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CNN Larry King Live
Christian Singer Comes Out as Lesbian
Aired April 23, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a Christian singer's shocking admission. She admits she is a lesbian, alienating some of her fans, angering devout followers.
Jennifer Knapp reveals how a God-loving woman rejected church teachings to be true to herself.
Ex-televangelist Ted Haggard who survived a notorious scandal is here with us as well.
Can you be Christian and gay? Should anyone have to choose one or the other?
Next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Good evening. This will not be a dull show tonight.
Jennifer Knapp is a Grammy-nominated Christian music artist. Recently came out publicly as a lesbian revealing that she has been in a same-sex relationship for the past eight years. Her new album "Letting Go" will be released in May. It's available for presale on iTunes.
We welcome Jennifer Knapp to LARRY KING LIVE.
Why did you come out?
JENNIFER KNAPP, CHRISTIAN SINGER: Well, go right for the jugular. As a history in the Christian music industry, I'm very well- known for my faith. I felt like it was one of the most important things that I could do to allow people who I knew might not agree with listening to an artist who has been known as a Christian and yet deal with the fact that they were homosexual at the same time.
There were a lot of rumors circulated around for about seven years. And while I wasn't actually here to kind of answer them, and it's starting to feel a little bit like a lie. So --
KING: Do you think you were living a lie?
KNAPP: Absolutely not. I've been quite open in my relationships that I've had in my private life. It's just on a public level, they kind of needed some -- need to be addressed, I think.
KING: You would be seen with your mate, et cetera -- you weren't hiding somewhere?
KNAPP: No. I mean, well, I was on another continent, so that made it rather convenient.
KING: You were where?
KNAPP: I was actually in Australia for the last five years.
KNAPP: No, just being an average Joe.
KING: Why did you stop singing?
KNAPP: Oh, that's a long story.
KING: Shorten it.
KNAPP: Well, I'd done about three records. And I got fairly burnt out. I was doing about 150 shows a year for about three or four years. And I just didn't know why I was doing it anymore. I lost the joy of what I was doing. So, I really decided I needed a break.
KING: Did you know early on you were gay?
KNAPP: No, I wouldn't have put it that way.
KING: When -- was there a realization?
KNAPP: Yes, when I fell in love with a beautiful woman. That was a pretty good indicator. But I was -- at the time I was actually involved in sharing my faith in music. I was celibate for 10 years.
So, I really kind of put my own personal desires out the window and kind of put all that to the side. And it wasn't until I actually met someone that was really quite difficult for me to ignore anymore.
KING: Is that someone kind of in the same boat?
KNAPP: I don't know. You'd have to speak -- you'd have to speak to my partner about that.
KING: But did you ask if she had previous -- if this was new to her, too?
KING: You had a successful Christian musical career. More than one million albums were sold. You won four Gospel Industry Dove Awards, were nominated for a Grammy. Let's take a look at your music.
KNAPP: All right.
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you still call yourself a Christian artist?
KNAPP: I still -- I am a person of faith. It's a long-debated term, the connection of those two terms. I am an artist. I very much as an artist often find myself reflecting my faith in my music, and will probably continue to do that.
KING: Usually, we hear Christian artist, most of the music is of that bent.
KNAPP: Well, there's a particular genre like --
KING: Yes, of course.
KNAPP: There is a retail industry that's specifically designed for that.
KING: Go to the store.
KNAPP: Yes, it will be the Christian bookstore. And that's a legitimate form of -- there a legitimate group of people that are actually participating within that industry. So, it's not a small thing.
KING: Does what you do, do you think belie your faith since so many in the Christian world regard homosexuality as a sin?
KNAPP: Well, not every Christian denomination belies homosexuality.
KING: But many do.
KNAPP: I can't speak for the statistical analysis for it. But there are many denominations in the country.
KING: But the conservative element. KNAPP: I would say that there is a certain portion of the evangelical community that definitely disagrees with homosexuality being in conjunction of anyone calling themselves a believer. That has been my experience within the evangelical community. However, I've also had a great deal of experience with many other denominations who openly accept the rich diversity of the types of believers that are within their community. And it's been a great honor for me to be in participation with many of them.
KING: No problem for you to be Christian and gay.
KNAPP: Not with myself personally, no.
KING: You don't feel that your Bible speaks against it. Or, do you? KNAPP: Well, I think there's plenty of evidence in my exploration of my faith through the sacred text of the Holy Bible that I have definitely recognized that we are somewhat at the handicap of our own interpretations of a sacred text. Let's take for example the original Greek translation of which I am no academic scholar of. Yet, you know, we all know that any time that we read a book or we read any kind of word, that it becomes the interpretation of our life's experience, what we want to bring out of that.
And so, I mean, in the long run, I don't have the greatest deal of problems with it because there are other -- there are not -- I'm not the only person in the universe that's ever, you know, looked at, you know, a different interpretation. We have --
KING: We can read things into any things.
KNAPP: Yes, doesn't make the truth any less the truth or love any less love.
KING: What do you fans said?
KNAPP: What do my fans say?
KING: Yes. Have you heard from people?
KNAPP: I've had an overwhelming response in the last couple of weeks since this information has come out.
KING: Support mostly?
KNAPP: It's been incredible. Everywhere from -- you know, the typical Internet kind of -- Facebook, Twitter, and the shows that we've been doing. It's been fantastic.
KING: More with Jennifer Knapp, quite a story. The whole show devoted to her tonight. Don't go away.
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Back with Jennifer Knapp, the Grammy-nominated Christian music artist who has in a sense come out. Her new album "Letting Go" released in May, available for presale on iTunes.
We just played a clip of Katy Perry singing "I Kissed a Girl." Katy used to be a Christian singer and you manage her, right?
KNAPP: For a bit. Yes, I was familiar with Katy when she was a young teenager up and coming.
KING: Now, you say that artists like Katy Perry and Pink help return to music. How?
KNAPP: Well, actually, it's funny about Katy because I was actually living in Sydney at the time and Katy was doing her tour down in Australia. And she looked great. I was really proud of her. I was really glad to see that she was having this success that she was.
And I was just sitting there at home, just getting fat and lazy. I just had the fire burning in my belly. I was just so jealous of seeing that. Just going, man, why am I not doing that? And a little time after that, Pink came through and was doing her tour and her preparation.
It was really hard to just see something that I really loved and I was just kind of sitting in the background going - oh, no, I can't do that. It's too hard. People won't like me. Just -- it really put a fire in my belly seeing people that I really admired to --
KING: How did you come out? What method did you choose?
KNAPP: Come out?
KING: Yes, to announce it publicly. What did you do?
KNAPP: Well, I mean, in particular for the last couple of weeks. I mean --
KING: What did you say? Did you talk to --
KNAPP: Well, I did an interview with "Christianity Today," which is a very well-respected evangelical publication, an interview with "Reuters," and an interview with "The Advocate." I really thought it was important try and share three different walks of life that many Christians find themselves in, just normal everyday people, people of faith, and people who are contending with their sexual orientation in society.
KING: We've looked at a few Christian Web sites. My crack staff has. Here are some comments people have said.
Jennifer must choose between her sexual orientation and her Christianity. She cannot have both. Jennifer does not yet have the spiritual strength to deny her sexual orientation. To say "This is OK, this is who I am," is not acceptable in God's sight.
These people are, of course, speaking for the Lord.
KNAPP: I have heard this before.
KING: And you react how?
KNAPP: Well, those are several different hot button topics that are issues within dealing with homosexuality and people of faith. It's amazing to me that -- I mean, it's literally stunning to me that because of in some eye or some way that I might be a failing or a disappointment to you as an individual, that at some point that you have any control over my faith or my belief or what is inspires me to look towards the heavens and look toward God.
So, it's a very -- it's a very challenging situation to sit there and listen to someone make that kind of statement.
KING: The implication is that you chose this, that you had a choice and said, "Well, I'm gay, straight, gay, straight, I'll choose gay."
KNAPP: There are many implications in it and that --
KING: You don't think that, do you? You don't think -- did you think you chose this?
KNAPP: I don't --
KING: You don't know why you are.
KNAPP: -- I don't know why I am. I'm very comfortable with it. I recognize that love is a choice, very much. My sexuality, on the other hand, I'm not so certain about.
KNAPP: It is what it is and I am what I am, you know?
KING: You say you're the happiest you've ever been right now?
KNAPP: I'm pretty darn happy.
KING: So, you're glad all of this happened? In a sense.
KNAPP: You know, I'm not a regretful person.
KING: But you feel better?
KNAPP: I feel blessed to be able to fully be who I am. I love being able to be a musician. And part of that process for me as a musician is being open and honest, and to not feel like I have to lie or to hide anything. I don't necessarily want to talk about it all the time but I don't have to hide it either.
KING: We're about to get a little lively. A pastor's take on Jennifer and other Christians who are gay is next.
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jennifer Knapp, of course, remains. We're joined now by Pastor Bob Botsford, senior pastor, Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego.
Thank you for coming, Pastor.
You wrote a blog about Jennifer and I want to read from it, saying, "When a well-known spokesperson of the faith stubbornly chooses to remain in their life of sin, my heartbreaks for them."
Jennifer says she is finally happy she's in a committed loving eight-year relationship, and she's making music again.
So, why does your heart break for her?
PASTOR BOB BOTSFORD, SR. PASTOR, HORIZON CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP: Well, Larry, it breaks for anyone who is caught in a sinful situation. And so I just, you know, felt led to speak. We had a chance to meet a number of years ago briefly. I don't expect her to remember that. But I prayed for her for eight years now. And --
KING: You feel sorry for her?
BOTSFORD: I do. My heartbreaks for what the Bible tells us about this particular choice and lifestyle. And, you know, I care as much, you know, for Katy Perry. I've never met Katy Perry. So, I didn't think -- you know, I didn't even think this would ever come about where I would be here.
But I prayed for a lot of years having been told of Jennifer's same-sex decision and relationship. And so, I didn't say a word to anybody, kept it quiet, did not go public with anyone except the Lord in my prayers for Jennifer until it came public last week in the articles that she just mentioned to you that she gave. And then I said, well, hey, this is not right.
KING: I understand that. Katy Perry has a male fiance.
BOTSFORD: Yes. I think in the whole aspect, you know, of kind of being raised in the church, knowing what the Bible says, coming out as you had said earlier with hip songs like "I Kissed a Girl" and just kind of -- pushing the envelope with all that is one thing, coming out and saying, "I, you know, am a homosexual" and want to be accepted by the church and Christianity that made me famous and gave me a platform of which a lot of people have looked to Jennifer, as I did for many years, enjoy her music, went to her concerts, was a part of crusades that she was involved with. And yes, I don't want people to think that it's right.
KING: Pastor, I'll have her respond and we'll let you talk it with each other. But a question that puzzles, you said choice, that she made a choice. Did you make a choice for heterosexuality?
BOTSFORD: I did.
KING: Why did you that?
BOTSFORD: I fell in love with a gal I was dating in San Diego.
KING: But you made a choice to date a girl.
BOTSFORD: Well, I made a choice, first of all, to follow --
KING: How did you know you liked women?
BOTSFORD: How did I --
KING: How did you know?
BOTSFORD: I just --
KING: If she likes girls --
KING: -- how did you know you didn't like boys romantically? How did you know you liked women?
BOTSFORD: Well, I just personally knew that first of all that I did. I naturally knew that I did. Secondly --
KING: So, she can't naturally know she likes the same sex? She can't naturally know that?
BOTSFORD: Well, I think, ultimately, you have to come back to what truth you're going to base your life on. I don't think that it's wise for any of us to base our decisions on feelings. I want to base decisions on facts.
And for me, the fact has become the truth of God's word. And God creates this wonderful gift of marriage where a man leaves his mother and his father and cleaves unto a wife. He didn't make Adam and Steve. He didn't make Eve and Ellen. He made a man and woman.
KING: He's omnipotent, right?
BOTSFORD: He is omnipotent.
KING: So, he also created homosexuality.
BOTSFORD: No. I don't believe he did. He's all knowing.
KING: You mean he did everything but that?
BOTSFORD: Well, here's the deal, Larry. He's given to us -- back to your question of choice -- he's given to us a choice. Me -- a choice whether or not I'm going to follow and abide by his word. Jennifer -- a choice as to whether or not she'll abide in her relationships according to his word.
KING: Jennifer, how do you respond?
KNAPP: You're a well-studied man. You have a master's degree in divinity. You're a study pastor, right?
BOTSFORD: I've got a lot to learn.
KNAPP: Well, I mean, I'm saying you've actually studied.
KNAPP: I haven't gone to seminary. I haven't gone to Bible school. Yet, I'm aware of the fact -- I'm deeply aware of the fact that we're relying on the translations of Greek and that we're translating from a language, you and I, that is not originally our own.
BOTSFORD: Yes. Hebrew, the Old Testament. Greek, in the new.
KNAPP: There are a lot of well-studied academics -- both believers and seekers of God and those who are just purely trying to understand what the sacred text means to all of us -- that really put question on how we've interpreted the words, what is it malikos and arsenokitai. There are two Greek words that we have substituted in our English language as homosexuality, which didn't actually exist in my understanding of a lot of Greek language experts in the manner in which we use it.
And my curiosity is how do you -- how do you respond to that knowledge knowing that perhaps maybe we don't have the full understanding of the academics --
KING: In other words, simply put, could your interpretation of a word be wrong?
BOTSFORD: Well, that's a great question.
KING: That's why we asked it.
BOTSFORD: Absolutely. I believe God's word is inspired. I believe that God breathes --
KNAPP: Am I not inspired by God because I am filled with love for you, for my partner, for my family?
BOTSFORD: When God says in his word, this is what love is, and we pervert that and turn it into something that he actually --
KNAPP: How am I perverted?
BOTSFORD: We have taken a love that he designed to be lived out in marriage. That is his sexual outlet for male and females to enjoy union together in the holy sanctimony of marriage. He invented it. Man didn't invent it. It's his institution. And it exists between a man and a woman.
When we change that, that's a perversion.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll pick with more. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Jennifer Knapp and Pastor Bob Botsford.
Do you feel hurt, Jennifer, by what the pastor thinks? KNAPP: No. I've shared my grievances with Bob off-camera. I'm not hurt by his stance and his holding to the Scripture. I highly respect that. And I think the community of believers in the church where he is at is -- are there because that's what they choose and that's their tradition of Christianity that they choose to follow. I highly respect that.
KING: Do you believe Jennifer is going to go to hell?
BOTSFORD: Larry, God is the judge. I'm just here to --
KING: You're judging her.
BOTSFORD: Well, am I?
BOTSFORD: I'm here out of love. I don't have a --
KING: You said she's a sinner.
KNAPP: If I am a sinner and homosexuality is a sin, let's just go on that premise for a moment. But what separates that particular sin out from the fact that I'm angry or mad at someone or that I cheat or maybe, you know -- what separates that out as so grievous to you that we have to sit here and have this type of conversation?
BOTSFORD: Well, it's interesting. There's -- sin is sin. You're absolutely right. And we all have sin.
KNAPP: So, why are we -- why am I -- why aren't you in this seat and I'm in the other seat condemning you on national television?
BOTSFORD: I'm not condemning you. Listen, I'm here because I love you. And I told you that off-air, I'll say it on air. I'm here because I'm concerned. I'm here as a family member.
KNAPP: You get my phone number.
BOTSFORD: You calling yourself a Christian still as part of the family of God saying, as I said in the blog, Jen, come home. Come back. Come out.
KNAPP: I will say this to you again on air. I have spiritual leadership in my life.
KNAPP: The pastoral counsel of those who are dear to me, who understand the Scripture as sacred text. You know, also, want to --
BOTSFORD: I'm not sure they do, Jen.
KNAPP: Don't interrupt me. You are not that man in my life. Speak to your congregation --
BOTSFORD: I agree. I'm not saying that I'm you're spiritual authority.
KNAPP: You do not know me, and don't have the right to speak to me in the manner which you have publicly.
BOTSFORD: Well, I do have a role to stand up for truth.
KNAPP: In your congregation and your community.
BOTSFORD: I'm --
KNAPP: But do not -- I'm asking you not to do that. I ask you not say that you're doing that on my behalf.
BOTSFORD: I'm here as a representative of Jesus Christ.
KNAPP: That's good.
KING: But you are judging. You are judging.
BOTSFORD: This story, Larry, where -- you know, there is -- in John chapter eight, and, you know, everybody comes rushing in, and there's a lot of emotional, you know, heartbeat on both sides of the fence of this thing. And people said, this woman was caught in the act of adultery and the Old Testament says she ought to be stoned. What do you say? And they really try and put Jesus into the corner.
And he very interestingly says, he who is without sin cast the first stone. I have sinned in my life. I'm not sit hearing as one person --
KING: So why single out gays?
KNAPP: But there's a pretty massive implication that I cannot say that I'm a lesbian and a believer.
BOTSFORD: Listen, Jesus, and the rest of the story is what people are missing out on. I'm not here with stones. I'm not here with bats.
Jesus looks at her and says, "Where are your accusers?" And she says, "They're gone." And he says -- he says, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."
Here's the difference. Jennifer is wanting to justify the sin.
KNAPP: How did I -- how do I -- first off, that's a -- that's a very big premise. You assume that you and I both agree that homosexuality is one, a choice, and two, a sin. So to say that I have to justify it off that premise is inaccurate. BOTSFORD: Well, based on the sacred writings of what you're saying your spiritual authority --
KING: A break guys, hold it. Former televangelist Ted Haggard has survived scandal, says today that he no longer has homosexual thoughts. His take on all this next.
KING: We're back with Jennifer Knapp, the Grammy-nominated Christian music artist. New album "Letting Go," released in May, Pastor Bob Botsford, senior pastor Horizon Christian Fellowship, San Diego. Joining us from Denver, Colorado, a previous guest on this show, always good to see him, Ted Haggard, former pastor of the New Life Church. A 2006 gay sex and drug scandal destroyed Ted's New Life Megachurch Ministry, shocked the Evangelical community to its core.
All right, Ted, you've been listening. What are your comments and then we'll get into specifics. What do you think overall here of what we've heard?
TED HAGGARD, FMR. EVANGELICAL PREACHER: Yeah, I think both of them have some good points. I really appreciate what Jennifer is saying and what she is going through. And I think her big premise is that she is on a journey just like every one of us are. She accepts the fact that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that God is working in us, that we have his scriptures to work with. And it is true people read them differently and people interpret them differently.
And the pastor has a point in saying it is his role as a pastor to try to be salt and light, and represent the word the way it's read. I do think, though, that the important overall message is that we emphasize personal relationship with God, and the core of everything that we say is this wonderful delight in who Jesus is and what he does. He accepts the fact that we've all fallen short. He accepts the fact that there are broad range of sins. We humans say one is more important than another. But he talks about how all of it separates us. And he accepts the fact that we are all on a journey that won't be completed until we see him face-to-face.
So the pastor is right. Let me finish this. The pastor is right in that he sins. And Jennifer is right in that she sins. Both are saved by the grace of god. And it would be good for them not to judge each other.
KING: I don't think Jennifer said she sins. You said you're not gay. You admitted to a gay experience. Do you, Ted, believe that homosexuality is a sin?
HAGGARD: I believe that when people don't fulfill God's perfect plan for their life, they're falling short and they're sinning. And I think people sin all day, every day, and that everybody, regardless of the complex nature of their sexuality or whatever -- everybody needs the grace of God. KING: OK. So therefore, Bob, you're as bad, if that's the term, as Jennifer. Your sin may be different, but just different. Why is hers worse than yourself?
BOTSFORD: Larry, I think the difference here, if I can just point out, both with Jennifer and Ted, is this: there -- all of us on planet Earth in the human race have sinned. We have all fallen short of the glory of God.
KING: All right.
BOTSFORD: Jesus came to die in our place to forgive of us our sins, no so that we would remain in a sinful lifestyle, so that we would leave that life of sin that leads to death, and be born again. The whole idea of being a Christian is that what I used to be I no longer am.
KING: But you still sin.
BOTSFORD: I make mistakes every day. But sin isn't ruling my life. Jesus Christ is ruling my life. And when I mess up, I can repent.
KING: So Jesus Christ can't rule her life if she is a lesbian?
BOTSFORD: Listen, if someone is allowing sin -- and sin is called out in the Bible, whether it's homosexuality, adultery, whether it's stealing -- the list is there. Read it for yourself.
KING: Cheating on your income tax.
BOTSFORD: Allowing that to continue to reign over your life is not allowing Jesus Christ to be lord. I'm allowing Jesus Christ to be lord. My role every day is to die to sin, not justify sin.
KING: But he, Jesus Christ, loves her as much as he loves you.
BOTSFORD: He loves everyone.
KNAPP: Not for a moment have I ever sat here and justified my individual path in my life. I am not sitting to try and tell someone that they have to walk the path that I walk. Please preserve that for me. But to call -- go ahead. Ted?
HAGGARD: That is a very, very important point. Because when the pastor says Jesus is lord of his life, that is true. But he is still in process. It could be some other violations that he has. But the core of the Christian faith is a relationship with God, where God lovingly walks us through.
I had three boys come to Christ one time. One was immoral with his girlfriend. The other with a smoker. The other was drinker. One was convicted of the sexual activity. The other was convicted -- or they all had three of those things -- all three of those things in their life lives. But one was convicted of the sex. The other was convicted of the drinking. The other was convicted of the smoking. And as they have gone through the years, just as the pastor described, they have all become different people as they grow. That's happening in Jennifer's life, and it's happening in the pastor's life. Our role isn't just to call out one particular sin and say all these people are in trouble. Our role is to say we're all in a process, and we need to encourage one another.
So Jennifer has a group of believers she meets with. They study the scripture. They can go on that. They can do that process. That process obviously is not going to be Pastor Bob's church. It will be another group of believers which is why we have a diversity of churches.
KING: And on that note, let me get a break and come right back. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Jennifer Knapp, Pastor Bob Botsford, Ted Haggard. We got a couple of great reads on our blogs. See what Tim Irvin (ph) has to say about his "American Idol" experience. He got the boot, by the way, Wednesday night. And Ray Johnston's story is an inspiring one. He is playing in the NBA one day, in a coma next. All that on CNN.com/LarryKing.
Pastor, do you at all feel bad when you hear stories about people who kill gay people?
BOTSFORD: Absolutely. Yes, that's --
KING: They've gotten messages about how sinful that is that they take it to that extreme. And you add to that, don't you?
BOTSFORD: I hope not. I hope I don't.
KING: You paint the picture. Your -- in the Old Testament -- I'm not a Biblical scholar -- you can't eat shellfish. Do you eat shellfish?
KING: You're a sinner.
BOTSFORD: No I'm not. There are some things, Larry, that are very important to keep in context here. Although there are verses in the Book of Leviticus that say don't eat shellfish, don't wear clothes that have different materials on it, things that Jennifer has mentioned in the article that she has given in the news coming out -- you know what, God changed his mind on shellfish.
KING: When did he do that?
BOTSFORD: There is a wonderful passage --
LYNN: God changed his mind on mankind. And he gave his savior for one and for all. BOTSFORD: He changed his mind, if I can finish, in Acts Chapter 10, to answer your question, Larry, on shellfish. And Cornelius has this amazing enlightenment, as Peter has this vision of the lord saying eat whatever you want.
KING: Peter may have been hungry. No pun intended.
BOTSFORD: There is this grace that comes upon all of us no longer to live by the law of the Old Testament. But when you get to the issue of homosexuality, he doesn't change his mind on that. It flows over into the New Testament as powerfully as it was in the Old Testament.
KING: Peter gets a vision about shellfish. What if Ted gets a vision about homosexuality that says, since it's not a choice, and as long as a person is observant and good, it is no longer a sin. You will not believe Ted?
BOTSFORD: God didn't use Ted to write the scriptures. And the scriptures that have been written are the scriptures that I go by.
KING: Nothing is being written today?
BOTSFORD: Absolutely not.
BOTSFORD: In fact, in the Book of Revelation, we're told that there is a blessing upon those that keep what is written in this book, and a curse upon anyone who would add to it or take away from it.
KING: Ted, under that concept --
BOTSFORD: -- wanting to take away from what the Bible --
KING: Under that concept, Ted, your faith does not evolve, right?
HAGGARD: Well, I think what the pastor -- I think the point the pastor makes is a good one, but it's an incomplete one. All of the New Testament is about a love relationship with God that is appropriated for all of us through the lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice on the cross.
HAGGARD: As a result of that, there are ethics, there are rules, there are things that happen. But those rules and those ethics are not the core. The core is the relationship. It's like my relationship with my wife. My wife and I love one another. But if we went to a conference that just taught us all the rules of what a good home should look like, that would be a sterile existence. Or if we learned about love and intimacy and growth and process and going through life together, then those ideas can supplement that.
That's the way the Bible is. And so that's why the Bible says in Romans 1, when it talks about homosexuality, it follows up with the first verse in Romans II saying, hey, be cautious about judging other people about this because you all do the same things. And then he concludes that first paragraph in Romans II by saying -- by saying hasn't it dawned on you that it's the love and the mercy of God that leads to our repentance and our salvation.
So what he highlights there is that we're all going -- the purpose of the holy spirit is to create in us a holy spirit we grow. The purpose of the word of God is to convict us and help us grow, sanctify us. That's all good. But we can't do it to one another like that.
KING: Jennifer, you would say amen to that?
HAGGARD: That's not our role with each other.
KNAPP: I don't have a problem with that at all. I think that leaves room for a great many sinful people.
BOTSFORD: Well, we're all sinful people.
What it gives room for is truth is relative. Cain was given parameters and specifics to he is offer. He chose not to do with that offering what God had laid out. So as much as Ted is saying the rules don't really apply, they apply.
KNAPP: I love you and I pray for you and your congregation.
KING: Jennifer wants to say something.
KNAPP: I just want to say, I appreciate both your men's wisdom. You guys have, in several different ways. been speakers of the truth in a community that has looked to you. I thank you, and I pray for your ministry. I hope you continue to be a light for the people that you serve and the people who call upon you. That's what love is.
To be here and even though I phenomenally disagree, to encourage you to find the truth that is written in this mysterious and sacred word.
BOTSFORD: That's my prayer for you, Jennifer.
KNAPP: That's all I ask, is that as we all continue on our travels and our journey in this mysterious --
KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away. We'll be right back.
KING: We have just touched this subject. But it is an important one, since so many people are affected by it. I just want to get concluding thoughts. Ted, are you saying it is a choice or not a choice? Sexuality, do we choose whether we are gay or whether we are hetero? Do we choose that, in your opinion?
HAGGARD: I think that is a very, very complex thing that I don't want to get into here. What I do want to say here, though, is that I believe that the Bible is the word of god and it's inspired and inherent. And I believe Jesus was very clear and the scriptures were very clear when they say the command is to love. The command that covers them all, predominant, "love the lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself."
And so -- so, love is the predominant thing. God is love. The scripture says Jesus displays how to do this. Jesus warns religious leaders, strongly, that we must not use the scriptures to point our fingers at other people without letting the fingers point at us as well.
KING: Is that true, in your opinion, Bob? Is that true?
BOTSFORD: Absolutely. Yeah. I agree with that completely, Larry.
KING: Why point a finger at Jennifer?
BOTSFORD: Jennifer is in a position of great influence. A lot of people look to her life. I wouldn't want her example or lifestyle --
KNAPP: You don't want the young teenage girl that's sitting in your congregation, who says, gosh I think I might have to choose between my sexuality and my faith -- you want her to choose faith.
BOTSFORD: I do. I want you to choose faith.
KNAPP: You want her to deny any part of her process, to go through the process of shame without truly discover -- let's say that she doesn't want to choose to be homosexual. At which point does that become honest, because you guilted her into don't be like Jen?
BOTSFORD: I am just coming back to the Bible. Clearly God has an opinion on this issue. I'm just wanting to stand up for the truth of God's word.
KNAPP: I will repeat to you what I said to you back stage, that the next time you want to talk about an example of what you actually need to teach to your followers, please use the words "this is the congregation and how we are going to talk about homosexuality within our church." Don't use my name -- do not use my name as a substitute for the word homosexuality.
BOTSFORD: Listen, I am to be a light in a dark place. There is a lot of justification now. Let's just open up our arms of grace and welcome Jen back into the Christian community.
KNAPP: When was I gone? Where did I go?
BOTSFORD: For eight years to Australia.
KNAPP: Because I wasn't in your church?
KING: It can't be a sin unless it is chosen?
BOTSFORD: It's not because God says it is a sin.
KING: You can't be a sinner if you are born with four fingers. You can't be a sinner. You don't have a fifth finger.
BOTSFORD: Nothing sinful about having four fingers, Larry.
KING: You can't have four fingers. I don't understand it. You are saying it is a choice?
BOTSFORD: I'm saying Paul clearly says in Galacians (ph) Chapter Two, whatever my life has been up to this point, I have now melt Christ. And Paul says, as a result of what Christ has done for me on the cross, I am to be crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, whether it is homosexuality tendencies, whether it's stealing tendencies, whether it's tendencies of adultery, pedophile. It is no longer I. It's Christ. And the life I live I live by faith. I can't have it both ways.
KING: Ted, we only got a minute left. We are never going to answer this, are we, Ted?
HAGGARD: I think it is an understanding of roles. I think Jennifer is in right. She is saying you do that with your congregation, but we are not your congregation. I think the pastor is right in that I am crucified with Christ. So let Jennifer go through her process as well, and God is the one who will judge it.
KING: Thank you all very much for an enlightened, interesting discussion. We hope to have you back. Jennifer Knapp, Pastor Bob Botsford, and Ted Haggard. When we come back, a tease from "American Idol."
KING: tomorrow night we are replaying our interview with our friends from "American Idol." Here's a preview of our "Idol Gives Back" show, with Ryan, Simon, Ellen, Randy and Kara.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: One aspect of the season's Idol that has a lot of fans buzzing is the back and forth between Ryan and Simon. It's become regular already. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON COWELL, "AMERICAN IDOL": Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
RYAN SEACREST, "AMERICAN IDOL": That is a pathetic answer.
COWELL: If I would be allowed to continue, Ryan. Very boring. There are a lot of people --
Did I see Ryan dancing in the background to that? That, by the way, was beautiful.
SEACREST: Simon is confused as to what artist you want to be.
COWELL: Is that OK with you right now?
SEACREST: One hundred percent I approve. And well-said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We have this question posted to LARRY KING LIVE Facebook page. "I just have to know, is the attitude between Ryan and Simon for ratings or is there real tension there?"
COWELL: Ask Ryan, he is under orders.
KING: Ryan, lay it out.
SEACREST: I am under orders to grovel, and to bow, and to be in awe.
KING: Is he the boss?
COWELL: Yeah, of course.
SEACREST: He did the show in England before any of us did it. It is his baby.
KING: There were a bunch of Tweets to King's Things from people who want to know if there is any chance Paula Abdul will come back to Idol with him going?
SEACREST: We should ask the boss.
COWELL: Where is he?
KING: Are you still the boss of the show after you leave?
COWELL: No, no, no.
SEACREST: You have been doing this longer than any of us?
KING: Will she come back?
COWELL: No, I don't think she will.
Larry, you should just come and join us on the show.
(CROSS TALK0 SEACREST: I want him to come on and do the "this is American Idol" at the top of the show. Can you do it? Right into three.
KING: This is "American Idol."
SEACREST: Done, sold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Thanks for joining us. Time now for "AC 360."