Montel Williams: Leading a Surge on the Veterans Administration

July 02, 2014

Best known for his 17 years as a talk show host, Montel Williams is now bringing his name and dynamic personality to activism on behalf of U.S. servicemen and women. Raised during the height of the Civil Rights Movement and into the tumultuous sixties, he joined the Marines as a young man and enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy, earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering

After spending years as a motivational speaker and talk show host he returns to his roots in supporting U.S. military men and women after their return home. Williams has put his weight behind a petition to the White House and a campaign known as #VASURGE in an effort to push the federal government to reform and improve the Veterans Administration, a crisis that has reached its boiling point after years of overlapping American wars.

This is point of inquiry for Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014. 

I’m Josh Zepps, host of Huff Post Live, and this is the podcast of the Center for Inquiry before my guest became an Emmy winning talk show host. He was a Marine. And actually, you said that you were not a Navy lieutenant. What was the name? Lieutenant commander and commander. I didn’t wanna shortchange you to discuss his career as well as his political activism and the state of American faith and politics. Montel Williams is here. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Let’s just start at the beginning. I’m kind of interested in where you started out and what the climate in your family home was like culturally and politically. 

Had you got a really, really strong. I’m a child of the 60s. So in October 1956, Trump 58 tomorrow brings Happy Birthday Breadth A. And I grew up before the civil rights movement. I grew up at a time when America when children bussed the schools and were way what public. 

I mean, I lived in when my first four and a half years, five years life was in downtown Baltimore, a little area that’s called Cherry Hill. And then my parents moved out to a suburb within 10 miles of the city. 

All black enclave, which was called Cedar Hill and Morsell. And we grew up there. I went to school in a county right outside of Baltimore, Linthicum, Maryland, which was a town and a high school. 

And I literally I grew up with a family who remembered older values. 

I think I had a father who, you know, spent 17 years going to college and to get a degree. 

My mother, who went through my school and worked as a foreman eventually for Bendix, which was part of Westinghouse way back in the day. 

Education was important in our home. So I had very early on in life, you know, that was instilled as part of who we are and who we were as a family. And that’s kind of what set me in motion to who I am today. 

And what did you want to do? What did you what were you aspiring to do when you were a kid who we heroes. 

I mean, you I it’s really very interesting. I didn’t really I wasn’t one those people ran around looking after anybody because there wasn’t anything in particular that I was 100 percent attracted to that I knew I had to do. 

So I just knew if I wanted to be the president that I could be. So if you look at my high school yearbook, it’s that I would be the president. 

So it’s 1994. So. 

So back then, I just knew I was going to get an education and I was going to do whatever I wanted to do. Now, the military kind of came back because I got a shock right before I graduate from high school and had left myself in kind of a lurch and not in the position to go to college like I should have. And my parents already paid for college educations. And I was always one of those people who who did for me got a job. And I’m starting is all sorts of work. And I was 13, 14, 15. I was playing in nightclubs at age 15, 16, 17. I was making enough money to, you know, thirteen, fourteen thousand bucks a year back in 1970. Two, three, four, four. Kid was 15 years old, was almost equivalent. Forty thousand bucks a year nowadays. I mean, I, I, I did really well in school. I did well politically in school. I was a member of every political organization to think I was class president two years ago. 

Did you have political aspirations? You know, I did. I think I did. But, you know, there were never really. So if I just knew I was going to do whatever I wanted to do for a minute, I want to be an astronaut from it. And I wanted to be a musician and I want to be an actor from it. And I wanted to be. And if you look at my life right now, I basically fulfilled every dream of everything I wanted to. 

And I still have a lot more to this F for the astronaut bit astronaut. Bam, I got the space and I just went out. You’re only 58, 57 Stango. So in the military. 

Did you get a sense then of the fact that what did what what did you make? Because one of the things that I’m always interested in is how we outsource war to this tiny minority of the population, that we no longer have a sense that we’re all in this, that we essentially one percent of the population doesn’t doesn’t fighting for us and the rest of us continue shopping. 

But you’ve got to remember, I grew up and I was a draft dodger. I wasn’t that way. Right. Early 70s. Yeah. I had a draft as minivan’s go back to that draft back in the early 70s. Eighteen was a drinking age schoolbags. Well, we’re a whole different perspective, a whole different. Back then, 75 to 80 percent of Congress and Senate served in the military. Now it’s less than 27 percent serving in the military. Back then, you had 85 percent of recognized how painful it was to send little boys and girls off to die. Right now, you have people who don’t give a crap about sending other people’s children off to die, because a lot of people that are in our Congress and Senate right now haven’t sent their children often uniforms either. But they are really quick to just decide tomorrow. That sends a more off to a battlefield. 

And I think there was a different time, so different in attitudes. And, you know, I entered the military when I graduated from Marine Corps boot camp in 1975, January 75. My parents and an uncle drove down to Parris Island to pick me up and drive me back up all week. Then from Paris, I was out of a home and then I had to fly home was Maryland. And I was gonna fly to Twentynine Palms. We stopped at a restaurant right south of Virginia. I was in my Marine Corps uniform. I went inside to get something. Nobody would talk to me. My parents had order. And when I step outside, a guy walks on, spit on the ground. Frank. Because you’re getting remember, a whole nother time. We have a millaa massacre. You know, Americans hated war. We admit that we hated war and we hated those who look like they were part of it. 

And then all of a sudden now, over the course of 20 years, go by. We get to 1991 one. We send little boys off to die in a place that we should never send them off to begin with the Persian Gulf. And now everybody supports the troops. Whole new paradigm. 

So is that is that necessarily better? I mean, here’s the paradox that now it’s mandatory to make sure that you say that you support the troops, mandatory to mouth that phrase. 

It’s mandatory to have the bumper sticker with the flag on. It’s mandatory to to be essentially pro militaristic at the same time as far fewer people than ever have actual skin in the game. Correct. And we’re not treating veterans the way that we should be. So which which is better is that is there was there at least an honesty or a virtue to the guy who spat at you? Because at least he was consistent in some way. 

But guess what? The same issues plague the V.A. back then. So it hasn’t changed. No spitting. Tell me you love me. You don’t prove it by taking care of the problem. So they should go back to just taking care of a problem which could’ve been taken care of. Every step can be taken care of today. 

But we just Mazzarelli got to Congress and Senate who want to politicize this and blame this on, you know, President Blackistone. You know, I mean, or for and say that, you know, if we didn’t have Frankenstein in the White House that stop. 

That’s not how much of it you think is about race him. 

Let’s go back to day one. And very clearly, without using the word. I mean, times at so many other politicians belch and almost get the N-word out of her mouth. This has been about race since day one. And others will worry about race until he’s gone. And it’ll be about race after he’s gone because they’ll be fighting any legacy you have any good to make sure that they prove it. But I only say that because unfortunately, since everything is caught up in him and race now, we’ve thrown our soldiers under the bus and most soldiers didn’t go over to battle when they were on the battlefields of Afghanistan. 

I swear to you, there’s not one bullet in an Afghani, you know, AK 47 that has black or white on it. It has American on it. That’s it. A to shoot. You know, you got to have the Iraq, not one Iraqi look across the field at a green uniforms. I go shoot the black one. 

Didn’t happen. They look at to shoot Americans. 

We leave this country, Americans and open our mouths. Everyone in the world looks at us as an American, not a black American, an African-American, an Italian American. Open your mouth. You are an American. And that’s where they may place that satchel when they blow up the restaurant. 

So, you know, we’ve got to get off this idea. 

I mean, I bring it up because Congress and Senate have clearly drawn lines in the sand and that’s what they want to make the issue about. The rest of Americans don’t want the issue to be there. The rest, Americans want to deal with the issues at hand. We have to deal with from immigration to the military to job equality to job equity. 

So why is why is this such gridlock? I mean, a logical person would say, you’re right. If you have a populace which is disenchanted with Washington, which thinks that Washington is broken, which doesn’t, which once solutions, and they this is a democratic country in which they’re able to cast their votes and their representatives in Washington are supposed to believe they’re supposed to obey whatever it is that the voters want them to do. Why do we have a scenario where people want action and yet it’s probably the most gridlocked? 


Status quo in Washington that we’ve seen in decades, because societally, when we take a look at all the America at all, we are so narcissistic in some ways they were so concerned about our square inch, our house, our foot, our bill. 

It is a lot of reason to be concerned. We have bills to pay. I don’t know where an extract come from. Don’t know if we have insurance. Everybody’s so concerned about their five them that, you know, at a time. I want to recruit you to come out on Thursday night or Friday night to come and rally. You’ve got to take your kids because you couldn’t find a babysitter. 

I mean, we’re living in a time where there’s no space for activism and we want activism to take place on the Internet. But then we also allow for anything to go on here. So activism doesn’t even take hold because there’s so many versions of it. So, you know, when it when I’m out, I’m trying to do a petition right now to say to people, you know, sign on while I’m one of 600 people who have an idea because now we have access to all the ideas. 

I end up reading ideas all day and I’ll make a decision. 

Is that the flip side, the downside of all being so interconnected that there’s so much information now that it’s impossible to pass, that it’s impossible to to sort through and sift through? There’s no curation mechanism. We’re just overwhelmed by all the stuff. I should also pitch your petition just so that people can go to it. Sure. You know, the hashtag on Twitter is V.I. Surge. 

You follow me on Montel Underscore Williams and go up on hashtag V.A. surge and also hashtag V.A. surge petition. And that petition is so that I can get the president to respond and say, why is it to take another 90 days for an action? 

Remember, we’ve been talking about this now for 45 days and people not an action. 

We’ll be listening to podcasts of all kinds of different time. So if this is if you listen to this in the future and we’re currently speaking in July of 2014, when there’s been this big crisis with veterans, with the Veterans Affairs Administration. And what you’re basically trying to do, Montel, is say enough talk, let’s do something. 

Let’s just change it. Right. I mean, even if, like I know a month and half ago and I’m not again, I use him only because he spoke yesterday. 

The Congress and the Senate put the tails between their legs and they ran home and they didn’t do anything. 

July, Fourth of July. We aren’t doing any right. 

They’re to come back. They have to schedule the hearings for McDonald to see if he can be the V.A. secretary. Of course, that’s going to be all put aside because right now the Republicans are suing the president. The president has to figure out he’s going to sue them. There’s not going to be any action. We won’t get a hearing on the secretary of the V.A. until the end of July. They’ll confirm and then he’ll go on office. 

He’s going to say any and he’s 60 days to figure out what Armando? Then he’ll take the. And on a 60 days of I when the next 100 days, you know, and count it up because every single day. Twenty to twenty two soldiers die. And that’s a ticking time. Every three days, the clock goes all the way around. Come on. And we’re going to just sit back and let this happen. 

And it goes back to the first question that you want a question you asked earlier when you said, well, Montel, is it because the fact that we have so few of us who have skin in the game? You know, I think it’s point zero. 

Zero one percent or poisoners or two percent of the country has a family member that has something to do with war. And because of that, the rest of us can turn that blind eye tomorrow. 

You can get excited by what I’m saying the day you and I are talking. Are people listening to this? This this podcast, they’re gone. I want to do something, but when I call mom, I get a call. And then it’s Thursday and Friday. And they didn’t do anything. And we’ve got to get people start doing something. So I would like them just just sign up to the petition. The president is going to have to respond and say, all right, I’m tired of talking about Montel Williams, even if he says it. That means I know that he understands we expect action out of you. 

Do you get frustrated when you travel through parts of the country that are deeply militaristic, that are deeply committed, that where their patriotism, their militarism, their jingoism on their sleeve without having skin in the game? 

How are you irritated to talk to two American militarism? 

I get irritated first of the soldiers and sailors. I mean, last Thursday, a week ago, less than a week ago, I was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at the Fisher House down there. And I and my sister and another person personally cook for two hundred seventy meals. We serve guys rolling in, limping in the family members, soldiers, and they brought over a group from the psych ward over there to see us. And, you know, and eat. I spent time with what took I don’t know how many pictures on local level got all the guys just to spend time with them. All right. So. 

That amount of time there with them for, what, five hours out of my day? 

That really wasn’t much. I thought I paid for the food. Yeah. OK. So I took a little cash out of my pocket. I went back and I gave something back. It is so easy for people who live in that same community to go over to that same Fisher House and drop off a cake. How about dropping off a plate of food for a family that, you know, is suffering with a member that’s in the hospital? 

While I was there, there were two women who helped us prepare the food. Both of whom’s husbands were dying within the next three days. Woman went over to a hospital that morning, saw her dying husband came over crying over the sink, washing dishes for us to serve more soldiers. 

I told her to go up to her room. She said no. This is supposed to be was two people there. 

Now I’m retired. They’ll say women are there. I’m gone. Why can’t somebody in Murphy’s world drop by, drop a plate of food off for that woman who’s by herself? You know, and believe. Sad thing. Her husband died. She’s got to get out. 

Really? And we don’t have other people coming over to do what I did. I can’t get all of their 60 some Fisher Houses around the country. I’m trying to do it. I got a crazy schedule every other month. I try to get the one to try to go down to Walter Reed to try. I’m trying. But, you know, four years ago when I used to go to Walter Reed there. 

The hallways were filled. Every day there was a different celebrity. There’s a member of Congress there. 

I was just there six months ago and they hadn’t seen anybody in a while. President was by couple congressmen came by. All these guys you see Hawk and all this. Stuff on television about how they support the troops. They haven’t been there. And, you know, every one of our fallen come back through there. Every one of them. 

What do you make of what’s gone on in the Republican Party at the moment with in terms of foreign policy? One of the interesting things I’ve been kind of focusing on over the past year or so is the rift really in the GOP between conventional militaristic hawks? 

You know, the McCains and so on, Lindsey Graham’s and this kind of insurgent libertarian movement, the Rand Paul’s and so on, who who favor a much more isolationist U.S. foreign policy and a smaller role for the Pentagon? 

I think we want to find is over the course of the next 10 years in America, you’re going to see a even shift of both. Those are, you know, your argument. We’ll find a group in the middle that’s going to be, you know, 50 50. We do need to figure out some ways to rethink our colonial list attitude. You know, I mean, we do have to figure out some ideas that, you know, I guess what like us and China. Nobody owns everybody else on the planet. It’s going to take 10 years because we’ve got some people that are still in leadership in this country, right? 

We are a couple. I went with then Congressman Dingell, just retired this past year. Thirty eight years in office. We have some people that have been in here a long time until they get out. 

We’re not going to get a breath of new ideas. But America is going to have to not close its border borders. But we have to figure out a way and not become isolationist. But we have a lot of issues here that we have to solve and then reestablish. What our position is in the international community is the same thing that right now is going to happen in Iraq, whether ISIS takes over, whoever whoever takes over, instead of us trying to figure out how we go in and build a country for them. Maybe we should start looking at how we back off and say, look, build your country. But understand there’s responsibility to be a part of an international community while we see you building your country if your country is being built on the premise of destroying other countries. I’ll know how long it last. 

Could America do a better job at being part of the international community? 

In other words, I think of the damage that was done in the pober the first decade of this century, I think, by the Bush administration in riding roughshod over international institutions and and just the general sense of a disdain for the United Nations, for human rights organizations and so on, that there’s this sense of almost spiritual, almost faith based American exceptionalism that the rules of others don’t need to apply to this great land. Is not a problem. 

I think what’s happened, I think, is a problem in the psyche of America right now, because you have a SEP, a new generation that wants the you know, I say this way. Just get along. You know, look at the millennials and those after. Look at the Snowden. It’s not about American exceptionalism. They want to make sure that no country is is lording over anyone. They want to try to see if they can right the wrongs of all the past and make a planet that’s peaceful. People can get together. And I say this is lofty. And the sounds like, you know, some some Disney movie will go see on Saturday in a cartoon. But I think this next generation expects this. And I think we’re going to see some real drastic changes in a political system in America when about six to 10 years from now it has to happen. 

A couple things are gonna happen that are gonna shock America in ways that we’ve never been shocked. One year old as battles over Obamacare and health care on this than the other. Let’s just stop that silly conversation and recognize the truth. Coming like a freight train down a track at about 500 miles an hour without any brakes is chronic illness in America. By the year 2020, 60 percent of our population will suffer from at least one chronic illness, and 80 percent of them will suffer from, too. When you have that possibility. 

Well, we’ve got right now in America three hundred and thirty eight million. Let’s give us our percentage was rawly grow. We’re growing slower than any other country in the world, by the way. So we’ll be about three hundred and thirty nine million thread and 40 million. 

Come 2020, Western European countries have got you beat on how Italy is like literally shrink their shrinking ultrahigh. 

So guys, we’ve got three three twenty 60 percent of that is what, 200. So 200 million people are going to need services of a doctor. And right now, at the same time, we got that freight train going really fast to our Mollari, coming in the other direction on the same track as a freight train filled with the fact that the number of doctors and nurses and health care professionals are decreasing at a rate that by 2020 we could be close to 300000 thousand doctors short and close to a million nurses short. 

Who’s going to get care in America? Obamacare people. 

How about the people who can pay for it? How about a real chasm between the haves and the have nots? How about people watching their mothers and fathers die and seeing somebody else pull up in a limo and get service? Because that’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to have paid healthcare and you can have whatever anybody else calls. Throw out Obamacare. Call a Republican guy. I don’t care. But they’re not getting help because just do the numbers explain. I want someone to tell me when I got 60 percent of people here, let’s say I have a mess. That’s a chronic illness. So if I had chronic if I have M.S. and diabetes by then I’m jacked when it comes to the health care system. It’s going to cost you four or five hundred thousand dollars a year to keep me alive. Are people going to start making choices about who they keep a life? 

Across the board, it’s going to happen. 

And it sounds like I’m talking about something that’s going to happen this year. Twenty one hundred. I’m saying six years from now. 

So fight all you want on the stupid. We need to start talking about some truth and that’s right. 

There is the one I can that there’s gonna be walls around communities. There’s me gate guarded gates. People are going to actually be fighting. 

You know, it could be that on that issue of divisiveness, not just inequality, but the point you were alluding to earlier about the new generation wanting to be more inclusive, wanting a more peaceful world, wanting to be wanting to tone down American exceptionalism a little and be a little bit more inclusive. Do you think that religion plays is a positive force or a negative force in fostering that? 

You know, we helped by the divisiveness that the different factions can exert. 

You know, religion is one of those things. It’s the toughest issue in the world to discuss, because no matter what you say, you alienate people. 

I mean, I’m going to make people angry now. You know, I in my lifetime, I was born and raised the Roman Catholic. I had a mother and father who made me go to church every Sunday. From the time I can remember, I’m telling I know I was on my mother’s lap in a church. I remember dropping bottles in a church. 

I remember trying to eat the host as if it was candy as XOL, about three or four years old. And by the time I got out to be like seven years old and I was altar boy, eight years old, now eight years old, I was in Baltimore, 11 years old. 

You know, all that catechism stuff and that stuff. Right. Eleven years old. I was the altar boy. And I had a priest walk up behind me and do something that didn’t. It touched my shoulders in a way that as a young man, it just it it threw me for a loop. I punched him in the chest. Mama just took my elbow and back them off me as a get off me back up. 

I went home. I said on my father, I never had to go to church again. Ever. My mother was upset about it. I never went to church that church again. Now I went to church, didn’t go to Allen, the Catholic Church, for the next to high school ICE. I was one these guys in high school in Glen Burnie, Maryland. I’m read about Buddhism in high school in Glen Burnie, Maryland. I’m reading about Judaism. This is really, you know, I was afraid. OK. So then I go into college or go to Naval Academy. I took a tour, of course, and Naval Academy was called the Art of Religion. OK, so I started trying to figure out where I fit in this whole thing. And for me, at the end of the day, I don’t really ascribe to any organized religion on this planet. I believe in myself that there is a higher power. And I have my own understanding of what that is for me. What is that? It’s just, you know, I really believe that that. In my heart of hearts, there’s something bigger than me and what it is. 

I don’t know that kind of an intelligence that you’re able to communicate with. 

Or is it just a vast sense of sort of meaning as something meaning as a meaning? It’s bigger than what I am. And I know that my contribution to this whole thing is meaningful because everything I do will affect someone. So from that perspective. I think the more people can gravitates to a broader sense rather than fighting over title. Then I think that’s good. But the second we start fighting over titles, then I think it’s as harmful to society that anything else could be. 

Do you understand the the impulse? I do. I just don’t get it. I’ve always been secular. I completely understand what you mean about there being some larger meaning. And I guess I find that in science. I find that in the majesty of the cosmos, the trust ordinary. You know how how vast everything is and how ineffable the mysteries of human existence are. 

Even in science, if science right there, you know, for a fact, if you look at what is the fundamental core to all sciences, for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. If you just think in terms of that. 

That’s a higher purpose than you, right? 

Right. What you do matters, right? Has has consequences. But so I’ve never been able to get inside the mind of, for example, a Christian fundamentalist. I don’t get it. I don’t get it. You can. You know, you can’t in Latin. You can’t, you know, get any thoughts about what’s going on there. 

Yeah. I mean, you know, I think one of the things that that now we’re gonna go to the deepest part of the conversation, from my perspective, is that, look, I mean, mankind could not be here is very funny. I saw one of these documentaries or it was on history show, Discovery Channel, where, you know, and anybody home could do this themselves. 

Take a piece of paper at eleven by nine is limiting speech, standard piece of white paper and take a ruler and draw a pencil line from the top of the paper, all with a bottom of paper continuous. 

Put that there on a paper. 

Then I want you to take the tip of the same pencil that you drew and just dot it above your line. And recognize that if that line represents the bill that four and a half billion years of this planet has been here, that little dot represents the entire amount of time that a man who could think has been here. I understand what is a religion, because most people don’t want to feel they’re so insignificant and meaningless that they have to put something above it and that’s OK. 

So if collectively we can societally come together and agree on a group of rules and regulations that make us feel better. 

As long as we don’t fight another person who doesn’t like your same role, and the second we do that, then I got a problem. 

I mean, the problem, I guess, is that the world has shrunk so much that we’re so interconnected now that the groups that we we lived in when we were evolving those conceptions and those rules and that sense of meaning and purpose, our particular God that seemed like the universe was a few centuries ago. 

Right. I mean, the Christian world was the only universe that a Christian knew. There was no conceivable way that and would ever travel to a Muslim country. Nowadays, we’re in a world that’s so interconnected, we’re bumping up against each other. And we’ve got 21st century technologies. We’ve got nukes. And we’ve got. Stone Age philosophies about what the world is. Yeah, well, you help us off the universe. 

And you look at some of the Stone Age philosophies. I don’t understand how you could read a book and say, well, you know, this is the only word. This is the only way. Well, this part’s not. But this is the only word while this part’s not. But this is well. This part’s mad. I mean, if it’s the only word that is supposed be only word. But every single day we get, you know, beat your wife. 

The wife, Joy wife had a problem with all the which is which puts the lie to the idea that our morality comes from religion, for example, because we pick and choose the bits of the Bible that we think are our moral and the bits that we think are immoral on the basis of some kind of evolving conception of morality that is essentially, I think, secular, not religious right. 

You take a look at the decision that was made yesterday to allow one company and now based to be religious. 

The Hobby Lobby decision that goes is the huge news of this week, a massive Supreme Court decision, which basically says that this Kraft was Kraft company, Hobby Lobby, which is run by a family of evangelical Christians, is I believe they’re evangelical. 

Is allowed to have a religious belief to such an extent that it can break the law of Obamacare, which says that it has to provide contraception to its employees and it can break that law because the company, not the people, the company has a religious belief. What the hell does that mean for a company to have a religious? 

I just am glad that one. You know, I guess what they wanted to do is to give the Supreme Court something to do, because over the course of next three to four years, you’re going to see seven hundred appeals. 

You know, I was has now I’ve been an advocate, you know, how do you appeal a Supreme Court? 

Well, you know, an appeal feel. 

So you would have seen more petitions, the Supreme Court, four more decisions or new cases, cases involving the same thing. What’s this? 

What if I. There are there rather there are churches in the south around the country who ascribe to cannabis as a religious advocacy piece of their ceremony. 

So if I have a company and Obamacare does not provide me with government sponsored marijuana, is it a bad I can I sue to make sure the government has to pay for my marijuana? 

Can I sue the government if let’s say, oh, how about this? I’m a I’m a job witness and I don’t believe that any employee of mine should see a doctor or take Western medication. So I find out you had a headache. You took my case. I could fire you. And so we’re just going to muddle caught up with more and more and more cases. Remember, one of biggest arguments against Slaby was the Bible. One of the biggest testified in the court proceeding was how many places in the Bible that God didn’t want white people mixing with black people. So is there going to be a company? Anania says, I believe this. Since day one, we’ve been playing Christian music in the church and we don’t want any black people working here. And you got to accept that. 

And the Supreme Court actually noticed that that might be a problem because they carved out race in this in this decision. They actually specifically said, oh, by the way, this doesn’t apply to race. So they could see what the point they are making, that this has weird and crazy connotations and consequences that are just going to be mind bending. So so a comedian was tweeting yesterday, oh, great. I’m going to join a religion that makes me not have to pay parking tickets and allow me to urinate in the bushes. And now that’s it. 

Right. And now I’ve got religious protection to play music in your church with your elbow guys all day long. 

So, yeah, it’s I don’t know. But is it doing the country any harm? 

You know, again, I think the reason why we have this system was for some form of societal control. 

I mean, we go back to you know, you look at some of the history writings of some of the Middle Easterners who journey through northern Europe back in like the you know, the twelve hundreds and thirty nine of where, you know, Europe was a pretty open place. Anything was happening Wall Street. And that’s where the term carpet baggers come from. So, you know, there’s all kinds of stuff happening walking down the street. 

It’s people fornicating and all kinds of things going on in society to come in and say, stop it, to stop people killing, you know, the guy next door because he kept looking at your wife, you know, so you needed to come up with some rules and regulations to try to get some societal control, to put people in the groups live together. And that’s where this all came from. 

And that, I think, is out of control because the rules don’t keep up with the laws. And some of the rules, you know, are rules that still say that anybody who doesn’t think like me has got to die. 

Right? Well, it’s a rudimentary, old fashioned kind of form of trial, isn’t it? So are you optimistic or pessimistic that in the long run the US will. Overcome by what I regard as being, I guess, the threat posed by the religious right, by evangelical Christians in this country, by the the least tolerant communities in the states. 

I want to pray and believe that America can get to these decisions without having any violence. 

But I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think we’re managing. Yeah, I think there’s going to be a couple of incidents that are gonna figure out where this washes out. What does that mean? 

Well, you know, I mean, we’ve seen things like the Oklahoma City bombing. We’ve seen something, you know, we as much as we want to say a terrorism only exist outside the United States, you can go up on the air. 

You guys find some hate sites and Web sites that are calling for an American form of jihad to get this president out of office or to go against the government. And a lot of them are so supposedly religiously grounded. 

So I just see a confrontation. I mean, there’s too many. David Koresh is out there. There’s too many other people out there who are just percolating. And I think a confrontation is going to have to happen for us to figure out what we’re going to do to move forward, whether we accept people having religion or not. I think there’s going to be a confrontation. 

That’s depressing. It is the process, and I hope it ends up. 

You know, I think I think maybe, you know, the answer is more discussions. 

I mean, the fact that we can you even exist as a secular radio show, you know, and the fact that, you know, got a politically incorrect bill are Bomar, I think does a great job, you know, and in at least making people understand that there’s other points of views out here and his equally valid as anyone else’s. 

The more you hear that and I think his ratings seem to be, you know, I was studying and growing up so more and more people are coming over because they’re looking at and saying, if religion makes me do this, let me take a look at some options. 

Montel Williams is one of the Abby on point. Clay. Thanks so much. Thank you for having me. I just let it slide. Thank you. 

Josh Zepps

Josh Zepps

An Australian media personality, political satirist, actor, and TV show host. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. He was a founding host for HuffPost Live.