In an interview with Dan Gibson in Tucson Weekly, Gibson asked Bill Maher about his vocal opposition to radical Islam and Glenn's invitation to come on TheBlaze TV for an open and honest conversation on the topic. Glenn's 5pm show has become a place for strange bedfellows to find common ground, but in the interview Maher didn't seem too eager to have that conversation with Glenn. Instead, Maher downplayed the similarities between his opinion and Glenn's on radical Islam and made several assumptions about Glenn's point of view.
Below is an excerpt:
DG: I saw that after your Charlie Rose interview that Glenn Beck offered an open invite to come on his internet show or whatever it is now to have a civil dialogue about Islam. Is it possible for you and Glenn Beck to have a civil dialogue about Islam?
BM: Of course! We could have a civil dialogue about anything. Glenn Beck has had an open invitation to appear on my show for years. I would reiterate that invitation. Glenn Beck, come on my show and I'll come on yours.
DG: That seems like a fair trade.
BM: I've heard that a lot about Glenn Beck and I walking hand in hand about Islam. Not really. First of all, Glenn Beck is a Christian. A serious Christian, although Mormons aren't really Christians, wink, wink. Glenn Beck is more on the Ann Coulter page that what we should do is conquer the Middle East and convert them to Christianity. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying all religions are stupid. Islam just happens to be the one right now, in this century, that's most dangerous and violent. Christianity was the one that was dangerous and violent in the 14th century and the 15th century. In the 16th century, Christians were slaughtering each other by sect, Protestants and Catholics were cutting each others heads off, just the Shiites and the Sunnis are now. But we had a reformation and that's what Islam needs, a reformation. That's what I'm saying and that's different than what Glenn Beck is saying. But, hey, I get where he's coming from.
After reading the interview, Glenn posted a response to Maher's comments on his Facebook page:
It is funny that Bill comments on my POV when he doesn't know my POV. Sorry to disappoint him but, while I wish everyone, including Bill Maher himself, could find the joy I have found in my faith, I am a man who actually believes that everyone must and will find their own way. If Bill wanted to know sincerely about my faith, I will send the boys with the bikes over :)
But I am not waiting for that call.
In the meantime I hold up his right to believe what he does, as I do the right of all Muslims. UNLESS IT INVOLVES KILLING PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH YOU. I have been holding up people like Zuhdi Jasser for many years now. He is Muslim and a Martin Luther style reformer. I support him without any idea of "baptizing him".
Penn Jillette and I have been down this road years ago. He really disliked people of faith. He doesn't now. He still doesn't believe in God, but he doesn't feel he needs to call others stupid. It was beneath him and he is so much better than that. I admire him for the man he is and has become on this issue.
I think it is time we stop playing this game of my way or the highway. Or, "I love you in hopes I can get a leg up and make you see the light of my answer so then I can 'win'."
There is no winning in this game. We can move the world forward, but never in name calling and belittling others. It was played in the beginning and will be played until the end.
I think Bill and I disagree on this: I believe people who call God Allah are not stupid nor are billions of others on this planet that believe in God and worship him faithfully. Bill does. If I were like Bill I would then have to claim something else I do not believe: That people like Bill or any of my atheist friends are stupid for not believing in God.
Why can we not all understand the Classic liberal that most of our founders did.
I do not need to change you nor you me. We can live side by side, worship in different ways and RESPECT one another?
Why can't we stop calling each other names? I know this is hard for many people to swallow from me. I do not claim to be perfect. In fact far from it. But everyone needs to start somewhere. I am trying to change my ways and be a better man. It begins with listening to others and not claiming to have all of the answers. It begins with humility and a willingness to admit to being wrong.
I have been wrong in the past and I am sure I will be wrong in the future. But I am really trying to make an effort.
This is why I won't accept an invite on his show. I want an actual discussion. One based in respect. One that I think can actually help reknit the fabric of our country and world,
I think Bill wants to discuss things but he also wants to "win" and he really wants a good show.
I don't blame him. I used to live somewhat in that world. Then I woke up. Times have changed. We need to be better men than most of us have allowed ourselves to become.
I apologize to Bill for putting those words into his mouth or heart. I do not know him and it is unfair of me to project my feelings on him especially in the same piece where I am asking him to stop making statements on what I believe when he clearly does not know what I believe.
I pray that he and others will see the sincere desire in my heart to move forward in a spirit of peace and reconciliation. Our way of life depends on it and our children will ask us why we didn't come together sooner when we all knew what was at stake.