Don't Speak

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 13, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Alan Colmes.

Coming up, did Jackson's accuser raid the liquor cabinet on his own? Our legal experts will take the score on who's winning the King of Pop's trial.

First, President Bush is said to be a favorite of evangelical Christians, but the faculty at one evangelical college in Michigan doesn't agree. One third of the professors at Calvin College are taking out a newspaper ad to protest President Bush as their commencement speaker. The ad charges Bush with anti-Christian behavior.

Quote, "As Christians, we are called peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort. We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq."

The college administration says they welcome dialogue between different points of view but stand by the position to host the president, saying in a statement, "On commencement day, Calvin College's obedience to the Bible's call to respect those in authority will carry the day, disagreements not withstanding."

Joining us now, two of the professors behind the protest, Ruth Groenhout and Randal Jelks. Good to have you both with us.

Let me go first to randal and ask you, what about — I agree with you, by the way, and I'm glad to hear that people speaking out on behalf of evangelical Christianity, not being pro-war in every instance. But why not have a dissenting point of view? Isn't that permissible in a place that there should be dialogue?

RANDAL JELKS, PROFESSOR, CALVIN COLLEGE: We — first of all, we want to say we welcome the president to Calvin College for graduation. The president has been at Calvin College before, in the 2000 primaries. So we're welcoming the president.

COLMES: Right.

JELKS: He — the president shares our faith. And we, as a faculty, are open to dialogue with the president about our faith and faith perspectives. As Christians, we don't all agree about policy, and — and we at the faculty just simply wanted to have a dialogue about it and say that we have different points of view about certain key issues.

COLMES: But should he appear there? Is there any reason why the president should not appear at the college, even though there could be disagreement?

RUTH GROENHOUT, PROFESSOR, CALVIN COLLEGE: No, I think he should come and I think it's great there will be disagreement. After all, we live in a democracy. If we couldn't disagree, what would be the point of it?

So it strikes me that this is exactly the sort of dialogue that should be going on at Christian colleges, is to what extent various policies fit within our faith.

COLMES: So the point is that evangelical Christianity is broader than the religious right and as the way it's represented in the media? Is that the point you're trying to make here?

GROENHOUT: Absolutely.

JELKS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COLMES: And let me ask you about this. You know, the president — it seems like the White House, which always says, Professor Jelks, they don't look at polls. And yet they purposefully go to Michigan, looks like they were looking for a college, maybe even a Christian college in Michigan, where the Republicans lost the last two presidential elections, at least in that state.

JELKS: Well, I have nothing to say about the politics of the president's decision. I think our college and our faculty is honored to have any sitting president at Calvin College. And we have a wonderful institution. So we welcome the president.

But again, as Christian intellectuals, we invite the president to have a dialogue with us, on real, major issues of public policy, such as the environment and what does it mean to be a steward of God's good creation.

COLMES: Is he a bad Christian, Ruth, because of his stance on war and on the environment? Is he not following the precepts of the Bible?

GOENHOUT: That's a pretty inflammatory question. I don't think it's my position to judge his faith or relationship with his God. It strikes me that probably he should be worrying about that rather than me.

But I certainly think it makes sense for Christians to disagree with him on those issues and disagree on the basis of their faith.

HANNITY: Mr. Jelks, welcome to the program. So you guys are protesting the president of the United States, an opportunity for your students to come and you're attacking him just before he gets there in this letter in a lot of different ways.

This, Mr. Jelks, is not the first time you've been engaged in such behavior. Isn't it true, sir, that when William Rehnquist was to speak at your college a few short years ago, that you were part of an effort to prevent him from speaking on campus, an effort that went all throughout the campus, accusing him of racism, sir?

JELKS: No, that's absolutely not true.

HANNITY: You weren't published in The Connection, the college newspaper...

JELKS: Sure, I was published there.

HANNITY: You were?

JELKS: We — again, we welcomed the chief justice of the United States to our college. We were...

HANNITY: You said, "I think a different venue would have been better" at the time. Didn't you say that, sir? So a justice of the Supreme Court, you attacked as racist, and a group of people attacked as racist, isn't that true?

JELKS: We have a different venue for the Paul Henry Institute for Christianity and Politics, and that's what I was certainly referring to, where we might have a dialogue about those important...

HANNITY: Were you part of the effort to accuse him of being racist, sir?

JELKS: I did not accuse him of being racist. I did say, and I stand by what I said, that some of the early justice's opinions were — had a racial slant to them. And I continue to believe that. And that's nothing wrong with that. I wasn't saying...

HANNITY: But here's the point. You know something?


HANNITY: I find this fairly amazing coming from — you know, you're upset about the president's position on the issue of a war and the last resort. And you believe the administration launched an unjust war, et cetera.

You say that his environmental policies have harmed creation as part of this letter.

Do you know what bothers me about your position? This is for both of you professors. If both of you had your way, those mass graves would still be being filled. I have yet to see a letter to Saddam Hussein from either one of you.

If you guys had your way, the torture chambers and the rape rooms would exist. You two obviously haven't looked at the pictures of dead babies laying in the street because Saddam launched weapons against them.

Where's your letter against Saddam? Because it would still continue if you had your way.

GROENHOUT: I actually see no reason why Christians should say that what Saddam did was right. But it also seems to me there's a long tradition of...

HANNITY: He's not doing it any more, Professor, is he?

GROENHOUT: ... justifying wars. And unfortunately, Bush's war doesn't actually...

HANNITY: But your way — your way would appease evil, which is the difference. If you had your way, he would still be in power committing atrocities, wouldn't he?

JELKS: May I speak? The president didn't go to war against Saddam. He went against weapons of mass destruction.

COLMES: All right.

JELKS: Certainly, there are all kinds of choices to be made. We think that — I think that the president simply made a miscalculation and a misjudgment, but that's not the point.

COLMES: All right, Professor. We...

JELKS: The president is coming to Calvin College. We welcome the president to Calvin College.

COLMES: We've got to run. We thank you both very much.

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