By Scout Finch | 4 September 2015
The West Wing was always a great show, but this scene in particular is tops. It completely dismantles the religious right’s argument against homosexuality and their defense of discrimination because of it.
While addressing supporters, the fictional President Bartlet notices a popular conservative talk show host in the room and interrupts his speech to take her bigotry head on. The moment was an absolutely perfect takedown of bigotry based on biblical beliefs. Watch the masterful scene (full transcript below):
Here’s a full transcript of the scene:
BARTLET: It’s a good idea to be reminded of the awesome impact, the awesome impact… I’m sorry. You’re Dr. Jenna Jacobs, right?
JACOBS (obviously pleased to be recognized): Yes, sir!
BARTLET: It’s good to have you here.
JACOBS: Thank you!
BARTLET: … the awesome impact of the airwaves, and how that translates into the furthering of our national discussions, but obviously also how it can … how it can … Forgive me, Dr. Jacobs. Are you an M.D.?
JACOBS: A Ph.D.
BARTLET: A Ph.D.
JACOBS: Yes, sir.
BARTLET: In psychology?
JACOBS: No, sir.
BARTLET: Social work?
JACOBS: I have a Ph.D. in English Literature.
BARTLET: I’m asking ‘cause on your show people call in for advice – and you go by the name Dr. Jacobs on your show – and I didn’t know if maybe your listeners were confused by that and assumed you had advanced training in psychology, theology or health care.
JACOBS: I don’t believe they are confused, no, sir.
BARTLET: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an “abomination!”
JACOBS: I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
BARTLET: Yes it does. Leviticus!
BARTLET: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I wanted to sell my youngest daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown Sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?
(Bartlet only waits a second for a response, then plunges on.)
BARTLET: While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGary, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Or is it okay to call the police?
(Bartlet barely pauses to take a breath.)
BARTLET: Here’s one that’s really important, because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?
(The camera pushes in on the president.)
One last thing. While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building when the president stands, nobody sits.
(Jacobs sees that, in fact, the president is standing and she is the only one in the room sitting. After a moment, she rises, holding her tiny plate of appetizers. After the president exits, Sam Seaborn sternly approaches a thoroughly belittled Jacobs.)
SAM: I’m just … going to take that crab puff.
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