tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC May 15, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT
circus act like karl rove with the sharpness that john and steven display night after night after night. i say, good for them. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. tonight, thousands of people are evacuating their homes and businesses in california as wildfires spread throughout the stay. meanwhile, marco rubio is self-immolating before our eyes. when rubio traveled to new hampshire to effectively launch his 2016 presidential campaign, he probably expected some headlines and some big interviews. what he likely did not expect was that his relaunch would be completely hijacked by one single issue. >> let me get this straight. you do not think that human activity, the production of co2, has caused warming to our planet?
>> i do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. that's what i do not -- and i do not believe that the laws they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy. >> that bit of obfuscation during an interview meant to launch his 2016 bid wasn't rubio planning to make news or plant some kind of flag on the issue of climate change, no, it was marco rubio doing what every potential 2016 presidential candidate has to do as they gear up for the 2016 koch primary. which is to simultaneously not accept the obvious scientific consensus about what's happening right in front of our eyes, while at the same time, not looking like a total idiot while doing it. it's a harder dance to pull off than you might think, as marco rubio is finding out this week. yesterday, rubio headed to the national press club to unveil his retirement reform plan, one more step in the 2016 ramp-up. he was greeted with question after question on his comments on climate change.
>> of course the climate is changing, because the climate is always changing. and that's immeasurable, you can see. there is climate change, the issue is not whether the climate is changing, as it always is changing, the issue is whether there are legislative proposals before us that can do anything about it. the truth of the matter is that the united states is a country, it is not a planet. >> the united states, indeed, a country, not a planet. now, the headline out of that event was not about rubio's retirement plan, but on rube yost backtrack on climate change, which is fitting, because if rubio has his way, everyone's going to be retiring in life vests anyways. the next stop on rubio's media tour was the more sympathetic cnbc. >> i'm just giving you some advice. take it from me. just say, i believe that the climate changes and leave it at that. it's not worth it. >> i do not believe that these laws will do anything about it. i'm not going to help destroy the american economy. >> the headline out of that interview again is on climate change. it didn't stop there. in his next interview with sean
hannity, climate change comes up again. this time, rubio tried out a different way to explain his anti-science position, abortion. >> all these people always wag their finger at me about science and settled science. let me give you a bit of settled science that they'll never admit to. science is a settled. it's not even a consensus, it's a unanimity that human life begins at conception. so i hope the next time someone wags their finger about scientist, they'll ask someone, do you agree with the consensus of science that human life begins at conception? >> really well said. >> what we are watching right now and in the last few days is something amazing and really new, especially for the republican party. we are watching marco rubio self-detonate over his climate denialism. think about that for a second. a prominent republican blowing up in front of all of us over climate denial. now, a big part of that is that rubio had the misfortune of timing his 2016 rollout to a real bang-up week of news in climate change.
>> two groups of scientists reported today, based on close and constant examination, large parts of western antarctica ice sheets appears to have collapsed. the area shown here in red, scientists say further degradation is almost certainly unstoppable. they say global warming is accelerating the pace of disintegration. >> in addition to the revelation that sea levels could rise 10 feet or more in the coming centuries, a report out this week, authored by 16 retired three and four-star generals and admirals, warning that climate change is a threat to the national security of the united states, that is accelerating instability in vulnerable regions and will place key elements of our national power at risk and threaten our homeland security. another report by the international energy agency found that delaying and dealing with climate change comes at a cost. finding the most recent two-year delay has added nearly $4 trillion to the cost of a burning climate catastrophe. right now, we have reached something of a consensus moment on the threat of climate change. scientific establishment, the
military establishment, even much of the business establishment understands it. marco rubio's last four days shows that the republican party is starting to understand it. this time around, climate change will be a wedge issue for republicans, and that's a big deal. because remember less than two years ago, for republicans, climate change was nothing more than a punch line. >> president obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. and to heal the planet. my promise is to help you and your family. >> joining me now is former congressman bob english, republican from south carolina, now executive director of the energy and enterprise initiative. and bob, you've been fighting a lonely battle to kind of get republicans to accept the science on climate change. what do you make of rubio's week, the last few days? >> well, i think you're right that this might be a tipping point, a place at which we begin to see the republican party, my party, moving more toward
embracing the science, because of the problem that you get into if you don't. in other words, you can't stand against the settled scientific observations that are out there. of course, it's also true that marco rubio is right, that he hasn't seen a proposal yet that wouldn't solve the problem without harming the economy. that's yet to be seen, but it can be offered -- >> okay, but here's -- >> it can be offered. >> and you have a plan on that, it's called, basically fee and dividend, you put a price on carbon and pass the money back to taxpayers directly. you don't grow government. i like that idea. i think that's a great policy solution. there's things we can quibble about. but what's so interesting is that rubio is attempting to do two things. deny that humans the putting carbon in the atmosphere is making the planet warmer and also saying, oh, the solutions the that are being proposed aren't enough. and i want him just to abandon the first.
stop with the nonsense. if you want to be a defeatist or critique the policy of cap and trade or you want to talk about how china needs to be, you know, under some carbon regime, that's fine. that's all sensible, but he's doing two things simultaneously that are incompatible with each other. >> well, maybe, except, of course, he faces a challenge in a republican primary. he's got to win the republican primary. so it's up to people like us to show fellow conservatives that there's a solution that is based in free enterprise, passionate belief in free enterprise, in putting all the costs in on all the fuels, eliminating all the subsidies, and watching the free enterprise system deliver innovation faster than government mandates or fickle tax incentives. that's what we've seen so far, is a lot of government. so it's understandable why conservatives say, we're going to go back and doubt whether we've got a problem, because we don't like the solution. >> that's exactly how the reasoning's working. >> so we've got to find -- we've got to show a solution that fits with conservatives' deeply held beliefs.
if we do that, then i think that a candidate that's facing a republican primary electorate can say, of course we should listen to the scientists. is the science settled? no, science is, in fact, never settled, but it does clearly indicate risk. and you want to move against that risk. and so, somehow them -- what we've got to do is we've got to show them a solution that fits with their values. >> it's so true, that the reasoning on all of this is reasoning backwards from not liking the policies and ergo getting -- working your way back up to the science. you see it all the time. former congressman bob inglas, fighting a really noble and lonely battle. i hope you have more company in the days and months ahead. joining me now, admiral clark, and admiral lee gund, vice admiral, i'll begin with you, because you were part of the group that issued this report.
what are the main top line findings of the report about the connection between climate change and security? >> between the issuance of the original report from the military adviser board in 2007 and now, the climate has continued to change and the pace has quickened. that means, i think, that many of the predictions we made in 2007 about the impact that america's security would feel from the change in climate have increased as well. so the top line findings are that the population has increased dramatically in the world and that millions have moved from the inland to the seacoast and built infrastructure there and now make their lives there and depend on the existing sea level. that science has coalesced, as has previously been said in this
show, about the findings that the climate is changing. we have seen evidence that climate is contributing directly to unrest. >> i want to stop you there for one second, and give a little illustration of that, that comes from this program, "years of living dangerously," i've been involved with. and general wesley clark, i want to get your comments. this is thomas friedman doing some report that before the syrian uprising and civil war, there was a long period of very intense drought in syria that paved the way for some of the conditions that have given way to the unrest there. take a look. >> so is this year after year, less rain? >> year after year. government doesn't try to help in any kind of way. >> and at the government's response made people so angry, they were eager to take to the streets. she said, i couldn't understand the civil war if i didn't understand what happened in the drought. later, i learned that this drought was the worst in syria's modern history.
and that it happened in the four years just before the revolution. >> general clark, the basic idea is that we're going to see more drought, more extreme weather, and that is going to stress societies in ways that will produce greater likelihoods of unrest and instability, right? >> that's right. and it's happening right now. it's happening across africa. you can be sure that some of the problem in northern nigeria, in niger and the other countries, south of the sahara, is that the sahara, is that that region is drying out and the sahara is creeping south and people have to move and that upsets tribes and cultures. and the same thing is happening in east africa. so already, we're seeing these effects. not just in syria. and it's going to be more widespread, as the climate change continues. >> vice admiral, is there generally consensus -- i mean, do you find climate deniers in the top ranks of the pentagon and the military establishment?
is this basically regarded assed a settled thing to deal with strategically or is it something that is debated? >> there is, of course, a debate and open minds about this topic. but military folks, by their nature, by our nature, are planners. and that is, we deal with risk, representative inglas talked about risk a moment ago. we plan for the worst and hope for the best. and it is important that we consider the potential and prepare for that potential on america's military apparatus, the defense establishment, the national security apparatus, are well prepared to deal with these problems on behalf of the american people. problems like mounting of the sea ice at a greater rate in the arctic, causing security problems potentially in the arctic, that result from the access that is now opening and potentially creating a race for resources in that region.
>> yeah, we're likely to see a race for resources in the arctic. general clark, do you think there's a dynamic in which republican politicians who toot -- who often talk about the need to defer to the generals, i've heard this out of the mouths of many republican politicians, in regards to afghanistan war planning, is there a way that the military and national security establishment can bring them around on this issue? >> there might be, but it really depends on the sources of funding for the republican party. and so there are some key backers of the republican party. they need to be talked to by the generals. they need -- and it's going to be hard for them. because they're making their money off industries that essentially bring that greenhouse gas to the surface and send it into the atmosphere. and so they're going to have to recognize their industry has to transform itself. that's tough. >> it's not just the industry, though, of course, though i think i'm pretty sure the largest consumer of fuel in the world is the u.s. armed forces, am i right?
>> well, that's true. but the u.s. armed forces is a very, very small consumer compared to the overall consumption in the united states. we only use about 4% of the energy in the united states. so we're not terribly significant. if you look at the source of greenhouse gases, the largest is the electric power industry. and behind that is transportation. and you know, i heard the conversation before. there is no legislation that's going to ruin this economy. there's no legislation out there right now. >> right. >> and one of the things the republican party has to do is understand that when you take action against greenhouse gases, to deal with climate change, you're not taking money and putting it in the ground. you're giving it to other people, you're creating jobs. jobs in the wind industry, the solar industry, the electric power industry, and batteries and electric automobiles, transportation, electrified highways, these are the things that are going to make america great in the future. we've got the technology. what a terrible thing it is that we can't get investments in it
in this country. and instead, our friends in china put the money up, and those young technology companies are going to china for things like how to convert co2 into fuel, how to develop new batteries. how to have very high voltage direct current transmission lines. >> we're seeing that also in germany and other places in the world. retired general wesley clark and retired vice admiral, lee gunn, thank you both very much. coming up, there's a new hero in the gay rights movement, but someone who never intended to be one. who it is and what they've done, ahead. those little things still get you. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment is right. cialis is also the only daily ed tablet approved to treat symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently.
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♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ coming up, a new feature here on "all in," this week in satan. a reenactment of satanic rifrls is called off and a statue is in legal limbo. >> it has so innocent children gazing up in wonder at the devil and is designed so that real kids may sit on the lap of satan. that is wrong.
supreme court justice antonin scalia has done it again. the unlikeliest hero of the gay rights movement racked up yet another victory yesterday, when a federal judge in idaho struck down that state's gay marriage ban, making it the ninth time that a state's same-sex marriage ban has been stricken or a state has been forced to recognize another state's same-sex marriages in the wake of the supreme court's doma decision, united states v. windsor.
what role did justice scalia have in all of this? back in february, we ran a report about how scalia's own snarky dissent on that doma case was being cited by judges and turned around against him. in a 26-page rant, scalia took a knife to that logic, even writing a fake ruling, showing how easily the majority opinion would be used to strike down bans across the country. >> in his dissent, he takes part of the majority opinion and says, hey, guys, this is how you take the majority opinion, cross out a few words, and what you end up with is the identical argument to strike down every ban. >> yes, we now know scalia was right, and he was so right that his vitriolic but prescient dissent has been used by five federal judges to expand gay rights. >> but it's not just five anymore. that number is now nine judges having cited a scalia dissent to expand gay rights. and here's the funny thing.
yesterday's idaho decision doesn't even cite the same scalia language from the doma case, windsor, cited by all those other judges. it goes back to another scalia decision, when he was also on dissent. that time the case was on sodomy, the case that snuck down texas' sodomy law years ago. he basically said, you're putting us on the path to the day when even something like gay marriage is okay. if a state can't have anti-sodomy laws to express its moral disapproval, scalia mentioned, what's next, getting rid of gay marriage bans? preserving the traditional institution of marriage is just a kinder way of describing the state's moral disapproval of same-sex couples. in other words, scalia noted that states had no real rational basis for their gay marriage bans other than disapproval. so judge candy dale in yesterday's idaho decision cited that exact same line from scalia in support of her opinion that states basically, well, had no rational reason to ban same-sex
marriage. and when another judge just five days ago struck down that state's gay marriage ban, he cited that line. and a judge struck down texas' ban on gay marriage using scalia's lawrence dissent against him. once again, u.s. supreme court justice, antonin scalia, unlikely hero of gay liberation. joining me now, camilla taylor, counsel of marriage projector director. last time you were on and we were talking about this, you looked triumphant and confident and you basically said, we're going to run the board with all of these. there's no place to hide. and that's looking pretty prophetic now? >> well, we haven't had a loss, chris. it's been almost a year since windsor came down, and we've now had, i can count, 13 different federal decisions in different marriage cases. and each one of them has been a win, declaring unconstitutional
a marriage ban that either denied the ability of same-sex couples to marry in a state or denied them the ability to be respected for their out-of-state marriages. so things are looking very good. it's becoming harder and harder, i think, for these states to argue that there's any likelihood of success for them on the merits. >> have you ever seen a sarcastic portion of a dissent or dissents be cited so extensively to make the point that's being made time and time again? i'm not a scholar of the court, but i can't recall something similar to what is happening with the scalia dissents in these two cases. >> i mean, i don't want to be too flip. these decisions really are relying primarily on the majority opinions in lawrence and in windsor that were authored by justice kennedy, but in so many of these decisions, there's a line that follows that language, that says, and if there were any doubt about the accuracy of my analysis, justice scalia confirms that i got it right.
>> the scalia argument, if you go back to lawrence, and i'm sort of trying to pull this back from memory in the lawrence dissent, but i believe in the passage about moral disapproval, he's like, what's to stop -- he's talking about the slippery slope argument that kennedy has shoved the court down, and said, why can't states approve moral disapproval of polygamy. that argument gets are used all the time. but since it was an argument that scalia made, why isn't that a good constitutional argument? what about the what next question in terms of expressions of moral disapproval? >> well, there are these three major cases that the supreme court has handed down that deal with gay rights, that have specifically said that moral disapproval alone is never enough justification to sustain a law. but there are other cases out there, too, on which we regularly rely. the casey decision versus planned parenthood is another
example, they've also made clear that it's not the job of our courts to define the moral code for all of us. so, justice scalia is correct in pointing out that these cases are great authority for that proposition, but they're not the only thing out there. there's a series of cases that have long held that courts can't justify laws that are otherwise unconstitutional by saying that the legislature passed them in order to try and create a version of morality that would exclude people. >> do you anticipate any court, any finding the opposite way, upholding a state ban and creating a circuit split that the supreme court would then have to step into and adjudicate? >> well, i am feeling very good. i'm feeling very good, based on -- >> 16-0, whatever it is. >> -- the oral arguments that have happened so far, and two circuit court of appeals have given us a lot of optimism as well.
i do think there are some more challenging circuit courts out there and there may well be a few decisions that go the other way. but the more decisions that pile up in our favor, and when i gave you that 13 federal courts number, i wasn't even including the state court decisions, three of them, including arkansas, that you mentioned. >> you know what's an important thing to add here? judges, it turns out, are human beings who don't like to be out there on a limb, on their own. i'm fascinated by the kind of human behavioral aspect of the stampede we have seen from federal judges, republican, democratic appointees in all parts of the country towards that same point. camilla taylor from land of legal, always a pleasure. thank you. >> thank you for having me. >> coming up, the investigation that may lead to find that other investigations that weren't investigating or why republicans are worried about the benghazi select committee. that's ahead.
anyone who wants to set his or her aspirations on the republican nomination for the presidency in 2016 already knows that they can't possibly cross the koch brothers. >> at the university of chicago institute of politics this week, former vice president al gore said that the koch brothers are a primary reason why so many republicans seem to be shying away from reality and refusing to accept climate change as a fact. >> i don't think it's particularly complicated, why they have all been cowed into abandoning that position. they will face primary
opponents, financed by the koch brothers and others who are part of their group, if they even breathe the slightest breath of sympathy for the truth about climate science. >> the koch-funded group, americans for prosperity, is projected to spend an incredible amount of money in this year's election. more than $125 million in the midterm, and a 50-state effort to get their candidates elected and their agenda enacted. the koch brother's mission to gin up climate change denialism is facing some resistance in their own backyard. next week, as part of our series we're launching all spring and summer, "all in america," we're traveling to kansas to take a special look at just some of the people in the home state of koch industries, who are embracing exactly what the koch brothers are trying to kill. >> i think they wanted to make an example of kansas and try to defeat wind here and then defeat it in other states.
i think it's very unfortunate. if i had that kind of money, i'd be investing in wind rather than trying to defeat it. i think it's the future of our energy sector and i, quite frankly, am baffled why they've spent so much money to try to defeat wind power. i don't understand it. >> we're going to bring you that report and more amazing stories from kansas, which has become america's incubator of conservative ideas all next week on "all in america" on the road in the conservative heartland. you will not want to miss it.
in my opinion, hillary did what she should have done. she impanelled a very high-level review committee. they looked into what was wrong, they gave 29 recommendations. she took them and started implementing them. and they established the fact that whether it was right or wrong in the past, secretaries of state never were involved directly in these security decisions and they also have untangled what was an early
mission in benghazi, when all we know that four people were killed and we know now two of them were heavily armed cia contractors. and so most americans don't even know how many american diplomatic personal were killed when president bush was president. >> bill clinton knows politics, and so he knows what all of us know, which is that the republican pursuit of benghazi investigation after benghazi investigation is driven primarily by, wait for it, politics. it's been my operating thesis that this has to do with the fact that the 2014 republican field has nothing else to run on at this point. it's been a strategic pivot to benghazi, the moment obamacare started clearly working. that's a notion reinforced by this chart we brought you last week, showing the number of times fox news mentioned benghazi. that's the line in red. once it became clear that obamacare was no longer working as a line of attack. the real story just might be a little more interesting and complicated than that. some reporting from ely lake at
the daily beast reports that these new investigations might be an ad hoc concession made by john boehner to an unyielding tea party base. this from a house republican aide. remember, boehner has also gotten a lot of resistance from house republicans on immigration. he wanted to turn the page on this. it said that boehner's view, i am giving you this committee, now it's on you to make this work. and representatives darryl issa, no shrinking violet on benghazi, buck rogers, and mckeon. it's possible they're worried the select committee might uncover something that they missed, or perhaps it's because they know there's actually no scandal there and that this committee will set in motion some inertial process. joining me now is joy reid.
great to have you here instead of having you tweeting during the show. >> exactly. >> i am fascinated by the backstory here, by the reporting there. because it is the case that they wanted a select committee, select committee. and john boehner was saying no for a long time and something broke. >> john boehner's been in politics for a long time, so he knows the history of this kind of fishing expedition is what happened with white water, this idea of trying to find some scandal, any scandal, hoping that maybe you get a thread you can tie a scandal to. but, yeah, there have been at least four separate reports produced on benghazi, three of which actually came from the house of representatives, so he knows that his own people have investigated it. and i think part of what probably worries establishment republicans like john boehner is what's left out there is the stuff that's being produced by people like this citizens commission on benghazi, these kind of conspiracy theory-minded groups that have created themselves -- >> part of what i call #benghazi. the netherworld of conspiracy theorists. >> a lot of birthers are
involved in that, benghazi citizens commission mooucht. so what they've got left is the really kind of crazy stuff. and that won't look good for republicans. >> i also thought it was fascinating. boehner's calculation was in part political, the speaker was looking to mollify the tea party caucus, who were upset about a range of issues. and there were some thinking that maybe he -- like he really wants to get -- i've been reading this reporting, he wants to get immigration reform done by the end of the term. if he throws them a bone -- if he believes that, that's preposterous and upsetting. >> you have seen john boehner starting to be kind of the honey badger on certain things. he's been going off-campus and saying really sane things about immigration, making it sound like he would like to get policy done. and then sort of to pay back the base, to apologize to them, he gives them something. he gave them the government shutdown and gives them things that are kind of frightening, but in this case, this is the gimme he's giving the far right.
>> the question comes down to this guy, trey gowdy, a former prosecutor, who if you talk to reporters and spend a lot of time around him, he's a pretty disciplined guy, a pretty smart guy. can be tough with the elbows. the question becomes, does this guy descend into the morass, and if he doesn't, what can he possibly do that hasn't been done, right? he is in a terrible position, it strikes me, because what can he probably produce? >> what he can do disappoint the base again. that is really what's set up here. because if those other commissioners, if all those other investigations -- >> it's not like darryl issa is playing patty cake. >> unless they're going to call the pentagon liars and members of the united states military liars, or unless they want to go after the cia, no one has been able to find any thread that goes back to the white house, which is what the base wants done. they want them to get barack obama.
and that isn't there, because we haven't seen it come up before. and you know what? this guy called it a trial, trey gowdy. he's already set it up. >> on our air on "morning joe," he called it a trial. >> and i think that's a bad sign. >> right, he, himself is a prosecutor. it is not a trial. it's not a trial yet. it is just a select committee. but the other thing about these select committees. this is the same thing we saw to a lesser degree, can you keep the horse, you know, connected to the cart, or does it gallop off without you. that's going to be a real problem. joy reid, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> of course, catch joy's show, as i do, every week, the reid report right here on msnbc. coming up, satan gets expelled from harvard. that story is next. i always say be the man with the plan but with less energy, moodiness, and a low sex drive, i had to do something. i saw my doctor. a blood test showed it was low testosterone, not age. we talked about axiron the only underarm low t treatment
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have you seen this sculpture of satan with the goat head, a pentagram in the background surrounded by adoring children? it is hilarious and scary and also part of an elaborate trolling enterprise by an organization called the satanic temple, which has emerged as a weird, bizarreo world religious freedom gadfly. it goes around finding examples of christians putting up their religious symbols saying, okay, if you're for religious freedom, here's our symbol, so put that up too. in oklahoma, the republican legislature authorized a privately funded ten commandments monument to be placed on the grounds of the capitol, in 2012, which it was. so the satanic temple said, okay, us too, saying it wants to donate its own monument, and raising almost $30,000 to pay for this yet to be finished sculpture, which its creators say will originally by cast in bronze.
basically the argument being, you open the door to god, you open the door to satan. the same group behind a brouhaha that erupted at harvard, in which a student organization planned to partner with the satanic temple to host a black mass, basically a parody event put on by satanists. and catholics up to and including cardinal o'malley the head of the boston archdiocese took the bait, protesting the planned black mass and expressing outrage it was taking place on the harvard campus. >> it's very repugnant and we're just very disappointed and disturbed. there's a fascination with evil in the world, but it doesn't lead to anything good. >> harvard's president, drew fous, said she would reluctantly let the black mass take place. the event was abruptly called off right before it was supposed to start. a scaled down version was then held at a chinese restaurant called hong kong just off campus, where according to the harvard crimson, four individuals in hoods, one man in
a white suit, cape, and a horned mask were active in the proceedings as well as a woman revealed to be wearing only lingerie. we don't have video of the event, but we imagine it looked something like this. >> hail, satan, it is done. >> hail satan, it is -- it is done. >> well, thanks for coming, everyone. >> all right. all joking aside, the underlying issues in both these cases are actually pretty profound. if we as a nation truly believe in religious liberty and the first amendment protects our religious expression, quha exactly are the boundaries of that expression. who gets to say what a real religion is. joining me now, lucian grievous. what is the story here. is this performance art or trolling? >> it's not performance art and not actually simply trolling. it's -- but we do want to make clear that we think we can separate religion from
superstition and on a legal basis, we have to or we're giving preference to superstition over nonbelievers given religious exemptions and privileges. so we have this met foreical symbolic construct, that embodies our rejection of or arbitrary authority and our drive for personal sovereignty in the best symbolism for that for us is the satanic narrative. >> and so, you have a belief system that you are saying is covered by essentially the first amendment and religious expression. why these sort of -- what is the point of the kind of, the provocative acts like the statue in oklahoma or the black mass at harvard? >> the statue in oklahoma and the black mask at harvard, i feel, were completely separate and i was a little disappointed at all the press we got for the black mass, because i feel it overshadows the more important issue of the monument. and the issue there, i think, is very much like you said.
you open the door to one, you open them to all and we wouldn't want our monument in oklahoma at all if weren't for the fact that the ten commandments monument is already there. if you have a singular perspective sitting there, giving the appearance that one voice has co-opted the authority and power of the government, that to us is disgraceful. but having a counterbalance there or a monument park, as they originally said they wanted in oklahoma, that's preferable. >> and in the case of harvard, i have to say, i was really surprised that that thing blew up as much as it did. i mean, it seemed to me that if people are going to do some ritual, they're going to do some ritual, lots of stuff happens on a college campus, that, you know, some people may not like. were you surprised by the level of outrage that you had the archbishop, the cardinal talking about it? >> well, the disappointing part, too, is that they never reached out to us at all to see what it was about. and we build this as a reenactment and we were quite clear that we didn't actually have a defrocked priest acting,
overseeing the event. these weren't actual nuns. and i even made it clear to the press that we were using an unconsecrated host. our feeling is that the consecrated host itself is symbolic of the body of christ and they disagree. then we were asked if, perhaps, we could use a symbol of a symbol, which would be -- we were already using a symbol of a symbol, an unconsecrated host, but then we were asked if we could use something that wasn't bread at all. a symbol of a symbol of a symbol. and then the request for concessions became completely untenable. but the things we would like to tell the archdiocese before he started to make these grim and apocalyptic proclamations, that to us this is as removed from catholicism as christian holidays are from their pagan roots, easter or christmas. to us, the action is an affirmation of personal independence, free from supernaturalism.
because they say the ceremony is evil. >> we're back. talking about religious freedom. joining me now, father james martin, a jesuit priest, and christopher robichauld, supposed to speak at the satanic temples event this week. father martin, i'll begin with you. i was surprised by the intensity of the reaction by the catholic church, but you felt the same way? >> yeah, i was appalled. i think to put it into perspective, we would say, how would we feel if they say, we would do a little cultural thing, do something anti-semitic or homophobic, set up some reenactment of a lynching or something like that. i don't think we have these kinds of things on any college campuses -- >> you thought it was an offensive desecration, an intentional provocation, not anything that was a legitimate expressive act?
>> no, unless you say we're going to have a legitimate expressive act that sort of is anti-semitic or is racist? yeah, it is. so say you're going to do a black mass, that's what it is. it's basically a desecration of the mass. it's, you know, worshiping satan, but a mockery of the catholic mass. and i don't think -- imagine saying is we're going to burn a koran, see what that's like culturally. i don't think any other group would stand for it. i thought it was cultural. >> would you defend the burning of a koran as a cultural reenactment, is that what this amounted to? >> i think one of the worst thing that happens when we think about is false equivalencies. we see similarities in certain things and lump them all together. i think it's, to be honest, sloppy to put all of those things together. what i wanted to do was introduce distinctions that i hope people think a little bit more carefully about where they come down. each case is different. >> so this case, why this case?
what did you think was the important principle here or what made you want to participate or thought that it should have been done on harvard campus? >> well, my interest, again, was trying to insert a little critical reflection into the whole thing. for me, i think that it's useful to distinguish between hate speech and merely offensive speech. hate speech is typically understood as directed at marginalized groups and meant to characterize them as being not worthy as part of the democratic process at all. they don't have a place at the table. this struck me as merely offensive. it didn't even strike me as intentionally offensive. it struck me as offensive, but not directed at the church. at least taking what was just said by the member of the satanic temple at face value, which i think is a responsible thing to do. i'm a little bit worried when power of any sort tells me how to characterize marginalized communities. >> father, part of the thing here with the satanic temple and the two cases and the black mass is, it is, i think, fair to say, a somewhat clever, making a kind of clever constitutional or
philosophical point about what we call religion and what we don't and what the first amendment protects. and i wonder, like, when you think about the ten commandments issue, right, what is the argument if the ten commandments are there, that there shouldn't be this sculpture by the satanic temple there? >> that's a good question. the difficulty is, they're clearly saying, we're not a religion, we're doing this to thumb our noses at people. if you're going to compare apples to apple, if they were actually satan worshippers -- >> all right, was there are examples, right? here's one of my favorite examples of this, the postafarrians. these are people who say they're from the church of the flying spaghetti monster. they have to have a colander on their head. that's what they say their religious belief is. and we're all smirking, but the line between, i'm saying your religious is ridiculous and trolling and the line between you've got a religion with millions of followers, it's pretty thin, isn't it? >> it may be, but look at that
from the point of view of, say, someone who's african-american or is gay or is a woman. and if you do something that's completely offensive, you know -- >> but this is distinct, right? >> it is distinct. >> there's a distinct issue, christopher, about who gets to say what religion is, right? and that's actually a pretty profound juris prudential question that appears before the court quite a bit. the postafarrian case has been litigated on precisely this question. >> i think that -- and just to build off of that, i think that, again, you know, however we wish to answer that, we should not answer it by turning to very powerful religions to decide who the others at the table get to be. i should also add that we're seeing an increasing trend in more people in this country moving away from religion and adopting a kind of spiritualism or just general religious outlook. i think in some sense, it's a red herring. religious experience -- religious expression cannot be isolated to happening within a defined religion.
>> father james martin and christopher robichaud, great to have you here. and i have your copy of "jesus." that's "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> thanks, chris. just outside of nashville, tennessee, about 60 miles outside of nashville, there is a tiny little city called waverly. waverly, tennessee, is a city of only about a few thousand people, but on february 24th, 1978, what happened in waverly, tennessee, was the top story in the country. >> good evening. there has been a major disaster in waverly, tennessee, caused by explosions in two derailed railroad cars containing propane. at least 140 people were injured, we are told, and civil defense officials were quoted as saying the number of dead could rise as high 40. no one is sure, but it's a very big disaster.