Transcript: David Horowitz: 13 February 2008
Thom challenged David Horowitz about the removal of the President from William and Mary College by the political right - the very campus Thomas Jefferson attended. He asked him if the "political correctness right" has turned into a brown shirt movement? David blamed the left for the existence of the Christian Right, claiming there wasn't a Christian Right until Roe v. Wade became law. Thom politely reminded him that there's always been a Christian Right; they used to be called the Ku Klux Klan, and before that it was the Puritans hanging women as witches in Massachusetts in the 1600s!
Thom Hartmann interviews David Horowitz, 13 February 2008
[Thom]: Right now though, first, I wanted to bring on David Horowitz. He's the president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. And horowitzfreedomcenter.org his web site. And David, welcome back to the program. Great meeting you last week at CPAC.
[David Horowitz]: Thanks, Thom. Thanks for having me on. Since I'm a Republican let me say I think it was a conclusive victory. Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee.
[Thom]: I suspect you may be right.
[David Horowitz]: To deny him that would destroy the Democratic Party; it's not gonna happen. And I think that the most significant figure is not white males but white females.
[David Horowitz]: If you listen to Dick Morris, as I did, last spring, he said Hillary was a shoe-in for the presidency because she had all these single white females who were going to vote for her, come hell or high water, but you know, Obama is a charismatic leader.
[David Horowitz]: And you've got an emotional tie going which is going to sweep him certainly to the nomination. I think he's...
[Thom]: Yeah. He's certainly one of those once in a generation...
[David Horowitz]: I was rooting for Hillary because she'll be easier for Republicans to beat.
[Thom]: OK. And John McCain last night. I mean, your party is saying to John McCain, 'hey, get with the program here' by voting for, by voting for Huckabee it seems, even though Huckabee doesn't have any possibility of winning.
[David Horowitz]: Yeah, yeah, go figure.
[Thom]: Yeah. Anyway, what I wanted to talk with you about is Gene Nichol, the President of the College of William and Mary. This is the college that Thomas Jefferson went to. I mean, a long, long history of (a) being a college and (b) being a liberal in the Enlightenment sense college, resigned because the college board of visitors not renewing his contract, in part because of efforts, I'm not sure if you were directly involved with them, but certainly groups that you have, you would consider probably yourself aligned with. And I'm wondering has the political correctness right now turned into a brown shirt movement?
[David Horowitz]: Well, I don't think this is anything to do with the political correctness. You know, all you have to do, do people know what happened? I mean...
[Thom]: Yeah, let's
set it up.
[David Horowitz]: The college of William and Mary is, goes back before the Revolution, and it was an Anglican college that through the revolution became Episcopalian. There's a Wren Chapel. I guess it's named after Christopher Wren, who was a 17th Century English architect. And it was associated, I guess in its denominational days, with the Bruton parish. And there's a Wren Cross that the parish had and there was the Wren cross that on the campus, and in the 30s, they moved the Wren cross...
[Thom]: Into the chapel.
[David Horowitz]: Onto the altar of the chapel.
[Thom]: Right. And what this guy did, what Nichols said, is that he decided to move the cross out of the chapel so that Jews, Muslims, Hindus and other religious minorities would feel comfortable being part of the chapel. I've sat in a lot of airport chapels over the years. You know, I like to go in there and just sit and chill out a little bit, particularly before a long international flight or something. I enjoy that. I'll sit there and meditate for a half hour or something. And you know, there's no crosses, there's no Muslim symbols, there's no any symbols. There's typically stained glass.
[David Horowitz]: Right.
[Thom]: And it's a very all-embracing and welcoming feeling. And this is a college, William and Mary, that literally has students from all religious, you know, right down to animists, I mean all religious denominations and groups. What's wrong with not, you know, what's wrong with taking down the cross down in there and saying, 'everybody's welcome; don't
feel like this is just a ? thing.
[David Horowitz]: Well, airports are secular institutions of a very recent vintage. I mean...
[Thom]: So are colleges!
[David Horowitz]: Wait, wait, wait Thom. Just to get through the thought exercise. Suppose there was a Muslim university in America that dated back to revolutionary times and had a, you know, the Koran or something on the, well, they don't have altars, but whatever. And then some anti-Muslim or secularist or whatever you want to call it president comes in and says to make everybody feel welcome we're going to strip the last vestige of the heritage of this institution and take it away. There's nothing to...
[Thom]: Well, William and Mary
was not established as a Christian school.
[David Horowitz]: ... creating a chapel. I mean, it is a chapel, you know.
[Thom]: It is a non-denominational chapel. It's a non-secular chapel,
or a non...
[David Horowitz]: Wait a second, it's a chapel. It's still the Wren chapel. Why not create a prayer room or a meditation room, better, non-denominational, you know, build a bigger one? But leave, this is a symbol of a tradition that university...
[Thom]: Oh, come on David, this was just divide and conquer stuff, this whole 'Save the Wren Cross' campaign, you know.
[David Horowitz]: No.
[Thom]: It was lead by Newt Gingrich's policy director. This was a cheap political stunt.
[David Horowitz]: Now look, Thom, I could, if I had the time, I could sit, go up on the Internet, and I could take every person who was defending it and give them a political, of course, this is the culture war. But the way to back off from the culture war, you have to understand who the aggressor is, here. You know, this was a move against a, just a tradition. It was a standing tradition.
[Thom]: It was not a tradition; the cross had been there 30 years.
[David Horowitz]: The defenders said then, you know, we had the, you know, celebration of prostitutes officially supported by the university. You know, I happen to be...
[Thom]: That was something that he expressed his personal disapproval over but he said, 'hey, you know, if the students are going to do something, and they're going to make this decision...
[David Horowitz]: I know.
[Thom]: ... then Michelle Malkin gets into it and she decides to turn this into a political stunt.
[David Horowitz]: William and Mary is just culturally somewhat conservative. It would be like going into, of course Antioch doesn't exist any more or, you know, some left wing college...
[Thom]: Say Goddard, you know, where I was on staff.
[Thom]: No, this is a different thing. We're talking about religion. We're talking about the ability of people from all faiths to feel comfortable with that religion in that, you know, in practicing...
[David Horowitz]: Thom, so you're against the you're against Muslim foot baths in the bathrooms because they might offend a Christian or a Jew or an atheist?
[Thom]: Muslim foot baths, first of all, it's a side issue, because we're not talking about
the inside of the chapel.
[David Horowitz]: No it's not. It's very basic. You can't go around being offended every time somebody says, you know, has a ...
[Thom]: I'm not offended. I don't think anybody was. This wasn't a question about being offended. The offended guy was Newt Gingrich's policy director that the cross wasn't put up there. What this guy was doing was he wasn't offended by the cross, he was saying, "Let's make this place more welcoming to everybody including Christians.
[David Horowitz]: If leftists want to go around denuding the country of all its Christian symbols, it's going to...
[Thom]: Nobody is suggesting leftists, any body wants to denude the country of its Christian symbols.
[David Horowitz]: No, but the left has created the Christian right. There was no Christian right before Roe v. Wade. Why did the Christian right arise? Because of the assault on...
[Thom]: Come on David, the Christian Right used to be called the Ku Klux Klan. It was the Christian Order of the Ku Klux Klan. You know, they...
[David Horowitz]: Thom, Thom.
[Thom]: They were lynching in Jesus's name. You know this,
[David Horowitz]: Thom, Thom, Thom, Thom. You're better than that. Come on now.
[Thom]: You know that there has always been a Christian right in the United States and intolerant one. The reason that Ben Franklin left Massachusetts to move to Pennsylvania when he was 17 years old was because he was tired of seeing women being hung as witches. You know this.
[David Horowitz]: I mean, this is just lunacy.
[Thom]: No, I'm saying there's always been a Christian right in the United States.
[David Horowitz]: For two hundred years there were, you know, I went to school in the 1940s and 50s, I went to elementary school in the 40s. Every Wednesday we had an assembly and the teacher would come in and read a psalm. That went on for 200 years until 1964 when the Supreme Court decided that you can't do that in public schools.
[Thom]: We don't know that it went on for 200 years.
[David Horowitz]: The first...
[Thom]: We didn't have national school systems for 200 years.
[David Horowitz]: I'm trying to teach you something, you know.
[Thom]: It went on basically from the 50s.
[David Horowitz]: If you go around calling all members of the religious right Ku Klux Klanners, you will continue to...
[Thom]: I didn't say that, David. I said there's always been a religious right. You said it was created by the secular left. I said it started with the Puritans.
[David Horowitz]: If you continue to call, label, all Christian conservatives as Ku Klux Klanners, you will continue to fuel that movement.
[Thom]: I absolutely agree with you, and that's why I didn't do it. David Horowitz,
horowitzfreedomcenter.org, thank you.