Q: How often do you go through airport security? Is that something you have to contend with?
A: I’ve only gone through it about six times this week. I wear shoes without laces, not because I want to be a loafer but because I like to be able to get ’em off and get ’em on and get to the gate. Airport security makes our freedom to travel more valuable, and without it I would be far less comfortable exercising the freedom of moving around the country.
Q: But speaking candidly, do you ever have that moment when you see an old lady being frisked and you think, Okay, maybe that’s pushing it?
A: Yeah, there are times when you say, “This doesn’t make sense.” But because we like the idea of fairness, we endure the fact that sometimes the rule doesn’t fit. I suppose there’d be anarchists that would disagree with that, but we all sort of say, “Yeah, there are times when you come to the light, it’s red, and there’s not any traffic, and following the signal may be an anomaly at that time,” but we’ve learned that living within the rule of law is the thing that ultimately reinforces the human dignity of a society that believes in equalitythat everyone is subject to the same conditions.
Q: From a Christian standpoint, how do you justify the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay?
A: You know, taking prisoners in battle is an act of humanitarianism. The ancient practice of taking no prisoners and killing your enemy on the battlefield is something that we have rejected and the world has rejected. So taking prisoners is a way of saying, “We’re going to remove you from the stream of the conflict, and rather than let you take another shot at my son or daughter, we’re gonna hold you so that you don’t re-enter these hostilities.” I think that’s a humanitarian acttotally consistent, I believe, with Christian principles.
Q: But there have been news reports about physical torture, psychological scarring, and sexual degradation. How does that square with your beliefs?
A: I can’t comment on those reports because I don’tfirst of all, I’m just not aware of the facts that relate to ’em. I will just say this: Abuse of prisoners is not acceptable, and when prisoners were abused at Abu Ghraib, those who perpetrated the abuse were prosecuted and punished and served time, and that’s what America stands for. America cannot stand for perfection, because we are human. But we can stand for the idea that we are principled, as humans, and when those principles are violated people will be punished. Hey, I’ve gotta go.