What happened to morals?
Dr. Jeff Myers and Marium F. Mohiuddin take a look at recent events through the lens of religion.
- Duration 17:37
- Date Apr 20, 2012
Dr. Jeff Myers and Marium F. Mohiuddin take a look at recent events through the lens of religion.
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This transcript is automatically generated
Welcome back to a spirited debate.
-- the investigation into lavish spending by the general services administration of the GSA why didn't.
And -- beyond the 800000 dollar conference in Las Vegas.
New claims against the administrators that his wife had a role in the entire mass.
But college begins -- that -- panel debate joining me from Dallas is just miners president of summit ministries.
And joining me from Los Angeles Merriam -- -- communications director are coordinator rather for a Muslim Public Affairs Council what -- about.
Thank you -- going to be with you have.
Thank you for -- -- -- wasn't it well you're welcome you know this interesting atomic frustrated because it's really about in economy ethical issues and moral issues.
That from a religious standpoint you know all have a religious base in here you've got the GSA administrators.
In it in in trouble.
-- Being being a spendthrift and to -- -- and doing things that are really not ethical -- moral.
Or is showing a culture of of that lack suspending sort of you know sort of -- it is a kind of spending -- ideas -- and gentlemen start with you just your spots on my moral ethical standpoint what is this saying.
Oh listen Lauren this is a huge issue because I think they saw -- commercial that said what happens in Vegas that -- in Vegas.
Hey hey don't realize that -- -- hot true.
If you work for the government because you are accountable to the people who are paying for that.
In the same way that in a corporation that shareholders are the ones paying for that the number of lavish conferences and so forth has declined dramatically over the years because nobody.
-- companies can make the case anymore that you should be able to spend freely like that it is somehow going to help the company but listen.
It's a very different thing you know I know a lot of speakers out there they might charge 50000 dollars or 75000 dollars to come and speak.
But if sales bump up by just point 1%.
That -- millions of dollars of additional sales for the can easily justify that additional expense the difficulty for the GSA -- they have nothing comparable they have nothing.
That comes out of an event like this and so it's it's you know it's righteous anger I don't know anybody who is defending the GSA at this point but it does come back to the question of what are the proper uses of government funds and should we have better control of that I hope that this really -- Americans -- Day.
-- memory what do you think what it in -- First impression of the situation from just a religious standpoint religious person what it what is your impression.
Well I completely agree that I think Elena comes out has come out of spending it it's really.
What happened there and you're right what happens in Vegas date with season -- but the idea that.
All of this money all the taxpayer dollars have been going to this is lavish spending at time when.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Inexcusable and I hope that does wake up people to.
What is going on what needs to be fixed -- not happen but I don't know because it is an isolated event I mean we just don't know -- I hope that this.
But then and I can imagine is there they are looking into this and investigating it and where is coming from what's happening but is one that.
Is -- about the leadership is about what's the culture and is -- it is culture needs to be changed.
Data heavy -- -- larger point because one of the things that it will come out about this is -- the then in general -- Administration General Services Administration is actually what does it actually do because and Jon -- is -- funny -- Their mission is to exemplify efficiency cost cutting a -- they -- they.
Could a best -- be expressed by a lavish 822003.
De Las Vegas conference.
So when you understand that -- that they reflect this this is what their job is it wasn't like they didn't know.
That you know being frugal about spending was their job and yet they could do this and I'm wondering.
Does this bode ill for the entire administration you've got fast and furious you've got.
You know -- and the other issues with the Secret Service we'll talk -- it later but I mean.
Doesn't bode ill for the entire administration does is just something that's not quite right here.
Jeff what -- you go -- I don't think it art yet -- -- -- had.
Well I'll just -- they don't think it's.
-- to blanket the whole administration with these instances I think it is very important as is happening and it has been a lot of reports on this and what's going on a special -- with Secret Service as well.
I don't think that is just the administration I think there is a culture within inches of entitlement that what we can do with money and a lack of awareness that.
There is it.
Could -- repercussions for your actions I I don't.
He's very unfair to label as administration -- of a more as.
This is something that we as taxpayers need to be aware of that we need to be out there and monitoring and be much more aware of where our armed government money is going -- Jeff that very reason why I hear -- -- thank.
No well you know what I'm not I'm not surprised but I I would put a little bit more emphasis on what the administration should do I think because people.
The president sets a tone right we talk about the idea the president having a bully pulpit the president needs to stand up and say.
Knock it off and I want you to come back and you know in our organization we have -- 32 full time employees sixty part time employees.
And we recently came back and said okay we've got to find some ways to save it's we just need to be sure that we're spending money as wisely as possible because it's not our money.
It's somebody giving this money to us.
Because we're nonprofit organization I think the government needs to have the same attitude and it does start from the top.
The president needs to take the responsibility and say I am setting a tone here in Washington somehow the people to GSA and maybe in other places -- thought they -- get away with that because the White House might not be watching he needs to make sure he lets them know.
Everybody's watching now and we're going to be very very careful about how we spend money I think we're gonna be shocked -- the millions or even billions of dollars that are being wasted all of the time and just we just weren't thinking.
About it down there and we knew a lot more -- to come out about this let's go to the second topic here because the kind of goes along with what we're talking about.
This Secret Service prostitution scandal -- top lawmaker predicting.
More firings would follow the forced ouster of free agency employees in New York State representative Peter King says he wouldn't be surprised quote.
If you some more dismissals and more being forced down sooner rather than later king is being updated on the investigation by Secret Service director Mark Sullivan.
So how will this affect president Obama's image you know.
Granted it is.
These -- employees that are not.
Appointed they are hired so it's he may not be directly involved but.
Merriam so how does -- bode well or ill for it on the president and his administration.
Well I mean I think it comes out of the -- of TSA thing -- that -- our money going what's happening within.
The employ our government employees.
At their acting and think that they can be paid in this way and that it it's okay that.
And I this is not a moral judgement on this agents and what they've done -- -- it is that is between them.
And -- god and their spouses and what they want to do is the idea that they are there -- hired to protect our president.
And I understand that these agents were not the ones who are part of especially unit our special -- they're the ones where they're in.
In Colombia and if the idea that this is it doesn't.
How there was a lot of president's going to be how his how he -- afterwards I think people have been thinking he's been -- little bit too lax on it and I think that's gonna come down to more scrutiny.
And a little bit more tightening of his -- -- I'm doctor Marc was talking about -- Jeff what do you think.
Well I think you know a lot of people say things like hey what you do in your off hours is your own business.
This does not apply with somebody uses Secret Service agent this is really serious.
You're looking for the kind of people with the stability.
And fortitude and faithfulness.
That they can be trusted even if they are even if there in a difficult situation emotionally to protect the president.
You're looking for actually for virtue and I know that's not a popular thing to talk about but that's really what it what it comes down to you've got to have virtuous people.
Who are faithful to their spouses and faithful to the president and so forth and so I think you're looking for a certain kind of person there and I now we're realizing that we're not looking for the sort of person who -- is the fine distinctions between whether prostitution is legal and whether it is moral.
It's in the you're looking for a person who transcends -- entirely but what bothers me -- about this is the group think that was involved.
This whole lot of man and a lot of problems yet you would -- -- there.
I don't want her religious you know and says no yeah eleven -- we're not talking about one bad apple here eleven of them are actually being investigated he got -- when he when women.
We're also being looked at if this -- one guy -- -- a bad apple end of story but this is eleven it does talk about perhaps a little -- -- -- But that's what it is -- it brings up that idea that this is more.
This is about a culture that's being set there and I heard an interview recently -- the former CIA agent was like who said boys will be boys I think that's a horrible.
Attitude to have to -- agent that they can do these things I mean if he -- -- -- Horrible but the idea that it's.
Read in this culture and I think that's what the real issue here is that.
We need to analyze and look at what are we doing with our agents are agencies to that they can have the sense of entitlement that they can do this kind of stuff.
On the clock on the job and think it's okay.
Yeah you know I know I wanna say go back to because we're looking at these guys is if they should know better and that they don't but you -- about a hundred GSA's story because one of the things they talked about.
Is other dozens of items -- stolen items a Leslie from the agency including -- that showed that.
-- new -- daughter.
Was downloading songs from one of the iPods so while it it shows that perhaps.
There was an attitude that.
Is there that they're growing -- whether they're they're transferring that information to transfer that sort of culture down to.
Of the younger generations and it's OK you know it's not bad and I think one problems that we've not -- you're seeing that young people see.
-- -- -- -- -- You know bending the rules a bit and it's OK Jeff what do you think about you you -- -- lung people on.
I I work with thousands of young people every year and I've got to tell you it is critical all the adults we bring -- to work with them we want to be absolutely certain are setting a high standard.
Of American -- say they believe there are no absolute truth now contemplate that for a moment.
They are really struggling through whether there is such a thing -- morality and it.
And our summit program we really dig in and talk about that the significance of virtue but also the fact that.
Absolute truth really does exist and it does transcend time and it does transcend culture.
You can't just because your dad works for the government download songs off was I -- I patter of potter whatever she was doing I -- like -- the story there but.
You can you understand the point right I mean that.
We have to be able to say to young adults there is a standard you cannot violated there are things that are right there are things that are wrong it's not just whether your boss for your dad -- mom is going to get mad about it that determines whether it's right or wrong.
Yes and and -- this is one thing that I think all religions can kind of come together on is that I mean no matter what religion is out there I don't know of any one of them that actually.
It and you know would would would agree your firm or -- -- stealing or doing a lot of these things is what is is okay.
Right I mean your writing.
This is completely -- has all -- all faiths across the board.
It comes back to who -- your role models and where you're learning examples from it if your father is saying it's okay take his iPod which is from the government and to download it.
-- where you're getting your examples we are all raised by this and you -- to talk militant doctor Myers talked -- we also have.
A -- program to that guys use Susie -- obstacles and leadership training adult.
It's it's about the idea of where you -- you where you stand and what your bases on and it's it it's and I don't mean to be seeing the same thing over and over again but is that the idea of what culture and what it says examples are we setting where we what treachery are we on that we.
Have the sense of entitlement that we can do these things without any consequences or that we can have this kind of behavior.
Yeah -- -- what we also go to the next topic because.
And not quite sure this was gonna blow over or this one's going to just sort of you know fade away but that the southern Baptist convention's top public policy official.
He apologized for controversial comments he made about the -- -- on Martin case.
The New Orleans pastor who is expected to be the southern -- first black president has accepted his apology now but.
Will there and still be lingering effects of accusing President Obama stirring up racial resentment -- black votes now there are two issues here this is Richard Land he.
Is the president of the southern Baptist convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
He said on his radio show.
Quote they need that straight -- it was actually.
Critical of the Obama's ration or than civil rights of the leaders are saying you know they need betray my Martins to continue -- -- there -- the central -- Americans are racist and and -- evil nation.
But then it's always Selma Alabama circuit 1965.
This is what -- -- there's a -- program now that was bad enough but then today comes out that he.
Didn't sources which was the source was -- Washington times columnist Jeffrey who -- are now I'm not quite sure.
What the issue is if it is what he shed worse or what he.
Or that he said it without attribution Jeff what do you think.
Well I -- that's a tough question I don't know the whole attribution aspect of it.
I've been a lot of radio shows -- people have a lot of papers they're throwing around their reading things and so forth and it's a pretty chaotic thing.
And less it's a pattern of him you know regularly taking credit for other people's work I can save maybe that's a lapse in judgment but you know I know Richard Land I know him personally.
He's a very good man he really has worked hard for racial reconciliation in the Southern Baptist Church.
And I support all of those efforts I think the mistake that he made Lauren when I when I understand because I did look back at the transcript of it.
He really went hard after Jesse Jackson and after Al Sharpton.
Who were widely perceived as people who trade on race issues for fame and money and there have been a lot of documents and from liberal sources and from conservative sources about those two guys.
The problem is the trade -- Martin case is much bigger than that by focusing on those two men.
And how they -- kind of little -- Did so and one Richard Land did that I think he'd be didn't really understand that this is something that goes to the soul who we are as as Americans -- people see some really trade on -- Getting killed the pictures and images in their mind flood back -- and it becomes apparent that we really have not.
Have this racial war it's not over it's just that a cessation of conflict in their flare -- at various points in time that we need to be sensitive to it really deal with and he did apologize for his remark yeah his apology was accepted so I think probably this is something that's going to go away.
He'll just be a little more careful but I really would not want to reflect on his character because he's a good man very Smart got a lot of great things for the southern Baptist.
-- what do you think yes -- it.
He's a good -- -- -- -- very inappropriate comments I mean you can't -- and of the Rockies -- meet -- of the Saddam baathist.
Baptist Church I don't I'm not admonishing the -- him for what he's done.
-- I did that I think that reverend leader who is going to be the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention is.
Has forgiven him for his comments.
But it is inexcusable that the idea that he thought even exist that you could say that people are using -- That the tragic death of this -- young boy to you.
To talk about race relations -- the idea is that these things still -- that we take tackle them head on.
And he needs to come to and understand that in a position of leadership.
You can't make those comments or even have those thoughts if he's a man of good character Ganassi and I do I'm not I don't I don't know I.
And I take care worked on doctor Meyer is the idea that why -- -- -- something like this if you've worked towards racial reconciliation between these kind of comments -- not becoming out of your mouth.
You have the understanding of where we stand as a nation next week will be -- LA riots twentieth anniversary.
And at this time it shows that we're still not a place this nation where we eat.
Can afford these kind of mistakes -- these kind of comments from our leadership.
We should be coming together because there's still -- -- that -- to be addressed that this hasn't gone away -- and -- -- -- started -- causation if I can just -- You added if this is a bigger issue of the attribution -- -- bigger issue -- comments.
I think the bigger issue is that the comments -- -- attribution as a former journalist I understand but.
The idea that there is he's even saying that.
But because it didn't just directly come from him we understand though that this economy is now only just -- let -- but -- south of the larger.
A larger you know -- as -- I -- this was.
Jeffrey cooter from The Washington Times this is not only a small you know local wags someplace I mean so.
The fact that it's in -- -- of people like that means it's out there are a lot of people kind of probably have a lot of is that it gives me -- I want to thank you very much though because we have to take a break right now wrap up the palette thank you belt.
Jeffrey and Jeff byers president some of those ministries thank you so much.
And a -- and dean thank you very much for being here I really appreciate you both being on the -- panel to thank you.