Guest: Rick Swartz, J.D. Hayworth, Jennifer Giroux, Ellen Johnson, Shmuley Boteach, Pat Robertson, Lisa Thompson, Bob Arnot, Arnold Shmuley Boteach
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight’s top headlines, as millions in Asia mourn in the wake of the killer tsunami, looters, sex traffickers, and media bigwigs sweep in to exploit the epic tragedy.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no, no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
Last night, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY asked religious leaders why a loving God allowed thousands to die in the Christmas tsunami. This morning, “The Washington Post” and “The L.A. Times” followed our lead and asked why God would unleash terror on innocent people and whether the tsunami is a sign that the end times are near. We are going to have a hot debate you are not going to want to miss.
And the Asian tsunami has orphaned thousands of children, leaving them scared, hungry, and targets of sex traffickers who are kidnapping and selling them into sexual slavery. We are going to give you the inside story on that and what is being done to stop it.
Plus, the Mexican government prints comic books helping illegal immigrants. Some on Capitol Hill are mad as hell, and they say they are not going to take it anymore.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to our show.
Now, from tsunamis to sexual slavery, the story for South Asia’s children just keeps getting worse. It’s time for tonight’s “Real Deal.”
News reports of Indonesian orphans being sold into sexual slavery are rocking the world, as international relief agencies are doing their best to stop the sex traffickers from cashing in on this epic human tragedy. Already, text messages are being spread around the impacted region offering to sell hundreds of Indonesia orphans into sexual slavery and pedophile rings, this according to “The Daily News” and other news organizations.
You know, the ages of those orphaned children that are being offered up in these sex rings goes well below 10 years of age, according to the wire reports. As you know, Thailand has a long reputation for being one of the sleaziest of the child sex rings and has long been a magnet for the sexually disturbed pervert for years.
Now aid workers warn that thousands of orphaned children are perfect targets for pedophiles from Europe and points west who are sweeping into the battered region and stealing children whose parents died in the storm, all to sell them into sexual slavery.
You know, Jesus Christ once said it would be better to have someone put a millstone wrapped around their neck and thrown into the deepest part of the ocean than to lead one child astray. Well, regardless of your faith, I suspect that you agree with me that tonight the hottest parts of hell are being reserved right now for those who would use this catastrophic event to prey on orphans by turning them into sexual slaves.
The actions of these sick, sick human beings are beneath contempt. And exposing them for who they are and what they are doing is the goal of tonight’s “Real Deal.”
Now, we begin our coverage with the tsunami sex traffic trade with this shocking report from ITV’s Dan Rivers.
DAN RIVERS, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): The village of Lampaya doesn’t exist anymore. Three-quarters of its residents are dead. Only a few coconut trees remain standing.
They now provide shade to 1,200 refugees, among them, Rafika (ph), 4 ½ years old and now an orphan. Her distant cousin is caring for her, but she asks for her mother. She doesn’t cry. She just watches and waits, quiet, numb. She doesn’t understand what is happening.
The children here aren’t starving. They have food for two days, but time goes slowly when you are alone, when your family is just a memory.
(on camera): Every tent you visit here has a harrowing story of loss and grief. Everyone here has suffered unimaginable trauma, but none more so than the children who have lost their parents.
(voice-over): These children are from another camp nearby. All are orphans. Ciame (ph) is 11. When the tsunami hit, he and his family were swept away, but somehow he survived.
But aid workers are warning these children may still be in danger.
EILEEN BURKE, SAVE THE CHILDREN: When you’re desperate, you turn to desperate means, and it leaves them very vulnerable to all sorts of dangers, such as trafficking. That’s why it’s critical that we identify them as soon as possible and give them a safe place to stay.
CAROL BELLAMY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNICEF: But our concern here is, yes, the exploitation. It isn’t just adoption. It is whether these children could frankly turn into child slaves, if you will, or abused and exploited.
O’NEIL: And it’s difficult for them to talk about what’s happened. August (ph) here is 13. His mother, father, and two younger brothers are now dead. He only survived by clinging to a football, which brought him to the surface of the tsunami. His pain is raw. His loneliness is overwhelming.
Dan Rivers, ITV News, Aceh.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, to talk about the horrible state of things over there and the practice that we are starting to hear about on the wire reports and what can be done to stop it, I want to bring in Dr. Bob Arnot. Now, he’s a journalist and author of “Seven Steps to Stop a Heart Attack.” And we should note that Bob is going to be flying out to Sri Lanka immediately following tonight’s show to assist in the relief effort.
Also with us is Lisa Thompson of the Salvation Army, who specializes in helping to stop child trafficking.
Dr. Bob, let me begin with you.
You have actually done quite a few reports as a journalist on sex trafficking. You have obviously been seeing these stories over the past 24, 48 hours of a real fear of sex trafficking and the text messages of selling 300 children into slavery. What can be done about it, and let’s talk about a history not only in this region, but also in areas you have also gone in Africa, where tragedy leads to sex trafficking.
BOB ARNOT, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Joe.
We actually did reports for MSNBC.com out in Moldova, where they have terrible sex trafficking, where women taken in trunks. They’re taken for two years, forced to work as prostitutes. Another report in Bangkok, Thailand, where we raided a particular brothel there, 9-to-16-year-old children. The girls had to have sex so often there that they actually couldn’t use condoms. I don’t want to get into the specifics of it, but just a particularly gruesome situation.
Sri Lanka, long known to sex traffickers, a real sort of sex holiday paradise for those sort of sick pedophiles you have talked about that come out of Europe and the United States to look for children as young as 8 and 9.
What can you do about it? As an example, I was out in Darfur just last month, terrible violence out there, terrible violence against women and children. What we know, Joe, is that in any situation where you have the displacement of people, whether it’s the war in Darfur, whether it’s the loss of parents from HIV/AIDS in Africa, whether it’s the tsunami, you have children at just terrible risk.
These children were imperiled before this happened. The sex traffickers preyed on them regularly. We’ve heard of two reports from southern Sri Lanka now who have been children abused, one a 16-year-old girl who was raped there.
What is being done is that those organizations who have the longest track record in the region—and I would signal out two, Save the Children and World Vision—they know a big part of setting up these camps is setting up protective services, so that, within the camps, they have the right kind of protection to make certain that there aren’t those who will prey on those children within the refugee camps.
And, most importantly, when adults leave a camp with children or they try to leave a hospital with children, as we heard about that poor Swedish boy in Thailand, that they are checked. Are these relatives, who are they, where they are going, because once these children are lost, they are lost forever. It’s unlikely they will be recovered.
And the terrible thing, Joe, is that when you look at the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia, that it’s just raging through these communities. A lot is based on sex trafficking, where these children are taken. They are used and abused. They are infected with the HIV virus. They go back to their homes and then they infect their friends and relatives. So it’s a tragic and a vicious cycle that destroys these children’s lives forever.
SCARBOROUGH: Lisa Thompson, as I mentioned earlier, you have actually been working with the Salvation Army in this respect.
I talked about a UNICEF employee during the “Real Deal” working in this region receiving an unsolicited text message yesterday. And this is what that text message said—quote—“300 orphans age 3 to 10 years for adoption. All paperwork will be taken care of, no fee. Please state age and sex of child required.”
And, obviously, this has caused a lot of relief workers to be very fearful that these children are going to immediately be sold into slavery. What can Salvation Army do, and what can others do to stop this new epidemic that is going to be sweeping this region?
LISA THOMPSON, SALVATION ARMY: Yes, you are right. It’s such an epidemic.
For traffickers, the presence of orphaned and homeless children is like the scent of a wounded animal to a wolf. They are just ready to pounce and tear, just destroy. For the Salvation Army, we were able to respond pretty early, almost immediately, after the aftermath of the tsunami with medical supplies and water and food, because we have a local presence in most of the countries that have been impacted.
But now we are moving into phase two of that response, and as everybody has been alerted, these children are at great risk. And as the doctor...
THOMPSON: ... discussed...
SCARBOROUGH: I don’t mean to interrupt you, but tell our viewers, if you will, who are these perverts that would come in, prey on 7-, 8-, 9-year-old children? Are they from Europe? Are they from America? Are they from Asia? Where do they come from? What is their profile?
THOMPSON: I don’t think we have a good profile. I think you can have traffickers from every part of the world.
You have traffickers that are indigenous to the local country, who know where to look for victims, and then you have people coming in from foreign destinations who are specifically seeking children to exploit. So I don’t know that we have a great profile on who the traffickers are. But I can say that...
THOMPSON: I’m sorry. I can say that, today, the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking of Persons issued a great alert that went out to NGOs and aid agencies around the world asking them to be alert to this issue, to be sure that they register children, and that they keep women and children in secure areas of their facilities and not let them wander away and wander out on the premises.
SCARBOROUGH: I’m sorry. I just wanted to bring in Dr. Bob for a second.
SCARBOROUGH: There is good news in this story, though.
As Lisa brought up, the State Department alerted everybody today to be on the lookout for these sex traffickers. And also, Congress has started finally passing legislation, and the international community is working together. And I want to get this message out to people watching in America or across the world.
Dr. Bob, is it not the case that, if you commit a crime over in Thailand, you can be persecuted here in the United States of America?
ARNOT: Absolutely, Joe. This is such a serious issue here, where you have these gangs that go into rural communities in Thailand or Sri Lanka, Indonesia, take these 8- or 9-year-old girls and boys, and they actually sell them as part of a sex holiday program to people from the United States and Europe.
Well, not only can you serve a prison sentence in Thailand or in Sri Lanka if you are caught. You will serve that same prison sentence again when you return to the United States or Australia, which have these reciprocal programs, very important, very, very tough new law, so tough, in fact, just a couple of weeks ago, a man was arrested trying to leave the United States having already made an e-mail plan to pick up a young boy when he arrived in Southeast Asia.
But, Joe, I can’t emphasize how strongly I advise people who want to give money, in this relief effort to look at those organizations who have this long view, who understand it’s not just food and water today. These children, the long-term future, and a big part of that future is having the security.
I was with Save the Children in Darfur just a couple of months ago, terrific security within the camp to make certain that these children aren’t attacked and that the women aren’t raped. World Vision has a program long existing in Sri Lanka that they are moving into high gear right now. World Vision is moving out to make certain that these children are protected today, so that they are not taken out and their lives aren’t destroyed.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Dr. Bob and Lisa Thompson, thank you both so much.
ARNOT: You’re welcome, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Not only for joining us, but for what you are doing.
And, Dr. Bob, good luck on your journey.
ARNOT: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: We want to talk to you when you get over there and see what progress you are able to make.
ARNOT: Great. I would love to report back.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. We look forward to it.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, the governments of the affected countries have placed a moratorium on adoptions for now, but there will be a great need.
To learn more about international adoption, visit Adoption.com. It’s a clearinghouse for virtually every legitimate adoption agency. And try the Gladney Center in Texas, one of America’s oldest and most reputable adoption agencies also. Or you can go to the National Council For Adoption, NCFA-USA.org. Go to a reputable organization.
Now, coming up, the question that you heard last night on this show and that people all over the country are asking, regardless of their faith, is, how could a loving God allow such death and suffering? We are going to be asking Christian coalition founder Pat Robertson that question and many others right after this short break.
SCARBOROUGH: The Asian tsunami, why would a loving God let it happen? We are going to be asking Pat Robertson that question and debating the issue when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: The tsunamis, suffering, and God.
Last night, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY debated the issue of how a loving God could allow such a disaster to occur. Today, the “L.A. Times” and “The Washington Post” followed suit.
So, is God a loving father or a mass murderer?
Here to answer that question, a man whose relief organization, Operation Blessing, has already helped thousands in the wake of the tsunami. He is the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the host of “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson.
Pat, thank you so much for being with us tonight.
PAT ROBERTSON, AUTHOR, “COURTING DISASTER”: Thanks, Joe. It’s good to be with you.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, I want to ask you a question...
ROBERTSON: All right.
SCARBOROUGH: ... that Christians, Jews, Muslims, men and women of faith all over this world are asking tonight. And that is, how does a loving God allow a disaster like this to happen?
ROBERTSON: Well, in all honesty, we have been so busy trying to help the victims—we were the first ones on the scene in Aceh, and we have got a big thing going down in Sri Lanka right now, $4 million worth of drugs, so I have been spending more time trying to help the victims.
But the truth is, Joe, that natural disasters will happen on this planet. It was one of a subduction of one of the tectonic plates in the Indian Ocean. And it’s not God’s do. It was one of those things, like a hurricane. It’s a natural release of heat in the atmosphere. And if people choose to live along the coastlines in dangerous areas, they are in trouble, just like people who live on the San Andreas fault in California.
The big one, one day is going to come. And they’re going to be—but you can’t blame God for your foolishness. If you want to live there, that’s too bad. But it’s a terrible tragedy, but it’s a natural disaster.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Now, a few nights on your show, you offered some predictions for 2005. And I have always followed your predictions and I’ve always found them to be fascinating.
Here’s one of the ones that I thought was most interesting. You said
· quote—“God’s spirit is going to be moving in dramatic power around the world and his spirit is going to be touching the hearts of many in the Muslim world and they will be turning to the Gospel, to Jesus Christ.”
What do you mean by that?
ROBERTSON: Well, already in the Muslim world, people are seeing visions of Jesus. It’s one of the most dramatic things. We are doing actually a TV show on it, because so many Muslims in desperate parts of the world are saying, we are having dreams where this man appears in white, and he tells us this is the way of salvation time and time and time again. It’s an extraordinary phenomenon, North Africa, all over the Gulf, Indonesia, into Pakistan, other Muslim areas.
And I believe this is going to be a year where these people who have been seeking, and many of them are truly seeking to know God, but they don’t have any peace in their hearts. This is going to be the year when they meet Jesus. It’s going to be a fantastic religious revival this year.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, my grandmom—I have told you this before.
SCARBOROUGH: Watched your show all the time, until she passed away at 93, would give me “The 700 Club” Bible for my birthday every year, the study guides, everything.
SCARBOROUGH: But she also would read books on the end time.
SCARBOROUGH: And a lot of my friends would always read books on the end time. And a lot of people right now are saying, with the millennium and the tsunami and earthquakes, that it’s a sign that Jesus is coming again.
What do you say to people out there who are saying, Christians who are looking to this as a sign that Jesus’ second coming is on its way?
ROBERTSON: Joe, the day after this thing took place, I just opened my Bible to the Gospel of Luke, and it’s the 17th chapter. And Jesus said, as the days of Noah was, so will be the day of the coming of the son of man. People were marrying, giving in marriage, having parties and banquets, and then, all of a sudden, a flood came and washed them all away.
Same thing was true with Sodom and Gomorrah. They were building. They were planting. It was business as usual, until Lot left Sodom, and all of a sudden, fire came and consumed them all. It was sudden. It was dramatic. And when the lord comes back, that’s the way it’s going to be. So I think perhaps this is a warning for people of how transitory our life is.
None of us can guarantee tomorrow. And just imagine. I have been over in Asia. We have operations in Chiang Mai and Thailand. We’ve got a big studio in Jakarta. We’ve got something in Hyderabad. We’ve got things in Singapore, all over that area.
But just imagine you are on the beach Phuket in Thailand, and your wife and your children are there, and it’s peaceful and calm and beautiful and all of a sudden, in a matter of seconds, your children are swept out to sea, and they’re lost forever. That’s a tragedy, but that’s the way it’s going to be at the end of the age. It will be tragic.
I will tell you how it’s going to happen, if you want to believe the Bible. It will be an asteroid, I think, hitting in one of the major seas. It can be the Pacific. It can be the Atlantic. It can be the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, someplace, and that’s what it says in the eight chapter of Revelation.
And when that happens, you figure three billion pounds of molten rock plunging in at 25,000 miles an hour, and the shockwaves, the tsunamis, the spread of devastation is going to be horrible. And that is what the Bible foretells one day. But I don’t think it’s going to be anytime soon. I think we have got a while, and that’s comforting, but one day, that’s what the Bible says is going to happen.
SCARBOROUGH: Like a thief in the night.
ROBERTSON: Like a thief in the night.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Robertson, thank you so much for being with us.
ROBERTSON: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: And I want to commend you for Operation Blessing. I know it’s bringing so much relief to so many people in these affected regions.
Our prayers with you. Thanks for being with us.
ROBERTSON: Thanks, Joe. Best wishes.
Now, also with me tonight, we’ve got Ellen Johnson. She’s president of the American Atheists. We’ve got Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. He’s the author of “Face Your Fear.” And from Women Influencing the Nation, we have Jennifer Giroux.
Ellen Johnson, let me begin with you.
There are a lot of religious leaders of the Christian faith and of the Muslim faith talking about how this action occurred because of the sins of man and the sins of woman. What is your response to that?
ELLEN JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ATHEISTS: Well, I think that anybody who is a believer in a God has to face the fact that their God that they believe in did nothing to help 155,000 people who perished.
And these Muslim clerics are saying, oh, yes, absolutely, our God is responsible, and this is a sociopathic God that would allow this to happen. You just said, you know, your prayers are with Pat Robertson. Why would anybody pray to a God that couldn’t stop this? Your prayers are useless.
The atheist, of course, says this is all nonsense because there aren’t any gods to help us. That’s why Pat Robertson, who knows this, Pat Robertson and all these other groups have to organize and secular groups organize rescue efforts and preventative measures, because there aren’t any gods. We help ourselves or they don’t get helped.
But it’s just amazing, these clerics in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, these Muslim clerics, in some of these countries and areas, they have been able to institute the Sharia, Muslim law. And yet that’s not good enough for them. It’s a very harsh law of the Muslims. And yet they now go ahead and say to people—they abuse them even further by saying, you deserve this. You deserve this because girls were sitting too close to boys. You weren’t praying enough, and you weren’t studying the Koran enough. That’s what you get.
I think it’s very disturbing that people would—if you’re religious, I think, once you hear that, you just stop being religious right away and say, that’s enough. I am tired of being abused.
SCARBOROUGH: Jennifer Giroux, is God a sociopath? We have—I will guarantee there are people out there that are watching this program tonight saying if your God is an all-powerful and all-loving God, then he could have stopped the tsunami from happening and he could have stopped the deaths of 150,000 people. How do you respond to Ellen?
JENNIFER GIROUX, DIRECTOR, WOMEN INFLUENCING THE NATION: Well, I think Ellen is struggling with a lot of her own issues, and we need to pray for her, because I truly believe she has a lot of authoritative comments about God so that she doesn’t believe in him.
God is an all-loving God. He is also all merciful as well and equally all just. And what you mentioned in your lead-in, Joe, about the heinous crimes against children, the sexual exploitation, prostitution and trafficking, this offends God so much. For us to hear it, we cringe. Imagine how God feels. And God will not be mocked.
And historically speaking, in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, when Moses led the Jews away from slavery, there’s always been times where God has allowed natural disasters and plagues in order to further his will. So this is not to blame God. God has given us free will to love him, but the flip side of that is the free will to sin against him.
And who knows. As part of this discussion, who knows if all of the heinous things that went on over there in Thailand could have opened the door to what happened. And I know this is a very, very delicate subject here, because it’s not to say the poor people, the good people that died and suffered over there along with those that were not so good do not deserve that any more than you or I do.
But the fact of the matter is, eight of 11 of those countries hit over there were listed among the top 50 that persecute Christians around the world.
SCARBOROUGH: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, you know, there are examples in the Old Testament of God punishing people for their sinful actions. So, when you go after Jennifer and other Christians for saying that God does punish people for their sins, actually, it’s not just the New Testament God that does that. It’s the Old Testament God.
RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, “FACE YOUR FEAR”: Is this as good as it gets, Joe, that the only message from modern religion in the face of such a cataclysm and catastrophe is fear tactics, that if you don’t shape up and repent, man, it’s going to get worse. Now there’s molten rock that’s going to pour into the seas and finish you off completely. Fear tactics?
Of course, it’s in the Old Testament that there are catastrophes for
human sin. But, Joe, remember, in the examples that Pat Robertson brought
· and God bless him for all the work he is doing, but his theology is off
· and the examples that Jennifer Giroux brought about Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham wrestles with God and he challenges God and he says, you are going to let innocent people die with the guilty? Aren’t there 50 innocent? Aren’t there 40?
Listen, to contrast that with Jennifer Giroux, who not only doesn’t defend the innocent, but she’s interested in telling people that they deserve exactly what they get.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Rabbi. We are going to continue this when we come back. We are going to continue this.
And the reason that we are talking about this tonight is the same reason “The Washington Post” is talking about it and “The L.A. Times.” There are a lot of people out there that are wrestling with their faith, like you are talking about, on why a loving God would allow this to happen.
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be right back in one minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Could following God’s word have saved the lives of many people in the tsunami? Some Muslims think so, and we are going to be talking about that in a second.
But, first, let’s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to the show.
In a few minutes, we are going to be talking about coloring books for illegal immigrants. That’s in a minute.
But, first, we are talking about Americans that are debating the impact of the tsunami. And while we are debating it, Muslim clerics are actually blaming the deaths on the sins of their own people, saying God is exacting revenge.
One imam in Aceh told “The Washington Post” this: “God is angry with our people, because most of them do not do what is written in the Koran. I hope this will lead all Muslims to do what is in the Koran and its teachings. If it will be so, God will be merciful and compassionate.”
Rabbi, let me go back to you.
This is what I find interesting about your position, Rabbi. Muslims believe this. Christians believe this—some. Some do. The Old Testament has example after example of the God of Abraham punishing people for their sins. And yet you seem to say that this is blasphemy, that you agree with Ellen that this is a sociopathic God that would actually kill people for their sins.
Is the Old Testament—what part of the Old Testament are we to believe and what part of the Old Testament are we to disregard?
BOTEACH: Well, no, let’s go through it. Muslims, the word Islam means to submit before God. And Muslims advocate submission, that man has to be subordinate to God, can never challenge.
Christians advocate a leap of faith in the words of Soren Kierkegaard. You can never question God. That’s why we hear these two extremes that, if something bad happens, it’s your fault. You were sinful and you don’t understand the grand design of God, because your puny, mortal brain can’t comprehend his cosmic plan.
But the word Israel, Jew, means he who wrestles with God, fights with God. The Old Testament is filled with examples of catastrophes that humans always blame God for, Joe. We are not celestial stardust. We matter. The central message of religion is that human beings matter. They have a spark of infinite within them. God says do not kill. Murder is wrong, whether humans kill or whether God kills.
We can hold God accountable. We can subvert the divine plan when God’s plan seems to take the lives of innocent people. I find it disgraceful and disgusting that religious and Christian—that Islamic and Christian theologians are saying that these poor innocent people who were already afflicted with poverty now deserve to die.
For God’s sake, God doesn’t need protagonists. He doesn’t need defenders. He is a big boy. Humans need defenders. The purpose of religion is to defend human life, human life, not God’s life.
But Ellen Johnson is equally misguided, because if the central message of religion is that you matter, she can’t believe that human life matters, because, of course, to her, life is nothing but an evolutionary accident. Life is capricious. It’s accidental and we are just cosmic stardust.
But my position is, when something terrible happens, you challenge God. Jennifer Giroux’s position is nothing but Osama bin Laden with a Christian packaging. It’s a disgrace to Christianity.
BOTEACH: It’s a disgrace to the compassionate message of Jesus.
GIROUX: Rabbi, how do you feel about the chief rabbi from Israel, Amar, who said, God is angry; we must pray and ask for God’s mercy? What do you say about him? He is not a Christian. He is not a Muslim. He is the chief rabbi in Israel.
Same with the bishop over in India, who said, this is a warning for us to look inward and evaluate how we are living our lives. This is God’s way of drawing us closer to him. That does not mean God killed these people, but you are being disingenuous, Rabbi, to pretend that plagues and natural disasters have not been happening in the past throughout biblical history in times of heinous offense against God.
BOTEACH: Jennifer, you are an arrogant and blasphemous woman that is slandering and libeling 150,000 innocent people that you never met.
GIROUX: What could you say about the chief rabbi’s comment from Israel?
BOTEACH: What I say is, is that Abraham even defended the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Read Genesis.
BOTEACH: I say that Moses in Exodus 32:32 says to God, if you destroy the Jewish people after building a golden calf, idolaters, Jennifer, then remove my name from the Bible, God. I want nothing to do with you. I quote Jesus.
GIROUX: What do you say about the chief rabbi’s comment from Israel?
What do you say about the chief rabbi’s comment from Israel?
BOTEACH: My answer is that even the chief rabbi cannot overrule the Bible. Just as you are a poor representative of Christianity, if he says that...
GIROUX: Well, I would take inventory, Rabbi, if your closest ally on the air here is the atheist.
BOTEACH: No, no, no. I don’t have to be an extremist like you, Jennifer.
You hate human life. You despise it. To you, it’s essentially sinful. It’s fundamentally errant, that, from our birth, we’re born into original sin. I have a positive view of human life. I think people are essentially good and godly. Let God punish Saddam Hussein. Let him punish the janjaweed militias of Sudan, not innocent, poor, impoverished Sri Lankans.
GIROUX: Do you believe that any outrageous behavior or immoral behavior in this country or around the world offends God and makes him angry?
BOTEACH: I believe that any God that would punish a woman wearing a bikini in Phuket Island with drowning of her children would not be a God I would want to worship. And neither would you, Jennifer, correct?
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring in Ellen.
Ellen, I know that you have to find this conversation very interesting. There’s actually a history of this debate, goes back some time. You know, in 1755, on All Saints Day, a massive earthquake actually leveled the city of Lisbon, Portugal. A tsunami and fires followed. All told, nearly 100,000 people died.
The devastation was physical, but the aftershocks were deeply theological, similar to what we are witnessing today with this debate. But the debate back then prompted Voltaire to write in “Candide” a satirical poem about the religious reaction.
And this is what he wrote—quote—“Will you, before this mass of victims, say, God is revenged, their death repays their crime?”
What is your response to Voltaire and the debate that you are hearing tonight on this show?
JOHNSON: As an atheist, I realize that there is no God because we—and we learn from these tsunamis. We learn from natural disasters. And we are our brothers’ keepers and our sister’s’ keepers. We take care of each other or we don’t get taken care of.
And that’s the message here. There is no God to rely on. There is no God that is going to help you. And that’s the bottom line. And I think that it’s reprehensible for Ms. Giroux to say that these people did, indeed, ask for it.
Everybody in the studio with me here tonight and everybody watching this program, if they were omnipotent and omniscient, they would have seen to it that nobody was killed, that nobody died, that everybody would be taken care of. But this God that people keep worshipping, keep praising, keep believing in, this God did nothing.
Let’s face it. We have to take care of each other, because there aren’t any gods, so let’s do it.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, we are going to have to leave it there.
Rabbi Shmuley, Jennifer Giroux, and Ellen Johnson, we greatly appreciate you being with us tonight.
Now, coming up next, if you are living in Mexico and you want to come to the United States without filling out that pesky paperwork, well, the Mexican Foreign Ministry just published a guide for sneaking into America. If you think there’s something wrong with that, you belong in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Stick around. We will talk about it in just a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Hola. Me llamo Jose Scarborough.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, if I wanted to live in Mexico, I would have to do a lot better than that.
But, luckily for Mexicans who actually want to cross our borders and live in the United States illegally, there’s a new book. It’s been published by the Mexican government to give them guidance. Now, according to reports, using simple language, this book offers safety information for border crossers, a primer on their legal rights and advice on how to live unobtrusively in the United States.
Is Mexico promoting an invasion of America or is it just promoting its No. 1 export, illegal aliens?
With me now is Congressman J.D. Hayworth, from Arizona, and Rick Swartz. He’s founder of the National Immigration Forum.
Let me begin with you, J.D. Hayworth.
I have got to ask you, what is your take on these, well, they look like comic books that seem to give Mexican immigrants advice on how to slip into the United States illegally?
REP. J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA: Now, understand, that is exactly the case.
Nowhere in this booklet, Joe, sponsored by the Mexican government, nowhere in the booklet is there any suggestion or any guideline as to how to come to the United States legally. And understand, 30 percent of the folks who come to America legally, some 200,000 are Mexican citizens who come here legally.
But this guide—it would be tantamount, Joe, if we reversed roles, since we have Americans who travel in Mexico and we saw ads over the holidays, it would like our State Department saying, hey, look, we really don’t want to go to steal if you go to Mexico instead of paying for you souvenirs, but if you are going to steal anyway, here are some suggestions as to how to shoplift and burglarize Mexican establishments.
It would tantamount to inviting breaking the law.
SCARBOROUGH: J.D., I have just got to ask the question that a lot of Americans are asking. Why are politicians in both parties allowing this to happen? Why are they turning a blind eye to what Mexico continues to do in encouraging illegal immigration in the United States of America?
HAYWORTH: Joe, it’s because you have the makings of a perfect political storm.
On the left, there are those who believe they can welcome these immigrants into the country with—these illegal immigrants into the country, grant them amnesty, have them vote and have them vote themselves a whole new set of entitlements. On the right, you have folks who want cheap labor and aren’t really concerned about the creation of a permanent underclass without benefits, knowing that Joe taxpayer and J.D. taxpayer and all of us will end up picking up the bill.
It is the perfect storm, but the American people, regardless of party identification, are wise to this, because they understand that border security is synonymous with national security. When you have a situation where, over a recent eight-month period, you had 9,000 folks coming across our border, 9,000 coming across our southern border who were from the nations exporting terror in the Middle East, people understand that we have to get serious.
We are a nation at war, and the last thing we need to do is relax our vigilance, and, with a nod and a wink, resign ourselves to this invasion of our nation.
SCARBOROUGH: J.D., you are exactly right, and obviously there have been warnings that people from the Middle East, terror groups from the Middle East are going to actually try to export nuclear weapons or parts of nuclear weapons through our southern border.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Rick Swartz, I want to bring you in here.
And I want to ask you this. Now, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry printed
1.5 million copies of these comic books. And this is what they say, the
advice they give—quote—“Wear thick clothing. It increases your
weight”—or “Avoid thick clothing. It increases your weight when wet and
it makes it difficult for you to swim or float. Try to walk during times
when the heat is not as intense.” And when you get to the United States—
quote—“Avoid attracting intention.” But if you get caught, it advises -
· quote—“don’t throw stones or objects at the officer or patrol vehicles, because this is considered a provocation. Raise your hand slowly so they see you are unharmed. It’s better to be detained a few hours and repatriated to Mexico than to get lost in the desert.”
Rick Swartz, how can anybody justify the Mexican government giving advice, giving Cliff Notes, basically, to illegal immigrants coming to America?
RICK SWARTZ, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM: Well, nobody can defend or justify that. And I certainly won’t.
I am not sure the premise, however, of your show tonight is accurate or correct. I have read parts of this manual and fact sheets from the Mexican government. They say that the purpose of this comic book, in effect, is to actually discourage people from trying to enter the United States illegally, that it does describe and explain the lawful way to do it.
And some of these warnings, I think, are designed to help prevent deaths along the border. The reality is that we have, indeed, thousands, tens of thousands of people from Mexico and other countries coming to the United States trying to get jobs, trying to feed their families. And, yes, indeed, we do have some employers here who will take advantage of their illegal status.
But safety for the human beings involved might help to explain some of the particular pieces of advice that your show has highlighted tonight in the clips that you have shown. The real issue here is...
SCARBOROUGH: J.D., do you buy that?
HAYWORTH: No, because..
SWARTZ: The real issue here is, what are the solutions to illegal immigration that, as a country, we can develop, agree upon on a bipartisan basis, and enact into the laws real practical solutions, rather than all the shouting and haranguing about the issue?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, first of all, I don’t think we are shouting. Hold on a second. We are not shouting. There’s no haranguing.
All I am saying is, we have got laws on the books.
SWARTZ: It’s not an invasion manual. I don’t think it’s an invasion manual.
HAYWORTH: Well, I will tell you, I beg to differ, Rick.
The sad fact is, when you have President Fox coming on nationwide media in the United States disputing any type of label of illegal associated with these folks, using the term migrant, saying they are not here illegally, they are only trying to look for work, that is a type of Orwellian newspeak in any language.
And the stated goal of your organization is a forum dedicated to embracing and upholding America’s tradition as a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. We should not be a nation of illegal immigrants.
And the bottom line is this. The Mexican government, rather than working with us as a good neighbor and an ally, is instead a willing accomplice in illegal immigration and in wartime.
SCARBOROUGH: J.D., we need to take a quick break, J.D.
SCARBOROUGH: But we are going to get right back to this and get final thoughts from my guests in just a minute. So don’t go away.
And there won’t be any shouting or haranguing.
SCARBOROUGH: The Asian tsunami is still the big story. And we are going to look at the religious community and how they are reacting to it and whether it’s really the wrath of God or the end of times. That’s tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Gentlemen, final thoughts, 10 seconds each.
Rick, you first.
SWARTZ: No one is more committed to securing our borders than President Bush and Secretary of Homeland Security Ridge. They both have praised the Mexican government for their recent cooperation to those ends. We have to solve these problems, not simply argue about them.
HAYWORTH: The new guide—the new guide proves this. Mexico is a willing accomplice aiding illegal immigration. Border security and national security are synonymous, especially in a time of war.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Congressman, Rick Swartz, thanks so much for being with us tonight.
We will see you tomorrow in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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