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Okay, well, good afternoon. Oh, you think I'm loud, wait'll you hear Gary. Speak up, he says, indeed. I'll speak away from the microphone Good afternoon, and it's good to see you all, welcome to The Book Passage, my name is Timothy Pearson, and this afternoon we have a very, very special guest for you. Gary Hart first achieved national prominence as the manager of George McGovern's presidential campaign in 1972, and following his own election to the Senate in 1974, he ran for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and 1988. He has since remained active in politics, most notable serving on Bill Clinton's 1998 National Commission on Terrorism, and he is here with us today to bring us his latest book, it's called God and Caesar in America, it's a meditation upon the place of religion in American society and politics, and I will leave the rest of it to the Senator. So if I could please have your warm welcome and join me in a round of applause please for Senator Gary Hart. Oh, he needs a microphone. You need the microphone, okay. Who are you? Sorry... Days of NSA wiretaps, you never know. I am deeply indebted to Book Passage for the opportunity to be here. The store, as you obviously know, is about as legendary as A Tattered Cover in Denver, some of you may have run across one of the great independent bookstores in the country, in my city, and Book Passage, I think, is one of that hopefully not dying breed, so I would, I am a great promoter of independent bookstores, so I think you need no urging from an itinerant writer, but do all you can to keep this store going, it's very, very important for book lovers such as you and me to have stores like this. So I would urge you to keep frequenting this bookstore. I am very happy to be here tonight, thank all of you for taking time out. The publisher of this essay, long essay, is from Golden, Colorado, Fulcrum Books, and one of their representatives, Michelle, and I are kind of touring Northern California. I bet there would be eight people here, and I said we could just get a round table and have a conversation, so I'm mightily surprised to have this kind of turnout on an afternoon... Why aren't you at work? I won't tell your bosses, I promise, or your, your own stores. First of all, let me qualify myself in California. I first came out here as a very young lawyer from Denver, trying to organize California for George McGovern in thirty, a third of a century ago, believe it or not. I was back ten years, twelve years after that campaigning on my own behalf, and I'm very proud to say that I won the California primary, most people don't know that. It didn't ultimately boost me over the top for the Democratic nomination at the convention in San Francisco, but it's one of my successes and that I'm very, very proud of, it's not an easy state to campaign in, and to win the primary against great odds... I felt very good about it. Now, the story's even further complicated by the fact that there is another Gary Hart, some of you I hope know, who served honorably and well in the California State Senate and was for a time Commissioner of Education, or I don't know what the title is, in the State Cabinet, but he was in charge of education. Former schoolteacher himself, very, very nice man, he has suffered unbelievably by the name coincidence in ways you can only imagine. One of those ways was every time I came out here and gave a speech, the L.A. Times would run his picture and vice versa. We campaigned together a few times, and you can imagine the banner was Hart to Hart. In any case, he's a terrific fellow. An old and dear friend, Gary Robinson, is here. Gary and I have worked together over the years in a variety of campaigns and capacities, and I'm very happy to see him again. One of the few benefits of politics are the friends you make and the supporters that you have, and I've been more than fortunate in the kind of people that I had working for and with me, and many of us have stayed in touch with each other over the years. Politicians come and go, but the friendships you make in common causes don't end happily... I mean don't end. Happily, they don't end. I write better than I speak... So I'm just gonna read this to you today, and we should end up about five o'clock... no. Now let me qualify myself to write this. I think it's clear to most of us that the discussion of or debate, if you will, of religion and politics in America has been notably one-sided for the last five or ten or more years, and some of us on the other side of this issue, if you will, have begun to be heard from belatedly. My only regret about writing this essay is I didn't do it sooner. I think many of you are familiar with the fact that President Carter has a book out on religion and politics, a bestseller... But I don't, I don't bear any grudges, I mean, he was President of the United States, I'd just like to learn how people write bestsellers, that's all. I guess it would have helped to become President. A very terrific religious leader in America, Jim Wallis, had a book out a year or two ago, the name of which escapes me right now. If anybody can remember it, speak up. God and Politics... yeah. Very, very good book, Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners... Point being, that some of us who have some background in religion and politics who don't share the doctrine of the religious right are now entering the fray for better or worse, and I hope for the better. Now let me talk about this book by just going through the essay, really, by just going through the chapters. This, in case you hadn't gotten the point, these fit in your pocket, and your purse, and you can carry them on an airplane, they don't weigh... they're not 800 pages, and they don't weigh 800 pounds, and you can read this basically between Denver and Washington D.C. So if you're flying coast-to-coast, pick up, and the publisher now has a series, George McGovern was here recently with his on the reason for preservation of the social security system, others on public policy issues are coming out, so it's a new publishing format, and I congratulate Fulcrum for leading the way. Hopefully we'll see more of the essay format, which was very popular in the 1930s, in the Depression, students and then academics and ordinary people used to buy these for ten or twenty-five cents and read them, and so forth and so on, and so the return of the essay... What I say here in this book is, first of all, the current religious revival is not without historic precedent. It is different, and I'll talk about the ways in which it's different, but the history of America, I think most of you know, has been characterized by periodic religious revival, starting perhaps with Jonathan Edwards, the Great Awakening pre-constitutional era, late 17th- early 18th century, Horace Bushnell in the early 19th century, various kinds of revivals leading up to a period of revival of Billy Sunday, a preacher in Chicago, kind of pre-Billy Graham, Billy Graham himself. What is different about the current religious revival is two things, I think. One is, it's pretty much confined to one wing of Protestantism, and that wing is basically known as the fundamental, fundamentalist wing of Protestantism, so it isn't even just, it isn't Christianity, it isn't even Protestantism, it's one element of Protestantism, and there's a difference, by the way, between, as I'm sure you know, between fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Evangelicals are more concerned about saving souls, fundamentalists want to adhere to the belief, rightly or wrongly, that Jonah was swallowed literally by a whale, God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, and so forth, the biblical, literal biblical meaning. What is different about this religious revival is it's very political. It's not only one part of Protestantism; it is more political, I think, than any of the previous revivals in American history. The religious right, or the fundamental wing of Protestantism decided that to achieve its objectives it had to get itself involved in politics and chose the Republican Party as its vehicle. Now, there was no date certain where this began, I think it's certain that it was part of the success of President Reagan's two elections, so I think we could probably date this movement, if you will, the politicization of the religious right, to the mid to late seventies. And I discuss in here the reasons for this, and I think it had to do in large part with the social revolutions of the 1960s, the infamous age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all of which took place in San Francisco... Just kidding... And the threat that that represented to very conservative elements in our society, the sense that America was on the road to hell and if not, had already reached there. Then, that was followed with the movement, or accompanied by the movement of civil rights, women's rights, and all of these revolutions were occurring in that period of the sixties and seventies, which is very disquieting to traditional conservatism in America. And along with the liberation of women came the whole issue of choice versus no choice. And that central, that issue, which we seem unable to have finally resolved and move on, was, I think, the principal motivating force for the religious right to insert itself into politics, dominate the Republican Party's domestic agenda, and insist on reversing Roe vs. Wade, taking away the choice element. Now, let me say as I say throughout this essay: There is nothing wrong with, and I am not critical of people of religious faith being involved in politics. That's fine. Just because, in fact, I think there was a period of time where people who were, had strong religious faith, wanted to stay away from politics. It was dirty, it was nasty, it was corrupt, and they didn't want to be polluted by involvement. But on the other hand, if you insert yourself into the political process, you are not entitled under our system to impose your beliefs on others. You can advocate, you can argue, you can debate, all of that is well and good. But the church cannot impose itself on the state. The Constitution of the United States says that. It's not my saying; it's the First Amendment of the Constitution. There is a separation between church and state, and our founders knew what they were doing because they came out of the European condition where popes used to pick kings and kings used to pick popes, and it was a mess. Religious wars were created because of this, no one was quite sure who was running the government, whether it was ministers and rabbis and priests, or whether it was political figures. And our founders did not want the recurrence of that, because it led to conflict, it led to wars, it led to minorities imposing their beliefs on majorities, and they didn't want that happening in our country. Now what is, when I talk about politicization of religious belief, we're talking about tests for occupying elected positions, people being pre-interviewed by clerics as to their position on choice and other death penalty, and all kinds of other things before they are even able to run for office. Even more to the point, we're talking about the appointment of judges who pass a certain litmus test with certain clerical figures. Now, I'm, no one here is old enough to remember but I remember the election of John Kennedy. And I remember the fact that a lot of these same religious figures were warning America against electing a Catholic to the presidency because, the phrase that was used from the pulpits, and I heard this myself from the church that I belonged to, "If you vote for John Kennedy, the Pope will be in the White House." That was the warning. Now, we voted for John Kennedy, and I don't remember the Pope being in the White House. Maybe he was, but I never, it somehow got by us if he was. But let's suppose in 1961, this actually happened, a vacancy occurred in the Supreme Court, and President Kennedy told Ted Sorenson to call the Pope and ask him if the appointment of Byron White from Colorado is O.K. Now, can you imagine the reaction of religious conservatives if that had happened? They would have gone berserk, but that is exactly what happened with Harriet Miers and with Judge Roberts and Judge Alito. They had to pass muster with religious figures, including some in my state, James Dobson, and others. There's no secret that weekly phone calls are made by Karl Rove and others, to a handful of influential conservative, Protestant, political, religious leaders to go over public policy, to go over the appointment of judges, to go over the appointment of Cabinet officers and ask their approval. That is coming very dangerously close to a theocracy. Theocracy, obviously, is the domination of a government by some kind of religious organization or individuals, and that is the danger of this, of the not obeying the First Amendment of the Constitution. I...I try to qualify myself in this essay for even commenting on this. I grew up in a small farming town in Eastern Kansas, a member of the Church of the Nazarene. The Church of the Nazarene broke off from the Methodists about a hundred years ago, almost exactly a hundred years ago, because they felt the Methodists were too liberal. And the Nazarenes had a very strict code of conduct: No smoking or drinking... I kept one of those pledges... No movies, no dancing, no card playing, no adornment of women by makeup or jewelry, and so forth. No movies. And then I went to this church's college in Oklahoma, Bethany, Oklahoma, and I've told this story before, but it may or may not have happened, but it kind of illustrates the point. This was quite a number of years ago. The dean of students, as he actually did on Saturday night, went around the campus peering into dark corners with his flashlight just to make sure the students weren't misbehaving in ways that you can imagine, and he goes into the darkened gymnasium and sees a couple down in back in the corner, boy and a girl, and of course, we were all taught also not to lie. So he says, "What are you doing down there?" The young man is terrified, he says, "Dean, we're making love." The dean says, "That's okay, I thought you were dancing." So it was kind of the tyranny of the rigid rules. I talk about the fact of... the use of language in politics, faith and values, and all of us have remembered in the last three or four elections a lot of talk about faith and values, and the whole point was: If you have faith and values undefined, you will vote our way. But the people that talked about faith and values in the abstract never defined those terms. What faith? Faith in what, specifically? What creed, what faith, and what values? Well, clearly what this was meant to say to conservative people: No right to abortion, no choice, promotion of the death penalty... By the way, I've never understood the... almost all the people who are anti-choice are pro-death penalty, all under the umbrella of the culture of life. If anyone here can rationalize that for me, I'd appreciate if because I can't do it. The fact of the matter is, even during the Terri Schiavo fiasco in 2004, four countries in the world carried out more than 90 percent of the state-sponsored executions of prisoners. Those countries were North Korea, China, Iran, and the United States of America. Now, two of those countries are, the last time I checked, members of the Axis of Evil. So we're not in very good company in terms of the death penalty, and we're certainly not in good company where the death penalty is carried out by people to claim to believe in a culture of life, anyway. And those same people are not talking very much about the 50,000 or more civilian casualties in Iraq in the culture of life. So we ought to define faith, and what, what values are we talking about here? Let's get it all, let's put the cards on the table. Mr. Dobson, or any Mr. Falwell, or anybody else. Define the faith that you're talking about here, and the values, so that people can know what they're voting for, and they may or may not want to vote for your faith and your values. The other problem with the insertion of religion into politics in the way that it's going on now is it permeates our foreign policy. Right now, a lot of the people in the Arab world are opposed to violently opposed to the United States' war in Iraq, but they also think it's the cutting edge of the importation of American popular culture, movies or music, or hamburgers and all the rest, and the importation of our religion, and there have, in fact, been religious figures both inside and associated with the administration who have talked about Christianizing of the Middle East, and the President used early on, I think, in the fall of '02, or early '03, the fact that we were going on a crusade, until somebody got a hold of him and said, "That's not a very good word in the Middle East", because they have some bad memories of about a thousand years ago Christians slaughtering Arabs, and so the President didn't use "crusade" anymore. But for the first time in my lifetime at least, moral language is being used with our foreign policy, and we ought to be very careful about that. First of all, if you hold up a high standard for yourself, for your country, you better live up to it, and we don't always live up to it. We didn't during the Cold War, we're not doing so now, so to say that we're not only bringing democracy to the Middle East and elsewhere, we're also bringing good in opposition to evil... Now, I don't remember, certainly, Hitler was evil, and we went to war against Hitler, and tyranny, and everybody understood that. But the kind of evil that we're now saying that we're good and others are evil is so ill-defined and so unclear, it's not just Saddam Hussein, there is evil in the world and the President has sort of said it's our job to get rid of evil in the world. Well, the default justification for the Iraq war was we're getting rid of an evil dictator. The last count, time I counted, there are thirty-nine other evil dictators in the world, so what was it about Saddam Hussein that set him apart from Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong Il in North Korea, or a whole host of others? If we're in the evil dictator removal business, we've got a very long century ahead of us, and the loss of an awful lot of American and other lives. So, America was not created to be the world's avenging angel, and we shouldn't set ourselves up that way. I think we've got a long way to go in terms of achieving a very high moral standard ourself before we begin to instruct other countries on morality. I contrast the teachings of Jesus with the practices of the religious right today. They are divisive, they are intolerant, they are dogmatic, they are orthodox, but none of those words describe the gospel of Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount had Jesus blessing peacemakers, not warriors, peacemakers. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, not those who claim to be righteous, but hunger and thirst. The merciful, the meek... None of those categories seem to characterize our current government, and yet the religious right is saying, "We're good, and everybody else is evil." I think they ought to go back and re-read the gospels, because Jesus preached tolerance, preached inclusiveness, preached understanding, preached forgiveness, preached mercy, preached justice, none of which is being discussed by those figures in American politics today. I talk about the awful warmth oft he gospel of Jesus, because it is a totally different set of teachings than we're hearing from the pulpits of the religious right. People have said that there's a war on liberalism on this country, and by the way, since we're in a bookstore, on your way out the door, pick up a dictionary and look under 'liberal' at the definition. It's not what Rush Limbaugh is saying. Liberal means tolerant, inclusive, inquisitive, willing to learn, open- mindedness, enlightened... Now I can understand why Mr. Limbaugh and others would not want to be called liberals because none of these qualities characterize them, so that's why they're angry at liberals, because they're none of those things that the definition of liberal includes. What is going on here isn't an attack on liberalism, it's an attack on the enlightenment. This country would not have been founded without people who were products of the English and Scottish enlightenment: Jefferson, Madison, all the rest of them. It was that sense of human reason that is central to the creation of this republic, and right now we've got a president who is against science, doesn't believe in global warming, doesn't believe in stem-cell research, doesn't want to learn about any of these things, he simply retreats into a pre- Enlightenment period, and those around him seem to encourage that. I end up with a quotation, a chapter quoting a late prophet, Micah. Micah 6th chapter, 8th verse: "What does the Lord require thee, but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." Justice, mercy, and humility. These are indeed values by which to live, they're even better values by which to govern, but each is in short supply these days. Somehow, we can assume that the prophet Micah did not have in mind legal justice. To do justly seems to suggest living fairly and decently and treating all with respect, and likewise loving mercy and walking humbly with God. I don't think it's too much to ask our religious leaders or political leaders to focus on mercy, and justice, and humility, but again, all are in great, are in short supply. I'll conclude if I may by just reading two other passages at the end. By the way, the title, as you know, comes from the skeptic questioning Jesus about whether he was opposed to the Romans governing his region at the time in most of the world, and was he loyal to Caesar or not, and of course his response was, "Render under Caesar that which is Caesar's, and render unto God that which is God's." Someday, God and his wisdom may decide to govern the human nation. If so, he will decide which one and how it shall be governed. If he needs any help, he knows how to reach us. My guess is, if he does require our help, it will not be in the form of the religious figures seeking political power in America today. If, however, I am wrong, and he selects them to govern America, he will surely understand if a few of us go in search of a democracy in which to live. That means that no man or woman can tell me what to believe. No minister, priest, or rabbi can dictate my political principles. No religious figure or organization can claim control of my government. No sector church can replace the constitutional democracy that countless American patriots have given their lives to protect and preserve. I believe America still has a destiny. Whether that destiny is divinely dictated neither I nor anyone else can ever say or ever know. I do believe that America's unrealized destiny has to do with achieving social justice in our own society, leading the world through a time of great revolution, setting higher standards for the protection of our earth, raising the standard of human rights for all, and calling forth the better angels of our nature. God's work is never done, and as John Kennedy said here on earth, "God's work must truly be your own." The words of our republic's greatest hymn: "Our God is marching on," and so is the United States of America. Thank you very much. Q & A