'Up w/Chris Hayes' for Saturday, March 16th, 2013
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
March 16, 2013
Guests: Blase Bonpane, Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray, Anthea Butler, Roland Flamini, Ben Jealous, Nancy Huehnergarth, Letitia James, Monifa Bandele, Father Bill Dailey
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
The Eurozone and Cyprus overnight agreed to a $13 billion bailout
deal, one that would put much of the bailout cost on the nation`s bank
And Pope Francis had his first meeting with the media this morning,
saying he wants to have a poor church for the poor. We`ll have more on the
new pope in just a minute.
Right now, I`m joined by Anthea Butler, associate professor of
religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Roland Flamini, former
correspondent for "Time" magazine where he covered the Vatican, now
contributing writer at the "Congressional Quarterly Press," Jacqueline
Nolley Echegaray, senior international program associate at Catholics for
Choice, and my friend, Father Bill Dailey and Thomas More fellow at the
Center for Ethics and Culture. Great to have you here on this Saturday
On Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected
through a secret ballot to be the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic
Church. Cardinal Bergoglio, Now Pope Francis, is 76 years old, the first
Jesuit pope, and perhaps, most interesting, the first pope from Latin-
America, a region of the world that along with Africa has represented a
major source of growth for the Catholic Church over the past hundred years.
In 1910, 65 percent of all Catholics resided in Europe, 24 percent in
Latin-America and the Caribbean, and less than one percent in Sub-Saharan
Africa. Now, the church looks radically different. In 2010, just 24
Catholics resided in Europe, 39 percent in Latin-America and the Caribbean,
and 16 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The elevation of Bergoglio to the papacy appears to represent an
acknowledgement by the cardinals of the changing demographic power centers
of the church, but other elements of his background make it unclear what
else his election portends. Though, Argentinian by birth, his parents were
from Italy. And like many popes before him, Bergoglio is a fierce advocate
of the poor, theologically in line with his predecessor.
His role as head of the Jesuit order during the height of Argentina`s
vicious, brutal dirty wars which were estimated to have killed up to 30,000
people, spurred allegations of church silence at best and complicity at
worst, the worst charges which both Bergoglio and the Vatican strongly
deny. The allegations (ph) go directly the Catholic Church`s role in the
developing world where it still holds immense political power.
How the church wields that power in coming years or likely be a
defining part of Francis` legacy? Perhaps, the most pressing and the
immediate (ph) term for the church are the question of reform clearing out
the bureaucratic and moral rot that has come to define the Vatican in many
corners of the world. It`s still unclear just how much will or power Pope
Francis has to take on that difficult task.
So, my first question, the place I want to start is, when someone runs
for president of the United States, I have a good sense of like what that
election is going to be about. There`s a set of things that they`ll talk
about and there`s a set of things they won`t talk about, and then, there`s
some surprising things like gaffes or some personal, you know, personal
little sins or transgressions that might make their way in.
When you come before the cardinal conclave, you say brothers in
Christ, this is why you should elect me pope. Like, what does that
election turn on? I literally have no idea.
ANTHEA BUTLER, UNIV. OF PENNSYLVANIA: Well, you know, in this case, I
don`t know. I mean, it`s so -- there`s so much this election could have
turned on. I mean, one is you have a curia (ph) that`s in desperate need
of reform. You know, you have a church where, you know, the reports this
past week broke out that there had been a $30 million apartment building
bought that was, you know, actually, a gay bathhouse was part it.
You have problems with the Vatican bank, so you need somebody to be a
good administrator, but also put a different face on the church. You need
somebody who can be compassionate, who can speak to the victim of the
sexual abuse. So, you need somebody who`s not so much as a theologian as
You need someone who doesn`t, you know, pay attention to the outside
world but does pay attention to what`s going on inside of the curia as Pope
John Paul II was. So, you have this sort of balancing sheet, and then, you
got a meeting where you can get up and you can say everything before the
conclave and give your five minute spill by how good you are and then
everybody has to decide.
HAYES: I mean, is that how it works? You get up in front of your --
ROLAND FLAMINI, CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PRESS: Well, first of all,
you have a numerical problem. In the presidential election, you end up
with two people, one-on-one side, one on the other. In a conclave
theoretically, you end up with 157 candidates.
FLAMINI: -- because every single one of them is popular to the extent
that he`s prince of the church. I mean, they don`t necessarily have to
elect somebody from the cardinals as far as I know. They can, in fact,
decide to co-opt somebody from outside if they want to.
HAYES: That`s really worth a dollar bet.
FLAMINI: In the first voting which was Tuesday, Tuesday night, they
actually had two or three votes for Pope Benedict XVI which was a sort of
tribute to him from one or two of the individual cardinals. And then,
eventually, it boils down to -- it`s a process elimination, really. And
the other thing about it, of course, is that you don`t campaign.
FLAMINI: Whereas, you know, you campaign to death in an American
election until everybody is absolutely exhausted. In this whole -- and it
takes, you know, what a year and a half.
FLAMINI: This thing takes four days, and you don`t campaign. And
there`s a saying in Rome that says that if you enter the conclave a pope,
you come out a cardinal.
HAYES: Right. Right. Meaning, it is incredibly enormous that you do
not cultivate -- if you`re seen as having campaigning for wanting the job,
that is a strike against you.
FATHER BILL DAILEY, NOTRE DAME LAW SCHOOL: The electoral rules also
matter. So, when going to the last conclave, Pope John Paul II had changed
DAILEY: -- after a certain number of ballots, I think, it was 10, a
simple majority would have won. So, a group favoring a candidate who could
not gain a two-thirds of the majority, if they were willing to be stubborn,
we`re going to win eventually, then they changed the rule back. So, you
couldn`t count if we have a guy that`s got 50 percent plus one that will
just wait it out.
DAILEY: You had to settle on somebody who could get two-thirds.
HAYES: And you have to wait until you get to that two-thirds
FLAMINI: And of course, you don`t make any speeches or anything of
that nature. I mean, the whole thing literally is back room stuff. I mean
-- and you find you`re being championed by somebody.
DAILEY: It`s also Sistine Chapel praying room stuff. We like to
believe that there`s some room for the Holy Spirit --
DAILEY: My mother never typed. She didn`t go college, right? But we
got her a computer a couple of years ago, and now, she has this great habit
of sending cute little e-mails to us which we forward around. They`re
always entitled mom because she doesn`t know that we can see from whom e-
mails come. And so, the mom e-mail that she sent to my non-practicing
catholic sister said, "We have a new pope. He is an advocate for the
And what the pope we hope was praying for and what we hope they were
praying about is the pope is the face of the church who introduces Christ
to the world. I agree that there are mass administrative problems that I
certainly hope and pray he will be a good administrator.
But I`m optimistic cautiously that the way he has tried to introduce
Christ to the world through the papacy as he`s going to shape it by
considering himself, by calling himself Francis, choosing that name. I`m
optimistic about where he thinks the church needs to be in introducing the
world to Christ in his time.
JACQUELINE NOLLEY ECHEGARAY, CATHOLICS FOR CHOICE: I guess, most
Catholics would agree that there are a lot more administrative problems at
this point in the church, unfortunately. The Pew Center for Public Policy
and Religion put out a poll this week right before the election of Francis.
When it asked American Catholics what is the most pressing problem that the
next pope needs to address and 34 percent said the sex abuse crisis.
So -- I mean, this is beyond -- there are definitely administrative
problems, and then, you have what is perceived by many Catholics in the
U.S. and abroad as a moral crisis. Another 16 percent of the people polled
-- of the Catholics polled in that study also said, mentioned if you put
them all together, issues of modernization, abortion, contraception, LGBT
rights, these are issues.
I mean, you have -- you`re looking at not just a geographic diversity
which you mentioned at the opening of the program, but a diversity amongst
Catholics that you have people who are routinely usually always using
contraception. You have gay and lesbian and bi-Catholics who want to be
embraced as part of their church.
HAYES: I agree. And I, you know -- obviously that is where my
politics come from. But, it just seems to me that those politics are just
never going to enter in a papal conclave, right? It`s a conclave happening
within the confines of orthodoxy which is why -- I mean, just
HAYES: Exactly. Right. There -- like, there is no one there who
believes in, you know, legalized abortion, presumably maybe someone --
HAYES: Right. But, I guess, my point being that, I think part of the
difficulty of interpreting the conclave and interpreting the choice is
precisely that the lens through which it is refracted to us, right, are the
places in which this kind of political commitments and religious orthodoxy
bump up against each other, right?
The issues that face Catholics in public life and their private lives
in America, but that presumably has literally zero to do with the decision
making happen -- happening within in the conclave, right, because it`s not
like they`re someone getting up who is a, you know, a pro-marriage equality
papal candidate and someone who is not or someone who is a pro-choice papal
candidate, right? All of this is happening within the boundaries of
ECHEGARAY: Well, if you`re talking about reproductive health and
they`re talking about Pope Francis as a champion for the poor, this is an
area in which when you do not have access to contraception, when you do not
have access to abortion because your government has prohibited one or the
other or there`s no access to it, this is an issue that most affects poor
women and poor families.
If you cannot control your fertility, if you cannot interrupt your
pregnancy and abort when you are in a crisis pregnancy situation, the
people who suffer the most are the poor. And if this is a man who does
embrace the needs of the poor, then he needs to understand that
reproductive health is part of that.
BUTLER: Yes. He embraces the poor in different kind of way. This is
the issue. I mean, he`s not thinking about those kinds of issues. He
doesn`t want to do this in the Marxist kind of way where we`re like we`re
going to have this (INAUDIBLE) option for the poor, and I want all these
things, abortion, all this stuff. I mean, this is the church. It`s --
BUTLER: OK? This moves --
ECHEGARAY: No. This is the hierarchy.
ECHEGARAY: We are the church.
BUTLER: Yes, we are, but you know, the question is, if people think,
are they going to go and then do this stuff? Look, I`m where you are, OK?
I`m very clear about where i am. But they`re not thinking about this
stuff. They don`t care about it. And they don`t have women -- I mean,
when he said at the press release and said, you know, women are there to
serve. That`s how women are involved.
And the women are there to serve, I just went, oh my God, this is like
the worst line on Earth and I just got on Twitter and talked about it
because I thought, you know, this is the moment. This is where they can`t
hear everyone else. They have this line, and they can`t hear the outside
world. It`s all about the theology and the orthodoxy in the room, but the
world that they need to be in, that world that they talk about in Vatican,
too, they have not addressed yet.
HAYES: Yes. I want to talk about -- to go back for a second to this
question of reform in the Vatican, the curia, right, which is an
institution and universe that is fascinating. All right. I mean, that`s
why Dan Brown sells a lot of novels. So, i want to talk about that and
then move out also to what this will look like in the rest world right
after we take this break.
HAYES: So, the word reform has been floating around a lot of the
coverage, right? And I think there`s a lot of ways to think about a
reform. There`s reform in the context on this kind of doctrinal questions
or what the church does in terms of something like its policy on birth
control, you know, in the developing world or in the developed world,
But then, there`s this reform very specific --there`s a reform of the
Vatican, the curia, the institutional heart of the church. And I want to
read this "Times" -- and I think I`m having a very difficult time like
actually understanding what that word means, what it forces, what it is
Here`s the "New York Times" saying, "headline snub over reformers
choice seen before pope`s anointing. While the workings of the conclave
are secret, Cardinal Bergoglio won the papacy according to comments from
cardinals. Vatican experts and leaks to Italian newspapers in part because
the Vatican base cardinals protected in the bureaucracy snubbed the
presumptive front runner and a favorite candidate of reformers, Cardinal
Scola had been tasked by Ratzinger to clean up the Vatican bank and
ran head long into another cardinal named (INAUDIBLE) and sort of it
administers the curia.
FLAMINI: Yes, but this whole business about, you know, the split
within the Italian -- it was the largest voting group, the Italians. My
informants say the exact opposite which is the Italians actually got
together in the end and realized that in order to --
as it were, take the papacy back --
HAYES: After a long reign --
FLAMINI: Of two foreigners. They really have to bury their
differences which are many and which involve -- which extend through
Italian politics, incidentally, in order to be able to, you know, come up
with a candidate who was Scola. They were so sure that they actually had
Scola that has, as a matter of fact, I think been published that when the
white smoke came up, the Italian conference of bishops put out a press
HAYES: Is this true?
ECHEGARAY: It`s true.
FLAMINI: -- which said we thank God for the choice of Cardinal Scola.
FLAMINI: So, there was a big sort of oops factor. And then, they put
out exactly the same press release having changed --
FLAMINI: -- that somewhere along the line they thought they had it.
And in order to have had it, they would have had to actually form some kind
of an alliance because the big thing was not so much that the Vatican, that
they should still control -- I mean, we`re talking now in sort of basic
political terms which I mean with respect to you and to the Holy Ghost.
You know, when it comes down to it, there is a fundamental issue of
power here. And this was where the fundamental issue of power was played
out which was the Italians going to keep the Vatican or are they not.
DAILEY: It`s proof that God has a sense of humor that we are to
figure out the human side of the church by disentangling Italian politics.
FLAMINI: But you see the point is that there`s a great deal of money
involved in all of this. There`s also a great deal of control. I mean,
for example, and I don`t want to go on and on.
HAYES: No, no. Please. This is why you`re here.
HAYES: I find the Vatican fascinating, and when we talk about reform
where they`re talking -- you know, there were all these scandals, there was
the pope`s, you know, sort of private butler leaked letters that seemed to
be a way of blowing the whistle on things that people were doing.
FLAMINI: When Pope Benedict left the holy office, I can never still
call it whatever it`s called these days.
DAILEY: The CBF (ph).
FLAMINI: Yes. He left in charge of the scandal of the whole sex
FLAMINI: A very bright young man the name Shekluna (ph) who was
actually, you know, basically his man there. What happened to Shekluna
(ph) last six months ago was that he ended up as the coadjutor bishop in
Malta. I mean, that ain`t --
FLAMINI: That ain`t a promotion.
BUTLER: It`s a very big demotion. It`s a demotion.
FLAMINI: Even though he is actually Maltese and he was delighted.
HAYES: As are you, right? You`re --
FLAMINI: Well, I was born there.
HAYES: Yes, yes.
FLAMINI: But, the point of it is that, you know, this was done to a
man who the pope had put there.
HAYES: Right. I want to interpret that. The point being that the
power of the last pope over -- actually his ability and Michael Brennan
Dougherty (ph) who was here last time with Father Dailey talked about a
useful analogy about President Barack Obama and the Senate, right? The
president actually can`t just do whatever he wants, right?
There`s actually institutional reasons. There`s power held in the
Senate and the filibuster that he just doesn`t get -- that`s an example of
the limitations and the power of the last pope.
FLAMINI: Yes. That`s an -- and this is the kind of thing. And when
he turned around and started finding things like, you know, butlers leaking
messages and all that kind of thing, that`s where, in my opinion, he gave
up and said, you know, who needs this at my age.
HAYES: Hold that thought because I want to talk about then what is
the meaning and the purpose of what kind of reform should there be of this
FLAMINI: Look, every pope goes into it saying he`s going to reform.
FLAMINI: And every pope kind of fiddles around with the ends of it.
The only problem is it`s been around, you know, for several hundred years,
and it is essentially an Italian structure.
HAYES: Right. I want to quote what the new pope says about poverty
and the priority he`s placed on that and talk about what that looks like
right after we take this break.
HAYES: So, we`re talking about the new pope and one of the striking
things is the pope`s age. I mean, particularly, given the fact that the
pope that he`s succeeding was rather advanced in age, the pope before him
was rather young which was a large part of why, I think, he had such a
defining effect on people`s perception of the church and church itself and
he was such a beloved figure worldwide, because he had many, many, many
years to get to know. As I`ve learned in television, it takes a while --
HAYES: That he was able to sort of establish this relationship.
FLAMINI: And he was also very talented at presenting.
HAYES: Obviously, he was naturally, extremely gifted and charismatic.
No, no. I don`t want to take that away, but I think the longevity was part
of it as well.
And Michael Brennan Dougherty writing about this and basically making
the case essentially a kind of, this is sort of punting by the cardinals,
that this is a caretaker custodial kind of papacy because he`s so advance
in age and says, besides, his lack of knowledge of the ins and outs of the
Vatican, there`s almost no evidence of him taking a tough line with anyone
in his own diocese already to believe that Buenos Aires has been spared the
moral graft (ph) and corruption found almost everywhere else in the
Catholic Church -- about talking sexual abuse.
But my question is, does that seem to be the case that -- I mean, can
we expect big things from a man at this age who seems like he`s lived a
life that is quite far from the Vatican in many ways and quite small and
humble? Is this someone that we can expect some major transformations,
particularly, on things that you`ve talked about?
ECHEGARAY: Well, I think we can always hope. And as Catholics, we
always pray for a miracle. But, there`s no reason to believe that he
couldn`t. We know that when Vatican II was called no one expected Pope
John XXIII to do that, but he did it. And some major and very important
reforms came out of it which some people in the hierarchy have been working
ever since than to roll back.
HAYES: Yes. Tell me about John XXIII and Vatican II, because in some
ways, that`s the massive -- that`s the counter example to whatever lower
BUTLER: It is a counter example, because you know, you call everyone
in and say we`re going to look at this. We need to be in the church. I
keep thinking, all the work that comes in -- as a church in the modern
world, and that was like to me the most important piece of Vatican II. How
is the church going to engage with the world? If you have a church that
has ignored modernity for so long and is trying to push away from that, how
do you get the church to engage with the world as you change the liturgy?
You put in the binocular that everybody can understand. What has
happened under Benedict, you know, the liturgy has been rolled back. Half
the people don`t know what to say during the mass. You all go, what, I
don`t know what these word mean.
HAYES: It is confusing.
BUTLER: It`s very confusing, you know?
HAYES: Although, that is a case for continuity and tradition over
BUTLER: That`s true, but I mean, it goes back to (INAUDIBLE) I hate
BUTLER: But I think the thing that Vatican II was it opened up this
whole thing. I remember being a kid, and you know, the guitars and all the
stuff in the house (ph). Everybody remembers what happened with Vatican
II. So, it was this moment that it was also the moment that we could have
had something different about birth control, because the pill had just came
out. That, you know, Charlie Kern (ph) was there that we`re talking about
BUTLER: Charlie Kern (ph) was a great theologian who is now very ill
and very sick about this, but it`s sort of the way in which he would have
said, you know, we need to think about birth control. We need to think
about, should we give the women the right to have birth control? This is a
time where protestant women are being able to use the pill, but in the
Catholic Church, they`re saying no because that`s part of moral theology.
We don`t want to stop this act of procreation that can possibly
happen. So, that was a moment, I think -- this is the moment where, you
know, the church could have turned one way, and perhaps, some of these
other things could have gone on a little bit more progressively, but they
DAILEY: One of the presidents of Argentina, I forget which that was
in a tussle with then Archbishop Bergoglio (ph) said he`s from the middle
ages, which now us in the church take to be a compliment rather than an
insult. We have to expect the pope to be catholic.
It would be quite shocking if he were to follow -- I did watch a lot
of the MSNBC coverage and we have -- what I remembered (ph) music spectacle
of Chris Matthews explaining over teaming crowds waiting to see who the new
pope was just what the new pope needed to do to become relevant.
And the answer was become the archbishop of Canterbury. I don`t think
that`s the program for the future. I`m not saying that I don`t respect and
understand why many Catholics who are dissenting on these questions would
like to see a pope go there.
For me, I do think that the question of how the pope presents Christ
to the world and how Christ in our time is to be understood is taught to us
by his choice of the name Francis, the world`s popular saint, a saint of
great simplicity, a saint of radical devotion to Christ`s love of the poor
and his stripping away, really, simplistic of the gospel. That`s the
spirituality of Saint Francis.
And for a Jesuit pope to announce that, right, there must be 150
Oscar-winning speeches prepared, right? You have 45 minutes once you`re
elected pope to decide what am I going to wear? He wore the simplest
possible clothing. What name am I going to choose? Presumably, he gave
that some thought beforehand.
So, for me, I think that there`s a great reason to be optimistic about
that simplicity that he hopes to bring to the world. No pope is going to
satisfy everyone`s desire for either administrative skill or reform or
liturgical theology and so forth, but the direction he has announced is a
direction of simplicity and of a love of the poor that is radically at the
heart of the gospel.
BUTLER: Yes, but I hope that simplicity doesn`t mean that, you know,
he can present a simple face to the world, but I think it needs to be a
sort of a more nuanced way whether he`s dealing with the curia and also in
worldwide affairs. I mean, everybody is saying he`s simple. I was wishing
that when he said Francis, he meant Francis Xavier.
FLAMINI: I do, too.
BUTLER: And you know, I was like, if you`re saying Xavier, then I
know you will be able to be this great missionary who`s going to go out
into the world and engage people right where they are whether that`s India,
China, wherever you are in the world, but he`s saying Francis in
simplicity. I`m like that`s fine, but it has to be this other move that
he`s going to make because he is a worldwide leader.
People are fussing, why do we care about the pope? And I`m like, the
pope is over a country. It`s a little bitty country, but it`s a country.
It`s all little state, and he`s going to be dealing with a lot of worldwide
leaders, and so, we`re going to need him just more than simplicity and
words about poverty in order to bring the church forward, however, that
HAYES: But the question of bringing the church forward, and we talked
about this before, father, is that, you know, this question of when you
talk about what political advice do you dispense to the church or where
should the church go. I mean there`s a question, I think sometimes people
can conflate these two issues, which is where are your moral commitment?
Where are your points of dissent with official doctrine which minor
steel legion (ph) that I no longer (INAUDIBLE) and where are -- what should
the church do to become relevant or to grow, right? And those are entirely
distinct questions. And I think, sometimes, they get conflated, right?
The idea is like, oh, if the church gets more liberal on these issues of
reproductive choice, that will be the church`s renewal.
But the religions that are growing around the world are the most
conservative, the most fundamentalist, and the most like tic-tac kind of
strict. It`s just simply not the case, and people -- conservative
Catholics point this out all the time. Look at mainline Protestantism,
Mainline Protestantism has no prohibition on birth control, has -- you
know, many of the dominations have accepted marriage equality, have -- you
know, done all the things that I, as a liberal, love. Me and my
Protestantism is not particularly thriving or growing faith in America.
ECHEGARAY: Hey, Chris, it`s not about being relevant and it`s not
about being popular as far as I`m concerned. It`s about doing what`s
right. It`s about doing what`s morally right. And there is a major moral
case from catholic teaching for change. We`re going back to the birth
control question and the birth control commission that was organized by
Pope John XXIII as part of Vatican II.
We`re not just talking about -- I mean, it`s a huge question and I, as
a woman, would never say that access to birth control is not tremendously
important and a right that we`re entitled to. But now, in the age of AIDS
and continuing to have millions of new HIV infections every year at a time
when we are -- how many years into this? How many decades into this
epidemic now? It`s devastated countries all over the world, particularly,
And in the past ten years, we`ve seen that who`s been most affected by
it? Married women who are faithful to their husbands.
ECHEGARAY: So, this is where the teaching -- the current position of
the hierarchy on condoms comes from and people think that when we`re
talking, you know, about birth control in the Catholic Church being
prohibitive, the main concern is the pill. Well, yes, that is a big
concern for a lot of women, but we`re also talking about people being able
to protect themselves from contracting HIV or from giving it to their
HAYES: Father, I want you to stick around. I want to have you
respond to that and talk about the new pope right after this.
HAYES: Father Bill, you mentioned Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine
president saying something with Bergoglio in response to a battle over
marriage equality in Argentina in which the cardinal, in a letter, days
before the bill legalized said, "Let`s not be na‹ve. This isn`t a simple
political fight, it`s an attempt to destroy God`s plan."
And Cristina Kirchner responded, "I`m a bit surprised about the tone,
the tenor of the content the dialogue has taken. The truth is that it`s
worrisome to listen to expressions such as God`s battle, the work of the
devil, things which actually bring us back to the time to the inquisition
to medieval times, seems to me, particularly from those who should promote
peace, tolerance, diversity, and dialogue."
If the question here isn`t this question of the imbedding in the
modern world or this kind of doctrinal questions, if it`s this -- about
what the face the church presents to the world, what do you want to see
happen with this papacy?
DAILEY: Part of the face that the church presents to the world,
though, does come on these questions, and it seems to me not all of us are
on dissent on them.
HAYES: Well, clearly.
DAILEY: Even the vast majority of practicing Catholics, we`ve all
seen the polls in the United States who might be using artificial birth
control. Even on that question, I knocked (ph) Chris Matthews once he did
-- also once say on this network that in his decades of going to the church
since the counsel, he has never heard from the pulpit about, a homily,
about the church`s teaching about artificial birth control.
The reality to is that, to me, the church does offer something
different on birth control, which is to say something different from the
way the rest of the world thinks about the relationship between human
sexuality and reproduction and marriage. It`s an alternative voice that
the church has been too weak to proclaim.
A couple of weeks ago, one of your guests said the church talks too
much about pelvic issues. The reality is the media focuses on the church
on pelvic issues. The lived experience of the church, I think, is more
reflected in what Chris Matthews experiences. It`s not what people hear in
parishes. They`re not well-catechized on it. Priest don`t like to talk
about it historically.
My experience of talking about it with people is they`re grateful for
the challenge. They don`t walk away and say, oh, you`re completely
correct. I now of a mind of the church. But they`re willing to say that
the modern world as we`ve been putting it doesn`t have a monopoly on
thinking intelligently and profoundly about human sexuality to take that
issue and gender relations, the whole bag of them.
So, what I would like to see is that we at least get away from why
can`t the Vatican bank operate credit card machines, right? Do we need the
pope`s butler these intrigues that are a distraction from the church
presenting with any credibility and clarity and consistencies a church that
people can be proud of?
And, I think that`s church in which people can live with disagreement
(ph) about these doctrinal questions that`s not to diminish their
importance, but at least, we want to say that things that are not
controversial, right, that when a bishop behaves irresponsibly, there`ll be
some consequence of that, right?
That`s not a right or left issue. So, my hope is that people will be
able to say that in the Vatican, there`s a pope who continues what
Benedict`s program was of bringing greater integrity and clarity to that
process. And we talked a bit during the break about how that battle that
struggle in the Vatican is still going on.
BUTLER: Yes. I say that`s all true, but you know, I live in
Philadelphia. And we`re the first city in the country that actually
convicted a Diocesan administrator for moving around sex abuse priests and
not doing everything. Now, this is one of those interesting cases where we
can think about, you know, what the church tells you to do vis-a-vis what
the law tells you to do.
BUTLER: And so, I am really interested in not just what you`re
saying, but I`m interested in cleaning this mess up.
BUTLER: I mean, because you cannot -- there`s no way to separate
these two from me in a certain sort of way because the law is they -- the
actors (ph) will be above the law, and they have a different rule. I mean,
we know what canon law says versus what the law of the land says, but what
we`ve got, you know, Mahony is over there voting. They just paid out $10
million this week. You know --
HAYES: Cardinal Mahony is from Los Angeles who oversaw a diocese in
which there were several priests who serially --
BUTLER: Yes, was seriously molested -- yes. And I lived in L.A. for
a long time. So, I can tell you that this really broke up my parish that
was there in L.A. And so, when you have this continue -- you have Boston.
I mean, I can`t wait if he really does set down cardinal law. This will be
the one thing that this pope has done very well.
HAYES: You know, I think that`s -- on these issues of the papacy,
outside of the doctrinal questions, I do think that kind of accountability
and what that would mean for a renaissance of the church or particularly
just to reconnect faithful Catholics here. That would be an incredible
step. Father Bill Dailey of Notre Dame Law School, always a great
DAILEY: Happy to be here.
HAYES: Thank you so much.
We`re going to talk about the church in Latin-America. It`s a
fascinating, fascinating and tangled history. Stick around.
HAYES: The church`s history in Latin-America is tangled and
complicated for a variety reasons. Obviously, the church came to Latin-
America with conquistadores.
It was part of the official hierarchy that colonized and often
enslaved the people of Latin-America, but then, of course, it was woven to
the fabric of life in Latin-America from campesinos and peasants (ph) to
the urban poor all the way up the hierarchy and through the last decades of
revolution in South America and coups and democratic movements and
movements against austerity and the IMF, the church has played this
fascinating role through all levels of Latin-America.
And to discuss that, I want to bring in Blase Bonpane, author of
"Guerillas of Peace: Liberation Theology and the Central American
Revolution" former Maryknoll priest in Guatemala and director of the Office
of the Americas, a foreign policy advocacy group. It`s great to have you
BLASE BONPANE, AUTHOR, "GUERILLAS OF PEACE": Thank you, Chris. Good
to be here.
HAYES: So, the church is -- one of the things, the focus, the
spotlight, the headlines coming out of the papal conclave is, of course,
the first Latin-American pope.
And we have a church in Latin-America that has had this fascinating
complicated role to the political institutions and the social moments there
at once in many ways a kind of reactionary sidearm of those in power, and
also, at the same time, often an ideology and an organizing principle and
organizing institution for people pushing against those in power.
BONPANE: Yes. We were assigned to Guatemala in the wake of the
Vatican council, and we were hearing things from the Vatican we`ve never
heard before. Enter into the hopes, desires, anxieties of people --
consequences, wherever it takes you, and that led us to de-emphasize the
sacramental ministry, to focus on labor, to focus on poverty, to focus on
the immediate needs of the people because what became ultimately liberation
theology was an immediate response to imperial theology that you were
talking about that has been with us since 325 A.D.
And the Council of Nicea where there became one empire, one church and
God help anyone that differs with either one, and that led to crusades,
inquisitions, conquistadores, and the idea was let`s skip the Council of
Nicea and go back to the days of Jesus where he told us to feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty, visit those in prison, clothe the naked,
entering the hopes, desires, and anxiety.
So, we feel that there was a great error in this imperial theology and
it`s still there. And words like curia come directly from the Roman
Empire. It`s a roman imperial word for governance. And so, this is an
opposition dogma. It`s very, very dangerous. Dogma divides. Dogma makes
people argue. Dogma is nationalistic.
We`ve had arguments on dogma that led to the separation of the Greek
church and the Roman church over things that were absolutely ridiculous.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the father and the son. The Greek saying,
no, it proceeds only from the Father. That argument led to the separation
of the two churches in 1054, and they`re still separate over a dogmatic
issue that nobody helps anything about.
HAYES: And liberation theology is really power -- a powerful force in
Latin-America and does provide this challenge. It begins to create
tremendous conflict and tensions within the church, right, because there is
-- it is viewed with some skepticism by the church hierarchy.
BUTLER Exactly. I mean, if you think about -- I mean, think about
this in two ways. One, I`m thinking about the great Jesuit general, Pedro
Arrupe (ph), who gave a letter and said we need to be involve with the
people, now we`ve got to move pass this. We`ve got to get down on the
ground and then Gustavo Gutierrez (ph) who continues to, you know, outline
this liberation theology.
So, in the 1970s and 1980s, what you have is people saying, OK, we`re
going to -- we`re going to do this engagement. We`re going to be out here
with the poor. We`re going to get involved on what`s going on with the
government. And the ways in which different places in Latin-America, how
the Catholic Church dealt with this is very different in El Salvador, in
Chile, in Guatemala, in Argentina -- other places are very differently.
BONPANE: I wasn`t in Argentina where the accusations have come up
against Pope Francis, but I was in Guatemala where we had cardinal Casa
Viejo (ph). And as soon as some of us were denounced by the military, we
were denounced by the cardinal. In fact, when the military came and shot
up our center in Guatemala City, the cardinal said, oh, they`re communists
and anti-Christ. I could have easily --
HAYES: But you were a priest?
HAYES: So, you had this division, right, because you have kind of
right-wing dictatorships, military juntas (ph), throughout Latin-America,
often aligned with the church hierarchy at the same time that nuns and
priests, and in sometimes, even bishops are aligning themselves with
BONPANE: A 130 were killed in Argentina. So many were killed in
Guatemala and El Salvador that they turned to Archbishop Romero (ph) around
from being a conservative to identifying with the poor, and he said
(INAUDIBLE), they converted me. The poor converted. They just fought --
killed Father Rutilio Grande, a Jesuit, dear friend of mine. They can`t do
that, and he became ready to speak up to the nation, and for that, he was
murdered in this month of 1980.
FLAMINI: But, no, I was just thinking that what happened, of course,
with the liberation theology as I understand it is it was identified
rightly or wrongly with all the Marxist movements. I mean, --
BONPANE: Jesus came before Marx, you know?
BONPANE: Marx is 19th-century. Marx may have imitated Jesus.
BONPANE: But Jesus did not imitate Marx.
BUTLET: But the thing is, they`re scared of Marxism. That`s the
FLAMINI: The reason why you had the military juntas was partly
because of what they perceived as a threat of --
FLAMINI: There`s a consciousness which they shared with the church
BONPANE: This is what the CIA did. They condemned liberation
theology when Father Roy Bourgeois discovered the CIA torture manuals right
in them is talking to the contras in Nicaragua go after the liberation
theologians (ph). They are threat.
HAYES: There`s an actual official apology that then Cardinal
Bergoglio issued on behalf of the church for its complicity with the dirty
wars -- let`s focus specifically on that moment in history, and then, we`ll
talk more about the church`s role in Latin-America right after this.
HAYES: Mr. Flamini just giving me some good advice which is always
get to mass after the homily. This is --
FLAMINI: -- risk of hearing things --
HAYES: You don`t like.
FLAMINI: That might undermine your faith.
HAYES: Jacqui, there`s something you wanted to jump in with.
ECHEGARAY: Yes. Like going back -- this discussion that we`re having
right before the break is another example of where the hierarchy lets
politics and issues that are not -- let`s politics get in the way of being,
really, a moral authority for people. I mean, you have these situations in
Latin-America in the 1970s and 1980s where the people, the body of the
church, was waiting for better leadership from its hierarchy.
And, again, you know, going back to what`s happening now with HIV and
the strict restriction on condoms, again these are people who would like to
have one of the most effective tools to protect themselves and their
partners from HIV and the church -- the hierarchy refuses to allow it.
It`s unconscionable that what is considered a moral authority in the world
would not take the proper moral position on this question --
BONPANE: What is called the senses for daily -- the sense of the
people is entirely for birth control, entirely for reverence for people who
are gay or of no religion or agnostic, entirely against condemning things
like same-sex marriage. But I want to say something about silence --
HAYES: Yes. Yes. Because this is --
BONPANE: -- in Argentina.
HAYES: This is the point that I think when we get to Bergoglio, we`re
talking about what his legacy is in Buenos Aires and his moral legacy.
There have been -- I just want to sort of set the table factually. There
have been very intense charges about outright collaboration with the
military junta that ruled that country from 1976 to 1983.
Those have been denied, and also, I think persuasively, Pablo Esquivel
who`s a Nobel Prize winner and a human rights activist has come to the
defense of Bergoglio and saying, there were people in the church who were
outright collaborationists with the regime. Bergoglio was not one of them.
But at the same time, he was not outspoken in defiance, right? It was not
BONPANE: Silence is complicity. And, the silence of the church has
been enormous. Whether we look at Pope Pius XII --
BONPANE: Or Pius XI with fascism (ph) in Spain and in Italy, if we
look at Pope John Paul using the word Nicaragua, silencio. The people were
saying (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). He said silencio! Shut up.
HAYES: This is a little bit of -- the people know -- the dirty wars
in Argentina are really a shocking chapter. And one of the things that
happened there was that the government went after leftist dissidents by
disappearing, murdering, torturing them. And in a particularly perverse
(ph) twist, when the death of those dissidents left orphan children, they
would take those children and give them to friends of the regime.
And so, people were raised by people they thought were their mother
and father who were, in fact, cronies of the regime that had murdered their
actual mother and father.
BONPANE: -- was brought out and made an issue of it internationally.
HAYES: When we come back, I want to show you just a little snippet of
the sound of that and then read from the apology that then Cardinal
Bergoglio offered in the church of complicity and those words (ph).
HAYES: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes here with Anthea Butler,
Roman Flamini, Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray, and Blase Bonpane.
We are talking about the church in Latin-America, and specifically,
the first Latin-American pope. Pope Francis recently announced this week
after the papal conclave, former cardinal from Buenos Aires. And his role
as a cardinal in Buenos Aires during this horrible period in Argentine
history in which a military junta was running the country and murdering and
BONPANE: During the time of the dirty war, he was provincial of the
HAYES: Yes. I should make it clearly he was not --
BONPANE: Prior to becoming archbishop.
HAYES: Thank you very much.
BONPANE: But he had tremendous power.
HAYES: Yes, provincial is a person who oversees that regional area
of the Jesuit order.
BONPANE: Yes, he`s responsible for that.
HAYES: And so, and Jesuits, of course, have famously been aligned
with many of the social justice moments in Latin America.
BONPANE: They have respected them (ph) also.
HAYES: That`s right.
BONPANE: They have the wonderful Jesuits that I knew in El Salvador
that got killed and I`ll never forget them and they were dedicated to an
option for the poor. We live with the preferential option for the rich.
And Hugo Chavez gave an option for poor because he was influenced by
HAYES: Here`s Victoria Montenegro, just give a taste at what we talk
about when we`re talking about the dirty wars in Argentina and we`re
talking about what that history is like. Victoria Montenegro, daughter of
disappeared leftist guerrillas who was taken and raised by an army colonel
and his wife during the dirty wars. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTORIA MONTENEGRO (through translator): I was born on January 31st
and when I was 13 days old an army commander raided the house where we
They tell me Colonel Herman Tetla (ph) found me in a cradle under the
kitchen table and took me to a police station. There were more babies
there from other raids too. Four months later, Marie and Herman came to
choose me because the babies were chosen me and registered me as their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In 2012, then-Cardinal Bergoglio issued a statement about the
church`s failure during this period of time. It reads in part, "We know
there are many deep wounds among many families after the kidnapping,
seizing or disappearance of a loved one. We share everyone`s pain and ask
for the forgiveness of everyone we failed or didn`t support as we should
BONPANE: This was an imitation of what happened in Chile and it was
supported by our country. It was supported by Henry Kissinger, especially,
until such time as Jimmy Carter came along and took an interest in trying
to stop the dirty war, and the Argentines invited him to come to Argentina
to thank him for helping them to end this horror.
HAYES: But, is the church I guess my question is, is there -- to
your mind as a scholar of the church and a Catholic, is there enough -- is
there a clear conscience about the pope himself in this period of time?
Did you rise -- is there some moral threshold that he crossed?
ANTHEA BUTLER, UNIV. OF PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, I think this is
definitely on his part a sin of omission rather than commission. And that
statement really points to it very well. I mean, you know, his whole
history when and he was provincial, he treated the Jesuits. Other Jesuits
were saying, this guy is strict and everything, and then they have two
Jesuits turn up with these things --
HAYES: Explain that story.
BUTLER: This is a story that`s been the one where we have two
Jesuits who have been work with the poor, in the slums, and he told them
not to do it. They continued to do it anyway. He sort of lifts his hands,
this is how it`s been described and they turn up beaten up and taken in by
HAYES: There`s allegations that the most serious allegations which
have been denied he essentially turned them over. He says himself
basically he warned them for their own safety, they needed to stop the work
they were doing because they would be threatened.
BONPANE: He did what the cardinal did in Guatemala. He simply
denounced them in such a way that the military would get the message not
intending to have them killed but they were picked up by death squads. He
made them in disrepute as priests and that`s a message that military could
take them over.
BUTLER: You know, this is what`s interesting this week is that, you
know, the story has come out, the one that is still alive. He`s in
Nuremberg, Germany, in one of the Jesuit homes. And he said, you know,
we`ve made up, I don`t want to talk about this anymore. It`s fine.
And they`ve been very clear to do that this week.
But I think, you know, much like Benedict being in the Hitler youth,
this will be the thing that hangs over him a little bit.
ROLAND FLAMINI, CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PRESS: The question is, is
this a cloud over his papacy? You mentioned, of course, about Pope Pius
XXII. The point about Pius XII have been silent about what was happening
to the Jewish population in Europe is that all the comments came out later
and, in fact, Pius XXII was already dead. So, it was a matter of his
reputation and, indeed, not his actual papacy.
In this particular case this is happening in real-time.
FLAMINI: In other words, you know, is this going to be the problem
that the elephant in the Vatican that won`t go away.
BONPANE: We`ve seen the same thing in the pedophilia scandal,
HAYES: Silence as opposed to moral courage and moral witness, right?
That basically what you see is, from an institution that you would desire
the kind of courage and fortitude and risk-taking that would come with
devotional fervor, you see instead -- you see instead cowering, complicity,
calculation of interest, you know, institutional navigation --
BONPANE: Conformity -- what did our bishops said about Guantanamo?
BONPANE: What do they said about the drones?
BONPANE: What do they said about perpetual war? Silence.
BUTLER: And this is the problem. I mean, it`s a theological issue
for them because you can`t be on the one side and say, I`m against the HR -
- health care plan and everything else and not speak out against the
horrors that`s happening. This is where people don`t want to listen.
And I think the Argentines themselves have already shown a very mixed
reaction to this pope.
FLAMINI: It now goes beyond Argentina in the sense you now have him
representing -- what`s going to happen any time he shows up anywhere. Is
he going to be facing, you know, crowds saying --
BONPANE: The Vatican answered very rapidly today.
HAYES: They did. Clearly this is something that they`ve given -- I
mean, because look when you follow Twitter after the conclave no one knows
who this guy is. Who are we kidding?
So, all of a sudden, there`s this new person. What now about him?
First things are simple, humble takes the bus. Second thing was possibly
complicit in the atrocities of the dirty wars.
BONPANE: It`s possible to be a conservative populist.
HAYES: The other big issue I think that faces the church in Latin
America and I think the reason that the context of (INAUDIBLE) is
fascinating is the fact that actually church membership is declining quite
rapidly across Latin America and while evangelical denominations are
rising. This is an example of what that looks like in Brazil.
In Brazil from 1940 on the number of Catholics has steadily decreased
by over 90 percent in 1940, to just over 60 percent in 2010. Number of
evangelicals rose under 2 percent in 1940, over 20 percent in 2010.
And what you see in Brazil is kind of a quasi-evangelical moments of
Catholic liturgy that channels some of the more charismatic elements of
evangelicalism, right? Big singing numbers and guitars and big kind of
theatrical showmanship that has come to typify things like mega churches
here in the United States.
BONPANE: You go from doctrinal churches to unity of fruit of the
spirit which all religious people, Islam, Judaism, would agree on. Those
are peace, patience, joy, love, goodness, endurance, courage. These things
make a spiritual person by their fruits you should know them.
We can be doctrinally perfect and be a devil. So, what good is it to
focus on doctrine --
HAYES: I`m not sure -- again I`m skeptical of an argument that
there`s something doctrinal or spiritual necessarily to the account of this
switch from Catholicism to evangelical, as opposed to sociological shift.
BUTLER: Yes, it is a sociological shift. I mean, you got
Pentecostals on the ground who are saying, look, you don`t have to poor.
We`re going to get you some money. We`ll get you cleaned up. We`re going
to get out of (INAUDIBLE). We`ll get you a job. We`ll mobilize you. OK?
And it comes with a spiritual message.
And so, this is how they`ve been able to bust apart what`s happening
in the Catholic Church and Latin America. I mean, Brazil, Argentina,
Chile, all these things.
These Pentecostals and evangelicals, they are moving up and they show
social mobility for their people. They`re not telling their people they
can`t use birth control. They`re saying, you know, they have some -- you
know, very strict sexuality policy.
BUTLER: But they don`t say you can`t use birth control.
So, all these things have made the Catholic Church very vulnerable in
JACQUELINE NOLLY ECHEGARAY, CATHOLICS FOR CHOICE: Yes, I really
don`t think we should under estimate the impact of the continued rigidity
and restrictions on contraception and the shame around applied to whom have
Very famously in Brazil in 2009, there was a 9-year-old girl who was
raped repeatedly by her stepfather, became pregnant with twins and her
mother asked for there to be an abortion. In Brazil, there are only two
circumstances in which you can have an abortion legally and the doctors
found that this put her life at risk because she was 9 years old.
The hierarchy there insisted they could have had a cesarean. So, it
really would have put her life at risk and they need to save the lives of
her two unborn children.
But the worst part in some ways I think for Catholics is that the
church, the hierarchy there ex-communicated the little girl`s mother and
the doctor who performed the surgery but didn`t ex-communicate the father
to raped her repeatedly.
BUTLER: That`s the message.
BONPANE: The story you just told me --
ECHEGARAY: And what people need to do in good conscience I think I
would be hard pressed to find a person who would say, perhaps except in the
Brazilian Catholic hierarchy who would say having an abortion for a 9-year-
old girl is --
BONPANE: This is the role -- I mean, women have been oppressed and
this abortion thing is one of the major oppressions. I just like you to
know that in Brazil, in past decades, one could shoot his wife, her
husband. You could kill your wife. And there`s really not much sense --
BUTLER: Kind of like in Texas, unfortunately.
HAYES: Well, I don`t know.
HAYES: Anthea Butler from the University of Pennsylvania, Roland
Flamini of "Congressional Quarterly Press," Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray of
Catholics for Choice, and Blase Bonpane, author of "Guerrillas of Peace:
Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution" -- thanks for
BONPANE: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. How New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg brought the
NAACP and big soda together. That`s next.
HAYES: State judge delivered a major blow to New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg`s aggressive public health agenda this week, overturning
his ban on sales of sugary drinks over 16 ounce portions, one day before it
was set to take effect.
In a press conference on Monday, Mayor Bloomberg brushed off the
ruling which called the ban both arbitrary and capricious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: Being the first to do
something is never easy. When we began this process, we knew we would face
lawsuits. Any time you adopt a groundbreaking policy, special interest
will sue. That`s America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The ban isn`t just opposed by special interests, in this case
the beverage industry. It is also opposed by a majority of New York City
voters, notably black voters, who opposed the ban by 60 percent, compared
to 49 percent of white voters and 47 percent of Latino voters.
The ban is also opposed by the New York Chapter of NAACP and Hispanic
Federation who filed an amicus brief in support of the beverage industry`s
successful effort to stop the ban. The political coalition that has risen
around Bloomberg`s soda ban scrambled some of our normal categories and
spot lights the extremely fraught politics of class and race in public
health debates as organizations representing people of color have joined
forces with the soda industry against progressive public health reformers.
An ad produced by the beverage industry sponsored group New Yorkers
for Beverage Choices, business owners worried about the impact the ban
would have on their communities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think this ban is helping to create any
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may help the coworkers` hours down, less
people have less money coming in as far as payroll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the kid you could have hired just starting up,
you can`t no longer hire him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These businesses provide a lifeline to a segment
of our community that`s desperate for employment.
NARRATOR: Say no to the beverage ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining us now are: Ben Jealous, president and CEO of NAACP,
Nancy Huehnergarth, president of Nancy F. Huehnergarth Consulting, which
specializes in nutrition and physical activity advocacy. New York City
councilmember representing the 35th council district, Letitia James. She`s
also currently running for New York City public advocate. And Monifa
Bandele, campaign director of Moms Rising, a multicultural organization
that works on issues facing women, mothers and (INAUDIBLE).
So this is a complicated tangled thing which is why I was excited to
talk about it, right? Because there are these two elements that run
through the history that is the back story to this moment, right? There is
a long tradition in public health that goes back all the way to the 19th-
century, which is about things like sanitation or things like changing the
habits of people, which have been remarkably successful in making people
healthier and live longer and improving people`s lives but have been shot
through from the very beginning with all kinds of paternalistic, racially
loaded condescension, right?
I mean, the progressive movement of the late 19th century, which did
a lot of amazing things when they were talking about cleaning up the slums,
was also about getting those poor folks to stop acting the way they were
acting. And that`s been the subtext for a lot of public health, right?
You find this kind of tension areas.
And what`s fascinating to me is this is front and center in the soda
ban, right? It is right there. It is right on the surface.
It`s like you got a billionaire white mayor, OK, and he`s coming in
and he`s telling you, you know, who lives in the Bronx, or lives in East
Harlem, or lives in Crown Heights, like you cannot get that amount of soda
because it will make you too fat and I don`t want to you be too fat. And I
think there`s a level of which people are like, who the heck are you?
The interesting question is the institutional support of groups like
the local NAACP and I should make this distinction local chapter of the
NAACP that filed the brief in support of the challenge to the ban, not the
national version. There is a "Times" article talking about the alliance
between some groups representing people of color and the soda industry, and
the implication was this is a quid pro quo. That basically the soda
industry has been funding these groups. And now, this is what`s happening.
I want to start off there with you Ben Jealous as the head of the
BEN JEALOUS, NAACP: You know, the tragedy here, right, everything
you said would be true if this plan was well-executed. But as "The New
York Times" said in their official editorial a few days ago, it was ill-
conceived from the beginning and ill-executed.
This mayor could have gone -- and we would have supported, we`ve been
clear. We have national policy that supports the full range of tactics
combat childhood obesity. The New York state conference of the NAACP is
very clear they would support a comprehensive ban.
Now, the judge says in this case, if the mayor had wanted to, he
could have gone the New York state Department of Ag and ask them for the
power to ban it for every single vendor in the city and he may have gotten
it. May not, but he may have.
The judge went on the say there`s no evidence that he ever asked.
JEALOUS: Now, this is the troubling part: this ban wouldn`t have
been a ban at all. It would have stopped it from the mom and pop shops.
It wouldn`t have stopped it at a 7/Eleven.
HAYES: Which is considered a convenience store under the kind of
classification in the law, and thus, a major loophole carve out.
JEALOUS: Huge because --
HAYES: Obviously, big goal. It`s the iconic version of the --
JEALOUS: Oh, by the way 7/Eleven says they are planning on opening
100 new stores in the city in the next five years.
And issue here really is an issue of trust. When we talk to our
folks, they say, look, we supported the mayor when he said take the soda
out of schools. Then he put in Snapple.
As it turns out, 12 ounces soft has 39 grams of sugar. Snapple has
40, and 11 1/2 ounce.
Then, they say, we supported the mayor when he said build more parks,
and then he cut P.E., and they just want policies that make sense from the
HAYES: Monifa, what is your reaction to the opposition to the soda
MONIFA BANDELE, MOMS RISING: Well, I think there`s a key part in
moving forth any legislation, which is to bring people together and to have
conversations. And parents, communities, community organizations, the
civil rights organizations, kind of all need to be at the table to make
sure that there`s a united front on these things.
At Moms Rising, there may or may not be issues with this particularly
legislation, that`s not our expertise. But we support soda bans and we
support health policies that help childhood obesity.
And so, we think something does need to be put in place. It`s
unfortunate that there were issues with this legislation. But we hope that
something and I think we agree with the NAACP will take its place.
HAYES: OK. Before we`re all agreeing here too much --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it`s love fest.
HAYES: Look, the political economy is clear. Let`s not fool
ourselves, OK. The initiative in New York was one initiative, right? So,
whatever you think about the flaws, the loopholes. And I think there`s
persuasive argument that it`s ridiculous to ban, you know, supersized
drinks and still have Big Gulp, right? Impossible to come up with the
reputation of that.
But there. They tried to impose a soda tax in Richmond, California.
That was defeated.
There was discussion of a soda tax in the initial part of the
Affordable Care Act discussion and beverage industry went bananas. And
they started running ads, they ran a Super Bowl ad.
In Vermont, they are trying it. In Hawaii -- in each place it`s been
beaten back in each place, I should note, often with the power of money
from big soda which doesn`t want to see this and grassroots support often
from groups that represent people of color. This is not unique to New
LETITIA JAMES, NYC COUNCIL MEMBER: But let me just say this. We
talk about interesting coalitions. I`m standing in opposition to the soda
ban with a conservative libertarian, Councilman Dan Halloran.
Now, here I am a liberal Democrat because obviously we are concerned
about all the loopholes and that this is not a uniform policy. But more
important than that, there are things that we can do as a legislative body
and the mayor exceeded his authority and unfortunately trespassed on the
jurisdiction on the New York City council.
And clearly he did not consult with the New York state council or New
York state legislature and clearly this entity, this agency, this
administrative agency never consulted with New York City council.
Now, for me the issue is really about physical education. For me,
this issue really is about what the first lady is doing the Let`s Move
Campaign which I`m a part of. For me, this issue is about public parks and
playgrounds in communities of color and inner-city communities all
throughout the city of New York which have not been renovated for years.
HAYES: I want to talk about that and I want -- Nancy, I want to get
your thoughts on this because I think there`s a little bit of a carrot and
stick on this side of this equation and there are things you can actively
do, which is like be more active and have P.E. and have parks. And then
there`s the stick, right, which is limiting the amount of sugar that people
What we`ve seen I think is the balance of policy moving in the carrot
direction particularly, the Let`s Move Campaign, I think partly my thesis
because the stick is really hard because the big soda and sugar industry
have a bigger stick -- more on that after this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I agree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: Remember that commercial for Sunny Delight
when all the kids run in from outside playing. And they all run to the
fridge. All right. I got some purple stuff, some Sunny D, and as soon as
I said Sunny D, all the kids go, yes.
Watch the black kid in the back, if you`ve ever seen that commercial,
take a look at that black kid, he`s like, I want that purple stuff.
(EXPLETIVE DELETED). That`s drink.
They want -- they want drink. They want all them vitamins (EXPLETIVE
DELETED), sugar water purple. That`s the ingredients, sugar, water, and,
of course, purple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Dave Chappelle, making very explicit some of the racial
subtext of the conversation.
JEALOUS: What`s wrong with grape juice?
HAYES: That happens around the soda bin.
Nancy, I want you to respond to what Councilwoman James was just
saying in terms of the issue being more exercise, the issue being sort of
some of these broader issues and not specifically this soda thing.
NANCY HUEHNERGARTH, NANCY F. HUEHNERGARTH CONSULTING: Sure. I think
that the so at that, you know, we`ve seen studies that soda is really one
of the leading causes of the obesity epidemic. There are numerous studies.
Public health people agree on this.
The thing with physical activity -- while it`s incredibly important,
and it keeps kids fit, it helps them perform better in school, you know,
it`s something we encourage in everyone, that`s not going to make an impact
on the obesity epidemic. There are studies that show physical activity
levels really haven`t changed all that much in the last three decades.
So, while I totally agree with the councilwoman that we need to get
physical activity, you know, in schools more frequently, it`s not going to
make a dent and we need to change the caloric intake.
HAYES: And specifically, let me just make this point. I mean, one
of the things the scientists increasingly fear on, right, is that not all
calories are equal and sugar and corn syrup and the cellular substrates of
all of that is -- has a specific and special toxicity that leads to
obesity, over and above just the calorie thing.
JEALOUS: Let`s also, what all of us are saying, we would support the
idea of a ban but you have to do it well. And I would really take issue
with the message that physical education is not going change things. I
mean, we all remember being kids in school and having P.E. That`s not the
case for a lot of kids here in this city in Harlem, in Brooklyn. It`s not
the case in Baltimore.
They`ve taken P.E. out of schools across the country. It`s a big
deal. And that needs to be there.
And we need have a real kitchen. They also pulled kitchens out of
Kids have a deep freeze and microwave and processed foods. Those are
BANDELE: But this is not an either or thing. I don`t think we can
back off of the soda.
HAYES: Right, exactly.
BANDELE: There was a 40-state study that showed in states where they
ban sodas and even junk food in schools there was an impact. In
California, just after a couple of years, kids took in 158 less calories
per day. That`s huge.
And so, I don`t think we should get into it`s an either or thing. We
still need to figure out a way, the right way, I agree 100 percent to limit
the sugar, sweetened beverages, especially in schools, but across the board
because we know that`s the culprit.
JAMES: Let me just say, we need a common sense and reasonable
approach to curbing obesity.
And, two, this notion that obesity has not leveled off is not true.
In fact, in the court decision, both sides, both the respondents as well as
the plaintiffs acknowledge as an issue of fact that obesity levels in the
city of New York have leveled off. Two, they both acknowledge that the
consumption of sugary drinks has been reduced. And so, that was stated --
HAYES: They`re saying prior to the ban.
JAMES: Prior to the ban. That was stated in court. And so, we have
to acknowledge and recognize that obesity levels have leveled off and that
the consumption of sugary drinks have been reduced.
And so, the question really then becomes, what can we do to further
JAMES: And that really is the issue. And again with the stick, I
just don`t think is the appropriate approach.
HAYES: But here`s the subtext. You -- January 11th, (INAUDIBLE)
reporter write, you received $1,000 --
HAYES: -- from a political action committee of Coca-Cola.
Now, I want to put this in context. I`m talking about New York
politicians getting money from all sorts of groups.
So, I want to put that in context, because I`m not trying to put on
front street. I`m saying like people gets lots of money. But the argument
that`s being made here, right, is that yes, when you have a variety of
options on the table, if the soda industry is sinking money into candidates
or groups to say, yes, let`s find the Venn diagram where we agree, which
are things that don`t threaten our interest like more physical activity or
more parks as opposed to the solutions that do threaten our interests, that
that`s going skew the political system away from the kinds of policies like
direct taxation on soda.
JAMES: Let me say this, $1,000 when one has raised half a million
doesn`t affect my right to free speech.
Two, the $1,000 came months after I came out --
HAYES: After, right.
JAMES: -- about six or seven months air fare came out in opposition
to the soda ban and I came out in opposition to the soda ban one because it
was arbitrary and capricious. It didn`t apply to 7/Eleven. You can still
get your gulp. It doesn`t apply to Starbucks. You can still get your
lattes and you cappuccinos.
HAYES: Milk shakes.
JAMES: And your milk shakes.
JAMES: And it doesn`t apply to refills.
JAMES: So, you can literally have one store next to one store where
the ban would be s applied to one store and not the other. You`re setting
up this unfair competitive advantage for some stores and it`s going to have
unfairly an adverse impact on moms and pops.
HAYES: Hold on, one second. Nancy, I want to get your respond and
play this sound of the mayor being quite outspoken. Believe me, Mayor,
I`ve asked you on before. I know you`re a busy man. Got a place in
Bermuda., which I never want to come.
I`m serious. I`m saying if I have a place in Bermuda, I would go
there as well.
I want to play the mayor`s sound. And, Nancy, I want to get your
thoughts right after this.
HAYES: All right. Nancy, you want to respond?
HUEHNERGARTH: Sure. First, I want to go back to 2010, when then-
governor proposed in the executive budget a penny per ounce sugary tax.
HAYES: David Paterson who (INAUDIBLE) --
HAYES: -- to do it on state level and a more comprehensive policy
and not one with loopholes that people are objecting to in this, right.
HUEHNERGARTH: Exactly, exactly. I worked very closely on that as an
advocate and I can tell you the industry was relentless. I even went in
and I looked at their lobbying expenditures. From January to June, the
American Beverage association spent $13 million in lobbying efforts in
opposing the penny per ounce tax.
So I think I understand, you know, what`s going on in Mayor
Bloomberg`s head. I think he`s feeling like maybe he doesn`t have a good
chance of getting things done in Albany. He`s looking at, you know, some
increasingly alarming rates of obesity. Some increasingly alarming rates
of economic problems related to obesity. And I think he`s trying to begin
When I was kid when you went to get a soda it was eight ounces. Now
you go in and ask for a small or a medium and there`s nothing smaller than
16 ounces. So I think that`s what was going on in his head and from a
public health perspective it makes sense.
HAYES: Do you -- do you think because one of the things I`ve heard
from both of you is objections to the specifics of the policy. Do you
think we need to find public policy that limits people`s intake of calories
from sugar and sweeteners?
JEALOUS: Yes. Yes. I mean, look --
HUEHNERGARTH: I`m so happy to hear that.
JEALOUS: Look, we need -- we need a comprehensive strategy. But
when the mayor has the power under an MOU with the Department of Ag, that
doesn`t take an act of the legislature or governor. That takes him be
humble enough to go Albany and just ask, can we do this?
JEALOUS: But --
HAYES: You`re back on the details of the policy.
JEALOUS: No, no, it`s not the details about the policy. This is
about organizing. This is about come talk to us, right? Let`s figure out
how to do this together.
And then let`s go talk to some other people who have the power that
we need. Rather than pitting each other against each other, let`s just be
good organizers and do it the right way from there.
JAMES: So, again, a reasonable and sensible approach. So, I support
a universal tax. I support a tax on alcohol, support on cigarettes.
HAYES: So, something like David Paterson`s proposal, you would
JAMES: Yes. I`m sure -- I love David Paterson, the former Governor
Paterson, but I also believe that under the leadership of Governor Cuomo,
we can get something done. That`s one.
Two, I also believe that, obviously, we should really analyze
physical education. We should come up with a plan. Again the Department
of Education based on an audit that was done by the comptroller of the city
of New York, at a study that was done by the Women`s City Club, we have
failed with respect to meeting our state standards in physical education in
our schools and we really need that plan.
And so, it`s really critically important that we want to have
physical education, that we have a universal tax that applies to everyone.
And three, that we renovate our parks and playgrounds all throughout the
city of New York, particularly in underserved communities.
HAYES: Universal tax, I think, is the headline for me out of that,
in terms of -- I mean, I`m not saying others things aren`t important. But
on the specific thing that I agree that`s the policy that`s the most fair,
the most comprehensive that doesn`t do this weird thing.
JAMES: Plus education. Obviously, education would go a long way in
addressing calorie --
HAYES: When we come back I want to play what the mayor said in
reaction to opposition particularly along this very, very freighted line of
race, right, because there`s disproportion amounts of diabetes and obesity
in the African-American community, compared to the white community
particularly New York City and he had strong words for the local NAACP
which I want to play when we get back. And I want to when we get back and
I want to get your reactions.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BLOOMBERG: When you look at the numbers, the kids who are most obese
and where a sugar ban or cup-size limitation would do the most good tends
to be in poor neighborhoods, which in New York tends to be minority
neighborhoods, not totally but tends to be. And for the NAACP -- in all
fairness, it`s the local chapter, it`s not the national one -- but for them
to do this is just such an outright disgrace how they can look themselves
in the mirror and know they are hurting deliberately the life expectancy
and the quality of life for the people that their supposed to serve. It`s
just such a disgrace. And the same thing`s true for the Hispanic
organization that sold their soul because a lot of Hispanic kids are
overweight as well.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s a clip from Mayor Bloomberg responding to types the
soda ban. It`s actually been nominated for the tone deafness Olympics.
Tone deaf Oscars are given out yearly.
HAYES: A stern from the white mayor.
JEALOUS: A few entries --
HAYES: Well, that to me gets to the problem, right? There is --
look, there are two facts on table. There are disproportionate obesity
Here`s a number of diabetes deaths per 100,000 in 2009 in New York,
31 per 100,000 in black folks, 15 of white. There`s also strategy of
marketing these kinds of sugars to, in the same way that alcohol companies
did the same thing and tobacco companies did the same thing. So, that`s a
fact, right? There these disproportionate statistics.
There`s also the fact that the politics of Mayor Bloomberg saying
that in that way is maybe not the most productive approach.
BANDELE: Absolutely. He`s kind of throwing the NAACP state
conference under the bus and not really pointing out the culprits -- you
know, the junk food is marketed to communities. They also spend all this
So, you know, now because of the way in which this policy was
implemented or be intended to be implemented, now, the likely allies are at
each other`s throats.
HAYES: Is there a way though? To go to Ben`s point about organizing,
is there a way -- through Moms Rising -- I mean, are there ways of
producing actual grassroots support for a policy like a soda tax.
JEALOUS: It`s called organizing.
BANDELE: Obesity levels leveling off and, you know, it`s nowhere
where it should be, a lot of that is because of grassroots organizers, it`s
a lot because of public education that`s been going on and families.
What we find when we talk to your members, people in their homes are
doing different things, because of all this education --
HUEHNERGARTH: And I think it`s because of policies.
JAMES: They work hand-in-hand.
It`s community organizing. It`s dealing with food deserts in the
city of New York. I join with the mayor of New York in addressing food
deserts. But also at the same time, it`s policies of this administration.
For instance, whenever you have a mega economic development project in the
city of New York, where there`s retail, there`s always a cluster of fast
food restaurants. We should limit fast food restaurants particularly in
And each and every economic development project that this mayor puts
forth, there was always retail. And in every retail development, there`s a
cluster of fast food restaurants and that is a policy of the mayor of the
city of New York which is totally in conflict with this ban of sodas.
JEALOUS: Look, our food justice, our childhood obesity program, I
started about a month after I started on the job. A young man had died
here in the city who was 12 years old of morbid obesity, 400 pounds, he
died in Harlem hospital. We were outraged.
That was five years after this mayor who we supported in getting soda
out of the school decided to put Snapple in the schools to have more sugar.
JEALOUS: He`s got to come clean and actually humble himself to
listen to his constituents and say let`s solve this together. Our folks at
the NAACP here in New York want to help him push through a comprehensive
HAYES: I think there`s a way.
BANDELE: The rest of us are playing checkers.
HAYES: That`s exactly right. That`s true, because the soda --
here`s the thing: the soda industry is building coalitions and they are
organizing. So if people want to see policies that I think are the right
policies like the soda tax, those folks can`t decree it from God. It`s got
to be built out of the same constituency work and grassroots communities
from the ground up kind of organizing.
All right. What do we know now that we didn`t know last week? My
answers after this.
HAYES: In just a moment, what we know now that we didn`t know last
week. But, first, a quick update on me and UP.
Thanks to your support and passion for the kind of programming we do
here, I`ve been asked to host a new program here on MSNBC weeknights at
8:00 p.m. starting April 1st, and I really, really do hope that you are
join me there.
But you should also know that up isn`t going anywhere. It will
continue with a new host, so please look for that announcement in the
coming days. So you get the best of both worlds.
And we should know that weekend programming here at MSNBC is only
expanding and growing more ambitious with the one and only Ed Schultz, who
is the most stalwart voice for the American worker in all of the national
media coming soon to 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on weekends.
So, what do know now that we didn`t know last week?
When Senator Elizabeth Warren questioned the head of the PDIC last
month, we already knew she was unhappy with the agency for allowing so many
banks that were complicit in 2007 mortgage meltdown to settle their cases
out of court rather than take them to trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Every time there`s a
settlement and not a trial, it means that we didn`t have those days and
days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions had been
So the question I really want to ask is about how tough you are?
About how much leverage you really have in the settlements and what I`d
like to know is tell me a little bit about the last few times you have
taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We now know the FDIC is not only been settling cases, they`ve
also helped some of these banks avoid the press that could come with
settlements. According to "The L.A. Times", since the mortgage meltdown,
the FDIC has been offering banks a no press release clause their settlement
deals, promising the FDIC will make no mention of the settlements unless
specifically asked about them. We now know the government officials
charged with regulating banks have apparently decided banks aren`t just too
big to fail in criminal courts but even in the court of public opinion.
We now know that the State Department`s drafts environmental impact
statement of the Keystone XL pipeline drew for the research of at least two
companies with ties to the oil industry. Earlier this morning, the State
Department angered activists and environmentalists when the draft report
concluded the projects environmental impact would be negligible. The draft
said the pipeline itself is, quote, "unlikely to have a substantial impact
because development of the tar sands is going to happen, one way or
But thanks to inside climate news, we now know the draft report`s
conclusion was based on analyses by companies cited in the report which
count ExxonMobil, BP, and other oil industry outfits among their clients.
We know too often the line between businesses and the regulating bodies are
blurred, but that does not mean we should accept it.
And we now know the New York`s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman,
is reminding the NFL that discrimination based on sexual orientation is
illegal in two dozen states where the NFL teams play. He`s calling on the
league to investigate after a potential draft pick who attended the NFL
combine revealed during team interviews, he was asked about his sexual
orientation and whether he liked girls. We know at least two other players
who also hoped to be drafted next month came forward saying they were asked
similar questions. The NFL says it is looking into the matter.
I want to find out what my guests now know they didn`t know at the
beginning at the week, beginning with you, Ben Jealous.
JEALOUS: So two quick things: one is that we can abolish the death
penalty south of the Mason-Dixon line and we can do it with O`Malley, who
many say can be the next president. This was not the case 20 years ago, we
both know that.
Next, I think we now know that the groups and the people who are part
of a city can actually come together and find agreement on tough issues,
even if the mayor doesn`t talk to us, talk to us from high, talks down to
us. But we can talk to each other and actually figure out how to solve
this from the bottom up.
HUEHNERGARTH: I learned this week that a Republican can reverse
himself on same-sex marriage. Senator Rob Portman announced he reversed
his feelings after finding out his son was gay. And I have a tremendous
amount of respect for him for doing that.
HAYES: Yes, sort of a fascinating moment I talked about on -- while
guest-hosting Rachel` show last night, the sort of power of personal
empathy, the power of having someone in your life and also the limitations
of it, right? It would be nice to find more Republican senators who wake
up to find that their child is poor or on Medicaid, for instance.
HAYES: Councilwoman James?
JAMES: Chris, I learn two things. One, I want to congratulate and
salute Senator Gillibrand for hearing on sexual assaults on the military.
And two, I want to thank the working family`s party and women allies in
Portland for passing a paid sick leave bill and in New York City, under the
leadership of the Working Family`s Party and women and allies, we are going
to do the same thing, particularly as I become the next public advocate of
the city of New York.
HAYES: New York mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, who is the head
of the city council, has refused to bring to vote for over 1,000 days for
paid sick leave. She wants to leave the city. It would be five paid sick
I think they deserve it. I think it`s at outrage.
BANDELE: Yes, I learned this week on Thursday, the anniversary of
the Newtown shootings, that the NRA is scared of moms and staffers
throughout. Mothers, Moms Rising, mother demand a plan, but we tried to
deliver a 150,000 petitions.
And they called the Fairfax County police on us to escort us --
HAYES: On the moms.
BANDELE: That`s right. So, the NRA scared of moms. Who knew?
BANDELE: With strollers.
HAYES: My thanks to Ben Jealous of the NAACP, nutritional advocate
Nancy Huehnergarth, and the New York City councilmember Letitia James, and
Monifa Bandele of Moms Rising.
And thank you for joining us today. Join us tomorrow, Sunday morning
at 8:00. We`ll have Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.
Plus, 10 years after the invasion, the country we never hear about,
the Iraq that we made. I`m really, really looking forward to the
Coming up next, it is the one and only "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". But
on today`s "MHP", Joy Reid is in for Melissa. Joy is going to get into the
incredible sexual assault case in Steubenville, Ohio, are plague with legal
questions, as well as cultural ones. Joy has an incredible panel lined up
to unpack this very complicated issue. That is Joy Reid sitting in for
Melissa Harris-Perry. You don`t want to miss that coming up next.
We`ll see you right here tomorrow. And thank you as always for
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