe it would be better. the other side of it is we are religiously illiterate in this country. we are not educating young people k-12, in spite of i've worked for 20 to try to make a better. i guess i haven't done a very good job but it is somewhat better than it was, and chris is sitting there teaching religious committee in montgomery county and doing a great job.
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but we still don't take religion seriously and our curriculum in our public schools. so what do we think people, how are they going to respond? they are going to respond to the ignorant and not poor scholarship, like a scholarship that they are fed. they don't have any knowledge to counter that kind of narrative. so religious illiteracy i think is that the root of a lot of the problem. there are others of those are the two that i think are most dangerous. >> if i could add, that challenge is not just k-12 at the university level, colleges and universities are very good at many methods of diversity but not so good about recognizing educating on religious diversity. the fact is we're producing college graduates who are functionally illiterate on many measures of religious diversity. educating the educating of why this is an important part of our
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pluralism today spewing some of the most serious problem has to do with people who take religion seriously but don't take pluralism seriously. and so i had the experience last year of getting a couple lectures about religious liberty. people would show up, clearly care about the subject were concerned about into our lives and in others lives, but the first question that arises after the talk which was about how our tradition of religious liberty cannot a very public relationships between catholics and protestants in the english common law, the first question was surely you don't mean islam lacks some people are concerned about religious liberty, but who don't take it too apply generally, and the answer surely i do mean islam, that pluralism as doing that would've begun with people with whom we have serious disagreements, that we believe they take seriously and that we take seriously is a
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very, very hard answer people to accept. pluralism is difficult but it's especially difficult if we do take religion seriously. if it does matter to you, if you believe it to be the truth and yet you are required to live together with people who believe that truth is something different, that's the challenge. that's the john smith to rise up to. pluralism is difficult to it is genuinely hard that it's what makes it possible for us to have a free society that allows us to take religion seriously and yet not be at war with each other. it's an enormous challenge but i think the question of islam is right at the tip of the challenge for our society. >> one of the things that comes up in the first few pages of john's book is that two of confident pluralism there has to be as understated sort of a general understanding of -- across america's. across the people that we all have kind of a base commonality, that we all aspire to democracy, that we all aspire to that of
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living together. there's sort of a base understanding that despite our vast differences we do have these commonalities. was been really dangerous especially through this election cycle is that muslims and islam almost seems outside of the grouping. every other american has this base commonality but muslims are different. islam is different, and that is what dangers and i think that has allowed a lot of this happened, i'm out of the zoning issues and msha filtration and discrimination to occur kind of under the radar or singly as know it is because they are like, they are different from us. that wouldn't happen just because they are different. that is very, very dangerous. if we think about 100 years, catholics were sort of in the same situation, right? 100 years ago or in the late 1800s catholics were seen as this other. they were authorized to do with a political party that was done
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up, know nothing party to counteract the catholics to deal with that issue. the plane inimitable brought into effect, legal grouping of amendments -- blane amendments. religious garb laws came into effect so that the nuns effectively couldn't teach at schools. these same laws are now being used to discriminate against muslim women, for example. i don't think we can be complacent about this issue. it's not -- this is an issue that muslims may be the menu du jour today but it will be somebody else 100 years from now and the same discussions will continue to happen unless we except that we all live under this umbrella and how does base commonality. >> as a footnote to that the roman catholics were attacked for being a political movement.
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the same narrative we hear now about islam. islam is not a religion, or if it is that's not what we are concerned about the islam is a political movement that will subvert the constitution and take over the country. that's their agenda. roman catholic, the same charge. they are coming, they're going to take over, substitute their way of life, their political way of life for hours. so a lot of the people around the country trying to remove religion from the discussion of islam in order to advance their opposition to the mosque or to oppose the so-called sharia law legislation which is pretty much nonsense because they don't understand what should be about it. i think that what you're saying, it's that live in people is not religious because there's a great well of support for
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religious freedom and the united states even for people when we take polls, most americans say that they would support religious freedom for groups, even groups that are extreme or they find offensive. but islam is treated differently often because of this again, propaganda that islam is really trying to become a political movement in the united states and take over our constitution. >> 2.6 been and what's sector one, social legislation and ignorance. i think part of the problem, most americans don't know anyone who i is a muslim. they don't know much about it. the civil rights group i've been, organizations i've been most involved with in my life are gay-rights organizations. that's a huge change in my life and a big part of that is people coming to know gave people individually, will and grace, sing it in the culture that's a huge impact. that's the kind of think i think that needs to happen with muslims. i will say take -- taking all
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the points i catholics the if one takes a long historical view, i'm optimistic, catholics, met, mormons, all groups way outside. protestant christian groups, mainstream groups were told outside the now they're part of the conservative in many ways are part of the conservative christian, or conservative religious movements today. it would not shock me if figures are muslims, many muslims are not a part of the conservative religious, political action. there's a lot of, and if they get to know each other. >> there's contradictions, hypocrisies of some religious groups, not stand up enough for some of the things you mentioned. one of the problems seems to be
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also, tension seems to be a good thing. but love for tolerance and the idea of so much for tolerance. having a negative effect, being that we have almost minimal approach and getting crazily seems that way. rather than the excellent idea toleration. minimum idea of toleration and pluralism. in other words, coexistence, failed to extend the idea of what is tolerance. [inaudible] failed to recognize that in an offense come in another group is an offense against us all. and a failure -- is a failure -- [inaudible] it's the ability for all of us to have in our beliefs, to the freedom of expression and
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freedom to believe what we want and express it in different ways of worship and assembly and being left alone rather than and more expansive view, any more maximum view of tolerance or pluralism which has its more than just coexistence. it also means being willing to advocate for others, being willing to fight for the right of our group but also to think, what, act differently than we do. >> and yet do any of you, it doesn't have to be all the to answer but is there anybody who sees examples where that is happening in this country? for instance, where there is an individual or a house of worship that has been targeted, we've had people who are mistaken for muslims because they're wearing a turban, who have been attacked. are in using examples where there is that kind of stepping forward and advocating for the other going on, in a very local
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level speak with every day. every single day. we may all agree about. it's unbelievable. whatever these things break out in a community, to see the response and also want to give some credit to government officials in some of these communities who have stood firm, we are going to build, get a permit whether you like it or not. in some communities that was not easy in murfreesboro, tennessee, for the county commissioners some government officials have made me proud of me to be an american because they really stood up and said exactly that. we're going to treat you just like we treated about this when they came for a permit. but on the local level, people who organize, and always outnumber the object there's in my experience in these communities, you might have a different -- my experience they have these huge crowds of different faiths surrounding pastor jones place.
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.. it was really a bunch of hateful protest across the country and we saw, absolutely, two people
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would protest and hundreds of interface and other activists would be around the mosque supporting them so i agree with you. i wanted to point out one other thing, it's not just, communities are starting to recognize this connectedness. we mapped legislation that largely infringed on the rights of minorities including measures at the state level so these laws that were being proposed or past that basically said that this won't be the law of this land. that was never a threat of that in the first place, but there was a big movement. we massed that with other restrictive measures at the
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state level and what we found was there was essentially an 80% overlap in legislatures that largely restrict other minorities. there is a growing recognition that this is actually the case. they're almost being used like canaries in a coal mine. back in the coal mine days, they would put a canary, if the canary died, the air was toxic and you didn't go that day. this is being used as a test case. if we can pass this measure, maybe we can slip in these other measures or we can restrict other measures because nobody's going to complain. there has been growing recognition that this is the case and there are numerous examples where communities have come together to fight restrictive raw laws.
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>> one part of it is if i stand up for the rights of other people, i'm standing up for my own because it's you today and tomorrow it will be me and these laws, they are religious law that can't be imposed. it can't be used or referred to. jews and catholics and others for whom it's a part of their life and who they are, they understand that unless they stand up now against these laws, their laws will be interfered with. their ways of living will be interfered with. >> we've had a lot of agreement here. let's settle onto a really pressing issue where it has been very hard to find agreement.
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i think you probably know where i'm going with this. the legalization of same-sex marriage is now presenting all kinds of conflict, legal, social, otherwise, all across the country. one of the ways we have seen that play out is with business owners who, because of their faith, object to serving gay couples who are coming to them for services involving wedding. we have florists, we have owners of wedding venues, what else, we have cake bakers, photographers and it's not a lot of cases but it is enough across the country. what do you think? should business owners be
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allowed to deny service to same-sex couples and if so, the question that i hear all the time is, if we would permit that, why is that any different than being allowed to deny service to people of other races or, if this was a wedding of people of two different races. we have come to a point in this country for that is absolutely not acceptable. people have asked, how is nonservice to a gay couple any different then denying service on the basis of their race. anyone care to take that on? >> i want to know the answer. >> i think in a very general matter, i think what we look at, their best addressed on a
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case-by-case basis and the way these kinds of debates and up being legal cases creates enormous problems for pluralism because when you are facing a judge and you have to prove that the other side is irrational, you are going to make different sides of arguments than when you are facing your neighbor, and you have to live together. i think keeping this out of the court is what victory looks like. i think for reasons that are obvious and overpowering and right, the race question is different than any other question. to be at free society you have to have some default options and freedom of allowing people to make their own decisions together but we have made valid
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reasons that draw on our history. we don't take abstract histories. we are in organic society that has lived across generation and there is this enormous sin around the question of race that we have to continue to live with and we have to continue to atone for an address the consequences. i think that it is right that we make certain exceptions when it comes to race, exception to the way that we normally allow people to have freedom to run their own business and do whatever they want when other places, we might show a preference for freedom of association but when it comes to race we say no, this has been the darkest side of who we are and it cannot be. exactly where those lines have then drawn is where as much needs to be done on a case-by-case basis.
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there's no simple answer or no simple formula. i don't think it's irrational that sometimes race is different. >> i would also say, i think that's that's right, but i think the wedding vendor issue in my view is being used as a wedge issue on both sides. to avoid the larger question of how we are going to uphold nondiscrimination and protect the conscience. how are we going to do that. that's the larger question. we have not generally, there are people who are doing a good job of talking about this, but we have not generally talked about this and worked across our differences to find answers to those question. if we did that, there would be yes as a nose on both sides but we would have agreement at the end on a number of key issues.
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taking the wedding vendor issue by itself is a nonstarter. it doesn't really address the larger question of how to we protect conscience and how do we uphold nondiscrimination. it polarizes immediately. having said that, in my view it may be possible to find some agreement on how to deal with those issues in ways that protect conscience, in a way that in utah they have protected clerks to opt out of same-sex marriage but nobody knows it. the couple doesn't know who comes in the office. the same way, could there be a carveout, especially if there's not discrimination protection for lgbt people people in that community. the same people who want religious exemption oppose. we want religious exemption but were not willing to protect you, you can get married in our
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state, we don't like it, but tomorrow you can get fired or denied housing. were not to do anything to protect you. well, they give us an exemption over here for baking a cake and so forth. really? nobody's nobody's going to do that. that's ridiculous. if there is nondiscrimination and support from it for people on all sides, then we can talk about how we might do some carving out for people who are not discriminating themselves as lgb pete people. maybe we could figure that out, figure out a carveout. i'm not sure we can, especially in in isolation, but give me a whole menu of things we are going to get this accommodation, you're not going to get this, i
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think we can come to an agreement. why haven't we done this? there is finger-pointing on all sides but i think people who most want religious liberty protection have waited too long and still are waiting, were still waiting to hear from them to say we are in favor of nondiscrimination in these ways. then i think they would get more of a hearing on religious liberties. on the lgbt side, while why should we accommodate you? we are going to win this. we don't need anymore these tortured conversations about religious exemptions and so forth because frankly, we don't trust you and we don't think you care about our rights. so we've come to this terrible point but i think we can redeem ourselves by sitting together. they did it in utah. if they did it, we can do it. we can sit together and listen and find common ground. i think what happened in utah is a great model. it addresses a whole range of issues that other states are battling.
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>> what happened in utah, i think it has different laws than other states so yes it's a different place. that can't be replicated elsewhere but what can be replicated is the process, get people together. this is the concept. get people together. they came together and they said we will never agree on marriage of these issues but we have to live together here in utah. we need to figure out a way that you feel safe. we acknowledge that we should
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support that. we asked for you to recognize religious exemptions and religious liberty including what is said about same-sex marriage that needs to be protected as well. they worked and worked over a period of time, a precursor to that was the city council when they were discussing nondiscrimination for salt lake city and said we are in favor of this legislation. that was kind of the first breakthrough in that came before this negotiation. in this negotiation in which a wonderful law professor from illinois help to broker behind-the-scenes, a wonderful majority leader of the state senate in utah, senator stuart adams who did exactly what you're talking about, he said i disagree with these people. i don't like what they represent
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but my faith tells me i need to stand up for their rights if i want mine protected. he said it's just the right thing to do. the legislation that was passed tries to do both. it tries to protect people and uphold religious liberty. that's what we need to do. >> a couple things, part of what charles said and what has so annoyed me and puzzled me about this debate is there are very few jurisdictions that have both an anti- gay discrimination law and religious protection. for the most part, there are very few places where there is a legal conflict. the indiana case, there was so much, they already could allow
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discrimination because they didn't have any anti-gay discrimination legislation. i think most people just assume that we have that in the united states and at the federal level we don't. to some extent, the debate has been really ill-informed. where you do actually join the issue, where you have anti-gay discrimination and what you do about accommodation, that is a hard one. both sides have good arguments there. i'm not sure where i stand on it. i think most can avoid these issues to keep it out of court, don't insist on going to someone who doesn't want to sell you a cake or sell them the cake, whatever. both sides are silly and we don't need it to be in court. where the conflicts do come out, i'm inclined to say that probably discrimination is going
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to have a much narrower set of accommodations that will be narrowly carved out for churches and religious nonprofit organizations where religious is part of that organization but public accommodations like making cake, i think you can have a broader carveout like hobby lobby and for profits employer. there could be different kind of discrimination. you strike a balance in different ways. >> how does that not become a slippery slope. i understand things races different, but i am sitting here thinking about what if a jewish couple shows up at a business and he says i'm sorry, i don't serve jews or i don't serve you.
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why is religion, not the same as out right racial discrimination. >> you're seeing slippery slope but there's a slippery slope in the opposite direction.çç you just have to muddle through it seems. >> i think a free society, you never take any logical idea to
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its conclusion. all of life is accommodation. if there's a certain amount of common sense that said if we follow this abstract principle all the way down, then then maybe we have to kill each other, so let's not do that. the fact that it doesn't make sense in theory doesn't mean you can't live that way. our society doesn't make much sense in theory, but it's okay. it works well. there is theory and theory. there is ways of articulating an understanding how to work together that speaks to us as human beings. they don't quite work out all the way to the bottom. i think that's what it takes to live together. i think we have to make room for that and not expect to make society make more sense than it's going to. >> we have to work harder on this then we have been. we have to work hard because
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liberty of conscience is our first freedom to follow our conscience. if we don't have liberty to follow our conscience, we don't have freedom at all. we as a country have a right. a report came out and said it's a subordinate right and i think that's wrong and dangerous but it feeds idea that these are a nuisance and a joke, this woman won't do that in this baker won't do to that. i understand the emotion around that and i have sympathy for people being served public accommodations some not suggesting that isn't important. what is important is that these are claims of conscience. whatever you think of the
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content, for james madison, for others, that's why it's first in the first amendment. yes, now it seems to be the last afterthought. maybe were worried about this person whose conscience is burdened. if you'll forgive the expression it is rape of the soul. i think that is what's at stake and why we try to work this out in spite of the fact that it's difficult to carveout this message. public schools have to give exemptions for head coverings to be worn for religious reasons and no one else is allowed to wear head coverings but they work at this. that's what we need to do. another example, and then i'll stop, pharmacists, this is
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controversial and you won't agree with me, but i think a pharmacist who cannot prescribe certain things if that prescription can be given immediately to the person or almost immediately, someone else is there to give the prescription, if there's no harm, no dignity harm to the person coming to get there prescription filled, then why in the heck not have an exemption so that person doesn't have to violate his or her conscience. [inaudible]
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if we can uphold the principle it's liberty of conscious. it takes work and it commends people to try, but if we don't do that for people that we find wrong or what's your deal, then tomorrow it will be our claim of conscience that won't be taken seriously. that's how i feel. >> we have all pointed out races different. i think largely white religious conservatives are seeing the point. when it comes to the white person, they are saying races different. when it comes to any other social issue its different. there's a conflict between
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what's facing communities. i do let us beginning and when i'm in a mostly white church and there's a focus on the threat of the cake baker, i think this is an important issue that we have to think about and 5 miles down the road there's a black church that feels almost the same sentiment of all are we able to vote, do we have education and healthcare adequately. there's a real disconnect when white conservative christians are so focused on this issue to not only affect people on the other side that other christians that are facing tremendous issues. we need to focus on those of you going to be serious about pluralism and adequate inclusion that we have in this society. >> it will be impossible to
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ignore the election, i'm sorry. we are all trying very hard. we will open the floor, but first i'll take a shot at this, i hear an awful lot from religious conservatives that a hillary clinton administration would take the threat of infringing on their religious liberty to the extreme. all kinds of scenarios i'm hearing. we will have to close religiously affiliated colleges and universities, we will have to sell off our hospitals because the expectation is the administration may force the universities to say, provide housing for things for couples in dormitories or whatever,
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there's all kind of scenarios that are played out. i wanted to ask you, who of these two candidates do you actually think is the bigger threat today to liberty and pluralism? if you could speak to whether indeed you think there are signs, let's talk a clinton administration, does hillary clinton give any indication that she intends to infringe on religious freedoms that we have. i hope you will talk about both candidates. >> who wants to start? >> go down the road.
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>> too thick about the question of pluralism and coexistence and beyond this minimal idea of tolerance to a more maximum one, to be able to enjoy my freedoms and have the freedom to think and believe what i like without him unjust obstruction but also to coexist in the notion of tolerance to support an advocate for and encourage the right of others in the freedom of others. i am also an immigrant who has lived here for several years and has been a permanent resident for 11 years. it does seem to me that someone running for higher office at
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time and again have taken opportunity to insist on rights as a game, the more rights we have, the more rights other are afforded means the denial infringement and deprivation and someone who not only advocates that who thinks this sentiment of what it could mean and returns it with even more force and velocity, it seems to me the immigrants may see this as such a potent cocktail mix with the
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threatening and undermining of. [inaudible] it has been hard for me to see past that and the things that the candidates are doing and threaten and advocate for religious toleration and pluralism. it's almost like a fog. it seems much worse than it's been in the two decades that i can't imagine a worst candidate. >> you went through something to arrive here today.
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is that what you are talking about, the incident that you had in your travel to get here this morning? i heard something, do you want to tell that story. >> the cabdrivers said, i said i don't have cash and he locked the doors like i wasn't going to pay him. i can pay with credit card or you can take me to an atm if you want cash.
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[inaudible] it's the way we assume the faith and others and it makes you skeptical of what you advocate. [inaudible] many times the court in the state have a way of saying we have to create this framework to work at the local level. one of the things that has happened is you assume such bad faith on the part of others, you assume the worst of others, you assume they have the worst
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intentions in dealing with you. for instance, one thing that's happening is a person locking a cab because he's grumpy and. >> and he's making assumptions about you, his passenger. >> yes, one thing it has done, this campaign, we increasingly assume bad faith on the part of others. you're doing this because you hear a jamaican accent. it could not be or could be but increasingly what's happening on the part of others behavior is the fact that you don't look like me, you don't don't talk like me, you don't worship like me. the one thing that has happened to the campaign in a way that is
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encouraging us to assume the best in others. >> i'm a liberal democrat and my answer won't be surprising. let me say, i'm not criticizing my candidate, i do think my tribe, especially reaction to the hobby lobby case in the indiana case, we have lost touch with our tradition. i think we've gotten off track and i think that creates some justifiable concern. i think a lot of what you're talking about sounded overblown to me in a sort of mistrust that is building up, but there is some basis for it and i see some basis for concern. i disagree with sort of my side there. but in the scale of the religious liberty and in general, promoting an atmosphere of lack of understanding of
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others, i think the trump campaign, what what it has done some muslims and on immigration is that has created just that. created a toxic environment and i think more needs to be done. a lot of trump supporters, we need to pick about why it's resonating and there's problems with our political and economic institutions that we need to think about, but i do think the campaign has played on fear in a certain way that is just something like i've never seen in my life. >> do you feel a clinton administration would do the same or deepen it.
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>> i was surprised in the way the obama administration took that side we know now that it's controversial and vice president biden was opposed to taking outside, especially with the catholic church but i don't know whether the clinton administration would pick that same fight, i imagine they will continue the fight over the hhs mandate and the affordable care act but some of the legal actions that have started will proceed in one way or another through the courts. i agree there is some justification for these concerns. whether that leads to the closing down of religious universities or hospitals, following that progression, i think that's not a crazy conclusion but it's also not the necessary conclusion. i do think these concerns are justified. at the same time, i'm i'm a conservative but i don't have a candidate to vote for at this election and i'm certainly
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dissatisfied with the options we have and i think there's a strong case to make that neither is treating our country which we ought to treat with loving care, the way it deserves to be treated, and we've certainly seen instances of even far worse than that. >> it's worth pointing out that the clinton administration was really very good on freedom of religion. bill clinton signed the freedom restoration act, he supported our efforts to encourage religious freedom in education and sent out guidelines to every school in the united states, some of that was part of the political time, but i think he was genuine in his support of free exercise of religion. i don't have that translates to what the other clinton administration might do, but i'm optimistic that those of us who care about these issues and make the case. i think we have no choice in
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this election but to hope that we can. i think the obama administration started out, in my view, somewhat tone deaf to the religious freedom concerns and i think that tone deafness or worse has echoed in the u.s. civil rights commission report which is not an obama document but certainly a harbinger for bad things to come if that's the future. if that's the future, religious freedom will get very little accommodation or protection in the years to come. i hope that's not the case. i don't think the president agrees with the report. i haven't talked to him about it so i have no idea. i don't think melissa rogers has done a fantastic job advising president obama to be very protective of religious freedoms in many ways so i think she is an important voice of religious
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freedom in the administration. there have been a mixed bag this time around but i do think there's reason to hope that hillary clinton, like bill clinton will care about the exercise in religion. >> i heard him say, it's all bluster, they don't mean it, it's not it's not going to happen. when we tracked responses to different incidents, when we looked at anti- muslim bigotry from across the years, what we found it is political rhetoric that matters when it comes to
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anti- muslim sentiment, not actual bad things that happen. so anti- muslim sentiment spiked in the lead up to the gulf war, the iraq war, i'm sorry, i'm old, the lead up to the iraq war and amongst republicans in 2008 and 2012 election. that's when anti- muslim rhetoric and sentiment spiked. where it did not spike is after 911 and after the boston marathon bombing. political rhetoric matters. i will just leave that hanging out there. >> that's very interesting. i'm hoping we have good questions from our audience. why don't we start with the microphone over here.
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can you introduce yourself as you ask a question. >> my name is deborah mason, i'm on on the faculty at the religious freedom center and a professor of the school of journalism. i have two very different questions, one is internationally they talk about freedom of religion or belief and one of the things that seems to be left out of the conversation in the united states are the views and voices of the growing group of people that we call the nuns, which is a graphic that we know is growing in the united states. wonder if you could just address where are their voices and how are those voices being heard as a group of people who aren't necessarily organized and aren't necessarily coming from the same viewpoint. >> so for those of you who aren't familiar with the nuns turn, it's an on es. a lot of sisters have told me there's confusion.
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even those who have no particular religious affiliation or identity. the nun. the the population globally. >> as a matter fact they're very organized now and unlike earlier, the culture war channels that i remember from earlier in my career, today, among those who identity identify as atheist, free thinkers, they have gotten the message that to get anywhere, you have to organize and you've got to be an effective voice so whether it's secular coalition for american atheists, i would say most of the public school
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conflict now or debate or issues that come up around the country are sparked by a letter from the freedom of religion foundation. they are well-funded and well organized and very effective. many things that have happened in public space of government spaces, when government used to do was have the ten commandments go up or have something go up on answered, it's always answered now and that the put up another message because folks on the other side realize that unless i get in there and insist on that level playing field it won't change. i would say they are being heard.
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[inaudible] even our past understanding of the establishment clause where you would allow so-called nonsectarian prayer to be okay, i don't think were doing a good job of addressing those questions in certain locality. >> can i follow-up with one other very different question. i appreciate the reminder of the religious difficulties of religious catholics and jews in our history but a big difference that we have now is the digital
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media. we can't put the digital media back into the genie bottle. we know that hate groups and terrorist groups are very effective at using digital media and giving voice to these sorts of viewpoints. i just wonder, what role and responsibility do the large companies like facebook, twitter and google have in helping to shape the conversation without infringing on the first amendment rights of free speech and free press. >> that's a very good question. >> i don't necessarily have an opinion on it, but i can tell you some of the larger companies, i think it's youtube and google, don't don't quote me on that, but they actually have a program to help site did pull towards terrorist group and to
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fight anti- islamic phobia phobia. they are taking this somewhat seriously by providing grants to other organizations that are working on this. >> they are not doing anywhere near enough. you think about twitter, twitter is where you go to see the worst of humanity. i've seen some remarkable things there, but twitter has relentlessly resized for the ways in which they allow hate speech to flourish. forget it if your woman, it's a million times worse. you add something in two or three comments will come back
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immediately but if that you are a woman, threats come in and publish your address and so on. at a place in which you are reminded saying that we need to welcome all views and opinions. [inaudible] i think companies are doing anywhere near enough and maybe the question to ask is how can we put the pressure on them to have a more robust approach for allowing different views to flourish in their space.
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>> i'm used to it, has part of the playing field now, recently i had someone come after me in ways which were extremely threatening as well as anti- somatic and threatened me and others and i reported to twitter and within a few hours, they had removed that persons account.
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>> have a? two matters. the first will not apply to facebook or my university or other private institutions which leaves the ability to do some censorship, but that gets us right back to the puzzle of how and when to draw those lines. ultimately this will be on us to start policing our own speech and the freedom that we have to do so and that's what's really scary about twitter and the social media because many people are not moving toward those civic norms, their moving away from them. >> i'm glad we had that discussion and i think we need to have even more of the social media discussion. it's a big factor in all of these things. >> good morning. in today's society we see an increase of separation between race, religion, sexual preferences that have different beliefs, educational background, goals and desires. taking a look at this increase, i pose the question, is there
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unity and diversity or is it a miss. >> can you tell us who you are. >> i work at the religious freedom center. >> it's a really wonderful question and a crucial question for us. i think one of the ways in which life in america has in fact become somewhat different in the past two decades, but really in the last century or so, since the end of the post-world war ii era is we are able to be a much more diverse society. we've always thought of ourselves as a diverse society but the golden age in our policy that misses so much, for different reasons liberals and conservatives look back, for years of fairly low at that and immigrant diversity, people don't recognize it, but in the 1970s census, just about 4% of
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people living in america were living abroad. this year 18%. that's a big difference but there is much more openness in our mainstream institution. people from different backgrounds, it has expanded lately. i think it's a great gain for american life but it also presents us with some difficult facts which is that diversity does seem to reverse social trust. we have to push against it. it does happen and the challenge we face is how do we, as a society that's made stronger by being made more diverse and dynamic, deal with the fact that we are made weaker by being divided and fragmented and fractured. at the same time, these are these are two sides of the same coin. it seems to me we have to think about that by taking those two sides seriously, given that we are diverse and dynamic, how do
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we solve these problems of fragmentation. to me, that argues for localism where it's possible for allowing problems to be resolved by actual human beings who can teach other face-to-face rather than abstracting away of dealing with all of our problems as political problems. it also argues for taking pluralism seriously and again making the argument that it's true even when it's not what you want as an outcome. there is no way of making that easy. that doesn't become easy by being repeated over and over. i think a lot of the challenges that we are seeing in this election are challenges of a former majority thinking of itself as a minority. that is happening with social issues for a lot of consumers were used to thinking of themselves as a moral majority. i don't was ever true, but they now have to confront the reality that they are a minority in our society. you see it with certain kinds of white working-class voters and it's a transition. it's a transformation. for people and communities who have always been minorities, i think we have a lot to teach of these newly found minorities in
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our society. i speak as a jewish person who works together with a lot of religious conservatives were not used to understanding themselves as minorities. there are lessons to be learned from one another's experience. we are just not used to doing it and i think that's a big part of a problem that is new to americans. >> .local, is so true and so important. in a local community, i don't have a bad story when it comes to creating unity across and negotiating differences, but the key has been, i didn't have the phrase confidence pluralism until this greatxd book, but i used charter pluralism. charter pluralism of these communities means we have to establish what do we agree on that flows from our founding
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doctrine. once the establish agreement on those round rolls of fundamental rights for all and responsibility to guard the rights of others including those you disagree with on civil debate when we differ, when we get that in place, i'm usually going into the community when the divided about dilemma or sexual orientation or some other divisive difficult issue. the first thing we always do is work on those civic ground rules. if everyone sees themselves benefiting from these ground rules and they are willing to apply them to others, then we usually get agreement. across the country, when they've had these terrible conflicts it does take being there, working this through, different stakeholders from different
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stakeholders, at the end we usually find common ground on these issues. that's what the country is all about. no one can tell me america doesn't work. i think it's not true that all the rhetoric were hearing all the division and so on, in my experience if you go into local communities in your meeting with those folks on different sides, they are ready to work together and find common ground but they need their civic ground rules and their civic commitments to be affirmed. >> it brings us back again, not to focus on the election, it's actually beyond the election, but we have a discourse that is deeply polarized and politicized.
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somehow we read into it very differently. to deal with pluralism, is is there really unity and diversity, what kind of unity are we talking about. one of the things that seems. [inaudible] seems like we are the losers and on the wrong side of things. there is a whole range of people saying we are unified and were sick of being losers and people don't want to be losers. if there is unity in diversity, what kind of unity?
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[inaudible] i love the call for localism and see wonderful ways in john's book,. [inaudible] good, it's about about time. when i went to barnes & noble and they do something that's racist, i can make a report, that local independent bookstore, down there, when they say what they say to me or make comments they shouldn't make, i have no recourse but to leave. i didn't have the kind of localism that other people had. maybe it's the fault of mine, but what is actually happening that we are seeing more more different organization or using the local groups to political ends.
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we need to be careful about asking people to unify around the worst things. they then get these local groups to enact things they have long wanted to enact. >> i know we are close to the end and we have people that wonderful questions i'm sorry about that, but i want to give each of the panelists a moment or two to close us out and also try to move us forward a little bit, maybe leave us with something to go home with. we talked a lot about solutions, but let's just wrap it up. >> thank you and thank you for a wonderful book which everybody ought to read. one of the things i am left with from john's book and this conversation is that we need a
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stronger a sociology of success in how we talk about this. the way to solve problems is to do what works and our political conversation is almost exclusively about what isn't working in our country. i think we need a much stronger sense of what is working and what we can learn from it and there is very little of that that happens in our national political debate. conversations like this always leave me thinking we need to hear more from people who see things that are working. >> listening to this discussion, i talked in the book and today about humility and patience. i'm thinking that patients patients to listen and to ask follow-up questions and the patients do not assume the worst in conversation -- having patience, i know we can't always
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have patience on everything but our social media impulse and culture make us want to respond immediately to tweets or email, but if i would wait an hour or two to think about the cost and benefit of the particular exchange. having patience is important. tolerance, humility and patience, there is one candidate who has not shall not at all. i don't think this is a close call. i think we have it challenge of pluralism and religious liberty posed by the trump campaign are not a close call to me.
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>> thank you john, for your book. i recommend it to people and i think finding a vision, a shared vision for the common good and a common vision for the common good is a great task in the rest of this century and going forward. i would say in the religious liberty arena where i spend most of my time, i would just recall the great catholic public philosopher and many years ago he described the first amendment and said you know, these religious liberty principles are not our articles of faith. we have our articles of faith and some people don't have them. we have those and they are deeply important to us. if we are a person of faith, that is probably more important than any other commitment in our lives which is the challenge of
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pluralism so great because there is nothing more profound in a person's life and being able to follow their articles of faith, and to do it in a country with so much religious diversity is challenging. i think we have the boldest and most successful experiment liberty of conscience the world has ever seen, but i also think think there is risk in many ways if we don't remember to take conscience seriously. : :


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