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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 26, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EST

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one cannot read his opinion in the case quoting the act without seeing how he was taken into camp by some pretty junky
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science about the question of the reproductive health and how they suffer and terminally a good deal of agony after they've gone this particular procedure. kennedy is acting out in that area. it's always difficult to know where kennedy is going to wind up on any issue that involves the interest because so much of the jurisprudence is driven by the whole constitution's structure of history devoted towards the service of liberty interests but when it comes to the women's liberty of trust interest, they are close to tone
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deaf in that area. having said nothing controversial -- [laughter] >> i apologize. i misspoke. i think you are the author of a book about justice brennan. so if you want to take -- >> thank you. i want to talk about how things have changed. justice and brennan was in because his catholicism. he behaved deeply in religion but he believed it was personal having religion in the public square and public life was divisive. for history sake he was on the
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court from 1956 to 1990. he participated in the decisions prohibiting school prayer and was vilified by the catholic church for doing so. he felt strongly enough about his views in those cases to write a separate 50 page conquering opinion in the second school prayer decisions in 1963 in the case and the school district that i was looking that over again today apropos of the question could we ever have an atheist on the court justice brennan in his opinion in 1963 talks about the establishment clause to the conclusion that the government and religion have to have discrete interests which are mutually best served when each avoids a proximity to the other. it is not only the nonbeliever
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that fears the injection of sectarian doctrines and controversies into the civil quality but it has high degree of is the devout believer that fears the creed which becomes too deeply involved in and dependent upon the government. that was the essence of the separation of not just the atheist but the believer because of having the government involved in your religious beliefs. i think that was his view and that view is gone. i'm not even sure that there's anybody on the court that would share that view. he dispelled that for all of his time on the court. he paid personally for it after writing that opinion in 1963 he
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went to the max in which he was a visiting bishop and railed against the court not recognizable to the bishop and they said we are not fit to have used his the ring. he didn't go back to mass for years. they went back to the church in virginia that had saturday night mass where he thought nobody would recognize him, and nobody did for a little while. but i think things have just changed dramatically. a >> that leads to the question whether several people have mentioned the same religion or the same religious beliefs can lead to different outcomes in
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terms of the decisions that one is taking to. we have different politics into different catholics on the court. i want it to go back and ask people how do you draw the distinction between with a couple people have mentioned in their religious beliefs versus their life experiences. you mentioned that justice scalia and justice soto -- sotomayor how does that reflect for instance in the rulings on the school voucher cases and there are suggestions that they are more open to that sort of thing.
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maybe i jumped to the kool-aid at the court but i don't think so. i think the justices really do make an effort to separate their own personal views or their own personal things like that from their decision-making. so i think if the experience in they've experienced in the school doesn't mean that they are going to be in favor of vouchers. unfortunately, that's my perception that there is another perception which is just the opposite. the justices got a feel of this for example in the late term abortion case this was when there were only five catholics on the court and all five of them voted in favor of the law that prohibited late-term
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abortions. so it's kind of p. this stereotype to advance the church's agenda. but again, that's very much like i think the decisions where all of the republican appointed justices and a democrat appointed justices vote the other way. i don't think that is materially different from other types of influences and the justices bias a >> from time to time the question has been raised and i think the question of identity in selecting justices leads to questions that are asked at the confirmation about either the religious views or willingness
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to separate from the court. you brought up the question of what can be asked. >> you have to be careful. you can't come right out and say you believe in this so presumably you have to crawl your way out of it. not invariably the justices say, or that my job is to apply the rules. i'm not sure if this was at his confirmation. i just supply the constitution. now in my mortals you can't take me out of my skin and their evil
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listen to the catholic doctrine. of course though he has a certain -- he can say that because he is an originalist in the text of the conversation as it was believed in the founding many of the moral values at the time were also conservative values so they would be in the originalist understanding if you believed in the living constitution. they would become more relevant i think. so he can face it more easily than someone that believes in the living constitution or the purpose of the constitution where the views can easily be embedded into other one can actually live up to that is
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another story but that i think is the general approach to key had to say if i follow the constitution in my private life. so people want to know what it means to be a catholic and that's why i say there are so many ways. it was really more than a social identity that you have and the social background of you have with respect to how you vote much more than that the label. a
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>> it's not seen as a catholic seat on the court or that there was a judicial seat on the court. justice ginsburg has decided that some of the justices that preceded us were jewish justices and justice breyer and i are justices that happened to be jews. certainly president george w. bush didn't set out to put the two catholics on the court in fact remember he nominated it an evangelical protestant who didn't make it. so i think it is much more that they look at the ideology of the person and their background and religion. >> i think there is an irony that his catholicism was the main issue in the confirmation hearing.
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they asked him if it comes to loyalty and the pope or the constitution, what are you going to choose and he basically said senator, i take the same oath to uphold the constitution that you did but there is a controversy over what he would say and he voted consistently with what one might consider to be catholic views. they voted in favor of the right to abortion and the right to contraception and school prayer. he voted against the various forms of financial aid to religious schools. he's about as anti-catholic and his voting as imaginable. now there is no controversy over it and we are here discussing
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whether the views influenced them more than 50 years ago when we did ask the question and it was controversial. >> when she was nominated as a woman judge that was a part of her identity that was the lead least and with the julius justices they were nominated in spite of being jewish and of those that were nominated in spite of being jewish, so it's when they felt he is replacing the jewish justice in that representation. now there is no need for the seat. a >> you brought up this question of whether talking about the religious of the justice is a proxy for talking about their politics or how they are likely
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to vote. can we talk about how that has played out in recent cases, for instance how the catholicism in the various justices played out in terms of the marriage decisions or even the healthcare law which you might have thought of religion will play a part. a >> i would say that in the hobby lobby case having to do the right of the private business under the religious freedom restoration act to refuse to provide the contraceptive health coverage for their female employees i would say that the justice opinion in that case very much was influenced by his religious preferences because to accept the notion that any corporation that is an
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artificial being can have a matter of religious assessments transferred to and by its owners aside from being close to the ludicrous in terms of the social philosophy. but i do think that justice alito probably went into this case believing that the corporations because they are in some sense people. even george romney believed that because they are in some sense people capable of absorbing the religious preferences and value system of their owners. i think that's probably a pretty good example. one of the reasons you have to read the decision differently is
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that it was written by kennedy and his liberty perceptions rather than by his catholic value system. so when you get into that with justice kennedy, it is harder to trace the religious sources of his jurisprudence that i did want to bring up another example when the value system influenced his jurisprudence and this has to do with what the justice breyer did before. justice goldberg we remember in the papers at the library of
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congress then law clerk stephen breyer wrote a opinion in the case to birth control measures in the separate opinion which articulated the concept of the liberty interest from the 14th amendment and asserting themselves into the constitutional jurisprudence. and i do think the state was probably driven by the kind of his social justice in the states believing that they shared those views to lay out the concept.
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a >> it is to show in modern times how these things can get mixed up. he was married in an anglican ceremony in which they admitted references to jesus and he has a daughter that raises her children as jews in whose hand at this italian priest. so he has everything covered. >> i would also add i think one reason for the strength of the dissent in the case was a kind of historical sense that mixes
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religion and politics in the state and the school arena that brings up all of the battles of religion and i think that's a view that they have strongly related. >> you said to me in a conversation that in the hobby lobby decision about contraception that have to do with the catholic doctrine on who is responsible. a >> the different notions of what made you complicit in the action from what i can understand, there is a lot of catholic
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doctrine that takes a bite of -- wide view and it may be in fact wider to the notions in the direct interventions that would make you not complicit. so, without saying because i'm not an expert on this, i suspect some of the notions may come from his knowledge of the catholic doctrine. a >> it's almost time to go to questions but i wanted to return briefly to this question of appearances. ur an expert. can you talk about that a little lax
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>> i will mention it briefly. it happens every year put on by the catholic archdiocese of washington. on the sunday and monday before the supreme court term begins and it's such a regular ritual that but it's like the celebratory kickoff and it goes to the plaintiff to the degree that they've made a project to impose the doctrine in the judiciary and other parts of the government and its looking at it cynically this is an opportunity to have a captive audience and it's almost always six out of the nine justices for
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proselytizing, not proselytizing, but sermonizing the issues that concern is. and i can think of any other institution that has the type of access to the supreme court. i have been covering this as a news event into the early years like in the 80s, they were very politicized in any law that advances abortion is immoral. but that's kind of brought the justices to the wrong way. that's the other thing and not
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only that only the catholic justices but some jewish justices in the last few weeks ago justices kegan a justice breyer attended along with the catholic justices. but anyway, justice ginsburg was so annoyed and upset at one of the sermons that she vowed she would never go again. she said even they were embarrassed. since then it's gotten much more toned and although there's quite a there is quite a bit of talk in the sermons about the separation of church and state and how it is appropriate for
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people to bring their faith to work with them. and i think to have the opportunity to make that point is an interesting phenomena special to the supreme court. whether the justices then put it into practice, i don't know but it's an extraordinary phenomena. a >> the very existence i recognize that it's been going on for a long time suggest its own impropriety. regardless of what is said that the sermon, one of the issues now in the town of greece and the legislative prayer case 30 years ago is the argument that the prayer is not religious and it just has a effect on the
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start of the legislative day. that is what they are claiming to do here. it's putting its own spin on the new supreme court term. it's to accept the validity of that argument and i think that is inappropriate. a >> they are not going to be proselytized. and i don't know if it has anything to do with the case in the official state event or government event that started with the prayer this was a voluntary activity.
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i called him the first year he went. he said it's unifying. it's a good way to start. >> we don't get upset when a priest or rabbi -- in some communities also in the national prayer breakfast .-full-stop the comments or most on most of the cabinet including jewish congressmen they are getting a
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religious message and we have a kind of feature and the american society which is less focused on the separating or the denominational but the more religions so just the way the evangelicals used to think of the whore of lebanon -- can i say that? and now we have a secular opponent, so i think it's a little extreme to say that it is proselytizing any kind of improper events. a >> there's never a better president inaugurated. >> lets me be extremist about this.
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they should religiously stay away. one is the state of the union message which of course is at the most high comedy. for the self-respecting judge to go and sit there and pretend to be interested in what's going on and prepare to be attached. a playstation be seen as the red mass. when i grew up in alaska we used to talk about the fox in the chicken coop. going into the red mass is putting yourself in the chicken coop when the priest gets up ... but he is the flaw and is interested in consuming those in the audience. to be a little bit of moderate
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about that unfair but there are two places a justice should make up their mind and that is just inappropriate to their job. >> maybe we should stop on that note. [laughter] i'm going to open up to questions in the audience. there are two microphones and i believe we are asking you to go to one of them to speak and you can maybe identify yourself before you do so. >> the editor of moment magazine and i was wondering i think we have to justices that are involved in the state and i wondered if you thought that that was appropriate. it's been a gets a religious movie. unless you want to go back to the 19th century notion that the people and the government follow
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whatever the pope says, that is the religious view and they have the right to do that. >> there are not any on the supreme court. >> unless you are saying they could never go on the supreme court as a contingency. it could happen. >> i'm just wondering how you think that might impact someone on the court. a >> are there any types of activity that should rise to the level to disqualify or re- choose a justice from serving on the case. >> the justice once justice 132 stencils from an important case
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on the phrase under god and the pledge of allegiance because he had attended a public event in which his son, a priest, was appearing in the justice scalia undertook to opine on the very issue coming before the court in that case in 2000 or in 2004. he didn't take himself out of the case and did not participate which i thought was entirely appropriate for him to do so but the inappropriate thing was to go out in public and take the position on something she knew was coming before the court. this is another case this group of justices left is on the public forum now and opine on what they are doing in their judicial business and so if you
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want to know why the supreme court is not adhering to marriage cases, just follow ruth ginsburg around to the various public forums and and a sheaf of total use them inside stories about what is going on at the court. if they are only granting 75 cases a year it seems they could have more if they cut out some of their public appearances. [laughter] >> anybody else? >> hoping the supreme court will weigh in on the release of the withheld records including john kennedy's assassination giving cia complicity. from that point actually an interesting statement made by bill donovan founder of the cia that toward catholics in action.
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we are a very roman catholic culture and have him and positional entity that seems totally unaccountable to like to draw a question from an important book that's very rare written in 1999 subtitled useful knowledge about the governing bodies and the traces the influence about the judgment border and it went out in particular that what is known as liberal and great educators in history there are military orders to the general superior general and -- >> question. >> the question is roman catholics participate in profession and priests are among the confessors to the most powerful in the world presumably supreme court justices and can serve as a two-way process not only receiving confession of exerting influence coming from home which is something the
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reformed church doesn't have confessional. the good faith in christ alone. so is that process a fact of roman catholicism and government officials can be influenced from rome lacks the stomach that is a private matter for each justice. i have various people to whom i make confessions of my inadequacies and i'm not about to parade about before that before you here tonight and it seems to ask a justice to reveal how they practice their faith is to go way beyond the pale of proper public discourse. >> i'm the legal director of the inquiry representing the people that justice scully a dismissed.
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they will never be satisfied. we don't need to consider them. when we were talking about the complicity that the catholic majority has brought in it seems to say if you make it easy for someone to commit a sin that could be placed back onto you and so the owners were allowed not to provide contraception on that hell does that fit into the concept of the judges judge's concept of the judge as an umpire because surely if you have these five justices who all believe that abortion is a saying they are making under the same complicity peer committing a sin themselves so can they really be expected to make a
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decision based on the constitution constitution if they are turning around in there on the record of saying that would be sinful for them to make that decision. >> you spoke about that a little bit. >> i am not an expert on the catholic doctrine so i can't really answer that question. i think in general, one benefit you could say the catholic church has been leaved in the general confidence between the state and the natural law so from their perspective they might come to the view that would call us in but it would seem it is a public discourse open to everyone and that only
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communicate to the believer would have. >> anyone else on that? >> i don't think the court was necessarily advocating that as their own view about their own role and complicity. but rather, whether they were accepting the sincerity of that view as advanced by the parties in the case and i think that's an important difference. >> the theoretical problem with hobby lobby is the court's appearance and inability to separate the entity of the corporation which jefferson said is totally artificial if the creature of law is set up to make money and to reward
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stockholders these more private corporations were nonetheless creatures of state law created about four dot this of propagating a religion and the fact that families who argued the day run their business in a religious way says more about their faith then the capacity to have a faith. how many times have you seen a corporation get down on its knees and pray? i don't think i've seen that in any precinct i've gone but that was a theoretical problem. the court could see the distinction between the owners and the corporation because the owners have chosen to corporations as a medium through which they were undertaking to express their faith but still, it was no more and no less of a
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private business entity. >> i should point out the court was interpreting the religious freedom restoration act in the decision that was passed by congress in the reaction to the decision that didn't give up a congress that was a proper protection to people's religious beliefs and so, the congress passed the law on both sides liberals and conservatives and came together on that act to bestow greater protection to people's religious beliefs. and so more than what they thought was a first amendment so it's important to think that's what the court realized that's what the court was looking at in that case. >> the court was looking at a particular word in that statute
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into and the question is is a corporation a person capable of experiencing religious freedom. >> i know nothing about the evangelical doctrine in this area but i have to say it in jewish law, the owner of a close corporation from a private corporation is respectful in the close corporation and the owner cannot profit for whatever they may be. so it's not just like some sort of strange view. >> so it is a religious view you're saying?
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>> i don't want to go overboard here but i think that in the jewish law there's a lot of companies for example you can't profit from the sale of unkosher products and you can't say my corporation is is doing it if it is a private corporation and the many other examples of that. so, it isn't some kind of a weird view of the hobby lobby people. other religions that have that view believing that it carries over to the corporation and not to a public. >> to finish on that that is the problem that we have at the moment of bending over backwards to accept any religious belief as being sincere providing insurance for contraception and
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for their retirement fund and the very company that makes those products. so isn't that the problem that we just accept automatically? there are five men that remind me of what used to be the nine man supreme court. these decisions in the decision-making members and the supreme court have focused this evening on their opinions on the specific cases. my question is what role do you
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all believe that religion plays in their decision to hear specific cases? and we are now because it is a dual decision-making process they decide what cases they are going to render the opinions on. in your opinion does religion come to play? and perhaps has anyone ever considered the mass being an appropriate case to bring? that is a huge question and i hope people will take an example. but the parenthetically say on behalf of the organizers they are well aware of the women that covered this in court and up in court and are very knowledgeable for the variety of unrelated happenstance reasons, none of
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the ones that are available today. >> i think it is hard for any of us to answer a question like that it is such a secretive process the court decides which cases it will take and as you probably know which requires the justices to decided to take a case. but we never were we rarely i should say get any kind of idea as to what it was that caused them to take some case and we just sort of witness to this term for instance which they turned down all of those positions without a comment. once in a while, one of the
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justices will write what is called a dissent from certain denial meaning here's why i think we should have taken this case and sometimes it is a signal to the next person that wants to bring the case. we would be interested in this if you could make this fit the category. but i think that it's really tough for anyone to say why the court has taken the case or has not taken a case. >> did say it is the presence of religion in the town square and that's why they took the town of greece. is that because of their own religious views? nobody can say yes for sure. it's hard to think that it's
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not, that's the acceptance of religion in the town square is not a reflection of their religious views. is there a direct cause and effect backs if the court had some atheists they might not have taken the case. although you don't really know but certainly as you say, we have a court that is the belief that there is no problem and religion played a greater role that public life and that has been a significant change in the recent years. as far as the case i don't think that would make it to the supreme court or past the
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dismissal because it isn't state action. the attendances and uploaded -- isn't obligatory and nobody has to go. >> and they all have to re- queues themselves anyway. >> i will say one thing. when you talk about it in the public square, one thing that has struck me is that there is the tendency to see what one might think of as a religious activity as a general custom or generic religiosity. now they are approved on the notion that they are not sectarian. they are just cultural.
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and how can we say that the menorah is just a cultural thing when it's specifically religious? so one of the ways that there is more religious than the public square i would say it is almost devaluing the secularizing. and i think that is i don't want to go into the church state of things but that is a explained what he might cover relaxation and comfortable. >> another question please. >> i'm a sociologist secular humanist. in the context of no religious
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test to hold a government office and the separation of government and religion in my proposal i would like to hear people's comments on the proposal of having people who are swearing into this office of congress or the supreme court, the presidency square on the constitution instead of the religious document such as the bible. [applause] >> who is quoted as saying you put your hand on the bible that was one of the justices. anyone want to answer the response to that as a potential test and change x. >> you don't need a bible, sway or so help me god on whatever your meaningful text is and in the humanist document you could
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square on that. >> for somebody that is an absolute reverie when i'm on my 38th with a slew, give me a manual of how you calculate the stars. but i don't think that the justices should be in the vanguard of a cultural movement to bring a particular nonreligious or religious perspective into public life. if there's anything that has been secularized as a platform for public overtaking, it strikes me as being void of anything other than the most
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symbolism and it's hard to take it seriously as a religious indulgence of any kind. it just happens that way. and the first president that refuses to do that is likely not ever to be reelected. and the company that rightly or wrongly still thinks of themselves as a christian nation. >> your question reminds me of a small way in which religion does make a difference on the supreme court. when you become a member of the supreme court bar, traditionally you would get a certificate that says we were sworn in on may 4 and the year of the lord, 2014, whatever it was. justice justice ginsburg arrived on the court in 1993, and she told her colleagues she had
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heard from some orthodox jews that of the year of the lord wasn't something that they wanted to have on their certificates. it was offensive to them and she said later on another justices said it was good enough and she put up her hand and said it's not good enough for ginsburg and the court changed its view and it's now an option for the members of the supreme court bar >> recovering and retired litigator. we haven't talked much about specifics and i would like to give you the opportunity to respond to one. i've heard an argument many people here have that justice scalia exhibits his catholicism
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in what is perceived as his greater deference to the religious organizations and religious individuals and large groups rather than very small ones. the accusation is that this is typical of the catholic difference rather than the protestant emphasis on the individual conscience and a second, very briefly i would like your response to this. but does this say about our society that the response of a great many people out there especially among the younger generations to the idea as a decided how ho-hum. >> i guess i would say i think that is a good thing in that it is not seen as much of an issue and it's probably hoping things
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from everyone that there is not seen as the seats should be distributed on some sort of religious basis. i think that it's seen as an interesting fact that there's not a protestant on the court now for the first time ever that i'm not i am not sure that people think that's a big deal or at least if it is it hasn't been communicated to me in a way that other issues of the court are. >> i'm not sure what you mean in the religious organizations i'm not sure if that is just a personal thing or if that is
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shown in the judicial activity. >> that is an observation that has been made by more people than just me. that is a judicial opinion. >> i am not sure that's true. i do think that on the last point you made related to large organizations, it's true that the smith case said that if there is a secular reason to restrict religion that it's okay if the religious beliefs are put there but of course the congress can change that. it's true they did change it for the larger religion, so that's the democracy. congress would be more likely to make the rules.
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>> does democracy require the personal freedoms are subject to the majority don't? >> we have five more questioners standing and i think we might get through them if -- we will stay on this side. >> i am here first. >> if you can address the issues in the supreme court or the other district courts or state courts, but are they really uphold the constitution they are inconsistent but they are giving us a proper political reason and they've exploited the reasoning rather than to say it is
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basically influencing the number of voters and they don't understand if you don't support abortion -- >> is the question -- >> let me respond this way. if there is one accusation that cannot be made about the supreme court and the united states come it's that it doesn't explain itself. the supreme court explains itself better than any other institution people don't read its opinions in the close way that they do read something ted cruz said before i am as one of
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those wise members of the legislative body. but the supreme court does explain itself the materials with which it works our public materials almost entirely. remember the supreme court dealt with a case in the pentagon papers case in 1971. so the supreme court deals with the business that comes in the front door and goes back out to the front door and it is absolutely a canard to suggest they do not blame themselves. >> another question please. >> i am jewish and a graduate of the harvard law school. so i guess that makes me a prime candidate to be the supreme court justice. >> where are you from in new york's? [laughter] >> exactly 24 years ago i wrote
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an article that was published in the moment magazine and titled it said it's time for the jewish justice backs it seems we have had and then there is that of the riches for both jews and catholics. we already heard the answers whether it matters that there are six catholic justices and three jewish ones but there are also six graduates of the law school and three in yale and it seems to me that this begins to raise the question of diversity in every sense of the word. very few of the justices had ever been i think in the private practice. ..
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justice thomas at his event at yale on saturday when they were asked about diversity on the court, that's the one he picked out as the problem he thinks the court has, which is that there are a lot of great law schools that are not represented on the court. i can't really explain to you why it is this way right now. except perhaps you have very ambitious people who go to harvard and yale, and people who
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warned, their whole life, thinking that this is a goal for them, or could be an ultimate path for them. and i think when presidents nominees, it sort of helps to say that this person went to one of those law schools. >> i don't think, i think, i don't think it matters, it matters much that they're from quote elite schools. you do have a point in terms of different life experiences. justice o'connor have been in politics, really should put a great deal of that experience on the court, and i think that's true with people in private practice. it may be true with people from so bright backgrounds. i think those are relevant questions. i'm not sure the fact that they all went to an elite school. because one was sharecroppers
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son. others were immigrant sons and daughters. so it's not that they're all kind of elite backgrounds. >> you may remember that president nixon tried to put someone on the court, and when the man was defeated because he was quite demonstrably unqualified to sit on any court, even though he had been on two lower courts, the senator from nebraska commented that, well, everybody's entitled to representation on the court, even the mediocre people. [laughter] >> another question. >> mediocre people don't get into harvard and yale and columbia. so i do think that when politicians go looking for people to nominate, to court, they have some stars in their eyes about the elite schools,
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and think that's where they really ought to look first, and they seldom get beyond that. >> all right. >> i am wondering if you guys see any cases coming down the pipeline where there could be a conflict between religion and secularism? >> anything coming out of? >> yeah, i don't know. i mean, there has been one case so far that has been about religious accommodation, and it's been about the length of a prisoner's beard and whether arkansas has to accommodate a muslim prisoner who wants to grow a beard just because his religion dictates that. and it was an interesting case.
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partly because, unlike some of the ones with last term, the obama administration was on the same side with in a very conservative religious groups, and all supporting the prisoner. so this one did not seem like it was going to be as tough for the court at some of those other cases had been. >> probably later in the term we're going to have the sequels to hobby lobby, which do not involve private business corporations, but involve nonprofits, organizations like courageously affiliated colleges and hospitals and so on. so if hobby lobby was in some ways a test of secular or sectarian orientation, we could see that recur in those cases, where the organizations are more distinctly religious in character than hobby lobby.
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>> another question that i think we will get everyone. >> i work at the u.s. pto. i'm a patent attorney. my question is about, well, i was just thinking about how he wrote an article 23 some years ago about having a jewish judge on the sprinkler and i would love to see muslim judges on the supreme court someday. >> what? i can't hear spent muslim-american judges back it up with a lot of national security issues. i wanted to get your insights on how far out do you see that happening? >> we could make a really bad joke and say if present obama became a supreme court -- no, just kidding. [laughter] think i was hoping to as the count that question myself if we got to it, so i'm glad it came out. anybody? >> well, let me put in my you on
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this one. there is a really tragic amount of bigotry in this country about people of the muslim faith. it all probably originated on september 11, 2001. it runs throughout public policy now. the way we treat the people at guantánamo bay, cuba, is nothing less than despicable. maintaining guantánamo is no different from what we did in world war ii and maintaining the concentration camps of japanese-americans. that's all driven by a suspicion of the muslim faith. and when you see legislatures like those in texas passing laws that say that courts are
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forbidden to make any judgments based upon sharia law, the chance that any muslim, however devout and how ever peaceful in his or her view of public life, there is no way that composing and we can dissipate for the next generation, that a muslim would ever get appointed to the supreme court and confirmed. >> let's start with a lower courts and try to work out. >> we have muslims in the house now, and that's an important breakthrough. there was a time, and perhaps i shouldn't be saying this because i am a guy, there was a time when there weren't very many women in congress. but increasingly the country has discovered the virtue of the feminine perspective.
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and we are getting more and more women are properly, and we now have three women on the supreme court, which is a high point for the sector of our society. but i don't think in my lifetime certainly which is not that much longer -- [laughter] we certainly would not see a muslim on the court. >> one last question. [inaudible] >> a little louder, please. >> it seems like we have a fear of people bringing religion into the opinion. just want to ask about what the beauty of the religious diversity for the supreme court? >> sorry, i missed the question. >> what's the beauty of the religious diversity of the supreme court. positive aspects of this religious diversity. we've covered some of them, i think, right? does anybody want to have
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anything? >> diversity itself, however you define it, is virtuous because there are different ways to apply and understand the law. i mean, we are a long way away from what used to be called mechanistic jurisprudence, where you said the law is almost like a mathematical proposition and you lay the law down next to a set of faqs, and you know the legal outcome. there are so many intellectual, cultural, social logical, even economic inputs in making a sound, legal judgment, that the more input you have from a variety of experiences, from a variety of cultural backgrounds, including a variety of religious faiths, the better it seems to me the law in substance is going to be. and if any president has the option of enlarging the diversity of the court, as
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wilson did in putting a jew on the court, and as reagan did in putting a woman on the court, and as obama did in putting a hispanic on the court, i hope they take that opportunity. >> if no one else has anything i think we will finish with that. [applause] >> we want to thank everyone. he wants if he were? >> thank you so much, everyone, for coming, for being on the wonderful, wonderful penny. amy, fascinating conversation but we now have a reception. please join us in the other room. thank you. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations]
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>> all this week were celebrate our q&a program turning 10 years old. join us later today for a conversation with author and conservative political pundit. later it's the american renewable energy institute summit from aspen, colorado. scientists and activists discussed the latest trends in energy technology, problems created by climate change, fresh water shortages, and a number of other topics. that's also on c-span. at 8:00 on c-span2 it's more from booktv.
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authors. c-span2 created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, lik like us on facebook and follow was on twitter. >> now on discussion and the role of religion and combating terrorism was the focus of discussion at potomac institute for policy studies earlier this month. experts and clergy leaders took part in the discussion and emphasized the need to better understand all religions. this is just over two hours and 10 minutes. >> thank you very much, mike. as always, for your generous production. obviously, whatever we do we do it the same, and this is one illustration i think of the partnership that we have with many institutions as academic
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housekeeping, i have to mention our cosponsors, as you know, according to international law institute, professor don wallace and also the center for national security law at the university of virginia law school. and other partners over the years. some of them, unfortunately, are no longer with us. professor brenner, for example, from the university center for legal studies, and so forth. first let me introduce our speakers on the panel and then i will have a few academic footnotes, to try to put in some perspective, and then i'm sure
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we're going to have a discussion because in the audience we have academics, specialists, we have the government officials, diplomats, and colleagues who have a very rich experience in this area. and the keys to develop a really good dialogue and to try to focus attention on what religion can do in order to advance the cause of peace with justice around the world. to let me first introduce our distinguished panel. professor robert to my left. judith information in the package, so we won't go into details, but he's currently a professor of religion in today's
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studies, and the chair of the department of religion at the george washington university. next to him, doctor issam saliba who is a foreign law specialist for the middle east, north africa, at the law library of congress, a colleague and friend for many years. next to him, doctor sayyid syeed was national director of the islamic society of north america, and is in charge of the office of interfaith and timidity alliances in washington, d.c., and one of the founders of the journalof the american journal of islamic social sciences, and welcome. next to him is rabbi wine blog to his the president for the
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cabinet for the jewish federations of north america and is also the rabbi of the congregational b'nai tzedek in potomac, maryland. next to him is -- who actually worked as a researcher with the u.s. commission on international religious freedom, foreign policy adviser to the u.s. congress. and next to her, dr. maryanne love, department of politics at the catholic university of america, and she works also with the state department on religion and foreign policy, and she was also a fellow at the commission on international religious freedom. and as i mentioned, our colleague, professor don
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wallace, is the chairman of the international law institute. professor of law and ethics georgetown university. now, just a couple of footnotes. people are asking why, why do we have a specific seminar or event on a particular topic, and i would say we know from going back to the bible that there is a session for everything. there is something for war, something for peace, and now we, of course, celebrate very important holidays, of christmas and also the jewish holiday hanukkah, which actually symbolizes the religious freedom, the first 3 billion to make sure that people are free to choose their faith and
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worship going all the way back to one of the fish but 167 b.c., when they rebelled against the greeks. so there is time to reflect and to figure out what religion can do, academically. of course, mike mention our seminars that we focus on this topic for many, many years, almost every session related to terrorism have some component of theological symbols, ideas, doctrines, and so forth, for better or for worse. but what's really important is to learn the lessons of history. i looked at the calendar, the calendar, 72 years ago, to be precise, on december 19, 1942.
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3000 jews, and this reminds me of us of 9/11, but many of the nine elevenths of the jewish people are mention that because we have had experience of the holocaust come in 3000 jews were rebelled in poland at a labor camp. they were killed and massacred by the ss. psilocybin this involved who i would say is very well-known -- so simon this involved, he tried to mark every day, every day remembrance day in terms of what kind of lessons can we learn. and if we're looking at anniversary dates of december, this is the month of december. obviously, we can recall many instances related to the
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terrorism of away from the bombing of the town, one or three in lockerbie when 259 people, many of them students, some of them were my students from syracuse university, were killed, and this was perpetrated by libya. and, of course, as far as the united states is concerned, there is a long list of attacks in december against the united states. one i would like to mention because this was the first attack by the al-qaeda on u.s. target in yemen in 1992. and then, of course, we know the story, what happened. but it's not only the united states, but many countries around the world. so if you really look at the
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statistics, obviously we tried to count in attacks or many years, but it's not only the number of attacks, but the cost, the human cost, the cost of property, economical, the political cost, the psychological cost and also the physical costs. for what i would like to do at this point is very quickly to provide a contest of our discussion, then again as i mentioned, each panelist will have the opportunity to make initial remarks, and then we are going to have the discussion. so this is, as i said, the panel. you do have the information and so on. now as always we tried to
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dedicate our seminars to the victims. this time to the victims of theological terrorism throughout the world, and also to mark and celebrate those who serve to prevent future religious intolerance and violence. now, of course, during the discussion of religion, there are different views. there are some positive, some negative years, but the question again is the bottom line, what can religion do to advance peace around the world? we have to keep in mind in terms of factors -- actors, you have actors, those who perpetrate an attack in the name of god, obviously, but there are others that we have to take into account. so in other words, we see the broader picture not only to
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focus on the religious picture. i'm sure that some of us are familiar with a different kind of attacks that relates to religious concepts and ideas and so forth, all the way from taking over the u.s. embassy in tehran. and then, of course, we know the rest of the story throughout the world. and, finally, i would like to suggest that we really have to look at a map and see the arc of instability, not only in north africa and the maghreb, but the context between different groups around the world in asia, and latin america, in europe and elsewhere. and so on.
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i am mentioning this because it happens that also in decembe december 1987 we had a development in the middle east in addition to the al-qaeda, and al-qaeda affiliate group and the islamic state, and the plan of the so-called islamic state. we will come back to it. also hezbollah, and so on, and the hamas actually was established back in 1987. now if we look at the knowledge for this discussion today, in the year 2014, we discuss not only the isis attacks, boko haram, the attack in the
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jerusalem synagogue or sydney recently, and then, of course, the affect on the children and staff of the pakistani school. now, the bottom line about our discussion is in a way simple but very complicated. after 9/11, always the question is is the worst yet to come? in terms of the escalation of attacks, in terms of the escalation to weapons of mass destruction, biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear. and then the bottom line, will civilization survive? but to focus our attention today, the question is whether counterterrorism and religion, they can coexist. do they fit each other, for better or for worse, and hopefully for better. now, there are theological responses that we will have to
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deal with all the way from the town hall, the koran, and very significantly, extraordinarily the role of the pope, his leadership in terms of his spiritual to the middle east, to turkey, around the world and most recently of course the development with regard to cuba and u.s. relations. we will deal with that. aside from the religion i think we have to look again at the personal civil liberties and the balance between security and freedom. with this, i'm going to ask our panelists to come up your and make initial presentations, and then we'll have the discussion. >> one more thing if i may, since i'm the moderator and the
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have to watch the time, i suggested to the panelists to speak briskly -- briefly, not more than 10 minutes, and i'm going to take the opportunity just to raise this so it means you have two more minutes. and then since i'm a sucker friend for a long time, i'm going to show the red, which really means no more time, and we will have to have the next speaker. professor, it's all yours. >> thank you your. >> you forgot one thing, yonah. only questions from the people back here. no speeches. >> okay. >> it has to be one of the more formidable challenges that i faced in recent times to speak about this topic al all in 10 minutes, and i'd better get started because i think i'm down to nine, nine and a half.
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one of the questions, the first question that's asked on the literature that you have, a flight i was sent from is religion relevant for combating terrorism? i would say the answer to that is it certainly is. the first, and there are a number of reasons for this. the first reason is that you have to understand what the problem is before you consulted. what's the problem? when we speak about terrorism as a problem in the west we are generally speaking about religious terrorism. and more particularly we are many speak about islamic terrorism. when i say this i don't mean to imply that islam is inherently violent or that it has no peaceful side to it. in fact, you're going to see that i'm going to argue that it does have a peaceful dimension to i'm only clarifying that when westerners are concerned about terrorism, they're generally speaking about this terrorism in this form. islamic terrorism has many causes, political, social, economic, historical, and
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religion is connected to all of these. you cannot separate them. and, therefore, you have to have another stand of islam before you can even approach the problem of terrorism that westerners are concerned with. this might seem like a simplistic no-brainer, but i find that this will issue is actually missing in most discussions by people in academia to study international conflict, and by people in all levels of government. religion isn't really taken off that seriously. it's not seen as a subject deserving study in its own right. generally the view is, this comes across in the obvious and sometimes more often in subtle ways, religion is seen as sort of a function of other factors. the real issues are political, social, economic and religion as sort of a window dressing for those things. as the result of discussions of religion are often very simplistic and very superficial. in fact religion which is the
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guild i study is a highly complex phenomenon, one of the most complicated subjects you can study. the mastery of any one religious tradition can occupy you for a lifetime him and not to mention the subject of religion in general. also religion in general is connected to every level of human identity and, therefore, expresses itself on every level of human life and culture. so if you want to understand religion yo got to understand in all these levels. certainly outside factors have an influence on religion. political, social and economic, but his influence itself is also collocated, and religion can't be viewed as just a function or somehow as an expression of these four basic factors. it's an independent factor in its own right. when it comes to this topic you would have to understand that. i will play one example, much of what motivates religious terrorists is that violence, and
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speaking specific about islamic terrorism, against its enemies is seen as having a spiritual and transcendent purpose. it brings a spiritual and transcendent experience with it. so beyond the outside factors, there's a religious dimension here that hasn't independent role and this is based on various images and studies that have been done. my first point, you have to understand religion in order to understand religious extremism and this hasn't been done seriously enough. islam is perhaps the most important religion in this context but i do want to be fair to my muslim colleagues by saying that jews and christians also to own up to the five dimensions in the religious traditions because they often, these violent dimensions in these other abrahamic religions have fed into the problem of islamic terrorism in one way or another i can elaborate later. what role can religion play in combating terrorism? because of the complexity of the
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problem one can't expect a single, broad and sweeping solution to islamic terrorism takes many forms in a place and time and, therefore, the solution has to be localized. but perhaps we can make some generalizations. a point that is made repeatedly by scholars of religious ethics and those who do with religion and international conflict, and it was just mentioned a few minutes ago, is that all the major religions have a violent dimension to them and also of a peaceful dimension. i tend to take the position that neither dimension is necessarily the true religion. people say, the true judaism from the true islam. i think these are both, you see this dimension, these two dimensions in all religions. and which cite the emergence is a complex issue as well. again, social, political and economic fact of the role that religion cannot be reduced to these factors. the major religions also have
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histories which have given them a unique character and this also has to be studied in order to get an understanding of which side of a religion will be merged under a given set of circumstances. what this means is that religion is the problem but it can also be the solution if we can find ways to accentuate a peaceful dimension of religion and strengthen the representatives of that dimension to i myself have written about this issue with respect to judaism. my latest book which came out in two and 20 love isn't a the peace and violence of judaism from the bible to modern zionism. what i do is i try to examine both the peaceful violent dimensions that are developed from the bible onward in order to try to better understand of modern zionism, which also has its peaceful and violent dimensions. my underlying motive was to try to figure out if i could get insight into the israeli-palestinian conflict. i really wrestled with this question in this book about to accentuate the peaceful side of
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judaism. if this seems like an exercise in shameless self promotion, i want to assure you that your apps will be correct if you make that assumption. that's exactly i am going to i want you all to buy the book and read and give me some feedback. in recent years i've studied very seriously christianity and islam in this man as well, where i also these see these dual narratives in both traditions. we need to strengthen the peaceful dimension of religion, how do we do that? how do we make it a force for the good? there are no easy answers. we could just kill all the bad people. which has generally been the way our foreign policy has gone but we have discovered that easier said than done. and so we have to think of alternatives. in my experience most people are actually peaceful people. most people are. them in years of work with muslims, my impression is that
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most muslims are peaceful. but they can't combat terrorism because they don't have the power to do so or they're simply too scared to speak up and i'm very sympathetic to that problem. so we have to give the moderate representatives of islam that power. one thing that would help would be including religious clerics with peaceful leanings at the highest levels of negotiations between governments who are involved in dealing with religious conflict. but that generally does not happen. i am dismayed by the fact that in all of the many rounds of peace talks between israelis and palestinians that have taken place in recent years, the rabbis, the sheikhs, the priests are generally excluded. this is just amazing. is perhaps the best illustration of the fact religion just isn't a consistent enough by people and high levels of government, but if religion isn't included in these negotiations, my feeling is that you'll never have a solution to this
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conflict. for instance, the status of jerusalem is one of the major problems dividing the two sides and it's inconceivable that you have a solution without having the clerics at the table. i think there are also much less dramatic steps that you can take, what would be helpful would be to fund programs in which religious clerics are interested in the peaceful dimensions of the religions wouldn't actually meet each other. jews, christians, muslims, these clerics should meet each other. it would even be more valuable if these programs were international. one of the reasons that terrorism thrives december that the leaders and the laypeople of these communities rarely meet each other and, therefore, they assume the worst about the religious other. christians and jewish clerics who badmouth islam have generally never met a muslim. i find that case vice versa. i can tell you how many muslims i've met through my work from
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muslims countries have never met a jew and i counted how many of them are shocked to discover that i'm actually a nice guy. meetings like this i know have occurred. you read periodically in the papers about the clerics meet each other in some international conference but there are not nearly enough of them. i have participate in a good number of these over the last 10 years and that gw we are running a program where we are inviting saudi academics who study religion were also many of them clerics, to dialogue with us here at gw right across the river about religious issues. that's been a very interesting program. in short, we can globalize enough to want to kill each other but not globalized enough to be able to make peace with each other. one final observation is that programs like this will take a long time to change minds. this is one reason why we don't see more programs like this. it's much easier to drop bombs and convince ourselves of the aleutian we're going to take of
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the problem quickly and decisively. but if we have learned anything in recent years, it's not going to happen that way. we will need to have tremendous patience. this is one of the things i emphasized in all of my talks about religious experience. religious extremism that we wanted a tremendous patients as we get to know each other across divisions of distance, language, culture and work on changing fundamental attitudes. this could take decades. this could take even centuries, but we have to start and we might as well do it now. thank you. [applause] >> good afternoon. thank you, or petulant center, for inviting me to participate -- professor alexander, the role
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of religion in combating terrorism. i shall first say that i'm here in my personal capacity. the opinions i express and statements by make are strictly mine and do not represent the position of the library of congress or any other u.s. government institution. due to time constraints i will limit my discussion to the traditions, christianity and islam. terrorism is but one manifestation of intention on violence and aggression against innocent people. the evidence supporting the veracity of this postulate is reflected in recorded history. atrocities committed by attila the hun, pillaging cities and towns, murdering town counted lg no survivors behind are examples of the terrorism practiced in the fifth century a.d.
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the mongols and the 13th century provide other similar examples but it has been reported that the mongols assess the extent of the victory by cutting off an ear for each dead enemy. and after the battle in poland, they collected nine large sacks of theaters and send them back to the king -- of years, and sent them back to the king as proof of their victory but in the 20th century the attempt to ask exterminate jews in concentration camps, it was worse. sigmund freud attributes violence and aggression the human nature. he asserts that men are not a gentle, friendly creatures wishing for love, december defend themselves if they are
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attacked. but a powerful measure of desire for aggression has to be reckoned as part of their instinctual indulgence. freud's views are not shared by everyone. the real statement on violence authored by an international group of scientists in 1986, and adopted by unesco in 1989 of swords that it is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behavior is genetically programmed into our human nature. in trying to determine the role of religion in combating terrorism, and irrespective of whether violence is a biological instinct or an acquired behavior, we are compelled to point out, as many others did, that a lot of violence rising to the level of terrorism have been
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caused were carried out in the name of religion. in the early centuries of the common era, the conflict about the divine and human natures of jesus christ led to horrible interconnection violence, terrorism and make them. one of the consequences of this conflict, as told by the british historian, reads as follows. jerusalem was occupied by an army of monks in the name of the one in create nature. they pillaged, they burned, they murdered. and the battle of christ was defiled with blood. other examples of terrorism conducted i christianity or in the name of christianity include the atrocities committed by the successive waves of crusaders, not only against muslims and jews and some christians in the holy land, but also against the
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groups in the west considered heretics by the catholic church. in describing the crusaders siege of one such group, in southern france, the personality of enlightenment age wrote the following, the city tried to hold out against the crusaders. all the inhabitants were in a church, had their throats cut, and the city was reduced to ashes. in 1252, the pope issued a proclamation known as -- authorizing torture, short of killing and breaking limbs to extract confessions of wrongdoing against the creed of the church. the murder of the fourth in 1641
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is probably the first act of terrorism committed in the name of islam are the faqs them of violating the work of god, for agreeing to betray the legitimacy of his appointment in office. the atrocities committed by two other notorious groups provide other examples of terrorism carried out in the name of islam. according to one account, in 1930, flooded mecca with the blood of pilgrims. they made it a scene of fire, blood, for 17 years -- for 17 days, and removed the black
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stone from its sacred place. the name entered the english language to be synonymous with killing and murdering, which is what they did. it is important to note here that these groups, she sheen, and others had never been a part of mainstream islam and were defeated, not by the armies of the west but by the muslim majority rejected their ideologies. with this record of violence, can we expect revision of religion to play a role in combating terrorism? the answer is a qualified yes, only if the teaching of religion has peace and toleration to christianity, after many years of questionable attitude, no longer condones violence
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committed in its name. to the contrary, it's teaching today concentrates on peace, toleration, and love for others, and its message to terrorists is that their actions are against what god is expecting from them. with reese -- with respect to islam, this is complicated because, one, there is no church or single institution with authority to speak on behalf of islam. this allows terrorist groups such as present-day al-qaeda and isis to claim the authority to represent islam as much as any other groups do. number two, the tool of reason that helped muslims in the past understand the religion, as preaching peaceful coexistence,
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and respect for diversity, has disappeared starting with the banishment of the great muslim scholar and philosopher of the 12th century, known in the west as veros. it provided the writings of the european enlightenment and were burnt in public in his native country shortly before he died. three, what is amazingly surprising is that the vast majority of muslims who reject terrorism and violence are leading a small minority from among themselves to define islam as a vision of violence, aggression and mayhem. it is not enough for them muslim majority to assert that it is
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the religion of peace, which i believe is. it is incumbent upon them to face the challenge the position and interpretation of some of the passages of their scriptures, the so-called versus of the sword. these verses of the koran, upon which the terrorists rely to attack non-muslims and defiled their places of worship are the same versus that existed when the prophet muhammed pledged his word and the word of god to protect the lives, property, and the places of worship of the christians. they are the same versus that existed when the prophet muhammed instructed his representative in yemen that no jew shall be enticed away, to
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leave judaism. and they are the same verses that existed when the muslims refunded to the inhabitants of hamas and when they became unable to protect them against the advancing army. the role of the religion of islam in combating terrorism is the most effective in this age, where most terrorists claim to be adherent of islam. but this assumes that the majority of muslims are able to make their voices heard, are able to reintroduce the tool of reason in anticipation of their scripture, and are able to claim the intellectual heritage of their fallen hero's, like mohammad abdul and others.
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let me close by reminding ourselves of a statement attributed to mohammad abdul who upon returning from paris in the late 19th century said, in france is the islam. i didn't see muslims. in egypt, i see muslims, i don't see islam. and you very much. [applause] >> -- thank you very much. >> greetings of peace. i hope by now you received my gift. one is the koran, the verses about love and compassion and
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peace. that is the majority of the koran. also you must have received another brochure which is against terrorism and religious extremism. muslim position and responsibility. so please make sure that when you leave have one copy so that i don't have to discuss those things here. i want to introduce myself, and i want to introduce the community that i am representing in north america. it's a new identity. it's the new reality. it has a tremendous global role to play. i came here about 40, 50 years ago in '60s and '70s but many of them muslim countries were becoming independent from the colonial occupation, mostly all of them from the european colonial occupation. so, therefore, the first priority that the head was to send their students to america for advanced studies in science,
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technology and education. so in '60s we had about a quarter the and students in american university. this was a new thing for america to have that many muslims in american universities. to have that many muslims in america praying and fasting it would deny the islamic centers and mosques that we have today. so it was the christian churches that opened their doors to these muslims to pray here. so it was unprecedented. so it was new for muslims also, because they had been to europe to their colonial masters, indeed and the indians and pakistanis. the relation between the whole society and incoming students was quite unequal. the colonial masters colonized. but it was for the first time
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that muslim students in america sought a new reality, a pluralist democracy where they were treated as equals, and religion itself was encouraged. the practice of religion was very much encouraged. so it was very new part for both sides. so that was the time when muslims students association a just and canada was born in 1963. that's why last year we were celebrating our 15th anniversary. so i also came to do my ph.d here as a student, and after a few years i became its president, president of the muslim student association of the u.s. and canada in the later 70s. so as a president of the muslim student association of the u.s. and canada, which had already done so much good work in
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america, so i thought this was a wonderful opportunity. it should not be just as a muslim student association. american deserves to have a modern day islamist community with christian communes come with jewish committee to this would be our gift to america. this would be a gift to the muslim world. for the first time the world will be proud that there are muslim -- and a pluralist democracy as a gift that muslim world should recognize ultimately. so while i was the president, we transformed the student organization into the islamic society of north america. so that's what we were celebrating last year. it's amazing that this happened in 1963. that was the year that martin luther king was having that dream speech and taking that
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procession that march in washington, d.c. usually in america and around the world, people, what they think of martin luther king, that dream speech in the march and that whole civil rights movement in america, they think that 1963 was a watershed. the beginning of more inclusive society in america which recognized people of different colors and different races and thus america became more inclusive racially and in terms of color. but they forget that that was the year when america also became inclusive in terms of welcoming a new religion that is islam. so our growth, our development, started in 1963 in terms of having coordinated, well coordinated growth and develop an of islam in america. but the whole project was an interfaith project. our growth and development was
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made possible because we were working together with our christian and jewish neighbors and organizations. so close with council nation of churches represent about 50 million protestants, so closely with u.s. conference of catholic bishops, representing about 18 million catholics, and union of reform judaism, and other jewish organizations. it's amazing what can be achieved when you have such a multiple denominations supporting and helping you to move forward. now, i told you that when we came here we had hardly say 10 or 15 islamic centers. today we have 3000 islamic centers. everepicenter has a story how ty were able to do, how they were able to be established. ..
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a way of anti-muslim sentiment in america. and that was the time when i remember i was getting letters of support from catholics,

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