On his show "Real Time," HBO host Bill Maher discussed the covering up of nude statues in Rome during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit there last week, saying he wishes American liberals were as intolerant toward Islamic terror as they are toward Christians.
"This is the horribleness of what's going on in Rome," Maher, an atheist, said on the show. "Oh my God, naked titties and tiny penises! This is what they did."
Maher argued that people mix up tolerance and capitulation. "It's one thing to be tolerant of another culture, but this is our culture, you know? Christianity had a problem with titties, in like 1300. We got over it. So we shouldn't change our culture to a more backward culture, should we?"
Talk radio host Thom Hartmann, a liberal, who was also on the show, told Maher that the Justice Department also put curtains in front of a nude statue when John Ashcroft was Attorney General. "This is not a Muslim problem. This is a fundamentalist problem," Hartmann said, calling Ashcroft a "fundamentalist Christian."
But Maher responded by saying, "You know what? Except when it happened in this country, the liberals laughed at him. And they opposed him. I wish they would have the same enthusiasm for intolerance elsewhere in the world as they do for Christians here at home who really aren't a problem because they don't really get their way. It's laughable."
Hartmann remarked, "Except that he covered that for four years."
Maher said, "But nobody thought it was realistic. … I think liberals have to stop insisting that the world is the way they want it to be instead of the way it is."
He added that after the San Bernardino attacks, many said on TV that if Americans knew more about Islam, they wouldn't be so afraid. "Actually, it's the reverse," he said.
Hartmann pointed out that there are also moderate Islamic groups, but Maher countered, "We have to be on their side, not on the people who say 'Islamophobe,' who just help the enablers."
Later on in the show, Hartmann asserted, "I think back to all the years that I've been debating right-wingers who have been like, 'Immigrants have to learn English first!' And, you know, it actually makes a certain amount of sense. … It seems like the first step in any country, including in the United States, and we're starting to do this now in our public schools, but we need to do it more extensively, is to bring — when people come in from another culture to, say, 'You know, your culture's fine, but here's our culture.'"
Maher responded: "Well, it isn't fine, and I just hope that the civics guidebook in Sweden is more persuasive than the Quran, but I doubt it is."