'Fucking', Liberal Evangelicals, & Dem Supreme Court Fail? (The Point)

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'Fucking' Liberal Evangelicals & Dem Supreme Court Fail (The Point)
Panelists: John Fugelsang, Kelly Carlin, Hal Sparks, Hermela Aregawi
John: Welcome to The Point, I'm John Fugelsang, back again as guest host in spite of all your
angry e-mails and a very passionate plea from Bishop Desmond Tutu. Uh, so I was reading
about this woman in California who bought some property by a stream, and she was shocked
to find on a county map the name of her stream was 'n-word' creek. I can't actually say what
the word is, I'll leave that to Dr. Laura. But that was the actual name 'n-word' creek,
like it's Lil' Wayne's bluegrass band. So she went to the county and tried to have the
name changed, and the county agreed, and the all white board of directors renamed the creek
Negro Creek. This woman, her name is Gale Smith, she tried to get that changed she learned
that the black miners in the 1800's used to live near there. She tried to have it changed
to Black Miner Creek, but the board said no because the word 'negro' is not technically
an offensive term, and they're right. Here in America only two words are forbidden from
ever being used on maps to have places named after them, one is the n-word, and the other
is the word 'jap', because that is deeply offensive to some women from Long Island.
So, I say this not because it's especially political but because we're going to be closing
this episode with the story of a place that's named something so awful you could never say
it on regular broadcast TV. It's not necessarily political but it's cultural it's about identity,
political correctness and it'll be really fun to watch with your mom in the room. So,
we have three great points this week, the first of from Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick,
with a point about the increased politicization of the judiciary. It's sexier than it sounds.
We have another from NYU professor and author of The New Evangelicals Macia Pally to talk
about the changing face of the Evangelical movement and who the hell are they gonna vote
for at this point this year. And finally our final point is about that very unusual town
in Austria with a name that, well, bring the kids in for that one. Joining me on today's
panel I'm very thrilled about this assembly. Kelly Carlin is the very busy host of Waking
from the American Dream podcast, and the Kelly Carlin show on Sirius XM radio as well as
the creator of her one woman show A Carlin Home Companion. Mister Hal Sparks is a comedian/actor
from Disney XD's Lab Rats, the band Zero One, pick up their album. Of course Queer as Folk,
Talk Soup, Dude Where's my Car?, I could rattle off your resume all day.
Hal: This would be the whole show. Most important though, the Sexy Liberal tour which I've been
on with you with you, and the Politics, Sex, and Religions tour which we're launching together
soon. John: In full disclosure, Hal and I are accomplices
in all sorts of unsavory comedic enterprises. And finally Hermela Aregawi, a producer here
with The Young Turks, and the fabulously popular TV show The Yount Turks, and it's great to
meet you in person for the first time Hermela: Great to meet you, I'm excited to
be here. John: Well that'll go away pretty quick. Now,
I wanna take a look with you guys at our very first video, because it speak to everything
that is going on in our country right now and for our future. And let's go to Professor
Dahlia Litwick. Dahlia: Hi, this is Dahlia Lithwick, I'm the
supreme court correspondent for Slate.com and here's my point. I'm just coming off of
the post-traumatic distress disorder that is three days watching the health care hearings
at the US Supreme Court, and I think it's fair to say that right now the American people
are kinda circling the airport for the next two months, waiting for justice Anthony Kennedy
to decide where to land this plane. One way to look at what just happened in the arguments
that really did seem as though the court might in fact strike down health care is that this
current supreme court is really political. And this was their moment, but I'm here to
tell you that this is been going on for decades, it's not just the supreme court, it is the
courts of appeals, and the federal district courts, and this is really a function of the
decades long revolution on hte part of the Republican party to seek conservative justice,
not just conservative justice, federalist society vetted, young, passionate, zealous,
conservative judges who are willing to do things that moderate judges never did before.
George W Bush seated one third of the current federal bench at the district court and appeals
courts level, and more importantly he made the most single change which was replacing
justice Sandra Day O'Connor with Samuel Alito. We need now to think about the courts in an
equally strategic fashion, we need to understand that four of the sitting justices will be
eighty by the next election. That the next President will reshape the judicial branch
not just at the court, but at the lower courts as well, and that if in fact this is a revelation,
both sides need to play. Judges matter, they matter more now than ever. Think about that
when you go to the polls. John: Thank you Dahlia, now President Obama
nominated only 33 people to judgeships in 2009. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 172 years old.
Kelly my question, I'll kick it off with you. Hal: Geologists still can't figure out what.
Really mean John: They're doing heavy carbon dating on
Scalia's soul Hal: Yogurt and three days of sleep in a row.
John: Kelly Carlin, here's my question to kick things off. Do you agree that the Democratic
party has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to nominating judges whereas the Republicans
have been much more organized Kelly: Well I don't know if the democrats
have been asleep at the wheel, but yes, I think the Republicans have been much more
organized the last 25 years in general. I mean, this is what they do well, organize,
and not just the judiciary, it's the school boards and everything else. So, it's dangerous
times, it really fells that way to me. Hal: Here's the thing, I don't think it's
the democrats or the politicians themselves so much as it is the voters on our side. Liberal
voters, progressive voters have been very slow to guarantee these midterm elections
where a lot of this stuff is fortified. The President can put in all these people he wants
to, but if he doesn't have the congress to back him up or get them through, which is
the case right now. John: Will-i-am is not writing catchy rap
videos about midterm elections. Hal: Exactly, the other issue too is what's.
It's a much better spend of Koch brothers dollars ultimately, and this is true of any
right-wing donor. If you're getting a congressperson, that's a decent paycheck, 250 a piece something
like that, but he's only in for a couple years, it peels back. A senator, they have six year
terms, you can maybe get him three, four, terms it's a better investment. The President's
very expensive. You get a lower court judge who's in there, and in just in the machine,
and people don't pay attention to who they're voting for, they just check that off all the
time, then that's an easy spend. Ten thousand bucks on a crappy low level judiciary seat
in a county ends up being state, ends up being federal bench.
Kelly: It's like the invisible power of the judiciary
Hal: It's exactly that, and they know it and they push it everywhere. That's why we have
the fifth circuit court which is insane, they are crazy people.
John: And you know I look at it sometimes and I remember when I was a kid and Reaganomics,
Robert Bork on the supreme court, and all the liberal flipped out saying "No no, not
Bork. He's horrible he's horrible" and we got Anthony Kennedy, also known as the most
powerful man in America. When you look at Bork, who was a overweight chain smoker, maybe
the liberals would've been better off letting him get the gig after all.
Hal: Cause they would've replaced him sooner Kelly: They should do genetic testing for
these people to really see if they've got good longevity
Hal: You don't think they do? Kelly: Maybe they do
Hal: Have you seen Roberts and, they're really putting forward, the right is really putting
forward "How is this guy gonna last, how long is his shelf life?"
John: Exactly, that's why John Roberts, very young guy, and to President Obama's credit,
he has so far nominated two supreme court justices who can still breath on their own.
Hal: Women who by the way, live longer statistically speaking. Also a smart move.
John: Clever guy that President. Hermela I've always said judges that fight for the bottom
99% of the population are activists judges who fight for the 1% are strict constitutionalists.
This is what I've learned from watching Fox News, would you agree.
Hermela: Well, I don't disagree, but I think all judges are political, they're politicized,
I mean they're human, they can't be not in a bubble, they're not away from the rest of
congress, not away from teh rest of people. They're going to lean one way or another.
and yes, you're right, it's the people that call themselves conservative judges that go
by the book that are generally pro-corporations, anti-individual rights in the way they progress
and see it. So I guess of course the conservatives are gangsters in my mind, you know what I
mean? There is no fighting against them, I mean the Democrats try, I think Obama's really
putting forth as much effort as he could, but the Senate, the GOP in teh Senate is using
filibusters left and right. What do you do about that?
John: Well, I'd like to see if the democratic party put their muscle where their mouse is
and say "Go ahead douche bags, filibuster" Make them do it, make them read the phone
book and put it on C-Span, and let America see how these guys are wasting time
Hal: Here's the thing though. I've heard that point brought up by a lot of people. No, but
I mean in all honesty, it's one of the refrains you hear a lot, and the reason it doesn't
work is because what they're not really doing is filibustering, what they're going to do
when they threaten to filibuster is put in endless amendments. You can go and there are
no limits on the languaging of a bill, in so far as putting in amendments in the senate.
So if I wanted to capitalized "and" at the top of a paragraph, I can put in an amendment
to actually make that happen. I can rearrage letters and say "this should read forthwith
here and to the date starting on the 12th, but not for into the 15th" and reletter bla
bla bal John: This is how we want to pay for 47 new
nuclear submarines in a highway bill Kelly: Is it just that the liberals, the progressive
are just too afraid to be devious. John: I think I've known plenty of evil liberals.
You're in Hollywood, Kelly Carlin, this is the Mecca of evil liberals.
Kelly: But I mean in government, it seems like I don't know
Hermela: Too democratic, that's exactly what it is. Conservatives don't care
Kelly: Democracy is a good thing, but in the end we're getting screwed.
Hal: In the democratic party you can have an entire conversation of liberal and conservative
in the party. John: The entire spectrum is covered within
the party, from pro-life to conservative pro-business, to left wing Rastafarian kill whitey me.
Hal: But the right isn't, especially now. It's been whittled down to a shiv, and that's
all it's for Kelly: And now they're fractured, because
there's libertarians, tea party, evangelicals. John: Well, I think this has been the interesting
thing about the Romney candidacy because we've finally been able to see the republicans be
in as much ideological disarray as the democrats are all the time. But the argument we hear
all the time for disaffected liberals and progressives who might want to stray from
President Obama is "dude the supreme court". Now, on an ideological level, if you're upset
with Obama about NDAA, if you're upset about him voting for the PATRIOT act if you're upset
about the Bush tax cuts being extended, if you're upset about the crackdown on cannabis
clinics after he swore he wouldn't, whatever liberal grievance you want to have. Is the
judges argument sufficient to throw at your liberal friends
Kelly: For me, it is, absolutely. Hal: Because that's the long game. You want
a Presidency, you want four years, you can go "eh, never mind" and expect things to be
different, or do you want to plan for 20 years down the line, which is really what you have
to do. The President is only in there for 4/8 years, it's the most temp job in government,
there are senators sitting there with their arms crossed going "I can wait this out"
Kelly: and I'm wondering if that's the one thing that a President can do that can kind
of bend the system one way or another, because the system takes so long to change. I mean,
a President goes in, and look at Obama with the healthcare thing, he made this huge change
and now they go, well that's a whole nother issue. But that's one way they can affect
the general direction of this country Hal: That's why they're stopping all of these.
John: Of course earlier this year, we saw the President make several recess appointments
for judges, and the GOP is flipping out forgetting the fact that George Bush did it whenever
he felt like. My question is, how can progressives or liberals or sane people or just anti-evil
folk convince the democratic party to wake up to what's going on in the judiciary. Do
the democrats have any kind of strategy or are they just gonna be a very nice punching
bag. Hermela: I'll say one thing about filibusters,
though I blame the media for this. I think the media kind of glosses over the senate,
GOP, filibusters, and to most people just think this is something that just happens.
They disagree, they didn't get the 60 votes say in the case of the Buffet rule, you have
to explain to people that a filibuster is an outright disrespect in my mind of the whole
system, it's broken. John: It's totalitarian fascism, it's the
minority controlling the majority. But we never actually get to the filibuster. Last
year, Bernie Sanders did a 7 hour filibuster. A 70 year old guy can go for 7 hours, 7 hours
on the senate floor, and it made headlines because so rarely do we actually see someone
do it. Of course, Strom Thurman is in the record books for the longest filibuster against
the Civil Rights bill. Wy don't the democrats force their hand and make the people read
the phone books. Hal: Bernie Sanders could've saved his breath
and sat in a room and offered memo after memo with his staff of amendments and shut down
five other bills and it would've been more effective because ultimately when he did his
filibuster it didn't really change the circumstances. John: He did release it as a book, he published
it Hal: That's what I mean, but I'm telling you
it didn't actually affect the legislative process the way it's supposed to. What did
affect it is you guys are gonna be here till Wednesday reading memos this big that affect
a crap bill we all need to sign before Wednesday, and that's what they're doing. And the democrats
won't do that because it's a terrible way to run government, and democrats are into
running government and GOP are running for government. It's like hiring a baby sitter
who hates kids. They don't want to be involved. John: Well, in fairness, I'd hate government
too if I sucked at it, but what can the democrats Hermela: They're good at blocking anything
that Obama wants to do. That is their biggest strength. They will sit it out
Kelly: It's like they're anti-governing Hal: It's like having a football time where
you have nothing but a defensive line. You don't say you're good at football, you'd just
go "well no one gets past them I guess" and it'd be the most boring, useless, game ever
and no one would ever want to see it again. Hence the congress' low approval rating
John: But this takes me back to the nineties when Bill Clinton was trying to nominate James
Hormel to be Ambassador to Luxembourg, which is a country the size of this table, and because
James Hormel was gay and out, again this is the nineties, the GOP blocked him for over,
I think it was close to a year. I mean, we've seen this movie many times before, why don't
we see the democrats running interference on GOP judicial nominees with the same ferocity
Hal: Because I think they're afraid of the stuff they want to get through. And I think
there's a difference between the kind of bills the GOP puts through and the kind of bills
the Democrats push through. This is like cave on the Bush tax cuts conversation. Obama caves
on the Bush tax cuts, what he got was an extension of unemployment benefits. And the people who
needed the Bush tax cuts don't really need the Bush tax cuts, but the people who needed
the unemployment extension, needed em, needed em yesterday, needed em for rent and food
and kids. And you can't, the problem is the democrats sit on the side where if I don't
get at least this, they go hungry. This is messed up, this highway gets shut down.
John: And John Boehner knew that, and the humanism of the democratic party hurt them
in that case. But in fairness, and again I don't want to make this about the Bush tax
cuts, but President Obama ran in 2008 promising to raise taxes on the higher income earners
just like Bill Clinton got elected doing. The American people voted for this. The American
people already chose the Buffet rule three years ago, so when I see the President saying
"we're gonna fight for this" remind the people that they voted for this in the first place.
Hal: But again, you do that that's fine, but if every bill has to go through Jim Demint's
office before it even hits the floor, which he threatened to do, because he is a senator
and he has the right to put an anonymous, what is an anonymous hold? Where's the democracy
in an anonymous hold by a single senator Kelly: It's not democracy, it's a bully on
the playground Hermela: You know I really tried to find a
real significant fall in democrats in this whole justice or supreme court issue, but
it really is hard for me not to sympathize with Obama on this one, there's a lot of things
that he doesn't do that , or that he does do that I don't agree with, but what is he
to do? It's not a one man show, he needs the senate to approve these confirmations.
John: So what could he do, Hermela? What could the president, the entire force of the democratic
party do, because the actual point that began all this was, are the democrats organized
at all? Is there any kind of game plan on this?
Hal: I think there is, but I think you got different game plays because you got different
time limits if people are gonna be in different reaches. Ultimately if we could all vote for
the head of the FBI, you'd have somebody like J. Edgar Hoover who's in for 25+ years, 30
years. That actually, you get stuff done over that. This is a cruise ship not a speed boat.
The country takes time to change. We have to be consistent, that's the change, real
change happens when we show up every single election, the midterm elections, the little
mini-elections when they have recalls in area, when they put a different thing on the ballot
and we don't have a full election but it's this June everybody has to go out on the 8th.
That's what we can do. There's nothing a democratic senator, congressperson can do until we're
at that point, and believe me the reason the right owns the supreme court is because they've
been doing that forever, they show up for everything. They picket their own voting,
it's just them. John: The status quo is always been more organized,
because that's why they're the status quo, and to close it out referencing back to Dahlia
Lithwick's point, I'd like to remind everyone that the supreme court will not be handing
down a verdict in the Obamacare trial until June, because that's how long it takes Clarence
Thomas' wife to write his opinion for them. Welcome back to the point, you know if Jesus
was around today to share his message it'd be hard to hear him over the sound of evangelical
Christians calling him a socialist because Jesus said "help the poor" he forgave criminals,
he chased the capitalists out of the temple, and was clearly funded by George Soros, which
brings us to our next point coming to us from NYU professor of multilingual multicultural
studies. I can hear Fox News viewers recoil in horror from that sentence, this is professor
Marcia Pally Marsha: I'm Marcia Pally, professor at New
York University and the author of The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the
Common Good and my point today is that for us to understand our current political landscape,
we have to revise our ideas about evangelicals. Arthur Ritlidge is right remains active to
be sure, many evangelicals have left the right for an anti consumerist, anti military focus
on environmental protection, economic justice, and immigration reform. Given that evangelicals
are 26% of the American population with a lot of resources and votes. Figures such as
these are especially noteworthy. In the 2008 presidential elections, one third of evangelicals
ages 18-30 voted for Barack Obama. Nearly a third of older evangelicals did. 65% of
evangelical youths support not small government, the core republican policy platform, but bigger
government including expanded governmental social services and younger evangelicals don't
follow their elders on gays. If our political candidates missed these changes, they stand
to lose and miss a good chunk of votes. And given evangelical youth give more votes in
the future. For more information about these activities, visit my website www.marciapally.com,
or have a look at the book The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good
John: I wanna thank professor Pally for that clip. You know many times it feels like how
come every time you wanna talk like Jesus, one of his fan club calls you a communist.
And I was very surprised to learn that 19% of Americans identify themselves as evangelical,
but not as part of the religious right, and I'm wondering why hasn't the democratic party
ceded Christianity to the golden calf worshippers. In your experience are evangelical Christians,
you travel all over the country, meet all kinds of folk, are evangelical Christian we
could say that offensive liberal stereotype of shrill, intolerant, maniacs, or are they
more sensitive to the plight of the poor and suffering.
Hal: I think there's a split in it, and I think it gets formed the farther the head
of the evangelicals move to the right, and the older they seem to get. The younger evangelicals,
just like every other young group seems to be breaking more with socially open minds.
And they're reading deeper into these issues and going "My problems aren't caused by whether
or not that person is gay or straight, what they wanna do" The problem that I think for
religious evangelicals especially. The evangelical movement is based on sales, it's based on
the idea of evangelizing Jesus, it is the big sales movement of getting everybody to
be Christian. Once you move into that you move away from the actual thing, it's like
"We don't make the care, we just sell the car" You're all sales all the time, but you
don't know the product, you just tell people what they wanna hear about what they want
to hear, and you end up crafting for you area what people want to hear. And unfortunately,
that plays more to people's fear and their anger rather than their common humanity. Try
to put a bill through to feed the poor, and watch people's nerves get up.
John: Exactly, and this is the argument that I always get, because I talk about it a lot.
My parents are both ex-clergy, and I'm upset with this. And the argument that I always
get when you talk about helping the poor through government, when you talk about healthcare
like all of our capitalist allies have for their citizens, the response you get for the
Christian right, "Jesus said help the poor, but he didn't say that the government should
pick my pocket, and I shouldn't be coerced into helping the poor, we should have a private
charity" Now, here's the thing, Jesus didn't have democracy, we do. So if you want your
tax dollars to go to war and blowing guys up overseas, don't call yourself Christian,
but if you're a Christian and you have the power to vote, and you would like to see your
tax dollars going as Christ said to help the afflicted to help prisoners, to help the less
fortunate, for non-violence. Then you have every right to , and if you're opposed to
that, great. Don't ever say you want a government based on Christian values. Democracy and liberalism
are perfectly in line with Christianity. Hal: That's why you hear Judeo-Christian all
the time, it allows you to use the new testament and the old testament to pick and choose like
a salad bar the parts you like, I could be an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth when
I'm fighting for the death penalty or shooting an abortion doctor. But I could also pat myself
on the back for being helpful when I give money to charity, by doing the evangelical
thing. John: I want old testament angry alcoholic
step-god, not the hippy Jesus Hal: Or I could pick and choose depending
on who I talk to John: It's sort of like the Darth Vader, Luke
Skywalker thing. The dad's a lot more powerful but damn it Junior's a lot more likable. Let
me ask you, do you think that the Democrats, that this is another area where they failed.
Why have the democrats ceded Jesus to the right wing
Hermella: I don't think that they've done that. I think the problem is when you think
or when I think of really religious groups I think of hypocrisy. I mean when the whole
debate about contraception came out you saw bishops coming out saying ugly things when
the Hillary Rosen and Ann Romney thing came out you had that guy from the Catholic league,
which I know is not exactly representative of the Catholic church. Not someone that speaks,
but it's people who come out and say I'm Christian I'm religious I'm Catholic, and then they
say hateful things so they have. Hal: Probably where that 19% is coming from
John: Absolutely, but I want to take issue with one thing you just said. Let's take the
birth control argument for example. At no point does the Bible say "thou shalt not wear
a jimmy hat" But why weren't the democrats say up and say "Hey Santorum, not only are
you a hypocrite in the Catholic church, because you supported the war, and the pope is for
nationalized health care for every society" and the pope is anti-death penalty and the
pope was against the Iraq war, which not only means he's German, he's un-American. Why weren't
the democrats standing up to Rick Santorum and saying show me in the bible where it says
birth control is a sin. Kelly: Don't you think the Democrats believe
in more of a separation of church and state as a foundation and they don't want to have
that conversation John: Because ironically they're the real
conservatives Hal: I also think that because it's important
they believe, again It's another thing the democrats can't see necessarily in their negotiations
in the circumstance because they really do believe I shouldn't bring my religious if
I'm arguing that you shouldn't overlay your religions I can't exactly do the exact same
thing, I can't go "you have to be more Jesus-like" when I'm trying to go "we're trying to deal
rule of law, we're trying to protect everybody" John: I think it gets back to the whole punching
bag argument. If they wanted a moral punching bag for a President, John Kerry would be wrapping
up a second term. I mean, I don't mean to be mean, but that's how it is and again how
is it forcing your religion on someone to stand up and say show me in the Bible where
Christ says the death penalty is a stupid thing.
Hal: I think Obama's done that, John: Not the death penalty, they're all in
favor of that Hal : I think Obama's done it several times
where he's identified himself as a Christian he's said "Look, my belief system says you
take care of the people who aren't able to take care of themselves" outwardly, openly,
and fully. And what you get is the right attacking him for how dare he play the religion card
when that's all. They have two card in their whole deck, they have 52 cards of race and
religion, and he's not allowed to play them in a conversation of race or religion. And
they'll throw that, and the democrats, our response when he does something like that
is ooooh, because that's viewed as moving to the right.
John: To me that's the beautiful irony of Christianity in America, when Jesus showed
up. When Jesus showed up on Palm Sunday he was hailed and everyone loved him and by Friday
they wanted him dead. And the exact same thing would happen if he showed up today. The Christians
would be the first one in line to nail the guy again.
Kelly: Well, and I think too that every religious perspective has an evolution of though, and
I think these young evangelicals show more of an integral kind of perspective, they're
able to hold on to a lot of different points of view and still believe in this person they
believe in, and it's not so black and white for them, they're able to hold many different
perspectives and yay, maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that'll help us in the next 50
years. Hal: That's the point the, the languaging
that says your god is all powerful and in all things, and of and knowing all things,
and unconditional in his strength and power and glory. Those words have to sink in, but
then someone goes if gays get married, then it's all over. Wait a minute, is my god all
powerful or not? And a young person would go "This doesn't make sense to me" and yet,
you still have a profound love for the message that they've heard that did touch them, and
they're holding on to it. Whereas I think a lot of people used to just go "How can I
draft this to fit my own anger" Hermela: I wanted to hear you point really
quick before we move on. If Obama came out and said you're Bible does not support or
does not go against contraception he wouldn't just be going against Santorum he'd be going
against the beliefs of a big group and it wouldn't matter that that is true that it's
not in the Bible. Republicans would spin it though and say that Obama is attacking your
religion absolutely. He would be in a corner in a minute.
John: The majority of the American republic would agree with Obama, and that's the distinction.
Let me ask this question then, if the Democratic party is to ever reach out to this demographic
of let's call them sane evangelicals because there's plenty of them out there and God bless
we love you all. If they're to reach out to these folks, what are the areas of common
ground where the Democrats and the evangelicals can agree on? Where are areas besides Iraq
was a bad idea, where are areas that the Democratic party can go right into the home turf and
go to the Bible belt and get folks to say we're speaking for yall.
Kelly: Well certainly lifting up people to have a fair shot at
Hal: Tornadoes John: It was government satellites that saved
lives in those tornadoes Kelly: Technically it's an act of god
Hal: Here's the thing, god, the older evangelicals will say that it's a mark of sin or whatever,
but it's indiscriminate and we kind of know from a godly standpoint you don't have to
be evil to be hit by the tornadoes, but the point being that if you go to them and you
go "Look, people have been struck by a storm, we're here to help" and that's the whole.
The profit of a government is found in the health, welfare, and happiness of its people,
and that is an evangelical friendly message. Small government is incapable of helping people
in those big moments, the moments when we can't handle it ourselves. The moment when
out whole town was wiped out. The national guard is in Iraq. I think the evangelical
message is constant, not drumming the issue, but going "It is the belief of many people
that when people are struck by a situation greater than themselves, it is the goodness
of human beings and the love of their creator that brings them to help that person" and
I think you can really genuinely reach out to those people, and it's not a message, it's
not a sales pitch, it's true. Hermela: But there's plenty of republicans
who are being helped by Obama's policies, that still see red, they still cannot be.
John: How could the President of Joe Biden speak to those people and say this is what
we've done for you Hermela: I think that we should just keep
religions out of politics. If you really believe and support that Obama being a for gay rights
or Obama boosting the economy is good for you then vote for that. I don't really understand
why we have to talk to people about their religion, there's not talking about it.
John: Because the GOP has these people in their pocket or so they think, they certainly
didn't in 2008 Hal: It's not about addressing them over anybody
else, it's that we've ceded the point. They need , we've just kinda gone we can't talk
to those people. And the GOP has seized on it.
John: Jesus Christ, the greatest liberal in all of history or literature, whatever you
believe or don't believe in. Or Buddha, but let's say Jesus and Buddha are right up here,
and Jimmy Carter is here, and Bono's here. So let's say why if Jesus is the greatest
liberal why is it that when you hear someone say I'm a Christian you automatically assume
conservative Kelly: Because that's what we're fed by the
media all day long Hal: They've been fed that by the church.
The mega church is the big voice with Bill Donahue and that crowd. That's the overreaching
voice of the thing. This is not the mini-mall churches that are all over the country, these
aren't small white picket fence kind of Christian churches, these are six or ten Wal-Mart churches,
and they speak arguably on behalf of thirty thousand or three thousand people a weekend
depending on the size of their group. The interesting thing is that actually speaks
to a dwindling number of evangelicals in the country because as the smaller churches, it's
the middle class of Christians that are disappearing, and this is the difference. There's a 1% of
Christians that go to these mega churches, that's who we think of when we think of the
modern Christians. There's a 99% of Christians that are spread all over the place ,and when
you knock on doors in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a very racist area traditionally for Barack
Obama like I did in 2008. You surprisingly meet people who have pictures of their grandmother
with a Cross and a bible verse and the footsteps and all that on their wall, and they still
go "seems like a good guy, seems like he really means well" and they get it. And again, it's
I think you're right to remove religion from the political sphere, but one of the ways
you do that is by not allowing somebody to use one particular religious group overtly
to control the election process John: That's why you have to go in there.
And that speaks to what I said at the beginning of the segment about this really toxic liberal
stereotype of Christian people, and I say to my atheist friends all the time if you
want to be taken seriously and want to be regarded on the same level as religion then
work with religion. You care about homelessness? Work with the church in your local town. That
way you're an equal, not on the sidelines calling them names.
Hal: Right, secular humanist organization with life five members that doesn't actually
make any difference. Hermella: The minorities are so much louder
and have to say one word: Twitter. Twitter has made it possible for people to just come
out like the Catholic league guy and make a fuss when before they might not even be
noticed. John: Exactly, that Catholic league guy is
to Christianity what Jesus was to gay bashing and hypocrisy. We'll be back in a second but
just remember if the US was a Christian nations, we would vote to help the poor and the sick
and let private charities bail out Wall Street. For our final point we have the following
footage taken from a promotional video from a little town in Austria, with a very special
name. Video: We are here in the lovely and sunny
town of Fucking in upper Austria. Even if the English pronunciation would be fucking,
the natives here call their town (foo-king). It's a small, but very old town. Founded over
900 years ago by a guy named Focker and his tribe. Somehow, over the centuries, fock changed
to fuck, and the suffix -ing, means "his people" therefore Fucking describes Mr. Focks descendents
live here. Keep in mind, Fucking is not a mean word but a good town.
John: I don't know what's funnier, the town name or his accent, but I loved it and so
let's get the jokes out of the way, mom!. We gonna get to Fucking soon. Can I get some
Fucking soup in here. How's the Fucking Radisson, compared to the Fucking Marriott. So now there's
a movement Hal: So where is this Fucking place, people
are pulling over asking directions John So now there's a movement because these
Fucking people, some Fucking people want to change the name of their town to something
that's less dramatic, they tried to use this for tourism, which I odn't know why it wouldn't
help. Hal: People are stealing their signs
John: People are posing in lingerie next to the signs. I would think that
Hal: True of almost every German town John: This gift shop could clean up on every
Frat boy trip in the world. But it does speak to identity and we live in a town where we're
doing this in a town where people change their names because they're embarrassed of how they
sound. We all know plenty of celebrities who've done it, and it continues to this day. My
name's Fugelsang, which I kept because I felt like I had a grudge against the kids in high
school, but I mean doesn't it say something about pride. What about shame when you're
called upon to change the name of the town you live in, because it means something in
another language. Hermela: Since you're lookin at me, the one
with the weird name. Well I'll say this, and I've thought about changing my last name but
it's always felt disingenuous, you put anything with Hermela and it's gonna sound made up.
Hermela Daniels, Hermela Davis, It sounds made up. But it is true, you just want something
that's easy to say, I actually don't think Fugelsang is that bad.
John: Wow, I'm allowed to make fun of your last name. We ethnics have to stick together.
Hermela: So I mean, it's growing up, it might've made a little bit more difficult like in class,
you would see the teacher, because I was at the top of the alphabet because it's A. You
just see her e really focus, and I'd say "It's Hermela Aregawi". But I lived in the South
which made it a little more difficult, because people, because I'm Ethopian and people didn't
know one Ethiopian person besides me, and they were trying to figure out what I was
before I they even tried to figure out how to say my name. But as an adult you meet more
people who've been exposed to more and it's not such a big deal.
Hal: Where I was from we would've just settled on you're a pretty girl, and that would be
enough Hermela: I was always mixed with something,
and I'm not mixed with anything Hal: I think if you're talking about pride
in this particular town, arguably there's more pride in going you could run your entire
town on don't be an idiot, it's pronounced foo-king, and you could really be a juvenile
jerk John: That's a juvenile attitude
Hal: Own it more, because confidence will satisfy all the fear points. It will eliminate
all those fear points. John: Hermela and I own our goofy names
Hal: and people go "Oooh, Aregawi, that's amazing" but if her names Willard for example,
there's a lot of shame in that because it sounds weak
John: If your middle name is Hussein for some reason, we've really had an object lesson
in how people are prejudiced Kelly: When Barack Obama was running for President
I thought "People will never go for this, we don't know how to do this" and yet we do
know how to do this Hal: Yea we do, you know why? Because we've
had two generations of people growing up with cooler names, with Tupac Shakur, and people
like that being. Kelly: Society in general
Hal: The thing is, just because you're name is different, doesn't necessarily mean it'll
be harder to stomach for some people. Barack Obama actually sounds very powerful as a brand,
it's an incredible name. Barack has a nice punch to it. Exactly, Obama, is very fortified
and also hopeful sounding because of the 'b' and the 'a' together. It's actually easy,
it rolls off the tongue. If you had a name that, you know, circumvents that, it's harder
to get. That's why Romney John: You're gonna hear the liberals say Willard
as much as you heard the conservatives say Hussein
Hal: For different reasons. Willard is because he's running from it. Barack Hussein Obama,
Hussein is his middle name. This is the exact opposite situation. Willard Romney's running
from his first name, and Mitt isn't even his middle name.
John: It's still trying to stigmatize someone because of their name. When Al Sharpton says
"Willard...blooper pie" Hal: Again we're talking about people who've
changed their names like Fucking, whether you change it or not. In Barack Obama's case,
he didn't change it. He was arguably Barry Obama when he was younger, and he went to
Barack when he ran for office. He went back to the real deal. Hussein is still in there,
certainly when he said when I got into office, he didn't run from it, and he didn't have
a middle name like Marcus, "Marcus Obama, just call me that, it's easier" The opposite
has actually happened with these two guys. Barack Obama went "I want the harder first
name" and just sold it. And Willard Romney ran from Willard because it wasn't strong
enough, did the opposite and gave himself Mitt. Stronger name, more Germanic
Hermela: If you own it until you get to a certain place where people will have to know
your name, then they will learn your name. If you're President. Even names like Matthew
McConaughey it wouldn't be easy if it wasn't Matthew McConaughey, you know who he is and
you will John: Maybe in the 1920's, but today McConaughey
isn't exactly a tough name now.
Hermela: I'm just saying when you get to a certain point if you're the President, if
you're a celebrity, people will learn to say your name no matter what it is.
John: That's what I love about this and love about this whole debate as well. I love the
fact that a man named Barack Obama became President. Because it's so easy to write Americans
off as being a tribal beast, and that we're all on our little packs, and that we're all
xenophobic, and maybe that's true some of the time, and there's plenty of Americans
out there that love saying Hussein to try to make him the other as much as possible.
But yea, you're right, you own in and you can break through.
Kelly: There is baggage with names, I have a last name that has Baggage. Good baggage,
for most people, but people have to get through the fact that I'm a Carlin, George was my
father, and a lot of projection happens onto you for that. Expectation, projection, absolutely
they've deicded who you are out the gate, and I was married twice my first marriage
I change my name. Second marriage, I did a hyphenate, Carlin-McCall , then it was like
"OK, this is all too confusing" as a woman, you don't get to have the last name that matriarchal
anyway, so you have to have a guys name. So it's a little frustrating, to be a woman,
but a lot of baggage and after a while you're like "What can I do? This is who I am, deal
with it" John: That's why these people are foo-king
heroes, they're hanging on to it. Hermela: I think everyone should go there
because it's named Fucking. It's a great way to get people to come see your town. Doesn't
it seems like it's very sunny. John: No one ever heard of it till World War
2, when the American GI's were going through Austria, they saw this town, they saw the
name, they couldn't believe it, and they came back and told the stories. So it's because
of the greatest generation that we're laughing about it now.
Hal: My actual name is Hal Sparks, and it sounds like born showbiz name, but it also
sounds like a born showbiz name from the '20's, so it's never been as helpful as it might
have been. John: But labels are powerful, and labels
are political, so when you can have something that takes away your rights as an American,
but you call it the PATRIOT act, it'll be quite applicable.
Kelly: Doublespeak you're talking about John: Yet you can have the affordable care
act, but Fox News gets it to be called Obamacare, and this is now considered a slur.
Kelly: Even Dahlia called it Obamacare on that video earlier
Hal: Again, I don't find that a negative. I think that's why the left gets to call it
Obamacare, because we ran from Hillarycare for somereason, but Obama caring is a good
thing. I don't mind that, call it Obamacare. John: And I say all the time, I don't care
about you calling it the Affordable Care act Obamacare, but call Social Security FDRcare,
call Medicare LBJcare, call tax cuts for guys that don't need tax cuts, Wcare.
Hermela: It's interesting that there's organizations, any organizations that have the word family
in it is usually anti-gay, and hateful, and people I think for the most part don't look
beyond the surface and so for many people it's.
Hal: That almost speaks to our conversation about evangelicals earlier, that a lot of
people skate on calling themselves Christians, and they don't actually have to live up to
the standard of that name. They just use the label to conduct themselves within their society,
their social circle, and they never actually have to, they're never called on it. What
makes you Christian? Just because you go to that church doesn't necessarily mean you meet
any of the standards you say are necessary or part of that.
John: They might not even go to that church, it's just a label you slap on yourself I'm
a Christian, I'm in the club. It's self identified. Hal: You are to Christianity what George Zimmerman
is to the cops. The BTK killer was a deacon in a church, that doesn't necessarily reflect
on deacons in churches, it reflects on the fact that he was able to use it as a guise
because the rest of them skate on the name. John: I would like to see when asked "Are
you a Christian?" I would like to see someone say "Well, I aspire to be", he never said
build a religion after me, he died a Jew. We can aspire to be Christ-like, but I find
that people who call themselves Christians are more Christians in name only or chinos.
Some chinos are brown, some are beige, many are wrinkled and most are regular, but that's
a label I slap on them, because I don't think they earn the label they choose.
Kelly: I think the whole thing about labels in general. This is what we use for shortcuts
to thinking and thoughts, it's how our brain is wire.
Hal: We have to move on, otherwise we'd spend all our time reassessing every single person
Kelly: Exactly, so in some ways we have to stereotype in some ways just to function day
to day and not be overwhelmed with thoughts, and yet, you have to learn to go beyond the
stereotype and understand that it is, that there is a broader conversation here.
Hal: There has to be a reassessment at some point
Kelly: Even if you live in the town Fucking Hal: And you can go fook yourself but you
can't tell other people who aren't from Fucking to fook themselves, because they don't live
there, they don't understand Kelly: There's great fookers, and not so great
fookers John: Meet the fookers
Hermella: I think that a lot of it's got to do with media coverage, everything is really
quick, really fast. So you need a documentary to really differentiate the people who are
calling themselves Christians, but aren't living by, and then you've got the people
who are actually living by that are being demonized
Hal: There are a lot of atheists that live at a level of standard that would match any
Christian that I've ever met, but don't get credit for it. Ironically because there's
no moral equivalent to it, they just do, they're simply moral. They don't believe in punishment
in the afterlife, so they're just doing it because they believe it's the right thing
to do, and I think that's of a higher character order.
John: There are atheists who don't identify as atheists, because they're not into labels
at all. Hal: Those people are annoying
John: We can hope that if Hitler had lived in Fucking, he would've never left Austria.
But we do live in a world where a guy named Cenk can get his own TV show. We'll be right
back after this. We'll get to Fucking soon, I want to thank
you for watching The Point. I want to thank our point contributors, Dahlia Lithwick of
Slate.com, professor Marcia Pally, her book is called The New Evangelicals: Expanding
the vision of the Common Good. And of Course I'd like to thank all the good people of that
town we said the name of many times. Please before we go, any last plugs for the people
of America or the people of Fucking. Kelly Carlin
Kelly: Well, my solo show A Carlin Home Companion, I'll be in Portland May 13th, that's Mother's
day, so come Mother's Day night, and The Kelly Carlin show, my next episode is May 6th and
it's with Chris Hardwick on Sirius XM raw dog.
John: How can people find more about your show. What's your site?
Kelly: kellycarlin.com Hal: Just as original, I used my real name
halsparks.com and I'm @HALSPARKS on Twitter as you can see right there. I'm actually on
tour with my band the entire month of May. So Zero One is going on our first Midwestern
tour ever. So we're touring through these areas, it's the BFE tour almost, but all those
dates are at facebook.com/zero1nation, and then I'm going out with you this summer we're
going to Santa Fe, and we just should we announce the
John: We're gonna be at the Barrymore theater in Madison for October and many more days,
it's the Politics, Sex, and Religions Tour. It's the tour you can talk about at cocktail
parties. Hermela: I spend most of my time, Monday through
Friday, working on The Young Turks with Cenk, so you can watch that. And he's not paying
me to say this, I promise. So you can watch us at 7 PM eastern and pacific time, every
Monday through Friday. John: Right on, I'm touring with Mr. Sparks,
the PSR tour, we'll have a website for that soon, but you can follow it on Twitter. I'm
also doing my drama league nominated off-Broadway one man show Guilt: A love Story, you can
find that at guiltalovestory.com or at johnfugelsang.com but that means you have to learn how to spell
my name. This has been a great pleasure I love this show, I love the Young Turks, I
love this panel, I love all of you for watchin, we'll see all of you next time on The Point.