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The Moral Case on Climate Change; Hate Crime Investigation Opened into Church Shooting; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 18, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: a deadly hate crime in a place of worship, nine African Americans are shot in church by a
white assailant in the American South while in Rome the pope himself issues an urgent call to love and life for our planet. The pope brings climate
change to every parish and every pulpit in the world, an exclusive joint interview with his key advisers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARDINAL PETER TURKSON, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE: .what is morality about if not about our conduct, our
decisions, our conscience and the choices we make?
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
Throwing the full weight of the Catholic Church into saving our planet, Pope Francis says that humanity has a moral imperative to care and
to act now, warning that doomsday predictions about climate change can, quote, "no longer be met with irony or disdain."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Pope Francis (through translator): This is our home. It's being ruined and damaged and it's affecting all of us, especially the poor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The planet, he said, is beginning to look more and more like "an immense pile of filth." His message comes as an encyclical, which
is literally a circular to be distributed to priests and to the more than 1 billion Catholics around the world.
Drawing directly on the teachings of his namesake, the pope says, as St. Francis of Assisi taught us to care for all of creation, "We are not
God," he writes. "We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God's image and given dominion over the Earth justifies absolute
domination over other creatures."
And while promising that he's not recommending a return to the Stone Age, the pope is calling for a lifestyle revolution, away from the cult of
capitalist consumerism and he takes a swipe at modern-day progress.
He says, "Our immense technological development has not been accomplished by a development in human responsibility, values and
So we put those questions of conscience and of science to Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, whose office wrote the first draft, and to
Professor Hans Schellnhuber, who advised the Vatican over the past few years. And they appeared together exclusively, making their case outside
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) AMANPOUR: Thank you both very much for joining us tonight on this incredibly important day.
First, Cardinal, from a theological, moral point of view, why is today important?
And then from you, Professor, from a scientific point of view, what is the importance of today?
First to you, Cardinal Turkson.
TURKSON: Briefly put, it's this, what we celebrated today is that no person can sincerely profess faith and belief and love of God without
loving what God has created. And what God has created, you know, just to affirm, is a human person and a guiding or the home that God created for
the human person.
So that's what we celebrated today in this encyclical.
AMANPOUR: From a scientific point of view, what does today say for all of you who have lobbied for so long for the scientific rationale, for
PROF. HANS JOACHIM SCHELLNHUBER, DIRECTOR, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF THE POTSDAM INSTITUTE FOR CLIMATE IMPACT RESEARCH: You see, the climate
problem, the climate challenge may be the biggest one in the 21st century and we know that the fight against global warming has ups and downs,
successes and failures.
But this is a critical year, 2015. We will have the conference in Paris to reach an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emission. And now a
very strong voice representing more than a billion people is sort of joining the choir, mainly through the encyclical.
But let me add one more thing. It is that you see reason and faith or faith and reason come together in this beautiful document because in order
to do the right thing, it's not enough that you have the right scientific analysis. You also have to appeal to the eternal human values.
And this appeal is happening in the encyclical. So I'm confident now that we will actually go to Paris and do something useful.
AMANPOUR: Cardinal, what will it mean that the pope has thrown his authority into an encyclical?
How would it affect the rank and file?
How do you think this will move the ball in a critical way?
TURKSON: So the unique thing about this is that, yes, several voices are being, you know, have kind of expressed themselves on this before.
Several movements have kind of given expression about it.
But now the pope brings it also a central focus at the particular consent to this from his own sensitivity to various human experiences
about, you know, exclusion, discarded, you know, project. Now he talks about reparation (ph) which is a new term that he wanted to introduce into
So you know, he convinced a big -- if you want a central -- if you want a stronger focal lens before all of these to give it the greatest
impact that he can give.
AMANPOUR: And both of you, the pope has called for nothing short of a revolution in lifestyle, of a discarding and saying no to the notion of
human progress, which centers around consumerism, capitalism and the sort of throwaway culture.
Do you think people are ready to change their lifestyles to the extent that this encyclical is asking them?
SCHELLNHUBER: I mean, first of all, this revolution can be achieved by very simple things. I mean, it is an illusion and it's a myth and it's
a distraction to say only if we give up everything in our lives which we value we can stop climate catastrophe. But it's simply not true.
But it depends on individuals, as Cardinal Turkson has said. You know, it's not just a top-down thing. You can have so many Rhodes (ph)
conferences. But in the end, individual choices have to be made.
As a consumer, as a voter, of course, as somebody who is a shareholder in a small company, whatever. So I really think that, yes, it will be a
revolution. But it will be a very mild, a very human revolution actually. It will be just the revolution at heart.
AMANPOUR: As you know, one of the main targets of this, one of the big actors and enablers of some kind of change is the United States, the
world's biggest economy and up until recently the world's biggest polluter.
I see you looking at each other, because there is a lot of criticism in some quarters in the United States. Let me read you this incredible
statistic, for instance. It's a polarizing issue, 68 percent of all Americans say there is solid evidence of warming. But that is 86 percent
of Democrats and only 45 percent of Republicans.
Professor, Republicans don't buy the science or at least many, many of them, more than half of them, don't buy the science. They say the pope is
out of his league. They say the pope is being misinformed.
One of the presidential candidates, for instance, Professor, says, Marco Rubio, that humans are not responsible for climate change in a way
some of these people out there are trying to make us believe.
SCHELLNHUBER: I think those people are desperate now. It's sort of Custer's last stand, I guess, because there is the overwhelming evidence of
the science, the consensus and now an institution which is deemed in general as very traditional, very conservative, is joining this choir.
And I think these people, the deniers, the contrarians and so on, now we see what global public opinion is turning against warmer (ph). So this
is a good day for the climate.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, Cardinal, then, because Jeb Bush, who, as you know, is a very prominent American and has thrown his hat into
the ring, he actually had some quite harsh words about the notion that the pope was going to give lessons on the climate.
Let me play you what he said and I'd like to get your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: I hope I'm not like going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home but I don't get
economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or from my pope. I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things
that end up getting into the political realm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So Cardinal, how do you react to him saying that this is not about morality or theology or religion?
TURKSON: You know, it's kind of unfortunate that, you know, you know, Bush, Mr. Bush, you know, expresses himself in such -- in such words. And
it's still very unfortunate that I need to, you know, respond to --
TURKSON: -- his views, you know, in this way.
But by this, I mean, if you go to his pastors for moral opinion, for moral judgment, what is morality about if not about our conduct, our
decisions, our conscience and the choices we make?
And we don't make the choices in a vacuum. We don't express and live morality in a vacuum. Morality has to do with the, you know, the decisions
and choices we make in certain concrete situations, including economic situations, including business choices. That's when morality comes into
So the thing about I go to my pastor official for moral, you know, decisions and then he's not expecting them to bring religion into business
and all of that, I think, is a very unhappy distinction that is made because it's not real.
So I would weigh that we stop making this artificial separation between, you know, moral issues, theological issues and business issues.
AMANPOUR: What was really interesting, I think, for a lot of people was that the pope made very clear that human beings, while they may have
dominion, are not the only dominant species. In other words, they're not dominant to the planet; they're not dominant to the other species.
As a scientist, Professor, how will you be able to sell that and the fact that progress may be coming at a very, very high cost and needs to be
reoriented, the notion of human progress?
SCHELLNHUBER: OK. That's a very interesting question. I mean, what the encyclical clearly says that the yardstick to measure human progress is
not just GDP. It's not just more of the same, so to speak. And there are many people who are thinking about that.
In the end, what we all want to do is to lead a happy life, but in harmony with the things and the creatures surrounding us and also in
harmony with ourselves.
AMANPOUR: And finally, Cardinal, tell me how the pope is feeling today. This was a huge encyclical -- he called for a revolution.
How does he feel, now that it's out there?
TURKSON: No, I think -- and I think every pastor -- doesn't have to be the pope -- every pastor in the smallest village around the world, when
he -- when he get into the pulpit and he begins to preach, he's hoping that there will be a change in the lives of the people whom he's addressing.
And that's why the pope, as a pastor essentially, feels. He wants to be able to -- he wants to be able to kind of provoke a change in the lives
of people, if you want. He calls for ecological conversion and a certain appreciation of our own sense of stewardship, OK, in our relationship with
the world and everything around us.
So he was grateful. He is grateful for the world and grateful for the media and for grateful for everybody who have the view the message that he
has for humanity.
AMANPOUR: Cardinal Turkson, Professor Schellnhuber, thank you both very much for joining us from the Vatican.
TURKSON: Thank you.
SCHELLNHUBER: You're welcome.
AMANPOUR: So the pope is formally making climate change a central tenet of Christian morality. And after a break, the immorality of firing
into a Christian church, a white man killed nine black people in South Carolina. Coming to terms with tragedy -- next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
A (INAUDIBLE) has been (INAUDIBLE) in connection with the fatal shooting of nine black worshippers in a South Carolina church. A short
time ago, President Obama added his voice to the chorus of horror and grief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence
does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And we'll explore why in a moment. But the church was one of the oldest in the South and Charleston is considered one of the most
cosmopolitan cities in the South. And yet the echoes still ring out of the racial tensions that have split America this year and for hundreds of
Indeed, the controversial Confederate flag representing those who opposed abolishing slavery still flies in the grounds of the South Carolina
state house. Activist, author and CNN contributor Michaela Angela Davis joins me now from New York.
This is another horrible day, Angela. We call it a tragedy but you're calling it something much more serious than that.
MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR: We're calling it terrorism. We're calling it domestic terrorism, particularly in the
historical sense, yes. One of the things about this church is not just that it is one of the oldest. It has really historical significance in
America. It was a site of revolution. It was a site of civil rights. It was founded by a former slave. So this is a symbolic moral marker, this
And also the senator and pastor who was also massacred was currently challenging gun violence. So there's so many things about this terrorist
attack that has significant historic connections. And we are feeling that in a very real way. And some Americans are -- and some -- it's making very
clear, Christiane, how much history has been hidden and how many people can't afford to hide from it or don't have the privilege to hide from it.
My mother, whose parents grew up in the Jim Crow South, is reeling today. There are people who lived through lynching. There are people who
lived through four little girls. So this is very real to a section of America.
AMANPOUR: It's very real and because we have a global audience, I want to sort of try to put in some kind of context for them as well,
because the picture showed this man wearing emblems of flags that are associated, for instance, in South Africa with the apartheid era, also with
Rhodesia, but a sort of a supremacist look.
Tell me what you got from those pictures.
DAVIS: And I'm so glad that you brought that up because I have also been in contact with some of my friends in South Africa and really wanted
to know for them what does -- what is the real significance of that particular symbolism? And they said that it is also used in a terrorist
kind of way, to control and scare black people, to be reminded of a time when they were controlled, to be reminded of a time when whites were
So you're finding that this young American when typically we would see young white supremist (sic) don that flag that you mentioned earlier or a
swastika, this is very particular symbolism that the apartheid symbolism. And that terrorist regime and making the connection of the institution of
apartheid and the institution of Jim Crow and the institution of slavery and seeing those interconnections is very significant.
AMANPOUR: Michaela, you used the word terrorist and massacre very considered. You're using it over and over again. And I'm wondering
whether you think a change in the language, a change in how we talk about these things, a change in how America talks about these cases is halfway
towards trying to combat it because if we just use tragedy or yet another church shooting or a school shooting, it tends to all sort of be melded
into one kind of tragedy that everybody sort of seems to be getting inured to.
DAVIS: That's right. You know, a train crash is a tragedy. This is -- this is terrorism. And the reason why I'm using those words is partly
to bring the history current, because that's how it felt to those living in the Jim Crow South. That's what the Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist
organization. And up until this generation, I don't think we had the courage to call it what it is.
But until we call it what it is, we cannot move forward. This is not the time to be afraid of our actual complete history. So this is bringing
up very clear what the total American experience and experiment is.
AMANPOUR: So what should be the solution? And there's never a total solution. But how does one combat and confront this kind of -- and we are
shocked. We are very shocked sitting over here, to see this progression of violence, either by the state against blacks, or by these presumably wackos
or supremacists, whoever they are, with guns who commit this kind of terrorism, as you're saying.
What should the state do? What should the government do?
DAVIS: Well, I think one of the things that is important to understand is that we are looking at this now through the context of having
our first African American president, our first African American women, Department of Justice. So there are -- we have moved forward. I don't
want to be all doom and gloom. But there is some real connection and intersectionality of what's happening with black people all over the world,
being displaced as a result of homeland terrorism, right? So I think there is what's happening now is we can see that we are connected to an ideology
and a philosophy of wanting to control black bodies that is across all colonized countries. So I think what we can do right now is, A, to speak
on it, right, to call it what it is, to help heal but also get to the real work of deconstructing this systemic racism, the philosophy that makes this
one individual possible. He was born out of a philosophy.
AMANPOUR: And keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people, having -- you heard the president. I mean, he says it in as political a
way as he can because of the controversy, the fact that it's a controversy in the United States is also baffling to the rest of the world, which
doesn't have this easy access to guns.
DAVIS: And you could feel his frustration. I mean, when we saw that massacre of those young children in Connecticut a couple of years ago, we
thought, OK, this is it. This gets to everyone. These are babies. We can at least do background checks. And when that didn't happen, I haven't seen
the president hold such rage in since that same time. When he opened his speech today and said, I have said this too many times, that's when I felt
that. And the shame, the global shame that this is happening in America is -- you felt that.
DAVIS: And it's interesting -- yes.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Sorry. I'm sorry to interrupt you. We have to move on. But it's so good to have your voice. It's so important. And the rest
of the world is looking on, I must say, in some horror as it has done so many times after these cases.
Michaela Angela Davis, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
DAVIS: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
And the horror of these guns rampant, the U.S. ambassador here in the U.K. has been conducting speaking tours of British schools. He's talked to
50 of them this year and he says he was surprised when the number one topic on the kids' minds wasn't Disney but guns.
After a break, we stay in Charleston, South Carolina, and we look to a church and a congregation that is trying to overcome hatred, has been
trying, as we've been discussing, over and over again. That's when we come back.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we turn back again to that horror that happened in the church in South Carolina, and you just heard it being
discussed as terrorism, where nine worshippers attending a Bible class lost their lives. The assailant, a young white man of only 21. But imagine
that same church and its congregation face down this kind of hate and discrimination for two centuries. They came together 200 years ago. The
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church once was burned to the ground for fighting against slavery. In 1962, it took a stand in the battle for
civil rights when Martin Luther King addressed the church. And just two months ago, when the young black man, Walter Scott, was killed by a white
police officer, one of today's victims, the church's pastor and state senator, Clementa Pinckney, had fought for accountability and justice to
keep those crimes from happening again.
So we want to take a moment now to remember the three men and the six black women who were killed as this sacred place was transformed into an
altar of racial hatred.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Singing and praying for their souls.
That is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always see the whole show online at amanpour.com, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.