Whatever your view on homosexuality might be as it pertains to Christianity, there's probably one place one wouldn't go to seek clarity on the issue - a Jewish TV host that's in his seventh marriage.
However, CNN, the so-called most trusted name in news, had "Larry King Live" host Larry King tackle this issue on his April 23 program in a special broadcast entitled "Can You Be Christian and Gay?" King's special featured recently-out Christian singer Jennifer Knapp, embattled former evangelical preacher Ted Haggard and Horizon Christian Fellowship Senior Pastor Bob Botsford.
But it was Botsford, who had previously been somewhat critical of Knapp's decision to go public with her sexuality, that took the brunt of the questioning from King, a TV anchor not normally known for hardball questioning, unless it involves this issue (i.e., his interview with former Miss California Carrie Prejean).
Partial Transcript Below Fold
In the first of a series of exchanges, King asked Botsford about sexuality being a "choice":
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's next assault on Botsford principled stand involved the CNN anchor trying to justify the act of homosexuality despite it being a "sin," as it is spelled out in the New Testament as "unseemly."
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.
And the next seemingly over-the-top exchange involved Larry King suggesting Botsford's stance on homosexuality might encourage people to "kill gay people." Then King trots out the argument that Christians aren't supposed to eat shellfish, but they do anyway and therefore, homosexuality should be accepted within Christianity - otherwise Christians are hypocrites.
KING: 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 --
KNAPP: God changed his mind on mankind. And he gave his savior for one and for all.
Botsford went on to explain that God clarified his stance on shellfish in the book of Acts through a vision from Peter. However, King suggested that Ted Haggard could have been given a vision about homosexuality from God, as was given to Peter, and that might make homosexuality OK in God's eyes.
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