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KING: Guy Padgett, have you seen the film?

GUY PADGETT, OPENLY GAY FMR. MAYOR OF CASPER, WYOMING: No, I'm afraid not. The film only just came to Casper last week, so I haven't had a chance to go see it. I've read the short story, which I found to be poignant, very touching, a very powerful story about what happens when we live in a society that demands that we deny our true selves.

I wouldn't even call it a love story so much as a story about two star-crossed lovers. It was a very touching story I thought and I've no doubt that it made a sweeping movie.

KING: It just opened in Casper?

PADGETT: Yes, I'm afraid so. It just opened here last week. We are a smaller media market, so sometimes small openings don't begin here in Casper.

KING: Did you know the young man who was murdered in Wyoming because he was gay?

PADGETT: Matt Shepard you're referring to?

KING: Matthew Shepard, yes.

PADGETT: Matt was a dear friend of mine from junior high and from high school before he moved away for school so, yes, I knew Matt. I knew Matt well.

KING: Did you know the people who killed him?

PADGETT: No, no I didn't and I'm not sure that I want to.

KING: How do you rationalize it in your own mind to know that he was killed just because he had a certain sexual feeling?

PADGETT: Well, I mean it's a weird feeling. It's disturbing. I mean, you know, I'd always felt that Wyoming wasn't that sort of place where we'd have that kind of crime based on fear and hate and to see that this sort of thing could happen here it did shake me to the bone I'll be the first to admit.

But I was also so pleased to see in the aftermath of that how the people of Wyoming really came together, really had to look at themselves, look at one another and decide that we're not that kind of place. We're not a place that's governed by hate. And, I think that in the end maybe that there was some good and some positive that came out of that horrific crime.

KING: Janet, will you say that your cause is hurt when you hear of a Matthew Shepard?

PARSHALL: Well I will say what Jonathan Dunn, the great poet said, "Every man's death diminishes me." I think his death was egregious. I think the homeless man who was beaten to death, his death is egregious. I think the Christian who was beheaded in Indonesia is an egregious death as well.

But I think it's wrong, Larry, to think that somehow one death is more problematic, more egregious than the death of another human being and I think for someone to be killed because of their sexuality, if in fact that was the case, is as wrong as killing someone because of their skin color or because of their religious belief.

KING: You don't question that's why he was killed?

PARSHALL: Well, there's a lot of questions about his background. Was he, in fact-- and this is no way, shape or form a justification of what happened because it was wrong, wrong and wrong. Let there be no ambiguity there.

But in reality I understand that Matthew was somewhat of a person who hung around some of the gay bars and was coming on to some people. So, was he looking for trouble in all the wrong places?

If I were his mom, I would have given him some counsel stay away from that kind of a lifestyle because there's a way that seems right on demand and the end therein is death and unfortunately it cost Matthew his life.

KING: Chad, do you know why you're gay?

ALLEN: I believe...

KING: This is unenviable, the question I ask forever.

ALLEN: Of course, you know, it all comes down to that basic fear. You know I'm right now in a position where I'm getting attacked a lot because of who I am as a gay man. I'm coming out in a movie called "End of the Spear" in a story that's very dear to conservative Christians and some of the Christians don't like that idea.

KING: That a gay man is playing it?

ALLEN: A gay man is playing that character and the bottom line is always comes down to that same idea. I am afraid that if I support you and if I allow you to have your freedom that will somehow tell my children that it's okay to be gay.

KING: But did you choose it? In other words, did you sit down one day and say gay/straight, gay/straight I think I'll be gay?

ALLEN: No. Larry, this is the way it is. From as early as I can possibly remember I was attracted to men and not to women. That's just the way that it goes. I didn't have somebody like me talking on TV about it. I didn't have gay influences in my family. It just is and I have come to accept that it is goodness and it's part of who I am.

KING: We'll take a break and when we come back we'll ask Reverend Mohler when he chose to be heterosexual. We'll come right back. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if you and me had a little ranch somewhere, a little cow and calf operation it would be a sweet life? Now (INAUDIBLE) you better give me a down payment to get lost and then he more or less already said it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I told you it ain't going to be that way. The bottom line is we're around each other and if this thing grabs a hold of us again in the wrong place and the wrong time we're dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATH LEDGER, STARS IN "BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN": For me it's a story of how love transcends all, the environment you're born in, the opinions of generations before you, i.e. your family, your parents, your father and how love is stronger than opinions that are installed in you as a child and that it can break down those barriers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Reverend Mohler, if you believe that being gay is a choice, did you choose to be heterosexual?

MOHLER: Well, in some sense yes but when I say it's a choice and I would have to go back before that to say there are desires and even what we might call a sexual or erotic profile that goes back beyond when any of us ever knew we made a choice.

I don't doubt for a minute, Larry that there are millions of people who struggle with attractions to the same sex or other kinds of attractions that they don't even know they ever chose. They may never have and as they know themselves would never have chosen them.

But the big issue for all of us is how we find out what our creation was all about and what we were made for and why this incredibly powerful thing called sex is such a big part of our lives and how we are to bring it into a right alignment.

In other words, there are heterosexuals who struggle with all kinds of desires that are just not right desires and when it comes right down to it I, as a Christian, believe that we are also deeply affected by sin that we don't even know ourselves well enough to know why we desire the things we desire.

What I hope for is that persons, heterosexual and homosexual, will come to know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, would come to know new life in him, would come to understand that sinners can find the only help that is -- that is worth finding and the only salvation and solution to our problems by coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and then understanding that God, our creator, has the right to define every aspect of our lives including our sexuality.

KING: Do you know why if it's such a beautiful thing that it's a sin to do it?

MOHLER: To do sex?

KING: Sex, why is it a sin to have sex if it's so beautiful?

MOHLER: Well, I don't think it is a sin to have sex within the confines of marriage.

KING: I mean outside of marriage, gay sex, outside of marriage sex. It's a beautiful thing. Who does it harm? MOHLER: Well, you know, that is the problem. I can't say it's a beautiful thing. It may be something the world finds attractive. There may be pleasure in it that is passing but I think the only thing that can genuinely be beautiful is that which is also good and true and that means just as the creator intended it for us.

KING: Right but that's what you think. You don't want your thoughts to be his thoughts. The creator doesn't say because I say it everyone must do it because you have free choice right?

MOHLER: Well...

KING: So you're not making a judgment are you?

MOHLER: Well I am making a judgment...

KING: You are?

MOHLER: ...in saying that what Al Mohler thinks about this really isn't all that important but what the creator thinks about it is determinative. It's absolutely important.

It's the criterion that will be used even on a day of judgment that I firmly believe is coming when heterosexuals and homosexuals will be judged for all of our sin. And, yes, God will hold us accountable. We have free choice in terms of free agency deciding whether we're going to obey or disobey but we are accountable.

 
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