Video: Porn for Bibles?

msnbc.com
updated 12/6/2005 11:02:53 AM ET 2005-12-06T16:02:53
TRANSCRIPT

A group of atheists at the University of Texas in San Antonio is trying to tempt college kids into trading their Bibles for pornography. 

It's part of a program called Smut for Smut sponsored by the student organization called Atheist Agenda. 

On Monday, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson welcomed the group's president, Thomas Jackson, to 'The Situation."

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

TUCKER CARLSON:  Tell me why you're promising to give porn to people who bring in sacred texts, the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran  What's the idea?

THOMAS JACKSON:  All right.  Well, we have Bronze Aged tribal nonsense, these things written by people in tents ages ago, and we're using this to renounce science standards in our classrooms in America.  We're using it to kind of influence our political agenda. 

And we've read it.  Atheists actually tend to be rather knowledgeable about scripture, and we are using this as a medium to get people to know what's actually within the religious text that they hold so dear. 

CARLSON:  Why porn, though?  Why not just argue, you know, about what parts of the sacred text you find specious?

JACKSON:  Well, first of all, you know, pornography gets a lot of negative press, and it's smut.  A lot of it really is.  And we wanted to make the comparison between that and the smut that is religious scripture or a lot of it, you know.  The stuff that says a woman is worth half a man, the things that say, you know, you should beat children. 

These things aren't acceptable in our society, and if pornography is not acceptable, then these things surely aren't.  At the very least, what we're doing is trading something that's very, very bad for something that's only moderately bad. 

CARLSON:  OK.  So it sounds to me like an attempt to create, a fracas on campus and get attention.  What kind of attention have you gotten on campus?

JACKSON:  Well, we've actually had a lot of open discussion.  There has been a minor amount of outrage, but the outrage it's more of a First Amendment rights type of outrage.  A lot of people don't really seem to understand that this is America, and we have freedom of speech here. 

CARLSON:  Oh, come on.  Everybody understands that. 

JACKSON:  We have freedoms people can't even imagine.

CARLSON:  Everybody knows this.  This sounds like proselytizing.  I thought atheists weren't supposed to be in the business of proselytizing. 

JACKSON:  Well, first of all, don't tell atheists what to do.  We'll set our own agenda.  Just kidding, just kidding. 

But we were sitting at a table, and people came to us.  We didn't knock door to door.  We don't have a church on every corner in our country to push this on people.  You know, we're just a bunch of college students down at UTSA.  There's nothing more to it. 

CARLSON:  Have you picked up any girls doing this, honestly?

JACKSON:  I pick up girls constantly. 

CARLSON:  Every college pursuit is to pick up girls.  None?

JACKSON:  Well, no, no.  It's to become educated, but picking up girls is a nice thing to do on the side, and I haven't had too many problems there. 

CARLSON:  What texts-what kind of texts have you gotten, and what kind of porn are you handing out?

JACKSON:  Well, we got quite a few Bibles.  We got a couple copies of the Koran.  Somebody brought in a Satanic Bible.  I haven't gotten a chance to look at that.  I'm not really sure what that is.  It was a few religious texts.  It was something-I can't remember. 

We actually had quite a few different books brought in. ... What we were handing out, we had everything labeled from 0 to 5.  Zero is like "Playboy," things that aren't really necessarily pornography.  I mean, if you've ever read a "Playboy" ... you know, it's not really that hard core, so people got to decide what they wanted. 

CARLSON:  The bottom of this, on your web site, you have a statement: "We find that morality should not be derived from religious texts."  What should morality be ... what should it be derived from?

JACKSON:  Well, morality is not derived from religious texts.  Religious texts actually contradict each other.  If you read the Bible, it contradicts itself on nearly every page.  And the fact that people can decide which one to go with shows that they are getting their morality from somewhere else. 

Morality is actually based off of empathy, and failing empathy, it's based off of fear of reprisal from the law.  That is where morality comes from.

CARLSON:  Yes.  But the law, it's a circular argument.  You need to think through it a little bit more, Thomas, because the law itself is based on at least a notion of abstract right and wrong, and that is not rooted in empathy or any emotion, but ... you know, an abstract belief that this is right and this is wrong because someone larger, in control, says so. 

JACKSON:  Well, no, that's not true.  It's based off of things that are good for society.  If citizens murder each other, this is bad for society.  And you see this across the board in many nations. 

Several religions have stumbled upon this, but it's not the religious text that's bringing this to people.  They are finding this on their own, and societies that don't find this don't survive. 

CARLSON:  Thomas Jackson, thanks a lot for joining us.  I appreciate it.  Don't agree with what you do, but I appreciate your explaining it. 

JACKSON:  No problem. 

Watch 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' each weeknight at 11 p.m. ET

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