'This Week' Transcript: God and Government


KELLER: Yes. And -- and, certainly, it contributed to the -- what we just went through. I've seen it and I've -- I've actually told people if you -- if you put things in perspective, you probably won't make as much money, though you might. You might -- you will not probably rise as high on the ladder. You ought to be giving more time to family. You ought to be giving more time to relationships, to God, more time to the poor. But you're also going to be way happier in the long run. And many people are listening.

AMANPOUR: You talk about polarization between left and right. It does seem to be extreme, at the moment, in the United States politically, socially. Is there any hope that that can change, do you think?

KELLER: It will start if we stop demonizing each other. I -- my -- my -- my elderly mother once said that up until about 15 years ago, if you voted for a different person for president and the person you voted against became president, you still considered him your president. He said -- she said 15 years ago, that changed, that if you voted against that guy and he became president, you actually act as if he's illegitimate. And I'm not sure that is a big social and cultural difference. We -- and it really means the other side isn't really just wrong, they're kind of evil. And that's pretty bad.

AMANPOUR: I have to say that many would say the church plays into this highly acrimonious debate -- public debate, not all church, but certainly some parts of the church. What should the church be doing different?

KELLER: At the very least, we should be creating individuals who know how to talk civilly. The gospel should create people who say, I'm loved by God but I'm -- I'm a sinner. So there -- there should be a certain humility and graciousness about the way in which you talk to everybody. As an institution, most of the churches have lost a lot of credibility. So I think my job is to create individuals who can participate in civil discourse.

AMANPOUR: You're saying institutionally, the church has lost credibility?

KELLER: The mainline church identified with liberal politics, the Evangelicals have identified, at least they're identified in people's minds, with conservative politics. The Catholic Church has had the sex scandals. And so institutionally, each church has lost credibility. So I think it's our job as individual congregations to care for the poor, to produce civil -- people who speak civilly, to just serve our neighborhoods and serve people and be careful about speaking ex-cathedra, you know, about these great political positions on issues.

AMANPOUR: So the church should be less political?

KELLER: I think so. And I do. I personally think that the church, as the church, ought to be less concerned about speaking to politics and more concerned about service.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much indeed. And up next, the battle on Capitol Hill and in state houses around the country. The issues are complex, and today our question is where does faith fit in? Our special Easter Sunday roundtable tackles that one when This Week, God, and government continues.

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