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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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April 21, 2019 10:30 am

CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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April 21, 2019 10:30 am

Lee Cowan is in for Jane Pauley. A resurrection in faith-based films; Notre Dame is the world's church; Almanac: The Red Baron; "To Kill a Mockingbird": A story for our time; Mayor Pete; 

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Visit to order samples. Good morning. Jane Pauley is off today. I'm Lee Cowan, and this is Sunday morning. We're waking up to major news this morning, terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka that have killed more than 200 people. We'll have more on that in a moment. But first, on this Easter and Passover weekend, we'll consider how our faith, so important in these troubled times, is increasingly playing out on film.

John Blackstone will report our cover story. The new movie Breakthrough is about the power of prayer, a hallmark of faith-based films. So if Jesus returned today, he'd be a filmmaker? I don't know. It's possible.

I think it's worth discussing. Dear God. From church pews to the box office, getting into the spirit with faith-based films ahead on Sunday morning. And then we'll be going to meet the mayor, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, who has his young eyes on the White House. John Dickerson will be making the introduction. Mayor Pete Buttigieg! At only 37, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is not your typical candidate for president.

He's an Afghanistan veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, and a newlywed. When you're young, you're always patted on the head and told that you're the future. But I'm interested in what you can bring to the present. Later, on Sunday morning, meet Mayor Pete. A sellout on Broadway is doubling as a masterclass in tolerance and understanding. Tracy Smith will be talking to its leading man.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the hottest tickets on Broadway and one of the hardest to get unless you're a school kid. We're basically performing in front of a student assembly. Are you cool with that?

Yeah, I'm cool. There's some talking and there's some this and that, but when it comes time to... they're in. They're in it.

In the name of God, just let them go home. Ahead on Sunday morning, a play for the ages. David Turricamo remembers Notre Dame in happier times. And more, all coming up when our Sunday morning podcast continues. For many, watching the Ten Commandments has become an Easter tradition. It's one of the earlier portrayals of faith on film, a phenomenon that seems to be more common today than ever.

Our cover story is reported by John Blackstone. There was no red carpet at Lake St. Louis in Missouri, but for the filmmakers promoting a movie about the power of prayer, it's a place that provides a reason to believe. Dear Heavenly Father, we are literally at the spot of a miracle, I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. Rise and shine.

Breakfast is ready in 10 minutes. The new movie Breakthrough is based on the true story of 14-year-old John Smith, who in 2015 fell through the ice on Lake St. Louis and was pronounced dead. He's been underwater for more than 15 minutes. It's going to be a recovery, not a rescue. Only his mother, played by Chrissy Metz of TV's This Is Us, believed not all was lost and started to pray. It's undeniable that something miraculous happened and that we still don't have answers as to why or how. You can't really deny that literally on the documents it states, patient died, mother prayed, patient came back to life. The message that prayer can work is part of what drew Metz to the story.

I've seen it work so many times, not only in my life, but my friends, my family, and I've used it throughout my life because I needed to. Breakthrough, with its themes of prayer, doubt, and even resurrection, is what the film industry refers to, sometimes disparagingly, as a faith-based or Christian film. Have you ever worried in the entertainment business about being a person of faith? It wasn't until people started asking me this question that I thought, should I be worried? I don't know.

I didn't think I needed to be worried. Metz and the makers of Breakthrough hope their story will indeed break through and appeal to a general audience. I'm cured. The greatest story ever told has been told plenty of times on the big screen. There's a reason this scene in the 10 Commandments is unforgettable. It's been on TV almost every Easter weekend since 1973.

Those who will not live by the law! Adjusted for inflation, it's the sixth highest grossing film of all time. But those biblical epics largely faded from the screen until... ...15 years ago, when Mel Gibson released The Passion of the Christ. The film was controversial and a must-see for the faithful. For Christians, it was a huge moment in which we said, my goodness, we can actually put our story on the screen. And it was a huge moment in which we said, my goodness, we can actually put our story on the screen. Barbara Nicolosi is a film professor at Azusa Pacific University.

So Dr. Frankenstein is saying... She's also a former nun. What a lot of Christians didn't realize or think about with The Passion was Mel financed that himself. He had the millions of dollars. Very few Christians have a lot of cash anywhere near that. And unfortunately, in this art form, you get what you pay for. But after The Passion, Hollywood started paying attention.

God has given me a love for you that I have never had before. Faith-based films like Fireproof and Facing the Giants, made on small budgets, brought in big money. Play hard and honor God. Eagles on three.

One, two, three, Eagles! And they pleased their mostly Christian audiences, if not the critics. It's long enough, it's high enough, does it have the distance? It doesn't! Are there movies that have given faith-based films a bad name?

I think in the past, faith-based films have been made by pastors, but they're not really artists. And that's kind of given us, you know, a bad image in a way because you have, you know, corny dialogue. Where's mama? She's gone. She don't want me no more.

And she don't want you neither. It's made more for Christians who are already Christians. Brett Cole and his classmates at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, are learning the art of filmmaking at one of the largest Christian universities in the country. Here, a day on a movie set begins with a prayer. We play for the performances today, God, that you would cover them. We give you glory and praise in Jesus' name.

Amen. For the past two years, these student-driven productions have actually had theatrical releases. We're studying the art. We're studying people who have come before us, whether they're Christian or non-Christian, because good film is good film. Ruthie Grumbine is studying to be a cinematographer. I know this is where God wants me, and I know he wants me here in film. So just having that as, like, a ground, it will definitely help me out. Say your name and spell it.

I'm God, G-O-D. Recent changes in the film industry may help, too. There are more Christian production companies. And high-quality equipment for moviemaking is getting cheaper. Stefan Schulze is the director of the film school at Liberty University.

Technology's changed a lot. Now you can actually go make a movie, reach your target audience, and be successful on multiple platforms. Platforms like Pureflix, a streaming service sort of like Netflix for faith and family films. Movies that provide an alternative to Hollywood sex and violence that Christian parents, like Lisa Solaris says, is not right for her children.

I'd rather have them spend their two and a half hours watching something that's going to benefit them and something that's going to strengthen them from the inside out. And we've gone to see, of course, Miracles from Heaven. You find me another doctor, you run some more tests.

I'm not leaving this hospital until I know what's wrong with my daughter. Miracles from Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner, was made for only 13 million dollars. Dear God. But brought in more than 73 million at the box office. Its producer was Bishop T.D.

Jakes. And I've always been interested in film. I've always been interested in teaching through stories. And I think that's kind of congruent with what Jesus did. Jakes has made 10 movies, including the Christian mega hit, Heaven is for Real, starring Greg Kinnear.

It brought in more than 100 million dollars. You're going to take my boy? But on Sunday, you'll find Bishop Jakes here at his Dallas megachurch known as the Potter's House. Everybody in here has got a story. If you've got a story, clap your hands.

I know I do. So here you'll preach. In a movie, you're not trying to preach. I'm not trying to preach. I'm not trying to preach, but I may be trying to convey a message. A message he hopes to deliver to those who may never go to church. And from an evangelistic perspective, there are more people in the theater on Friday night than there are in the pews on Sunday morning. So you have a huge chance to reach a wider array and a different demographic of people with the message of positivity.

I just want to thank you for saving my son. With faith-based films like Breakthrough getting larger budgets and attracting big-name talent, Christian filmmakers may finally be getting an answer. Christian filmmakers may finally be getting an answer to their prayers. Fond memories of Notre Dame Cathedral, as it was before that heartbreaking fire this past week, have inspired this appreciation from David Turricamo, our man in Paris. I've lived in Paris on and off for the past 20 years, and I don't want to see images of Notre Dame in ruins anymore.

No more charred beams and broken glass, because I remember it from a story I did a while back. It has withstood a war, a revolution, a neglect, as well as the impact of 30 to 40,000 tourists every day, a handful of whom would climb the nearly 400 stairs to the towers. It's spectacular. But Notre Dame is so much more than stone. This is, above all, a living church with a staff and volunteers. There are organists, florists, sacristans, and a choir, and a devoted congregation who give it meaning.

We have no idea how many people get it. Michael Perry is a priest from Brooklyn who used to volunteer at the cathedral every summer. Something happens when they come into the church and they realize it.

They walk in, they walk in as tourists, they walk out as pilgrims. Looking up at the soaring arches and the ceiling 115 feet above is humbling. And yet, it isn't the highest cathedral in the world, though it was one of the most important, because before Notre Dame, churches were squat and nearly windowless. Before Notre Dame, it was impossible to build anything that high. Stonewalls alone could not have supported the weight of that roof. The solution is the towers, called flying buttresses. And so the weight from the top comes through that rib into these towers that are here. And so the weight of the roof is dispersed. It not only allowed the builders to go higher, but to open the walls for the great windows. That would change forever, the way churches could be built. And it ushered in the Gothic style.

And yet, despite all that, by the 19th century, it had fallen into disrepair. Incredibly, there was a movement to tear it down, until an architect named Viola Duke stepped in to save it. He enlisted the help of a writer friend named Victor Hugo. And this is where the character of Quasimodo enters the story.

Most people know the tortured hunchback as merely the bell ring, but his story was pivotal because of Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The narrative pauses at the 14th chapter to describe the cathedral's beauty. And those 10 pages saved this church.

Thank God they did. The church has long been one of France's proudest achievements, so Father Michael Perry keeps it all in perspective. I had an experience a long time ago when this woman showed up at the front door of the church with her cousin Camille. And Camille said, come on, let's go in. She said, you've seen one, you've seen them all.

Well, Camille's cousin, the world disagrees. A billion dollars in donations for its restoration have already poured in. It is the world's church. And now a page from our Sunday morning almanac. April 21st, 1918. 101 years ago today. A dramatic day on the western front of World War I. For that was the day German fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen was shot down over France. The son of a German nobleman, von Richthofen was Germany's most successful and celebrated aerial ace. Handsome and dashing, famed for his bright scarlet plane, von Richthofen was nicknamed the Red Baron, while the squadron he led was called the Flying Circus. With 80 kills to his credit, von Richthofen flew his plane deep into Allied territory that fateful April day in hot pursuit of a British fighter. In mid dogfight, he was hit by a bullet, lost control, and crashed. Dead at just 25 years of age, von Richthofen was given a respectful military funeral by the British and buried in France. In 1925, his body was returned for reburial in Germany. Though long gone, the legend of von Richthofen lives on. His mission is to find the Red Baron and shoot him down.

Most colorfully perhaps is Snoopy's genesis in the Peanuts cartoons. Now that's a real dogfight. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.

Till you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. It's Sunday morning on CBS and here again is Lee Cowan. That's Gregory Peck, of course, with Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird, the classic film adaptation of Harper Lee's beloved novel. Well, now that tale has made it to Broadway, where it's serving as a master class in tolerance for schoolchildren of today.

Tracy Smith has saved us a seat. The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is. If you know anything about To Kill a Mockingbird, you know that there are some mighty big shoes to fill.

The defendant isn't guilty, but someone in this building is. And maybe no one knows that better than Jeff Daniels, the guy who puts on that light-colored suit and becomes Atticus Finch in the Broadway play each night. He feels sorry for us. He doesn't know his place.

He's forgotten who he is. If I were taking on a role that Gregory Peck made famous, I might be a little insecure about that. Did you have any doubt? I didn't. No. And I think it's the age.

I think I've been around long enough to, you know, if you want challenges, then this is a great one. But to always remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. The play, of course, is based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about racism in the Deep South, an innocent black man on trial for his life in front of a bigoted jury.

Tom Robinson said exactly what he meant. Most people read Mockingbird in middle school. And if you ever pass through Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, you'll see her book immortalized in the hands of a young schoolgirl. But now Broadway producers are putting their play in kids' hands as well. Ever since it opened last December, the production has offered tickets to New York City public school kids for only $10 a head. So now thousands of kids are getting their own play.

And the reaction is pretty much universal. One word review of the play. We're going to go around. I have two words. Yes. Okay, fine. Perfect execution. Life-changing.

What do you say? Life lesson. Motivation. Uh, meaningful.

They say that which does not kill you makes you stronger. But even with eight shows a week, the cast has found time to hit the road. Tom Robinson's going to plead guilty and take it. Earlier this month, some of them played to a few hundred teens and VIPs at the Library of Congress. Times have changed.

You sure about that? And just last week, the cast showed up at a Bronx middle school class where students were studying the book. Kind of a teacher's dream come true. Nice Atticus, by the way. Nicely done.

I wish I had your hair cut. How did your family feel about getting the role? Your role?

My family? Um, they knew, uh, it was a big deal. I mean, to play Atticus Finch, he's one of the great fictional American heroes.

And to play it on Broadway in the Schubert Theater is considered the Carnegie Hall of Broadway. And the whole family could see that this was a big deal for Dan. It was also kind of a big deal for playwright Aaron Sorkin, and he felt it.

To Kill a Mockingbird was voted the most loved book in America. Yeah, that was an easing of the pressure. Were you worried that you'd mess it up? Of course.

Sorkin describes his work as a quarter turn of a wrench, slight adjustments that make the story more relevant today, like expanding the roles of African American characters and making Atticus a bit more human. I want to know what I did to make you angry. If I was angry, you'd know it.

I do know it. That's exactly why I am. So you and the producers have made a point of making sure that school kids see this play. Why? Why is it so important?

I'm not looking to replace the book in any way. I think that there's more to this discussion than the discussion that at least I had when I first read the book, which is just a rudimentary discussion of race, justice, and equality in the Jim Crow cell. And it's exactly the kind of conversation that you want students and teachers having. Now, at the same time, you're also opening the doors to people who could be some of your biggest critics. Sure.

But that's the cost of doing business, right? We knew that we were going to be hearing about it. No one cared. We all believed in what we were doing.

We were ready to take whatever punishment was coming our way and it didn't come. In fact, the play is setting box office records. And for the kids anyway, it's a lot more than entertainment. Do you think other kids should see this? Definitely.

Why? I feel like it should give kids at a younger age a perspective of how life was back then. I feel like even if they're young, it will help them understand of how they want their life to be and help them develop their morals for the future in their lives.

You think you can get that out of this play? Yes, definitely. That's great. It felt like every line said was a message, like everything was purposeful, everything was just a perfect symphony of messages and lessons and things to understand in your own life.

Hi girls, how are you? For the cast, the student matinees have been an adjustment. Jeff Daniels says young audiences are a bit more spirited. But the reactions, the kids reactions are completely different places than last night. You won't hear a word I say. Because the kids... Whoa, whoa, whoa, yeah, oh, oh, oh, ooh.

I mean, it's 1400 people doing that. Are you cool with that? Yeah, I'm cool.

There's some talking and there's some this and that, but when it comes time to... They're in, they're in it. They're in it all right. A new generation inspired by a story that never seems to get old.

In the name of God, just let them go home. I think that like To Kill a Mockingbird is almost like a demand for justice because it shows how unjust the situation was. And I think that it's so relevant because like the fight is never ending now.

Like we need to continue fighting. Pete Buttigieg is a presidential candidate with a tongue twister of a name. He's from South Bend, Indiana, which is where John Dickerson of CBS This Morning went to meet the mayor. So we're close to downtown. The hospital where I was born is right across the river there. Pete Buttigieg wants to be president, a task almost as difficult as pronouncing his name.

It's Buttigieg, as in Boot Edge Edge. But the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and veteran of Afghanistan likes a tough project. But it needed a ton of repair.

In the right market. The house, it was vacant and it was, the price was dropping a few thousand bucks every few weeks and I realized it might actually dip to where I could afford it. Mayor Buttigieg lives in this 1905 home with his husband Chasten. Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Now he has his eyes on a different White House. I'm a proud son of South Bend, Indiana, and I am running for president of the United States. Once a long shot, the mayor of Indiana's fourth largest city has been rising in the polls, attracting contributions and attention. If elected, he says his top priority would be fixing the democratic system, from the electoral college to gerrymandering. Let's talk about what might be the great security issue of our time, climate change. Otherwise, he believes progress on climate change and health care would be difficult. But what most people see in Pete Buttigieg is the man who would become America's youngest president. Do you think, because Donald Trump has opened the window of possibilities, that you actually benefit in what's possible in a candidacy and a presidency?

In some ways. I mean, I never thought as a 37-year-old mayor that I would be able to say that I have more government experience than the president of the United States. What other part of your life would you point people to who might be concerned, given your age, who might say, well, has he been tested? Well, I remember one moment in Afghanistan. When I was responsible for making sure that a vehicle that I was driving got to where it was going safely. And you're warned that, for example, a magnetic IED could be placed on your vehicle. And once, it sounded to me as though somebody had attached something to the vehicle I was driving. And for a split second, we had to figure out whether to ditch the vehicle, which would have been obviously very risky as well, because you're very obviously a target in the middle of a city where some people are pretty eager to attack you if they got the chance. Turned out, what had happened was that there was a beggar who had no legs.

He was on a sort of a dolly, and he had slapped the side of the car in order to move himself along. If nothing else, it taught me not to overreact and not to panic when something's coming along that's pretty alarming. Buttigieg is a trained pianist. He's also a Rhodes Scholar from Harvard, and has studied the rise of another Democrat. The new frontier is here, whether we seek it or not. Also from Harvard, also a veteran, and also once considered too young for office. If you look at his old campaign poster when he's running for Congress, it's this scrawny, toothy young guy, and the slogan is, the new generation offers a leader. Truman came out and said, Senator Kennedy, I'm sure you're going to have a great future, but now is not your time.

May I urge you to be patient? Yeah, when you're young, you're always patted on the head and told that you're the future. But I'm interested in what you can bring to the present, and the present has always been shaped in some measure by young people. Elected mayor of South Bend at age 29, Buttigieg is a Buttigieg took over just after Newsweek declared his hometown one of America's dying cities. Big news, big news, big news, Studebaker. Its golden age was more than 50 years ago as home to the car maker Studebaker. More than 20,000 strong, these men and women make up the Studebaker family. But in the early 1960s, Studebaker shut down. Those were all shattered old school factory style windows. And took much of South Bend's economy along with it. This place was really hopping until it all came crashing to a halt. Part of the old factory is now a tech center.

We got a code school for teenagers run out of this side. Buttigieg calls it a symbol for what's happened in South Bend under his leadership and what he'd do for the country as president. America deserves our optimism, deserves our courage, and deserves our hope. You've talked about improving the symbolism of the presidency.

Why is that important? Because the presidency is also a moral office. It calls this nation to its highest values. And it sets the tone for the story that we tell ourselves. Narrative is a very powerful thing.

And we need to make sure that everybody in America understands where they fit in this country's story. But until recently, the mayor's own story was only half told. When you went to serve, you wrote a letter in case you didn't come back. What's in the letter? I wanted people who cared about me to know that I wouldn't have felt that I'd been cheated. As tragic as it would be if my life were cut short.

That it was so full that I wouldn't have left it with a sense of anger. But it's a strange thing to think about too because I didn't come out until after I came out. I came back. I also packed my bags for Afghanistan having no idea what it was like to be in love. And the richest and fullest part of my life is what happened after I came back and met Chasten and got married.

So thank God I came back. Buttigieg came out publicly during his re-election bid in 2015. Last year, he married junior high teacher Chasten Glezman. I'm so happy the buddy is here.

Their two rescue dogs, Truman and one-eyed Buddy, have their own social media following. It was Buddy who interrupted our interview. This is like politics.

This is like the trail. You think you're doing a great job and then someone comes from the left and interrupts everything. Or the right. Welcome to politics. Exactly. It's not the kind of marriage voters have seen before in a presidential campaign and raises the question, is the country ready for a gay president? Do you feel that your marriage is campaigning as well because you are doing something that is new in American politics? I think I'd argue I don't have to answer for it. I mean, we passed marriage equality. I don't think I have to answer for my marriage anymore. I think how could I possibly be doing this if it weren't for Chasten?

If I didn't have someone in my life who just cares about me as me. The messenger is the message. The youngest candidate is promising generational change with a campaign built on reanimating his party's values for a new era, including a connection with faith. Do you have a particular passage from scripture that you're particularly fond of? If there's one that I always try to think about when I'm deciding what to do, it's the Beatitudes. I also think about the scripture that says that when you pray, be not like the hypocrites who love standing in the synagogues and the corners of the streets, that they'll be seen by others and praised for it. So, you know, there's a lot to turn to and a lot to check yourself in scripture.

And there may be a lot to check the political rise of Pete Buttigieg. But for those who have trouble with his name, he says, call me Mayor Pete. I'm Lee Cowen. Thanks for joining us this Sunday morning. We'll see you again next week. Just kind of don't like Maggie Hass. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-27 13:01:45 / 2023-01-27 13:14:02 / 12

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