tv Religion Ethics Newsweekly WHUT November 13, 2013 8:30am-9:00am EST
the international committee of the red cross about prison conditions at guantanamo bay. the judge will determine if the red cross reports are relevant in trials against prisoners accused of carrying out the september 11th attacks. there have been long-standing legal and ethical questions about how the detainees there have been treated. meanwhile president obama this week reiterated his intention to close gitmo. the u.s. census bureau said this week that the number of poor people in this country is really higher than officials had thought, 49.7 million, about 16% of the population. economists and others report that not only are the poor getting poorer and the rich richer, but the american dream is fading fast. more and more poor people say they can't see or imagine how they will ever be better off.
we have a lucky severson story today on some of the voices saying the problem is economic, social, political and theological, too. >> london tatum with her 4-year-old daughter julianna at a campus daycare center. she's finishing her bachelor's degree at the university of massachusetts in amherst but she has concerns about the future. >> education is really important, but it's kind of where do you go from here. i feel like it's kind of like hopelessness. >> tom juravich is profferer in massachusetts writing about workers in the american workplace for over 25 years. his most recent book is about the struggling working class. >> we have this notion called the american dream. the dream has been for so many of us, that life would be better for our children. my dad was a factory worker,
sent his three kids to state universities. we all went forward never to look back. >> what do you think about the american dream. >> it's a nightmare, a distraction, dream, fantasy. it's not realistic. >> it's not realistic, she says, because jobs are hard to find. good ones, almost impossible. >> we watched our parents get successful jobs. we watched our parents be able to maintain a life in line with the house and picket fence. now it's our time to do this and it's not materializing. the cost of things have risen but wages have stayed the same. fulltime jobs have diminished. >> it's stunning to see the charts, but it's even more stunning to see the faces of people who have been left behind. >> john car has devoted his career to making the dream a reality for all americans, including the poor. he's a director of the
initiative on catholic social thought and public life at georgetown university. >> who talks about the poor? every year the census bureau comes out with the figures, and they are sad figures. we're doing worse. the silence is deafening. the white house doesn't talk about it, the congress doesn't talk about it. >> for over 20 years carr was a principle adviser on social justice for the u.s. conference of catholic bishops. he has worked, not always successfully, to encourage washington policymakers to consider traditional catholic social values in their decision making. >> washington has become a place driven by money and power. and the poor don't have money by definition, and they don't have a lot of power. the idea that if you have to cut $40 billion from the agriculture budget, you would cut all $40 billion for food stamps and
nothing from affluent cotton farmers or rice farmers. cooperate they go without so mothers could feed their family? so it's not a close call. >> what is not a close call is the growing income gap separating the wealthy from the rest. >> the disparity between the wealthiest 1% and the other 99% is wider in the u.s. than any other developed country. for instance, the richest 400 individuals own more wealth than the bottom 150 million. economists say that's one reason the american dream is beyond the reach of so many americans. >> so essentially, although we've seen productivity rise dramatically over the last two decades, workers' wages have been flat. if you look at that graph about when productivity and wages separated, what else happened at that time? union membership plummeted. unions were a great equalizing institution in this country.
they helped hold some constraints on the 1%. >> it is a system dominated by a financial elite and their corporate connections that rules unquestioned. >> serene jones is the president of the nondenominational union theological seminary. she is teaching a class this year about theology and economics. >> one of my goals is to get pastors and congregations to get emboldened to ask questions about the economy. why is it you have to pay more interest on a loan to go to college than banks have to pay for loans to support the banking industry? there's deep problems here. >> a generation coming out now through a precarious job market who are saddled with some of the largest debt we see in the country. student debt is more than credit card debt in total. >> the middle class in this country is no longer what we
always think of when we think of the middle class as this large kind of healthy middle sector. the middle class and the poor are inches away from each other. >> we're one nation, but we live in different economies. one economy people are doing great. then there's an economy of people left behind. then there's this middle where a lot of us live where we think we're doing fine but we're just scrambling to stay even. two parents work hard, lots of hours, yet you're still one paycheck or one furlough or one illness away from trouble. >> the largest job in the u.s. right now is retail sales. the question is how do you build a life and a family and a community around retail sales jobs. >> for his latest book juravich interviewed workers and said our
current society has two kinds of people, those who are not working and those working too much. >> we have 400,000 nurses in the u.s. who have voluntarily left the profession. why? >> too much work. >> because of the working conditions. here we have a nursing shortage. the shortage isn't because we don't have enough people coming in. it's because people are leaving because so many health care facilities require such a massive amount of overtime. >> corporations have the voice and they say what goes. >> you don't have a voice. >> i have a voice but it's marginalized. i have a voice to create a better future. i have a voice as an idealist. how many other people don't feel like they can effect change. >> there's a passion, priorities problem. scriptures put the poor first. washington does not. i think one of the challenges for the community is to match
the urgency of the situation with the urgency of their advocacy. >> at this seminary serene jones sees no passion deficit among her students. >> you read about the deep connection to the soul out of which activism comes, i see that in my students. i haven't seen that in the last 20 years like i have in the last two or three years. >> at the university of massachusetts, tom juravich also sees signs change may be coming from the bottom up. >> we saw this movement, people are beginning to be angry and they are beginning to organize. i think there's a lot of activity happening within social movements in this country that could be the basis of something different. >> the fundamental question is who are we as a nation. very few people are asking that. the churches, synagogues,
mosques are struggling to do that. they do that in a hostile political culture. >> london tatum thinks the government needs to look out more for the people. >> as citizens we are the people. so therefore the government is for us. it doesn't work that way. the government is for goldman sachs, for jpmorgan. it's for halliburton. it's for them. it should be for us, though. >> next year london plans to work on a masters degree in labor studies. she gets part-time work but she'll need to go deeper in debt to get the advanced degree she thinks she needs to get a meaningful job. i'm lucky severson in amherst, massachusetts. could pope francis appoint a woman as a cardinal. international press reports have been speculating that might happen before a meeting of
cardinals next february. this week the chief spokesman father frederico lombardi conceded the idea of women cardinals was theologically and they rectally possible since they don't have to be in the priesthood reserved for men. however, he went on to say that such a move for the upcoming ceremony was, quote, not a remote possibility. this weekend, november 9th and 10th was the 75th anniversary of kristallnacht when nazi's attacked jewish homes and synagogues in germany and elsewhere with very few protests from the rest of the world. we have a description of kristallnacht and its consequences from victoria rnett, director of programs on ethics, religion and holocaust at the u.s. holocaust memorial museum. >> kristallnacht is a euphemism. in german it means night of
broken glass or crystal night. there was so many synagogue and home and business windows smashed. the streets of many german cities were strewn with broken shards of glass. thousands of businesses and synagogues and homes destroyed. 91 people literally beaten to death on the street. 30,000 jewish people arrested and taken to concentration camps. it was a shock in germany. kristallnacht went on for about 48 hours. it became open season. you had people watching synagogues, looting the businesses that had been plundered. you had people joining in in the violence. in germany, both the catholic and protestant churches for the most part were silent about what happened. you have a very few pastors who speak out against this, who preach sermons condemning the violence.
you do people in both churches who are supporting what is going on. certainly support its anti-semitism. have you a minority of leaders who spoke out against it and actually eventually tried to help jews escape or to hide. it was clear jews had to get out. they knew this. nazi society was actively pushing them to do it. this was the very moment where countries did not want to take in more refugees. even 20,000 children couldn't get into this country. there was no interest in letting down those barriers. america was heavily isolationist still. you had the aftermath of the depression. you had economic situations in the country where people didn't want to let in more immigrants. anti-semitism played a role. there were a variety of factors that made people turn away from
actively helping the jews just as they needed help the most. for me this is really one of the most haunting aspects of this history to see not that people didn't know and not really that they didn't care, but to translate outrage into policy that can stop a genocide is immensely difficult. when you look several years later at millions of people being taken to their deaths, it just shows you how high the stakes were at that particular moment. this week also brings another painful anniversary. after kristallnacht and after britain had entered world war ii, the germans began massive aerial attacks on several british cities. on november 14th, 1940, the historic anglican cathedral in coventry was nearly destroyed during the raids. but today as kim lawton reports, coventry cathedral is a symbol
of both destruction and reconciliation. >> reporter: this is coventry cathedral in the british west midlands. one end is open air church that was bombed during world war ii. attached to that is a contemporary structure, britain's first modernist cathedral. for many around the world, coventry in both its building and ministry is an enduring testament to peace, reconciliation, and hope even in the darkest times. >> what it's really saying is essentially no matter how bad it gets, there's always a future. >> coventry's history stretches back to the 11th century when lady godiva and her husband leofric funded a cathedral here. st. michael's cathedral was built in the 13 and 1400s and there it stood until the night of november 14th, 1940 when the
area was targeted by a bombing blitz blitz. >> very tragically on that night, the cathedral went up in flames. >> the outer walls of the cathedral and towering spire, the third tallest in england were all that survived. reverend john witcombe is the current dean of the cathedral. he said when the raid was over, the dean at the time provost richard howard surveyed the destruction and was devastated by the piles of rubble that were once his beloved cathedral. howard wrote the words, father forgive, on the charred walls of the sanctuary. >> promised howard that morning not just the first stage of saying father forgive them, which would have been quite a
big thing to say, but actually he didn't just say that. he said father forgive. lots of people said at the time, why don't you say father forgive them. he said, no, this is what humanity does to itself. we're all complicit in this. >> ags he examined the rubble, church officials saw two burned beams that had fallen in the shape of a cross. they tied the beams together and mounted them where the altar had stood. they also saw the site was filled with long medieval nails. a local priest fashioned three of the nails into a cross, which would become a symbol for coventry. howard vowed to rebuild the cathedral. he also vowed to seek peace and reconciliation rather than revenge. >> it was deeply controversial. indeed, in truth it still is. >> after the war coventry representatives took nails to germany and began projects to promote healing and
reconciliation. >> some students went from coventry out to dresden, where, of course, they had experienced similar, actually greater devastation to what we had in coventry to help build rebuild one of the hospitals in dresden. the fact we were able to reach out to germany with empathy in the cities is a very powerful story. over the decades that story has attracted many people who carry their own wounds of conflict and of division. >> porter leads the myron industry, which today includes some 160 centers in 30 different countries. the mission is to encourage dialogue, justice, and peace. >> at its heart is the challenge to heal the wounds of history, wounds of conflict, wounds of division. that still remains a big part of what many of its partners do. but also it's about learning to
live with difference and to celebrate diversity built into our human relationships. >> the work comes out of the angelic an tradition but goes beyond that. >> we say it's about building the kingdom of god. it's not just for people of faith and religion. that's really important. we can all be working for peace, whatever faith or sometimes if no faith at all. >> the cathedral took 22 years to rebuild. church officials selected a design that incorporated ruins which can be seen through an etched glass window at the rear of the new sanctuary. in the front looming above a cross of nails at the altar is a 72-foot tall tapestry of jesus. >> there's a journey that takes you from the devastation of the ruins through into the rear of the new cathedral where you immediately find yourself
looking up at the great tapes y tapestry. you get this tremendous vision into heaven with this huge figure of jesus in glory seated on a throne. >> coventry officials say that's the ultimate symbol of their faith. >> your life may feel like the ruins of the old cathedral. your world, our world feels like the ruins of the old cathedral. but actually that's not where god leaves the story. he actually takes us from that place into a new place. >> i'm kim lawton in coventry, england. on our calendar this week, baha'i sblat the birth of baha 'u'llah, the founder of their faith. at the white house there was a celebration of diwali, festival of light. michelle obama hosted the
facilities, lighting a lamp and meeting with u.s. hindu leaders. finally evangelist billy graham turned 95 this week. family and friends throw him a massive birthday party in asheville, north carolina. among the almost 900 guests were several high-profile celebrities. graham is in frail health and rarely appears in public. on his birthday he released an evangelistic video series called "my hope america." his associates say it could have a bigger reach than any of his more than 400 crusades. those close to graham also say it may be his last message to the country. that's our program for now. i'm bob abernethy. you can follow us on twitter and facebook and watch us any time on the pbs app for iphones, ipads and visit our website where there's always much more and where you can listen to or watch each of our programs.
join us at pbs.org. as we leave you, more from the birthday celebration from billy graham. ♪ happy birthday to you happy birthday to you happy birthday dear billy ♪ ♪ happy birthday to you major funding for religion and newsweekly is provided by lilly endowment, indianapolis based foundation dedicated to religion, community development and education. additional funding also provided by mutual of america designing customized, individual, and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company.
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