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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Pope John Paul II One Step Closer to Sainthood?; Church Using Sex to Sell God; Keeping Your Pets Safe; Confectionary Christ Raises Controversy; Selling Religion With Sex?

Aired March 30, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
To some, it's a question of free speech. Others call it an insult to their lord and their faith. Take a look: a Holy Week battle over this, a statue of Jesus, anatomically correct, yes, and made of chocolate. A lot of Catholics call it sickening. We will hear from the critics, as well as the artist who made it. That's coming up.

But we begin with Iran's very dangerous game. The pawns are British prisoners. And, today, the stakes were raised even higher today, as the Pentagon delivered its own warning to a defiant regime.


NATHAN THOMAS SUMMERS, BRITISH ROYAL MARINES: My name is Nathan Thomas Summers, the Royal Navy.

COOPER (voice-over): Iran trotted out another captured British sailor on TV, one of 15 seized last Friday while on patrol in the Persian Gulf.

His eyes darting off-camera, Nathan Summers said his crew had trespassed into Iranian waters.

SUMMERS: I would like to apologize for entering your waters without any permission. I know it happened back in 2004, and our government promised that it wouldn't happen again.

COOPER: Like Summers, Faye Turney also made a videotaped confession for crossing into Iranian territory. Today, Iran released a third letter it claims was written by Turney.

In it, she says she has been -- quote -- "sacrificed by British and U.S. policies in Iraq." Britain says she and her crew were ambushed in Iraqi territory, and blasts Iran's actions as outrageous, disgusting, and pure propaganda.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: All it does is enhance people's sense of disgust at captured personnel being -- being paraded and manipulated in this way.

COOPER: It's the tapes that anger so many.

SUMMERS: Since we have been arrested in Iran, our treatment has been very friendly. COOPER: The voice is calm, but British lawmakers say the prisoners are under duress.

Zach Powell agrees. He was one of four U.S. servicemen seized by Iran in 2003 in the same general area, but released after a short time. Listen to what he thinks the crew is going through.

ZACH POWELL, FORMER HOSTAGE IN IRAN: They're, more than likely, scared out of their mind and, you know, probably been beaten up a little bit.

COOPER: Prime Minister Tony Blair is increasing the pressure. He has frozen all business ties, yet, he's hoping for a diplomatic solution.

Still, both London and Washington are flexing their military might. A replacement force of Royal Marines is being sent to the area where the British crew was seized. Pentagon sources tell CNN the U.S. aircraft carrier Nimitz will be heading to the Gulf to replace another carrier to maintain the force level and to send a clear message to Iran.


COOPER: It's also being sent in a way that some worry could quickly and easily get out of hand.

Last night on the program, right now, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright raised just such a concern.

Earlier, I spoke to retired Brigadier General and CNN military analyst James "Spider" Marks, as well as Vali Nasr of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the great book "The Shia Revival."


COOPER: You know, General Marks, you read this letter allegedly written by the British service woman, and it's almost laughable. It's clearly not written by a native English speaker. It's addressed to "British people," as opposed to "the British people."

There's a sentence here that says, "I understand that this has caused even more distress for the people of Iran and the whole area in the British."

I mean, it just, grammatically, doesn't make sense. What is the point of -- of writing these letters, when it's clear these confessions are coerced or made under some form of duress?

BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it makes -- frankly, it makes little sense at all, those -- we have to take what anybody that -- or that the British sailors or marines are saying as being said under duress. They are in extremis.

And there's little credibility at all to be gained. I really can't get into the head of the Iranians and try to figure this one out. If you want to act like a mature nation, act like a mature nation. This is clearly very irrational, yet it's -- it's an event that needs to be taken very, very seriously.

COOPER: Vali, do these confessions, these videotapes, these letters, does it play differently in the region?


These are not really directed at the Western audience. In fact, Iran first released the video of the sailors not even in Persian, not in English, but for its Arab broadcast program that people in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East watch.

This is designed to, first, give a sense that Iran is defiant, and, secondly, at least produce an excuse for when Iran wants to release these hostages, to -- to claim that they have already confessed to have been in the wrong.

COOPER: General Marks, how much of this is directed toward Britain, I mean, this action of seizing the British? Obviously, it's -- part of it is to weaken British resolve in Iraq. But -- but also, it seems a very clever way at -- at getting at the U.S. as well.

MARKS: Well, it is. Truly, there are some -- you know, there are Quds Force forces that are being held in Iraq. And I'm sure the Iranians feel that there's a causal link between this pressure on Great Britain, the relationship between the Brits, as members of the coalition and the United States.

So, this truly may be a form of asymmetric type of pressure. Clearly, the decision is with the United States, or they have already made the decision not to get involved directly. And I would tell you that those are the communications that are taking place between both Washington and London, that this is going to be bilateral.

The Brits have got to deal with the Iranians. But the United States will remain very covert and will support in any way that the Brits are asking.

COOPER: Vali, you say that the U.S. was caught completely by surprise in -- with this act of aggression.

NASR: Well, because, over the past two months, the assumption was that U.S. pressure on Iran, by sending another aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, by limiting financial activities with Iran, was yielding truth. In other words, the Iranians were becoming more pliable. They were likely to come to the table on the nuclear issue.

But what we're seeing, especially with this act, that Iran has become, in fact, more defiant, and is sending very clear signals to the U.S. that it has a fight in it, that it does not want the United States to keep escalating, as the general mentioned, that Iranians want their personnel released in Iraq. And they have decided to pick on the weaker partner in the coalition. They don't want to engage the United States at this point in time, but they wanted to send a shot across the United States' bow.

COOPER: So, Vali, what does -- what should the U.S. do? What should Britain do?

NASR: Well, the United States cannot do anything directly, in some ways, because these are not American personnel that have been taken.

And, also, any step taken by the United States at this stage may escalate the conflict to a completely different level, which means that it can end up in a war, at a time when we're also bogged down in Iraq.

Great Britain also has certainly room to maneuver diplomatically. But, unfortunately, I think, in this past few days, both countries have moved away from being able to resolve this very quickly, without losing face.

COOPER: General Marks, your take on the possibilities, I mean, diplomatic, military?

MARKS: Well, the problem is, is, as has just been mentioned, the longer this lasts, the more difficult it is to gather the precise intelligence that's going to be required before you would make the decision to launch a military operation to go after these hostages.

So, there's nothing to be gained militarily by waiting. If you were going to strike, you would have struck. You would have gone when it was fresh, when it was early, and everybody was kind of on the move. And everybody was vulnerable at that point.

But now that the hostages are some place sequestered away, it's going to take a lot of hard work on the part of British intelligence and other sources that they might get ahold of to go find where they are very, very precisely, and then gin up the capabilities that clearly the British have to make go a strike and go after it.

But it becomes primarily an intelligence-driven requirement and a decision that must be made very quickly if it is going to have any success. It's in the hands of the diplomats right now. But I can tell you, the Brits, with the support of the United States, are making plans to use military operations.

COOPER: Vali Nasr, appreciate it.

And, Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, thanks very much.

MARKS: Thanks.

NASR: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, part of the Nimitz strike group heading to the Gulf sails for with soul of a marine. Here's the "Raw Data." The USS Higgins is a guided missile destroyer. It is named in honor of Marine Colonel William R. Higgins. You will remember, in 1998, Colonel Higgins was on a peacekeeping operation in Lebanon when he was kidnapped by pro-Iranian Hezbollah terrorists and later killed in captivity. He was officially declared dead in 1990.

Now to Iraq and a tragic case of good news and bad news -- the good news is, 18 people have been arrested in connection with a killing rampage that left 70 people dead this week in the city of Tal Afar. The bad news, those 18 people are Iraqi police officers.

Grimmer still, Tal Afar is the town that President Bush once championed as a success story.

For more, we turn to CNN's Michael Ware in Baghdad.

Michael, 18 police officers arrested in connection with these reprisal killings of 70 Sunnis in Tal Afar. But "The New York Times" reports that the 18 Shia officers were freed after being held for just a few hours.

If that's true, what does that say about what's going on in Tal Afar and all across Iraq?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what is that -- what that is doing, Anderson, is reaffirming the sectarian divide within the government ranks here, particularly within the ranks of the Iraqi police service and their national placed commandos.

Indeed, in Tal Afar, this has long been a problem. Now, Tal Afar is a small ancient city right up on the Syrian border. It's about 75 percent Sunni. That's why al Qaeda was able to, at first, get its toehold. So, there's a -- a 25 percent Shia population.

Now, the U.S. is banking on that Shia population. And they have supported them in the police service and in the government up there in that small town.

Now, when about 80 people were killed on Tuesday in al Qaeda suicide bombings, that night, these police ran amuck, slaughtering about 70 Sunnis in retaliation. So, they had been arrested by their own government and then immediately -- immediately released, according to the reports. This just confirms what everyone else has seen everywhere else across the country. This is just another facet of the civil war.

COOPER: Last year, President Bush used Tal Afar as an example of security success. Let's play that -- that tape.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The military success helped against the terrorists helped give the citizens of Tal Afar security. And this allowed them to vote in the elections and begin to rebuild their city.

The terrorists, those who offer nothing but destruction and death, are becoming marginalized.


COOPER: Well, that was then. This is now.

What happened in the interim?

WARE: Well, I was actually in that battle.

Tal Afar was owned by al Qaeda. It was a chief gateway for its foreign fighters coming in from Syria, and then distributed out across Iraq itself. And I was there when the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Green Berets I was with went in and took it back.

No one ever believed it would then be free of violence. That city still remains in the hands of the so-called government forces, the forces we have seen who conducted the reprisal killings. So, it has not returned to al Qaeda.

But to imagine that you can just wipe out the al Qaeda presence or wipe out al Qaeda's ability to attack in Tal Afar is nonsensical. Indeed, look at Baghdad itself, with tens of thousands of American and Iraqi troops in this huge surge operation. The one thing that really continues, almost without hindrance, are the al Qaeda suicide attacks.

COOPER: Is al Qaeda becoming more emboldened? I mean, it seems like the number of their attacks is increasing, or at least getting more intense in recent weeks. Is that a conscious strategy on their part, or is it just that the other violence has lessened, so we're noticing it more?

WARE: Well, under the banner of the Islamic state of Iraq, which is what al Qaeda has declared large parts of this country, they have said that, in response to the Baghdad security plan, the surge, they were going to up the ante.

Now, presumably, these waves of suicide strikes are part of that process of confronting the security plan, or countering it. But what we're seeing is, al Qaeda is under pressure in all sorts of places. We're seeing Anbar tribes being used by American forces to contract out the fight against al Qaeda. We're seeing continued arrests of some of its leadership.

Nonetheless, strategically, al Qaeda is still emboldened, brave enough, emboldened enough to be able to declare its so-called Islamic state. And, yes, its attacks continue. Its flow of fighters continue. It might be under stress, but it's far from marginalized.

COOPER: Michael Ware, appreciate the reporting. Thanks, Michael.

Nearly half of all American service men and women are parents. And a good number of them, of course, are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some are -- some have never made it home alive. According to the latest numbers available -- and those numbers are nearly a year old -- more than 1,200 children have lost a parent. Thankfully, blessedly, parents do come home from war. And, as you're about to see, it can warm your heart and break it all at the same time.

If you haven't seen this video, you have got to see it.

Elisa Hahn of CNN affiliate KING in Seattle.


ELISA HAHN, KING REPORTER (voice over): For the last seven months, Ensign Bill Hawes has been in Iraq, an eternity for his family, especially his 6-year-old son, who had no idea his dad was coming home and was surprising him in class.

ENSIGN BILL HAWES, U.S. NAVY: I missed you, too, kiddo.

JOHN HAWES, SON OF U.S. SOLDIER: I missed you, too, daddy.

HAHN: All year, the Sedro-Woolley 6-year-old had written letters to his dad. And his kindergarten class at Central Elementary joined in, sending the sailor care packages.

A tearful John got to introduce his father to all his pen pals.




B. HAWES: Oh, it's great to be home. Seven months over there, it's nice to see my kids and all again, see my wife.

JULIE HAWES, SAILOR'S WIFE: I am so ecstatic, because my husband's home. I'm so proud of him.

HAHN: The Hawes family was happy to share their joy with the whole class, who all took part in the welcome-home party, the sweetest homecoming for a sailor who had been gone too long, and for a little boy who dreamed of this day with his dad.


COOPER: Is that not the cutest thing ever?

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I -- every time I see that story, I get chills. I get tears in my eyes.

COOPER: I know.

HILL: It's the best story.

COOPER: Yes. That was KING-TV'S Elisa Hahn.

The -- the -- the expression on that little boy's face when he's running to see his dad, it's so sweet.

HILL: It's amazing when he realizes that it's his dad.

COOPER: I know.

HILL: And we -- we actually -- we spoke to his teacher earlier on my show tonight. And she said that it was so great, because his mom was so involved the whole time that his dad was away.

COOPER: Mm-hmm.

HILL: And, so, she wanted to help make this happen.

And he didn't know his dad was coming home right then. But, when his dad left, he said, "John, when I come home, I am going to pick you up at school."

And that's why they wanted to do this.

COOPER: Oh. It's -- it's just so amazing.

HILL: It really is.


Some of the other headlines around the country, Erica has that.

HILL: Some of the other headlines, starting off with this one: President Bush apologizing today for what war vets had to go through at the Army's top medical facility at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The president's mea culpa came during a two-hour of Walter Reed. Along the way, he took time out to award 10 Purple Hearts to soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just a day after being contradicted before a Senate committee by his former top aide, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales reiterated, he played no part in picking which U.S. attorneys would be fired, but he did, however, admit to signing off on the list of eight U.S. attorney who lost their jobs -- Mr. Gonzales' statement coming just a day after his former chief of staff told the Senate Judiciary Committee he talked to Gonzales several times about plans to carry out the firings.

And check out this video from Canada, just incredible stuff here. The depression in the ground is the imprint left by a 5-year-old boy. He fell nine stories from an apartment balcony. The remarkable part here, he survived. He's expected to make a full recovery. Police in Hamilton, Ontario, say the boy might have been riding his bike on the balcony when he went over the railing. Luckily, the ground was apparently really soggy, and that's what saved him.

COOPER: Wow. Unbelievable.

Erica, thanks.

HILL: Thanks.

COOPER: A lot more happening tonight, including a new food recall that pet owners should know about. If you have a pet, you should pay attention -- details on that coming up.

Also ahead tonight: Is it art? Is it food? Or is it a low blow aimed at millions of Christians? Depending on who you ask, it could be all three. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): People love Jesus. People love chocolate. But a chocolate Jesus, that's another story.

KIERA MCCAFFREY, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: They're making him into chocolate, with genitals exposed. They're digging the knife at Christians on this. And to try to pretend otherwise is absurd. And they're doing it at our holiest time.

COOPER: The critics and the artist face to face next.

Also, there is no earthly explanation.

DR. MICHELE TAGLIATI, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF NEUROLOGY, MOUNT SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: In my experience with -- with literally thousands of patients with Parkinson's disease, I have never seen anybody waking up cured overnight.

COOPER: But she was. And she credits Pope John Paul II. Her recovery is now putting him on the fast track to sainthood.



COOPER: Well, with the start of Holy Week just two days away, tonight, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York is marking a victory. A controversial exhibit has been canceled. And two artists are in virtual hiding. Art and religion have clashed before, but never quite like this, at least not here in New York.

Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Because of threats they say they have received, an artist and his wife do not want to meet at their home. So, instead, we get together at a New York City diner to talk about:


TUCHMAN: This is "Sweet Jesus," a life-size anatomically correct sculpture of Jesus made out of 200 pounds of chocolate, created by New York artist Cosimo Cavallaro.

An art gallery in this New York City hotel scheduled its debut for this Monday.

C. CAVALLARO: The purpose of "Sweet Jesus" is for me to portray that iconic image with a taste.

TUCHMAN: But many, including the New York Archdiocese and the Catholic League, say it's scandalous.

KIERA MCCAFFREY, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: They are saying: We are taking a devout Christian image of the crucified Christ, and we are making him into chocolate, with genitals exposed. They're digging the knife at Christians on this. And to try to pretend otherwise is absurd. And they're doing it at our holiest time.

C. CAVALLARO: Here, we have chocolate, which is nothing negative -- no negative connotation to chocolate, and the body of Christ, you know, the figure of Christ. So, how two wrongs make one -- two rights make one wrong, that, I could never imagine.

TUCHMAN: But the Catholic league asked for a boycott of the hotel and says the sculpture, also known as "Chocolate Jesus," is hate speech.

MCCAFFREY: They surely wouldn't do something similar to Muslims. you want to bet that they would never put up a naked chocolate statue of Mohammed, with his genitals exposed, during Ramadan?

TUCHMAN: There have been many similar controversies.

The former mayor of New York and current presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani threatened to withdraw funding from a Brooklyn museum, after it featured the Virgin Mary with elephant dung.


RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Of course it's Catholic bashing.


TUCHMAN: Rap singer Kanye West raised hackles by appearing on "Rolling Stone" magazine in this fashion, in support of his song "Jesus Walks."

And then there's Madonna. A few months ago, NBC removed footage of Madonna suspended from a giant cross, which was to be included on a prime-time special.

So, would this artist create a sculpture called "Sweet Mohammed"?


TUCHMAN (on camera): why?

C. CAVALLARO: It's not my religion. And I didn't -- I have no need to get close to that. This is what I had do, is to get closer to my religion.

TUCHMAN: You're a Christian?

C. CAVALLARO: Yes. I'm a Christian, a Catholic.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And now the controversy has taken a new twist. The gallery and hotel have backed down.

On Friday, the hotel released a statement saying, "We have caused the cancellation of the exhibition and wish to affirm the dignity and responsibility of the hotel in all its affairs."

The Cavallaros are upset, but not at the gallery.

SARAH CAVALLARO, WIFE OF COSIMO CAVALLARO: I feel that they were really scared and they were protecting themselves.

TUCHMAN: And, as for his sculpture...

(on camera): Where is "Chocolate Jesus" right now?

C. CAVALLARO: In a refrigerator truck, looking for a home.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): ... don't be surprised to see "Sweet Jesus" in a different gallery some time soon.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, I don't think it's our job here on 360 to tell you what to think about something. We just ask the questions and help you decide.

A few minutes ago, I talked to artist Cosimo Cavallaro and the man who worked to shut down his exhibit, Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League.


COOPER: Cosimo, I want to start by asking you what your intention was with -- with this -- this piece of art.

C. CAVALLARO: My intention was to celebrate this body of Christ, and in a sweet, delicious, tasteful way.

COOPER: Why -- why use chocolate?

C. CAVALLARO: Because it's a substance that I like. And it's sweet. And I felt that the body of Christ, the -- the meaning of Christ, is about the sweetness.

COOPER: Were you trying to shock, I mean, to -- to cause attention?

Often -- usually, when Christ is shown, he's wearing some form of clothing. This is a naked Christ, which has also caused some concern.

C. CAVALLARO: No more than the religion, the way they use it. I was just using it as an iconic figure.

I mean, that my intentions was to shock people, no. I was -- my intention was to have them taste the -- and feel what they're looking at in their mouth.

COOPER: Bill, you call this exhibit hate speech. You said it's -- quote -- "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever."

What specifically offends you about it?

WILLIAM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Well, of course, asking the public to come in and eat Jesus, with his genitals exposed, during Holy Week I think would be self-explanatory.

If we took an image of this artist's mother, and made her out in chocolate, with her genitals exposed, of course, to be equal, and then asked the public to eat her on Mother's Day, yes, he might have a problem. Maybe he wouldn't.

But you know what bothers me? It's not even the artist. I mean, we have a lot of these loser artists down in SoHo and around the country. What bothers me is that this guy Knowles, who is an artist in residence, the owner, the president and CEO of an establishmentarian site, the Roger Smith Hotel, 47th and Lexington, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, that is what bothers me, because now we have the establishment kicking in.

And to put this out during Holy Week, on street level, when kids can walk in off the street, these people are morally bankrupt. And my goal is to make them financially bankrupt.

COOPER: Cosimo, do you understand the outrage this has caused? I mean, do you think it's overreaction? Do you get it?

C. CAVALLARO: Yes, I get it. I think it's an overreaction.

You just heard the gentleman calling artists losers, or me a loser. I think what he's -- his assault is on the public at large, artists, and freedom of speech, and every Catholic. I'm a Catholic, and I'm a Christian.

And I think this gentleman doesn't even represent the people that are in his faith.

DONAHUE: That's funny. You said I put out a fatwa, right? Or the -- or the -- that was the -- the guy who ran the lab, says I put out a fatwa. I put out a news release.

So, you're accusing me of being like the Taliban; is that right?

C. CAVALLARO: Who, me? You're not that intelligent.


DONAHUE: Oh, no, let me tell you something. You're -- you're lucky I'm not as mean, because you might lose more than your head.

COOPER: Cosimo, did you want people to eat this? Was that part of this?


Did you hear what this gentleman is saying, that I would lose my head?

DONAHUE: No, I -- you heard what I said. I said you're -- you're lucky I'm not like the Taliban, because you would lose more than your head, which is why...

C. CAVALLARO: Right. So, therefore...


DONAHUE: ... guys like you wouldn't do this against Mohammed during Ramadan.


C. CAVALLARO: No, because I'm a Christian. And I'm not trying to...

DONAHUE: Oh, you're a Christian. Please. Don't lie about it, all right? Don't lie about it.

C. CAVALLARO: I'm not lying. No, I'm not lying about it.

DONAHUE: Yes, you are.


C. CAVALLARO: I want to ask you a question, Mr. Donahue.


C. CAVALLARO: Where do you think I should exhibit this? Because you -- you have bamboozled an art gallery.


C. CAVALLARO: And you have bamboozled an establishment. You have put fear in people to listen to your rhetoric and to believe -- just because a man has got his arms extended and he's made in chocolate -- it's your Christ -- and it's offensive.

DONAHUE: That's right.


C. CAVALLARO: And, by the way -- excuse me. I'm going to talk to you for a minute. You keep quiet.

DONAHUE: And you want the public to eat him.


C. CAVALLARO: Now, you go to the Catholic Church...


COOPER: Let Cosimo finish his point.

C. CAVALLARO: You go to the Catholic Church, and you're going to see statues from Michelangelo that are nude. Are you going to clothe them for the Holy Week?



C. CAVALLARO: And are you telling me that, apart from the Holy Week, we could do anything we want to do with the genitalia? What are you talking about?


COOPER: OK. Let Bill answer.

DONAHUE: All right. All right, first of all, Leonardo, you're not.

But, quite frankly, where should you have this displayed? In New Jersey is where New Yorkers put their garbage. There's a big sanitation dump. That's where you should put it.

COOPER: Bill, let me read you something that David Kuo, the former presidential assistant to President Bush, who worked in the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives, said in reference to your protest.

He said -- quote -- "Instead of getting all amped up over this art, Christians should be spending time facing the real and very challenging Jesus found in the Gospels, and encouraging others to do the same."


COOPER: Are you making a bigger deal out of this than it deserves?

DONAHUE: No, no, no, no.

COOPER: And doesn't this, in fact, give this more attention than it ever would have received otherwise?

DONAHUE: If, in fact, it was at some dump in SoHo, I probably wouldn't pay too much attention. But the fact that the Roger Smith Hotel...


C. CAVALLARO: ... dump in SoHo.

DONAHUE: ... right here in New York City is doing this thing, no. If I don't pay attention to it, then I -- my people should ask for me to be fired.

By the way, I am delighted with the response from Jews, Muslims, and others, not just Catholics and Protestants, with this. People are basically saying, enough is enough. This is absolutely revolting.

And what you're saying, sir, is totally disingenuous. No one believes it. I don't even think you believe it.

COOPER: But, Bill, doesn't -- doesn't -- I mean, don't people have a right to express themselves? And isn't that what art is about? Aren't artists supposed to provoke thought?

DONAHUE: That's right. And, if we -- and if we put a swastika out on a stamp in the United States, we could call that art. It was an art exhibition. I don't think Jews would go for that.

Just because art is art doesn't mean that it is a right that is absolute. Art can be insulting and it can be offensive. And when these people are whining, claiming victim status, as this guy is doing, because of my exercise of my First Amendment right of freedom of speech -- I didn't call the cops to come in and censor this.

I'm simply saying I called up about 500 of my friends and -- running different Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and non- sectarian organizations to boycott the Roger Smith Hotel. They're morally bankrupt. I want to see them financially bankrupt.

COOPER: Cosimo, I want to give you the final thought. Do you plan to -- to display this elsewhere?

C. CAVALLARO: Yes, I do, hopefully.

And I would like to add to the gentleman who referred to the swastika, he's actually acting like a Nazi.


C. CAVALLARO: And I -- I would like to ask one question.

Where do you suggest that I exhibit this? Because you basically pulled it out of a gallery for me. So, where do you think...

DONAHUE: No. I -- I told you...


C. CAVALLARO: Where -- no, excuse me.

Where do you suggest that an artist should exhibit his work that you don't infringe on?

DONAHUE: Well, you know, go to some dump down in SoHo, where...


DONAHUE: ... nobody will pay attention.

C. CAVALLARO: Is there a church in SoHo that's a dump, too, because...

DONAHUE: Oh, you would like to...


C. CAVALLARO: No, let me tell you something.

DONAHUE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

C. CAVALLARO: There's two priests that have wanted to exhibit this in their church.

DONAHUE: Is that right?

C. CAVALLARO: Yes, absolutely.

DONAHUE: Give me their names.

C. CAVALLARO: I will not, because you're a bully.


C. CAVALLARO: And you know what? I believe that there's people in your organization that would like you to resign.

DONAHUE: Is that right?

C. CAVALLARO: Absolutely. And you're...

DONAHUE: Well, how come -- I haven't heard from them.

C. CAVALLARO: I got to tell you something, there's more filth that comes out of your mouth...

DONAHUE: Is that right?

C. CAVALLARO: Yes -- than I have seen...


DONAHUE: Look, you lost. You know what? You put your middle finger at the Catholic Church, and we just broke it, didn't we, pal?

C. CAVALLARO: No. You're wrong. You're wrong.

DONAHUE: Yes, we did. You lost.

C. CAVALLARO: I have a lot of believers.

DONAHUE: We -- we won. You're out of a job.

C. CAVALLARO: And I'm a Christian. And there's a lot of people like me, who are opposed to what you're doing, because you made a big...

DONAHUE: Yes? But I got a job, and you don't.

C. CAVALLARO: You made a -- "I got a job, and you don't"?


C. CAVALLARO: You're acting like a 5-year-old.

DONAHUE: I got a job, and you don't.

C. CAVALLARO: You're talking -- you're acting like a 5-year-old. And I feel sorry for you.

COOPER: All right. We're going to -- we're...

DONAHUE: Well, I won on this, and you lost, didn't you?

COOPER: Well, let's -- let's leave it there.

You both expressed your opinions.

Bill Donahue, appreciate you being with -- and, Cosimo Cavallaro, appreciate it as well. Thank you, sir.

C. CAVALLARO: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, thankfully, there are other stories dealing with faith tonight that aren't causing quite so much of an uproar.

Just ahead: She was sick and now is cured. She won't call it a miracle, but the Catholic Church might. And a pope might achieve sainthood because of it, Pope John Paul II. That's coming up.

Also: selling religion with sex, why church leaders are taking a page from Madison Avenue -- next on 360.




COOPER: She calls it her second birth, a French Catholic nun talking about her recovery from Parkinson's Disease, others calling it a miracle. In the Catholic Church, the road to sainthood is paved with miracles. And in the case of sainthood for the late Pope John II, the process is moving so fast, the road is now kind of looking like a superhighway.

More now from CNN's Delia Gallagher.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The late John Paul II has been on the fast track to sainthood ever since his death in April 2005.

One miracle is needed for beatification, the first step towards sainthood.

MSGR. SLAWOMIR ODER, INVESTIGATED POPE MIRACLE (through translator): We knew of many people helped by the prayers of John Paul II when he was living. But for beatification, the miracle has to occur after death.

GALLAGHER: There has been no shortage of possible miracles to bolster his case. One hundred and thirty claims have been considered by the Vatican.

Sister Simon-Pierre is making one of those claims. In 2001, she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Her condition worsened over the next four years. She closely identified with the pope she loved, who suffered from the same degenerative disease, with no known cure.

Two months after he died, Sister Marie sat down to write John Paul's name as she prayed to him for help. But her shaking was so bad all that came out was a scribble. Her congregation prayed for a miracle, and they say their prayers were answered.

SISTER MARIE SIMON-PIERRE, APPARENTLY CURED (through translator): About 9 p.m. I felt the need to write and my writing suddenly was very readable. Then I woke up in the middle of the night, and I was completely transformed. I was not the same.

GALLAGHER: Her doctor was stunned. The Parkinson's was completely gone.

SIMON-PIERRE (through translator): He said, what have you done? Taken a double dose of your medication? And I said, "No, I have stopped taking it all together."

GALLAGHER: Experts say there is no earthly way to explain what happened to Sister Marie.

DR. MICHELE TAGLIATI, DIRECTOR, PARKINSON'S DISEASE CENTER: My experience with literally with thousands of patients with Parkinson's Disease, I have never seen anybody waking up cured overnight.

GALLAGHER: Sister Marie believes she was cured by the intercession of Pope John Paul, II, but whether it can be called a miracle is not for her to decide.

SIMON-PIERRE (through translator): What I want to tell everyone is that I was sick and I am now cured. I am cured, and it will be up to the church to pronounce whether we can call this a miracle or not.


COOPER: Julia says that the sister will travel to Rome on Monday for ceremonies marking the second anniversary of the pope's death.

First, wet food then dry. So what do you feed your pet now? We're going to have details on a growing recall and tips for keeping your dogs and cats safe. All tonight.

Also these stories.


COOPER (voice-over): Have you seen this billboard?


COOPER: You might be surprised to learn the link takes you to a church.

MATT KELLER, PASTOR: We were going for shock and awe factor, and we certainly got that.

COOPER: Using sex to sell religion. Some call it bait and switch, bait and switch that works.

Later, she's a real idol. Iraq's idol. In a country that badly needs it, something millions of people, Sunni, Shia or Kurds, can agree on when 360 continues.


COOPER: For Christians next week, of course, is the holiest of the year, starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter. Even those who aren't regular churchgoers will often make time for Easter mass.

The real challenge for many churches is getting people excited about worship the rest of the year. For one Florida congregation, that is where sex comes in.

Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sex gets people's attention...


ROWLANDS: ... which this billboard in Florida certainly did. M. KELLER: We were going for a shock and awe factor, and we certainly got that.

ROWLANDS: The shock was that the billboard, which some people thought was vulgar came from a church.

M. KELLER: Part three of this series, we're calling "My Great Sex Life".

ROWLANDS: Part of marketing campaign promoting a series of sermons on sex.

M. KELLER: God created sex. God is for sex.

ROWLANDS: Thirty-one-year-old pastor Matt Keller runs the non- denominational Next Level Church in Ft. Myers. Before this service, a warning to parents was posted that the material may not be suitable for children.

M. KELLER: So the question is not am I going to have sexual desire in my life. The question is, what am I going to do with it?

ROWLANDS: Keller's message, while delivered with a hip, conversational, passionate style, is pretty much by the book. He preaches that sex is for single people to avoid and married men and women to enjoy.

His wife, Sara, was at his side for this service about sex in marriage.

SARA KELLER, WIFE OF MATT KELLER: And I think that culture wants us to buy into that lie that sex is a duty, especially once you get into marriage. It's just kind of like, I guess he needs it, so here I am.

M. KELLER: God created sex. Why not at least tell people what he has to say about it?

ROWLANDS: Keller says since starting the sex series, church membership has grown about 30 percent, and it's a growing trend, especially among evangelicals.

Kurt Fredrickson is the director of pastoral ministry at the Fuller Theological Seminary in California.

KURT FREDRICKSON, FULLER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: You hit those issues head on in a church context I think is really helpful.

ROWLANDS: Church members we talked to say they like the idea of bringing an issue like sex out in the open in church.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think in today's society, it's not talked about enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We learned about how to open up communication and improve our sex life. ROWLANDS: But not everyone is thrilled. Because of complaints, Keller says the billboard company refused to allow the sex slogan for a second month. So now, it's just the church's name.

FREDRICKSON: My issue was that the billboard had this sense of luridness and deception. They're trying to draw people some place, and when they got drawn to a church, I think people would feel cheated or duped.

M. KELLER: We've heard a couple of people who have used the phrase, "bait and switch." I don't think we're doing that. It's not about us trying to grow our church. It's not about us trying to grow this big thing. It's about us building people. We're in the people building business.

ROWLANDS: Randy Newton says the billboard campaign caught his attention and now, he says he's hooked.

RANDY NEWTON, LURED TO CHURCH: It's really in your face. And it's a real topic, you know. Everybody deals with it. And for it to actually happen in the church and for the pastor to actually step up and say, "This is what we're going to say about it as a church." Is really a really bold statement.

M. KELLER: God has given us the ability to have a great sex life in our marriages.

ROWLANDS: Everyone agrees that sex sells, but Matt Keller thinks he can use it to fill people's hearts while also filling his seats.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Ft. Myers, Florida.


COOPER: Next Wednesday and Thursday, we're going to continue our specials on what is a Christian in two new reports you won't want to miss.

Money and politics is coming up next, however. Tonight big money. See what it takes these days to be taken seriously as a presidential contender. The amount of dollars we're talking about is simply astounding.

Later, the pets you love, keeping them safe, in the wake of these pet recalls and other recalls today. Some answers from the expert, ahead on 360.


COOPER: The presidential hopefuls are on deadline tonight. It is almost time to ante up, and the magic number is $10 million. Time for "Raw Politics", and for that we go to CNN's Tom Foreman in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is the dash for cash weekend, the end of the first fundraising quarter of the year. And the run is on for candidates, trying to ante up in this hand of White House hold 'em.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm here today to raise money.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Campaigns must now declare how much money they have raised. And that's a big deal. Forget about votes. Political watchers say if anyone has not pulled in $10 million by now, he or she may need to fold the cards, because some analysts say who ever wins the White House could spend a whopping half billion. And that's without redoing the curtains.

No wonder so many political pros are taking spring vacation. John McCain heading to Baghdad, Bill Richardson, North Korea, the access of evil tour.

Hillary Clinton, Colorado, sort of.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is why I campaign in small towns like these, because it is in towns like South Park that you find the true America!

FOREMAN: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, "Girls Gone Wild" D.C. style. She's making a Middle East swing and chatting with Syria.

The White House responds to that road trip, don't make me stop this car.

DANA PERINO, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know what she's trying to accomplish. I don't believe anyone in the administration has spoken to her about it.

FOREMAN: On the red carpet, George Clooney tells us "The Los Angeles Times" he would like to endorse Barack Obama, but he's afraid of the negative impact and distraction that might follow. Help me, I'm too famous.

The "Times" suggests it may be too late anyway. Many stars are already glowing over the Illinois Democrat, except for Republican Fred Thompson, who is a star, might be a candidate and, if so, could endorse himself.

New poll from "TIME", no kidding. What candidate would America most like to see on "Dancing with the Stars"? The lady from New York wins with a well turned ankle.

The gentleman from the White House, well, he's not a candidate, and that's not dancing. But it's funny to watch again.

(on camera) And that's raw politics -- Anderson.


COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.

Coming up, an update on a New Orleans story we've been covering on a man you might remember, Herbert Getridge. You might remember him but not his house. We'll tell you why he's smiling now.

But first, Erica Hill from Headline News has a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, in Florida, our first look at the suspect in a brutal attack on a homeless man. The alleged attackers, two 10-year-old boys, egged on by a 17-year-old. They are now facing charges of aggravated battery.

Police in Daytona Beach, Florida, say the 17-year-old instigated the attack and encouraged one of the boys to hit the man with a chunk of concrete.

In Ohio, Bluffton University baseball players returned to the field today nearly a month after losing nearly five team members in a bus crash in Atlanta. The team was on the way to Florida for spring training when the bus plunged from an Atlanta overpass.

The bus driver, his wife and four players died in the crash. Another teammate died a week later.

And a 26-year-old Iraqi woman providing at least a little hope for her war-torn country. Shada Hassoon is the new winner of a Middle Eastern version of "American Idol". It's called "Star Academy".

At least one fan says he voted for her without even asking if she was a Shiite or a Sunni. College students rallied to buy prepaid phone cards in order to vote for her via text message.

Nice story, isn't it?

COOPER: It is. It is a nice story. I'm not sure -- I wonder what Simon would have said about her. But...

HILL: Who knows?

COOPER: Let's take our "Shot of the Day". It comes from viewer Kimberly Miller of Hiram College in Ohio. She saw our story on Herbert Getridge's efforts to rebuild his Katrina-damaged house in New Orleans so his wife could come back home.

Kimberly, along with fellow students and staff, were touched and drove to New Orleans on spring break to see if they could help. There she is with Herbert.

As you can see, they did a terrific job for a terrific guy. He's -- there's a bit from my visit to Mr. Getridge's home back when it was still under construction.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HERBERT GETRIDGE, HURRICANE KATRINA SURVIVOR: Man, I ain't scared of nothing. And I've been all over. World War II carried me all over the world. I made it through the Japanese and the Germans. I made it, and I came back. I can come through Katrina.


COOPER: And so he's still work going on his house, still getting some help. And his mission continues.

HILL: Pretty great guy. I remember -- I remember when you did that story. I have to say isn't it great that even a year later, there are still people taking their spring breaks to go down and help people out who really need it?

COOPER: Yes, it's made a huge difference there. Last spring break when I was down there, there were, you know, thousands of college students and some high school students and a lot of religious groups. And they need people still to keep going down there and keep -- keep it in people's minds.

HILL: Hopefully, this will -- this will do just that.

COOPER: I hope so. We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video, tell us about it at We'll put some of your best clips on the air like we did tonight.

Coming up tonight, new pet food recalls. But the same questions: what to feed your dog or cat and how to spot the warning signs if something may be wrong with the food, coming up next on 360.


COOPER: That's a puppy right there.

Another pet food recall today. This time a dry cat food, Hill's Pet Nutrition Prescription Diet. More than 90 cat and dog food brands have now been recalled. All contain a wheat gluten purchased in China that was tainted with a household plastic.

Earlier tonight, I spoke with veterinarian Louise Murray, and I asked her just how popular Hill's, the latest brand in question, is.


COOPER: Doctor, how popular is this brand of pet food?

LOUISE MURRAY, VETERINARIAN: Well, the M.D. dry food is actually prescription food that can only be sold by veterinarians. So it's used by many veterinarians for certain conditions in cats, but it can be bought at regular pet stores.

COOPER: So of -- do we know at this point how many animals have died because of this?

MURRAY: We don't know, because there are a lot of cases where the owners are suspicious or concerned, but many of the cases haven't been confirmed. So there is no hard data right now on how many animals have actually been sickened or died.

COOPER: The FDA said today that melamine, this chemical that's used to make fertilizers and plastic utensils, is linked to the contamination of all the recalled pet foods. What does the chemical actually do to pets?

MURRAY: Well, in experiments that have been done in the past on animals, if you read the literature, the animals form crystals in their urine and in their kidneys. So that would be consistent with some of what we've been seeing on the autopsies of some these pets that did indeed have crystals in their kidneys.

COOPER: You've actually treated some animals. What did you see?

MURRAY: In the animals that we saw, we treated several cats. They did indeed have kidney failure. But what's really nice, that we're trying to get the word out, is that these cats did respond to treatment. So while they did show damage to their kidneys, in our intensive care unit, they did do very well.

COOPER: What's the treatment?

MURRAY: A lot of it is just aggressive fluid therapy. What we're trying to do is to dissolve the crystals and flush them out of the kidneys. So in an intensive care unit setting, you can give animals very, very aggressive fluid therapy, and it helps to dissolve the crystals.

COOPER: You know, this is -- this is a scary thing for all of us pet owners out there. What do you -- what should pet owners look for if they're worried about their animal?

MURRAY: What we're trying to let people know is it's important to look for some of the early warning signs. Some of the symptoms pet owners will see first will be things like increased thirst or maybe decreased appetite.

So pet owners should not be waiting until their pet is gravely ill to seek help. If they see some of these early symptoms they should go to the veterinarian right away, because we are seeing a response to treatment.

COOPER: So what kind of foods are safe for dogs and cats to eat?

MURRAY: Well, right now, we're really only worried about the recalled brands. So I think that pet owners should continue feeding some of the high quality pet foods, the dog and cat foods, that are available as long as they haven't been on the recall list.

COOPER: And where can people see that list?

MURRAY: That list is on We also have a lot of information at on our web site. We keep updating it daily.

COOPER: All right. Good information. Dr. Louise Murray, appreciate it. Thank you.

MURRAY: Thank you.


COOPER: And so you can -- you can find that list of 42 cat foods and 53 dog foods being recalled online. Go to Again, MenuFoods -- one word, no spaces -- dot com slash recall.

Coming up next, the latest on the showdown with Iran and President Bush's showdown with Congress. That story's next.

Also tonight, as Oprah Winfrey opens her second school in South Africa, some parents are complaining about the first one, some even comparing it to a prison. We'll hear what Oprah has to say about it in the next hour of 360.