Secretary Sebelius stirs religious debate
Marcia Segelstein and Rabbi Steve Burg discuss a rift that has formed inside the Catholic faith
- Duration 10:18
- Date May 18, 2012
Marcia Segelstein and Rabbi Steve Burg discuss a rift that has formed inside the Catholic faith
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This transcript is automatically generated
My entire life in public service.
That was the scene today at these speeds.
-- glad -- -- -- -- -- university gives you a lot of activities going on because a lot of protests and there's some.
-- -- and a lot of traffic congestion that has nothing to do the protests it's just a lot of traffic congestion over here but.
The protest video certainly something that we might have expected here because it's been a lot of controversy.
Over health and human services secretary -- of Bailey as.
Being the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony for graduates of the public policy institute here at George Washington had -- Pound university which is the oldest a Catholic university in the country and that begins the -- panel.
Topics and -- introduce rabbi Steve burdens of managing director of the union.
Of orthodox Jewish congregations of America and marches Eagles team that contributing editor of salvo magazine welcomed the about.
-- -- -- -- I have rev I want to begin first -- what are your thoughts basically about.
First of all.
Secretary -- Bailey is being invited to speak at Georgetown university for this honor really a platform at the commencement ceremonies.
I think it's great I think it speaks to our country I think it's amazing that you come down and share her views.
You know she is a Catholic and that -- sense -- university and people can disagree interviews but I think what's most important that is that were respectful.
And she can you know -- say what she -- but then others should be given the right to say what they think.
Now -- what do you think I wouldn't have been respectful.
I'm at Georgetown run and I would've been one of those doing.
And the -- -- rate it's she has a right to speak and a right to voice your opinion absolutely.
But -- I think that a Catholic university should have invited her to be speaker no I don't but Georgetown isn't much of the Catholic university.
You know -- -- I have to say I've.
What would happen if let's say an orthodox.
Institution -- -- Jewish institution.
-- it happens that a reformed.
Rabbi would -- had maybe perhaps controversial issues are controversial remarks has been invited to speak at any.
Commencement ceremony -- commencement festivities before a group of orthodox.
Would that have happened.
That's a great question I just I don't think that this exact exactly good comparison because.
We're not talking about philosophical reason you were talking -- an elected official.
And from our perspective we have such respect for America and the fact that we have such an incredible system here electing people.
And they happened you know it goes back and forth in terms of their religion but I think to a certain extent we have to respect elected officials we mean I agree with them.
But you know.
I mean I -- the president niceties but he's my president no matter what and I think the secretary -- cabinet.
You would absolutely find someone who we would disagree with -- -- elected official that we give them every every bit respect.
You -- what are the things that red in one of the Catholic.
Web sites is that that they believe the truth is -- war.
The church is at war with secularism.
And the whole.
Issue of Catholic identity.
Georgetown University Georgetown -- you say is no longer Catholic university you name it is in name but not in.
In its philosophy.
-- it is the church at war I think it's at war within itself I'm in and I think the Obama administration is reaching out to.
Those elements in the Catholic Church that are not traditional that don't really believe what the Catholic Church teaches I think the Catholic Church is at war -- -- itself.
And you know -- there was also one thing that -- you know.
And perhaps rabbi you think -- win this is while even though this is not part of your face but the issue of communion and one of the congress is about Kathleen as of aliases -- her own bishop in Kansas I believe.
-- all recommended her that she stay away from communion because of her position on abortion and same sex marriage.
-- it as a rabbi do you think that's just strange or would you agree with.
It is not for -- to judge you know -- what's in his heart and what his thoughts are in his approach you know again my approach is always there when it comes elected officials I don't know necessarily that.
It's it's fair to kind of hold about the same standard they're running the country there is separates church and state and for the most part that's a good separation.
Sometimes -- -- these overlaps and that's when he gets tense and we have to debated.
But I can say that there are many Jewish officials.
That may take positions elected officials and take positions contrary to orthodox Jews but they're welcoming our synagogues.
But isn't there a difference and I don't want to both -- weigh in on this but isn't there a difference between.
Inviting a good person who does not share -- the school's official position on certain issues.
Isn't there a difference between my efforts to pass an open form a speaker is sort of forum over a period a few weeks rather than.
Giving them a platform at one of the most.
Auspicious events in the calendar of the school there's going to be a difference between those two rabbi do you think.
I actually hear you saying and I'm I'm sure they're making them feel that way it's tough for me -- I'm just I grew up.
I would the United States of America and we just view but you -- see where we were oppressed and so many different countries and I'm so thankful for what we have here.
That it's tough for me to see a situation in which a secretary is secretary in the cabinet.
Should not be at that at that place again if you want to protest respectfully I think that's it's up to them but.
I think for elected officials.
You have to be -- -- -- long strong.
No I want to play AM some of the speech my.
Secretaries of alias and all of her speech he never will she kind of took it confused I don't think -- but -- references perhaps is the religious freedom and and how that quite we'll continue.
But here's some things -- said to the graduates you know -- that she draws on her experience.
For them as they walk or take -- listen.
So my first help for you today is that you hold on to that commitment to work for the common good.
And if you let that focus -- you you'll never go off course.
That -- -- want to ask you.
Did you read anything into that in terms of what she's facing.
As these architect of president Obama's health health care bill.
It's hard to say and then there's nothing wrong with encouraging people to work for the common good I think pretty much everybody can agree.
That that's -- a good thing.
But that definition of the common good it is is up for debate and hurt definition -- the common good probably differs with my definition of the common good.
And -- your previous point about whether you know her being invited there in the first place.
And Georgetown was clearly sending a message.
That they were going to go their own way.
That they weren't that they were it was a protest in a way and and there have been petitions and that.
You know cafe in newspapers and whatnot have come out -- been editorials.
Criticizing Georgetown for doing this.
They were sending a message the message was hurt and people are.
You know talking -- about it.
It's interesting because the president of Georgetown University issued a statement.
That basically said it it is inviting her.
And you know as a public official but more or less and that they -- associate themselves with any of the views that would be contrary.
To the Catholic.
For his position but on.
As the dean other public policy institute.
The school gave his introduction to secretaries of alias he applauded her work all of the health care bill.
I don't think there's any mixing and matching -- what the intent was is that they were actually supporting what her positions work.
Can you could ever separate those two in terms of you saying we -- associate -- anything that's.
Controversial of the Catholic church and at the same time the dean of the school.
But we applaud her work on the health care bell.
It's absurd it's ridiculous they're being a flame thrower I mean -- -- trying to generate controversy as a sit there trying to.
Assert their independence from Catholic Church.
They're just a political independents they'll do what they want to do it no one can tell -- what to do.
They were making a statement I don't disagree that a public official.
Should be allowed to express his or her opinion but they -- isn't the point.
They were making a different point they were offering her -- platform they were in effect.
-- supporting what she was let her her her her stance and and the introduction -- that you just mentioned makes it even clear.
-- -- -- Think about that because even front you know -- -- you could say that there's there's a disconnect when you say we dis associate with the views of the cap and anybody who disagrees with a Catholic Church.
At the same time.
In the introduction actually applaud her work.
Is it some time to sit disingenuousness about.
Now look at this whole thing is -- accomplishing tasks you will now I think the president of the university made the right statement saying that this is not sufficient respect him and you know when -- -- that work but I mean when has this the question you know there was a lot of work done you know can someone.
Agree with 95% of the work -- -- a few points.
I'm that they don't think -- -- and still applaud the work.
You know we're we're reading a lot into it and that you do we may be right we may be wrong but that's the question really you can -- Can I look at something and say I like 97% of this and not a 100% and in religion many times it's complicated because.
3% can throw off the -- 100%.
And I think that's given taken this in and I think that's what the religious community is so concerned about is that there are certain points in this bill.
I and -- minor and we can say it's only one point here one point there but in the totality of the bill that really affects it.