tv Religion Ethics Newsweekly PBS August 30, 2009 10:30am-11:00am EDT
>> abernethy: coming : how far should the government go in inveigating and punishing those whoversaw harsh interrogaons of prisoners after 9/11? we talk with an eicist. al, the gaithers-- bill and gloria-- gends in gospel music. >> are you a minister or a musician? >> yes, yes. nextuestion. and theewish practice of tikkun olam-- repairing e world after hurrine katrina, four years ago this weeken pl, for muslims, the diipline and spiritual rewards of ramadan captioning sponsored b the lilly eowment
>> abernethy: welcome. i'm boabernethy. good to ve you with us. ligious leaders across the spectrum were among tse offering tribus after the eath of senator edward kenne this week. sever faith groups praised his upport for healthcare reforms a moral issuend his work on poverty, immigration and ciil rights. kennedyas a roman catholic who advocated strict separati of church and state. he somemes took stands that conicted with the teachings of
his church, such as s support for abortion rights. but he also sided with the church on many cial justice issues. boston cardinal se o'malley issued a statement sayin knedy was quote "often a champion for the po, the less founate and those seeking a better life." the world's more than one- billion mlims are celebrating their holy month of ramada it's a time of datime fasting and ecial prayers. in many parts the world, muslims are conducting spial ramadan chari projects. president obama recorded a deo message wishing muslis well during this sacretime. >> fasting is a concepshared by many faiths, includig my own christian faith,s a way of bring peop closer to god, and to those among us whoannot take their next meafor grted. and the supporthat muslims provi to others recalls our responsibili to advance pportunity and prosperity f people everhere.
>> abernethy: there were controveial developments this week in the debate or how the c.i.a. interrogated terrism spects after 9/11. theustice department released details of a 2004 c.i.a. inpector general's report detaing chilling interrogation techniques, inuding aterboarding. the attorney genal ordered and inestigation of what happened an appointea veteran prosecutor to findut. d c.i.a. interrogators go if so, should they be nished? and should bush adnistration ficials who authorized the teciques also be punished? we explore the moral issu with shun casey, professor of ethic at wesley thlogical seminary in washington. shaun, welcome. t me take you back to the atosphere after 9/11. the was tremendous pressure on the administration to pvent
anoer attack, do whatever is necessary, find out atever they could on if there wod be another attack. doesn't that justify the interrogation techniques th were put into pce? >> i would argue th it's precisely thoseoments of crisis that we need to re on o moral and legal tradition and resist giving urespect and dignity for the human pson. think moral tradition argue that no mter who that person is the result dignity is that they should not bsubjected to the pe of torture that went on. >> abernethy: and eveif you're pretty sure you might be ae to save several thousd more nocent lives that would not trump theignity of the indivial prisons. >> what's ieresting even at the time and now know for sure that information did n exist. we did not extract tough torture any formation that direct lead to preventing another sort of tric event. so no, i think we should rest because we don't have thakind
of vanced knowledge. >> abernethy: apparentlythe c.i.a. tried hard to keewhat wasone within the guidelines of what existed, but that me cases people did exceed those guidelines. should they be punied? >> absoluly, i think that in fat if we gave guidance to those interrogators and the still violat those guidelines there nee to be a moral accntability so that we reinforce that you respect t dignity ofuman beings. >> abernethy: and whaabout up the chain of command. if the inveigation reveals that high official maybe up to the vice president or the psident, authorized things that shouldn't he been done. should they be punied? >> they shoulbe held morally aountable. that doesn't me criminalizationor actual legal punishment but in a demracy that esuses certain moral values, i think we need thave a ceain accountability not only of what has hpened but it
also prepar us morally to face e future where we might find ourselves in a similaroral siation where we're facing a crisis and pressure to andon oral presidents that we've observed. >> abernethybut if a new administration can have a criminal investigation of i's predecesr and put people on trial that creates enormous partisan gridlock andothing el would be done. >> ye and that's what the president is struggling wi right n. we're looking at simp 10 cases whre he is, where actually the attorney general, has aed the prosecutor to instigate. this point, i don't know of any attempt for mprehensive procution on the other hand i would argue imight be better to think oa bipartisan commission that in esnce eates amnesty legally to th participants so we c learn what ally happened from the top of thsystem to the bottom.
asa way of not only holding them aountable morally but also eparing us to face the future when we may find rselves under similar circumstaes. and i think that's aay to take some of the air out of the partisan ship that seems to growing at this time. abernethy: you have read wat y could of the c.i.a. inspector general's reporin 2004-- quickly can youum it up, what didhey conclude. >>they concluded that there weren't a l of rules in place and they had to moveery quickly in this case to gi guidelines whi they did. secondly,hey confessed that some of their own emploes viated those guidelines. perhaps most important of all they conclud that they can't say these ennced interrogation techniques lead to unique knowledge that cod not have been gotn by other means. so that cast a light doubt on hese techniques. > abernethy: many thanks t shaun sey of wesley theological seminar >> abernethy: in other ne, fallout connues after the
nation's largest lutheran denominatn, the evangelical lutheran churcin america, voted to lift its ban onon- celibate gay a lesbian pasrs. e vote came at last week's e.l.c.a. aembly in nneapolis. some lutherans o opposed the change are now debating wheter to leave the denonation. some are also withholng money. e.l.a. presiding bishop mark hanson plead with consertives to stay in the church a keep the dialog ing. we have a profile now o bll and gloria gaither, the legendaryongwriting and pforming couple who have had enormo success in the world of christian gospel muc. bill is well knowfor his productivity, his upbeat attitude and his help to oers. gloria has often bn his songwring partner and is a successful author andpeaker in her o right. th gaithers live in a small
town in indiana,here phil nes found them. >> reporter: in t 1950s, bill gaher used to turn on his radio and listeno all the gospel music stars. he was a farm y with a field of dreams. >> i kt dreaming of the day that maybe, justaybe, i could write a sonthat would catch the attention of sebody or sing a song th would catch the tention of somebody. am i blessed guy? i'm blessed. what can i sa >> reporte in 1963, his dream came true. he wrote a ht. elvis presley recordedt and won a grammy, but the rics belged to bill gaither. >> ♪ he touched me, ohhe toucd me. ♪ jimmdurante sang this and he'd go... ♪ he touched me, d all the joy that floodmy soul..." >> repoer: since then, bill
and his wife, gloriaformer enish and french teachers, have written more than 0 gospel song many of them are in today's church hymns. >> what wod the christian world, the gospel musiworld have beelike if we hadn't had bill and gloria gaitr? and i jt felt like it would leave a t of empty pages in those so books. >>eporter: the gaithers ha won six grams and more than twdozen dove awards for outstandinchristian music, plus they've sold re than 20 milln videos. and they still are packi the house all ovethe world. >> our homecoming cebration in new york's carnegie hall. >> reporter: perfrming homecominevents with their frids, stars of gospel music past d present. hen they were named gospl song writers of the centurin 2000, it was said the gaithers areo christian music whathe beatles
were to pop music ty were among the first to inoduce contemporary religious musc. >>n fact, we have a pretty well-known clege that banned their kids in '68 frocoming to see the bill gaithetrio because they saidt's worldly music. >> ♪ swing dow chariot, stop and let me ride,wing down chiot stop and let me ride. rock me. ♪ >> reporter: ere would you say that you fit into the evangelical world? >> i'm not sure weeally do. i tnk we've been mavericks from the beginning. >> ♪ stoand let me ride, swing down chariotnd let me ride. ♪ >> ion't even like to use are we contemporary? re we traditional? are we country? are we progressiv labels are dangerous. i'm a llower of christ. i believe in the ssage. i believe in demption, and if
i didn, gloria and i would stop today and go the mountainsnd retire d rock on a rockinchair. >> reporter: bill a gloria gaither have earned enough me and money to live any ace they chse. they have chen to stay right here alexandria, indiana, population about 6,000. it was picked the federal govement during world war ii for the propaganda them throughout euro depicting small town u.s.a. >> aawful lot of our lyrics and a loof our philosophy come fromeing rooted in a small town with real people and real life. >> reporter: the was a time back in the mid '80that bill gaith felt his trio had peaked but he wasn't ready to hanit up he wanted one more st to make a gospel hit. so he reached out. >> and i called a bunch othe old timers and i said, "a we'rgonna come in and have fun. come in and have fun. we're gonna ha the radio days." >> reporter: and they came
join bill and hisaither vocal band-- big stars froall over the coury. ltle did they know that this reunion witthe gaithers would turn ino a concert series arounthe world called "homecoming the themes: patriism and religion. >> i inite you to trel with us as we returno the origins of our fah. >> reporter: what the peoplsee on stage reflects the sritual tone set off stage. before each night'show, there is a private prayer wit the ngers. >> lorwe love you and we are always awe when people come. we pray that we can be the channel that you can use to speak to somebody whis hurting or discouraged or just plai ired. >> reporter: among bill gaither's fs are some who tell him they are n religious. >> i thi it's the music. i think it's a potive message. i thinit's community.
i ink it's them seeing people carebout other people. >> i'm he because i love the spirit of worship. i love to wah how they... they're not there to perform they're there to honor go >> reporr: for the old timers, hanging out with bill d gloria has kept them from fading into oblivion. for some of the unger folks, bill gther has catapulted their careers. ask t booth brothers. >> i mean it just ridly got bigger fors. bigger in that we werreaching audiences that wwould never have reached fore all because of his platfm. what i love that bill says, we do somentertaining because it's fun and pele love to laugh, but then thers the minist aspect of it. reporter: gloria and bill still live in the hoe they bought ck when they got marrie >> we d a marriage... a mariage interview one time for a magazine. and they id, "do you ever fight?" to which wsaid, "oh, you could ll tickets."
>> reporte their business world has chaed dramatically in the past few yrs. they have built e gaither music company, loted along the highway leading throughhe middle of their home town. they travel likrock stars-- huge touring ses-- sometimes a private jet. >> we're so glad tohave you here. wou you like to tour the studio? >> reporter: and they' added a gift store, resurant, receptn facility for tourists and fans. >> i say if there's ever been a leend in gospel music, it s tobe the gaithers. >> reporte are you a minister or musician? >>yes, yes. nextuestion? my olmentor, my buddy, used to say thatesus must have been a pretty good entertain to hold the attention of 5,0 people on a hlside at the sea of gailea, without a microphone.
>> reporterin these times when the music world is in cstant change, it is a near miracl that bill, now 73, a gloria ither and their friends are still doing what ey started doing decadesgo. to paraphrase those earlbill gaither lics, the gaithers have been "uched." >> ♪ touched me. oh, he touched me,nd all the ♪joy at floods my soul. >>reporter: for "religion & ethics newswely," i'm phil jones in alexandria, indna >> ♪ he touch me, and made me ole. ♪ er>aby:> thouou fneyears o this weekend hurrica katrina hit thgulf coast.
in this neighborho in new orleans, broadmoor, t houses were in eight feet ofater. since then, thoands of young volteers from all over the country, from many fai traditions, have gone to w rleans to help with the clea and rebuilding. may chose to move there. we talked with ridents at the jeish social service organization, moisheouse. >> moishe houses a national organization. it says that the msion of the hous that they have throughout the world is "tikkun om," which is "repairing the worl" >> that ti right in to the mission here in newrleans, taking a ty that has been faed with so many challenges nd trying to, on every levelf inastructure and community development, to provide mo structure to i >> the idea of giving back t a comnity, whether it be jewish or the generalommunity at large, s a very appealing idea. >>irst, coming down, it was an
absolute... it wasiped out. t looked like a bomb had go off, a coming back in the six- month intervals you cld really see the progssion that was slowly happing, but with that time going by you cou see progress. i met miss della mae whenhe came into broador looking for assistan with rebuilding her home. she's anlderly woman, wheelchair-bnd, been living in a trler on her property for the better part of three yrs after huicane katrina. so miss della was seone we we thrilled to find the resourceso help her. >>oh, they did a wonderful job thy did everything. they made ma brand new house! >> we're already practing tikkun olam in our day-tday lis, so in a way we're being jewish even thout being in the synagogue. moie house, in a sense, is
sort of that alternative vue to come in and re-engagewith the communit >> the shaat potluck, the friy night dinner that we do once a month,s really very much the soul of o programming. >> it's great toee everyone. we do this evy month, and we start withome traditional prayers and a brief song. they jo us for dinner, and we o the blessings. it's sort of a great oppounity for everyo to take a moment and spend time with their friends. what i hopmoishe house brings to new orleans is a coortable, open communit based on jewish valuesculture, religion that is accessible toveryone. >> abernethy: as mentioned earlier the islamiconth of
ramadan is underwa musms are fasting, every day, from dawn sunset and offering spial prayers and gifts to e poor, all to become closer t god and neighbor. in sterlingvirginia, we talked with abdul malik ahmad w teaches martial art makes muc videos and is a multi- media produr, and to his wife raima ullah, who shared with u her mily's practices for this year's ramadan. >> this week, it's towards t end of summer. and we were lucky enou to be le to enroll in this summer my sister, jasminis the 16- year-old and my eight-year-o daughter, sina. ey're both in the camp, spirually and mentally preparing for ramadan inhis natural setting. nate, for me and for muslims in general, ture is this great aweme sign of god's creatio musls are very excited about ramadan.
a lot of people will desibe it in a metaphorical senseof expeing a month-long guest because of all the excitent surrouing it in terms of being th your family, establishg and re-establishg your relationshiwith god and those around you. we follow the lunar caldar. and,o every year ramadan moves up in theear. this year it's the summer me. it's gonna beore than tlve hours. no ting, no drinking, the whole day. and you're still pposed to doing all thehings that you'd rmally do. so, yeah, it's a challenge definitely. but, i'm still lking forward to it. two of the ings that people lk forward to during ramadan would be the iftars, wch is when we bre our fasts at the d of the day at sunset. and the prayers, special raman prayers thatome after our eveninprayers. you're supposed totart your fasting when you hit puber. so, for guysnd girls, it's different age >> i started myast when i was six. it wasard.
i kept baking it by accident. >>eally, what's actually encouraged is,hroughout the ye, we should be fasting every once in a while as extra fass. >> i try as mu as i can not only tfast in radan but also regularly throughout e year. it's usuallsuggested that we ft on mondays and thursday. those are the ds where the proph mohammed said peace and blessings upon him. >> and dung ramadan, actually, being any and acting on your anger breaks ur fast. so, it's..it's very much an otional discipline as well a a physical discipline. >> the disciplinthat we practiceuring ramadan is the same kind discipline that we try to promote in thmartial arts. restraing from anger. treati people properly. just taking carof yourself, spiritually and psically. the maral arts style called "pinak silat."
you're supsed to use your skills that you lea for peace and for hping other people, not for violent means oriolent reasons. s native deen in our songs, try to give mulims pride about their faith. analso we want to teach other ople a little bit about isla one of the things tht we really want to promote in our song is t feeling of happiness. ramadan's he; get close to god. ft. ut, also, be happy. it's a time of hardsp, yes. bause you're fasting from sun up to sun down. but there's a lot of joyn it. we see families getting togeer for the iftar or the breafast. it's very special see that mosque just packed with ople.
it's such a warm, wonderf feeling tbe around so many people who all have thisoal of pleasing god. even if wthink our relaonship with god and the people arod us are great, there'slways a way to get tter. and so ramadan is that realy intense,ocused way of doing that. of fasting a working on our own selve and then worki on our relationship to others. and, ultimately our retionship o god. there's a prayer walways say, "grant us good in thilife and good inhe hereafter." a l of prayers that we do in ramadan is really aing for in the next life that we attaithe highest levels of hean, and to mbe see our beloved prophet mohamm when we're there. >> abernethy: in india ere is often conflict between slims and hindus.
but in mumbai this ye there is a joint celebration f islam's ramadan and hinduism's ganh chaturthiestival. both holidays started on t same day, and each fah group celebrating with the other. duringhe festival muslims have attended prayeservices for the hindu elephant headed god ld ganesha while hind feasted at muslim households as theyat down to eatfter their day long fat. that's our progm for now. i'm bob ernethy. there's much more on our web site, including mo about senator kennedy and relign, audio and video dcasts are also available. join us at pbs.org. as we leave y, music from bill and gloria gaith. ♪ ♪