In Stephen Colbert’s Hot Seat
Father Martin is the author of several books, the latest of which is called "The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything." His bestselling memoir "My Life with the Saints" was named one of the "Best Books of 2006" by Publishers Weekly. He also wrote "A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas and Life's Big Questions," which was named one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of 2007."
Question: What’s it like being a regular on The Colbert Report?
James Martin: Sometimes you’re on shows where people are aggressive or are confrontational and it’s important to remember to always to be charitable because you know when I’m talking it’s not just representing me or talking about my book. I’m also for better or worse representing the church and so if I come off as being argumentative or mean or snappish or whatever then people will say look, the Catholic church you know once again you know they’re being whatever, so charity is the first thing and I sometimes get nervous about the topics that people choose to bring up. You never know what they’re going to bring up, but on Colbert it’s a lot of fun. I mean he himself is a Catholic, so I know that he understands what I’m talking about. He is funny. One of the great challenges of being on that show is just not laughing. I mean he is so outrageous sometimes and so unpredictable that the things he says just make me laugh. One time I was on and we were talking about the recession and how people find God in the midst of difficult times and I said that we’re sometimes more open to God’s activity in our lives when we’re more vulnerable, which is true because you know when our defenses are down we can let God in more easily, which happens when people are sick or when they’re you know going through difficult times and he said, “You make God sound like an opportunistic disease.” And I thought I guess I do, but it was hard not to laugh because it was so silly, but yeah, I really enjoy being on the show.
As one of the show’s regulars, the priest talks about what it’s like behind the scenes.
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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