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CONNECT THE WORLD
Pakistani Governor's Assassination Divides Nation; Floods Isolate Australian Town; Global Food Prices Hit All-Time High; Many Germans Find Way Around Smoking Bans
Aired January 5, 2011 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: A top Pakistani leader, controversial in life, dividing a nation in death. These pictures tell the story. Mourners vow to carry on Salman Taseer's efforts to change Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
But you also have these scenes. A hero's welcome for the man who admits to killing him. Who will win out? Not a single Muslim cleric in all of Lahore was willing to administer the last rites in Salman Taseer's funeral. The message to liberals seems to be, "shut up or be shot."
I'm Becky Anderson in London. Also tonight, the UN says global food prices have hit an all-time high. How events in Australia in Russia are to blame.
Later, why a 30-meter cross in the US has been deemed unconstitutional.
And new details on the wedding of the year. Your questions about William and Kate answered here. That on CNN in the next 60 minutes.
Smiling, calm, seemingly without any remorse, an accused assassin in Pakistan was showered with rose petals as he made his way to court earlier today. Supporters gave Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri a hero's greeting in Islamabad, even draping a garland of flowers around his neck, while lawyers slapped him on the back and chanted slogans in support of his alleged crime, spraying bullets into the governor of Punjab province at close range.
Qadri reportedly killed him because of Taseer's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law. As he left court, Qadri shouted, "We are ready to sacrifice our life for the prestige of the prophet Mohammed."
Well, support for him runs deep. Hundreds of religious scholars issued a statement today praising his courage. They also warned Pakistanis not to mourn Taseer, suggesting anyone who does could suffer the same fate.
But thousands of people ignored the threat, holding vigils to honor one of the most outspoken critics of Islamic extremism. Mourners in Karachi held candles and Taseer's portrait as they protested his murder.
Elsewhere, outrage was more evident. This protest by supporters of the ruling Pakistan's People's Party took place in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. Taseer was laid to rest today in Lahore. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani represented the government, but Taseer's close ally, President Asif Ali Zardari, did not attend.
Well, those who did attend the service say one of the most striking things was that Taseer's family couldn't find any prominent imam willing to read the funeral prayers. I spoke with journalist Ahmed Rashid, who was there.
AHMED RASHID, JOURNALIST (via telephone): At the hall, mourning was extremely emotional. People were crying and very upset and raising slogans against the killers and a lot of theories going on about conspiracies and plots and who could be behind it. And the whole scene was a very, very emotional thing.
ANDERSON: For those that were there and, of course, that includes yourself, did you feel secure?
RASHID: Well, I think a lot of people didn't come because they didn't feel secure. In fact, there had been threats overnight that the funeral service would be bombed. And, for example, there were women there in large numbers, but a lot of women didn't come because of that threat. Children didn't come, who wanted to come.
We also, then, heard the very disturbing news today that the killer was sent -- was -- he had a hearing today in court. When he came out of court, a lot of extremists were gathered outside the court and showered him with rose petals and called him a hero. And a hero for the -- for Islamic causes. Some 40 Islamic lawyers have signed up to defend the killer.
And the most disturbing thing about the funeral was, perhaps, that the family could not find a well-known maulvi, that is, a well-known mullah, to read the funeral prayer. The government house maulvi refused to do it, even though he was a government servant. And then, people went around to the leading mosques, to the leading maulvis, trying to find someone who would read the funeral prayers, and they all refused to do so.
And then, eventually, a member of the People's Party, a maulvi from the party to which Mr. Taseer belonged to, actually read the funeral prayers. So, that kind of demonstrates the kind of -- sort of terror, if you like, amongst the public, amongst the religious elements.
RASHID: Even the moderate religious elements that now exist.
ANDERSON: Where does this all leave those who consider themselves liberal in Pakistan?
RASHID: Well, that's a very good question. And I think that's a question that's being debated very strongly. Of course, there's -- there are enormous appeals from civil society groups, NGOs, women's groups, et cetera, that the government, the ruling party, now must be -- must stand up against the extremists and be counted.
But what we're seeing is that all these -- for example, on TV, several of the talk shows have been hosting some of these extremists, who've been actually justifying the murder of Salman Taseer. And yet, nobody's being arrested. Apart from the killer, nobody's been arrested. There doesn't seem to be any kind of crackdown, and it seems the government is backing off from doing anything. And that, of course, is proving to be very disturbing for liberals and moderates all across Pakistan.
ANDERSON: All right. Well, Taseer's killing exposes Pakistan's deep fault lines, leading many moderates to fear a chilling effect on free speech and efforts at reform. I discussed this with Ahsan Iqbal of the Pakistan Muslim League. He's the spokesman for Nawaz Sharif, who is an opposition leader who is a political rival of Governor Taseer. I asked Mr. Iqbal about the hero's greeting given to Taseer's alleged assassin. This is what he said.
ASHAN IQBAL, PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE: We said that religious fault lines are very sensitive. And I think there is a great role for --
ANDERSON: No, no, no. I'm going to ask you this. Let me ask you this another way. Do you condemn those people?
IQBAL: As I said, that the religious sentiments have very unique dynamics. And we would not like to see Pakistani society being divided on religious lines. We have to allow the law to proceed, and these matters have to be dealt by rule of law. And we need to not open new controversy so that this does not divide the society more.
ANDERSON: Your party is the Pakistan Muslim League. Do you or do you not support the further Islamization of Pakistan?
IQBAL: We believe in the present constitution of Pakistan, and we believe that the rule of law and superiority of constitution is the answer to Pakistan. We believe in the vision, the guiding vision of the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who said that Pakistan is a country where all Muslims, Christians, Hindus, all enjoy equal citizenship and equal family, and we're all one country.
ANDERSON: All right. The spokesman, there, for Nawaz Sharif, the opposition leader in Pakistan.
Well, one English language newspaper in Pakistan writes, and I quote, "Taseer's shooting is evidence that it is not necessary for extremists to be in the garb of the Taliban. They exist everywhere and in all forms."
Well, let's bring in Ed Husain, at this point, to talk about these concerns. In his book, "The Islamist," he describes how he was radicalized as a student, but he now works to help other young Muslims avoid the same fate. He's at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
Ed, your initial reactions when you heard about Taseer's assassination and consequent reaction to what you saw today.
ED HUSAIN, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think -- and I speak as a Muslim, here, and I think the prophet Muhammad, our prophet, would be turning in his grave at what's being done today in Pakistan in his name.
And let's not forget that this entire episode starts back in November of last year over one woman, Asia Bibi, offering a glass of water -- a glass of water to other farmers, farming women in remote Pakistan. And because she happens to be Christian, the other women turn around and say, "We can't drink this water from a non-Muslim," i.e., a Christian woman. So there's the first point of intolerance and bigotry.
She, then, turns around and allegedly says that "Worms are in the mouth of your prophet when he died." Now, it is bizarre conduct on both sides, but nothing -- nothing warrants this poor woman to be put through what she's been put through.
And now, worse, a prominent Pakistani politician being killed -- being killed by an individual who's got links to, not an extremist group, interestingly, but a mainstream, so-called moderate organization.
I think it tells us two things. One, that Pakistan is in a deep identity crisis with an excessive force on Muslim supremacist tendencies, where other minorities, in this case, Christians, are looked to be subhuman. And we saw that in the conduct of the farmers.
And the second crisis is that those who speak out against terrorism and extremism in Pakistan, those who come from the liberal left, often have inclinations towards atheism and anti-religiosity.
To combine, you have situation where the masses in Pakistan, very religious, very devoted, tend to see those who speak out against extremists from the liberal tradition to be, essentially, anti-God, anti-Islamic. And I think the language, all the language that talks about secularism as ad dahriyyah, or non-religiosity sometimes as anti-religiosity doesn't help.
So, we've got a real problem on our hands at all levels in Pakistani society. And this case just exposes the depth of the problem.
ANDERSON: Let's just have a look at how the story has been told in Urdu language in a newspaper called "Ummat," and in an English language newspaper, which is called "The Express Tribune." I'll get that one up first for you.
"Too many people have already been killed by the hideous misuse of the blasphemy laws. Salman Taseer should be the last. His fight against the blasphemy laws was his last crusade. Repealing it now would be the greatest rebuke to his murders."
The Urdu language newspaper, based in Karachi, says this, and I quote, "It is a fact that Salman Taseer made a controversial statement on a religious issue. There's no doubt that taking the law into ones hand is not right," alluding to his assassin. "However, similar incidents are possible in reaction."
How concerned are you that, effectively, the moderates or liberals in Pakistan are being told to shut up or be shot?
HUSAIN: I think you've highlighted the problem with huge accuracy, there, Becky, that this is exactly what's going on, not just in the Pakistani media, but also in the Pakistani military where, when you read the Urdu journals that are circulated in the Pakistani military, their front page coverage almost always tends to be sympathetic. Not towards al Qaeda, but towards the aims and objectives of al Qaeda, i.e., creating an Islamist supremacist, confrontational state on the borders of India and beyond.
Whereas, if you read the English journals circulated within the army or in the wider Pakistani population, you have this elites that write for the English journals and newspapers that tend to be more educated, tend to be westernized, tend to have sympathies elsewhere.
Now, the vast majority of Pakistanis read the Urdu literature, and they are, then, suspicious of the English-speaking, English-educated, western-connected liberal elite that they see to be representatives, stooges of the west.
And this is the fundamental crisis within Pakistan. A deep hatred and animosity towards India, towards America, towards Israel. And at the same time, this devotional aspect of Islam that's being exploited A, by extremists and B, by even moderates who, when it comes to condemning the killer of Salman Taseer, are muted. And as your introduction illustrated, even refusing to lead his funeral prayers.
So, you put your finger on the pulse of what's going on in Pakistan. Urdu-speaking, Urdu-educated, Urdu-exposed population singing from a different hymn sheet to the elite, educated English-speaking population.
ANDERSON: A pop -- a population that runs the country, of course, at the moment. You have a president and a presidency, a government, in crisis, even before this incident took place. What's the future for that government at this point?
HUSAIN: It's looking very shaky. He's reached out -- the current prime minister Gilani has reached out to several parties to form a government and continue the government. But it's difficult to tell. But every prediction is that it will continue for a while longer, for a little while longer but, as with all things in Pakistan, the short-term seems to be staggering along, but the medium and the long-term is unpredictable.
ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. Ed Husain out of Washington for you this evening. So we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.
Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, from one crisis to another. The waters rise to new heights in Australia. What does that have to do with food prices following suit?
And there is no holding back at the Oktoberfest, except for one thing. We'll look at Germany's awkward relationship with the smoking ban.
ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Just after quarter past nine in London.
Now, it is the start of a new day in Australia, but the people of Queensland know it could be weeks before there's any relief from the relentless floodwaters that have forced thousands from their homes. As 7 News's Erin Edwards reports, frustrations just growing.
ERIN EDWARDS, 7 NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Port Curtis, 300 people, all isolated, abandoned, too, according to some.
Across the paddock from Depot Hill, the pub is under. Cars are submerged on streets and driveways. Every house is surrounded by more than half a meter of water. They've had few visitors and no phones for two weeks.
GARY RUSSEL, PORT CURTIS RESIDENT: No one's been around to tell us anything. We didn't even know nothing about anything. The council's told us nothing. Yes, I think we're wiped off the map sort of thing.
EDWARDS (voice-over): The Russels are new to Jellicoe Street. What they couldn't move to higher ground is gone.
ROBYN RUSSELL, PORT CURTIS RESIDENT: We didn't know anything, so -- a bit frightening. I'm over it now.
EDWARDS (voice-over): They've been told if they leave, they won't be allowed back in. It's a risk few will take.
GARY RUSSEL: Stop everyone coming in knocking all your gear off.
EDWARDS (voice-over): Gaye Buckenham lived through the 91 flood. Back then, she was evacuated with her newborn.
GAYE BUCKENHAM, PORT CURTIS RESIDENT: We had to get out because they were turning the power off, and I had a little baby. And now, he's 20.
EDWARDS (voice-over): They've been helping neighbors, delivering food and kindness.
ROB HAGE, PORT CURTIS RESIDENT: Been in contact with the people around the neighborhood that don't have beds. I think this place of mine, just bring them over here.
EDWARDS (voice-over): Going to a mate's place needs precision. Tinnies are motored down driveways. There's a plank to cross water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.
EDWARDS (voice-over): Brown snakes are everywhere.
EDWARDS (on camera): It was here during the 91 floods a boat rolled. A father and son drowned. They'd been out checking homes. Port Curtis has never forgotten.
GENE DAVIES, PORT CURTIS RESIDENT: There are so many in Rocky that are far worse off than what we are so, we've got nothing to gripe about.
EDWARDS (voice-over): Except isolation, inundation, and soon, mud. In Rockhampton, Erin Edwards, 7 News.
ANDERSON: It's a dire situation, isn't it? But these floods could also add to an even more serious problem. We've been doing this on the show for the last couple of days. It's an important story, skyrocketing food prices.
The United Nations says it's never been more expensive to feed your family. Food prices set records two years ago, you might remember that. But last month, they smashed through that ceiling.
Take a look at the UN food index over the past decade. Now, it measures how much it costs to trade food across the world. Right now, it's at 214.7 points. Look at where it was this time ten years ago. Food prices have more than doubled since then. You can see how quickly prices shot up towards the end of the decade.
The reasons can be traced all around the globe. Now, the Queensland floods have ruined all kinds of crops. The cost of losing so much of this year's harvest could soon be passed on to the consumer.
Floods in Pakistan also kicked up food prices. Half a million tons of wheat were destroyed last August. That had devastating consequences for a country where half the population lives off the land.
While in Russia, it wasn't too much water that sent food prices rising, it was too little. 2010 was a year of droughts and wildfires for the country. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin banned Russia from exporting grain. As the world's third-largest wheat exporter, that put huge pressure on wheat prices worldwide.
Well, the last time food prices were this high was in 2008, when we saw scenes like this. Violence in the streets of Senegal and countries all over the world as people struggled to cope with the costs.
So, could we see similar scenes in 2011? Well, earlier I asked Abdolreza Abbassian why prices were so high. He's from the FAO, the UN organization. This is what he said.
ABDOLREZA ABBASSIAN, FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION: It's a reflection of what happened in 2010, with very, very unpredictable and violent climate -- climatic conditions, changing all the time in major producing regions. Really, it is very much, very much weather-driven.
And it seems like with Australia's problem today and, perhaps, Argentina, the situation is not really improving that much.
ANDERSON: And things were bad in 2008, our viewers seeing the pictures of riots on the streets of many cities around the world. What's the worst-case scenario here?
ABBASSIAN: Well, the worst-case scenario is to return to a situation like we had in 2008. But it can still be prevented. In fact, to a large extent, we have not had this situation this time around already because many of the countries which had problems in 2008 had good harvests this time around, so they don't need to come to the world market and buy at these very punitive prices.
So, having said that, the longer these prices remain this high, the more the possibility of transmission of these high prices to domestic markets in those poor countries and, therefore, there is definitely more risk of witnessing a similar situation in the coming months.
ANDERSON: With respect, sir, you talk about a billion people going hungry in 2010 and a potential for a billion people going hungry in 2011. Who can the FAO lean on to make sure that things don't get any worse?
ABBASSIAN: Well, FAO is what? FAO is a UN specialized agency with, basically, every country in the world its member. Every government in the world is its member. They make the decisions.
To them, it's very important to know this very simple fact, that it's simply not acceptable to have one billion hungry. And when prices go up, of course, there is a lot of attention. But these people were hungry when prices were much, much lower than this. So, we're talking here about fundamental problems that FAO tries to resolve.
And, in that, FAO is a food assistance agency. And it does try to do its best with its limited resources. But at the end of the day, has a lot to do with how countries themselves, above all, deal with their own system. And then, how the richer world can come to help them to sort out their agriculture situation.
ANDERSON: Aside from looking to the gods at this point, if you had to point your finger at one country or one region and say to them, "Help us out here, get this right," who would it be?
ABBASSIAN: Well, I think that would be rather unfair, in fact, on any country. I think a lot of countries are doing already that what they can. Take the United States, for example. There is the residual supply for many, many agriculture products at times of difficulties like it is now.
Some big countries, like China and India, are extremely responsible countries. They are, actually, looking after their own population, which is almost half the world. So, it is really not for any one country.
We're talking about over six billion, almost seven billion people. So no one country can do this. This has to be done collectively, and I think that, to a large extent, that has been understood. And we are on the right track.
I think these high prices are terrible things when it happens suddenly, like they have now. But at the same time, they are, perhaps, the best cure we can have in the long-run, to help the agriculture and food security in the developing world.
ANDERSON: A view from the UN for you this evening.
Next up on CONNECT THE WORLD, the global push to become smoke-free. We head to Germany, where bans are in place. But even at Oktoberfest, that doesn't necessarily mean that people are butting out.
And later, it's a battle of church versus state, and why some people believe this war memorial is no place for a cross. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: A global epidemic. That is how experts describe tobacco use and its often deadly consequences. So, what's being done to help the world's one billion smokers kick the habit?
That is what we are exploring all this week on the show. And tonight, we'll be taking you to Germany. It's a country which has joined the growing push to become smoke-free. But as Fred Pleitgen now explains, many people in Germany are finding a way around the bans.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Fred Pleitgen in Berlin, Germany, and Germany has had a smoking ban for several years, now, which basically forbids smoking in public places and things like railway stations, government buildings and, of course, also airports.
It also forbids smoking in bars and clubs. However, what you have to understand is that Germany is a federalistic society and, therefore, a lot of German states actually have their own little caveats to this law. So it's not equal in all states here in this country.
And one of the interesting things that happened when the smoking ban was implemented is that a lot of German bar owners were smart enough to declare their bars to be smoking clubs. And so, you had to sign up, and then you could actually smoke indoors.
Now, the most recent smoking ban in Germany came into effect in 2010 in Bavaria, and there was big upheaval about that as well because of the Oktoberfest. It's a place where people drink a lot of beer, they're inside tents, and they also want to smoke.
And what they did for last year's Oktoberfest is they said that the law would be enforced, and it was enforced. However, people who did light up in the Oktoberfest tents were never punished. So, they didn't have to pay a fine.
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen reporting for you. We're going to continue our look at the global push to butt out tomorrow night. The next stop is Japan. This is a country with a long history of smoking. So, do join us to find out how tobacco companies are getting around the few bans that are in place. You can find these reports at cnn.com/connect and on our Facebook site, facebook.com/CNNconnect.
Well, up next, the world headlines and more dramatic evidence of the death of Michael Jackson. Coming up, a court hears how his children witnessed their father's final moments. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in London. Coming up this evening for you, Michael Jackson's family members are back in court to hear more anguishing testimony about the pop star's final moments.
Also, are civil liberties activists taking a fundamental tenant of the US constitution too far? We're going to see how this cross plays into a debate over separation of church and state.
And later, how to prepare for all the pomp and circumstances. Get ready to hear your questions answered about Kate and Will's royal wedding. Your royal watcher Mark Saunders is your Connector of the Day.
That's the next 30 minutes on CNN. At this point, let me just make sure you are up-to-date on the news headlines.
Pakistan is observing three days of mourning for Salman Taseer. The provincial governor was laid to rest in Lahore on Wednesday. Officials say Taseer was gunned down at an Islamabad market by his own security guard because of his opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law.
Residents of flood-ravaged northeast Australia are bracing for more rain and wondering when they can return home. The swollen Fitzroy River in Rockhampton peaked today at more than nine meters. That's some height, isn't it? Water levels are still rising in other parts of Queensland.
The US House of Representatives has a new speaker and a new party in charge. Republican John Boehner will preside over the lower chamber of the US Congress, promising to cut spending.
Firefighters in the Netherlands are trying to put out a huge blaze that involves a chemical factory. The fire department in the town of Moerdijk says the chemicals are burning off, but the smoke doesn't appear to be dangerous. So far, no injuries are reported.
Well, a bodyguard has testified that Michael Jackson's doctor ordered him to put vials into a bag after the singer collapses. It comes a day after a court heard that two of Jackson's kids were actually present as Conrad Murray tried in vain to revive their father. The hearing will decide whether Murray will face trial for involuntary manslaughter. Beth Karas has more.
BETH KARAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yesterday was the first day of Dr. Conrad Murray's preliminary hearing. He's charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.
Yesterday, three witnesses testified. The first one was a man who's been working with Michael Jackson on his upcoming concert series, "This is It." He said that Jackson was in good health and in good spirits the night before he died at a rehearsal. But by noon the next day, Jackson was dead. Dr. Murray found his famous patient wasn't breathing, and the next two witnesses described the chaos in the Jackson household after that point.
Two of Jackson's three children were standing in their father's bedroom doorway, his daughter, Paris, on her hands and knees crying, older brother, Prince, watching in alarm. Dr. Murray was panicked and sweating as he was attempting CPR on Michael Jackson, and he asked a security guard if anyone there knew how to do CPR. Murray either forgot the basic medical procedure or didn't know how to do it, but he clearly was in a panic.
By the time the paramedics arrived, according to the prosecution, Michael Jackson was "cold to the touch and flat-lined."
One of the witnesses testified that he saw Jackson with his eyes open and his mouth open. When asked if he appeared alive, he said, "No, he did not appear alive." The ambulance took Jackson to the hospital within a half an hour, where he was pronounced dead.
The judge also heard about Murray's behavior at the hospital and how he left before police could talk to him.
Coming up will be another security guard who was in the bedroom. Alberto Alvarez is expected to testify that Murray told him to collect an IV bag and a syringe and some of the medicine bottles of the medicine he had given Michael Jackson, put them in a bag, this before calling 911 somewhere between 9 and 21 minutes past between finding Michael Jackson not breathing and calling the paramedics. Beth Karas, Los Angeles.
ANDERSON: The latest on the preliminary trial as it kicks off, there, in California.
Well, it stands proud over the Californian city of San Diego, so why has the cross fallen foul of the American constitution? We're going to debate whether the separation of state and religion has been taken just a step too far. That is up next.
ANDERSON: Across Europe, symbols of the Islamic faith have faced a growing backlash. In Switzerland, voters approved a ban on the building of minarets. In France and in Belgium, lawmakers have voted to outlaw the burqa in public.
But in the United States, it is a symbol of the Christian faith that is causing controversy. Hal Clement (sic) explains why.
ROSS BECKER, KUSI CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a spot known worldwide. It's infamous for its controversy. The 43-foot cross on Mt. Soledad began as a monument on city land, but during one of the many legal battles, it became a war memorial, and city land became federal land, hoping to make it immune from the constitutional challenge, to no avail.
The opponents still say that huge cross is a symbol of Christianity, and war memorial or not, it has to go. The Ninth Circuit Court now says, as it stands, it's unconstitutional, and the ACLU could not agree more.
DAVID BLAIR-LOY, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: We honor everyone who has served the country in the armed forces, we think it's entirely appropriate and right to honor their service, but to honor their service, we should honor all veterans, not only those who are Christian.
BECKER (voice-over): But the judge stopped at the constitution. The ruling does not demand that the cross be taken down. In fact, the ruling says the judge thinks there's a way to remodel the memorial to make it legal. Some of the people visiting the memorial today have their own opinions.
DENNIS MCCARTHY, VISITOR: This should stay just the way it is. It's a beautiful tribute to our veterans, I think.
RICHARD LEISTER, VISITOR: We don't necessarily look at the cross as a symbol of any given religion, because we have Jewish veterans up here and Christians and Catholics and you name it, we've got them. And we look at it more as a symbol of sort of the military.
BECKER (voice-over): And the group, Alliance Defense Fund, which is fighting to keep the cross, issued this statement, saying, "It's tragic that the court chose a twisted and tired interpretation of the first amendment over the common-sense idea that the families of fallen American troops should be allowed to honor these heroes as the choose. No one is harmed by the presence of a cross on a war memorial."
But the battle over that cross is now crossing generations. People who continue fighting for it and against it and those who died for our country and are honored by it.
ANDERSON: That's Hal Clement (sic) reporting, there. You heard, there, about how the debate centers on constitutional issues. Stick with me here. Specifically, it comes down to the separation of church and state. You need to understand, this idea was deemed so vital by America's founders, it makes up the very first line of the first article of the Bill of Rights.
And I quote, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That comes before both freedom of speech and of the press.
But interpreting that one simple line has kept lawyers busy since the day it was penned some 220 years ago. Take another potent American symbol, the Pledge of Allegiance. Early last year, a federal appeals court ended a long-running dispute by ruling the line "one nation, under God" was, in fact, OK. The fight began with a parent who believed his daughter should not be made to recite the pledge in school.
Every year, during Christmas, some group in some city protests that a nativity scene has gone up on public ground, like in front of a city hall. And in what could be the most ironic case, a federal court ruled that a monument displaying the Ten Commandments had to be removed, of all places, from Alabama's state judicial building.
Well, in many of these cases, court rulings fly in the face of overwhelming public opinion. Take that example of the Ten Commandments, for example. A poll showed that more than three in four Americans thought the tablets should stay.
This is what the framers of the US constitution intended by seeking the separation of church and state, is it? Well, to debate that, I'm joined from Washington by Daniel Mach from the American Civil Liberties Union. You heard their thoughts expressed in Hal's (sic) package, specifically, he's the director of the program on freedom of religion and belief.
And Jordan Sekulow from the American Center for Law and Justice. He's also a contributor to On Faith, an online religious conversation sponsored by "The Washington Post" newspaper.
Gentlemen, we thank you for joining us this evening. Hang on for me, Jordan, for one moment, because I want to start with you, sir, from the organization, of course, that doesn't like what they see in that cross. What's wrong with it?
DANIEL MACH, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: Well, we fully support governmental efforts to pay tribute to those who have fought and died for this country, absolutely. But there are many ways to do that without playing favorites with religion.
And what happened here is that the federal government took over a giant 43-foot cross, which is a symbol of faith, a deeply-held symbol of faith for many Americans, but not all Americans, and declared it to be a national war memorial and, then, displayed it on federal property as a federal war memorial.
And when the government does that, it sends the message that it is valuing the sacrifice of certain veterans over others.
ANDERSON: All right, Daniel. I'll come back to you to find out whether you think the founding fathers would agree with you. Jordan, your response?
JORDAN SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Yes. The founding fathers would not. I think the intention of the first amendment is pretty clear, especially for the international audience, the founding fathers did not want the establishment of a national church here in the United States of America or a national religion that governed who could run for office, who could be appointed to government positions, who could vote, who could own land. That's what they were looking to seek.
And fortunately, for those of us who have been fighting for this cross, which has been in controversy since 1989. And by the way, for everyone out there, the cross -- there's been a cross on that spot since 1913. So Daniel's organization, the ACLU, has been trying to take this down for 21 years.
But the good news is, Supreme Court precedent is actually on the side of the cross. So, the Ninth Circuit, here, I don't agree with their decision at all. This will be appealed. And let me tell you why we're very confident about the Supreme Court, here.
They recently held in April of 2010 on a similar situation, a cross, a war memorial in the Mojave Desert here in the United States, Justice Kennedy, who's seen as the swing vote on the Supreme Court, he said, listen. "Just because of the establishment clause in the first amendment, we don't have to eradicate our Judeo-Christian heritage in the United States of America." He said that about a cross in the Mojave Desert. I'm confident that, if this case makes its way to the Supreme Court, which it likely will, that Justice Kennedy will feel the same way.
MACH: Well, this court of appeals, this full panel, which ruled unanimously, was well aware of that opinion and distinguished it. And what we have to focus on, here, is the nature of this particular display, which is a giant 43-foot cross. It towers on top of the mountain --
SEKULOW: We've got Ten Commandments inside of our courtroom --
MACH: And it is visible for miles away.
SEKULOW: The United States Supreme Court, Daniel, has got a giant Ten Commandments, they start off with "God save this honorable court." When the 112th Congress took their oath of office today, what happened before that? There was a prayer by a chaplain, a denominational chaplain, not non-denominational.
And let's take it one step further. Every judge on this panel -- and this is important for the audience to know -- every judge on this panel was appointed by a Democrat, one by Jimmy Carter, two by Bill Clinton. They're more liberal.
That's no the reality on the United States Supreme Court. We've got five conservative justices who come from a viewpoint much closer to mine, which means you can be fighting this cross for as long as you want. At the end of the day, the cross, the 43-foot cross in San Diego is going to remain, and the American people are really repulsed by groups like the ACLU, and I think that's why --
ANDERSON: Not all of them.
SEKULOW: Listen, it's not up to --
ANDERSON: Not all of them, Jordan. Not all of them. Three quarters, maybe. There's still 25 percent out there --
SEKULOW: If you poll the American people, they don't want this cross coming down. They don't want this cross coming down --
MACH: If I may --
SEKULOW: The people of San Diego have had a chance to vote a number of times --
ANDERSON: Give Daniel a chance, Jordan.
SEKULOW: They've always voted overwhelmingly to support it.
ANDERSON: Give him a chance.
MACH: Thank you. There are many points to respond to, there. But one thing I want to make absolutely clear. That we firmly believe at the ACLU that the right to religious worship is one of the most fundamental and important rights that we as Americans enjoy. And we would support the rights of churches, of businesses, of families, to display large religious monuments on their own property --
SEKULOW: That's no big deal --
MACH: For all to see.
SEKULOW: That's private property, Daniel, why are you acting like that's special?
ANDERSON: Hold on.
MACH: We absolutely would -- if I may, please.
SEKULOW: That's not special. That's private property, who cares about that? I'm glad the ACLU isn't going to start suing private individuals, that's nice to know.
ANDERSON: You haven't got the law on your side --
MACH: If I may --
ANDERSON: Hang on a minute, Daniel. You haven't got the law on your side for the time being, and this opinion the Ninth -- I read in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that "in adopting the first amendment, the founders were prescient in recognizing that without issuing religion, neither can the government be seen as favoring one religion over another. The balance is subtle, but fundamental to our freedom of religion."
We are having a discussion here about freedom of religion, and that was what was important to the founding fathers, of course.
ANDERSON: And what is important, surely, to these courts at present. Jordan?
SEKULOW: I don't see --
MACH: Well, if --
ANDERSON: Hold on, Daniel.
SEKULOW: That anybody in America is trying to pick this battle. No one wanted to have this -- it's the ACLU, they go around the country -- this is -- again, I'm trying to explain who they are, for people who may not be familiar. They go around suing towns and cities in the United States over religious displays all the time, harassing people.
But they picked on the wrong city with San Diego, a much bigger city with a real budget that can fight back. And what happens? This case can drag on for as long as you want, guess what's happened? The cross has stayed. The founding fathers --
ANDERSON: All right
SEKULOW: Did not intend to erase the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United States with the establishment clause. It's bad history, and we're confident the Supreme Court agrees with us. I think Daniel knows that deep down --
ANDERSON: All right --
SEKULOW: There's five votes on the Supreme Court already.
ANDERSON: Well, give him a chance to respond. Give him a chance to respond. Last word, Daniel.
MACH: Sure. Last word. Well, one important thing to keep in mind, here, is that this is the government putting its finger on the scale of religion. In our country, we should honor our war dead under one flag, not under one religious symbol.
ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you both very much for a very lively discussion this evening, and a good one. Thank you.
Well, the royal wedding is just months away. You know which one I'm talking about, the royal wedding here in the UK. And now, we've got more details about how William and Kate's big day will pan out. But what about the music, her dress, and who pays for what? We're going to get the lowdown from our royal watcher up next.
ANDERSON: At the end of April this year, the eyes of the world will be on London as Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot. And today, the pair released hotly anticipated details about that big day. We now know who will marry them, the Archbishop of Canterbury, not much of a surprise there. The most senior cleric in the Church of England has always married monarchs to be, certainly since the Church of England existed, of course.
The bride will have to be up early to get ready. The ceremony kicks off at 11:00 AM on April the 29th. We also know how Kate Middleton plans to make her grand entrance. She'll travel to the service at Westminster Abby by car along a route that takes in several famous London streets, including the Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, and Parliament Square.
Now, once they've tied the knot, those lining the streets on the big day will get to see the pair in a carriage as they make their way back to Buckingham Palace. There, the queen will throw a reception for the couple and guests from the congregation. And in the evening, William and Kate will hit the dance floor with their close friends and family, when the father of the groom, the Prince of Wales, hosts a private dinner celebration. How exciting.
So, that's the scoop so far. But a lot of -- lots of you out there from all over the world desperate to know much more. So, earlier, I spoke to royal watcher Mark Saunders, and I kicked off by asking him a question sent in from Michael, one of our viewers, who quite simply wanted to know the best way of getting himself a ticket.
MARK SAUNDERS, CO-AUTHOR, "DIANA AND THE PAPARAZZI": The quickest and easiest way is become a head of state. When I say "head of state," preferably not Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong-il or a Saudi prince with 30 wives, because that would be a lot of tickets.
Seriously, there are some members of the public, commoners, as they say, are going to be invited. The people that were involved in the charities. But they would have been people that have been doing it for many years.
I think, basically, we're talking in England, I would say FA Cup Final, in America, Superbowl. If you haven't got one, you're not going to get one.
ANDERSON: You know what? Another one from a viewer. Somebody who just said that they're a royal fan asks, "What role will the queen play? Will she speak or," they ask, "will she just be like a normal guest?"
SAUNDERS: She certainly won't be a normal guest. I think her role will be twofold. First of all, as queen, she will actually be hosting the event. There are going to be many heads of state coming in from all over the world. There are going to be many very important people, certainly the American president and his wife will be there. Her role will be to host, be the queen.
And, on the other hand, she's -- William is her favorite grandchild. And this is a big event for the queen. We know she's approaching the winter of her reign, and this could be the last really big happy occasion that she presides over.
ANDERSON: All right, let's talk about what we don't know. Let's speculate for a moment. Who's going to do the music. It's going to be Elton John?
SAUNDERS: We hear Elton John, very strong connections to the royal family, Elton John. A tremendous friend of Princess Diana, and also a friend of Prince Charles. Elton John and Charlie hit it off -- Charles has always considered himself something of an intellectual, as does Elton John, believe it or not. So -- and Elton knows William and Harry.
But I hear -- the rumors are that he could be dueting with Paul McCartney. Now, if -- I'm not an expert on this. I'm sure I'll be corrected, but this would make Elton John the only man in history to have done a duet live with John Lennon and Paul McCartney on separate occasions. Lennon, he was with Madison Square Gardens in 71. That would be pretty significant in this country. We like that sort of thing.
But Paul McCartney has a great knack of getting in on these acts. He -- I mean -- and so he should do, because he is our number one. Elton is a very close number two. So, if they could pull that off, have Elton and Paul McCartney, where do you go after that?
ANDERSON: Well, I guess what you -- where you go is what the two who are getting married like. Who -- what do they like, so far as music is concerned. Do we know?
SAUNDERS: Talking of the sort of music I like, that I know, Kate Middleton's mother's a tremendous Elvis fan.
SAUNDERS: Yes, Elvis, yes. Kate did Elvis karaoke a few years back at a local pub. So, she knows the words to most of the songs, as we all do.
William, great Beatles fan, like his father. Like all members of the royal family, actually. And he grew up on the movie "Yellow Submarine," which was given to him by the queen. I think that was on his fifth birthday. And also -- he's a great fan of hip hop and rap, but I might be sounding a bit old here, I don't -- do they still have hip hop and rap?
SAUNDERS: I don't know. People talking rather than singing.
ANDERSON: All right. What we also don't know is who's going to make her dress at this point.
SAUNDERS: And nobody knows. And it's silly to speculate. I said on the first day of the engagement, I was going for a lower -- I don't think it's going to be extravagant. I was cried down by many experts who were talking Alexander McQueen, lots of names I don't know. My knowledge of fashion and style is up there with Sarah Palin's knowledge of geography. But I still maintain that the wedding won't -- the dress won't be extravagant.
I don't think we're talking High Street. We're probably not talking Walmart. But I don't think it will be -- it will be -- they're going to give a chance to someone. A young, British designer.
ANDERSON: All right, who's going to make the speech? The best man's speech for William?
SAUNDERS: Traditionally, it should be Harry. And if it -- I'd buy tickets for that. Certainly I would. I think it will be Harry. I think he'll make a good, fun, funny speech.
But there's -- there are many issues at this wedding that are quite perplexing, actually. You ask about -- we're not being told that Harry is doing the speech. It could be Prince Charles. But one of the -- the one that partly intrigues me, and I'm sure you'd be interested in this, is we still have this notion that the Middletons are sharing the expense of the wedding with the queen.
Now, this -- I don't understand this, because -- as you know, in this day and age, it's quite common for the families now, the days of the father paying for the wedding are long gone. But the two families, no matter how friendly or amicable they are, there's always one side that tries to outdo the other. Now, how do you -- let's hope it's not the Middletons. How do you outdo the Queen of England? The richest woman in the world?
Obviously, it's lovely scenes, imagining where they're planning the band and the Middletons saying, "We know a lovely jazz quartet," and the queen saying, "Really, well we thought maybe the Coldstream Guards."
SAUNDERS: Or when they're planning the first night for the newlyweds, Kate Middleton's mother saying, "We've got a lovely place down by the seaside, it's called Ocean View." And the queen replying, "Oh, really? We've got a nice place up north, it's called Scotland."
ANDERSON: We'll leave him. Mark Saunders on what promises to be the event of the year, speaking to me earlier.
Well, tomorrow, comedian Maziar Jobrani joins us. He's an Iranian- born American who dares to poke fun at Middle Eastern stereotypes. Now you can head to cnn.com/connect for details on all of our Connectors. Remember, it's your part of the show. Send us your questions, and do remember to tell us where you're writing in from. We'll take a look at them all and, in the spirit of most of them, we try to put a few of them to our Connectors.
Good. All right. Tonight, we'll be right back.
ANDERSON: Our last story, tonight, goes to show you you can't judge a book by its cover. We've all passed a homeless person, haven't we? And never given a thought to their histories, their hopes, or their talents. But as Jeanne Moos, now, finds out, one surprising encounter on the side of the road may have created a global sensation.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESONDENT (voice-over): He may be homeless, but he's not voiceless.
DORAL CHENOWETH, COLUMBUS DISPATCH VIDEOGRAPHER: There's been this guy with an interesting sign at I-71 --
MOOS (voice-over): A panhandler's sign saying, "I have a God-given gift of a great voice." Wait until you hear it.
CHENOWETH: Hey. I'm going to make you work for your dollar. Say something with that great radio voice.
TED WILLIAMS, HOMELESS MAN: When you're listening to nothing but the best of oldies, you're listening to Magic 98.9.
Thank you so much. God bless you. Thank you.
And we'll be back with more, right after these words.
MOOS (voice-over): And folks wanted to hear more. The homeless man with a golden voice blew up on websites like Reddit. "I just had an eargasm." "He should be an NBA announcer." "He should do audio books." "Get this man's voice on everything." The man is Ted Williams.
WILLIAMS: The voice just became something of a development over years, and I went to school for it. And then alcohol and drugs and a few other things became a part of my life. And I got two years clean.
MOOS (voice-over): A videographer for the Columbus Dispatch website is the one who shot and posted the video.
MOOS (on camera): The first thing that went through your mind when you heard his voice?
CHENOWETH: He's good. He's just really good.
MOOS (voice-over): Next thing you know, job offers are being posted, including one from the Bo Radio Show in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
SCOTT "DJ BO" WOLOSZYN, MAJIC PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Absolutely, yes. He'd have his own show live on the air. He already has radio experience, obviously, so he would just need a little tweaking.
WILLIAMS: And don't forget, tomorrow morning is your chance to win a pair of tickets to see this man live in concert.
MOOS (on camera): How much is the station willing to pay? Well they say at least minimum wage.
MOOS (voice-over): But there may be a bidding contest for a Columbus radio station, the Ohio Credit Union League, is offering up to $10,000 in voice-over work, saying, "We are all amazed by Mr. Williams' gift." He may not end up being the next James Earl Jones.
JAMES EARL JONES, ACTOR: This is CNN.
MOOS (voice-over): But Ted Williams has dreams.
WILLIAMS: You know, I'm hoping one day, "Watch Family Guy, weeknights at 7:30 on Fox 28."
MOOS (on camera): Watch homeless guy find a home behind a microphone.
WILLIAMS: When you're listening to nothing but the best of oldies --
MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos.
WILLIAMS: You're listening to Magic 98.9.
MOOS (voice-over): CNN.
WILLIAMS: Magic 98.9.
MOOS (voice-over): New York.
WILLIAMS: Thank you so much.
ANDERSON: Isn't that great? I'm Becky Anderson and that is your world, connected. It is just before 10:00 in London. "BackStory" is next after I get you a very quick check of the headlines. Don't go away.