CNN's Kyra Phillips gave a ringing endorsement to a Christian minister and his heterodox views on homosexuality on Monday's Newsroom. Phillips interviewed televangelist Bishop Carlton Pearson, who, in her words, went "out on a limb...[to] say gays are accepted in heaven," and concluded the segment by stating how she "respect[s] very much" what he preached on the highly-debated moral issue.
The anchor led the 10 am Eastern hour with the allegations against Bishop Eddie Long, who has been sued by four young men so far who accuse him of coercing them into sexual relationships. Four minutes into the hour, Phillips introduced Pearson as a "pioneering black televangelist and a close friend of Eddie Long's...[who] lost a lot of his flock when he began preaching that everyone has a place in heaven, including gay people." She first asked the bishop, "Why did you go out on a limb and say gays are accepted in heaven, something that the black church disagrees with?"
Pearson lauded his "gay friends" as "some of the most sensitive, loving, creative, ingenious, generous people" and touted how he "started preaching the Gospel of inclusion" and criticized how supposedly "the devotion to the devil and hell is stronger, or as strong as anybody's devotion to Jesus in many of the Christian circles." After spending some time discussing what Pearson knew of Long, Phillips posited what would happen if the accused minister came out as a homosexual: "What if he does come forward, Bishop, and say, I told you I wasn't a perfect man and I've been- I have been struggling with this issue, and he does say that he's gay. What if this story changes? How will you deal with that? Will you accept him? Will you embrace him? How would you counsel him as his friend?"
The CNN anchor's guest devoted some of his subsequent answer to again criticizing the traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality and sexuality in general: "How do we deal with our sexual side, our sensual side, our spiritual side? They- because they interplay. They interact. So, it's- it's wrong for- I'm not for Christian cannibalism, eating our dead or dying, destroying them the way we do so many people."
Phillips and Pearson devoted most of the second half of the segment to discussing and critiquing black cultural attitudes towards homosexuality:
PHILLIPS: You've talked about this as well, the issue of being a black gay man, especially in the Church, and a man within ministry- gospel music. There have been allegations that have come forward, there have been individuals that have come forward and said, I'm gay and have been completely shut out of the black church because of that.
PHILLIPS: Why is it so unacceptable to be a black man and to be gay and to lead a flock? Why is it so taboo?
PEARSON: Well, first of all-
PHILLIPS: It's not just biblical. I mean, there's a cultural feeling here.
PEARSON: Of course. Yes. That's for white folks. Y'all are supposed to do, when in comes to that. We don't do that kind of stuff. We [are] real men. That's- I said that in jest, but that's the underlying-
PHILLIPS: No, but that's interesting. That's what's going on.
PEARSON: Yes. That's we don't do weird stuff. Now, the other hypocritical aspect of that is our churches, Kyra, are filled with same gender loving people, from the music department to the pulpits- black music, church music- where would it be without our same gender loving or gay musicians and singers? Not all of them are.
PHILLIPS: But many have come to you and said, I'm gay, but I can't come out.
PEARSON: Oh, yes. Oh yes.
PHILLIPS: And we're talking very powerful people in the gospel industry.
PEARSON: Yes, ma'am.
PHILLIPS: I've met them.
PEARSON: Yes, ma'am. With tears in their eyes, they were afraid. There are people who've come to me and say, I embraced your gospel of inclusion, Bishop, but I can't- it's not a theological issue with me. It's a business decision. I'll lose my flock. I'll lose my money. I'll lose my parishioners. I'll lose myself. I can't love everybody. I can't even love me, he would say. And I want to say to that group- and this is a wake-up call. Until the church, black or otherwise- confronts- not combats- confronts this issue of human sexuality and homosexuality, which is not going away- homosexuals and homosexuality is not going away- if every gay person in our church just left or those who have an orientation or preference or an inclination, or a fantasy, if everyone left, we wouldn't have a church.
The bishop even specifically targeted the Catholic Church in his criticism of traditional Christianity:
PEARSON: There are gay doctors, police officers, attorneys, priests. Look at the whole Catholic Church. All this idea of celibacy. It's not even natural, but it's out. It's like the Christian Church is having to confront its issues, its platonic, plastic, superficial portrayals of an angry God, a vicious God, an eternal place where everybody's going to burn and this God with this terrible anger management problem who's going to get you and then He's going to turn you over to the devil, who's going to accuse you to Him, and it's fairy tale stuff. But we bought into it, and now we're having to face the fact that maybe we missed it on many of these issues.
Phillips enthusiastically responded to Pearson's out-of-the-mainstream theology at the end of the interview: "Well, I respect very much what you've preached, so I look forward to talking to you more about this." This stance isn't at all surprising, as the CNN anchor endorsed three of her previous guests who hold similarly heterodox views inside Christianity during a March 26, 2010 segment. She even brought back two of them a month later.
CNN, as a whole, has latched onto promoting the agenda of homosexual advocacy groups during 2010. On August 4, the day that a federal judge overturned California's Proposition 8, the network leaned mostly towards those who opposed the voter-approved amendment which bans same-sex "marriage." A month and a half earlier, senior political analyst Gloria Borger gave a glowing profile of Ted Olson and David Boies, the two main attorneys who worked to overturn Prop 8. CNN also premiered their pro-homosexual parenting documentary, "Gary and Tony Have a Baby," on June 24 and promoted it with a series of pro-homosexual agenda segments during that month.