The Phenomenon of ‘The Purpose-Driven Life’
Mar. 16, 2005
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday March 17, 2005
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening everyone. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
We are going to spend much of the hour ahead on the book that has become a phenomenon “The Purpose Driven Life,” the book that Ashley Smith credits with helping her to stop a killer.
When Ms. Smith said she read “The Purpose Driven Life,” to Brian Nichols, millions of Americans knew the power of the words she spoke of. We begin with one of those people.
Here’s CNN’s Ed Lavandera.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN DALLAS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): At age 64, Enzel Rehn (ph) found himself tormented by the pains of bone cancer, unable to walk, unable to care for himself but thanks to his daughter, he found something that would ease his pain.
MICHELLE HARRELL, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH MEMBER: He’s falling apart but all of a sudden his life is back in order and the physical part didn’t matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do welcome you here to First Baptist Dallas here in the heart of the city. How did we lose this sense of purpose? We’re Christians.
LAVANDERA: In February, the pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas asked his congregation to start reading “The Purpose Driven Life.” Sunday sermons were filled with the book’s lessons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To my purpose, my purpose, my purpose.
LAVANDERA: For Michelle Harrell the lessons started at the right moment. Family members were taking turns looking after her father. The first night by his side, she offered to read him the lesson of the day.
HARRELL: I remember getting through reading that very first night and commenting that I was afraid that he thought that I was just hand picking which chapters I was reading to him.
LAVANDERA (on camera): It was Chapter 6, a lesson about eternity of all things that reads, “Life on earth is a temporary assignment. Earth is not our final home. We were created for something much better.” HARRELL: And after I finished reading and he’s like “That’s good.”
LAVANDERA (voice-over): It didn’t end there for Enzel Rehn. Something had touched this dying man.
HARRELL: His focus got off of himself and on to just being grateful for having us all around him.
LAVANDERA: He asked that someone read a new chapter every night as he received medical treatments.
HARRELL: I think it was like food for his soul to think about all the things that lay ahead and he hadn’t always made the wisest decisions in this lifetime but he knew he had Christ in his heart.
LAVANDERA: Michelle wasn’t the only one in the congregation moved by the book. Sarah Davis keeps “The Purpose Driven Life” by her bed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have days marked and special things that I just wanted to remember.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Chapter 3, a lesson about confidence. It reads “Many people are driven by the need for approval. Real security can only be found in that which can never be taken from you, your relationship with God.”
(voice-over): Sarah is just months away from high school graduation. She’ll start college in the fall. This young woman says that “The Purpose Driven Life” has taught her how to deal with teenage insecurities.
SARAH DAVIS, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH MEMBER: It just says we need to be secure and confident because God made us the way we are and God still loves us but even though everybody else may not like us or may think bad things about us, we don’t need to worry about them.
LAVANDERA: But while Sarah will continue to read the book, Enzel Rehn will not. He died last week after reading Chapter 26, chapters that Michelle Harrell says helped him prepare to die.
HARRELL: He was just hungry for it and it brought him so much peace.
LAVANDERA: A family, a teenager and an entire congregation on a spiritual journey together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here’s your purpose period. That’s the sermon. We can go home.
LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
ZAHN: “The Purpose Driven Life” is already a best seller. It needs no help from us promoting it and we’re not here to do that. What interests us is the phenomenon itself.
Rich Warren, the book’s author, has his critics and we will hear from them later on. But first, we go back to the early hours of Saturday morning when Ashley Smith didn’t know if she would live through the night.
ZAHN (voice-over): When Ashley Smith was facing death, confronted by a man who had apparently already killed four, she turned to a book she had been reading as part of a struggle to turn her own life around.
The first words Brian Nichols heard her read were “We serve God by serving others.” This was the beginning of day 33 in “The Purpose Driven Life,” how real servants act.
She went on. “In our self-serving culture, with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept. Jesus, however, measured greatness in terms of service, not status.” Nichols soon interrupted her.
ASHLEY SMITH: After I read it, he said “Stop, will you read it again?” I said, “Yes, I’ll read it again.” So, I read it again to him. It mentioned something about what you thought your purpose in life was, what were you — what talents were you given, what gifts were you given to use?
ZAHN: The rest of Chapter 33 deals with this essential question. How can we use what God has given us to lead a good life? In the end, the book says “I serve God by serving others.” Those who have used the book in their churches aren’t surprised that it resonated with Brian Nichols.
REV. F. WESLEY SHORTRIDGE, LIBERTY ASSEMBLY OF GOD: For someone who is reaching for an answer in this world through alcohol, through drugs or through a life of violent crime, that message that I exist for something bigger than the things that I’m spending my life with that’s a huge message.
ZAHN: Chapter 33, like the entire book, stresses that people should see themselves, see their lives on God’s terms not their own.
“As a servant, you don’t get to pick and choose when or where you will serve. Being a servant means giving up the right to control your schedule and allowing God to interrupt it whenever he needs to.”
Rick Warren, the minister who wrote this best-selling book, is in Africa but released a statement. “I understand Ms. Smith shared a portion from the chapter on ‘Servanthood’ with Mr. Nichols, which seemed to have a positive impact on his life. Jesus sometimes calls us in some of the most difficult situations to be an advocate of Him and the message He represented while on this earth.”
During those desperate hours, Ashley Smith asked Nichols what he thought his purpose might be. SMITH: After we began to talk and he said he thought that I was an angel sent from God and that I was his sister and he was my brother in Christ and that he was lost and God led him right to me to tell him that he had hurt a lot of people.
ZAHN: While encouraging Nichols to turn himself in, Smith suggested that perhaps he was on the verge of finding a purpose larger than his own.
SMITH: I said you know your miracle could be that you need to — you need to be caught for this. You need to go to prison and you need to share the word of God with all the prisoners there.
SHORTRIDGE: And I think she answered that question for him. Your purpose is not found in the things you’re doing. You have a higher purpose. And I like to think that that message went through to him.
ZAHN: For those who believe God works in mysterious ways, Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols will long remain a case in point but the legions of those who have been touched by Rick Warren’s teachings will not be surprised.
ZAHN: But, of course, with any book what resonates for one person may be less compelling for another. But, for Eric Christiansen, one particular passage in “The Purpose Driven Life” spoke to him. He had reached the lowest of lows when he picked up the book. In its pages, he found a way to pull himself up again.
Here’s Jonathan Freed.
JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eric Christiansen has battled temptation. Now the roofing contractor in suburban Chicago is using what he believes is a higher power to keep control of his life.
ERIC CHRISTIANSEN, BOOK CHANGED HIS LIFE: I would say when the addiction started, it did start with movies and I was basically running a movie every night. I mean this was a daily thing for me renting a porno and then, you know, magazines entered, pornographic magazines entered the picture as well.
FREED: The addiction started when he was in high school and years later would even distract him on the way home from work.
CHRISTIANSEN: When I struggled with the addiction, I would already be planning what I was going to watch that night and how I was going to, you know, after going to bed with my wife how I was going to sneak out of bed.
FREED: It destroyed his marriage. His wife told him again and again that he needed help. He didn’t listen. CHRISTIANSEN: I kept saying to myself I can stop this. I can stop this. I can overcome this, you know. I don’t need any help. But when she left me is when I finally realized, no, I cannot do it on my own and I do need help.
PASTOR JIM BOTTS, CROSSING COMMUNITY CHURCH: This is the one that I believe got you over here.
FREED: Pastor Jim Botts heads the Crossing Community Church in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The church centered on the book “The Purpose Driven Life.” It boils down biblical messages hoping to reach people like Eric Christiansen.
BOTTS: The message of “The Purpose Driven Life,” is age old. It’s ancient. It’s the method with which he shares it’s very clear, very easy to understand. He uses terms people get.
CHRISTIANSEN: I knew what temptation was all my life but just reading that book made it such a very — it made it very simple to understand, very practical.
BOTTS: “Since temptation always begins with a thought, the quickest way to neutralize its allure is to turn your attention to something else. Don’t fight the thought just change the channel of your mind and get interested in another idea.”
FREED (on camera): So, for Eric, it was a matter of changing the channel (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BOTTS: He didn’t realize there were more channels than one, the one he was stuck on. He had no idea.
CHRISTIANSEN: If I am sitting around and I feel tempted to go to the video store and rent some video that is not healthy for me, I’ll just turn my attention to something else, pick up the Bible, pick up a book.
FREED (voice-over): Christiansen believes he picked up his life, after reading the book for the first time last fall.
CHRISTIANSEN: What this book is saying that a relationship with God will reveal to you the purpose that he has for you and that you, you know, you do matter to him and that he wants to use you in some way.
FREED: Has your purpose been revealed to you?
CHRISTIANSEN: I believe it has. I just feel because God has helped me through my recovery that I just want to be there for other people who maybe struggle with the same things and encourage them.
FREED: Encourage them, he says, to find the type of balance he now enjoys.
Jonathan Freed CNN, Crystal Lake, Illinois.
ZAHN: Individual stories, personal testimony from people who claim their lives have been changed through a book.
Well, one book that’s not the Bible but for many people has served as a bridge to God, almost a shortcut to God, like bypassing a well-balanced meal for a burger and fries.
Here’s Allan Chernoff on what else the book says.
LYNETTE SANTIAGO, PASTOR: It has five purposes. You were created to be loved by God. You were created to worship God. You were created for fellowship, to be a part of a church, to be a part of a body of Christ.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It’s simple, a five purpose program to salvation. All it takes is 40 days, one chapter a day, of “The Purpose Driven Life.”
Author Rick Warren has laid out an easy path to embrace Jesus, giving direction to those who have been lost. “Forget your troubles,” says Rick Warren “just believe.”
Real worship is all about falling in love with Jesus. The book promises a better life to come. At death, you won’t leave home. You’ll go home. Modern day metaphors bring it down to the layman.
“Put Jesus Christ in the driver’s seat of your life and take your hands off the steering wheel.”
MARK MACDONALD, PRES., PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE: There is an opportunity for us, as Christ’s followers, to say I’m not in control of my life and the more that I try to control my life the more that I take God out of control.
CHERNOFF: Some of the faithful call “The Purpose Driven Life” Christian life, though it does preach religious basis, “Care for your fellow man. Get involved with your church. Memorize scripture every week. If you don’t have any Bible verses memorized you’ve got no bullets in your gun,” Warren writes.
But in simplifying Christianity, what Warren presents as Biblical quotations are often paraphrases. He admits it. “I have deliberately used paraphrases in order to help you see God’s truth in new, fresh ways.”
Warren’s ways aren’t always faithful to the true words of the scripture. For example, in a chapter on developing friendship with the Lord, Warren quotes God calling Job “my friend.” In fact, in the Book of Job, God refers to Job as “my servant” not friend.
MACDONALD: He does use paraphrases just because the power of paraphrase sometimes where we know it’s not necessarily the strong biblical elements or the foundation from an inspirational standpoint but it does bring it alive.
CHERNOFF: Rick Warren makes religion simple, which has made “The Purpose Driven Life” a runaway best seller.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: And there’s a lot more to come in this special edition of NEWSNIGHT, our next stop prison.
ZAHN (voice-over): A new twist on the old tradition. Can Rick Warren’s brand of religion make prison safer, even save taxpayers’ money? In a very rough corner of the world, big claims are put to the test.
And just who is this guy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened because God decided to use it.
ZAHN: Call this segment birth of a salesman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s a feel good kind of approach and this is telling the people exactly what they want to hear, telling people that God agrees with you. God wants you to be what you want to be.
ZAHN: Also tonight, from pulpit and pew are they doubters or just the competition?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about two approaches to marketing evangelical Christianity to a larger number of Americans.
ZAHN: And Jeff Greenfield on America’s tradition of self and self-sacrifice.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.
ZAHN: And ask not if this is a special edition of NEWSNIGHT.
ZAHN: In a moment the purpose-driven prison, first though some of the other stories making news around the country and around the world. And, for that, we turn now to Erica Hill in Atlanta, hi Erica.
ZAHN: Thanks, Erica.
So far we’ve met people who say “The Purpose Driven Life” has helped them escape their own private prisons. Now the kind of prison where escape is only an option on the spiritual level, a real prison with bars, inmates and a purpose-driven ministry.
Nearly 500 inmates have gone through the program so far; Peter Viles now from the state prison in Jamestown, California.
PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his 29th year in prison, Greg Coates was born again, baptized in a prison laundry cart a year and a half ago.
GREG COATES, INMATE: This big man pushed me under the water. He says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” and you are a new creation. Now act like it. And he picked me up and he hugged me and he said, “I love you brother.” And people said I had a smile on my face, you know, that touched them.
VILES: Greg Coates found religion in this book. He found the book because a prison counselor, Hector Lozano, took a chance. He believed the book could change prisoners’ hearts.
HECTOR LOZANO, PRISON COUNSELOR: I was convinced that for those who felt hopeless and purposeless that it would at a very minimum give them hope and purpose and it would transform them as well.
VILES: This was the first prison to embrace Warren’s book, prompting Warren himself to come and preach in the yard, bringing hope to the hopeless.
COATES: He’s got a way of talking to people that he can reach CEOs of companies and he can reach prison inmates. He can reach everyday people.
VILES: For years in prison, Greg Coates struggled with his addictions to treat what he calls a hole in his heart.
COATES: I knew there was something more. Drugs couldn’t do it. Relationships couldn’t do it. So, you know, I kept looking and I never found it.
VILES: Until he found it in Warren’s book.
COATES: I have joy in my heart, a peace in my heart that I’ve never had. Like I said, I come to prison in 1975. I was 18 years old.
VILES: Eighteen years old and convicted of killing two people. Now you know there are some people who are going to see this on television and they’re going to say “Why should I have any sympathy for that man? And, why should he have an experience in prison that makes him feel better?”
COATES: I’m not putting bad on top of bad. What I did was very wrong and no amount of time or self help group or any of this will ever change that. What I did was wrong. VILES: Lozano believes the book has created a small miracle at the prison.
LOZANO: I think Rick Warren was masterful in being able to deliver this idea that inmates need to think more about one another and God, as opposed to thinking about themselves.
VILES: In the high security unit where about a third of the population has studied Warren’s book, inmates have become more peaceful. There have been fewer riots, fewer lockdowns. Warden Matt Kramer, initially a skeptic, says the book has actually saved the prison $1 million in security costs.
MATTHEW KRAMER, SIERRA CONSERVATION CENTER WARDEN: By not having incidents, not having riots, we’re not paying all that additional cost. We’re not paying all that additional overtime.
VILES: In two years, Rick Warren’s movement has spread to at least 74 prisons in 29 states.
COATES: We just ask you to continue to watch over this yard and…
VILES: Giving purpose to convicts like Greg Coates.
COATES: I tell my fellow brothers and sisters that are in prison doing life, don’t give up hope, you know. You can be happy and free in here, in your heart, even doing life in prison.
VILES: Peter Viles for CNN, Jamestown, California.
ZAHN: Of course it’s not by accident that “The Purpose Driven Life” has jumped from bookstores to prison cells. The man behind the book and the phenomenon has been working for 25 years to put his vision into action. He is nothing if not focused.
Here is Thelma Gutierrez.
CHAUNDEL HOLLIDAY, RICH WARREN’S SISTER: We grew up extremely poor.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This little boy could not have had more humble beginnings.
HOLLIDAY: I remember my mom, you know, sitting and trying to figure out the bills and what she was going to pay.
GUTIERREZ: Chaundel Holliday is Rick Warren’s kid sister. She says Rick followed the footsteps of their father, Jimmy, who was a pastor and so was Rick’s great-grandfather.
HOLLIDAY: This is Rick when he was about ten. GUTIERREZ: She says growing up she knew her brother had a gift.
HOLLIDAY: That’s his ordination picture.
GUTIERREZ: That gift his ability to connect with people.
HOLLIDAY: He can express the truth that preachers have been preaching for 2,000 years and there’s nothing new. Rick would be, you know, would say that of course. There’s nothing new. It’s just the way he expresses himself.
GUTIERREZ: Rick Warren is not your average Southern Baptist minister.
RICK WARREN, AUTHOR, “THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE”: You must know your identity.
GUTIERREZ: He prefers the Hawaiian shirt to a dark suit.
WARREN: You have to know who you are, where you came from, where you’re going.
GUTIERREZ: And sounds much more like a motivational speaker than a fire and brimstone preacher.
WARREN: You don’t have to be perfect to be used by God. You just have to be available.
GUTIERREZ: Rick Warren’s message is spreading way beyond the walls of his church in Orange County, California.
WARREN: It’s really about God. The thesis is that we were made by God and for God and until we understand that life isn’t going to make sense.
GUTIERREZ: A simple thought that became “The Purpose Driven Life.” Warren’s friends say there was a time he wasn’t go godly.
GLEN KRUEN, EXEC. PASTOR, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: Rick as a high schooler was going to be a Jimi Hendrix, a musician. Rick plays guitar. He loved music. He loved rock music and we tease him about it.
GUTIERREZ: He was also going to be a page for the U.S. Senate but at the tender age of 16 his life took a U-turn. He preached his first sermon, went to seminary, moved to Southern California and with his wife founded a church. It began with just one family meeting in their home. His goal was 20,000 members, something unheard of at the time.
KRUEN: In 1980, a church of 20,000 was inconceivable. The largest churches in that area was probably 8,000 or 9,000 and those were just incredible. This was a young pastor of 28 years old.
GUTIERREZ: Warren took a methodical approach studying other churches. KRUEN: He wrote letters to the 100 largest churches in America asking those pastors some specific questions about their church growth, why and why not they were growing or not growing.
GUTIERREZ: He also visited 2,000 homes asking people what they wanted from a church that they weren’t getting. The overwhelming response relevance to their lives and that became the seed for a business plan.
Twenty-five years later, Rick Warren has the largest church in the country, 20,000 faithful attending Saddleback Church each week. Tithes and offerings bring in $27 million a year.
And then there’s the book. It has brought in $200 million. His royalties, 25 percent of retail sales, go into a separate non-profit foundation which now pays Warren’s undisclosed salary. Before the book, Warren earned as much as $130,000 a year from the church. Now they say he’s giving it all back, every penny he earned for 24 years.
GUTIERREZ: Does he live large?
KRUEN: He drives a Ford Expedition.
GUTIERREZ: Rick’s sister says her brother, his wife, and three kids live in the same modest house as before even though now he has the best-selling, non-fiction hardcover book in American history.
Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.
ZAHN: And coming up on this special edition of NEWSNIGHT, a voice that begs to differ, other voices from other messengers.
Also the deep roots of today’s phenomenon. Have we always been America the purposeful? Jeff Greenfield tackles that question, a break first though.
This is NEWSNIGHT on CNN.
ZAHN: As you know, charity springs from many sources. And there are plenty of people who can turn their lives around without bringing either Rick Warren or a higher power into the equation at all. Safe to say, that no one has a monopoly on wisdom, as critics of Pastor Warren are the first to point out.
Now, some of his critics come from outside the tent, if you will, others from on high, in the pulpit.
Here’s Bob Franken.
JOHN MACARTHUR, GRACE TO YOU: Passing through history. BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pastor John MacArthur preaches the Gospel of a stern God.
MACARTHUR: We’re going to see about devastation, wars, judgments to come.
FRANKEN: In his own books, he derides “Purpose Driven Life” for treatment of scripture that’s too casual, too shallow.
MACARTHUR: What you’ve got is a feel-good kind of approach. This is telling people exactly what they want to hear, telling people that God agrees with you. God wants you to be what you want to be. And this is pretty heady stuff, to tell somebody that the God of the universe wants them to be exactly what they want to be. But that is not the Christian message.
FRANKEN: MacArthur’s radio tapes are played on more than 1,000 stations worldwide. His worshipers hear music from a huge choir and a full symphony-sized orchestra.
(on camera): John MacArthur draws about 8,000 people to his Sunday services here, not the largest of the so-called mega-churches, but big business, nonetheless, with stiff competition.
(voice-over): A columnist in Los Angeles who writes about religion likens it to a battle between retailers.
TIM RUTTEN, “LOS ANGELES TIMES”: This is about two approaches to marketing evangelical Christianity to a larger number of Americans.
FRANKEN: Rick Warren’s message has resulted in an operation that is more than twice the size of John MacArthur’s.
MACARTHUR: It’s a pop gospel. It’s just exactly what people want to hear, and so they like who says it. So, popularity goes with it.
LYNN GARRETT, RELIGION EDITOR, “PUBLISHERS WEEKLY”: There’s probably some jealousy involved there because of his success. He’s got a phenomenally successful best-selling book and a huge church. And it sounds a little bit like sour grapes to me.
FRANKEN: Warren writes of those who become addicted to attention.
MACARTHUR: It’s a great ploy to push away criticism, because, if you endeavor to call somebody to accountability and to measure them against the truth, you fall into trap of being accused involved in some kind of turf battle. I just see it as a ploy.
FRANKEN: Battles over doctrine are as old as religion itself. Modern times haven’t changed that.
Bob Franken, CNN, Los Angeles.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: And still to come on the program tonight, Rick Warren isn’t the first to preach about purpose. He is the latest in a very long tradition. We’ll look back.
From New York, this is a special edition of NEWSNIGHT.
ZAHN: If this story tonight sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Every decade or so, a book rises to the top of the best-seller list, or a guru comes on the scene with a recipe for doing well by doing good, from Wayne Dyer to Norman Vincent Peale, all the way back to Ben Franklin and ” Poor Richard’s Almanac.” There’s no shortage of advice, because people like doing well and doing good, and perhaps they always have.
Some perspective now from Jeff Greenfield.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): Perhaps it’s not surprising that Rick Warren’s key message, look to God for your purpose in life, has found such resonance in the United States. More than four in 10 of us worship nearly every week or more. A message of faith even adorns our currency.
(on camera): But the idea of looking beyond the self to find a purpose in life goes beyond matters of faith. It is deeply ingrained in our history, and indeed in our very sense of what it means to be an American.
(voice-over): Yes, we were the first nation founded on the idea of individual rights, proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence, enshrined in our Bill of Rights. And it’s also true that more and more of us seem walled off from the rest of the world by the wonders of technology or that a glance at our mass media suggests a nation awash in a hunger for things, the $20,000 watch, the $100,000 car, the multimillion-dollar house.
But we are also a nation with a deep tradition of reaching beyond ourselves. When the first Pilgrims settled here in 1620, they signed on to the Mayflower Compact, recognition that they needed each other to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They’re doing 24-hour shifts.
GREENFIELD: And from that day to this, observers from other shores have been struck by the instinct of Americans to band together. It’s an instinct reflected in one of the most famous lines ever spoken by a president.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.
GREENFIELD: And it was at heart of a campaign of another politician from a different party. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: And America, for all our prosperity, is in danger of losing the best sense of herself, that there’s a purpose to being an American beyond materialism.
GREENFIELD: So the 19th century barn raisings gave way to the 20th century Peace Corps and to today’s Habitat For Humanity. The settlement houses that helped new arrivals to big cities 100 years ago gave way to care for the homeless, the mentally ill, the AIDS victims.
And the instinct to help, to reach out, emerges when we see pictures of children starving or an ocean killed into a killing ground half a world away or when a sudden murderous attack scars our biggest city. A few thousand years ago, a famous Jewish sage asked: If I am not for myself, then who will be for me. And if I am only for myself, then what am I?
The enduring force of that question may be one big reason why this book has touched so many so powerfully.
Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: And just ahead on the program, we’re going to go back to Atlanta for a check on tonight’s headlines, including the latest on a missing Florida girl.
That and more on this special edition of NEWSNIGHT. We’ll be right back.
ZAHN: In a moment, a trial we will never forget.
First, though, some headlines to remember. So, at the quarter hour, we turn once again to CNN Headline News in Atlanta and Erica Hill.
Hi again, Erica.
HILL: Hi, Paula. Thanks.
Law enforcement sources tell CNN the person of interest in the case of a missing 9-year-old Florida girl is a convicted sex offender. They say John Evander Couey was last known to be in Savannah, Georgia. Jessica Lunsford was last seen in her bedroom on February 23.
Rilya Wilson’s former caregiver is now charged with the missing child’s murder. Geralyn Graham had said she turned over the 4-year- old to a Florida child welfare worker in 2001. But the little girl wasn’t reported missing until April of 2002. Prosecutors say they have enough evidence to convince them Wilson was already dead by the time her disappearance was discovered. The child’s body has not been found.
President Bush says Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz would do a fine job as president of the World Bank. And he is nominating Wolfowitz for the post being vacated in June. Wolfowitz is a controversial figure, though, in Europe because of his role in promoting the Iraq war.
Iraq’s new National Assembly met for the first time today. Rival parties have failed to reach final agreement on who will lead the new government. But the politicians pledged to bring stability to the country. As the meeting was taking place, insurgent mortar shells rattled the surrounding area around Baghdad’s Green Zone, but no damage or injuries were reported.
The West Bank town of Jericho is now under Palestinian control. Israeli and Palestinian security commanders toured the area as the final step in the handover. Jericho is the first of five towns to be transferred to the Palestinians in the coming weeks.
A technical glitch aboard the International Space Station could affect a planned shuttle mission in May. NASA says a circuit break failed, causing one of the station’s three remaining gyroscopes to shut down. The station is now operating on the bare minimum of gyroscopes needed to keep it steady.
There may be more oil coming from Alaska if the Senate has its way. A provision that would open the state’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling is part of next year’s budget. Today, the Senate voted 51-49 to reject Democratic attempts to remove it from the bill. Opponents say it would hardly make a dent in the more than 20 million barrels of oil the country uses daily.
A new genetic breakthrough may help explain why men and women are so different. Scientists have cracked the code of the female X chromosome. It holds over 1,000 genes, as well as information that could help in diagnosing diseases, including autism and leukemia. Scientists say the discovery shows that, when it comes to genes, women are more complex than men.
And, Paula, we probably could have told a few folks that.
ZAHN: Yes. We didn’t need to spend millions of dollars to figure that out, did we?
HILL: Probably not.
ZAHN: At least, that’s what all the men in our lives tell us. Thanks, Erica.
Ten years ago, in the shadow of the Hollywood sign not far from the soda fountain at Schwab’s, a star was born. Was he a reluctant star? Well, sometimes. An unlikely star? Probably. A fallen star? You bet. But a trial judge? Yes, first, last and always. Judge Lance Ito “Then and Now.”
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The O.J. Simpson trial made Lance Ito the world’s most watched judge. Ito let cameras into the courtroom for the duration of 1995′s trial of the century, turning courtroom proceedings into a national spectator sport. He was often criticized for allowing the trial to degrade into a media circus.
JOHNNY COCHRAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.
COOPER: Ito’s role in the O.J. trial made him a celebrity. He lost his privacy, was satirized…
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
JAY LENO, HOST: I think I know who has O.J.’s knife, Judge Ito’s barber apparently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: … and lampooned on national television, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Despite speculation he would run for public office, Ito is still a judge in courtroom 110 at the L.A. Superior Court. Judge Ito is married to Captain Peggy York, then the highest ranking woman in the L.A. police department and the inspiration for the TV series “Cagney & Lacey”. Ito turns 55 this year, and has no plans on retiring anytime soon.
ZAHN: And we’ll be revisiting judges and generals throughout the year, local heroes, too, as CNN looks back at a quarter-century of bringing you the news and all of the people in it.
Still ahead on NEWSNIGHT, it is not your father’s barbershop or your mother’s hair salon — style with edge, but hold the attitude.
From New York, this is NEWSNIGHT.
ZAHN: Well, if you look hard enough, you can still find an old- fashioned barbershop near the street where you live, the kind with a red and white pole and a chair, with a guy in the chair and another guy in the chair next him, older guys mostly. Perhaps we should say older gentlemen. Sadly, the men and the shops are fading away. And so, too, is the tradition.
But hope, like hair, springs eternal. And out West, a new kind of traditional barbershop is “On the Rise.”
LEO RIVERA, FOUNDER, BISHOPS BARBERSHOP: Hi, I’m Leo Rivera. Welcome to Bishops Barbershop. Come on it. We have been deemed Portland’s original rock ‘n’ roll barbershop. We are kind of salon for the people. We don’t serve your glass of wine. We serve Miller High Life. You don’t have to make appointments, walk-ins only.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Need a haircut. It’s about a 25-minute wait.
RIVERA: We play our music pretty loud. Our decoration is pretty edgy.
I wanted to open up a barbershop/salon that catered to Generation X. I took different parts of different salons and different barbershops and kind of made a hybrid of barbershop/bar/cafeteria hangout place.
Most of my stylists are refugees from high-end salons. I didn’t want to shackle them with like, you have to hide your tattoos. You have to wear all black clothing. So, here’s it pretty much they can wear whatever they want. So, it allows them to feel free, allows their creativity to flow.
We’re a full-service salon. We’re price-pointed from $10 to $24 when it comes to haircuts. Our colors start off anywhere from $45 up, depending on the service.
We started off opening at $40,000 for our first one. And we’re slotted to do $2.8 million this year in sales. Our core market was going to be 18-year-olds to 30-year-old males. When we first opened, that totally changed.
It’s pretty cool. I remember the first day I walked in here, and I saw this lady who was probably about 50 years old. And she’s drinking a Miller High Life. And then I see this kid next to him with his skateboard leaned up next to her purse, and they’re both sitting there getting their haircuts.
We have a lot of people who just come in and hang out. They come in and they read our magazines and they have a couple beers. And we don’t mind, because they’re clients. We want you to make this not just a place to go get your hair cut, but a lifestyle.
So, I just want to go over your guys’ list, what everybody is doing.
I’m a constant self-promoter. I believe, once you stop promoting yourself, you stop marketing yourself, you might as well just close your doors. We constantly have to stay fresh. We do stuff like a fashion show. We’ll put on a big event that will highlight us and show off what we’re doing.
We show people what we can do with their hair. Let’s do a punk style look. Let’s do an ’80s look. Let’s do a mod look, which is a classic look. Let’s do some big, big stuff. So it shows that we do have the creativity, we do have the talent and the skill.
I love my job. I don’t even look at it as a job. I wanted to create a place where I would love to go to all the time and not have to be stressed, and have a fun environment.
If people think I’m cool, it’s because my employees represent me very well. I’m just a guy with an idea.
ZAHN: And he’s making it work. And the good thing about the beer and the haircut, you’re always happy with that new look.
We’ll wrap things up in just a moment.
ZAHN: And before we go tonight, a couple of quick footnotes to the Atlanta story that inspired our program tonight.
The process of rewarding Ashley Smith for her role in Brian Nichols’ capture took another step today, two more law enforcement announcing they would pay out their portion of a reward expected to total $60,000 in all, although a family member told me earlier today he is encouraging Ashley not to take any reward money, that she didn’t do what she did for the money. She just did it because it was the right thing to do.
Also today, the Justice Department said it will sponsor a summit on courthouse security next month. It will be attended by members of the National Center For State Courts, a report on possible security improvements expected to follow sometime by the end of the summer.
And one last note for you now, tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, a special edition of “PEOPLE IN THE NEWS,” “Ashley Smith: A Hero’s Journey.” Faith and hope helped her survive a seven-hour hostage ordeal and bring an alleged killer to justice. Please join us tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m.
Thank you for being with us tonight. Have a good night.
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