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Pastor Faces Sex Charges; Church Members Defend Bishop; "What the Pope Knew"

Aired September 25, 2010 - 19:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

Tonight, we're going to devote the better part of this hour to a discussion about the controversy swirling around Bishop Eddie Long.

Among those joining us tonight would be Ted Haggard, a man who faced his own sexual scandal while still a minister. There he is live. He's gong to join us in just a bit.

But, first, give us about 60 seconds, we want to catch you up on today's top stories before we get to that.

The torrential rains in the upper Midwest are gone, but the water left behind is causing big problems. Thursday's downpours have led to a weekend of cresting creeks and rivers in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. No reports of deaths or injuries though, but the flooding is expected to last through the weekend.

The Obama administration is asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of the father of a fugitive militant Anwar al-Awlaki. The Yemeni-American cleric's father claims the U.S. government wants to assassinate his son. The government says the case would require the disclosure of highly sensitive national security information. U.S. officials believe al-Awlaki helped recruit the Nigerian suspect accused of trying to blow up the Northwest Airlines' flight as it landed in Detroit on Christmas Day.

A federal judge is ordering the Air Force reserve to reinstate an openly lesbian flight nurse. Major Margaret Witt was discharged in 2007 under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But judge ruled the discharge violated Witt's constitutional rights. This past week, the Senate blocked a defense bill that would have repealed "don't ask, don't tell."

The leader of one of the biggest churches in America is under siege right now because of a string of sexual allegations against him. We're talking about the Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church just outside of Atlanta. He says he will speak tomorrow to his congregation about the charges made in civil lawsuits this week by four young men who had been church members.

Long's address to his flock could -- well, it could make or break the huge religious empire that he built since he took over New Birth. That was back in 1987. And according to the church's Web site, the church had 300 members when Long became pastor. Well, today it claims more than 25,000 members.

Let's get you up-to-date on this developing story now with CNN's Martin Savidge. He's been looking into these shocking allegations in the evolving story here.

So, tell us about tomorrow's church service. This is -- we've been going back-and-forth about exactly when he's going to say --


LEMON: -- what the media's going to be allowed to hear, and so on and so forth.

SAVIDGE: No question, the most important day probably in Bishop Long's life as being a religious leader. And it's going to begin at 8:00 in the morning. There are two services tomorrow, 8:00 and 11:00.

And as far as the media participation of being able to cover the event, there will be the first half hour of the service up until Bishop Long arrives. That will be available. CNN will have a pool camera inside. There will also be the church feed. That's all going on.

At 8:30 when he comes in, it all stops. CNN camera will be asked to leave and the feed from the church service will stop. The reporters who are there will be allowed to remain. They will hear what the bishop says to his congregation, but that is considered to be a private moment for the bishop to speak to his family as they put it.

LEMON: But reasoning behind that? Are they explaining that to you?

SAVIDGE: No, not yet. Other than -- they believe that it's, obviously, a very important communication he is going to make. They do not say in any way, shape, or form what his message is going to be.

LEMON: Here's what people have been saying, the comments, and just people have been just sort of -- I don't know, thinking or assuming this, that he may say something or is going to say something or possibly admitted to something that he doesn't want repeated over and over on videotape.

SAVIDGE: Well, I mean, there will be a live stream fed on the Internet that you can access by going to the church's Web site. The reality is, it's doubtful that will uphold to all of the people that will be logging on to try to see this. But it is possible, we could, in fact, see him make this statement.

But beyond that, he's going to hold a press conference between the two church services. The media's invited -- all accredited news people can be on hand and ask what they want of Bishop Long and of his attorneys.

LEMON: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you.

First, there were two, three and now, there are four young men who are accusing Bishop Eddie Long of coercing them on into sex. Martin Savidge, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

We're going to move on now and talk about this sexual misconduct happens every day. But when the allegations are directed at the clergy, it is especially unsettling.

Ted Haggard has had his own sex scandal and crisis of faith. It was back in 2006. And he joins us from Denver.

Thank you so much for joining us, Ted. How are you doing today?

TED HAGGARD, FACED DRUG & SEX SCANDAL IN 2006: I'm doing well. Good to see you, Don.

LEMON: Good to see you. What do you make of these allegations against Bishop Eddie Long?

HAGGARD: Well, it's very sad. I think it points out to me that over and over and over again. We all hope that our leaders don't have sin in their life or don't fail, but when we look, we find out leaders are just like everybody else.

Whether he's guilty of these particular allegations or not, there are other faults in everybody's life. Everybody needs grace. Everybody's going to fail.

Everybody is, in some measure, a hypocrite in one way or another, and that's always disappointing. And so, I think it just points out to us that we are all humans and we all struggle with the human condition.

LEMON: So, listen, I want to play this, because as with what happened with you, it was said that you were hypocritical in the sense because at first, you didn't tell the truth about it. You said, well, you know, that -- these allegations are false.


LEMON: And you didn't believe in gay marriage and that you didn't believe in homosexuality at all.

So, I want to talk about this -- because Bishop Eddie Long also has said the same things. He doesn't believe in gay marriage. He says it's against God and, as a matter of fact, to me, when I interviewed him back in October of last year, he said the same thing -- I don't believe in gay marriage. It is against God.

Play number two for me, Tom. Talk about a marriage ceremony or a commitment ceremony that he is alleged to have had with one of the young men.


B.J. BERNSTEIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER: Eventually, it turned into such a relationship that the bishop had a ceremony with Anthony Flagg called a covenant. Within that covenant, it was essentially a marriage ceremony where there were some candles, exchange of jewelry, and biblical quotes given in order for Anthony to know and for the bishop to tell him, "I will always have your back and you will always have mine."


LEMON: So, Reverend, is this a matter of hypocrisy? Listen, innocent until proven guilty. If the bishop, you know, does come out -- who knows what he's going to say tomorrow? But is it a matter of hypocrisy here --


LEMON: -- when we hear these allegations?

HAGGARD: Well, I think -- I think it's an issue of incongruity. He probably has a -- now, I'm just guessing here -- but he probably has a theological position that motivates him in some areas of his life. Then he has -- if these allegations are true -- then there's the reality of his own humanity that he's struggling with.

And, of course, the big goal is for all of us to become increasingly congruent between our faith, our belief system, and our own actions. And so, certainly, if what he's going to go through is what I went through, I had to face myself and accept the realities of me -- who I was, what was going on, how that interfaces with Scripture, how that interfaces with life, and get those issues settled. And that's what happens when people go through a crisis like this.

LEMON: So, the church is a very --

HAGGARD: Yes, I know. It's very confusing.

LEMON: It is.

HAGGARD: And it's heartbreaking but we see it all of the time.

LEMON: But what I'm saying is, the church is a very forgiving place -- a very forgiving place. But -- and you admitted these things --

HAGGARD: Well, theologically it is.

LEMON: But you still lost your post and you still lost your church.

HAGGARD: Yes, and well, that's the same thing. People have a theology, a belief system and then the realities. And so, Christians know all have sinned and fall in the glory of God. And Christians know Jesus died for everybody. We don't have any righteousness on our own. But yet Christians are judgmental, that's the same type of congruity. And that happens -- that's why life teaches all of us.

So, these four men are going through some lessons in life, maybe about their own vulnerabilities and their own actions. Eddie -- Bishop Long is going through the same type of thing. So, we from the outside when we look at this, we see this as an incredible learning moment for all of us. But where we become hypocrites is we may say, well, I'm judging him now for hypocrisy and I'm judging the men for not being maybe as responsible as they should to stand up under pressure or whatever.

I think what we need to be from the outside is supportive and encouraging for all parties concerned. Let the church handle this. Let the legal authorities handle this. There's four civil lawsuits.

But our role is to pray that -- there's a tomorrow for all of them -- and to pray that all of them become better men, just like all of us become better men and women as we go through disappointing things in life.

LEMON: OK, listen, there were -- with you, there were e-mails and they tracked your, you know, your credit cards and they tracked online and whatever -- whatever. And you -- I believe you said you got to a point where there was so much evidence where -- that you were glad that that evidence was out there because there was no turning back. You had to tell the truth.

Let's listen to number six and we're going to talk about that.


BERNSTEIN: I have the bishop's private e-mail addresses, more than one. He would text them. He would write them.

They were not saying they're pornographic material -- but this bishop, why, this man who's so power, who's supposed to be busy ministering to his flock, has time to email them back and forth, over and over, throughout the day. Send me a picture of you at school. Not naked or not anywhere, but whatever it is, just send me a picture of you.


LEMON: Again, Reverend, innocent till proven guilty. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

HAGGARD: Right. Well, I think everybody in ministry e-mails a lot of people, texts a lot of people. The content of those texts and e-mails is what is important, not the fact that he does that.

The same way with traveling with people -- all megachurch pastors have to have people travel with them in order to get things done and things like that. What counts -- so traveling isn't indicative of itself. What's indicative is what goes on during those trips.

And all that's yet to come out. All of that will be discussed tomorrow at church, then there will be additional responses. And so, I would just encourage everybody to understand -- this reflects the human condition in a variety of different ways. And we all need to look at that, let it warn us and let it help every one of us as we watch this.

But it won't help all of us if we're just judgmental and harsh. Instead, we need to learn from the four men. We need to learn from --

LEMON: Yes. HAGGARD: -- what's going to with the bishop. And be sympathetic and helpful to wives, children, and understand these are people. They aren't just symbols. They're people --


HAGGARD: -- that we all need to be concerned about. There's enough hate in the world. We can all use a little more love.

LEMON: Reverend, thank you. And I want you to stand-by because we have a lot more to talk about.

The reverend is going to rejoin us in just a little bit.

Plus, what do the members of Bishop Eddie Long's church think about all of this? We have three of them right here and we'll ask them, along with a former employee of the church. And a look at the role of the black church in the lives of its members.

And we want you to be part of this conversation tonight. If you can go on to any of the social network sites, any of the social media there that you see, and send us a comment. We will get on that air and we'll post to our guests.


LEMON: Bishop Eddie Long isn't the only one -- the only one named in the lawsuit against him, so is the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. But Long's congregation, for the most part, appears to be standing behind him. The support essentially has something to do with the fact that nothing has been proven yet. Remember that nothing has been proven yet. These are all allegations.

But we want to bring in a panel to ask what it also says about the faith of the black community, about faith in the black community.

Marc Lamont Hill is a Columbia University professor and he's the host of the syndicated TV show that's called "Our World in Black Enterprise."

And then Shayne Lee is a professor at Tulane University and he's the author of several books examining American religion and culture.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us.

So, Marc, is there a tendency in the black community to elevate church leaders to the level of superstars?

MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, "OUR WORLD WITH BLACK ENTERPRISE": Oh, absolutely. We've seen that since the very beginning of black people's journey here in America. For a long time, preachers are one of the few people who had access to education. They're one the few people who could exercise true leadership.

And for so long, the black church has been a centerpiece, of not just black religious life, but black cultural and black political life. So, preachers are superstars. Before we had presidents and senators, we had celebrity preachers and we continue to sort of raise them up now.

LEMON: So, Shayne Lee, is that necessarily a bad thing?

SHAYNE LEE, ASSOC. PROFESSOR, TULANE UNIVERSITY: It depends. It can be good because I think competition in having people ministers learn from each other and prove their messages and their ministries, their technologies, their ways of meeting their needs and tastes of people, I think that's a good thing. But when you build a spiritual empire, it creates new pragmatic realities that you have to deal with. And that means generating large sums of money and that might challenge the prophetic nature of your ministry, causing you to take shortcuts or even causing you to buy into the hype and to see yourself as a star rather than as a humble servant.

So, I think it could be good in enhancing the professionalism of the black church, but it could also be something that, you know, "Pride comes before a fall," as the Bible says.


And, Marc, why -- you're shaking your head very certainly there. What's going on? Why are you doing that?

HILL: Well, because -- well, because it's so easy you know to be seduced by the cars and the jets and the attention. I mean, you can be -- instead of being a prophet, you can actually just become a pimp. I'm not talking about Eddie Long in particular. I'm talking about anyone who has access to that much adoration at one time.

And I think what we've seen -- and Shayne talks about this actually in his book -- is that many of these preachers have become America's preachers. Many of these people have become people who have transcended even racial boundaries.

And so, when you get an Eddie Long or some of these other -- you know, megachurch ministers, there's a huge possibility, a huge trap, that you can fall into if you're not careful. You could start to think you're God rather than God's prophet.

LEMON: Well, that's what I was going to say, you know, Shayne and Marc. You know, doing this whole story for the past week or so now, I've heard everyone talk about the bishop, my bishop, my bishop, whatever going to stand by him -- which is great. You should stand by on your bishop.

No one has mentioned God or Jesus or Christ in any of this -- Shayne?

LEE: To be fair to Bishop Long, I think that part of his success and the reason why people are so loyal is because he's very effective at preaching a message that speaks to their needs. He's effective at speaking in a language that people understand and his ministry, along with, you know, his own personal finances have done a lot to help the needy, help poor people. So, there is a side to Bishop Long that generates loyalty that comes from -- you know, he does have a humble servant's heart alongside a huge ego and cocky attitude, and bold, kind of masculine presence. So, he is a complex figure. And I think we have to realize both sides of the equation.

LEMON: And might that -- I'm just asking -- might that explain the pictures in the bathroom with the tight spandex or whatever, is that he's bold and cocky and that's just sort of his -- the way that he does business differently than old school preachers?

HILL: Well, there's nothing -- nothing new school about that. Preachers have been doing this since day one. I mean, that's a very generous interpretation, and if this happens to be one of the greatest scandals perpetrated by the plaintiffs, then that could be true.

What I think is more likely is that this is someone who's ego got the best of him, who's desire got the best of him -- someone who lost track of his calling and as a result, ended up in a very, very bad place. And all that we can do is hope that he and the victims make it out.

But those pictures are very damning. I can't imagine any kind of a reasonable explanation for that type of activity from a preacher.

LEMON: That's what I'm going to ask you, Shayne -- if we could put those pictures back up. Seriously, and I'm just -- how do you explain that? You say this is, you know, I'm sending this to you because I want you to work on your spiritual muscle? I mean, how would you -- how would one explain sending those pictures to someone?

LEE: I'm very curious to see how Bishop Long explains it. But I'm surprised that he's going to do a press conference where he's going to take questions because, Don, your very question is what's going to be asked. Then he's going to have to come up with some crazy -- some kind of -- (INAUDIBLE) gymnastics to exegete that picture and to show it in a way where it's not damaging. I totally agree with Marc.

LEMON: Long itself has preached that homosexuality is a sin. It's not unique in the black church. And is that part of the problem -- not necessarily teaching that homosexuality a sin, that's number one the hypocrisy, but also the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the black church.

I read a "Newsweek" article, Marc, saying when are gays and lesbians in the black church going to be treated as equals, or even allowed into the fold?

HILL: Right. I mean, the fundamental question is: will they be treated as human beings, you know? While this is not unusual in the black church, there are strands of black religious thought that are much more open and much more sort of understanding, those who follow the tradition of Jesus and the love ethic is the primary thing that I will love all people and all neighbors as myself.

Other churches, like Eddie Long's, are not only antigay but they're very adamant and extravagant in their campaign against gay/lesbian people.

LEMON: Which is really odd to me -- which is really odd to me, coming from African-Americans who have been discriminated against -- I don't understand why people who've been discriminated against will then turn around and discriminate against other people. They know how it feels.

HILL: Well, I think that there's a sense of shame and embarrassment in the black church. And in the black community in general, I think there's a deep of shame around sexual identity, around homosexuality --


HILL: -- and around sexual abuse. And I think that's you see these types of things happening.

LEMON: Shayne, five seconds. I got to run. What did you want to say?

LEE: It's just this evangelical see the Bible as the authoritative word of God, and as long as they can --


LEE: -- plain reading condemns homosexuality, it's going to be problem.

LEMON: All right. These guys are going to be back with us in a moment. Stay with us, guys.

We've heard what the accusers have to say. Well, tomorrow you're going to hear what Bishop Long has to say. But when we come back we'll talk live with several members of Long's congregation. What they think about these allegations.


LEMON: Their spiritual leader is under fire. So, what kind of toll is the bishop scandal taking on the members of his church and do they continue to stand behind Bishop Eddie Long?

Joining me right here in Atlanta now is: John Campbell III, Gary Foster, and Gabriele Richards.

Thanks to all of you for joining us. They all attend the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

And via Skype from London, we have Kevin Bond. He is a Grammy Award- winning producer and former employee of New Birth.

Kevin, I want to start with you. And I want to ask you since you're now observing from the outside -- do you think that most of the members of the church will stand behind Bishop Long?

KEVIN BOND, FORMER NEW BIRTH EMPLOYEE: First of all, thanks, Don, for the opportunity. I do. The black church is very loyal, even sometimes to a fault. But at the same time, many of them came to Christ under Bishop Long's ministry. So, they will definitely be loyal and trust that he's innocent and hope that these charges can be proven to not be true.

LEMON: And what about your feelings about this? I asked you about them. How do you feel about this?

BOND: Well, without a shadow of the doubt, the information is certainly damaging. The evidence and all of the things that are coming out slowly one piece at a time -- all of that is very troubling to many of us in the gospel community and the Christian community. And it is also my hope that these things are not true and that he'll be able to prove his innocence.


So, John, why do you stand behind the bishop?

JOHN CAMPBELL III, NEW BIRTH CHURCH MEMBER: I personally stand behind the bishop because he's my leader, and as members of the body of Christ, it is our duty to stand behind and lift the arms of our prophet. And that's what I will continue to do until he gives me reason not to.

LEMON: And what about you, Gabrielle?

GABRIELLE A. RICHARDS, NEW BIRTH CHURCH MEMBER: I've been a member for almost eight years now. And ever since I've been there, the ministry has done so much for my family and I, for my friends and I, and for my schoolmates. I stand behind the ministry.

LEMON: OK. Gary?

GARY A. FOSTER, JR., NEW BIRTH CHURCH MEMBER: I stand behind the bishop because of the leader that he is. He is a true leader. The word that he gives is so rich and it's so life-changing. There is something about bishop that you just respect. And I support the ministry because the ministry has supported me. And --

LEMON: When he was -- when he was supposed to speak out on the radio show and then speak out at other times and he didn't, did that -- did that concern you at all, Gabrielle, when -- are you at all asking yourself, any of you, why isn't he talking about this?

RICHARDS: Well, I feel as though he's following his spirit, because it may not be the point of time for them to step out yet. He wants to address his congregation on Sunday and that's what he wants to do. I agree with that.

BOND: Don --

LEMON: Go ahead.

BOND: Don, I think --

LEMON: Hang on. Hang on one second. I want to hear this young man and then we'll get to you, Kevin.

CAMPBELL: I feel this is very typical of bishop. The bishop is a family-oriented man and he will view New Birth as his family, so I do see why he would delay speaking to the radio before speaking to his congregation.

LEMON: Kevin, go ahead.

BOND: Well, we understand the delay, but even those of us in Christendom that are not members of New Birth, we also want to hear from Bishop Long. And there are those that have supported his ministry, bought the books, bought the videos and tapes and the C.D.s as well, and we do want him to speak out so that whatever this clout of suspicion is over him, you know, can be dispersed.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I know it's very tough to listen to this, but I want you to listen to what the lawyer of the accused to say about one of the young men that accused the bishop and their relationship and what happened. Let's play that and then we'll talk about it.


BERNSTEIN: Anthony was moved in and lived in that house for approximately at the end of 11th grade when he was 17 years old. And there, the pastor started to do what adult pedophiles do with younger, younger people -- which is starting to spend time with them, casually watch TV with them and lay his legs on him, and then ask him to massage him and then start explaining to him how special he was to him and it was special for the bishop to be able to spend time with them. They did devotional readings together. He was over there on a regular basis at this house.


LEMON: What do you think when you hear that? What do you think when you hear that, John?

CAMPBELL: I -- I still have a feeling that those -- those are not intentions of bishop. Bishop is known to be a mentor to young men and I feel that him having interaction with this young man or watching TV with him, it's nothing. I don't feel that it was anything with a negative intention behind that.

LEMON: Let me tell you what got my attention about this and I have never admitted this on television. I'm a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid -- someone who was much older than me. And those are the things that they do, the language. This doesn't make you gay if you do this.

So when someone starts to say that, you start to perk up and go -- ooh. Four people have said the same exact story and using the same buzz words. How do people come up with those stories? Did that ever cross any of your minds, Gabrielle, when you heard that four people who have come up with the same exact story who -- two of them know each other, the third one doesn't really know the other one, and the fourth one doesn't know any of them? RICHARDS: When I look at different pedophiles, as said, I don't se bishop as one. If you look at the various things that he's done for the community and for young people in general, none of it boils down to him looking like a pedophile.

LEMON: But it doesn't mean that -- and I'm not saying that the bishop is a pedophile. I'm not saying that the bishop is guilty. But no one is perfect. And so far, you know, I've heard members of the congregation, some people say that, but many people have not even put into their mind the possibility that this man is not perfect and maybe in some way, even if it wasn't - the behavior didn't go as far as what the men were saying, that something there was inappropriate.

Kevin, and as I was saying, Kevin, you're older than these guys. I've never admitted that on television and I never told my mom until I was 30 years old, especially African-American men don't want to talk about those things and don't want to admit them even if there's money involved that you may make money off of it.

KEVIN BOND, FORMER NEW BIRTH EMPLOYEE: You're telling the truth, Don. And the truth of the matter is most people don't lie when it comes to this type of thing and that's why it's so very important that the Bishop speak out and pause and the delay that it's taking for him to speak out is really causing more - making it even more troubling.

LEMON: Yes, I think that you guys are all brave. Kevin, thank you for joining us from London. Thank you, guys, so much. I think that you're very brave and of course, you should stand behind your bishop but you should also have an open mind about this. We hope that these allegations are not true and as I said I've been saying all week there are no winners in this situation.

So best of luck to you tomorrow and come back tomorrow and talk to us about what you heard there in the congregation, OK?


LEMON: Thank you very much.

Black churchgoers often to look their leaders as role models, many times putting them on a pedestal but does that leave them vulnerable to exploitation? Marc Lamont Hill, Shayne Lee and Ted Haggard talk to me about that next.


LEMON: We've been discussing the sex scandal that has now engulfed Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. I want to bring back our panel now. Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill, TV host of "Our World with Black Enterprise" and then Tulane University Professor Shayne Lee. And also Ted Haggard, now the pastor of the St. James Church in Colorado Springs. Thank you, guys, for talking about this.

It was tough to play that for the members of the church. They were so young, but you know, this is reality here. So listen, the woman who is representing the plaintiffs here, the young men, B.J. Bernstein, a very prominent attorney. And B.J. Bernstein doesn't mess around. I mean she did Janarro Wilson, who is involved, a young man - Marc Lamont Hill, you may know him, represented him and got him off. It was a very big case she talked about case and just why she though that she would take it on and she said bring it into federal officials. Take a look at this.


B.J. BERNSTEIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER: And I can tell you this is - gives me the creeps beyond anything that I have ever heard because for someone to use their power and be their pastor and use biblical verses when he is out in front and listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the most homophobic preachers in America, and so he makes these virulent (ph) anti-homosexual remarks and at the same time he's leading apparently some sort of double life.

And these young men are confused. They're confused about their sexuality because at the same time this is happening, they're actually wanting to meet girls. One of these young men is a father of a child because they aren't gay. They just wanted to be loved and cared for by one of the most powerful charismatic men that the churches have ever known.


LEMON: I was looking at your gentlemen's faces as that was going on. Ted, this looks like it pains you?

TED HAGGARD, FACED DRUG & SEX SCANDAL IN 2006: Well the human condition is painful because anybody with a set of ideals especially someone - somebody obligated to teach the scriptures have that set of ideals and therein they've got their humanity. What stress m earlier was when you interviewed the church members, how they said, he did so many good things he couldn't have done this. That is not true. It's not reflective of the human condition. Every pastor is a sinner while at the same time is a saint.

LEMON: Marc?

HAGGARD: And it's a percentage thing. He's a human communicating divine things. And so that struggle is universal and everybody has to accept that.

LEMON: Go ahead, Marc.

HAGGARD: One way or another.

MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, "OUR WORLD WITH BLACK ENTERPRISE": I need to interject here because I think that there's a homophobic undertone that has governed this entire situation, not just with Ted but in the media in general. As Ted points out, the inhumanity of Eddie Long. There is something about him that's fundamentally problematic. It has nothing to do with homosexuality or heterosexuality, it has to do with the exploitation his members. You know, B.J. Bernstein, who have extraordinary respect for him. She actually helped her free Janarro Wilson. And whether or not this boy is gay or not is not even the point. There's nothing exculpatory about being straight. But the point here is that the preacher has exploited his flock. That's problem. As long as we continue to prosecute this in a way that sort of reinforces homophobia both in the church and in our communities, we're going to continue to have problems like this. That's why people like Eddie Long can go out there and be virulently homophobic and at the very same time prey upon the bodies of his flock.

LEMON: So, listen, B.J. Bernstein speaks to that, number three, guys, and play and this and then we'll talk about it.


BERNSTEIN: He would use biblical stories to talk about how important it was to follow your leader and your master and let him know that the acts that he was engaged in were not necessarily meaning that he was a homosexual or that either of them was but the pastor, Bishop Long was releasing his passion and his love for Anthony.


LEMON: Shayne, what do you think of that and what Marc said, there's an underlying homophobia, not only with this case, the way that this case is presented but also with the media and the way it's being interpreted in the public?

SHAYNE LEE, TULANE UNIVERSITY: You can go back to any James (INAUDIBLE) novel that deals with the church to see the black church is a hot bed of sensuality and at times powerful people exploit people under them to yield to those temptations but the difference here is if Bishop Long were accused by women, I think it would be - even if he was guilty, there would be a chance that he could survive. The fact that the black church has such a strong stance - or I should say black churches have strong stances against homosexuality that presents this in a whole different light as far as damaging his career. I think if - if these allegations even hold partially true to show someone who has same-sex erotic urges, his ministry is done.

LEMON: So, Ted, we're talking about the black church here. Is the black church, do you think, more homophobic in a sense than the white church?

HAGGARD: I think that the main line churches aren't much less but my experience was that evangelicalism was, their response to me was incredibly, incredibly harsh because of the homosexual element. And it's much easier, culturally, if you're tendency is heterosexual than if it's same-sex attraction but I think the overall point is the church is not the getter (ph) and the getter (ph) of the righteous.

It is the getter (ph) of the great fully redeemed and we've got to get over the fact that our leaders, Sunday school teachers or anybody else, nobody is perfect. Everybody's in process and I don't say that to justify or explain anything away. Just as a lesson and reality that when we exult people and when we start thinking they're perfect, we're just in for a disappointment. And if it isn't this particular sin, it is another one, all have sinned. Everyone needs redemption.

LEMON: That's going to have to be the last word.

Thank you, guy, so much. Ted Haggard. Shayne Lee, Marc Lamont Hill. A very interesting conversation. A very smart conversation and no yelling and screaming, just how I like it. Thank you so much, guys.

HILL: Thanks, Don.

HAGGARD: Thank you.

LEMON: Have a great evening.

LEE: Pleasure.

LEMON: Looking at some of your top stories coming up next and he's often called the Holy See but did the Pope turn a blind eye to the sex abuse going on in the Catholic Church?


LEMON: Top stories right now on CNN.

This Christian concert got under way in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, just a short time ago. The "Rock The Fort" event is put on by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Critics tried to get it cancel. They say it blurs the line between church and state.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell are spearheading a last-ditch effort to salvage Israeli- Palestinian peace talks. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to quit the talks if Israel does not extend the freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, it is due to expire tomorrow.

And earthquake ravaged Haiti. Searchers are looking for people who may be trapped or injured after a ferocious storm yesterday. Heavy winds and rains pounded the capital of Port-au-Prince, without warning killing five people and tearing down trees, power lines and tents, providing shelter to quake survivors.

We're going to take a short break and then we'll be right back.


LEMON: At a small school for the deaf in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as many as 200 deaf boys were raped or sexually abused by the priest and head pastor at the school. It was one of the most notorious cases of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tonight a CNN exclusive. The first interview with one of those victims who is now suing Pope Benedict. It's part of a CNN special documentarily examining what Pope Benedict did or didn't do about the crisis. CNN's Gary Tuchman has the story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a lakeside retreat in northern Wisconsin -


TUCHMAN: Terry Kohut tries to escape his past. It isn't easy.

50 years ago when he was just 10 years old, Terry who is deaf was sent to the St. John School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What happened there to Terry and up to 200 other deaf boys is now central to the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

And to the question of what Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger knew about it all. Terry Kohut has never spoken publicly about the horrors he endured at St. John's until now.

(on camera): What did he do to you?

TERRY KOHUT, ABUSE VICTIM (through translator): And then it was that afternoon when I went into his office, the door was closed and the Father Murphy said, take your pants down.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Father Lawrence Murphy was the head master and priest at St. Johns for more than two decades. He was a charismatic fund-raiser and respected church leader but Father Murphy has also been identified by dozens of deaf men who say he raped and sexually abused them as children for years.

Father Murphy's abuse would come to the direct attention of Cardinal Ratzinger, but his handling of the case would stun Murphy's victims.

DAVID GIBSON, POLITICSDAILY.COM: I think what the Murphy case shows is the deference that Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict would always give to the priest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What actually happens in court -

TUCHMAN: Today, Terry Kohut is suing the Vatican for what Father Murphy did to him at St. Johns. His lawsuit is the first to ever specifically name Joseph Ratzinger and now Pope Benedict. Until now, Terry Kohut has been anonymous, named only as John Doe 16.

KOHUT (through translator): Yes, I was confused. I said why? What's happening. He is a priest. I was trying to figure out what - I can't believe a priest would do that.

TUCHMAN: The priest is believed to have picked out victims who were especially vulnerable or had been through tragedy already in their young lives.

Terry Kohut fit that pattern. KOHUT (through translator): My brother was electrocuted, died when I was 10. And when I was 11, my father hung himself. And at 12, my favorite dog died and it tore me up and I saw Father Murphy and I thought that he could be a second father.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Tell me why, Terry, you have decided to file suit? What do you want to se happen?

KOHUT (through translator): I want to sue the Vatican because I have been waiting for all these years for them to excommunicate, defrock Father Murphy, but they haven't.


LEMON: Gary Tuchman joins me now with more on his documentary. So Gary, what did Cardinal Ratzinger do about Father Murphy? Was he allowed to die still a priest?

TUCHMAN: Well, the bishop of Milwaukee at the time wrote letters to Cardinal Ratzinger saying please, this man must be defrocked, he's a molester. Scores of deaf kids have been molested by him and we need him defrocked immediately. So what happened was Father Murphy then sent a note to Cardinal Ratzinger saying I'm old, I'm sick, please let me die in peace. And a couple of weeks later, the bishop of Milwaukee said we're going to let him die in peace and he ended up dying a Catholic priest and was never defrocked.

LEMON: The stories sound familiar to me, working in the Chicago area. This sounds familiar. But why, what prompted us to do this story at CNN?

TUCHMAN: The main reason - there are two main reasons we ended up doing it. One, because you just saw Terry Kohut decided to sue Pope Benedict and the Vatican, the first of its kind situation. But the second and very important reason is we have documentation, Vatican documents, that were literally in Vatican safe for 30 years, that were subpoenaed and we were able to get, and they show beyond any doubt that Cardinal Ratzinger did know about the situation back then. He's publicly apologized on behalf of the church, but he's never personally apologized.

LEMON: This is going to be very interesting. Thank you, Gary Tuchman.

TUCHMAN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: I'm looking forward to seeing this. Make sure you catch the entire documentary, "What the Pope Knew." Tonight, and also tomorrow night as well. It will air both nights at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. Just in a few minutes, right after this program, make sure you stay tuned.

Up next in the CNN NEWSROOM, Obama bashing and staged brawls, our political ticker straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: It's time right now for a "CNN = Politics" update. We're keeping an eye on the latest headlines on the political ticker. So we'll start in Nevada tonight where Republican Senate hopeful Sharron Angle says two supporters of her opponent Harry Reid staged a scuffle that erupted at a candidate forum.

Angle tells a radio host two women were in her words "looking for a fight." A Reid spokeswoman says Angle's remarks make people, "literally question her sanity. The latest CNN poll shows Angle leading Reid by a single point.

South Carolina Senator Jim Demint has made a name for himself by endorsing conservative challengers of some of his fellow Republicans. Now he's writing a fundraising letter blasting his GOP colleagues for allowing Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski to retain her leadership post on the energy committee. Murkowski lost her party primary and she recently announced plans to run a write-in campaign against her Democratic and Republican opponents.

Mitt Romney looked an awful lot like a presidential candidate while speaking at New Hampshire's GOP convention today. The former Massachusetts governor bashed the present administration of borrowing - he was borrowing from Ronald Reagan saying "that it's not that liberals are ignorant, it's just that what they know is wrong."

Among the states, New Hampshire has one of the earlier Republican presidential primaries and that's why he's there.

I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. I'll see you here at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. If you missed any of our discussions this hour on the sexual allegations facing Bishop Eddie Long, we're going to replay it for you at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and up next, a special look at the Catholic Church, the sex scandal abuse there. A CNN exclusive, "What the Pope Knew." It starts after a quick break.