May 7, 2001
Guests on this program were:
Christopher Titus Steve Harris Lori Cole Nnenna Freelon
Panel Discussion Ladies and gentlemen, the star of "Politically Incorrect" -- Bill Maher! [ Applause ] [ Cheers and applause ]
Bill: Thank you very much. All right. Thank you. What a sweetheart panel. She is a conservative commentator and the Executive Director of "The Eagle Forum," Lori Cole. Lori. [ Cheers and applause ] Nice to have you back here. Thank you. She is a three-time Grammy nominee and the winner of the Billie Holliday award. Her new jazz cd is "Soulcall," and she is Nnenna Freelon. [ Cheers and applause ] Hello there, young lady. What a pleasure. Thank you. He is one of the litigious stars of ABC's "The Practice," Sunday nights at 10:00, and the film "Minority Report" opening this year, Steve Harris. [ Cheers ] How are ya? Glad you made it back. [ Cheers and applause ] And he is the hot rod star of his very own show, "Titus," Tuesdays at 8:30 on another network, Christopher Titus. [ Cheers and applause ]
Bill: What did you say? You got something caught in your throat?
Christopher: Yeah, I had a Fox, Fox. [ Laughter ]
Bill: It could have been worse. All right. You know, it's Monday, and that's depressing enough. But I have to agree with George Bush, and that's really a bad way to start -- I know. [ Laughter ] It bothers me, too. But last week, it was in the news, that his education package -- I thought we were done talking about the President's package -- [ Laughter ] -- Was making its way through Congress. And George Bush is for being able -- for the teachers and principals to swat their little kids in the ass. And I agree 100%. They call it -- [ Applause ] Yeah. And they didn't realize this, but they -- it said it in the paper -- it's still legal in 23 states to swat the little bastards -- [ Laughter ] -- In the ass when they act up in school. Mostly in Southern states they call the "belt belt." [ Laughter ] I think that's funny.
Christopher: I believe mental abuse is so much more effective. [ Laughter ] And where does it stop? My dad use to just take my teachers aside and just give them advice on how to take me out. "He can't go to his left. Get him." [ Laughter ]
Lori: This isn't going to work, though, unless the parents are there to reinforce that. If they don't do this at home, then it's not going to be supporting. You can end up with a lawsuit.
Bill: But the problem is that the parents don't discipline the kids at home. Here is the most startling statistic I found in this. 31% of high school principals last year were involved in litigation. In other words, the teachers try to discipline the kids. The kids say, "Well, my mom and dad will sue." And then they do.
Nnenna: The parents are the ones, they need a spanking.
Bill: They certainly do.
Lori: I just recently read that, in another country, they're allowing kids who get into trouble and are disruptive -- the father gets a day off from work to accompany his son or daughter to school. And every time they get in trouble, the father is there to discipline the child. And it really has to have the parental element to it to be effective.
Christopher: But at point, will these people learn to operate in the real world. I also believe it should go the other way. If we open that law, let's do it -- if my kid's test scores are 30% below normal, I should be able to challenge his teacher to a moi-taw battle to the death. [ Laughter ] Let's go -- let's go the teacher -- and it goes both sides. And I tell you what. If my kid knew -- if my kid knew that he was going to get his butt paddled every time he didn't do what he was suppose to do, I think he'd start doing what he's suppose to do. [ Applause ]
Nnenna: I think that's a great theory, but I'm not so sure.
Steve: Yeah, I think so, too. I think you also have to have though, there has to be school. School is the process of learning. And I'm actually behind the corporate punishment thing -- in agreement with George Bush, which, once again, amazes me.
Christopher: Yeah, I know, we're all kinda confused.
Lori: I'm for George W. Bush.
Steve: Slow down. [ Laughter ] It's not a great night for him. He had that one already, it was in Florida. But in school -- and we're talking about the parents, and that is their responsibility to take care at home. But right now, you got it in school. And they go to school from 8:00 to 2:00 and 9:00 to 3:00 or whatever it is. And in that environment, there needs to be order. They're there to learn and they're there to grasp what they can under that. And punishment --
Lori: But it starts at home. If they don't --
Christopher: But if it doesn't start at home -- but if it doesn't start at home, where are they going to get it?
Nnenna: Teachers have a job, that cannot be done in school.
Christopher: That's right.
Nnenna: A teacher cannot do what a parent is suppose to do. [ Applause ]
Steve: Exactly. But a teacher should be responsible for doing what he or she does in that environment, is what I'm saying. And in that environment, they should be allowed to be teachers, not what happens at home. I'm for that. Yes, of course I believe the parents got to do their job. But the fact of the matter is, whether the parents are doing -- the teacher doesn't know whether or not the parents are doing their job, and so the teacher still has to do his or her job.
Bill: The teachers do know, because they wind up doing the parents' job.
Lori: It's so many areas, not just this.
Bill: I think the teachers' biggest complainant is that they can't teach because they have to do discipline.
Lori: Discipline and teach them Sex Ed. And teach them self-esteem, feed them. It's not just about academics anymore.
Bill: Don't lump those two in together.
Christopher: Discipline with Sex Ed., I think would be good. [ Laughter ]
Bill: What's that?
Christopher: Discipline with Sex Ed., I think they --
Steve: Too much personal information. [ Laughter ] Keep that one to yourself.
Christopher: It's great to take the stand. It's really great to take the stand. "The parents got to do their jobs, it's all the parents." But you know what? The teachers have taken an oath to teach these kids how to live in the world and teach them how the world operates. Parents have to do that, too. When we're away from the parents -- and the parents are paying the bills and putting a roof over that kid's head, I think the teacher should have the right to deal with the kid. I'm not talking a board with a nail in it, unless things get out of hand. [ Laughter ] But you can't -- [ Applause ] You can't, seriously, deball teachers -- you can't. And that's what's happened over the last 25 years.
Nnenna: If you really want to give teachers some power, give them some money, okay? That's what they need. [ Cheers ]
Christopher: That's true. I agree with that. [ Talking over one another ]
Christopher: I've been raising a teenager since she was 15, we just took her in. And I gotta tell you, last year they had a thing called detainment -- not detention -- detainment. Now, detainment -- if you missed your class, they took you into the lunchroom and they had R.O.T.C. guys yelling at you for an hour. Guess what their attendance rate was? Huge. This year, they had a bunch of kids bust in -- they get so much money per kid -- they cut down all the expenses. They took all the money -- all of the detainment out, all the detention and stuff. Kids are going to the mall, they're going -- there is no -- they're not paying a price for screwing up so they continue to screw up.
Lori: In D.C., they just hand out little red cards -- attendance cards -- and say, "Oh, you really should be in school." They don't call the parents. They don't report it. They don't drag the kid off to school. There is no enforcement behind it, no discipline behind it.
Christopher: Right, so what are you saying?
Steve: Are you for corporal punishment?
Christopher: I need to know exactly where you're standing on this. [ Talking over one another ]
Christopher: I don't mind arguing with you, but if you confuse me, I'll fight ya. Let's go. [ Laughter ]
Lori: I'm for the parent being involved first. If they are the force behind it.
Bill: But you lumped in self-esteem with Sex Ed. like they're the same thing. Like they're both part of the same problem. Sex Ed. Is something we should teach. Sex is a part of life, I know that bothers you, but it is.
Lori: That doesn't bother me. That doesn't bother me.
Bill: But we should teach it to kids then.
Lori: We should teach them abstinence before marriage, that's what we should be teaching.
Bill: I knew that there was something that would bother me. [ Applause ] We should teach them abstinence? Let's teach them more unnatural things.
Lori: That's not unnatural, Bill.
Bill: Abstinence is not unnatural? [ Cheers ]
Christopher: You know what? She's 18 now. She's 18 now. And I got to say, you can't -- even -- it's easy to say. God, that stuff is so easy to say, but you're really out of line. No, you're crazy. [ Laughter ] You're mentally -- you can teach them anything you want, but the chemicals in your body that have been there for hundreds of thousands of years will come up, bubble to the surface. I don't care how many blue blazers you wear, you cannot hold those chemicals down. It's just the way it is. [ Cheers and applause ]
Lori: Now, if you were -- [ Applause ]
Nnenna: You do have to say what they can do. We say, "Just say no." But what are we saying yes to? We've pulled arts out of the schools. These kids are not in band. They're not in theater classes. They're not doing anything to empower themselves. I mean, what are we saying yes to? We should be able to say yes to something that empower -- empower young people.
Lori: It goes back to, parents have to be the fundamental force --
Bill: I'd rather have sex than band.
Nnenna: Sure -- sure you would. But if you really want girls, you have to play an instrument.
Bill: Oh, that's really what the girls wanted -- guys in the band.
Christopher: That's a really good point.
Lori: It all goes back to what you believe in -- the Sex Ed. or the self-esteem -- it has to start with the parents. They have to take responsibility for their kids. And they have to be involved in their education and in their lives.
Christopher: But they're not.
Lori: That's why we need responsible parents. I hope you, as a soon to-be father, are going to do this to your kid and not just expect the world to raise him.
Christopher: I'm not going to expect the world to raise him but that's my thing. You're talking about parents that don't do their job. We took a kid in, because her parents weren't doing her job. And we also gave -- we gave like -- I don't know -- some bunch of money for cameras to come into the school, because, same thing, the cut all the programs at the school. That's -- that's a -- actually Republican President problem now that needs to be handled.
Steve: Well, well, well, that's a long topic right there.
Christopher: Yeah, I know. [ Light laughter ] Hold me back.
Steve: But parents -- there are parents that are doing their job, and their child still has -- as a child, they have to learn the responsibility. That's what we're doing. We're actually training them to be better humans, better adults. There are some parents that are doing their job and their child is still acting up in school, as we all have done.
Bill: I gotta do my job. We'll take a break. [ Cheers and applause ] Gasoline prices hit an all-time high today. And they say they could go up to $3 a gallon this summer. Yeah. And to try and justify these prices, a lot of the stations out here are now putting in potted plants, music, selling muffins and calling it "gasochino." [ Laughter ] [ Cheers and applause ]
Bill: All right. I want to talk about this Charlie Ward controversy that was going on. I was waiting till the Knicks got eliminated, which, luckily, wasn't too long. [ Laughter ] I have a thing with the Knicks. They're my -- I mean, I've been rooting for them for 35 years, when I was a kid. But Mark Jackson goes like this when he makes a basket -- cross to thank Jesus. I noticed, when he misses, no Jesus. [ Laughter ] Charlie Ward --
Steve: That satan makes you miss.
Steve: That satan makes you miss.
Bill: Yes, satan makes you miss. Jesus always with the three-pointer from downtown. But Charlie Ward -- many of the teams have three or four players who are -- who are Christians -- serious Christians, and they meet. And Charlie got quoted in "The New York Times" magazine saying, "Jews are stubborn." Well, we all know that. [ Light laughter ] "But tell me, why did they persecute Jesus unless he knew something they didn't want to accept?" [ Light laughter ]
Christopher: First of all, when I go into --
Lori: Yes it does. If you -- look, you're taking issue with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, go through the whole New Testament.
Bill: Right, because we know God wrote that himself. And that's --
Lori: But the point is -- the point is, Bill --
Bill: I never got to the question but go ahead.
Lori: Go ahead.
Bill: I was going to ask, because then, after he said that, Allan Houston, his teammate, whipped out a palm pilot with the Bible in it. He has the Bible in his palm pilot.
Christopher: Carries it with him.
Bill: And he like went, "Okay." And then he proved what Charlie Ward said. He went, just like you did, "Matthew 26:7, there it is. They spit in Jesus' face." As if -- and this is my problem with the Bible. It replaces thinking. [ Scattered applause ]
Christopher: First of all --
Lori: That is not true at all. That is not true.
Christopher: First of all, when I want a major theological argument, I want to go to a NBA player. [ Laughter ] And I actually believe -- I actually believe that -- I think this year I'm going to have Mike Tyson do my taxes. [ Laughter ] Because, I think, it covers the whole spectrum.
Lori: But just because you're a basketball player or an actor, it doesn't mean you can't be a Christian at the same time. Now, he certainly wasn't tactful or discerning in his speech. He's talking to a reporter. That was not smart. But he was -- he was reflecting what is in the Bible.
Nnenna: There was a whole lot that was not smart about what he said. It had nothing to do with the reporter, in my opinion. You know, talking about -- talking out of school in that way, and you're saying, "As long as nobody heard it, it was cool."
Lori: Oh, no, I'm not saying that at all. But in terms of his comment about the Jews and the way they treated Jesus in the Bible, that is -- that's biblical. And even if you don't believe the Bible --
Christopher: But Batman also beat up the Joker, too. [ Laughter ] And if society goes down, 1,000 years from now, all they'd find is -- on the cover in a comic book store. Will an entire religion be based on comic books?
Bill: Of course it will. The Mormon religion is based on a dime store novel.
Christopher: No, the Bible -- I read the Bible twice, okay? I feel into a bonfire when I was 17, and I got very religious, and I still am. Actually, I believe in God most of the time. [ Light laughter ] Fire will do that, Bill. Fire doesn't play. Fire gets on you, you go, "I need to read something religious now."
Bill: But you recovered.
Christopher: I recovered. But, I also know the Bible breaks down to, "Don't be a [ bleep ]," basically. That's what it basically does. You read it, you break it all down -- I've read all the stories, I know it. It was written by human beings. "Don't be a [ bleep ]," you can't put that in a hotel room drawer.
Lori: It was the Holy Spirit who inspired those men to write those words.
Nnenna: Isn't it more important to deal with --
Christopher: We are inspired. She's inspired to sing beautiful jazz music, it's a religion basis. I'm inspired to write jokes and actually get people insight to the show. You know, to take the Bible literally -- by the way -- [ Laughter ] The Jesus thing happened a long time ago, when can we move on and actually have a paragon shift in society and actually move onto another level?
Lori: No, come on. [ Applause ]
Christopher: Don't say no. People are dying everyday.
Lori: That's right.
Christopher: People are dying.
Lori: We are they all going? Are they going to heaven or are they going to hell? It's all based on Jesus Christ.
Christopher: But that's the whole thing.
Lori: It comes down to that.
Bill: How do you know that? That is so arrogant to think that you know. [ Talking over one another ]
Steve: Do you believe in what He said? I'm sorry.
Lori: No, I believe in the historical document of the Bible. And that is the fact --
Steve: So you don't believe in what He said?
Lori: The fact the Jews did -- are the ones who crucified Jesus. They brought him to Pontius Pilate and said "crucify him." That is in John. Now I do not agree --
Steve: Do you believe what he said?
Lori: I do not agree with his statements of saying that Jews are stubborn and those types of statements.
Nnenna: Some Jews are stubborn. Some white folks are stubborn, and some black folks are stubborn. Folks are stubborn. [ Laughter ]
Steve: I'm stubborn as all get out. I stand accused. I'm stubborn, what are you going to do? Is somebody going to rough me now? No.
Lori: Well, no, then he was forced to apologize for making these -- that kind of statement.
Christopher: Forced to apologize.
Steve: But he listened to what he said, too. You say he was forced to apologize. He said it was taken out of context. Okay, great, we all say that when -- and sometimes --
Lori: But we don't know the whole story.
Steve: Exactly right. Sometime the media does -- but he apologized. And you said he was forced to apologize. He apologized because he listened, probably, to what he said, as opposed to just saying what he said. He might have had all the right intentions in the world, like you did today. And then when you listen to it, you be blasted -- [ Laughter ]
Bill: But the biggest issue is that when you think all knowledge is in a repository, this book that is sacred from God, it replaces thinking.
Lori: No, it doesn't though.
Bill: Of course it does. Everything comes down to what the Bible says. You act like it's a Bible. [ Laughter ]
Lori: Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I don't think. I come here, and I share my opinions, and I think.
Bill: You don't have to think, 'cause all the answers are right there.
Christopher: But wait a minute, at this point -- look, at this point -- at the time it was going on, this society wasn't what it was when the Bible was written. We need it for guidance. It still is a good thing for guidance. Parables, stories, fables. Like Batman comic books, "Be a good guy." No, I'm telling you.
Bill: Oh, please. [ Talking over one another ]
Christopher: No, Pinocchio was in a whale with Gipetto, too. [ Laughter ] Come on.
Lori: We're not talking about Charlie Ward anymore, we're talking about the Bible.
Bill: We are talking about -- [ Talking over one another ]
Christopher: We're talking about why people are killed, why violence happens, while someone is attacked because of some words they used. Words are just words, because they talked about -- this guy went after -- this guy said something about Jews, which, by the way, I think is just insane -- just insane. And by the way, the Jews still want to persecute him and crucify the guy -- what I'm saying is this -- They're still going after the guy a little bit. All I'm saying is that the Bible is a great -- it's a great book. It's a wonderful book, but it's a book.
Lori: But it's true. It's absolutely true.
Nnenna: But why attack this man when you should be attacking the problem of intolerance of person to person? [ Talking over one another ]
Lori: Intolerance. You're intolerant of Christians for believing.
Christopher: No, I am a Christian.
Lori: You're intolerant of those who read the Bible.
Christopher: No, I read the Bible. I'd be intolerant of myself. I'm telling you that this is a guy -- this is a basketball --
Lori: Those who believe in the book, in its truth, in its faith, you are intolerant of those. [ Talking over one another ]
Nnenna: It's easy to attack this man. It's easy to attack this man, because that becomes a lightning rod for stuff, when that's not the issue. If we spent the same energy working on being more tolerant of each other and working on being more open as individuals, that would be a good thing.
Bill: And the Bible does not help with that. [ Applause ]
Lori: Yes, it does.
Bill: It so doesn't. Exactly. [ Talking over one another ]
Christopher: "I have evidence right here, Jews are bad." That's what he did.
Lori: "Love thy neighbor and love thy enemy," that is what is in the Bible. How many would you like? It's all in the Bible.
Bill: Okay, I have to take a commercial, because that's my Bible right there. [ Cheers and applause ]
Announcer: Join us this week on "Politically Incorrect" when Bill's guests will include -- from "The Hughley's," D.L. Hughley, "Survivor" host, Jeff Probst, recording artist Eve, and from the country duo of Brooks and Dunn, Kix Brooks. [ Applause ]
Bill: All right, now, let's get back to this. We only have a couple of minutes. But we appreciate you standing up. I said -- the producers are worried about Lori. But she loves this. This is what Christians love. Like you said, an arena, all -- [ Laughter ] [ All talking at once ]
Bill: Hey, the seat of the church is the blood of the martyrs, I remember that from history. Okay, John Ashcroft, something of a Christian. "Newsweek" got ahold of a memo calling for seven stylistic preferences for letters from his office. He doesn't want people to use the word "Proud," because, you know, that's a sin -- proud. Like we can't say, "We're proud John lied during his confirmation hearings." [ Laughter ] No. Well, he did. He's a total liar. You know how government officials say "No higher calling than public service"? He doesn't want to use that phrase because there's no higher calling than You Know Who.
Lori: And what was the alternative? He said --
Bill: Wait a second. If he was a muslim, the FBI would be investigating him for fantasism. [ Laughter ]
Lori: That's ridiculous. You are turning this innocuous memo that John Ashcroft --
Lori: Yes, John Ashcroft never even saw the memo. It was written and out -- put together by a career bureaucrat -- unpreferable language.
Bill: Yes, John Ashcroft's.
Lori: Sincerely instead of most sincerely. Do not use first person. Here's how to refer to a widow.
Bill: You can't use "proud." You can't use --
Lori: Read the memo.
Bill: I just quoted the memo.
Lori: The memo mentions nothing about religion.
Bill: You cannot use --
Christopher: What if, in a high office, we put a druid and a wiccan in. [ Laughter ] And this memo came down, wouldn't you be going, "Whoa, whoa, whoa."
Lori: But what is it that they are going to say? Just because he chooses a certain type of word. I mean, the Bush administration -- yes, the create a few words every once in a while, but at least they know the definition.
Christopher: There you go. There you go.
Bill: I got to take another commercial. We'll be right back. [ Applause ]
Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher
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