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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Victory Parade for Ravens in Baltimore; Boy Scouts to Vote on Gay Scoutmaster Policy; Interview with Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land; Comedian Mom's Take on Life

Aired February 5, 2013 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Bottom of the hour now, and the excitement is building on the streets of Baltimore. In a matter of hours, the Super Bowl champion Ravens will be honored with a victory parade going from Baltimore to the stadium.

And CNN's Rene Marsh is live in Baltimore with a preview. Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brooke. We're right in front of city hall, where it's all going to begin. And take a look at all the fans, they're all lined up, they've all got their Ravens gear on and let's just say they're a little bit fired up here, if you could still hear me so it will all start here and then it heads over to the M&T Bank, and these folks are excited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very excited. Very excited!

MARSH: I want to tell you this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here!

MARSH: I want to tell you this, they have lined up here for hours. This man has been here for quite some time. What time did you get out here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually I got here at 11:00 last night.

MARSH: 11:00, very early considering the parade does not get here until 10:30.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to see Mr. Lewis and say thank you. I got my front row seat.

MARSH: You know what, Brooke, they are fired up, ready, we're going to hear from the mayor of Baltimore, also hear and see the players as well. We'll send it back to you.

BALDWIN: Rene, thank you, live on CNN in the daytime.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: They need to get themselves excited there, they seemed --

BALDWIN: Your Pats fans would be more jazzed?

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: All right, Christine, give us some headlines, please.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A lot of news going on here today. Let's get to it. Lawyers for George Zimmerman will be in Orlando in the courtroom on what would have been Trayvon Martin's birthday. They're requesting a trial delay. Zimmerman faces second- degree murder charges. Trayvon Martin would have been 18 yields today. The unarmed teen was shot and killed nearly one year ago. Zimmerman claiming he pulled that trigger is self-defense.

A chilling moment in the court, the woman accused of killing her ex- boyfriend in a gruesome 2008 attack she confessed to the jury she is a murderer. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill Travis Alexander on June 4th, 2008?

JODI ARIAS, ACCUSED OF MURDER: Yes, I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The 32-year-old went on to say she acted in self-defense when she stabbed her ex-boyfriend 27 times, slashed his throat from ear to ear and shot him twice in the head. If convicted she faces the death penalty.

A Catholic hospital says it was, quote, "morally wrong" to argue a fetus is not a person in a Colorado wrongful death lawsuit. The argument directly contradicts the moral teaches of the church. Jeremy Stodgel sued the hospital after his wife and the unborn twins died in the lobby in 2006. He has petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to hear his case.

Apple's newest product, the iPad 4, comes equipped with a whopping 128 gigabytes of storage, but all that memory has a high tag. The highest end starts at $799 for Wi-Fi only, $929 for high speed connectivity.

Tired of flying with screaming babies or kids, maybe those are your kids, John Berman, there's an airline for you, kids under 12 are banned from the first seven rows of economy cabins on select Air Asia X flights. It offers quiet zones on quiet flights to China, Australia, Japan. You can book for an additional fee between $11 and $35. Can you hire someone to take care of your own children so you can sit in that zone is unclear.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm confused. I'm confused. First seven rows so what about sitting in the eighth row? You're not going to hid the kid screaming?

ROMANS: Put out your head phones.

(CROSSTALK) MARTIN: If kids are out of control people need to say sit down and be quiet.

BERMAN: If you want a quiet flight go to Malaysia.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: The Boy Scouts of America expected to vote tomorrow on whether to life the ban on gay members. This would allow openly gay scouts and scout leaders to participate in some troops. Yesterday, 42 socially conservative organizations sponsored a half page ad in "USA Today" asking the Boy Scouts to keep their ban on gay members.

BALDWIN: Richard Land is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Land's group is one of the signees in this ad.

Mr. Land, good morning.

RICHARD LAND, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION ETHICS AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION: Good morning.

BALDWIN: Let's begin with the ad here in and of itself. Let me just read part of this. The ad that the Southern Baptist Convention says this, quote, "Every American who believes in freedom of thought and religious liberty should be alarmed by the attacks upon the Boy Scouts who have had core convictions about morality for 100 years."

Ultimately, this is up to Boy Scouts of America, right, to reevaluate the policy which we should find out in the next couple of days. So my question to you is how do you perceive this organization, to use your word, is under attack and by whom?

LAND: Well, because they have said so. They came and briefed several of our leaders and told us that they were losing corporate sponsors and they were under pressure from corporate sponsors and from some of the troops, particularly on the East Coast and the West Coast, who wanted this policy changed.

And remember, six months ago they completed a two-year study in which they said that the policy they've had in place for over 100 years was supported by the overwhelming number of the parents of the youth they served. And six months later, they're contemplating changing the policy.

And what they've said to us and other religious leaders is we're doing this under pressure and we're going to give people basically what amounts to a local option. You can't have a local option of a core conviction.

BERMAN: I'm not sure I understand that. You say they're doing this under pressure, but the Boy Scouts of America is still the group making the choice. You say "freedom of thought" in your speech. Don't they have the freedom of thought to make their decision as a national organization? And don't these local groups, aren't they also expressing their freedom of thought if they want to allow gay members? LAND: Well, we believe that this is going to be -- if they make this decision, it's going to be a catastrophe for the Boy Scouts, as 1.1 million scouts belong to troops that are sponsored by the Mormon Church, by Roman Catholics, by Methodists, and by Baptists, and overwhelmingly those groups are opposed to this change in policy.

This is not a vote that's going to be taken by the Boy Scouts nationwide. It's going to be taken by the board of directors and the board of directors have sent people to say to us, look, you know, we are doing this under pressure because we're losing corporate sponsors.

Now, yes, we live in a democracy and people can make this choice, but if they do, it's going to be a catastrophe, because Baptist scouts and Catholic scouts and Mormon scouts and Methodist scouts, many of them are going to vote with their feet and leave the scouts. What they're doing is to appease their left coast and right coast appendages. They're cutting out the heart and soul of scouting in the rest of the country.

BALDWIN: Richard, let me just take that aside for a minute and ask you about this. I know you have experience in these kinds of decisions, so the Southern Baptist Convention, this is back in 2000, basically banning women from being pastors in churches, so ultimately you allowed the decision to sit with the churches. There are several senior pastoral positions on SBC churches. So how when you talk about women or boys -- I hear you laugh. Why laugh? How is that different?

LAND: We have about 45,000 churches and we have about 100 that have women pastors. I think the convention has expressed its will. Our confession of faith is not binding on any particular Southern Baptist, but it's an expression of what we believe the bible teaches, and the vast majority of Southern Baptists uphold that.

What the scouts are doing is going back on a core value and they're saying a core value is a local option, and in doing so, they're going to undermine the freedom that they achieved under the Supreme Court decision in 2000. In 2000, the Supreme Court said that the Boy Scouts did not have to have homosexual scout masters because their belief about sexual morality was a core value. If you make it a local option, it's no longer a core value.

"The New York Times" editorial page said if the Boy Scouts do this they've left themselves vulnerable to lawsuits and it will not be a local option for very long. The scouts will be required to allow homosexual scoutmasters in all troops.

BERMAN: The Supreme Court did rule on that decision in 2000 so I'm not sure I follow you there. When you're talking about the vast majority of --

LAND: Let me explain it, let me explain, let me explain it to you. They were protected because it was a core value. If a core value becomes a local option, it's no longer protected by the First Amendment.

BERMAN: Do you think -- you say the heart and soul of scouting, you say the heart and soul of scouting. Are you saying not allowing gay members is the heart and soul of scouting?

LAND: The scouts have said for themselves for over 100 years that traditional morality is at the core value of scouting, teaching them to be morally straight, and now they're going to make it a local option under pressure from corporations and from some scout groups. A core value is not a local option. When a core value becomes a local option, it's just a preference and preferences are normally not protected by the first amendment. Core values and convictions are.

And let me say one other thing that nobody wants to talk about, and that is that homosexuals, by definition, are attracted to people of the same sex. I'm not accusing homosexuals of being pedophiles, but I'm accusing homosexuals of being what they say they are, attracted to males. How many people that are listening to me would allow their teenaged girls to go on campouts and engage in camping activities with heterosexual males?

BALDWIN: Homosexuals are no more pedophiles than heterosexuals. You have to look at that.

LAND: I didn't say that. Let me finish what I'm saying. I'm saying heterosexual males would not be allowed to be girl scout masters, why? Because they're attracted to girls, to young women. In the same way, homosexual males, I'm not talking about pedophiles, I'm talking about homosexual means attracted to the same sex. Do parents really want to allow their teenaged boys to go on campouts with men who are attracted to the same sex? They wouldn't let their girls go on campouts with men who are attracted to women.

This verges on being beyond the realm of the rational, and it's going to lead to human tragedy. It's going to lead to human tragedy and the human tragedy is going to be sadly boys and men who are going to end up in relationships that are going to be tragic.

BERMAN: Again, when I was a Cub Scout, I can speak from personal experience -- we had den mothers, you know, obviously opposite sex of the Cub Scout troop, so --

BALDWIN: And also just finally when you read -- hold on, sir.

LAND: We're not talking about Cub Scouts here, we're talking about Boy Scouts.

BALDWIN: The purpose of the Boy Scouts to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character. How do you build character in a young boy when other boys who are their friends are not allowed to be part of the group because they are not seen as the same because they are gay?

LAND: Boy Scouts have the right to define character, and they define character as being morally straight, and that involves being sexually pure and being a heterosexual. If homosexuals want to have a different organization, then let them form one, not let them try to destroy 102-year-old one and take away its core values.

BERMAN: Richard Land from the Southern Baptist Convention, thanks for joining us this morning. I appreciate it.

LAND: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

She writes, she performs, she produces on E! Channel's "Chelsea Lately." Now comedian Heather McDonald has a new book talking about her hilarious family. She joins us this morning. Good morning!

HEATHER MCDONALD, AUTHOR, "MY INAPPROPRIATE LIFE": Hello.

MCDONALD: Nice to meet you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: She is one of the cast members and a regular on the round table during late night's "Chelsea Lately" and its spin-off show if you've caught it -- it's called "After Lately". Now comedian, performer, writer, mom, wife Heather McDonald is here joining us now. Her new book is "My Inappropriate Life" and she joins us.

Heather McDonald, why so inappropriate?

MCDONALD: Well, I work on a very inappropriate show.

MARTIN: No, really?

MCDONALD: And it's not a classy organization like CNN. And I do crazy sketches and characters and very off-topic type of conversations that we have. I mean, our stories are like why this person had sex with a picnic table. That will be our topic, not like the hard core stuff.

BERMAN: That's coming up back to the break.

MCDONALD: Exactly. And so we write a bunch of jokes and then I have this other like very conventional life where my kids go to Catholic school. My son is a boy scout and so sometimes the worlds collide and I feel inappropriate a lot around the moms. And my husband is the stay-at-home dad and all the mom loves him.

BALDWIN: And this is gossip enough apparently?

MCDONALD: Oh no, he does not gossip enough even though he gets invited to the ladies appreciation lunch. I'm like bring back some scoop at least.

MARTIN: So he's Michael Keaton in "Mr. Mom".

MCDONALD: Yes, basically, but -- but you know a little cuter than that.

BERMAN: Were you writing about what other parents, with their, you know, other moms, do they approve of what you do?

MCDONALD: Yes, you know, I -- first of all I think they should be way more impressed by me and they're not. It's like the star at a Catholic school is the person who puts the auction together. It's not the person who is on "Chelsea Lately" doing a Drew Barrymore sketch. They're not really impressed. We do live in L.A. but it's like a little bit outside of L.A. And it's just very like regular people but they -- I don't know, I'm like do you not have cable? What's your problem?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You mean talking about sex with the picnic table?

MCDONALD: I mean, how do you not find that interesting conversation, you know. And yes, so it's like one day I'll be doing a sketch like that, the next day is like personal confessions for myself.

MARTIN: Are you happy to be on a show where you can be absolutely irreverent and just go for it? Because, look, I love the show, I love watching it because you all do not care. You hit anybody. Ask Piers Morgan what happened the other night when Chelsea hit him.

MCDONALD: Yes, I was there for the taping, yes. Well -- what's is great is that we really just have fun for ourselves and so many times it will be like this joke is for us and eight people that remember what we're talking about and we just have a lot of fun with it. And the people I work with are awesome.

But I am the only mother on staff and so a lot of it is interesting and we have horrible language and we say inappropriate things and then I have to like switch into gear in the carpool lane.

BALDWIN: With the monkey in the back of the car and the HOV on the 405.

MCDONALD: Yes, I do, I did break the law.

BALDWIN: Yes, with a monkey.

MCDONALD: With the -- I dressed a monkey and put him in my son's car seat to save some time. You guys don't understand what the 405 is like in L.A.

MARTIN: I was in L.A. last week, I got you.

MCDONALD: Yes. OK, so yes, then my son was getting jealous because, he got jealous that the stuffed monkey was wearing his Red Sox cap and his little league outfit and then I like fantasized about having another baby because if I had another baby I could legally go in the carpool lane and so I presented that to my husband, but he said I'd rather you be arrested and go to jail.

BERMAN: The book and obviously the tenor is "My Inappropriate Life". Heather McDonald, great to meet you this morning.

MARTIN: You are chewing this up?

MCDONALD: Chewy is doing celebrity diving.

BERMAN: When we comeback.

BALDWIN: That's your "End Point."

BERMAN: Yes STARTING POINT back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT.

Everyone looking in now on some "Top Stories". Vice President Joe Biden in London today for the latest stop on his overseas tour. He's meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Downing Street. He's already been to Germany and France where he praised the French government for its decisive action against Islamic extremists in Mali.

BALDWIN: And it will be a close shave if you will but not to worry here, NASA says this 150-wide asteroid will do a bit of a flyby next week come within 17,000 miles of earth. Officials say that is actually the closest ever for such a ginormous asteroid. It will give researchers a unique opportunity to study a near earth object up close.

BERMAN: And if a monkey can do it, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he's ready to be sent into space. The government releasing this picture of Ahmadinejad and a monkey they say was launched into space and successfully returned to earth. Now Ahmadinejad says he wants to be his country's first astronaut.

CHRIS FRATES, THE NATIONAL JOURNAL: We're all ready, Mahmoud. We're already.

BALDWIN: Send him on up.

BERMAN: We're back in just a moment.

BALDWIN: We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Time for "End Point". Mr. Martin?

MARTIN: I asked Chris did he watch "Chelsea Lately"? He goes, no, I don't watch cable. And I'm going, dude, you're on a cable network right now.

BERMAN: Chris, your defense, sir?

FRATES: My defense is as soon as I get a cable contract, I will be able to afford cable and we'll be on.

MARTIN: But you're on cable right now.

BERMAN: Will Cain, inject some sensibility.

CAIN: This is not behind the time, he might be ahead of the times right? You can all buy it a la carte in the future. This cable thing you'll get to see CNN, because you like CNN.

MARTIN: OK, you all two stop it. We're trying to get paid seriously, this is a cable network.

FRATES: This is on the future.

BALDWIN: 30 seconds substantive "End Point".

BERMAN: Gentlemen.

I'll say it's truck day in baseball. Baseball teams around the country loading up for spring training heading down to Florida and Arizona for truck day is the annual raising for hope. Ladies and gentlemen you can believe in America once again.

FRATES: Seriously, seriously, John? Boston Red Sox, go ahead.

MARTIN: My goodness.

BALDWIN: "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. Carol, good morning.