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Interview With British Green Party Deputy Leader Zack Polanski; Interview With University Of Michigan Professor Of Economics And Public Policy And White House Council Of Economic Advisers Former Member Betsey Stevenson; Interview With "The Wind Knows My Name" Author Isabel Allende; Interview With "Losing Our Religion" Author And Christianity Today Editor In Chief Russell Moore. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 27, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
After rolling back carbon neutral targets, Britain now doubles down, drilling for more gas and oil. Senior Green Party leader Zack Polanski
Then, President Biden's historic picket, where his climate targets are an issue for striking autoworkers. But what are the facts? I ask Michigan
economics professor Betsey Stevenson.
Plus, as migrant crossing surge at the Southern U.S. border, Chilean author Isabel gives a face to the faceless in her new novel, "The Wind Knows My
Also, ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSELL MOORE, AUTHOR: They're looking around and they're starting to wonder whether the church is just using Jesus as a means to an end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- American Evangelical Christians are adrift, says Russell Moore, former leader of the Southern Baptist Convention. He speaks to
Michel Martin about his new book, "Losing Our Religion."
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Is a global green agenda in trouble as leaders around the world are rolling back climate policies and pledges, they say to boost their economies? Here
in Britain, the government has just approved a huge new oil and gas field in the North Sea. Just a week after the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak slow
rolled carbon neutral targets.
But to be clear, the International Energy Agency says that limiting global warming to that 1.5 degrees Celsius would require no new drilling and the
green potentially huge. A new Oxford University reports finds that Britain's energy needs could be met entirely by wind and solar power by
We're going to explore this in depth tonight. And my first guess is the deputy leader of Britain's Green Party, Zack Polanski. Welcome to the
ZACK POLANSKI, DEPUTY LEADER, BRITISH GREEN PARTY: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: I was shocked actually to hear this as breaking news this morning, this new announcement. It's controversial. And why do you think
it's happening, and explain to us why you oppose it?
POLANSKI: I think it's absolutely controversial. We know right now that we're in a climate emergency and we have to listen to the scientists. The
science is really clear that we need to act now. And the very least we could do is to reduce our emissions, never mind make things worse.
As to why this is happening, I really think the government is in freefall, they're panicking. They can see they are falling in the polls and they just
don't seem to be able to get any ground. I really think Rishi Sunak is thinking, if I'm controversial or I appeal to a very minor base, that's
something to grow from. I think --
AMANPOUR: Who is his minor base?
POLANSKI: Well, it's climate deniers or client delayers. It's people that, you know, talk about woke wars and culture wars. But actually, this is too
serious to play politics with. And I was thinking that's a strategy that won't work. We see time and time again that people are worried about the
climate emergency, they worried about the children and their grandchildren's future. I think it's really important that people like me
and other people in the green movement tell these stories that essentially say, we're in a cost-of-living crisis but it's not really a cost-of-living
crisis, it's an inequality crisis.
The superrich are doing better than they ever have before. Meanwhile, people are living in mass poverty. This is an opportunity to make sure we
have good green jobs for people as we renew those industries and transition. And also, if you take insulating homes, for instance, if we
insulated every single home in Britain that needs that needs it, that both reduces bills, it lowers emissions and again, it creates those jobs I was
just talking about.
AMANPOUR: And this is often promised by various governments but never comes to it. But let's stick with this North Sea oil and gas field. So, first and
foremost, the government says that, you know, it will bring energy security to the U.K., after what we've seen with, you know, Russia and potentially
other fossil fuel producing nations, holding us hostage for whatever political upheaval might be there. So, what about energy security? What
about that argument?
POLANSKI: So, this is egregious nonsense because most of the oil that will come from this oilfield will be sold on the international market. So, we're
effectively giving it to Norway, who are giving a subsidy to this massive oil fossil giant and then selling it back to the U.K. But actually, if we
really want energy security and want to protect our planet, investing in renewables is the exact way to do this.
Now, in 2015 under David Cameron's government, he famously said, let's cut the green crap. We've now got lots of evidence that shows if we'd invested
right then, we'd be saving everyone masses on their energy bills right now. So, these are real missed opportunities. The best time to invest in
renewables would have been about 10, 20 years ago. The second-best time is right now.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, what do you make of that? That's a pretty extraordinary Oxford University report to come out practically as this
Rosebank field is announced. And it says by 2050, solar and wind could power all of them -- all of U.K.'s needs.
POLANSKI: I think it's really telling and it points again to what this government have missed, which is that long-term strategy, we're so short-
termist all the time. But actually, if they took that step back, looked at this report and lots of other evidence, you could see how investing in
renewables is exactly the way forward.
And just last week, we lost out on offshore wind because we failed to bid high enough at an auction. Again, we can't keep making mistakes like this.
And this is vital why we need more Green M.P.s in Parliament, because every Green M.P. is someone making this case, and we know the difference a Green
makes in the room, that it's a powerful voice that will say to probably a future Labour prime minister, that climate is important And I think it's
important to note that Labour today have said they won't revoke these licenses. They are complicit in what is essentially a climate crime.
AMANPOUR: They won't do any new ones, but they say they won't revoke existing permissions.
POLANSKI: And I feel like that's just spin. When we've just had the biggest oil and gas license committed to say, we won't do any new ones, feels very
convenient. And it's worth pointing out that the emissions from this one alone are equal to 28 of the lowest income countries. That's about, you
know, millions and millions of people. Again, it's just outrageous that Labour won't stand up.
AMANPOUR: So, the thing is though, you said it's important to have more Green politicians. If I'm not mistaken, I think you only have one M.P.,
right, your former leader, Caroline Lucas.
POLANSKI: That's correct.
AMANPOUR: Right. So, she basically has called it the greatest -- this new field, the greatest act of environmental vandalism in my lifetime. But I
just want to ask you about the facts here. She was told by the energy firm, Ithaca Energy, that the oil would not be mostly exported. And then, the
briefing from the main investor, as you said, says the oil will be sold on the open market and the most likely destination is Europe. Who's telling
POLANSKI: Well, I think let's explore both options very quickly. This is about scope 3 emissions, which are essentially when you burn this oil. Now,
if those emissions are being outsourced to another country, that would make it net zero, which is what the government are arguing. They're saying, it
doesn't cause any problems because it's essentially being sold on the international market.
But then, that story doesn't add up. If they're being burnt right here in - - you know, as we know, in the UK, then they are contributing to our emissions. Either way, we're still burning oil, and that's awful. But the
government's story is just incoherent and it doesn't add up either way.
AMANPOUR: And what does it mean for prices for the British consumer?
POLANSKI: Well, we've seen prices go further and further up. And I think, you know, Liz Truss's government was not an accident. That was not some
kind of aberration. That's the natural extension of what happens if you allow the free market, if you allow the planet to burn, and you just keep
allowing capitalism to be the only way forward here.
I think ultimately, what we need to do is grab that agenda. So, again, we're saying, we're investing in green jobs for the future, we're
protecting the most vulnerable, and actually, we should be taxing the wealthiest for most as well. 91P in every pound from this oil is going back
to the fossil fuels. That's subsidizing fossil fuel companies --
POLANSKI: -- as opposed to subsidizing the people of Britain.
AMANPOUR: But I mean, that is huge. That's a huge subsidy to the fossil fuel companies.
POLANSKI: I mean, it's really grim. And you talk about green politicians, that's why people like Carla Denyer in Bristol West and Adrian Ramsay in
Waveney Valley. We need to get those people elected because they'll be making these arguments in Parliament.
AMANPOUR: Those are names maybe our international audience won't know, but I get your point. They're Green politicians. Zack Polanski, thank you very
much for being with us.
POLANSKI: Thanks so much for having me on.
AMANPOUR: Now, in the United States, green policies and incentives are the backbone of President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. The state of the U.
S. economy, a big focus for tonight's Republican presidential debate. Just as Biden and Trump are both trying to court blue collar workers in
Here to unpack all of this is Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan and a former adviser to President Obama. And
she's joining me from Ann Arbor. Betsey Stevenson, welcome.
You just heard one of the leaders of the Green Party here talk about, you know, the vandalism, the environmental vandalism, and also talk about the
costs. Do you think -- or the costs of the government claim, do you think that in general, whether it's Britain or the United States, the green
agenda is at risk right now in a serious way?
BETSEY STEVENSON, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: You know, I guess I don't think so. I think we're seeing a movement forward. You know,
if you want to focus on a small part of it, which is the electrification of vehicles, shifting from, gas vehicles to electric vehicles, it's clear that
just enormous progress has been made on that front. And you have to do it in a couple of different ways.
I mean, one is that we have to get the car companies to realize that's where their future is. And I think if you listen to the heads of the big
three automakers, they understand that in order for them to continue to compete, not just within the United States, but globally, they're going to
have to shift to electric vehicles. But we also then need the infrastructure within the United States for people to be able to count on
and rely on electric vehicles. And that's something that the Inflation Reduction Act really put a lot into.
And then I think the U.S. needs to know that it can have a sustainable auto industry, even with a shift to electric vehicles, and that's what the CHIPS
Act was all about, helping to make sure that we can keep manufacturing in the United States with a sourcing of some of the components that we need
right here in the U.S. And so, the Biden administration's been trying to facilitate this transition while protecting U.S. industry.
AMANPOUR: So, as I said in the introduction, both President Biden and Former President Trump are sort of trying to make their case on this issue
in Michigan. President -- Former President Trump has called it, you know, Biden's all electric car hoax, and that it will annihilate the U.S. auto
How -- I mean, that seems to be resonating in certain quarters. And obviously, some of the auto workers on strike are concerned about the
fallout from all of this. So, how does this -- the story get told to the people who matter?
STEVENSON: So, it's really easy to tell a story of we're not going to allow progress to go forward. Electric cars are terrible. We're going to just
keep doing things the old way. The problem is actually holding back change. And I think that's going to be really difficult. I think the biggest threat
to the U.S. would be if the U.S. doesn't manufacture electric vehicles and other countries do, and our auto industry does.
You know, one of the reasons the U.S. had such a strong auto culture and auto industry was because we were first movers early on when it came to
ICE, you know, the internal combustible engine. So, we want to be able to do the same thing on electric vehicles.
I understand why there's a lot of skepticism. You know, if you look at the kinds of subsidies that were put in place by the Obama administration for
electric vehicles, Tesla was a big company that was a big capture of those subsidies.
Tesla's a non-unionized company. They're actually a company with known for a lot of violations of workplace safety rules. They're not where American
auto workers want to envision themselves working. And so, what they want to make sure is that the policies that are getting put in place are going to
allow electrification in a way that protects union jobs. That's the case Joe Biden has to make.
Donald Trump's going to be out there saying, I'm going to promise you no change. People shouldn't believe no change, because that's not possible.
The question will be, can Biden convince them that it's going to be different from what we've done in the past?
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me read you a stat that might help that, if it was made. According to the Bank of America, Biden's climate law has led to
86,000 new jobs and $132 billion in investment. And he's always saying, you know, when I think of climate change, I think of jobs, good jobs, union
jobs, well playing -- well-paying jobs, but that stat is pretty good, isn't it?
STEVENSON: The stat is great. And the reality is that in the near-term, it has led to the creation of jobs. What the union is fighting for right now
is a promise that we won't see industry, not just move outside of the United States, but move to nonunion states, states that have created laws
making it harder to unionize and nonunion firms.
And so, they want to make sure -- they want to promise that when we start to shift to electric vehicles -- when the big three automakers are shifting
to electric vehicles, there's going to be union jobs making those cars. And you know, that -- that's the way for that industry to continue to grow, to
be able to hire more people, but they've got to promise their employees that they're not going to open plants in nonunionized areas, that they're
not going to be using that, you know, tiered system to hire people who aren't union workers to be able to do -- to fill those new positions.
And so, I think there's a real reason the union's having the fight they're having right now. They need to level set and say, we're going to work with
you on this move to electrification, but this is what we need. And I think Biden going out and showing up on the picket lines and saying, I'm here for
that, is what he needs to be doing to be making the case that he really can achieve a just transition.
AMANPOUR: Let's play a little bit of what he said yesterday when he was on the picket line. Obviously historic. No sitting president has done that.
And the UAW has had this historic strike. So, let's just play what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Wall Street didn't build the country, the middle class built the country.
BIDEN: The (INAUDIBLE) build the middle class.
BIDEN: And that's a fact. So, let's keep going. You deserve what you earn and you earned a hell a lot more than you're getting paid now?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, lots of cheers, obviously competing for that vote. And, you know, he's got a track record there, of course. Now, critics, including,
you know -- you mentioned Tesla, Elon Musk is saying, that striking workers demands will "drive G.M, Ford, and Chrysler bankrupt." Is that true?
STEVENSON: You know, I don't know where they're going to come out in terms of their final agreement. But, you know, what we're seeing as an industry,
it's been highly profitable and it can afford to pay its high-ranking executives outsized salaries, and all the workers are saying is, you know,
you haven't even taken us back to where we were in 2019. And we want more than 2019 because the companies have really improved.
Remember, these are workers who made a lot of concessions to save the industry in the 2008 crisis. Now, they're saying, you guys are doing really
well. You have a plan for being able to expand and move into the next century with electric cars. We want some of that. And I don't think that it
will bankrupt them.
But, you know, it's kind of interesting that Elon Musk is the one saying that because what he's saying is, I would never give my workers anything
like this. I operate by having people work long hours at low pay, and they got to compete against me.
STEVENSON: That's certainly what the big three is afraid of.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And let's just talk about Trump, who's also in Michigan. And he's also, obviously, trying to court as many voters as possible, including
blue collar workers. But I just want to point out what he said on Fox News in 2008 about these -- about unions. He basically said, unions get their
little 5 percent. They get another 2 percent. They get another 3 percent, 4 percent. All of a sudden, they're making more money than the people that
own the company. That was him two weeks after the UAW made massive concessions to the big three in December 2008. So, it's a little hypocrisy
there, isn't it? Who is he standing for?
SNOW: Well, you know, I think what I would point there is you can hear it in the tone, which is like the idea that the people who build the things
should get more than the people who invest in it, the stockholders, that seems outrageous to him. To a lot of people, that's not outrageous. Labor
should be getting a big share of whatever's produced. It's not just the investors.
Look, I -- you know, I invest in companies with my retirement funds too. I like to get a nice return, but do I really deserve more than what the
workers get? I don't think so.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Yes. So, I want to play something that Paul Krugman, Nobel economist, told me about Biden's -- you know, the economics and the facts
and Bidenomics, saying that there's this disconnect between what the polls say about it and what actually is happening. Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL KRUGMAN, NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING ECONOMIST: People say it's a terrible economy, but what's really odd is that people don't behave as if it's a
terrible economy. You know, we can talk about surveys, which -- in which people seem to be relatively happy with their own financial situation or we
can just look at behavior. People are out there with a lot of discretionary consumer spending, travel, hotels, restaurants, all of that is booming. So,
people are acting as if they're in good shape financially. And yet, they say, wow, this is a disastrous economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What do you make of that?
STEVENSON: You know, I do think it's one of the real challenges right now, particularly for President Biden is that it's clear that people are
actually doing OK when we look at where, you know, wages are at overall, growth in jobs, the unemployment rate, and then we look at their consumer
spending, which is what is -- you know, it's very strong and it's continuing to fuel economic growth, it looks great, but people don't feel
I think one answer to that is people don't feel good when there is a higher-than-normal inflation, even if it's just a little bit higher than
normal. Right now, we're at inflation that is higher than normal, but not by a lot.
The other thing though, is it's been an economy where everybody's been really shook up and there's been more winners and losers randomly impacted
by luck. You know, if you -- if you're a union worker, your wages haven't kept up with inflation. If you're an older worker, your wages haven't kept
up with inflation. Young workers don't have enough experience to understand that inflation has really helped drive high wages for younger workers and
people changing jobs. So, that's a benefit of inflation.
Unfortunately, you know, the people who are getting helped by it, don't tend to appreciate it. The people are getting hurt by it, absolutely
AMANPOUR: All right. Betsey Stevenson, thank you so much indeed for joining.
Now, more and more are taking their concerns to court as we've been documenting on this program. Now, we're bringing you six Portuguese young
people who are suing dozens of countries in the first climate case to be filed in the European Court of Human Rights. And Salma Abdelaziz has their
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Destructive hurricanes, widespread fires, massive floods. Scientists say catastrophes like these
are becoming more common because of climate change. Now, six young Portuguese, including Andre and Sofia Oliveira, are taking 32 countries to
court. They want the E.U., Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.K. to act faster.
SOFIA OLIVERA, ACCUSER (through translator): We need you to do a better job. I notice that climate change has a big impact on my life.
ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): Their case is being heard this week, but the buildup started six years ago, after the 2017 fires in Central Portugal, the
More than 250 people were injured and 66 killed. Many of those unable to escape when the flames reached this stretch of road died, trapped inside
their cars. The tragedy spurred the applicants into action, especially some who, like Catarina, lived close to the area most affected by the fire.
CATARINA MOTA, APPLICANT (through translator): None of our family houses burned down or anything like that, but we obviously felt it and we
increasingly feel the impacts of climate change in our summers.
ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): Catarina and others say climate change is already having a negative impact on their lives and are asking the European Court
of Human Rights to protect them. A true David vs. Goliath case, but their lawyer believes they have a shot.
GEAROID O CUINN, FOUNDER, GLOBAL ACTION NETWORK: We believe this is an opportunity that the court should take and we are optimistic that it will
recognize the opportunity and demand that states do more to avert climate catastrophe.
ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): A win would legally bind countries to take more action on climate change. But even if they lose, Catarina is happy they've
been able to raise awareness.
MOTA (through translator): This entire process has been very positive and we've been able to achieve a lot. If the court's outcome is positive, that
would be the cherry on top.
ABDELAZIZ (voiceover): A cherry in the form of government action to secure a future that doesn't look like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Salma Abdelaziz reporting there. Climate disasters, like the ones we've just seen, are intensifying migration crises around the world,
including on the U.S. southern border, where crossings surged over 8,600 in a 24-hour period last week. There are many reasons to leave home, of
course, and my next guest, Isabel Allende, has personal experience of fleeing Chile after the 1973 coup. She captures the love and tragedy within
these journeys in her new novel, "The Wind Knows My Name." The bestselling author is joining me now from California. Welcome to the program, Isabel
ISABEL ALLENDE, AUTHOR: Hello. Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you about, you know, what you've set out to do with this new novel, especially in light of how we've introduced you,
talking about the migrations, the crises, people having to live. What are you trying to say in this novel?
ALLENDE: Well, I have a foundation that works in the border. So, we get to know many cases, particular cases. When we talk about numbers, that's an
abstract number that we cannot relate to, but when you hear the stories one by one, you know the names, you see the faces, then everything changes, and
I think that's what I intended to do with this book, just tell the story of one little girl, blind, who was separated from her mother at the border
during the time of the pandemic, and her case was particularly dramatic because of the fact that she was blind.
And so, I thought that in a way she could embody the tragedy of so many people, especially minors that find themselves abandoned and crossing the
border because they're desperate. Nobody leaves their place of origin unless they're desperate.
AMANPOUR: Just remind us about your story so that we understand and everybody understands, you know, the personal experience you have and the
empathy, you're able to, you know, communicate about these stories, because they are dehumanized. These people who come across the border, many just
think they're just numbers, as you say.
ALLENDE: Yes, they're not numbers. Well, my case is -- I'm a privileged refugee, because I got out of my country after the military coup in 1973
and I went to Venezuela, which at the time was a rich, generous, open country full of immigrants from all over the world that came to work. So,
there were chances, opportunities, hospitality, and I was able to reunite with my family there. So, my case was particularly good in that sense.
I haven't gone through all the horrible tragedies that people experience in the humanitarian crisis at the border of the United States with Mexico, and
in other places as well. But there's another factor here when we talk about the -- about immigrants and about refugees and asylum seekers, there is a
racist component. When people from Ukraine leave their country, they are welcome, not only because the country is at war, but because they are not
black. And in the south of the United States, people who come are people of color, and that is a factor here in the United States, and people don't
talk about it at all, but it is.
I have been, all my life, a displaced person because, as a child, I moved from one country to another following my stepfather who was a diplomat.
Then I became a political refugee, and then an immigrant in the United States. And the experience of refugees is completely different from that of
AMANPOUR: So --
ALLENDE: Immigrants are usually young people who leave their country in search of a better life. Refugees are running for their lives.
AMANPOUR: Well, for instance, about the southern border, you focus one of your stories on Leticia, who fled El Salvador after most of her family was
killed in a massacre there. You know, as you said, not many people accept that many men -- not many people in the United States accept that many of
these people are literally fleeing for their lives.
ALLENDE: Yes. Leticia, the character in my book, is one of the very few survivors of the massacre of El Mozote in El Salvador in the '80s, where
the military, trained by the United States, went into an area called El Mozote and they exterminated almost a thousand people, including the
children. They hacked them to pieces. They burned them alive.
And so, when we think of those events, we realize that we can't even imagine ourselves in that situation. We can never say, well, that could
happen to me. But when you see one case at a time, then you can connect and you can say, OK, this could have been me, that child separated at the
border blind could be my child. And everything changes.
That's, I think the art or the power of photography, cinema, the personal story and of course, fiction.
AMANPOUR: Yes. But then, does it? Because people who may not be reading your books are leaders in Congress. Let's say the hardline Republicans
right now are forcing their speaker and basically their conference there to shut down the government if Biden doesn't shut down the border.
ALLENDE: Yes. But I cannot that. I cannot change what the politicians think. I can only do my little work as a fiction writer and the work that
we do through the foundation in the border, helping organizations and programs that supports especially women and children at the border. But
what can I do? How can I --
AMANPOUR: I just wondered what you thought about that --
ALLENDE: -- the government --
AMANPOUR: I wondered what you thought about that.
ALLENDE: -- that this is humanitarian crisis.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I wondered what you thought about that, because, as you remember, and you actually draw a line from Nazi Germany to the U.S.
southern border. You remember that back then boatloads of refugees were turned back, and your novel paints a parallel between Samuel separated from
his family as he flees Nazi occupied Austria. And Anita, who we talked about, who was torn from her mother in the U.S.
The book opens with this story of Kristallnacht. What, what are you saying? Because that's a -- that is a real drama and it's a shameful chapter in
U.S. and western history.
ALLENDE: That history repeats itself if we are not aware of the past and try to prevent it. I think that humanity evolves that we move forward, but
we don't move in a straight line, we go in a spiral. And we seem to revisit many of the horrors that have happened in the past.
I make the connection very easily between what happened with the Kindertransport in Germany and Austri and what happens in the border today,
they are refugees, they are people that are running away, people who need shelter, who need hospitality, and it's not given to them. How many Jews
died because the ships were turned back, as you've said?
I hope that more and more, through art and through information and journalists and programs like this that you are doing today, will help
people understand what it is. But -- plus, this is a global crisis that will only increase with climate change. It will not be solved by -- with
walls and bullets. We need to find a global humanitarian solution to a terrible tragedy that is going to increase in time, very soon.
AMANPOUR: You started your writing career, at least as far as we know it, with your most famous book, "The House of the Spirits," and it was born
essentially out of the tragedy of what happened to your country. And it's known as magical realism, and quite a lot of your books are -- I think, are
framed in that way. I hope you would agree that I get it right.
And this book is very different. The magic is cast off. There's no fairy dust being sprinkled over your latest book. Did you make a deliberate, you
know, turn to that or is this just part of your evolution?
ALLENDE: Not all stories can be treated with magic realism. Magic realism is not like salt and pepper that you can sprinkle everywhere. Some stories
allow it and some don't. I have written 27 books, and not all of them have magic realism. And this is one of the books that doesn't allow it. It's a
very realistic story.
AMANPOUR: So, I wonder how you are -- I mentioned it briefly, but it is 50 years since the coup that saw your cousin, Salvador Allende, killed. He was
the president killed in Pinochet's takeover in 1973. What has it been like to reflect on this anniversary? And I guess I want to ask you what you
think, last month, Chile's current president, Boric, he formally launched the nation's first plan to search for victims of the forced disappearance
and political executions under Pinochet.
ALLENDE: It's different to see the process from outside from the United States, as I do, that seeing it inside Chile. In Chile, people are divided.
It's very polarized. There's a lot of hatred in the air. And the popularity of the Boric government is very low. They proposed a constitution that was
very left it and was rejected by the people.
Now, there's a new constitution being drafted by the extreme right in Chile, which are the descendants of Pinochet. And that is, I think, going
to be rejected as well because it's the other extreme. We have to find a middle point. But this anniversary, which I thought would be an opportunity
to reflect upon the value of democracy or -- and what do we have to do to put the country together because we have many more things in common that
things that divide us, but it has not happened that way.
We -- just the anniversary was in September -- on September 11th. And since then, there's more polarization and more division than before. So, I don't
know what is needed in Chile to bring people together. They -- the issues that are most -- the hot issues are immigration, inflation, and inequality,
and also, urban crime, which, if you compare it to any city in the rest of Latin America or the United States, is nothing. But for Chile, it's an
So, the government of Boric has not been able to tackle any of those. And it's time to do it.
AMANPOUR: Let me end by asking you about age. And I'm asking you not to be impertinent, because I know that you have talked about it, especially in
the podcast with Julia Louis Dreyfus. I don't know whether you want to say your age, but certainly you are active, you are writing, you're doing, you
are showing up all the time. And I'm asking you because of the current debate over politics and age and Biden and all the rest of it. To you, what
are the advantages of it?
ALLENDE: I am 81. Very proud to have reached this age and I'm very happy. This is a very happy time in my life because I have retired from everything
I don't want to do. And I am really active in those things that I'm passionate about, and there are several of those.
I think that the advantage of age, if you have good health and you have a community that supports you is that you can really contribute to the world
because you have 80 years of experience and you have nothing to lose. So, I feel that I can say anything, I can do anything, I am freer now than I ever
was before. And I am, as I said, at 81, I'm in love. So, even that is possible.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's pretty amazing. That is amazing. So, what's next? You've often said that you finish a book and start writing another one. Are
you on to the next one?
ALLENDE: Yes, of course. On January 8th, I begin on my books. I began another book. And now, we are almost in October. And so, I should have a
first draft finished by the middle of October.
AMANPOUR: Gosh. Well, we look forward to when that eventually comes out. That's a lot of industry and a lot of wisdom. Isabella Allende, thank you
so much for joining us.
ALLENDE: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And now the Evangelical church in the United States faces significant challenge from the current political landscape. Russell Moore
is the editor in chief of Christianity Today, and he explores this theme in his new book. And he's joining Michel Martin to discuss questions of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Pastor Russell Moore, thank you so much for talking with us.
MOORE: Well, thanks for having me.
MARTIN: I think people, even if they don't necessarily follow issues of kind of faith and politics closely, they might remember you because you had
a very high-ranking position at the Southern Baptist Convention. You were one of the people who was tasked with speaking out on issues of public
You begin this book by recounting your experiences at the end of your tenure. And it's pretty bracing to read. Would you describe what was
happening that caused you to think differently about your time there? What that -- those last couple of years were like?
MOORE: Well, it was bracing to write and even more bracing to live. But it was a situation where really there was a controversy over Trump and
politicization of the church. some controversies over racial justice and whether or not that's something that the church ought to be concerned with
And then, questions of sexual abuse. And those were the ones that became the most revelatory in some ways to me. I was not shocked that sexual abuse
was happening in the church. I was shocked by some of the responses to it, or at least the lack of response to it, and the kind of backlash that even
raising the question could bring, that's what was surprising to me.
MARTIN: Talk about some of that, if you would, like what was some of the -- what were some of those internal conversations that the rest of us would
not have been privy to?
MOORE: Well, there were some people who would say, well, there's really no problem in our churches. We all know each other. Nothing like this is
happening. It's just made up by the media. There were some people who would say, well, this is just the MeToo movement in the secular world, and it's
not something that the church should concern itself with. And then, there was, frankly, a lot of really rollie (ph) misogynistic sorts of statements
and actions that would be made.
And so, it was a confluence of events, not with most people, and I think with most people in the pews and most people in the pulpits, there's a
different sort of priority, but there's a significant minority who would make their will known and make their will happen.
MARTIN: So, you've written many books about, you know, theology and the culture and the church and the direction you would hope the church or the
country or, you know, would go. What would you describe as the purpose of this book?
MOORE: It largely came out of the fact that I find myself having this conversation every day with people who are in the kind of crisis in which
they say, I'm not wanting to lose my faith, but I'm right on the precipice because they're looking around and they're starting to wonder whether the
church is just using Jesus as a means to an end. And so, I'm trying to help people to guard against cynicism really in either direction. Because one
can be cynical just by shutting down and numbing oneself, or one can become cynical by saying, well, this is the way the game is played. I'm just going
to play it. And I think there's another way in a better way and a less exhausting way for people.
MARTIN: What's resonating to read in the book that, you know, earlier in your life and career, you know, as a pastor, you talked about how you were
often called upon by parents who were sad about the direction that they saw their kids going in. You know, they're not faithful. They're not church
goers. They're not hewing to the standards that we hope for them.
Now, you say you are often called upon to counsel young adults --
MARTIN: -- who are worried about their parents going down this kind of rabbit hole. Would you talk a little bit about that?
MOORE: Well, this is a conversation that happens all the time where someone will say, my parents have become radicalized on social media or I don't
even recognize my parents anymore, they've become involved in conspiracy theories of various kinds.
And then, the thing that's striking to me is that none of these people are asking me, how do I win an argument with them? All of these people are
saying, I love my parents or I love my mentors or whoever it is, I really want a connection with them, but everything turns into an argument about
some conspiracy theory or so forth, how do I connect with them without giving into that? And that comes up all the time now.
MARTIN: Well, the book does a number of things. It is a kind of a meditation upon on your own faith journey at this stage of your life and
how you reconcile your moral compass and your deeply held beliefs with the way the institutions that you have lived through have changed. But it's
also a broader meditation on, what has happened to Evangelical Christianity in the United States.
How would you describe kind of the state of Evangelical Christianity for people who are not as familiar with it as you are?
MOORE: We are the people Jesus warned us about. We have we have spent many years warning about secularization as though it's something on the outside,
and what we didn't see is the way that we have become secularized. And so, the aims and objectives and even our emotional temperature is being driven
by something other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that's one of the reasons why we've lost our credibility to the outside world.
The outside world often wonders if they aren't more moral than we are. And they have they have good evidence to bring forward. Well, one can't
credibly bear witness to a gospel under those circumstances.
MARTIN: What happened? When did this start?
MOORE: I think it's been happening for quite a while with the level of rhetoric that came along with political involvement. And so, in order to
mobilize people, there had to be this rhetoric of imminent threat. And so, desperate times call for desperate measures. You're about to lose
everything. The outside world is going to destroy you.
And there are genuine challenges that people need to be equipped to handle. But that kind of rhetoric, I think, turned us into an apocalyptic people in
all the worst kinds of ways and not in the best kinds of ways. And then if one adds to that a social media atmosphere that's able to very quickly give
information, misinformation, disinformation to the point that people can't sort through the difference between truth and falsehood, we end up in this
MARTIN: You use the metaphor of the lizard brain, you know, it's where -- it's kind of a -- it's an idea of sort of human psychology that's
constantly alert to threat and danger. And you say that this could be particularly toxic when it's merged with religious identity and a church
that is afraid of extinction. How do you see that playing out in the Evangelical circles right now?
MOORE: Well, it's dangerous to a person because if one is in a state of constant alert and in an adrenal crouch, there's no way to reflect and to
contemplate and to pray and to engage with one's neighbors. But it's also dangerous for everybody else and for our democracy and for our church
because we end up being driven from one fear and one crisis to the other in a way that strips us down. And I think it gives to people an illusion of
vitality if they get that adrenal jolt that comes with hating their enemies, it can almost substitute for life for a little while.
MARTIN: There are people of tremendous stature who have given their lives to the church, but because they disagree about something or other, are
literally cast out. Like, for example, Saddleback Church has been -- you know, I don't know what's the right term, kicked out of, excommunicated
from the Southern Baptist Convention because they have given women the authority to preach in that church.
And I just -- and a lot of people where I'm thinking about -- I'm thinking about a number of ministers, for example, who, for example, said that they
didn't support Donald Trump or who raised questions about his conduct, raised questions about his personal conduct, raised questions about the
vulgarity and his coarseness and his attitude of kind of hatred toward other people who have been disinvited from their own -- separated from
their congregations, disinvited to speak.
And I just -- a lot of people wonder, like, how is that possible? Like why is this figure who seems very loosely attached to the core principles of
Christianity is so much more powerful than people who've given their lives to the church?
MOORE: Well, that's the central question right now. I mean, there -- one person said to me just the other day, can there be one part of my life that
is not completely dominated by conversations about Donald Trump? And you think about the way this one figure has emerged, whatever one thinks of
this person, the way that every family, church, community has been split apart by our opinions of this person, I just don't think we would have ever
imagined that a decade ago or 20 years ago.
MARTIN: What is the whole though? I mean, what's the appeal?
MOORE: Well, I think that there is a sense that he's a fighter. That he doesn't have weakness because he's willing to take it to the people who are
perceived to be enemies. And so, that kind of fighting language, I think, is energizing to some people.
And then you add to it, there are people who would say, well, he promised that he would appoint a certain kind of a judge and justice, and he did,
and so they're willing to overlook a lot of other things. But I think largely it's the same reason why other Americans who are supporting Trump
do, which is that they think he speaks for a kind of resentment that's lashing back and lashing out.
MARTIN: It's interesting that there's sort of these two competing strains that we -- you've talked about -- that you also talk about, you know, in
the book, which is, you know, on the one hand, 76 percent of white Evangelical Christians identify as Republican today, that's up from 53
percent 20 years ago. This is according to the Survey Center on American life. And I think that -- I think it's pretty well known by now that white
Evangelical Christians were and remain some of President Trump's strongest supporters.
On the other hand, the number of white Americans who identify as Evangelical Christians is dropping rapidly, according to the survey -- the
same survey that I just cited here. I'm just wondering, how do you -- what do you -- what do those two things mean?
MOORE: Well, I think it's even worse than that. Because at the same time that we're seeing people who are actual Evangelicals refusing to use the
word and walking away from it. We have other people who are embracing the word who might not even go to church at all, but who think, I must be an
Evangelical because of my political convictions. That's not an even trade.
And so, whenever someone says to me, I just don't want to think of myself as an Evangelical, in almost every case, that's somebody with a high view
of the bible, a high view of Jesus, all of the classic markers of Evangelical Christianity, that's really concerning to me.
MARTIN: You're in the faith business. So, what's, what's giving you hope right now? Because I see this book both as a testament to your sadness and
grief over what has happened, but it also is kind of a statement of your belief that other -- something better is possible. So, why don't we talk
about that? Like, how you fix this thing?
MOORE: Well, every time that I start to get cynical, I encounter someone whose life is being transformed by the gospel. And so that's happening all
over the country. You look at what's happening among? young Christians who really aren't interested aren't interested in a mascot for their political
views or something else, but who really are seeking to follow Christ, that gives me great hope.
When I look at what's happening around the world and the way that there's a vibrant growing kind of Christianity in Asia and Africa and Latin America
and that's becoming more and more -- those of the leading areas of Evangelical Christianity, that gives me a lot of hope. And then, I'm a
Christian. I believe in the holy spirit. So, I can be somebody without hope.
MARTIN: The book is titled "Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America." So, for people who aren't familiar with the concept,
what's an altar call? And why is your book that?
MOORE: Well, an altar call is when, at the end of the service, the church invites people to come forward, to repent their sin and to confess faith.
And so, the reason I chose the language of altar call is because it is bad news, you have to first recognize something is not going right with my
life. And it's also good news, there is another way. There is hope for new birth. And that is what I'm hoping to say in this book.
MARTIN: But what does it look like?
MOORE: I think it looks like -- what's happening right now, we are in a time of great change and you have a lot of the old coalitions that are
breaking down, but a lot of new alliances and coalitions that are emerging. People who are fighting each other. And so, I think that looks like a
different kind of Christianity that really is much more in touch with ancient Christianity, and I think we've seen that happen repeatedly in the
history of the world, the Wesley brothers and others, who have come in and revitalized Christianity by saying, let's get back to the basics of what is
MARTIN: We're not here is to sort of decide for people or to kind of tell people what they should believe or not believe, but reality of it is that
there is an increasing secularization of the United States and the West. I mean, if you look at kind of the rates of connection to Christian faith in
Europe, for example, or western Europe in particular, it's very low. And then, there are a lot of people who would say that this is exhibit A of why
this is kind of a toxic force and really, we all would be better off if more people walked away from it.
I mean, obviously, you're not in the business of trying to persuade people who believe that firmly. That's not kind of who the book is for. But for
those who do feel that way, who might be listening to our conversation, do you have a message for them?
MOORE: Well, I would say, fundamentally, the question is, is it true? And by it, I mean, the gospel, the resurrection of Christ, that changes the way
that we see everything. But secondly, I would say, it's important even for people who are outside the church what happens within the church. They are
going to be religious Americans forever, and that has a lot to do with the help of the rest of the nation.
So, even if you were somebody far distant from Evangelical Christianity, you ought to be hoping for a healthier Evangelical Christianity. It affects
everyone. What's happening -- and that's especially true when we look around and we see institution after institution after institution in
crisis. You can't -- the rest of the country can't come in and replicate what churches have brought to communities and to persons.
And so, when that becomes unhealthy, that's dangerous for everybody else. It's also dangerous when people use religion for authoritarian or demagogic
ends. That's always been the case, because if you can use religion, you can give one -- you can give yourself an extra kind of authority that says, if
you disagree with me, you disagree with God. That matters to everybody.
MARTIN: Pastor Russell Moore, thank you so much for talking with us.
MOORE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK RUBIO, NASA ASTRONAUT: Fantastic. Yes. Everybody did really well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks very real. Very real.
RUBIO: Thank you. Thank you. It's good to be home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And welcome back to NASA astronaut, Frank Rubio, whose broken record for the longest single spaceflight by an American. That was 371
days. But it was an unintended record to be sure since his homecoming was delayed by six months after a leak in his return vessel left him stranded
in space. So, he touched down in Kazakhstan this morning and he will be making his way home to the United States where he will be reunited with his
wife and four children.
Speaking to reporters last week, Rubio said that he probably would have turned down the mission had he known that it would last a whole year.
That's it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episodes shortly after it airs on our podcast. Remember, you can always
catch is online, on our website and all across social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.