Alabama Week - Getting to Know the Most Religious State in the Union

Extended - April 24, 2017 - John Kasich 04/24/2017 Views: 29,297

After Trevor explains Alabamians' disinterest in The Daily Show, Desi Lydic gets more familiar with their state by exploring its Christian values. (8:12)

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You know, a few months ago,

the failing New York Times ran a piece

about how Americansare more and more caught,

not just in political bubbles,but in cultural ones, too.

And it said that you couldtell more about a place

and how they voted in 2016by what TV shows they watched

than by whothey voted for in the past.

For instance, statistically,

Trump voters tendto enjoy Duck Dynasty, right?

Hillary Clinton voters tendto enjoy Family Guy,

and Bernie voters tell youthat they don't own a TV.


But the fact that really caughtour eye was that,

although The Daily Show ispopular in a lot of big cities,

our show barely gets watchedin many red and rural areas.

And there was one placethat didn't watch The Daily Show

more than anywhere else:


And I don't think you understandhow hurtful that is.


For an entire stateto swipe left on you.


We felt like Ted Cruz.

-(laughter)-And... as we were trying

to figure out why this might be,many of us here had to admit,

Alabama's a placewe don't know much about.

So this week, we've decided

that we're goingto get to know Alabama.

With Desi, Jordan,Hasan and Roy at the show,

each filing reportsfrom all over the state.

And we start with Desi Lydic,everybody.

-(applause, cheering)-Thank you.

Thanks, Trevor.

Why doesn't Alabama like The Daily Show?

Well, maybe because,in a state that Pew Research

recently ranked the nation'snumber one most religious,

they might feelwe don't reflect their values.

I mean, just because New Yorkwas the 43rd most religious--

that's not even countinghow I just spent my weekend.

-(laughter)-Steam cleaning alone, Trevor.

I can't even tell you.

Anyway, to me it seemed clear,

there was no better placeto start understanding Alabama

than in church.

LYDIC: If I was gonna understand

the most religious state in the union,

it was gonna take a miracle, a sign from God.

Oh, look! A sign from God.

And that wasn't the only one.

They were everywhere.

See, here in Alabama,

church signsare like God's Twitter.

These signs are Alabama's main source of comedy,

so why wasn't The Daily Show taking off here

like these church signs or football?

But in Birmingham, I saw one sign that resonated.

Calling out Trump and racism?

Throw in a dick joke, and that is The Daily Show.

Your signs are... fantastic.

You are our people.(chuckles)

You're excited to meet me,

-'cause you watch the show...-And I'm, uh...

You haven't watched it thatmuch, or you haven't watched it?

I haven't watched it.


But without learning what to think about politics

from our show, where was he getting his inspiration?

My inspirationis alarming the folk

that our president is a bigot.


And I hopethe senators and congressmen

will impeach himand eradicate him.

You want to lead usin a quick prayer

to eradicate President Trump?

Gracious Father,in the name of Jesus,

move this demonfrom the White House.

-Send him out.-Send him out...

-Back to Mar-a-Lago.-to the pits of Hell...

-Or Mar-a-Lago.-wherever he came from.

-In Jesus' name, we pray.Bye-bye. -Bye-bye.

Huh. Viewers in Alabama aren't so different after all.

We do understand each other.

But that's not the only sign Pastor Jordan is famous for.

Talk to me about some ofthe other signs that went viral.

The big... the big signwas about gay marriage.

-Mm-hmm.-And it said: God...

-It said: God welcomes all...-They do.

-people of all genders...-All kinds.

-to... marry. -But marriagebetween a male and a female.

So that... I didn't go againstthe Scriptures on that at all.

Sorry, what did the sign say?

God's word forbids two menfrom getting married.

God's word forbidstwo men from getting married.

On the other hand, the back of the sign read much worse.

That sign made headlines.

Mm. Mm-hmm, I bet it did.

-In the black church...-Mm-hmm.

homosexuality has...had-had-had taken over

the musical department.

And this might bea culture shock for y'all...

-Probably not, but... -but youdon't come out of the closet

in the black neighborhood.

Do you think thatthe black homosexuals

are closeted becausetheir pastors are telling them

that AIDS isGod's curse on them?

No. No. They... No.

It's not... they...

The black homosexuals,they won't show up.


-You...-'Cause they read the sign?

Okay, maybe not everyone needs to watch our show,

but how much of an impact could these religious views

possibly have on life here?

Hundred percent.It's... it is immersed

through everything in Alabama.

Meet Representative Pat Todd,

the first openly gay elected official in Alabama.

My life's been threatenedthree times

since I've beenin the legislature.

I just don't understand why...

of all the places thatyou could choose to live,

why you would choose to livein (bleep) Alabama.

Holy (bleep),is that what gluten tastes like?

-Yeah. Isn't that good?-Jesus Christ.

-Have some pork.-Mm-hmm.

You know,I want to confront that bigotry.

-You know what's interestingabout Alabama? -No, I don't.

We are the only Southern state

that has not passedany anti-gay legislation,

since I've been in office.

And I think it's harder to getup and argue anti-gay stuff

when you have to look across the podium

and argue with me.

LYDIC: Meeting face to face might work for politics,

but what about religion?

Pastor Jim Mather has been apreacher in Alabama since 1998,

and for the past three years he's been inviting

Iraqi and Syrian refugees to his home--

and not even to tell them they're going to Hell.

The greatest way you can honoranother human being is to...

is to have a meal with them.

That's the waywe build bridges.

And on the other side of the bridge--

native Alabamians.

I didn't even knowgrapes had leaves.

Despite these micro-aggressions,

the refugees seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Mustafa's journey was so incredible,

but there is an even bigger miracle in this story.

Oh, you actually watch the show?

Oh, really?

If you had to choose, like,your favorite correspondent...

But, like, specifically,if you had to pick one favorite

who you like the work of most...

See? This is why we shouldn't let immigrants

into our country.

But I could feel the love

from the other people at the table.

And I was inspired.

Dear Lord...

uh, please help mewith my struggle

to believe in Alabama.

I had a lotof preconceived notions

when I got hereabout the people.

I thought they werereal swamp people.

But when I actually came here,

I met somereally wonderful people,

like 75% of the peoplesitting at this very table.

So thank you for opening my eyesto the nuance of Alabama.

Amen. Roll Tide.

In America,

some people use religion to separate themselves,

but in this corner of Alabama, it was doing the opposite.

Thanks to the work of people like Pastor Jim.

Oh, wait.

You're cool with gay people,right?

Uh, I love everyone,that's true.

Okay, good, just making sure.


Or as we say here in Alabama,

in Jesus name we pray, bye-bye.

(cheering and applause)

Desi Lydic, everybody.