'This Week' Transcript: God and Government


AMANPOUR: You are a Muslim. You have been on President Obama's interfaith-based reach out panel. Many of the Catholics in this country had set a standard for charity in the - in the early days. And I know the Muslim community looks at it as well.

What sort of examples do you think your community is trying to get for themselves in this regard?

PATEL: Well, my son goes to Catholic school. And this being Easter week, we're talking a lot about Jesus. And Muslims have a different theological view of Jesus than Christians do. But what we share with Christians is the idea of Jesus as a messenger of mercy, as an exemplar of mercy.

And the good Samaritan story is a perfect example of this. That the good neighbor, the one who achieves eternal life in the story, is the one who is a mercy upon the traveler stranded by the side of the road. That's the conversation I'm having with my son right now.

LAND: And Jesus is also a truth teller. And some economic systems work better than others. India and China have alleviated far more poverty since they abandoned communism and socialism, and adopted capitalism than they ever did or would have under socialism or communism.

ROBERTS, C.: I don't think we've got anybody here who is against capitalism.


LAND: ... but it's - you have - you have diminishing returns.


SHARPTON: ... Jesus always challenged the rich. This is the Jesus that told the rich man to give to the poor. There's no record anywhere in the gospels where Jesus didn't always challenge the rich.


SHARPTON: And I don't understand how people can come in his name and keep giving a pass to the wealthy...


LAND: I'm not arguing for giving a pass to the wealthy. What I'm saying is that if you - when you're - when you're - when you have confiscatory tax rates, and when you're taxing people at over 50 percent, that's close to confiscatory, then - then they do not create wealth.


LAND: They do not create wealth. I'm talking about state - federal, state, and local taxes.

ROBERTS, S.: How - how do you then say to your parishioners what are their obligations?

LAND: Right.

ROBERTS, S.: What as - as people of faith, when you preach to them, what do you tell them is their obligations from their moral traditions...

LAND: I'm - I'm glad you...

ROBERTS, S.: ... to deal with the poor?

LAND: I'm glad you asked that. First of all, we have a requirement, it's a moral requirement and a spiritual requirement to give 10 percent of our income to the church for charitable purpose, And the - and in the tax debates, the idea that we might eliminate the charitable deduction as a way to save money, it seems to me is not cutting off your nose to spite your face, but...


LAND: ... it's cutting off your head. Because we've been among the most - we've been among the most generous people in the world. And one of the reasons is our government has incentivized people to give, and they give more when they give to what they want to give to.



ROBERTS, C.: That's absolutely right. I mean - and - and it is also true that the - the spirit of charity and volunteerism in this country is - is unlike any other place on Earth. So that there's a tremendous amount of - of personal commitment. The question then is what's the government's role...


Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...