Al Sharpton | Anderson Cooper | JAmes Dobson | News | Religion

Al Sharpton Defends Anderson Cooper's Right to Sin


In a discussion about the James Dobson attacks on Obama I posted about yesterday, Anderson Cooper hosted Al Sharpton, author Roland Martin and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. As the three debated Evangelicals and the issues of homosexuality, HIV and AIDS, abortion, and religious tolerance, the conversation took a turn when Sharpton pointed out that Anderson may land in Hell for his behavior, whatever that might be...

Says Sharpton: "I may have some very conservative personal feelings but I feel you have the right to live your life differently. I may think that what you do Anderson is gonna put you in Hell, but I'm gonna defend your right to get there."

Answered Anderson: "I appreciate all your concerns about my afterlife. I'm personally not all that concerned, but that's a whole other discussion."

I've clipped the segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Al Sharpton is a self-serving a**hole. I wonder where he's going when he dies?

    Posted by: Jack | Jun 25, 2008 8:30:05 AM

  2. I cannot for the life of me understand why Tony Perkins is a regular on AC360, particularly given AC is a gay man. They should not be giving that nutjob a soapbox. Another reason (among many) that I don't watch the show anymore.

    Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 25, 2008 8:41:01 AM

  3. OMG!!! Does this mean that AC might actually come out on the air soon?

    Posted by: Progression | Jun 25, 2008 8:43:22 AM

  4. Anderson could have asked where Al Sharpton where his income is derived from (nobody knows!), about the truth of his infidelity in his marriage, and about the poor man that he falsely accused of rape for years. But Anderson stayed classy!!

    Posted by: Robert V | Jun 25, 2008 8:45:51 AM

  5. I thought Al Sharpton has a lesbian sister and is supposed to be down with the gays? Maybe he was just making a hypothetical point about differences of opinion, and not trying to hint that Anderson is gay.

    Posted by: Sasha | Jun 25, 2008 8:51:10 AM

  6. I also thought Sharpton was pro-gay. What gives?

    Posted by: Digby on High | Jun 25, 2008 8:54:10 AM

  7. Al Sharpton is for the rights of all disenfranchised people. He is simply stating that even if an evangelical disagrees with being gay and believe we are all hell bound, they do not have a right to hinder our rights here on earth. I have been in the room where Al has spoken directly to LGBT people and the evangelicals about our rights.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jun 25, 2008 9:02:58 AM

  8. That seriously turned my stomach, and I'm not one to overreact, but a news outlet i deemed respectable is having an "open dialogue" with every single one of his guests essentially saying "Gays are going to hell...yes, you are going to hell...oh but we are tolerant of your choice to go to hell, rather you not, but since you are going to hell, well... (hysterical sophmoric laughter)" Are you kidding?
    Disheartning this coming from a man who will sh*t a brick if anyone dares say the slightest thing about African Americans even in a complimentary way. Amazing how the tides have turned in this country and the people who were the most marginalized yesterday are the biggest school yard bullies today. That conversation was NOT okay for prime time television on matter how you slice it. If this were about ANY other group of people and them 'burning in hell' some more sensitivity toward the topic would have been displayed, as opposed to what came off as biggoted locker room conversation.


    Posted by: Kyle | Jun 25, 2008 9:19:58 AM

  9. I believe Sharpton was referring to the fact that AC may go to hell for working at CNN.

    I like Sharpton, he is loud, outspoken and has done a lot for the civil rights of individuals others may overlook, especially in the city.

    I marched with him for Sean Bell. He does a lot of good.

    Posted by: daveynyc | Jun 25, 2008 9:20:39 AM

  10. Whatever it is that Anderson Cooper is "doing" that's going to land him in hell,
    I sure wish he'd do it to me.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 25, 2008 9:22:01 AM

  11. Sharpton led a campaign against homophobia last year.

    If you listen to what Sharpton says, he's not talking directly to Cooper's life as he is being hypothetical.

    Cooper is a journalist. So, of course, he is going to have people from the Family Research Council on his show because he has to maintain a sense of objectivity.

    Posted by: noah | Jun 25, 2008 9:29:25 AM

  12. DAVEYNYC wins!

    Posted by: Pugzz | Jun 25, 2008 9:36:52 AM

  13. Sharpton is an asshole who has such a checkered career (see other the comments) he deserves NO respect as a community leader but once in a blue moon he "gets it" and this was one of those times. Unfortunately he was crass in the way he expressed his view and, perhaps worse, there's little external evidence of his "conservative" personal views. If he's not lying, his hypocrisy must be legion!

    Posted by: queendru | Jun 25, 2008 9:38:23 AM

  14. 360 always tries to have people on who represent both sides of an issue to have a balanced discussion. Tony Perkins represents the conservative Christian voice, and if they got rid of him the new person to fill that role would likely be just as incredibly irritating.

    I agree about Sharpton talking hypothetically. I think he wasn't considering the fact AC is gay and how people might take his comments. It's not the first time panel members have used Anderson as a generic example to illustrate a point.

    Posted by: TR | Jun 25, 2008 9:44:18 AM

  15. Maybe its just me and @TR, but I got the impression that Sharpton was speaking hypothetically, and not actually condemning or criticizing AC.

    Posted by: Derrick | Jun 25, 2008 9:51:03 AM

  16. Religions thrive by making sure their adherents are in constant fear of the consequences of "sin". Once you realize the motivation of people like Perkins, Sharpton, the pope, etc. you can write them and their religion off as unnecessary. Live your life, don't hurt anyone and you will be saner, smarter and much more fulfilled. Like AC, I suspect.

    Posted by: Louis | Jun 25, 2008 9:53:35 AM

  17. Dear God! It took Al Sharpton to out Anderson Cooper.

    Those of you who think Sharpton was speaking hypothetically need to take a good long look at the man. He says nothing that's not calculated. He knew exactly what he was saying, and Cooper was not the least bit surprised.

    I agree with the schoolyard bully analogy. I'm very curious to see how things play out next spring should Obama and his bullies take the White House. Sharpton has never been anything more than a symptom of what's really going on in this country, so let the games begin.

    As far as Sharpton goes, love him or hate him, he's been around a long time and weathered many a storm, I think we'll be listening to him for many years to come. I don't usually agree, but I do like that he stirs the pot frequently.

    Posted by: Sean | Jun 25, 2008 10:01:26 AM

  18. I believe it was Al Sharpton who said that gay Republicans are like chickens that eat at KFC.

    I will forever love him for that.

    Posted by: crispy | Jun 25, 2008 10:05:48 AM

  19. "I'd rather convert him"

    I saw that as I was falling asleep and thought maybe Cooper had just outed himself....

    Posted by: Scott | Jun 25, 2008 10:18:55 AM

  20. IN RE: "I cannot for the life of me understand why Tony Perkins is a regular on AC360, particularly given AC is a gay man. They should not be giving that nutjob a soapbox. Another reason (among many) that I don't watch the show anymore."

    Tony Perkins was a state legislator in Louisiana in the late 80s and early 90s. He's a Louisiana Political has-been and is making more money NOW than ever. If it weren't for issues like gay marriage and abortion, he wouldn't have a job. He has been grooming himself for decades for the kind of thing he's doing now. Being an "on-air personality." Do you think he believes all that shit? Probably not. He's making shit loads of cash on appearance fees by catering to the nut jobs on the far right. He's the far right equivalent to Dan Savage.

    Posted by: millis | Jun 25, 2008 10:21:01 AM

  21. I didn't get even the slightest impression that Al was talking about AC being gay.

    That said, all conservative Christians are loons.

    Thank you.

    Posted by: TightyWhitey | Jun 25, 2008 10:25:52 AM

  22. I dont think it was Sharptons comment that outed AC, it was AC little giggle, a kind of knowing little inside joke, thats not so inside..

    Posted by: ChrisM | Jun 25, 2008 10:29:00 AM

  23. No, Sharpton's not sniping at Cooper, though he does love to throw a little blood in everyones sharkpool now and then, this is not one of those instances...
    Is it me or is Sharpton looking quite the distinguished and, dare I say it, handsome man these days?

    Posted by: Nonplussed | Jun 25, 2008 10:47:33 AM

  24. I think Rev Al was mocking the so called evangelicals, as they should be since they have one value to make money off of, hate. He is not known as anti-gay. AC? I've yet to see why so many want him to be gay, when at his age if he isn't out now, who will care when he is 65 and might come out, if he is gay, not that I know or really care one way or the other, its his business.

    Posted by: Luke | Jun 25, 2008 10:47:49 AM

  25. Is there anything more tedious than a discussion on who's going where after death?

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 25, 2008 11:11:17 AM

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