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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

America's Most Influential Evangelicals

Aired February 1, 2005 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MCLAREN, FOUNDING PASTOR, CEDAR RIDGE COMMUNITY CHURCH: Work with all of your heart for the Lord.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT & CHAIRMAN, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: Jesus said, I am the way.

BISHOP T.D. JAKES, FOUNDING PASTOR, THE POTTER'S HOUSE: God is calling you to change!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, "Time" magazine calls them America's most influential evangelicals. They're on a mission to take the nation in a more Christian, more conservative direction. Just how much of the president's ear do they have?

Reverend Tim LaHaye, co-author of the huge-selling "Left Behind" novels. His wife, Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women of America, one of Washington's most powerful anti-abortion, anti-gay organization. Franklin Graham, the son of evangelical giant Reverend Billy Graham, is president of the Christian relief organization, Samaritan's Purse. Bishop T.D. Jakes, the electrifying Dallas pastor who "Time" magazine calls "the Pentecostal media mogul." And Brian McLaren, leader of the emerging Christian movement, church movement called the New Generation, Christianity with an Edge.

They're all here for the hour. We'll take your calls next on LARRY KING LIVE.

But first, Pope John Paul II was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night with respiratory problems. The 84-year-old pontiff suffering from the flu since the weekend. So we want to check in with CNN's Rome bureau chief Alessio Vinci for an update. What's the latest, Alessio?

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF: Larry, we do know that Pope John Paul II has been hospitalized about four hours ago. He has not been taken to an intensive care unit. As a matter of fact, he has been taken to the 10th floor of the Gemelli hospital, where a whole a room is set aside for him, always ready for him in case of need. And indeed, four hours ago, after two days of suffering from the flu, Pope John Paul II was taken, as a precautionary measure, according to Vatican officials, to the hospital in order for him to undergo a series of medical tests and checks to make sure that this flu and this respiratory infection does not hide anything more serious.

We also know that the pope's physician has visited him and has already left the hospital for the night. So the situation at the hospital at this time appears to be concern, but also under control as far as the pope's health is concerned, Larry.

KING: Alessio, has the doctor or the hospital made any statement?

VINCI: The doctors have not made any statements. As a matter of fact, only the Vatican spokesman is issuing statements. He has made one earlier today with the first diagnosis, citing exactly this infection, this respiratory infection. And we understand from Vatican sources that in about six hours of time, after the pope goes through more medical checks, the Vatican will issue a new medical bulletin.

KING: And we'll be checking with you. Thank you. Alessio Vinci, the CNN Rome bureau chief.

Let's meet our panel, and get into this discussion of "Time" magazine's extraordinary story this week. "The Evangelicals in America: The 25 Most Influential. What Does Bush Owe Them? Do the Democrats Need More Religion?"

Did you know you were going to be in, Tim?

REV. TIM LAHAYE, CO-AUTHOR, "LEFT BEHIND" SERIES: Only about two days before.

KING: What do you make of the issue? What did you make of reading it?

T. LAHAYE: I was kind of impressed with some of the people that I knew deserved to be there, and some of the people I read about, I had never heard of before. So I'm not sure if they do or not.

KING: Beverly, why only four women?

BEVERLY LAHAYE, FOUNDER, CONCERNED WOMEN OF AMERICA: That's a good question. I suppose when you're talking about evangelicals, you tend to go more towards the men. But women can be very influential in this area. And I'm certainly trying to be.

KING: Do you think we will see more if it were 10 years from now?

B. LAHAYE: I think so.

KING: Franklin, did you know you were going to be in?

GRAHAM: I knew about the article last week, Larry, but I certainly don't feel that I deserve to be on that list. I'm honored to be there. But I certainly don't believe I'm worthy.

KING: Bishop Jakes, you're the only black on the list, and it must be admitted, as evangelicals have admitted to me, that they were late in getting to the civil rights movement. Should there be more blacks?

JAKES: I certainly think there are a lot of strong black leaders that should be recognized on that list. But I think it's also indicative of the fact that there are many people who are flying beneath the radar screen who are incredibly effective in our community and effective in America at large.

KING: Does it bother you that the Christian movement was late in arriving at the black acceptance?

JAKES: Sure, it bothers me, but I think it's very important that we realize that we can't do anything about history. We can change our destiny. And I'm excited about the direction that the church is taking now.

KING: Brian, I guess you as well knew you would be on the list. What did you make of the story?

MCLAREN: Well, I heard about the list just a couple of days before I found out I was on it. I'm probably one of the people Dr. LaHaye has never heard of. So I felt quite surprised to be on the list. I felt quite different, really, than many of the other people on the list...

KING: Because?

MCLAREN: I'm not sure I fit it. Well, the thrust of the article focused on the role of evangelicals in politics. And I probably represent a lot of people who are not terribly comfortable with the direction that a lot of Christian discourse in relation to politics has been going in recent years.

KING: We will get to that. Reverend LaHaye, was it important that Bush be elected? Should that have mattered to the Christian church? What does it have to do with the Christian church?

T. LAHAYE: It has everything to do with values. We had a man that was surefooted (ph), open-hearted, a man of faith, and who is going to do what he promised to do. And I'm not sure that we've ever had that before, someone in the campaign.

KING: You don't think Jimmy Carter wasn't a man of faith?

T. LAHAYE: Well, he didn't let his philosophy hang out. And when it did hang out, it was all the wrong philosophy.

KING: He was a Sunday school teacher.

T. LAHAYE: We didn't object to Jimmy Carter...

KING: He'd been a practicing Christian all his life.

T. LAHAYE: ... because of his faith. We objected because of his philosophy.

KING: So you're not saying John Kerry is not a man of faith. T. LAHAYE: No, I don't know that much about him.

KING: Well, shouldn't you have learned?

T. LAHAYE: No. From what he said, the things that he favored were not according to what we believe, faith. See, faith is a very important part of a person's ingredient, and their philosophy of life should come from their faith.

KING: What does it have to do, Beverly, with governing?

B. LAHAYE: I think it has a lot to do with governing, because your faith really helps you determine the direction you want to go. You have a higher being that you can call upon to give you clear thinking and direction.

KING: But the Constitution doesn't mention him, the higher being?

B. LAHAYE: No, that's true. Individuals have to make that decision themselves.

KING: There's separation of church and state.

B. LAHAYE: Well, of course it doesn't -- our Constitution doesn't mention that. But we're not saying that it should be part of government. But the individuals going into government make decisions, and they make decisions for us. And we really want them to make decision that are going to be good for our children, our families.

KING: So you favored President Bush because of that?

B. LAHAYE: I did.

KING: And did you encourage people as well?

B. LAHAYE: I did.

KING: Did you, Franklin?

GRAHAM: I certainly encouraged people to vote, Larry. I'm an evangelical, Larry. I believe the Bible is God's word. I believe that Jesus Christ is God's son, who came to this Earth to die for our sins, and I believe that if we put our faith and trust in Christ, and Christ alone, that God will forgive us of our suns. And for me as a preacher, it's important that I preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ not just to Republicans, but to Democrats and to people of all religions, of all political persuasions. I want them to know that there is a God who loves them and cares for them. And that Jesus Christ is God's son, and he's the only way to God, is through faith and Christ.

So that's the message I want to preach. And of course, I appreciate the president's positions. I appreciate his strong faith. And I certainly encourage people to vote. And I personally voted for the president, but I know that there are a lot of other people that voted for John Kerry. And they have their right to do that. But I am a minister of the gospel, and I want to preach to people of both sides of the aisle.

KING: Bishop Jakes, do you think America is a Christian nation?

JAKES: No. I think that America is a great nation that has a lot of Christians in it. And that distinction is very, very important, particularly when we look at politics. I'm afraid that we have to be careful that we don't politicize God, and alienate people or try to use God as a keyhole to position him for politics. I think that he is far above politics, and transcends many of the ideas that we use for political agendas.

KING: So you did not support a candidate in your ministry?

JAKES: I've always been nonpartisan. What I supported in our ministry was encouraging our people to get out and vote. I respect the intelligence of our community. I've worked very diligently to make sure that they were aware of the issues at hand. But I respect their right to vote, and even to have different -- differing opinions and still be people of faith.

KING: Brian, are you opposed to the Christian churches being involved in politics?

MCLAREN: Well, I think people of faith have to live out their faith. We can't hide it, we can't pretend we don't have it. And I think we're being more honest when we bring our faith out and explain how it affects our beliefs and our values and our positions. But I think there's a wide range of issues that really matter to Christians. And one of my concerns is that the word "evangelical" now is hard to define for a lot of people. It only means a narrow range of issues on one conservative side. So I really agree with what Dr. Jakes just said, that we have to make sure that we don't let our faith become captive to any party.

KING: Let's take a break and we'll come back with more. We'll be including your calls later on this important topic. And I'll ask what effect do you think they'll have on the Bush administration. Can they say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for him being strong on repeal of Roe/Wade. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give our new president and all who advise him calmness in the face of storms, encouragement in the face of frustration, and humility in the face of success. Now, oh, Lord, we dedicate this presidential inaugural ceremony to you. May this be the beginning of a new dawn for America as we humble ourselves before you and acknowledge you alone as our lord, our savior and our redeemer. We pray this in the name of the father, and of the son, the Lord Jesus Christ and of the holy spirit, Amen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: This question is for each of our guests. And it's asked on the front cover of "TIME." What does Bush owe them? What does he owe you, Reverend LaHaye?

T. LAHAYE: He owes us to do what he promised. He is a man of integrity because of his faith and we expect him to keep the promises that he made to get reelected. And I think that's what all Americans expect of him.

KING: Does the Christian church care about Social Security, tax, war in Iraq?

T. LAHAYE: No. We care about moral values. And it involves that. And as much as he already said what he's going to do, we expect him to take care of Social Security.

KING: So in other words if he didn't do that, if he promised something and didn't follow through, that would be immoral?

T. LAHAYE: He would fail us. The senior citizens, he promised that they would be taken care of. If he doesn't take care of them, then he's not a man of integrity.

KING: Do you want him to, Beverly, repeal Roe/Wade? Do you want him to appoint Supreme Court judges who will change that?

B. LAHAYE; I think we should not just focus on that. I think we should appoint judges that are going to be high integrity and really value the sanctity of human life for all of us, even the living children.

KING: You wouldn't make that a precondition for being on the court?

B. LAHAYE; I wouldn't make that a single one. No, no.

KING: You wouldn't include it then in the questioning of a prospective...

B. LAHAYE: I think it's better not to include that because if you get a judge that is really ruling by the constitution, then you don't have to ask those kinds of questions.

KING: But we interpret the constitution -- you can interpret it one way, I can interpret it another.

KING: What does he owe you, Franklin? What does President Bush owe you?

FRANKLIN GRAHAM, SON OF REV. BILLY GRAHAM: Larry, he doesn't owe me a thing. He is a man of integrity. I do expect him to keep his promises that he made in the election. I have no doubt he will do his very best to fulfill those promises and those commitments that he made to the American people.

KING: What do you expect, Bishop Jakes? JAKES: I don't think in my mind it's not so much about what we owes me, I think it's what we owe him as the leader of this great nation. I think we owe him our support. According to the Scriptures, we owe him our prayers. My expectation and prayer is that God would use him to unify this great nation and to stop the rifts and the divisions that exist that are permeating our society and to bring us together in a concerted effort. We have much to do, many enemies, many problems, economic travesties. Much work to be done. And we cannot do it if we're divided. We must be united.

KING: So you don't like a red and blue America?

JAKES: Well, I think that it's not as simple as a red and blue America. I don't think it's as simple as two or three issues. Once you get past an election and political posturing, you get down to the real crux of the matter. We're Christians but we care about more than one or two issues. Certainly we care about joblessness and economy, as my brother said, the elderly, and how we're going to handle them. There are many, many issues that we care about. And you don't necessarily have to be a person of faith to care about those issues or to have some moral fortitude. And so I think that he is not just our president, not just the president of the Christians, he's the president of the United States and I think he will serve us well.

KING: Brian McLaren, what does he owe you?

MCLAREN: I agree very much with what Bishop Jakes said. I'm more interested in what we owe him. And one of the things I think we as people of faith owe him is to call him to moral values, that's certainly true. But moral values including issues like making peace, moral values like really caring for the poor and seeing what we can do to make sure they have a greater share in our nation. I also think we have to ask the president to care more about the environment as God's creation. I'm very pleased to see increasing numbers of evangelicals sharing that concern. I would hope that we want to be a conscience for the president and our country, but on a number of issues.

KING: Why, Reverend LaHaye, haven't evangelicals been more outspoken about the environment?

T. LAHAYE: Because we believe that the environment was made for us. And not us for the environment. There's a big cultural chasm in our country today. For example we have people who get out of shape if a whale is beached and they want to blame the U.S. Navy and sonar investigation and so on and yet they don't mind 45 billion babies being murdered in the name of abortion in the last few years. I can't understand why animals...

KING: But if we've got dirty air we might all not be here. Shouldn't that be a prime concern?

T. LAHAYE: But we don't have the dirty air that we did 20 years ago, right here in Los Angeles. You don't have near as much dirty...

KING: You think we're doing a good job with... T. LAHAYE: I think we're improving. We could probably do better. And we Christians are not against clean air and clean water and preserving proper life. But we ought to have our values in priority. And we believe that human beings are more important than animals.

KING: We'll be right back with our panel. We'll be including your calls at the bottom of the hour. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKES: You're chained to a fence purely because you're connected with people who are stoic and staid and regimented and inflexible. And God is calling you to change. He says in his word, I will do a new thing in you. The former things are passed away and I release you tonight to change. Don't be afraid of it, embrace it. Don't be intimidated by it, explore it. Don't be afraid, experience it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Beverly LaHaye, in the world and a country with so many problems, why is gay marriage such a big issue?

B. LAHAYE: I think it's important that children have a -- be raised with a father and mother to start off with. And if there's divorce at least the child knows he started with having that family unit.

KING: Two gay people can't raise a child?

B. LAHAYE: It's not a natural way. I mean, they can't bear children.

KING: That doesn't mean they can't raise them, because some terrible people bear children.

B. LAHAYE: Well, that's very true, it's very terrible. That's why what we're fighting to really try to protect children from all the sexual trafficking and sexual abuse that goes on in our country today and across the world. But we'd really like to see children raised in the normal father and mother.

KING: And you would legalize that? You would support a constitutional amendment, certifying that. That man and woman in marriage?

B. LAHAYE: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

KING: Where do you stand, Franklin?

GRAHAM: Larry, God, it may be a surprise to you, but god created sex. And gave sex to us to enjoy.

KING: He also must have created gays, too. GRAHAM: But he gave sex to be used in a marriage relationship between a man and woman. And Larry, any time we get outside of the way God intended or what God's parameters are, we're at risk. And whether it's a man and a woman living together, outside of marriage, they're at risk because that's a sin. It's a sin against God. If it's two men living together or if it's two women living together having sex, it's a sin against God. And God's going to judge sin. Now, Jesus Christ came to this earth to forgive sin. He didn't come to take life, he same to save life. And God will forgive us. He will cleanse us. He will give us a new heart, a new life. He'll give us heaven but we've got to come to him through faith in his son, Jesus Christ, and be willing to obey Christ and follow him. And Larry, there are millions of gays, I know that, God loves them and cares for them. But he does not love their sin. He will judge their sin if they don't repent and if they don't turn.

KING: Is their sin, Bishop Jakes, a sin of their choice?

JAKES: That's a very complicated issue. The bible said we're all born in sin and shaped and inequity, and it's quite clear we start in sin. I don't think the issue is the sin of choice, it is redemption -- is redemption a choice? And quite honestly it is. We have a right to accept Christ and to accept God's word and accept God's plan for our life, regardless of what type of sin we were tied up in, in our past.

KING: Where do you stand on that, Brian?

MCLAREN: Well, Larry, I think there's so many pressing issues facing us. And I think it's tragic for the Christian and evangelical community to be known as a community who are angry about one or two issues, and proportions don't make a lot of sense to me. I think, as Franklin Graham said, we believe Jesus came to forgive our since. We also believe that he came to help us reconcile with one another. And I think one of our great challenges is how we're going to treat one another when we don't agree on this issue. And the Christian community is struggling with how we can treat one another with love and respect even when we disagree. I hope we can make progress in that.

KING: Beverly, since we don't really know why someone is gay. Like we don't know why we're heterosexual. I mean, we know we are, but we don't know why we are. How can it be a sin of choice if you don't know why you are the way you are, it's like being a sin for being black or a sin for having gray hair.

B. LAHAYE: Any time there's a question like that, I go back to what does the scripture say. And the scripture starts right off by saying God created a man and woman, told them to go out and propagate the Earth. In other words, have sex and raise their families. And I want to make it clear right here, we're not angry at homosexuals, really aren't. We love homosexuals and we want to help them. And I know of hundreds...

KING: Why not let them live as they wish?

B. LAHAYE: Because...

KING: Why should the government care? The faith can do what it wishes. Why should the government care?

B. LAHAYE: We would like to rescue them from dying at an early age of diseases prevalent.

KING: How about male-female diseases?

B. LAHAYE: Well, it's not killing off the population like it is with the gay community. Having children get the AIDS and it just goes on and on and on.

KING: You mentioned before the break, Reverend LaHaye -- during the break, that you're concerned about religious freedom. What do you mean?

T. LAHAYE: I think religious freedom has been under attack in our country well over 50 years.

KING: Explain.

T. LAHAYE: Well, the 1st Amendment is supposed to guarantee the government stays out of religion.

KING: And vice-versa.

T. LAHAYE: We don't want the government to tell us what church to belong to and what faith to have.

KING: And we don't want you to tell the government what faith to believe in.

T. LAHAYE: But we don't believe that the government should sanction the teaching of atheism and evolution and things that are anti-God, forbidding them "Pledge of Allegiance" in public schools.

KING: Shouldn't teach evolution? Shouldn't teach evolution?

T. LAHAYE: In the public schools they do.

KING: Why shouldn't they teach evolution?

T. LAHAYE: Because it's not proven, it's just a theory.

KING: Adam and Eve is proven?

T. LAHAYE: No. It's a theory.

KING: Their both theories.

T. LAHAYE: We who believe, we who have faith and believe the Bible is true, we believe it's a fact. However, we understand that in the public school, it is -- it should be presented as a theory, equal with the theory..

KING: What is the harm of teaching evolution? How does that harm the society?

T. LAHAYE: It shows man as independent of God. He can function...

KING: But God isn't in the government.

T. LAHAYE: But man is responsible to God. And that's one of the things about faith that's so important, and that is you have a consciousness that you live your life in accord with the principles of God because some day we will give an account of ourselves to God.

KING: Under law an atheist is an equal an American as you. Should have every benefit and every -- whatever America gives it, gives an atheist, gives a gay person, gives you, right.

T. LAHAYE: He should not have the government enforced right to impose his values on us. You see, the Constitution forbid the government from getting involved in religion.

KING: And vice-versa.

T. LAHAYE: And we maintain it is involved in religion in sanctioning the theory of evolution.

KING: Do you think President Bush supports that?

T. LAHAYE: We believe he supports creation. That the government should stay out of it.

KING: That he would favor the stopping of evolution or making evolution a theory?

T. LAHAYE: That's only one thing that's involved in the separation of church and state. The other is the "Pledge of Allegiance." We have this attack by the ACLU, it's going on right now. We expects that the president, like any person of faith believe you could pledge to God in the "Pledge of Allegiance" and so on.

KING: And atheist doesn't have to say under God, I mean, he's not in violation of anything?

T. LAHAYE: That's right. And he should not impose his values on us.

KING: Nor you on him?

T. LAHAYE: That's right.

KING: I keeping back to that. When you say under god, you are imposing it on the atheist.

T. LAHAYE: He could be silent.

KING: You could be silent.

T. LAHAYE: That's right. KING: We'll take a break. And we'll come back and got to your calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAREN: If you're a Christian, in a certain sense, you fire your boss and you actually work for Christ, but you're boss gets the benefit. So you're serving your boss as if your boss were Christ. And you don't do this just to look good. You don't do it just when he's looking. You don't do it just to win favor. You do it with integrity. You do it when the boss isn't looking. You work for the lord all 40 hours of your week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. Let's reintroduce our panel. In Los Angeles, Reverend Tim LaHaye, founder and president of Tim LaHaye Ministries and co-author of "The New York Times" best-selling "Left Behind" series. The next one is "The Rising." It's out in March.

Beverly LaHaye, his wife, is founder of Concerned Women of America, CWA. Regarded as one of Washington's most influential anti- abortion, anti-gay marriage organizations. She and Tim are included in "Time" magazine's the 25 most influential evangelicals. They're described as the Christian power couple. All of our guests are in that issue.

Franklin Graham is president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He and his father Billy are included on the list, of course.

As is Bishop T.D. Jakes, founding pastor of the Potter's House, "New York Times" best-selling author. His latest book is "10 Commandments of Working in a Hostile Environment." He is a film producer, and has a Grammy-winning record label, Dexterity Sounds and (ph) EMI Gospel.

And Brian McLaren in San Diego is founding pastor of the Cedar Ridge Community Church, non-denominational church in Maryland, author of "A New Kind of Christian." And he, of course, as well, is included in the list.

Before we go to calls, Frank Graham, is it possible for a liberal or a Democrat to be a good Christian?

GRAHAM: Of course, Larry. Absolutely.

KING: All right. The letter from Bob Jones of Bob Jones University to George Bush states: "In your reelection, God has graciously granted America, though she doesn't deserve it, a reprieve from her agenda of paganism. Don't equivocate. Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing." Would you comment on that, Bishop Jakes. JAKES: Well, I think the president owes all American people good leadership. I feel differently than what the statement was made. I think that once you arrive to the highest office of the nation, you have to have a 40,000-foot view of situations and not a tunnel vision.

KING: Katy, Texas, as we go to calls for our panel. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. I would like to ask your panel this question. Why do you -- what can you explain about all the bad things that's happened, like 9/11, the tsunami, the kids over in Russia getting killed at the schools? And I was born a -- I mean, I'm a Southern Baptist Christian. But I just believe that there's a lot of things that he has allowed to happen that I feel like he didn't need to.

KING: All right, if he's omnipotent, why tragedies?

T. LAHAYE: Well, Larry, I think you have to go back to the fall. We live in a fallen race. Adam and Eve made a terrible blunder when they sinned against God and then propagated that to the human race.

KING: But you didn't do that.

T. LAHAYE: No. But you'll find that that brought error and mistakes and sins into the human frame. And what we see are not God...

KING: So the tsunami is to get even?

T. LAHAYE: No. It's just part of the plan. As we approach the end of the age, we see more chaotic phenomenon in nature, and earthquakes are predicted to be on the rise.

KING: Do you see this as a plan, Beverly?

B. LAHAYE: I think it is part of God's schedule, not that God caused it. But...

KING: He could have prevented it.

B. LAHAYE: Well, he could have, yes. But he warned us that these things would happen as the end draws near.

KING: But what do you do with the warning? If he tells you there's going to be more earthquakes, what do you about that?

B. LAHAYE: You get your heart ready to meet him.

KING: Oh. What do you believe about that, Franklin Graham?

GRAHAM: Larry, I just got back last week from Southeast Asia, where I was in Indonesia and also in Sri Lanka. And the question is, did God judge Indonesia or did God judge Sri Lanka or Thailand for some reason? Jesus answered this question in Luke Chapter 13, when Pilate, the Roman governor, killed a number of Galileans and mixed their blood in with their own sacrifice. And Jesus asked the question, do you suppose that these Galileans were more sinful than the rest of the Galileans because they died in such a tragic way? And Jesus said, no, unless you repent, thought, you, too, will perish. And he talked about a tower that fell there in Jerusalem killing 18 people. And he said, do you suppose that they were worst sinners than others in Jerusalem? And Jesus said, no, but unless you repent, you, too will perish.

And Larry, all of us are going to have to stand some day before a holy God and give an account to him for our lives. And the only way we can stand before him is through faith in his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died and shed his blood for our sins. He's the only way to God.

And you know, Larry, salvation is free. It's by faith, simply believing and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. God will forgive us and cleanse us.

You asked a statement -- or made a statement a few moments ago, are evangelicals or -- are Christians mad at gay people? And Beverly LaHaye, she answered it, but I want to echo this. I don't know of one Christian minister, I don't know of one evangelical leader that hates gay people or that are mad at gay people. We love them, and we want to see them come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We absolutely love them.

And Larry, I've been working for the last several years in the area of HIV/AIDS. There's millions of people, 38 million I believe people that are infected right now with the HIV virus. These are 38 million people that have a soul, 38 million people that are precious to almighty God, 38 million people that Jesus died for on Calvary's cross, and I want to do everything I can to save their life and reach them with the truth of God's word and soul.

KING: Would you agree, Bishop Jakes, though, that many people view evangelicals as intolerant?

JAKES: Yes.

KING: As Mark Twain once said, if Christ came back, the one thing he wouldn't be is a Christian. That they often act intolerant of others?

JAKES: Unfortunately, that is the public perception, and I think that we as Christians, it's incumbent on us to work much harder to make sure that we show up on platforms like this not to debate what we are against, but what we are for. So many times the only time that we take the microphone is to shake our fists in the face of other people and to criticize. But there are many, many things that we are for, and many, many causes, as Franklin Graham began to talk about that Christians are championing around the world, as it deals with AIDS, as it deals with starvation, hunger and desolation around the world. And I think it's very, very important that we don't allow ourselves to be postured or politicized in such a way that we're always showing up to criticize one particular sin or another particular sin.

There are no big sins or little sins. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And we have to be careful that we don't raise to prominence certain sins above another, and we recognize that all of us bear the responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ, by the way we have lived, and we can be atoned when we accept his deliverance.

KING: Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I was raised in the Christian faith, and I also happen to be a gay man. And I just heard one of your panel members say that there's no hatred towards the gay community, but that's not how I see it. All I see is hate. And didn't Jesus preach love? Aren't we to love one another?

KING: Brian.

MCLAREN: Yeah, I am very sympathetic with your call. I see, even though we might say that people don't individually hate, the language of culture wars -- war is a hate word. So I think we've got to get away from that kind of language. And I think one of the greatest things that Christians can do, especially Christians with the name evangelical, would be to start making some friends and invite their neighbors over, and get to know someone who's gay, get to know someone who's very different. And not to just fix them or argue with them, but really to understand them as a neighbor.

KING: Reverend, don't you think you're hurt, when you say, let's say, gays shouldn't raise children because they shouldn't be married. Now, you're a gay person -- let's say a gay person is watching that. Now, it may not be hate, but you're certainly saying he's lesser, he can't raise children. Why not?

T. LAHAYE: Because I think that he is communicating to those children, by observation, a harmful lifestyle.

KING: Therefore you are criticizing him?

T. LAHAYE: I'm opposed to it. That doesn't mean I hate them.

you're certainly saying he's lesser, he can't raise children. Why not?

T. LAHAYE: Because I think he is communicating to those children, by observation, a harmful lifestyle.

KING: Therefore you are criticizing him?

T. LAHAYE: I'm opposed to it. That doesn't mean I hate them.

KING: How does he feel when he hears that, the gay person? T. LAHAYE: It depends on whether or not he's willing to face the fact that he's doing something...

KING: He's trying to be a good parent.

T. LAHAYE: He's trying to impose his values on society.

KING: Trying to be a good parent.

T. LAHAYE: By being the parent...

KING: Because he's living with a man or two women living together, what do you mean imposing, he's trying to raise his kids, go to school.

T. LAHAYE: Would you like your children raised by two men or two women?

KING: I'd rather have them raised by two men than by two people hitting each other or two people screaming at each other or two people cheating on their income tax or two people cheating on each other, YES, I'd rather have them raised by gays.

T. LAHAYE: That's not the only option. What's the matter with a good wholesome family where the father loves the mother and raise the children in the fear and admonition of the lord.

KING: The question is can two men lead a good and wholesome life? They can't, in your opinion?

T. LAHAYE: I don't think they can.

KING: To Los Angeles, hello.

CALLER: A question for your guests on the comments of Reverend Jerry Falwell after 9/11. He said that those planes hit the buildings basically as God's retribution, for in his words, lesbians and male cross-dressers. Is your panel in harmony with that?

KING: Do you think that was a punishment, Beverly?

B. LAHAYE: I have no idea what he said.

KING: He said something like that. I think he later retracted -- he apologized.

B. LAHAYE: No, I don't think that was God's punishment.

KING: How do you explain 9/11?

B. LAHAYE: I think it was evil people attacking the United States of America, terrorists.

KING: It was what it was then?

B. LAHAYE: It was exactly what it was. KING: Franklin, do you see it that way?

GRAHAM: Larry, our nation got attacked. This nation, I believe, is at war, even today, as we're speaking. We all need to be mindful of that. We need to pray for our president and for all those in authority that are leading this nation because this is a very difficult period of American history. There are many lives at stake and I believe this nation could be attacked again at any moment and we cannot let our guard down.

KING: Couldn't God prevent it?

KING: Could God prevent it? Sure, he could prevent it, Larry. When I mentioned Luke chapter 13 when Jesus talked about the tower that fell, could Jesus have prevented that tower from falling? Absolutely. You have to remember that the god of this age is Satan. There is evil in this world, Larry. And no question about it. But we know that Jesus Christ is going to come back some day, I believe some day soon and he will establish his throne and his kingdom here on earth. And at that time, there will be peace and there will be justice when the prince of peace returns and establishes his kingdom. I believe that day's coming, Larry, soon.

KING: We'll be right back with more and more of your calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: Jesus said, I am the way, I am the truth and I am the life and no man comes to the father but by me. There is no other way we can approach God except by faith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A listener called in and unfortunately we had a misconnection. But it was a good question. I'll ask Reverend LaHaye. Could you have supported Joe Lieberman, a devout Jew?

T. LAHAYE: Because of his moral values, if he espoused the other basic values that are good for America, I would say he would be one of the few Democrats, probably the only Democrat on the national level I could support.

KING: Port, Washington, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Good evening to your panel. I would like to preface my comment to Mrs. LaHaye by saying that I highly respect Reverend Jakes and Mr. McLaren because they seem to be the most compassionate, understanding and open-minded of the evangelicals. Mrs. LaHaye, with regard to abortion, I'd like to tell you that you cannot legislate morality. A woman's body is her property and hers to make the choice whether she wants to terminate a pregnancy or continue a pregnancy. KING: That this is the age-old argument, how do you respond? By the way, it would be -- if they changed that law, you would have chaos, wouldn't you, in America?

LAHAYE: Any time you're going to change something that's been so hostile in America, it would be a long time before it smoothed out.

KING: Why shouldn't a woman have control of her own body?

LAHAYE: Let her control her body before she gets pregnant.

KING: All right. Now, she's pregnant.

LAHAYE: Now, she's pregnant. There are other things -- ways to handle it without killing the baby. She could adopt that baby out if she couldn't care for it herself or didn't want to, but taking the life of a little baby, in America is murder.

KING: Danville, Georgia. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry, as far as all that goes, it says judge not least you shall be judged. The constitution says all men are created equal but God created us all different. So basically my question is, the panel seems to all agree we're living in the last days and we're having all these earthquakes and everything. Is it possible that we're going to have a leader that comes forth in the last days that's supposed to make everything good all around the world, not just the United States? Shouldn't they be concentrating and uniting and watching that?

KING: I think it was the declaration that said all men are created equal. Franklin, is someone coming?

GRAHAM: Oh, yes, Larry. The Bible speaks of an AntiChrist who will come at the end times, who will unite the world, talks about the world having one monetary system. There will be peace for a while under his leadership. But yet he is anti-God, he is anti-Christ and he will do everything he can to fight God in his statutes and his son the Lord Jesus Christ.

KING: Why would God care about what type of monetary system there is?

GRAHAM: No. The Bible predicts it, though, Larry, it's in the scripture, that there is going to be a time when that will come.

KING: Then we don't have free will?

GRAHAM: We have free will, sure.

KING: How?

GRAHAM: But the world is -- we have the freedom to choose God, to reject God. Jesus Christ -- God has provided salvation. You can accept it or reject it but Larry you have to...

KING: If you're predicting the AntiChrist, do we have a choice? You're saying it's fact.

JAKES: Larry, could I make a comment? I think what we're confusing here is predestination with foreknowledge. The Bible is not saying that God is going to make this happen, it is that God already has some knowledge to know what is going to happen, like someone who has seen a movie before someone else has seen it, they know what's going to happen, it's not that they make it happen. So it's not our free will is taken away any time we read a prophesy, our God is omniscient, he already knows the end from the beginning.

KING: Therefore, Reverend, how can I have free will if the AntiChrist is coming no matter what I do?

LAHAYE: We're talking about government. There are three things that are going to be the hallmark of the last days when -- after Christ raptures the church and the church goes through the tribulation. As Franklin said, we'll have a one world commercial system, we'll have one world government and we'll have a one world religion. Now, that's after all the Christians are taken out. And so the world will function that way. But still, God will give people an individual opportunity to receive Christ.

KING: That doesn't mean you're opposed to the United Nations and will for peace?

T. LAHAYE: I see the United Nations as functioning -- one more of the functions of man, independent of God. I said back in 1945, as a young preacher and they were starting the United Nations, that it will fail because they excluded God deliberately.

KING: Look at all of the people they helped.

T. LAHAYE: Look at all the people that have -- there have been more wars since the initiation of the United Nations than any other comparable period in history.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) though.

T. LAHAYE: They have not solved one thing that they were supposed to solve.

KING: We'll be right back with our remaining moments, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKES: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this is my year to change. I'm going to go in the phone booth like Clark Kent, and I'm going to come out like Superman. And don't none of you all bring up my glasses and don't bring up me working at the newspaper, because I reserve the right to bring out the better person in me and become whoever I need to be in spite of who I used to be, this is my year of change!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Climax, Saskatchewan, hello. CALLER: If stem cell transplants and other medical procedures have been accomplished and proven helpful, how can they be denied? Have they not been give to us by God?

KING: Brian, yes, didn't God give us embryonic stem cells?

MCLAREN: Yes, I think this is one of the hugest challenges that we face. The people in the scientific and the people in the faith community need to look at these now powers that human beings are unlocking. And this is a great responsibility. And I hope there'll be some fruitful discussion. I don't think it's helpful when Christians immediately say, shut things down without saying, let's pay attention. On the other hand, it's not that helpful when people say, let's make a lot of money on something without looking at the full ramifications of it.

KING: How do you regard it, reverend?

T. LAHAYE: Well, from what I've read about stem cell research, it isn't a proven fact yet that it is going to be helpful. And it's a risky procedure. And the part we object to is taking little lives, and embryos.

KING: They're cells.

T. LAHAYE: And harvesting these cells. That's the danger.

KING: That could cure major diseases.

T. LAHAYE: That's big if.

KING: But all cures are if. All cures begin with if.

T. LAHAYE: But are you going to sacrifice the life of the unborn to make that possible?

KING: Do you think that's eventually going to be a life, that embryonic cell?

T. LAHAYE: I think that the kind that are being harvested could.

KING: Philadelphia, hello. Philadelphia, hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is directed to Brian. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, you wrote a letter to the president, really asking him to double-check all the information he received. And to really, you know, keep a running count of the Iraqi casualties. And it seems to me, from the letter that I read that you wrote to him, that you were really coming out against the war in Iraq prior to the invasion. Now, seeing the results of the Iraqi election, do you now change your view from that, and now you are in full support of that?

MCLAREN: I think we're all very, very grateful for the initial good results from the election, so I have nothing but gratitude that went so well. And I think we're all so proud of the Iraqi people for, at great risk, going out to vote. But I think we still, many of us who are Christians are not spoken for, by a lot of the most public voices. And a lot of us are raising very deep questions about the U.S.'s role in the world, and is this really a sensible role for us to take.

KING: We're going to do more shows on this. Franklin, before we leave, how's your dad doing? How's Billy?

GRAHAM: He's doing very well and sends you his best and special regards. He loves you very much.

KING: I got a lovely letter from him. He did a crusade recently, right?

GRAHAM: He did. He was in California, and he was in Kansas City this year and he's going to be in New York next June. So, I hope you can come be with him.

KING: He's amazing. Thank you all very, very much. I'll be back in a couple of minutes. Tomorrow night, very special. Will be on a little late because of the State of the Union. I'll tell you all about it after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tomorrow night is the State of the Union Address, and we'll follow that address, 10:30 Eastern, 7:30 Pacific with a major panel of guest on all sides of the political spectrum and pundit as well. And now e turn the tables over to "NEWSNIGHT" and Aaron Brown, who gets tomorrow night for some reason.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: I do?

KING: The State of the Union, he won't stay up that late and what the hell. But life goes on, doesn't it Aaron?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Those who have and those who don't. And you have obviously have it.

BROWN: I'll take it then, thank you.

KING: Go get them.

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