tv After Words CSPAN December 28, 2013 10:00pm-10:56pm EST
hope you enjoyed it. i will meet you outside of the new deal store in just a minute. thank you. [inaudible conversations] up next on booktv "after words" with guest host "washington post" religion reporter michelle boorstein. this week peter gottschalk and his latest book "american heretics" catholics, jews, muslims and the history of religious intolerance. the wesleyan professor argues that while freedom of religion is a constitutional and protected right many religious groups have been persecuted throughout american history sometimes by the very government that is supposed to protect them. this program is about an hour.
>> host: hello peter. >> guest: hello michelle, how are you? >> host: this is a good time to approach this subject because thanksgiving is approaching and that's a time we'd like to talk about our -- founding fathers. you are interested in challenging this idea that america is a place of religious tolerance and actually that intolerance is a very american thing. tell me, is our narrative wrong? >> guest: it's not so much that the narratives are completely wrong. there is a lot to celebrate in american history regarding tolerance from various groups that have found refuge here at times because of persecution in other places so that's a part of the narrative that we have to embrace but it's also realizing the narrative has been a master nrda in which religious tolerance as for fred to a degree that has eclipsed the
more and fortunate parts and i think parts and i think the thanksgiving example is a good one because a lot of americans think that the united states was founded as far as the european settlement high the puritans but actually there were europeans who came here much earlier such as the spanish and also the english in jamestown. but that mayflower narrative about freedom from persecution just feature so prominently because nations like to celebrate themselves and downplay some of the more negative things and americans have embraced the side via that the country should embrace freedom. >> host: tell me a little bit about why you think it was important to look at that narrative. >> guest: well, some of my research after 9/11 was focused on islamaphobia. it was after 9/11 that is the nation was dealing with these crippling crimes inflicted on us
that there was likely to be a backlash based on what i know about american history from earlier. and so a colleague and i co-wrote a book called islamaphobia and it addressed a real need that the nation had to deal with this issue of islamaphobia, a term that didn't really exist in 2007 when we publish that vote. happily other words were coming out as journalists were bringing out this issue after 2007. so, but there is clear evidence as we read the papers or any news media that there is still islamaphobia and sentiment in america that is damaging the lives of muslims and non-muslims on an annual basis. i was thinking what can i do to contribute to the conversation to help americans understand this better? so i drew on my experiences
talking to the public in various places in the questions of people had in the honest questions of people had who just didn't understand what the fuss was about. so i thought perhaps writing a book that would include the history of the persecution of other religious groups would help non-muslim americans empathize with what muslims are going through by realizing parts of their own past for which they may or may not be familiar in which proves they have suffered persecution. >> host: we read in your book about your own background and not a lot. was that something and also this is your area of religion, was that some kind of a realization for you? was there any kind of personal journey for you to say this is something that's important? >> guest: yes, absolutely. i was raised in a catholic family and all though i didn't experience any direct persecution as a catholic my interest in history demonstrated to me how there has been some
antagonism towards catholics in america in various ways. there is also a jewish part of my family as well so i'm sensitive to those issues as well. but particularly personally was the realization that i was carrying around some islamaphobia at ideas myself and really came home as i related in the book having a conversation with my friend steve who was studying religious studies and has a family linkage to the middle east and the south. he just told me over and he said peter, did you hear yourself? the comment you just made is a stereotype about muslims. and he was right but i needed him to call me out on it in order for me to see it, kind of pull it out and put it in front of me so i could get past my -- i'm interested in ways that people carry their prejudices
because i don't think a lot of the racism and sexism and anti-semitism that people carry is always incubated with a deliberate focus, the people decide i want to hate somebody so i'm going to choose this group. i think unfortunately absorb these things from our culture from the broader society and that they become common sense and we don't reflect on them because they are just part our background information of the world. so this book is trying to bring out not only the intolerance is that people have suffered but also to try to get a little bit of the ways in which this make sense to people at the time without saying that was okay. >> host: and what about the title of the book, "american heretics." why did you pick that word? it feels a little bit old-fashioned and also seems -- a little bit so why did you pick that word? >> guest: well a subpart of this book is by talking about
nationalism because in some ways nationalism is the american religion. in some ways the fidelity that americans are expected to demonstrate toward their flag, toward their country, toward various institutions almost raises to a religious level. in the realization of people who die for their country is a fascinating given that people who are willing to die for their religion have to be looked at in popular american media. so i began to realize a theme that was running through each of the chapters i was writing, that there are certain american norms that aren't just social norms like normal people do this and normal people believe that but also it requires in the minds of many americans that here's
certain beliefs and practices and if you are brought up against those then you tend to be seen as anti-american. this is a serious claim when one thinks about it given that it's supposed to be a pluralistic welcoming environment. so i think the notion of heresy works in that way with a little bit of religious inflection. >> host: let's go back to our history. the book is organized around the history and the chapters are organized around different faith groups. you start with the puritans and the quakers. let's talk briefly about the roots of the concept of religious freedom or pluralism. what did the founders mean by this? >> well of course the founders have two meanings in american context and what the constitutional puritans would think about the american settlers. and for many of the latter.
tens didn't come to the colonies in order to establish parts of religious freedom for everyone. they came primarily to establish a place of religious freedom for them. they were willing to tolerate a certain amount of difference so for instance society and friends members of the quakers had towns and settlements in massachusetts where they were allowed to be without much harassment but if any of them began to publicly proclaim their religion at various times that brought them into some serious punishment including death. so, those founders, we think of them as the founding european part of the settlement of america were not terribly tolerant in some places. other places, for instance in some of the southern colonies but it varied from colony to
colony. the constitutional writers determined there was no way they were going to create a unified nation that was going to just decide on one religion as a state religion the way the church of england is and was the church of england. so they included a sense of pluralism to protect the pluralism into the constitution and jefferson himself is an important part of the formation of these ideas during the revolution and afterward, he was primarily interested in pluralism because he leave that citizens in order for them to vote for a democratic government needed to vote through their conscience and religion was a key way to develop that conscience. so freedom for him freedom of religion is freedom to believe what you wanted to believe. it wasn't necessarily freedom to do whatever you wanted to do. this notion of freedom and religion in the united states is more nuanced than we often get
in some of the public discourse about it. >> host: as i said your chapters were organized i looking at the experience of intolerance of different groups and they are organized by quakers, irish catholics, jews mormons ranch davidians so tell me how did you pick those groups and were there any that you didn't take and how did you organize them? >> guest: as i say this is not a complete history of religious tolerance in america. each one of those chapters only looks or primarily looks at one moment of intolerance toward that group by the majority. so each one of those chapters could really be developed much more. there are other groups that i don't deal with at all because again it's not meant to be comprehensive. for instance african-americans, just dealing with the realities of the slavery. just to start with is an overwhelming topic given that the indigenous traditions that
the enslaved africans came across the atlantic with were usually stripped from them and the conditions of slavery didn't allow them to pursue their indigenous religious life including islam, probably about a fifth of enslaved africans were muslim. there is not much evidence of that and there are scholars who have worked very hard to try to find some evidence of that continuing beyond that first generation but most of that is just lost. so there are, that's the biggest group that i deal with but i wanted to deal with primary sources and they're just not many primary sources from that period so i had to leave that history out as well as the history of other groups. >> host: let's go through each of the chapters as it's got drama and good characters and actions so let's go through a couple of them. the first one about the quakers,
one thing that was interesting to me was you were trying to look at, and then we can talk about the generalities here but what it was that prompted the intolerance towards them and what were the factors that prompted the intolerance towards these different groups and in the case of the quakers you are talking about the emphasis on conformity. can you talk a little bit about why was that the important issue and through the chapters without going into detail but does the reason for religious intolerance vary widely or said something you can sum up as a means to change or something like that? >> guest: i don't think there is one way that religious intolerance has worked across american history however i think there are some common themes in one of those themes is a quest for maintaining a certain type of order. all societies rely on some sort of order in order to hold back
chaos. for instance in the united states we drive on the right-hand right-hand side of the road and you know that is not an order that people can just as decide to drive wherever they want and there's not enough to stop them from driving anywhere they want on the road or across lawns. we allow two people have taken in that order in order to preserve safety, to preserve property, a variety of reasons we have. the puritans thought that conformity to a certain type of religious norms, of ethical norm, was going to create a moral order that was going to protect their community. they had a very strong sense that if they didn't do that as a body, as a corporate body that they would come in for divine disapproval. >> host: it was theological. it wasn't necessarily an economic issue.
>> guest: it was economic in the sense that the puritans worldview didn't necessarily distinguish between theology and economics and politics. they understood that they were living by god's grace and they either would gain more gods grace or lose god's grace that they needed to work to create as moral a society as possible. and so allowing for various quaker communities was fine within that order but if somebody from the community was going to start preaching and moving people who were part of puritan community away from thas just unacceptable to allow. and so again over time over a couple of centuries time there centuries time there are different ways in which the puritan governors, the puritan politicians of the colony responded to that but at times there was actually capital
punishment. >> host: in your book you were talking about it was also their nature prayer, the way in which they kind of waited for his spirit to move them as opposed to being led by someone that spoke in the services. there was something about maintaining the liturgy basically, the structure of people spiritual lives that could be seen as so threatening so that was interesting. >> guest: that goes back to the issue of order that if you have the sense that certain people have an authority to maintain the order and then you have people who are getting these define messages and speaking out from them, that really can undermine authority and then when women have equal place, and that is a scene we find as well that women play an important role in the concerns that people in the majority of society have about the ways in which a minority can challenge the order. >> host: i was going to raise
this in the end that since we are talking about it, the idea of god speaking and revelation, we are still basically having that same discussion. is it a word of god that god has already spoken nor can god continue to. i don't know if we are any different today in terms of our willingness to hear people who tend to be profits are here from god in some different way. >> guest: yeah in some ways what might be different is the secular norms instead of theological norms that govern our acceptance or rejection of the ways in which a god or gods, a goddess can speak to people in one impact that has. for instance the branch davidians so you have david koresh was saying he has special insight into the bible and these insights help the other members of the community understand the
bible and the book of revelation better and they are living in end times in the way that most don't accept. that i itself doesn't seem to be a problem but when it leads to other elements, then that trigger of the law enforcement is concerned as well as the popular press is concerned, then suddenly this idea of somebody listening to god and having his followers do things that seem to be aberrant to national norms, that's dangerous and that needs to be policed and controlled. and then the sense of fear just amplifies, and so in that way that is a secular expectation that okay people have their religion and what they do in their own mosques and temples, that's fine but it should not interfere with public life or
threaten public life and the concern for order. >> host: we will skip to the branch davidian chapter which was a chapter in which you explain the idea of cults and what makes a call to and obviously in their case as you are in the book they turn out to have sort of antisocial behaviors and gunrunning and stuff like that but i felt like in that year and in the book but in that chapter you were directly sort of saying, questioning the characterization of what makes a call to or ambivalent about it. he said the label of the cult says more about those who apply it then it does about those it describes. maybe we should talk about this more in terms of the branch davidians and what you found and what i read is i don't know if it's ambivalence, but as a religion reporter i write more about contemporary stuff very
again this is still a very alive conversation when he talked about secular i was thinking of about the way nonreligious people talk about hearing god whether it's through meditation or whatever. we still have a new language basically so i wanted to see if you could talk about the way this relates to today. >> guest: right, well i think the language of the concern about cults demonstrates an enduring american fear of religion playing too much a part of somebody's life. the allegation that was made about the branch davidians was that they had been brainwashed by david koresh and why did people think that even though american psychological associations said there is no such thing as brainwashing. that doesn't actually occur. so how do people think about what's going on? these people are believing things and doing things and withdrawing from mainstream american society in ways that
in the sense that all of our rights ultimately turn out to be individual and the we should be as free as possible. so there are those who are nonsecularist who believe that their religious reasons are being trampled upon if there is any kind of restriction on them at all, as though we have the right to do anything individually they want which obviously we don't. we live in a society in various rights have to be leveraged against other rights so i don't have a right for instance to -- in a crowded theater. i've a right to certain types of freedoms but there are limits of those rights. and there are others who would say that, if my moral, my sense of morality is restricted from being into society and let's say
i'm against abortion and i'm not allowed to have a society in which abortion is forbidden then my group is being oppressed. that is on a different order than what my chapters are trying to demonstrate where a group as it lasts, as a group as an identified group is being persecuted for% practices and beliefs as opposed to debate and the public sphere about what kind of moral order do we want and what are the limits to back? >> guest: . >> host: do you think it's easy to untangle in the way have waited out quite so let's go through some of the chapters because that is where all the action in the book is. one of the chapters is about a mormon community and you talked about how a lot of americans at the time, not all americans but a lot of americans were comfortable criticizing
mormonism and i think he said not so much catholics and jews as protestants were comfortable with that. why do you think mormonism is seen as so dangerous? was it about marriage? was it about property? >> guest: yeah that is a fascinating history as opposed to some of the other groups whom i am talking. there are not the issues, the same issues of an outside threat coming in the way you have with the irish catholics. so that mormons were entirely homegrown and over different periods, over a couple of centuries we find they differ by different ideas. one of the ideas at the time in the beginnings of mormonism was a very strong sense of republicanism in the united states.
you have now a religious group that talks about establishing a a psion and seems to be moving in a separatist direction and so that keyed into various concerns about the national order. and then let's say the turn-of-the-century when the first mormon senator was elected and wasn't allowed to take a seat for three years because the senate was investigating whether was acceptable to have a seat in congress, there was a different kind of concern. at that time americans were dealing with issues of monopolies and the power of corporations. and so the mormon church in some ways was seen to be as a monopoly and was alleged to be under the control of this small quartet of people who could tell everybody in the organization what to do and how to vote and the like. then if you think about's campaign we have a different concern about mormonism that comes up particularly
conservative questions about whether this is really christianity and some conservative christians use the word cult in order to define the mormons. there is a common suspicion but at the same time the roots of its differ because its different elements that feed into the suspicions but somehow mormons like jews like muslims continue to be people of suspects. people who are suspicious because we know they have been under suspicion before so i think that's part of what to maintain this prejudice. >> host: what did you think about how mormonism was discussed and seen within the last five years with the romney campaign's? >> guest: it's fascinating because there are two levels. there is the level in which it's very prominent so when mitt romney has the presidential bids clearly mormonism is coming out
and americans are figuring out what does this mean, what is this religion and should i be concerned? the conservative voters are thinking, the christian voters at first are thinking well, really? do we want him as a candidate? he's a mormon after all and to vote against candidate arauca bomb in the most recent election than the concern is well he's better than obama so we will embrace them even though he is mormon so these ideas shift. there's the other twilight series in which we have mormons increasingly influencing the public culture, the popular culture in ways that sometimes americans are aware of and sometimes they are not. >> host: such as what? what comes to mind? >> guest: the original battle star galactica was written by a
mormon and he included various elements of mormon theology in the show but in ways that most americans wouldn't be picking up on. >> host: is or something in particular? >> guest: well one of the planets the coach was named after a place in mormon theology and the whole idea of tribes in a variety of those elements figure in. >> host: i think we have become so much more several things. one, cautious, respectful and politically correct or whatever you would say when we talk about these things than that it's hard to discern how people as a reporter covering the election i tried to write about the religious component in its how hard to discern how people are motivated by how they see someone's religion and simultaneously talking in the
public sphere but more hesitant about how we talk. i think he was complicated. and what about in the irish catholic chapter? i thought it was interesting you focused on the irish catholic in particular. i don't know if there was some reason why give tried to keep a specific irish catholics and he didn't really talk so much about contemporary catholics. i think you ended the chapters saying the image of catholics is superstitious has been stubborn to change so did you pick that for some reason or do you think have still experienced any kind of skepticism today? >> guest: again part of the plan of the look was to map the intolerance that any particular religious group has suffered but to take certain moments where we can look at them in some detail and understand some the dynamics that are going on. for me, looking at the irish catholic discrimination before the great introduction of the irish catholics because of the
famine in ireland was a particularly helpful time because you actually have first in 1834 the convent school that is burned to the ground outside of boston because of fears about what the irish catholics are bringing and the fear of the catholic hierarchy and then just later you actually have parts of philadelphia burned with riots between nativists, protestant nativists and irish catholics say you have these two moments of great violence that i think are telltale of some deeper issues. the irish catholics in many ways faced a type of prejudice that german catholics and some other catholics did not face at least at that time. or even later. so for instance in the return of the middle of the 19th century with increasing notions of racism coming to a head in the united states and being quite acceptable in many ways, irish catholics were portrayed as
being apelike and being of a different race in many ways. and so, that is not something that german catholics struggle with to my knowledge or italian catholics. so i do think and this is an important part of the book, many of these issues of religious intolerance are not just about religion. there is also as the city. there is race. there is gender. there is class. those issues commonly figure into these episodes of intolerance. >> host: and, so just to bring back to today, we have a group of americans, i think you could say fairly largely religious conservative catholics and not just catholics who feel that their place is being squeezed in our society. obviously people are familiar with the term war on religion
and there is a challenge to religions in this more diverse secular society. what do you think about that sentiment whether it's marriage for health care reform mandates and coverage that some people find religiously that they feel a post to? what do you think about that sentiment? >> guest: i think that demonstrates the notion of norms in a reformist society and those who fit within the norms don't recognize the norms exist. they just take them for granted. i am normal. i don't think about that and i'm not going to think about my position about where it comes from. it's just normal. so for a very long time, christianity that mainstream protestant christianity has been normative in this society. that really doesn't get challenged until for instance we have a catholic president for just a candidate, a catholic candidate for president so what
john f. kennedy had to face in the way he needed to publicly state that his church was not going to interfere with his role as an elected public official was something that basically protestants did not have to do. today what we are facing is that christian norm is increasingly being challenged by the fact that more expressions of secularism, more people are aware of the ways in which an unquestioned christian norm inherently makes unwelcome non-christians. so a lot of christians feel like the christ is being taken out of christmas by for instance some stores saying happy holidays instead of merry christmas. well with those stores are with those individuals saying happy holidays instead of merry christmas are trying to do is be more welcoming to muslims and hindus and atheists.
you are welcome here too even though it may not be your christmas you are welcome here too. that is fairly upsetting for many christians. the cause they feel as though that social order which was predicated on christianity and if you believe that america's profoundly and essentially a christian nation is being challenged. so what does that say about the whole social underpinnings of this nation? so i think we are going through period of adjustment where christians who took that norm for granted are having to read nice that to be welcoming we need to dial down some of that language without it all inhibiting your own practice, and nobody is being told they can't say merry christmas. >> host: i know your area isn't exactly the law but i did want to ask if you think and
obviously you're framing it in this way. there are specific you know, specific practices that are being curtailed, that are being changed beyond just saying merry christmas whether that has to do with you now what you are required 200 -- cover under the health care plaf businesses don't wish to engage with same-sex weddings. there are specific things beyond saying merry christmas. that is a reality. so i think the dominant culture is loosing something, isn't it period of losing some stature and possibly some rights. so i wanted to see and i know you are not a legal scholar but wondering if you had any thoughts about how that is going to go forward. if we are going to be a more realistic country and things are changing so what is the norm? i mean how are we going to balance all of these things? >> guest: yeah, says that
before rights never exist by themselves and in american discourse with talk about rights as though they do. i have a right to do this. well you do, but only to a certain point. i think the shift is an important shift and it is one in which the society is trying to deal with this notion of furlough some and recognize what role the law has two play in protecting other people's religious practices and beliefs and norms and morals as opposed to those who might represent the majority. >> host: i think when you look at the numbers of it, i mean you know the vast majority of people in this country believe in god in some way and yet we have these conversations about should you have to talk about god when
you swear in a court or whatever so you can kind of see this desire to be accommodating to everybody and yet also say, is the majority sort of losing a piece of its culture even if you talk about religion in a general way without saying which god you are speaking of. so, part of it is you know when you talk about nationalism, often people kind of describe that we are going towards a civil religion where we have some kind of general religious culture and that you no religions are all similar but they are distinct in ways. so it's like and again i know this is in exactly your area but i was wondering if you saw any of these cases, how we sort of maintained the things that make us genuinely different and if we hold on to that early try to move to making religions look
the same when they're actually different? >> guest: that is the struggle for maintaining the notion of national exceptionalism, american exceptionalism. for so long that have been the notion of america being a place of religious freedom and it being normatively protestant christian. those two things just don't hold together. there is a need to reconcile that and there are ways in which americans have to realize perhaps they are not as absolutely unique in the world as they might imagine. there are other nations that embrace pluralism and perhaps have done more to protect their religious minorities the united states have but that's not a comfortable truth for many americans. >> host: one of your areas of expertise is islam and wiker chapters is about american muslims. can you tell us a little bit about whether there something unique about -- obviously there is 9/11 which is unique in our
history. is there something particular about people's discomfort with islam and is it different for americans who are uncomfortable with that? >> guest: yes, i think islam is some is an important discussion in this because it's not because of 9/11 that we have islamaphobia. it's not just because of the iranian revolution and the taking of america as captives from the embassy. it stems back to before the establishment of the united states. european settlers came here, came here with the memories of centuries of antagonism with mediterranean muslims and they brought those anti-muslim sentiments in part as a way to distinguish between christianity and islam. they also brought in jewish sentiment as well so that is the reason we have had so many
centuries of jewish sentiment in this country. that history has been embraced much better. scholars have paid much more attention to that history and the ways in which that changes and becomes anti-semitism. but we really don't have as good as the national understanding of this history of islamaphobia so we constantly think about it. >> host: you are talking it's not about political things. do you see this primarily theological? i know you were talking about christians understanding you know where their views of anti-semitism come from and you could say and i'm not an expert on this but just that you know to the degree that christianity was building on or innocents rejecting our adding to judaism and islam makes a similar claim and mormonism makes a similar claim. you say it's really not about middle eastern politics so it's
a theological? >> guest: i would say the origins of that are primarily theological. dante puts mohammad in the last circle of hell is a theological idea but with all of these prejudices they take different forms in different periods of time so they are like an underground stream data wraps at times according to the conditions of the particular historical terrain they are in. and so clearly today part of it might be theological but part of it is also the fact that what is carried over for all this time is that muslim governments are inherently desperate to stay. muslim men are barbaric and angry and violent tomb non-muslims. muslim women are oppressed by their husbands, so those things have really carried on for quite
a while in the united states and they may have originated in a fairly theological context that they increasingly change so when women's rights -- we could see a difference in the ways in which muslim women had previously been an object of fascination by many american audiences like i dream of jeannie for instances the tail end of that where you have a diaphanous clade clad woman at the behest of her master. i dream of jeannie really ends when the women's rights movement in the united states ends. we don't find quite this sort of objectification of arab/muslim women. arabs and muslims -- most muslims are not arab. so some of the muslim women are seen to be the objects of oppression by the male patriarch
just a time when a lot of american women are realizing that they are also -- restrictions because of the page are key. so these definitely changed over time. >> host: so that was her final chapter of the different faith groups and it went up to the present day. who are the heretics today? obviously you feel that way about the muslim community. i don't know if you feel that way about atheists. or in the future, it's kind of a fertile time where you have all these new religious movements coming up in a bee be there is more openness to this idea of god speaking in some different way. what do you think our future heretics are? >> guest: it's an interesting crowd because they have been seen as heretics for a long time and polls demonstrate that while americans at a certain amount of prejudice towards catholics and jews they even more so towards muslims that atheists tend to be
really unacceptable especially in terms of national office. a poll was done over a series of years that shows around 2000 or so very few americans could even imagine collecting an atheist for president. >> host: i think that number is declining if i understand right. >> guest: exact date. most recent iteration of that whole, it has really shot up the numbers. >> host: and comfort level? >> guest: and comfort level, yes. ..
>> defined by its persecution. is that part of religion? been you know, more about this than i do. >> guest: that is the perception. i don't have the overview over all history will answer that. but in terms of today imagine the notion of maintaining that history of persecution can be helpful in part because so many communities have to deal with pluralism and they live
in the nation states that need to secure the fidelity of the citizens through the government first and foremost, the key element of nationalism the nation comes first. so we have if there is a war, somebody cannot say i don't want to because it is against my religious beliefs. you have to demonstrate through detailed process it has been issued all violence entirely because the nation has to be assured that citizens will support it to. said that maybe one reason. also to help do defying insiders better than outsiders. justice the united states has its own history like the
revolution there is the injection of the british that so much of that culture came from britain, many religious communities undoubtedly have emphasized a certain narrative in order to help demonstrate what is said to be a part of this religion? and to demonstrate the exemplar model of persecution. >> host: i think he said in the beginning opening comments, if you compare the united states with many places in the world, is where people, for religious freedom but you make the case people need to be aware of this.
but on the other hand, we talk about religious persecution in comparison today with people being killed right now. you could say emphasizing if you want to it using clear going down a bad road? we'll get what we have done in the past? we're not above killing each other because you could get the raw deal that is nothing to what people experience elsewhere. maybe you tried to warn us? >> but that response is not uncommon when overall things has been so good why other nations are so bad but that is beside the point of it is
an injustice we should deal with that is shed that be the primary way the very kins if we had been successful it is because we have established a bar that we try to meet its that. what the book attempts to do is that there are these values but also the norms that led people to be intolerant to serve religious groups and we need to embrace that not only with the of persecution today but of possible persecution from the future. >> host: there is a whole section that is an analysis of the intolerance. tell me what research you had to do for that looks
like you had to describe almost a psychological condition to be intolerant and have anxieties. >> looking at the american example but you draw on the response of the previous leaders when i presented publicly, often in you get the of well-meaning people who don't understand this could be considered to be intolerable. it is a certain set of assumptions that delicate question and in part because if we bowdlerized about blood dash america then we will not focus on intolerance in moments of persecution.
>> host: so people don't understand why they are described as and tolerant? when you broke it down so what are those components of intolerance? >> guest: one element is the notion of normal and that people are not normal. what does that mean? that is something we often don't question. how do those protect the majority from recognizing they are not living up to the values that they had? that is not unusual i think most societies deal with this and that is a healthy thing to question and how do they go over injustice. >> host: tuz said degree of nationalism if i read
your right to perpetrate the orthodoxy so as we mentioned this before but in a country that is becoming more and more pluralistic you cannot find 10 christians who agree wear christian says. is there a risk item number there is a religious society that is as diverse as we are maybe parts of india or brazil but i don't know enough about how they practice. is seems we are attempting something that is not common >> guest: teeseventeen you have to have the orthodoxy for national? that we challenge the idea of the nation's state?
can you have a nation without shared religious values? >> guest: the challenge is to have a nation that allows for citizens to have certain freedom while at the same time not to rub against one another that will cause conflict. if my definition of what i share do involves something that and raise my neighbor -- and noise my neighbors they and if my prayer is noisy at certain times of the week is my neighbor allowed to stop me? lear is no right or wrong answer there has to be a deliberation to how that works. we have made this a very pluralistic society to have a former secular in many parts of the country where
they try not to do so deliberately promote their religious identity in public they may have a bumper sticker or a crescent moon or the star of david but they play it down so nobody is in each other's face. but if you have a religious group whose mandate is followers should go door-to-door? some people find that to be offensive. they don't want people to come to their door to talk about religion. how do you deal with that? what social norms do you put in place to allow them to express the identity and a look what other people didn't have somebody questioning their religion? it is complicated. >> host: you