PRESS: Reverend Bray, let me start with you. Eric Rudolph is accused of both bombings, the abortion clinic down in Birmingham where an off-duty cop was killed and the bombing at Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta where a mother was killed there with her kids to watch the Olympics. It seems to me this is a clear-cut case of murder in both cases. If guilty, why does he deserve any sympathy at all?
REV. MICHAEL BRAY, REFORMATION LUTHERAN CHURCH: I wouldnít offer any sympathy for the bombing in Centennial Park. I would have plenty of sympathy for his actions in defense of the unborn.
PRESS: Is it OK to murder a cop? Is that what you are saying? You are defending the murder of a cop?
BRAY: No, I wouldnít call that the murder of a cop. I would say a man was attempting to save innocent children, made a good attempt. The cop, as you refer to him, was a death camp guard.
PRESS: He was a security guard at the abortion clinic, this-allegedly, again, Eric Rudolph planted a bomb that went off and killed him. Thatís not murder? What is murder?
BRAY: Well, again, you refer to him as a security cop of a-what do you say a medical facility or a clinic? Itís no clinic. Itís no place of healing. Itís a place of murder. Itís a death camp and so letís call him a guard of a death camp.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mark Potok, I want to ask you a couple of questions or put two questions into one. One, how broadly do you think the sympathy is out there for Rudolphís assault on the abortion clinic? I donít think anybody thinks heís-again, did anything moral or right when he went after the Atlanta Olympics. And secondly, hasnít there always been a measure of sympathy for outlaws? Jesse James was a killer and a bank robber and a great hero out in the west. John Dillinger had thousands of people at his funeral. Bonnie and Clyde were heroes of the 1930ís to a lot of people. Is there a lot of sympathy out there for Eric Rudolph on the same sort of grounds?
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Yes. I think youíve practically answered the question in the way you asked it. I think, you know, he is seen very much as a kind of Butch Cassidy character. You know, a single, kind of good-looking, fairly intelligent guy who stood up to the full might and apparatus of the state and survived. So, you know, I think that the sympathy thatís out there, yes, itís colored somewhat by the, you know, lot of sympathy for anti-abortion positions in general in that part of the country, but I think that what is really driving the kind of enthusiasm that you will find among some people, especially in North Carolina, about Rudolph is that very idea. You know, I mean, weíre talking about a region of the country thatís very anti-government going all the way back to the whiskey rebellion and even before.
POTOK: You know, thereís been this feeling...
POTOK: ... of pushing the feds away.
BUCHANAN: Right. It is anti-government. It is very strongly pro-life. Frankly, allegedly Rudolph bombed a gay nightclub. It is very anti-homosexual rights or the homosexual movement or homosexuality in general. And so, you think this-you know, the fact that they have sort of a basic fundamental group of beliefs, even if they might disagree or say he did the wrong thing, thatís the cause of a lot of this sympathy.
POTOK: I think thereís something to that. I think that when the details of the murders that he allegedly carried out are really fleshed out in court, that a lot of that sympathy is going to simply evaporate. You know, Mike Bray can sit and say that the police officer, Sandy Sanderson, you know, was somehow guarding a concentration camp or a death camp, but, you know, Iíd like to see him say that to Felicia Sanderson (ph), who I have spoken to, the wife of the police officer, who is herself and whose husband was, in fact, opposed to abortion.
You know, this was a police officer looking to put a little food on his familyís table, and letís not forget how deliberate this murder was. I mean, allegedly what happened was the murderer, if it was Eric Rudolph, sat off at a distance in the cab of his pickup truck and with a remote-controlled device watched Sandy Sanderson lean over that bomb wrapped in a paper bag and blew the thing up in his face.
PRESS: All right, Mark, let me jump back in. Michael Bray, you say-you call this a death camp. But, of course, itís not a death camp. The law doesnít say itís a death camp. You may believe it and Eric Rudolph may believe it, but we are a nation of laws. You donít have the right or he doesnít have the right to go in there and kill someone he disagrees with, or does your religion tell you something differently?
BRAY: Itís not a matter of simply killing someone that one disagrees with. Itís a matter of killing-or destroying a facility where indeed human beings are being killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... dispute about that.
PRESS: Iíve got to follow-up on this, Pat. What is the difference between what he did and what Osama bin Laden did, who said my religion tells me to kill people who disagree with my radical view of Islam or what Timothy McVeigh did? I mean, heís a terrorist just like they are.
BRAY: I think itís...
PRESS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Michael Bray.
BRAY: Easy difference. Easy difference to be made there. I hate to refer to the simple clichí that former President Bush had made concerning terrorism and what is true terrorism and one manís terrorist is another manís freedom fighter, but thereís something about that. When people are so at odds with one another that they disagree on the fact that...
BUCHANAN: All right...
BRAY: ... we have true human beings being killed here. Now, do we or do we not have true human beings being killed?
BUCHANAN: Hold on. Let me get in here, Bill. Michael Bray, if you believe that abortion is murder, and you obviously do, and I believe that itís the killing of the innocent, but you believe that people that engage in this can be-should be destroyed, like Barnett Slepian was shot by James Kopp-I gather you agree with that killing. Do you-what do you think should have been done to the Supreme Court justices who voted 7-2 to unleash abortion on demand in the United States following which 40 million unborn children have been done to death? Do you think it would be legitimate to do them the same way?
BRAY: Well, I think we can make a big distinction between those who permit, as guilty as they may be before God-thereís a difference between those who permit it and bring it about in a society and those who are actually committing the deed immediately.
PRESS: Let me ask you, do you advocate the killing of people who work at family planning clinics and perhaps even perform abortions? Is that what you are saying?
BRAY: I donít advocate that, but I say that action cannot be condemned...
PRESS: Do you defend it? Do you defend it?
BRAY: I say it cannot be condemned. Yes, I say it cannot be condemned.
PRESS: Do you defend it?
BRAY: There can be no moral condemnation for that action.
PRESS: God love you.
POTOK: I mean, if I may say something here...
BUCHANAN: All right, Mr. Potok, go ahead quickly.
POTOK: Yes. I mean, Mike Bray calls these killings glorious, and,
you know just aside from the fact that he spent four years in federal
prison over bombing abortion clinics, you know, I think itís worth pointing
out that this is a man who then goes on to say, by the way, it was kind of
Ē it was a wonderful thing that Saudi Arabia a short time ago beheaded three men for being homosexual. I mean, it seems to me that once you start down this path of murder in the name of righteousness, there is no end.
PRESS: Mark Potok, Michael Bray, thank you much for joining us this evening for this debate.
BUCHANAN: Thank you gentlemen.
PRESS: When we come back, folks, another big debate. Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Will we ever find them? Weíll throw that to our ďRoundtableĒ, Joe Scarborough, Julianne Malveaux, coming up.
It's scary that *anybody* has sympathy for this madman....