Episode 15 The Big Questions


Episode 15

Nicky Campbell presents moral, ethical and religious debates from Manor Church of England Academy in York. Questions include is Islamism the biggest threat to the modern world?


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Transcript


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Today on The Big Questions: The threat from Islamism.

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And the fast road to sainthood. APPLAUSE Good morning.

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I'm Nicky Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions. Today, we're live

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from Manor Church of England Academy, in York. Welcome, everyone,

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to The Big Questions. On Wednesday, Tony Blair, the former

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Prime Minister, now Middle East peace envoy, and multi-millionaire

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consultant, delivered a portentous speech warning that Islamist

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ideology poses a real threat which is destabilising communities and

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nations, and undermining peaceful co-existence in an era of

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globalisation. In the face of this growing threat, which Tony Blair

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warned is "spreading across the world", he said: "We seem curiously

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reluctant to acknowledge it, and powerless to counter it

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effectively." Is he right? Is Islamism the biggest threat to

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the modern world? Anne-Marie Waters, is he right?

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He is right, but not because he is Tony Blair. It is important we do

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not fixate on the messenger. The evidence is there is a global,

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Islamist, political movement. It does rule countries and destabilise

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countries. As the Arab Spring showed us, it is powerful and organised and

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waiting to take over even more countries it is already rolling. Not

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only in the Middle East and North Africa, but in Britain, across the

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West. We are reluctant to confront it. The fact we are having this

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debate shows that. The evidence for it is around us. We have Islamist

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Livio Loi in this country openly calling for brutal punishments, they

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are running a family court system, calling for Shari -- Sharia.

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If I can focus, Tony Blair, cosying up to one of the dictators, in this

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speech, lamely decrying the death sentence for 500 members of the

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Muslim Brotherhood. Calling for the enemies of Islamism to be bolstered

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wherever they are. With Saddam Hussein, at the time of the Koran -a

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war. -- Iran-Iraq. Has he not learned any lessons?

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It does not detract from the message. Some of it is rich coming

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from Tony Blair. The question is, is Islamism a threat to the modern

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world? It is. We have two separate that question from Tony Blair and

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what he may have done or said. There is a threat, is there?

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It is an exaggerated threat. Tony Blair is responsible for this

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threat. I will give you examples. He invaded Iraq and gave a safe haven

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for Al-Qaeda. He invaded also Afghanistan. He created another

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base. They have created a failed state and a vacuum filled by

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Islamist extremists. Most of the regime changes took place in secular

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Arab countries. Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, they are not Islamist. Look

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at what is happening. I am not defending them. I am just exposing

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the contradictions. The worst time -- type of phobia. Now he is siding

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with Egypt. There is a campaign now against Islam and the Muslim

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Brotherhood. He is trying to be part of this campaign. The Muslim

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brotherhood does not exist in Egypt. In Syria, they are struggling. What

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about the kidnap of schoolgirls we have heard from extremist groups to

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knock 4000 dead over four years. Tony Blair killed 1 million people

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in the rock. -- Iraq.

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Somehow, everything is the fault of the West, as if countries, people,

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cannot act on their own initiative. Let her answer. Someone said the

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Americans are responsible for the Taliban. They are not responsible

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for what the Taliban does when it is in power. For imprisoning women,

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stoning people to death. That is their own fault. They do that of

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their own volition. Who brought the Taliban to power?

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The Americans. They gave their support. This idea everything is

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somehow connected back to the all-powerful West is absurd. People

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are responsible for their own actions, and the people responsible

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for the Harrah -- the horror of the Taliban, is the Taliban themselves.

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Some people said about this speech, he has undermined himself. Did you

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not think this is a man who waged what many believe to be an illegal

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war, which led to, maybe, 1 million deaths, created, creating many

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extremists across the world. And he is lecturing the world about peace.

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One can differentiate between Tony Blair the man, and Tony Blair with

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his message. I agree with the message. The media has been guilty

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of ignoring the central theme of the message, and pointing to suggestions

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he wants to keep Assad in power. None of this was said in the speech.

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Tony Blair is saying there was a greater evil we should focus on. Of

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course there is a campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a

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global organisation seeking to impose an absolute form of Islam.

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The former head of MI6 called it, at heart, a terrorist organisation.

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Abdel Bari Atwan, you famously said... This is not true. When we

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talk about the speech... You need to make that clear it is not true, you

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never said that. It was out of context. On a programme, it was a

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few seconds from a programme. So is bombing the Arabs? The Israelis. I

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will come back to you. Extremism is a threat but certainly not the

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biggest threat. Capitalism. Climate change. Religion and politics

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without Essex -- ethics. In every region, you have crazy

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fundamentalism, right wing Jewish in Israel causing havoc, Hindu

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extremists in India causing problems. Buddhist extremists now

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causing persecution and genocide in Burma. Religious extremism affects

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every religion. This Islamist extremism is a problem. Muslims have

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to look in the mirror and address these issues as common human

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issues. It is Arabs killing each other, in Syria. Injuries lump,

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there is a display cabinet in the mosque showing CS gas canisters

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which Israelis fired into the mosque over the last 40 years. Palestinians

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say, we are killing each other in Syria, how can we blame the Jews? It

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is more complex. I agree that arise -- there is

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extremism everywhere. But you can confuse Islam with Islamism. I don't

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think they said that. It should never be confused with extremism and

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violence, Islam does not subscribe to any of that. The problem is, does

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Islam have political framework within it, does it propose an

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economic, social and ethical framework. As soon as it proposes a

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political framework, it becomes a public one. To save the Muslim

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Brotherhood is at its heart a terrorist organisation, that

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completely misunderstand the organisation. I have read the

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literature. I don't think it is like that. But the current climate in the

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world would lead moderate groups like that to become radicalised

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because of the lunatic ideas. We have turned a blind eye to the

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Middle East. 60% of Egyptians want the Muslim Brotherhood to be in

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government. But this democratic movement is being undermined. We

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would like the right guy we like to become the president or prime

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minister. Tony Blair is one of the private advisers to the dictator of

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Kazakhstan. He went running to the South Sudanese government to become

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their adviser. He embraced Gaddafi. I can never forget those atrocities

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perpetrated by Tony Blair's policies. Simply Tony Blair saying

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this is wrong. I saw you wincing, why is that when

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he was speaking? Talking about the ideology and belief.

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The idea Islamism can be completely separated from Islam is

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problematic. Why is that? If an Islamist government takes over a

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country... Define that? And installs death by stoning, they can find

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justification for that in Scripture. Wait, wait! Let her finish. You have

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violence against women justified as it often is by Islamist

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governments... I will tell you what we will do. Wait. Usama Hasan is an

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imam, maybe you can explain why you believe that not to be the case?

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There is a debate going on within Islam. The issue of a politically

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interpretation of Islam. Groups do not speak for all Muslims. There are

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many of devout Muslims who oppose the hijacking of religion for

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political purposes. It is true to say that the Western foreign policy

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for the last 60 years has been problematic, supporting dictators

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for stability, like a sad, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and others. Hartley

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needing to the increase of Islamism. The Muslim Brotherhood has a wide

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spectrum. In Tunisia, Islamists have proposed a purely civil

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constitution. I want to explore this point. It is key. This whole bit

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about the confusion between Islam and Islamism which must not be made.

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You say there are cross overs. Tony Blair in his speech and said it is a

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warped interpretation of Islam. Others have said it is plausible.

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Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood is a broad spectrum. Everyone has

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the right to have politics informed by faith. All kinds of people, all

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around the world, leaders and millions of people whose politics is

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informed on religious values of truth, honesty, justice and working

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for others. Is it a plausible reading of the Koran? Certain forms

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of it but there are extremist interpretations which are causing

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havoc around the world. This points to a far larger discussion, to which

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you are already alluded about fundamentalists, radicalised

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religion and moderate progressive religion. In a way, this entire

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discussion is a red herring. There are much wider issues to content

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with. We have a million Brits needing food bikes. There is

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poverty, environmental degradation, slavery in today's world. I do not

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see Tony Blair giving a keynote speech about those things. It is

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important to draw the discussion back to be human level. As a rabbi,

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I am interested in building bridges between faith communities. I work

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for the British community. It is important to realise that the large

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majority of people want peace, progressive religion can give people

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meaning in their lives. I often hear people saying Islam is inherently

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evil. Church leaders say it is inherently peaceful. How do you know

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what it means? Surely we should deal with realities. Regardless of the

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hypocrisies of Tony Blair and his statements, we should deal with

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reality. Islamist presents a global threat to many people. This is the

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most important point. Let him finish. When people accuse

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anti-Islamist 's of being anti-Islam, it is a betrayal of

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moderate Muslims everywhere. An unintended consequence? It is about

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bigotry. Is Sam killed -- all this killing is supported by the

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Americans. How do you say that Islam is a threat? Tell me one example

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that Islam is a threat? Do we have bombs like you? Do we have missiles?

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I am not saying organisations like Al-Qaeda represent Islam, you are.

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Give me one example where the Muslim Brotherhood has invaded a country.

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Who used phosphoric bombs in Gaza? In eejit, the Muslim Brotherhood

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takes over institutions and murders people. -- Egypt. Anne-Marie said at

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the outset, they are here in this country. There are people with some

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ghastly and appalling views. Tony Blair called them incompatible with

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the modern world. Do you agree? I would include Sam to be an extremist

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in his views. He wrote an article calling me an extremist. I have

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received death threats for talking against extremism. For him to make

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silly statement in an article, there are problems with the definitions.

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This is so important. We are talking about laying bombs and killing

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fellow citizens on the street. It is wrong in any civilised world. Let's

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answer the question we have already asked about Syria. Did the Syrians,

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did the ordinary Syrians, aid and the bet and give alms to President

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Assad or are we doing that through China and other countries? They want

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freedom. The people of Saudi Arabia want freedom. Because we constantly

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interfere and supply them with weapons and intelligence, they keep

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those people seeking freedom under constant repression. If you allow

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Muslims across the globe the freedom to choose, they will choose the

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party they feel very happy with. Ultimately, the problem that

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Anne-Marie was highlighting is to do with sharia. We chose not to

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intervene in Syria. They said, do not come into our country, give us

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the arms to top the dictator. Some people dead and some did not. Our

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underlining the objective is to deliver justice to the world,

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fairness and equality. It is about establishing peace and fairness and

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justice. If people cannot find space to express it freely, and they are

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being constantly repressed, and the by-product of which we see as

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Manufacturing in extremism, we cannot find a point in it. Why do

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you think he is an extremist? Iraq are quite a few examples. -- there

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are quite a few examples. You have said the Mumbai attacks are the work

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of the American intelligence agencies. I never said that. What

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are you claiming he said? He claims in a Facebook post but the American

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security forces somehow orchestrated the Mumbai attacks. He also claims

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shadowy forces were at work in the Westgate shopping massacre. Who is

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responsible for? That is the topic you have missed. I did not say

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someone was responsible. I was blogging in my page, asking

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questions. You have said I support the Muslim Brotherhood. In my entire

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life, I have never been supported of those organisations. I am very

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British. I even stood in the Parliamentary elections as a Liberal

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Democrat. It shows your shallow understanding. Sam, respond. You

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also described the Hamas leader as an honest and great man. Sky he is

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an honest and great man as opposed to Binyamin Netanyahu, any time.

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What would you like to say? How -- Hamas in their charter, they blamed

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the Jews for everything going back to the French Revolution. They want

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to obliterate Israel. It is uncompromising. It reads like

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something which is likely to come out of Nazi Germany. Even Hamas is

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not an Islamic ideology. What is it? It is a group that is supporting

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their own religion, their own country. This has been going on for

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many years. We should not mix this with Islam. I am hearing here, we're

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in the United Kingdom, in York, in North Yorkshire, and we are hearing

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voices calling Muslims evil. Who said that? He said evil. He cannot

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even come up with a definition. It has not been agreed on. Why is it

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not agreed upon? The Government labels as anyway they want. They

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call us terrorists one day, is limbs -- Islamist 's one-day. In this

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country, who is funding you to pay for this? That is simple. Let her

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respond. Islamist obeah, what do you make of that? What sort of sharia

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are we watching? I disagree with your definition of extremism. You do

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not have to plant a bomb to be an extremist. If you want to deny women

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any right to get out a violent marriage or child custody, that is

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quite extreme. They call it sharia, therefore I am calling it sharia.

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What about Islamist phobia? -- Islamophobia? Hamas is the outcome

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of decades of Israelis and ethnic cleansing, which started in 1948

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when they destroyed 532 villages and towns. We are only 18 days from the

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66th anniversary. The world has turned a blind eye to it. Hamas is

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an outcome to an action by Israel, supported by the West. It is part of

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the policy. You cannot deny that Hamas is a big part of the social

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fibre. It is cause and effect? We are talking about aggression and

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radicalism. I would add my voice to 22% of the British public who last

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year, in 2013, according to the Daily Express survey, want Tony

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Blair to be tried for war crimes committed against their people. I

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would add my voice to the rising voice of those. Some Israeli leaders

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have asked for this, for him to be charged with war crimes against the

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Palestinians. We need to get a response to that. The killing of

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farmers and fishermen. Can I get a response? Do not talk to me about

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radicalism... It is Zionism. It is big powers... You have made your

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point very, very strongly and we need to get a response. Who wants to

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respond to it? I have not mentioned any of that. I need a response. You

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will get a response but let's get a response from the other side. I

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think the rabbi wants to respond. There were a lot of accusations

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about Israel. Do you want to counter that? Sign he cannot deny it. If he

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denies it and he will be lying through his teeth. Sam Westrop...

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Can you let him respond, please? Can you let him respond? 150,000 killed

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in Syria, wasting time talking that the only free democracy in the

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Middle East. A smoke screen to hide from the real facts. In terms of

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casualties number since the Second World War, the Arab -Israeli

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conflict is the 50th most deadly. It is something to be horribly

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concerned about. What about the illegal settlements? And 150,000

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killed in Syria. This is precisely what Tony Blair was talking about.

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There are many other issues that need discussion will stop peace

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processes need resolving and complex that need stuffing. There is terror

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abroad and extremism in the UK. I will attempt to come back to you

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later on. Anyone in the audience want to make a point? Good morning.

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A quick point. We have got to go back to basics. Islam or Islamist,

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as I understand it, seeks to impose where it can, imposing Islam all

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over the world. Letting Alaa -- Allah rule the world. There are

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people who do not believe in Allah. I come from Nigeria. There is Boca

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around there. Politicians use them... It is politically motivated.

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They have said they want to impose jihad. Sorry, I mean, sharia, all

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over Nigeria. This is a key point. Is it about religion or is it about

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people using religion as a tool for power?

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This was an extremist idea in early Islam. A small group wanting to

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impose its thoughts on everybody. Aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood

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fall into that wrong thinking and it has to be challenged. Muslims are

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fed up of the politicisation and enforcing narrow and violent

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interpretations. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it

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feeds so much hatred and division around the world and radicalism. I

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have spent years as a committed Muslim. I know about these topics.

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We need a proper peace process. The Israelis are far stronger. It is

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unequalled. We need the international community to do far

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more. Tony Blair, the peace convoy, these two do far more to seek a just

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and lasting peace. We need to build. We need to build bridges. I

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am a patron and trustee of three different trusts -- charities

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building bridges. When you have decades of conflict and murder on

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both sides, hatred and grievances, it takes... Who is being the

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victim? I am not here to score points. But

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for the truth. Rabbi, you have been waiting very patiently and I know

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you have something to say. We want to hear.

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I think we always have to be careful to take it back to the individual

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human level. That is my interest as a rabbi, as someone who serves God

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and serves people and tries to hold God and people in the same thought.

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Every religion struggles with its interpretive tradition, has shadow

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sides and light sides, that is an interpretive process communities had

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to engage in. The more you create hostility, the harder this

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interpretive tradition will be. Everyone has a narrative, a story of

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pain, grief, anger. Of being evicted. I am not here today to cast

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judgement -- of being a victim. I stand here as a woman of progressive

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faith to demonstrate religion can be a force for good in the world. The

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louder the extremists shout, the more our voices are drowned out. It

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is time for people of peace and tolerance to stand up and raise

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their voice. Wait, wait. You talk about people in the shadows who are

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extremists, you don't want to be judgemental. Shouldn't you be

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judgemental about those people who are hijacking your religion,

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Christianity, Islam? Fundamentalist religions... I prefer to live by

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example. What is the point of shouting when you can build bridges.

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I work with Muslims, Christians, Jews, in real conversation, real

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social action. How do you stop them killing? At my level, by building a

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stronger civil society in which we can talk to each other and learn a

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civil discourse. It is all very nice what you're saying but the problem

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is the other people had to agree with you. You can't sit down and

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talk to people if they want to kill you, no matter what. They have to

:34:11.:34:15.

feel the same wafer that dialogue to work and some people do not want

:34:16.:34:22.

dialogue, want force. There are violent people who do want

:34:23.:34:25.

dialogue. You cannot ignore the violence. I am not ignoring it.

:34:26.:34:32.

There is a question of proportionality and what I can

:34:33.:34:37.

actually do. I am a rabbi, I worked with people of good faith, to

:34:38.:34:44.

alleviate real, pressuring issues in England -- pressing. What other

:34:45.:34:51.

struggles here in England, and in the world? Terroir 150 million

:34:52.:34:56.

children in child labour in the world. One last word?

:34:57.:35:06.

I am all in favour of dialogue. Are you? Not with that language.

:35:07.:35:12.

I can use whatever language I like. By the way, I am merely quoting

:35:13.:35:25.

other... Let her speak. She has spoken for a long time. We have to

:35:26.:35:34.

acknowledge. This is going to be a quick, last word, as I strive for

:35:35.:35:37.

balance. It is quick, last word, as I strive for

:35:38.:35:43.

impossible on this one. You are worried people call it, you say it

:35:44.:35:48.

is inevitably political, Islam. When you look at another illusion,

:35:49.:35:54.

evangelical Christianity, for example, elements within the

:35:55.:35:59.

Republican party, which has influence on foreign policy. Are you

:36:00.:36:02.

not as uncomfortable about that as others are about politicisation of

:36:03.:36:08.

Islam? Whether they are Muslim, Christian,

:36:09.:36:13.

Hindu, it makes no difference. No religion would want you to preach

:36:14.:36:19.

hatred or practice in justice, no religion would want you to kill one

:36:20.:36:26.

another. If anybody says they are, they have misunderstood God. I want

:36:27.:36:30.

that to be separated. Religion is a great framework to creating a good

:36:31.:36:34.

society. Individuals who go wrong, we need to stop them with dialogue.

:36:35.:36:41.

Thank you, all. Can I add to that?

:36:42.:36:47.

We are out of time. We have to talk about the Saints,

:36:48.:36:49.

Saints preserve us. You can have your say about all this

:36:50.:36:59.

morning's debates, by logging on to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions, and

:37:00.:37:01.

following the link to the online discussion. Or you can tweet using

:37:02.:37:04.

the hashtag #bbctbq. Tell us what you think about our last Big

:37:05.:37:07.

Question too. Does Pope John Paul II deserve

:37:08.:37:10.

sainthood? And, if you would like to be in the

:37:11.:37:14.

audience at a future show, you can email [email protected]

:37:15.:37:17.

Next Sunday's show is a special on atheism, recorded here in York. But

:37:18.:37:20.

we are recruiting audiences for London on May 11th, Walsall on May

:37:21.:37:22.

25th, and Brighton on June 15th. This morning, millions of Catholics

:37:23.:37:35.

have watched on television and in cinemas around the world as Pope

:37:36.:37:38.

Francis canonised two of his predecessors, the liberal Pope John

:37:39.:37:41.

XXIII, and the more conservative Pope John Paul II. According to

:37:42.:37:47.

protocol, the usually lengthy process of beatification and

:37:48.:37:49.

canonisation should not start until five years after a candidate for

:37:50.:37:54.

sainthood's death. But, in John Paul's case, his great friend and

:37:55.:37:57.

successor, Pope Benedict, set the ball rolling within a month. This

:37:58.:38:03.

haste, together with the huge concern there has been across the

:38:04.:38:07.

world over the Church's handling of the child abuse scandal during John

:38:08.:38:10.

Paul II's papacy, have led many prominent and devout Catholics to

:38:11.:38:13.

question its wisdom. Does Pope John Paul II deserve sainthood?

:38:14.:38:20.

Sarah, I think you are going to say, yes, he does. What does it

:38:21.:38:29.

mean, becoming a saint? Is it an executive Clubcard! You cannot make

:38:30.:38:33.

a saint but you can declare a saint. The church recognises someone is a

:38:34.:38:39.

saint and the people of God are part of that. Said Anthony was made a

:38:40.:38:44.

saint within a year because it was so wouldn't he was a person who was

:38:45.:38:53.

extremely holy -- so evident. You are right, Pope Benedict did waive

:38:54.:39:06.

the five years. The Pope, it is said, only effected by miracle, when

:39:07.:39:19.

he placed a photo on the stomach of a woman and cured her illness.

:39:20.:39:24.

Before the 13th century, people were declared saint straightaway. They

:39:25.:39:31.

have put processes in place. That is useful. The important thing is, for

:39:32.:39:40.

instance, listening to this fascinating discussion about Islam,

:39:41.:39:45.

what did John Paul II do about this great tension between the religions?

:39:46.:39:56.

He called together in RCC -- Assissi...

:39:57.:40:03.

But bringing together people for discussion, that includes Russell

:40:04.:40:08.

Brand! To be a saint, you have to be dead.

:40:09.:40:15.

And a Catholic. God bless Russell Brand, he is still with us. You have

:40:16.:40:22.

to be a Catholic, in full communion of the church, to live a holy life

:40:23.:40:26.

as recognised by the church. There are many Saints, many we do not

:40:27.:40:32.

declare. Lots of people are in heaven interceding with us and

:40:33.:40:36.

praying for us. The church will name a saint because they have said

:40:37.:40:41.

something within the church which is important which we need to hear, and

:40:42.:40:45.

they are an antidote to the problems. John Paul II called people

:40:46.:40:53.

together of all religions to pray together, in Assissi. That was

:40:54.:41:01.

meaningful. We must ask this question. Why should someone who, in

:41:02.:41:09.

the words of the late Christopher Hitchens, consigned millions to die

:41:10.:41:16.

needlessly from AIDS. And believed, sexuality was intrinsically

:41:17.:41:21.

disordered and an ideology of evil. Why should someone like that deserve

:41:22.:41:27.

sainthood? John Paul II did not consign people

:41:28.:41:31.

to die of aids, even secular observers of serve where abstinence

:41:32.:41:38.

is preached, that is where AIDS goes down. Secular observers with

:41:39.:41:42.

excellent statistics observed it is not condom is that prevent AIDS. He

:41:43.:41:51.

preached people are infinitely loved by God and each individual is

:41:52.:41:56.

infinitely valuable. That idea went across his entire Pontificate. He

:41:57.:42:00.

welcomed Christ into economic structures, every area of life,

:42:01.:42:06.

because he had to show us that every single person, whether you disagree

:42:07.:42:11.

or not, is infinitely loved by God. That is a radical always. So,

:42:12.:42:19.

objectively disordered. , sexuality was seen to leading to an intrinsic,

:42:20.:42:34.

moral evil. --, sexuality -- homosexuality.

:42:35.:42:42.

It set back progress before Pope John Paul II. The truth is, it has

:42:43.:42:51.

made a negative impact on many Catholics, gay Catholics, their

:42:52.:42:56.

friends and families, if you look at questionnaires from the Synod of

:42:57.:43:00.

Bishops, most Catholics in Europe deplore that language and the

:43:01.:43:07.

message that sends out. Funny, as a Catholic, who happens to be gay,

:43:08.:43:11.

detracts from the Christian message of love and compassion -- For me.

:43:12.:43:21.

John Paul II reflected Internet love and tenderness in his teachings. I

:43:22.:43:27.

do not sexual ethics can be laid at the door of his teaching. There are

:43:28.:43:37.

other people want to bring in. He to respond?

:43:38.:43:43.

The issue of sexual ethics, the fact is many gay people felt they were

:43:44.:43:52.

being singled out. No one will tell a married Catholic using

:43:53.:43:58.

contraception that you will go to hell. But I have said -- I have had

:43:59.:44:05.

that said to me. The tone Pope John Paul II used, gave gay people

:44:06.:44:13.

grounds for discrimination. Some people interpreted it that way. That

:44:14.:44:19.

came from the Pope. We want to see him leading by example.

:44:20.:44:27.

There is the issue of children who were raped and tortured. Is there a

:44:28.:44:36.

stain on his reputation? There certainly is. To claim John Paul a

:44:37.:44:49.

saint less than two years after he died, is a scandal. He was in charge

:44:50.:44:57.

of an institution that covered it up, that failed to confront it and

:44:58.:45:04.

is still doing so. It still has two big dragged out of them. He was an

:45:05.:45:11.

extraordinary man, a great evangelist. He revolutionised the

:45:12.:45:15.

office of Pope. I wrote a book about him because he is an interesting

:45:16.:45:21.

man. In terms of his management of the Vatican, and particularly the

:45:22.:45:26.

child abuse scandal, I think it is unseemly, to put it mildly, he has

:45:27.:45:33.

been made a sensor quickly. Father... The first and last words

:45:34.:45:40.

out of any Catholic priest 's mouth about the child abuse scandal is, I

:45:41.:45:45.

am sorry and I am ashamed. Pretty much that is all I can say, apart

:45:46.:45:54.

from, I am not like that. However fast we, the higher article

:45:55.:45:58.

institution of the Church, acts, I do not think it will ever be enough.

:45:59.:46:13.

Is it a slur on his record? I would hope he has been made a saint today

:46:14.:46:18.

because of the man and not the office. I hope I do not create a

:46:19.:46:23.

false distinction when I talk about something which is really important.

:46:24.:46:27.

The key thing that, apart from having to be dead to be a saint, the

:46:28.:46:33.

key thing that most saints are is really flawed characters. Right from

:46:34.:46:37.

Saint Peter. I do not think there a single saint who was not a flawed

:46:38.:46:43.

character. You said earlier on that you think your granny is a saint. I

:46:44.:46:50.

am sure she is. I learned at school a saint was an ordinary person who

:46:51.:46:53.

did extraordinary things extraordinarily well. My grounded

:46:54.:46:58.

back. She is a saint for me. As Lord as she was, she pointed me in the

:46:59.:47:03.

right direction. I would like to think, she is dead and in heaven and

:47:04.:47:08.

I have a friend. I think that is what we get from all the saints. It

:47:09.:47:14.

is certainly true that all saint of flawed. Most of them had humility in

:47:15.:47:19.

common as virtue. The problem with John Paul was that when he felt

:47:20.:47:23.

strongly about something, which was most of the time, he was very

:47:24.:47:28.

uninterested in these views. He was quite an autocratic Pope. With the

:47:29.:47:33.

AIDS and condom issue in the developing world in the 1980s, he

:47:34.:47:38.

was not interested in the opposing arguments. Likewise, when the issue

:47:39.:47:43.

of women priests came up after the Anglican church voted in favour, not

:47:44.:47:48.

only did he disagreed but he stamped it out. He threatened many

:47:49.:47:54.

theologians with excommunication. He was autocratic. I have been thinking

:47:55.:47:59.

long and hard about what it means. We concentrate on John Paul II today

:48:00.:48:04.

because we remember him. He remembered the Iron Curtain coming

:48:05.:48:09.

down. Here is the thing. I have been trying to work out, one of the

:48:10.:48:20.

things they did in the church, at the same time, both people moved the

:48:21.:48:26.

Church into a position where it engaged with the world at large

:48:27.:48:33.

rather than stood against it. John Paul II started the second Vatican

:48:34.:48:39.

Council. They thought it would buy loot the power. When one of his

:48:40.:48:42.

staff asked him what he hoped to achieve, he said, maybe we will let

:48:43.:48:48.

a little fresh air in. I do believe that is what happened with the

:48:49.:48:53.

second Vatican Council. With John Paul II, he made the worldwide

:48:54.:48:59.

Church a small place. He went all over the place. I do think that

:49:00.:49:03.

means, and this is not to exonerate him, I do think that means, at the

:49:04.:49:09.

end of his papacy, the curious certainly ruled the roost. Sign a

:49:10.:49:24.

crowed the point about being made a saint, he has done good, a lot of

:49:25.:49:31.

good, but he has also done things which are not good. Child abuse. You

:49:32.:49:36.

can never get rid of child abuse but you can investigate it, once it

:49:37.:49:41.

comes about. The other point is, to me, the person who I feel should be

:49:42.:49:50.

a saint is to create lasting peace in the world. Who is that going to

:49:51.:49:57.

be? Do you want to say something? There is a lot of evidence to

:49:58.:50:02.

suggest the fact he has been made a saint is a disgrace. A disgrace? The

:50:03.:50:09.

sexual abuse scandal, which was in the paper for 27 years and the

:50:10.:50:12.

evidence would mount up over the years. He wilfully ignored such

:50:13.:50:17.

evidence, as well as lack of contraception in Africa. Do you

:50:18.:50:24.

think people died as a result of the papacy? Definitely as a result of

:50:25.:50:32.

his policy in Africa. Sign up 1.76 billion people have died abortion.

:50:33.:50:39.

-- 1.76 billion people have died from abortion. We cannot use people

:50:40.:50:43.

for economic reasons or sexual reasons. We have to appreciate that

:50:44.:50:48.

every person is important. It is about respecting people. Do you want

:50:49.:50:55.

to respond to the figures on abortion? The concept of dying from

:50:56.:51:01.

abortion. I thought you might want to respond to that. Generally about

:51:02.:51:08.

the sainthood, it is alien for Muslims. Do you respect John Paul II

:51:09.:51:14.

as a religious bigot? For what he has done, I have to object. If there

:51:15.:51:21.

are problems with what he has done, I have a problem with sainthood as a

:51:22.:51:29.

whole. There is no hierarchy. The moment you create summary as a saint

:51:30.:51:32.

can you create someone as hierarchical. To find God, do we

:51:33.:51:38.

need different tiers within our lifestyle? Should we not all have

:51:39.:51:43.

direct access to God? I am thinking, it does not sit very well with me.

:51:44.:51:51.

In heaven, is he at the top table? Definitely not the hierarchy. No

:51:52.:51:58.

backstage pass and all of that. I hope not. My Gran is at the

:51:59.:52:06.

communion of the saints. It will not do anyone else any good but I know.

:52:07.:52:14.

It is a level playing field. We are the way that somebody lived their

:52:15.:52:18.

lives. What we want from all people of faith, ultimately, is that their

:52:19.:52:23.

life somehow points towards God. Not in a perfect way. That guy or that

:52:24.:52:29.

lady, they pointed me towards God in some way? We want a quick way of

:52:30.:52:35.

understanding. Imagine your favourite film star and you are

:52:36.:52:39.

invited to a party and you get to meet them. You are a bit nervous and

:52:40.:52:42.

he had been a fan of those ages and you are going to meet them. They

:52:43.:52:46.

will be late in the party. At the party, there are lots of other film

:52:47.:52:51.

stars that you know you think, that actor was in that film and that

:52:52.:52:57.

actress. You up the courage and to find out... The point is, they tell

:52:58.:53:09.

you a story. With the Prophet Mohammed V made a saint? You have to

:53:10.:53:26.

be a Catholic, says Sarah. I will be with you in a minute. What do you

:53:27.:53:36.

make of this as a Muslim theologian? There is a phrase, the friends of

:53:37.:53:40.

God, and they are basically people who do good. An early theological

:53:41.:53:47.

text said all believers are Friends of God. I would include that to

:53:48.:53:50.

people of all religions and faiths who are good. Also, to humanists and

:53:51.:53:56.

others, who do not have a formal faith if you like but too good. Only

:53:57.:54:01.

God knows in the end who does good. The second issue about all of this

:54:02.:54:05.

is the issue of miracles. That is very interesting. The Catholic

:54:06.:54:11.

Church insists the three miracles or something. Our miracles within the

:54:12.:54:15.

laws of nature or do they break the laws of nature? Does God break the

:54:16.:54:22.

laws of nature? That is an interesting question. I do not want

:54:23.:54:27.

to be relativist. It is only Catholics who can become saints.

:54:28.:54:31.

There are lots of other people in heaven. We do believe that. That is

:54:32.:54:41.

a two tiered heaven, isn't it? Within the communion of saints,

:54:42.:54:48.

there are people... We are talking about saints and miracles. We honour

:54:49.:54:52.

our saints. It is part of our tradition, part of our faith. What

:54:53.:54:57.

is really interesting, when Pope Francis Kane, sorry, when Pope

:54:58.:55:01.

Benedict came in 2010, he spoke to the young people in this country and

:55:02.:55:08.

said, God wants you all to be saints. Hopefully I am speaking to

:55:09.:55:15.

some saints now. You have lots to say in the last debate. The missing

:55:16.:55:19.

picture from the legacy of John Paul is the political stance. That is

:55:20.:55:22.

something that was very unpopular with people over the world. He sided

:55:23.:55:28.

with the Reagan administration for a long period. That reflected in the

:55:29.:55:32.

negative policies in Latin America and the Middle East. That picture

:55:33.:55:37.

must be mentioned when talking about him. He sided with the Reagan

:55:38.:55:44.

administration. It was at the time of the Cold War. If you listen to

:55:45.:55:51.

the speech is by John Paul, he saw the horrors that were going on. When

:55:52.:55:56.

he spoke to them, he shook them up. He said, you the powerful, you allow

:55:57.:56:02.

these wicked conditions to carry on. It is not just, it is not human. He

:56:03.:56:08.

was no great fan of the liberation theology is. Many were radical. He

:56:09.:56:16.

empathised with the suffering. He went to 104 countries to be close to

:56:17.:56:23.

the suffering. Although he sided with the Reagan administration,

:56:24.:56:26.

particularly with the fall of communism, he condemned the first

:56:27.:56:31.

Iraq War and was generally quite anti-war. He was not really corkage

:56:32.:56:36.

on the Middle East. He was in the war against communism, which he

:56:37.:56:45.

helped with. He did very little for the Middle East and Latin America.

:56:46.:56:57.

He took sides. I do not think it is fair to say that about Reagan. In

:56:58.:57:05.

the Jewish tradition, we teach that anyone who is a good person, whether

:57:06.:57:09.

Jewish or not Jewish, can get to heaven, and we are judged by our

:57:10.:57:13.

deeds. The important part of this discussion, I'm not going to go into

:57:14.:57:19.

the details of religious policy, but the important aspect of this

:57:20.:57:22.

discussion is, what is the role of religion in a modern world?

:57:23.:57:28.

Progressive Jews read our texts, our biblical texts, in such a way as

:57:29.:57:32.

they should be liberating. That includes taking a public stance

:57:33.:57:37.

towards gender equality. The Scriptures and the Bible, it says

:57:38.:57:44.

very clearly, not by mites, not by power but through my spirit. That

:57:45.:57:50.

could be a continual impulse of religion. We only have maybe 20

:57:51.:57:56.

seconds. What would you like to say on this auspicious day? He gave us

:57:57.:58:02.

hope. He said everyone is valuable. He said two women, your hour has

:58:03.:58:07.

come. You are called to humanise the world as women. Not by being men but

:58:08.:58:12.

women because you are absolutely special. Priests had a spiritual

:58:13.:58:16.

fatherhood and each of you is a spiritual mother, whether you are

:58:17.:58:21.

single or married. He said that God is alive in all of us. God is alive

:58:22.:58:26.

in all of us. She is more bored than you. The debate will continue

:58:27.:58:32.

online. We'll be back from York next week. Thank you for watching.

:58:33.:58:38.

Nicky Campbell presents moral, ethical and religious debates live from Manor Church of England Academy in York. Questions include is Islamism the biggest threat to the modern world and does Pope John Paul II deserve sainthood?


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