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KING: It destroys a marriage.

MOHLER: As a matter of fact I...

KING: Oh, you are?

MOHLER: I find myself often in hot water for that because I believe the Bible is as clear about divorce as about the fact that homosexuality is a sin and I will be the first to say that the very fact that divorce is so accepted in this culture is one of the greatest threats to the family and to our civilization and our society, one of the greatest causes of pain and one of the greatest demonstrations of sin in our time.

So, I'm right there on the front lines to say that our acceptance of a divorce culture is one indication of how far we've come from God's vision of how deeply we have absorbed a deep antagonism in opposition to God's plan.

And, I think it opened the door, Larry, for the very conversation we're having about same-sex marriage. If we had held the line at divorce, I don't think we'd be having this current conversation.

KING: And so, therefore, unhappy people should stay together?

MOHLER: Unhappy people should find out how to be happy together by fulfilling their covenant promises to each other made before God. I think that's the way to find happiness.

KING: Guy Padgett, do you think, do you agree with Chad that some day gay marriage will come in this country or in many states?

PADGETT: Well, you know, I mean if you look around the world, I think there are many nations who have been open to the changing role of marriage in our society and that's exactly the point I want to make here.

I'm glad to hear that the reverend is open to the possibilities of unions or some of those benefits being conveyed but I think that we forget so often that the role of marriage in our society has changed so much over the years. I mean a particular interest of mine is Elizabethan history in England and when you look at the marriages that were made back then they were not made for the same reasons that they're made now. They were made for political gain or for jockeying with one another.

And you look further back when it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife. I mean I'm not saying that any of these things are right or the way they should be but just to simply point out that the role of marriage in our society has evolved over the years tremendously and I believe it will continue to do so.

KING: Let's get a break, come back and I'll reintroduce the panel and we'll take your phone calls. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O'DONNELL: We got married. There you go. We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president said the vile and vicious and hateful comments he did on Tuesday, with liberty and justice for all. Peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: "Brokeback Mountain" has brought the gay issue foremost again and we are discussing it tonight with Janet Parshall, the host of "Janet Parshall's America," on the board of directors of the National Religious Broadcasters Association.

In Louisville, Kentucky is our R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here in Los Angeles, Chad Allen, the openly gay actor best known for his long-running role on "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" and start of the movie "End of the Spear." It opens in theaters this Friday, it's a decidedly Christian movie.

And in Casper, Wyoming, is Guy Padgett, the openly gay politician. He was mayor of Casper last year and now serves on its city council. Let's go to calls. Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Mr. King?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. I'm the mother of a gay man, I'm also -- I was raised a Baptist and I consider myself a true Christian. It breaks my heart to listen to the reverend and Ms. Parshall.

I saw the agony that a young man can go through. As an adolescent until he's -- because of my husband and I accepting him, supporting him and loving him, he's been in the same relationship for 20 years. Have they -- my question is, have they ever had the privilege of having a friendship with a gay person? I hope they will so they will not speak of them as sub-human the way they are tonight. It's breaking my heart.

KING: Reverend Mohler, do you have any gay friends?

MOHLER: Yes, yes I do as a matter of fact. And I don't think it's fair to categorize anything that's been said here today as speaking of homosexuals as sub-human. As a matter of fact, I think we have learned...

KING: But you speak of them as sinners.

MOHLER: ... Well, I want to speak of myself as a sinner, Larry. It's just a matter of which kind of sin and which pattern of temptation.

KING: You don't seem as angry as yourself. Just a comment.

MOHLER: Well, I mean, we're talking about what you asked me to talk about here and I'm glad to do it.

KING: I know.

MOHLER: You know, when we talk about the issue of homosexuality I do want to say I think the Christian community, conservatives Christians have learned a lot in recent years that has corrected some of our thinking and some of the ways we've been speaking. And I think you hear a maturing there where we understand that there are choices in sexuality, we're all responsible for the choices we make, but we're also coming to an increasing understanding, consistent with our understanding of sin and our human lives, of how deeply embedded this struggle is.

I hear this mom, I love her love for her son, but you know, we have to be really careful that we don't accept the wrong things when it comes to behavior, and we don't bless the wrong hopes. And that's where -- I want to come back to say, I don't know thinking about sex that's really all that important to know, that other people haven't figured out a long time ago.

But God, our creator has something to say about sex in his word and to that, we're absolutely accountable. But beyond that, Larry, I think one of the sad things about most conversations about homosexuality and especially when you have people like I'm honored to be with on your panel tonight, I don't want for homosexuals to know less joy than they know now.

I want them to know more joy, great joy, eternal joy. And I believe that can only happen as they come to know the Lord Jesus Christ his savior and as they find out what God's perfect intention and design was for their lives all along.

KING: Janet, how would you respond to the mother? PARSHALL: Well first of all, let me tell you one mother to another mother, Chicago, I appreciate your exemplary, unconditional love for your son. I think that's our calling as moms.

But I have to tell you, that I think Al makes a very important point. And that is, if we have a child that's engaged in a wrongful behavior, not wrong because we decided to say it was wrong, but wrong because absolute transcendent eternal truth said don't engage in that behavior, because you're going to get hurt.

Then I think the loving thing to do as a parent is to say, "I love you, honey, I will love you until the day I die, but I want to encourage you to make another choice because the one you're making now, in the end, is going to be very hurtful and harmful."

KING: Chad, how have your parents dealt with it?

ALLEN: My parents, they had a hard time. We're friends again, we have a wonderful family relationship. But I have to say, if they're going to speak about absolute transcendent truth, I need to tell you, I know absolute transcendent truth.

I have a deep relationship with God and my understanding. It's very powerful, and it's taken its own shape and form. And I am very much at peace in the knowledge that in my heart God created this beautiful expression of my love.

Listen, Larry, we are going to be different, we're going to disagree on the details of this and we probably always will. The point is and I think this is where the reverend was heading and I appreciate it.

You know, I made this movie with a group of conservative Christians who do not agree with my expression of sexuality. But we said to each other, I will walk with you accepting your differences and we can create together. I will give you your space to respect you fully. They don't need to take away from my freedom, I don't need to take away from theirs. And I am so proud to have done that. That's the kind of bridge-building I think we can get to.

KING: You have a brother who is straight, right?

ALLEN: I do, yes, I've got several brothers.

KING: Guy, how did your parents deal with it?

PADGETT: My parents were wonderful. My parents were wonderful, my family was wonderful, accepting. They knew that this was who I was. And my grandparents, from my conservative southern grandmother in South Carolina up to my go get 'em, liberal grandma up in New York, there was one thing they could agree on, and that was to love -- and to love me.

And that's really the chord here that we've struck on, maybe unknowingly. But this is about love. This is about people who love one another. This is about a society loving itself, loving its children, loving one another and coming to accept one another.

You know, that's the one thing that I think runs through everybody's statement here. I don't know about much about eternal truths, but I know about love. And you know it's a beautiful thing.

KING: Whatley, Alabama, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. How are you doing tonight? I've got a question over there for Chad.

KING: Chad.

CALLER: Chad, by whose standard do you think that it's right to live the way you have chosen to live?

ALLEN: By the standard that I judge all of my actions. These days I judge all of my actions by my relationship with God of my understanding. It is a deep-founded, faith-based belief in God based upon the work that I've done growing up as a Catholic boy and then reaching out to Buddhism philosophy, to Hindu philosophy, to Native American beliefs and finally as I got through my course with addiction and alcoholism and finding a higher power that worked for me.

You know, I had to sit down with that same God today and say, "Do you want me to go on this show? Do you want me to speak the things that are in my heart? And if not, I'm happy not to go. Do you want me to make this movie?" It's the same God that I go to for every decision.

KING: Are you pained when religious leaders or spokesman call you a sinner or criticize you?

ALLEN: You know what, here's where I'm at. It really doesn't pain me to hear them say, "We believe you're a sinner." That's OK. That's your belief, I can accept that. That's OK, I understand that. It does -- you know, I'm engaged in it right now. I'm in a week where I'm getting attacked by a lot of Christians with a lot of anger for doing this movie, for playing this part. And it does hurt, Larry. It hurts me deeply.

KING: You play a Christian, right?

ALLEN: I play a Christian, yes. And they're going to be saying, "This is the way you be Christian, there's only one way." Well you know what, there isn't. I'm a part of a wonderful community church here in Pasadena that has a very different interpretation of those same gospels that they are speaking of. There isn't just one way to do this, there are a lot of paths.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was there as Elton John and David Furnish were all smiles, greeting fans outside Windsor's town hall. They became one of England's first legally bound gay couples, giving a thrill to Elton John fans who turned out for the ceremony, and giving hope to those who hope to see this scene repeated more times throughout the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Back to our callers. New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I have a couple of comments. One is that we live here in America, and we're talking about the separation of church and state for one thing. Civil unions should be for everybody, gay, straight, lesbian, heterosexual, everybody. As far as the government is concerned, we should all have civil unions. And if the churches and the synagogues want to have marriage, they can call it marriage. Who cares. But as far as the civil rights issue, everybody should have civil unions.
 
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