Ex-CNNer Piers Morgan Badgers Conservative Over Traditional Christian Views

Former CNN personality Piers Morgan and co-host Susanna Reid hounded a Conservative member of the British Parliament on ITV's Good Morning Britain on Wednesday over his Catholic views on sexuality and abortion. The pair wouldn't accept Jacob Rees-Mogg's repeated affirmation that he "support(s) the teaching of the Catholic Church" on traditional marriage, and badgered him to explicitly say he opposed same-sex "marriage." The anchors also challenged Rees-Mogg's unequivocal stance against abortion, even in cases of rape and incest [video below].

Reid first asked a sole question about Brexit. However, she and Morgan spent the bulk of the final five-plus minutes of the interview on the two controversial moral issues. She introduced the marriage issue by asking, "What are your views on same-sex marriage? Is that something that you support?" The Conservative member of Parliament replied, "Well, I'm a Catholic, and I take the teaching of the Catholic Church seriously."

Reid interrupted him midanswer (something she and her co-host did repeatedly), and interjected that "there's plenty of Catholics who support same-sex marriage." Rees-Mogg continued by underlining that "marriage is a sacrament, and the decision of what is a sacrament lies with the Church, not with Parliament." The ITV anchor followed up by asking, "Does that mean that you oppose same-sex marriage?" The guest answered, "I support the teaching of the Catholic Church." Reid wasn't satisfied by that answer and repeated her question. Rees-Mogg wouldn't budge, however, and gave the same reply.

Morgan chimed in and revealed, "I'm a Catholic, but I actually don't agree with the Catholic teaching. You do?" The MP stuck with his point, but the former CNN host pressed ahead: "Why are you afraid to say that you oppose it?" Reid confrontationally added, "You voted against it, didn't you?" Rees-Mogg confirmed that he had voted against the legalization of same-sex "marriage," and cited a historical precedent for his position: "I did....marriage is a sacrament, and a sacrament is under the the authority of the Church, not of the state. This is exactly the argument that Thomas More made in opposition to the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn."

Reid kept up her offensive by wondering, "So religion plays a big part in your politics it seems. Do you think that gay sex is a sin?" The Conservative guest again refused to take the bait, and answered, in part, that "if you want to be religious this early in the morning — if you look at the woman taken in adultery, what does Christ say? 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' And it is not for me to cast stones."

Morgan showed more of his slanted hand with his next question: "The Catholic Church believes that gay sex is a sin. So I don't think it's unreasonable to ask you — as indeed [former Liberal Democrat Party Leader] Tim Farron was asked, and it caused him a lot of damage — just a straight question — whether you think it's a sin?" Rees-Moog retorted, "I think I've answered the straight question — that is, that the teaching of the Church, in matters of faith and morals, is authoritative. But it is equally within the teaching of the Church that it is not for me to judge others."

Before he could complete his answer, Reid again interrupted and asked, "So if you were prime minister, would the teachings of the Catholic Church take precedence over your political views?" The MP pointed out, "There's no question of any of these laws being changed. There would not be a majority in the House of Commons for that. But why I emphasize the teaching of the Church is that I want to make it clear that I am supporting something, not that I am opposing something."

Morgan then tried to set a trap for Rees-Mogg by asking, "What's your view of abortion?" The prominent Conservative replied, "I'm completely opposed to abortion. Life begins at the point of conception." The former CNN host shot back, "So why are you prepared to say you're opposed to abortion, and not opposed to same-sex marriage? It's a Catholic teaching." The politician underlined that "it's a different kettle of fish...with same-sex marriage, that is something that people are doing for themselves. With abortion, it is something that is done to the unborn child."

Reid followed up by wondering, "Are you completely opposed to abortion in all circumstances?" Rees-Mogg affirned, "Yes, I am." She and Morgan asked about rape, incest, and sexual violence; and were shocked by his blunt answer: "I'm afraid so. Life is sacrosanct, and begins at the point of conception."

The former CNNer hounded him with a hypothetical case of a woman who was raped by a family member. The Conservative guest emphasized that just in the case of marriage, the pro-abortion law in the U.K. would likely remain due to the lack of public support, even with his personal objections.

Morgan made sure to mention Tim Farron one more time before the conclusion of the interview: "Well, you know that Tim Farron, for example — it basically depth-charged his leadership campaign when he became leader, almost immediately, because he was challenged on his religious beliefs — and people didn't like it." Rees-Mogg took a parting shot at the left in his answer: "The Libs Dems pretend that they're liberal, but they could not cope with having a Christian as their leader. I think the Conservatives are much more tolerant of religious faith — and so they should be. It's all very well to say that we live in a multicultural country until you're a Christian; until you hold the traditional views of the Catholic Church — and that seems to be fundamentally wrong. People are entitled to hold these views."

Morgan later took to Twitter and affirmed his clear slant to the left over the issues of the segment.

The transcript of the relevant portions of Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid's interview of Jacob Rees-Morgan, which aired on the September 6, 2017 edition of ITV's Good Morning Britain:

SUSANNA REID: You're a Brexiteer, aren't you? Do you think that EU nationals who already live in the UK should be allowed to remain?

(...)

REID: Okay. What are your views on same-sex marriage? Is that something that you support?

JACOB REES-MOGG: Well, I'm a Catholic, and I take the teaching of the Catholic Church seriously. And that's with faith and morals—

REID: Well, there's plenty of Catholics who support same-sex marriage—

REES-MOGG: But marriage is a sacrament, and the decision of what is a sacrament lies with the Church, not with Parliament.

REID: Okay. Does that mean that you oppose same-sex marriage?

REES-MOGG: I support the teaching of the Catholic Church.

REID: Can I just establish: do you oppose same-sex marriage?

REES-MOGG: I support the teaching of the Catholic Church.

PIERS MORGAN: Well, that means you — I mean, I'm a Catholic, but I actually don't agree with the Catholic teaching.

REES-MOGG: Well, that's fair enough. You're—

MORGAN: You do?

REES-MOGG: I support the teaching of the Catholic Church.

MORGAN: So you oppose same-sex marriage?

REES-MOGG: I say exactly—

MORGAN: Why are you afraid to say that you oppose it?

REES-MOGG: Well, the teaching of the Catholic Church is completely clear. But-

REID: You voted against it, didn't you?

REES-MOGG: I did. The marriage issue is the important thing — that this is not how people arrange their lives. It's that marriage is a sacrament, and a sacrament is under the the authority of the Church, not of the state. This is exactly the argument that Thomas More made in opposition to the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

REID: So — so religion plays a big part in your politics it seems—

REES-MOGG: Religion—

REID: Do you think that gay sex is a sin?

REES-MOGG: The — again, on the issue of sin, it is quite clear, under the teaching of the Church, not for me to judge. I very strongly feel that I should not judge what other people do. If you — if you want to be religious this early in the morning — if you look at the woman taken in adultery, what does Christ say? 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' And it is not for me to cast stones—

MORGAN: If you'd let me just say: you've just hid — not hid, but you've used—

REES-MOGG: No, I haven't—

MORGAN: No, no. I'm going to rephrase that. You have used your Catholic belief to rather than to say you oppose same-sex marriage — say you support the Catholic Church's teaching there. The Catholic Church — the Catholic Church believes that gay sex is a sin. So I don't think it's unreasonable to ask you — as indeed [former Liberal Democrat Party Leader] Tim Farron was asked, and it caused him a lot of damage — just a straight question — whether you think it's a sin?

REES-MOGG: I think I've answered the straight question — that is, that the teaching of the Church, in matters of faith and morals, is authoritative. But it is equally within the teaching of the Church that it is not for me to judge others. And can I just—

REID: Okay. So if you were prime minister—

REES-MOGG: Hold on just a minute—

REID: Would the teachings of the Catholic Church take precedence over your political views?

REES-MOGG: These matters, within the House of Commons, are free votes. They're not party votes. They're not an issue of party politics. So the—

REID: But you are being tipped as someone who would lead a party—

REES-MOGG: No, no, no—

REID: And potentially become prime minister of a multi-faith country—

REES-MOGG: But hold on — hold on. None of these issues are party political. They are issues that are decided by Parliament on free votes. They are not determined by the prime minister. There's no question of any of these laws being changed. There would not be a majority in the House of Commons for that.

But why I emphasize the teaching of the Church is that I want to make it clear that I am supporting something, not that I am opposing something — that is to say—

MORGAN: Same thing, though, isn't it?

REES-MOGG: No, no. It's not, actually. It's subtly different. I don't want to criticize people who lead lives that are different to mine. But equally, I don't want to diverge from the historical teaching of the Catholic Church—

REID: Okay—

REES-MOGG: So if I were to say to oppose, I would be inadvertently condemning people, and I don't want to—

MORGAN: So what is your view — for example, what's your view of abortion?

REES-MOGG: I'm completely opposed to abortion. Life begins at the point of conception—

MORGAN: So why are you — so why are you prepared to say you're opposed to abortion, and not opposed to same-sex marriage?

REES-MOGG: Because it's a completely different kettle of fish — that with—

MORGAN: It's a Catholic teaching.

REES-MOGG: No. No, no. Hold on. It's a different kettle of fish — that with same-sex marriage, that is something that people are doing for themselves. With abortion, it is something that is done to the unborn child, and that is different—

REID: Are you completely opposed to abortion in all circumstances?

REES-MOGG: Yes, I am.

MORGAN: Rape and incest?

REID: Sexual violence?

REES-MOGG: I'm afraid so—

MORGAN: Really?

REES-MOGG: Life is sacrosanct, and begins at the point of conception. And I think it is wrong—

MORGAN: So if a woman is raped — say you were prime minister, and a woman is raped by a family member — right? You would say she had absolutely no right to have that baby aborted?

REES-MOGG: No. No, she would have a right under U.K. law—

MORGAN: But you wouldn't agree with that right.

REES-MOGG: But that law is not going to change—

MORGAN: Yeah, but what's your personal opinion?

REES-MOGG: My personal opinion is that life begins at the point of conception, and abortion is morally indefensible—

MORGAN: You would make her have that baby.

REES-MOGG: Well, I wouldn't, because that wouldn't be the law of the land—

MORGAN: Well, I understand that—

REES-MOGG: But this is very important — no, no. This is really important—

MORGAN: Well, you know that Tim Farron, for example — it basically depth-charged his leadership campaign when he became leader, almost immediately, because he was challenged on his religious beliefs — and people didn't like it.

REES-MOGG: Well, he's a Liberal Democrat, and the Lib Dems have a very different tolerance. What we were discussing earlier — oddly, the Conservative Party is much more tolerant of religious faith than the Lib Dems are. The Libs Dems pretend that they're liberal, but they could not cope with having a Christian as their leader. I think the Conservatives are much more tolerant of religious faith — and so they should be. It's all very well to say that we live in a multicultural country until you're a Christian; until you hold the traditional views of the Catholic Church — and that seems to be fundamentally wrong. People are entitled to hold these views. But also, the democratic majority is entitled to have the laws of the land as they are — which do not go with the teaching of the Catholic Church, and will not go with the teaching of the Catholic Church.


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