Al Sharpton will be on Glenn Beck tonight to talk about his Romney comments. Radar Online’s Jeff Bercovici has more…
Will Sharpton—who has so often forced public figures accused of racism to come on his radio show and grovel for his listeners’ forgiveness—tender an apology to Mormons on Beck’s program? A spokesman for Sharpton says only that he will “clarify his position.”
UPDATE: CNN’s release…
In a heated one-on-one discussion, the Rev. Al Sharpton will appear on Headline News’ Glenn Beck tonight 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. (ET) to discuss his recent comments about Mormonism. As a Mormon himself, host Glenn Beck will delve deeper into Sharpton’s remarks asking him why he made those statements and his thoughts on the public reaction.
UPDATE 2: Transcript….
BECK: Al Sharpton joins me now, to have a conversation.
Reverend, are Mormons Christians?
SHARPTON: I believe they are.
BECK: Are Mormons bigots?
SHARPTON: I do not call Mormons bigots, no. I think that there was a doctrine that was, to my understanding, part of the Mormon Church until the ’60s that was a doctrine that excluded people based on race.
I understand that that was a transition made on that around ‘65 to ‘78
— I’m not certain.
BECK: To ‘78.
Am I a racist?
SHARPTON: I don’t believe you are.
BECK: You said — let’s start at the beginning. You said — what you said about Romney was, at the beginning, and this I took–
SHARPTON: You took it from the debate (ph)?
BECK: In the debate. What did you say?
SHARPTON: What I said was Mr. Hitchens, who is an atheist — this is a debate on atheism versus belief. Mr. Hitchens made a long, sweeping indictment on all believers, including saying that atheists had really been the ones behind the civil rights movement, that in effect, believers had poisoned the world. Including right now you have a Mormon running for president. Mr. Romney (sic) had said that that church had taught the son of Ham curse in regards of blacks.
SHARPTON: In my response, I corrected him on the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. It was a God-based movement that was in civil rights that — that people that had believed in God had done a lot of great things. You can use or misuse, or not misuse religion.
And as for the one Mormon candidate, a lot of good — a lot of true believing people are going to vote. I don’t think he’ll be president anyway.
BECK: OK. Hitchens said, and if we have the note from Paula Zahn, she said, “I spoke with Christopher Hitchens who happened to be in the hallway upstairs before we went on the air, and he said that what you — you were saying that those who really believed — and he said when you were saying ‘those who really believed, he thinks you were making the distinction between Mormons and other Christians’.”
SHARPTON: Well, he didn’t have the responsibility to ask me about that. He never — that was the beginning of the debate. We went another hour and a half. He never brought it up. I brought Mormons back up. He never brought it back up, one.
Secondly, I think that he also told Paula Zahn that he did not think I said anything in a mean-spirited way. There are some — let me put this — let’s get straight to the point, Glenn. There are some in the Christian faith that do not accept Mormons as Christians or as believers. I am not one of them. If I wanted to cop out, I could say, “I have a religious disagreement.”
I do not think me or anyone else has the right to determine who are believers. I do not have any — think anyone has the right to, in any way, discriminate against one’s decision how they approach God. Which is why I said, on my radio show today, that to Mormons, this is not my intention to have said anything against Mormons. As I explained to you, I was talking about —
BECK: You said — if I can bring — could you bring up full-screen number three, please? This is what you — this is what you said. You said, “Is Hitchens right? Is this the history of the Mormons? And were you part of that history? Did you — were you part of the church before they renounced this?”
SHARPTON: Right. When I said that to Romney — let me finish my statement. I will deal with that. What I have said today is that if I, inadvertently, or my words inadvertently hurt any woman, I apologize to a woman only because that is not my intent, nor my belief.
If it was, I think you know me well enough to say that is my belief:
“I do not think that they’re believers.” That’s not my belief, so I’m not going to say that.
But I think Mr. Romney, who himself has had to apologize for using expressions like “tar baby” in Massachusetts, cannot politicize this and not answer the questions that Barack Obama and others have to ask. I think we must separate —
BECK: Hold it.
SHARPTON: — the politics of Mitt Romney from my positions on the Mormon Church or the Mormon Church’s position in Christians.
BECK: I have no problem separating you and Mitt Romney. I don’t — I have no problem sitting here not talking about Mitt Romney at all.
You know me, Reverend. You know me well enough to know I look you in the eye, and I mean what I say. I don’t give a flying crap about politics. I think politics are killing us. I think people who use statements and take them out of context and twist them for their own power and their own — building themselves up to get on TV, it is despicable and it is killing us. And you and I have had a conversation about that over and over and over again.
SHARPTON: That is true.
BECK: You said last night, is Hitchens right? Is this the history of the Mormons? Were you part of that history? Did you — were you part of this church before they renounced this? What did you mean by that?
SHARPTON: What I meant by that was for Mr. Romney to take a line
(ph) that clearly was not intended to go against the Mormon church or Mormons, and try and make it a racial or religious issue of bigotry.
He called my line bigotry. He did not say this is a disagreement or
— disagreement on religion, I would like to talk this out–
BECK: Honestly, Reverend, it sounds like religious bigotry.
SHARPTON: No, he didn’t even say religious bigotry. Here is a man himself —
BECK: What is the difference? Bigotry is bigotry.
SHARPTON: Well, OK, let’s say bigotry is bigotry. What I’m saying is that he — his initial reaction was that we are going to have to talk about these things all of the way through the campaign.
He wakes up the next day, after a political calculus, and makes this political. And my thing is that he ought to be addressing Hitchens’
point, not me. I’m not the one that made the charge. Hitchens did.
BECK: So why didn’t you say — why didn’t you say, is Hitchens right?
SHARPTON: That is what I said.
BECK: Excuse me. You said, is Hitchens right? Is this the history of the Mormons and were you part of that history? Did you — were you part of the church before they renounced this?
This is the point, sir.
SHARPTON: Just —
BECK: Hang on, hold on just a second. Civil rights — the civil rights amendment, you know who is against that, Republicans or Democrats? You are a Democrat. Were you —
BECK: Were you a part of the Democratic Party before they renounced their racism and stood against the civil rights movement?
SHARPTON: I was not old enough to have been.
BECK: OK. But —
SHARPTON: I have been part of the Democrats that have objected now to some of what the Democrats have done. That has nothing to do with the fact that if Mr. Romney is going to step into a situation, he is going to have to follow the same rules that everybody else does in politics, Glenn.
We have had for the last several months — Rudolph Giuliani has to defend whether he is a good Catholic. We have had Barack Obama have to talk about his pastor’s sermons. Mr. Romney is going to have to deal with his own situation independent of a controversy.
I called for that —
BECK: Would you feel that it was unfair for Giuliani to have to speak against the Inquisition? Do you think that Anglicans should speak against —
SHARPTON: I don’t think —
BECK: The past is the past.
SHARPTON: Is Mr. Giuliani going to have to deal with his position in terms of pro-choice as opposed to the church?
BECK: That is today.
SHARPTON: Yes. But Mr. Romney is talking about bigotry in the sense of Mr. Hitchens’ statement. I was responding to Hitchens’
statement. If you read the transcript —
BECK: I did.
SHARPTON: And he went back to there.
BECK: I understand.
SHARPTON: I did not. So you cannot just take Hitchens’ statement out of it.
BECK: I’m taking you at your word on the first part. But I don’t think that I have made myself clear with you on the second part, on what you did —
SHARPTON: But the whole discussion —
BECK: If you —
BECK: — last night.
SHARPTON: — was around what Hitchens said.
BECK: OK. Hold on. I —
SHARPTON: Hitchens raised it. I didn’t.
BECK: Hold on. We will be back in just a second.
BECK: Back with Reverend Al Sharpton, about the statements that he has made on the Mormon faith and how this all plays out.
What I am saying to you, sir, is when you said, Is this the history and were you part of it, there were a lot of people in my faith that were alive. I was not a member of this faith when this was happening.
And I know it ripped people to the core. It was a powerful, powerful thing, when it happened in the faith. And to go back and say, Were you a part of this, Are you still a bigot, is very offensive, especially — hold on — especially since most of America has no real clue as to the history of the Mormons. We’re the first religion — the only religion
— to have an extermination order against us in the United States of America. Until 1978 or ‘79, it was legal, in Missouri, to kill a Mormon. It was removed after 19 — the ’70s.
They left — the reason why they were chased out of Missouri — one of the main reasons, is because they were abolitionists. They were fighting and standing up against slavery, and then to be called bigoted and, Were you a part of that (INAUDIBLE) —
SHARPTON: First of all, Glenn, I think that — first of all, two things to that: when Mr. Hitchens raised this, he did not just raise Mormons arbitrarily.
SHARPTON: He’s sitting there, knowing he’s talking to a civil rights leader, talking about how they did not even consider you human until 30 years ago. That was his attack. And I was addressing that.
Now, in the last 48 hours, I have heard a lot about Mormons that I didn’t know. I made two calls today. I called the Mormon Church headquarters in Utah, I called Mitt Romney. I’ve not heard from Mitt Romney. I heard from two of the elders of the — central figures of the church —
BECK: Yes, you did.
SHARPTON: — who said to me, You know what, Reverend, we don’t know, one way or another, but we’ve been misquoted. We’d like to sit down and talk. I’m going to Utah and meet with them. I want to know all of this you’re talking about. You know why I want to know? Because little people in all religious persuasions need to not have this type of things towards (ph) anyone’s presidential campaign or someone’s debate.
And that’s why I said, if my words could have been construed in any way that would hurt a regular Mormon, I apologize to them. But it — the politics with Mitt Romney is a different thing. I am not suggesting for one minute that anyone that was alive during that time is a bigot.
They may have been the ones that fought in the church to change it, I don’t know.
But I think that he has to come forward and deal with that, since he’s going to start calling me names. He could very well come and say, It was me and my father, George Romney, that fought to change that church and that fought to expand the awareness, or we were part of whatever. That’s his opportunity to say that.
BECK: You are going to be meeting with Russell M. Nelson and Henry Eyring. They are part of the Quorum of the Twelve of the church. And you are going to have a very interesting evening. I think you will —
SHARPTON: And I want to go.
BECK: — come out with an amazing experience.
SHARPTON: I want to go. And I want to tell you something. I think that it is something that we need to do in this country, is talk more — talk to each other more. I don’t know if three years ago I would have done that.
BECK: I have to tell you, Reverend, it takes everything in me, it takes everything in me, but I want to be a better person. And I — it is because of my faith that I hold fast to that. And I try to be more Christ-like.
It would be very easy for me to turn your words against you. Just in the last month or so you said, we can’t have the precedent where people can say these kinds of things and then walk away without any penalty.
Should there be a penalty for you?
SHARPTON: Oh yes, I think the penalty should that I am saying very publicly that if my words — even if they were not meant to be that way, hurt somebody, I apologize for them. And I’m going to go and try and create a dialogue between these — (INAUDIBLE) let me tell you something.
SHARPTON: I will be — wait a minute, Glenn, I don’t think you need to underestimate, there are many in Christianity that take a different view, and you know that, of the Mormon church.
BECK: Oh, I know that.
SHARPTON: Many that will be —
BECK: You know, you are correct. You are —
SHARPTON: — very spiteful of my position.
BECK: You are very good at moving things away from you. I’m not talking about other people, I’m talking about you. Just like you weren’t talking about other racists with Imus. He apologized —
SHARPTON: Well, Imus —
BECK: — and he said, isn’t an apology good enough? Why —
SHARPTON: I’m not going to let you do that. Because to equate me responding to an atheist with someone who got up with no interaction at all and denigrated people — I did not call anybody a name. I did not denigrate anybody. I did not in any way cause (INAUDIBLE) — he called these women “nappy-headed hos.” What did I call Mormons?
That is unfair, Glenn.
BECK: You called — you said — we are —
SHARPTON: I said what? How? When? When?
BECK: Were you part of this?
SHARPTON: Were you part of a doctrine that said that blacks could not join?
BECK: Were you part of the church at that time?
SHARPTON: Wait a minute, did the church —
BECK: Were you a — have you —
SHARPTON: Glenn, did the church have that edict at that time?
BECK: That you could not — no, you could be a part of the church.
SHARPTON: But you could not be a —
BECK: You could not hold the priesthood, yes.
SHARPTON: OK. Was that a fact?
BECK: That is a fact.
SHARPTON: Now what was the Rutgers team part of? How can you compare the two?
BECK: No, I understand —
SHARPTON: You compared the two.
BECK: No, sir.
SHARPTON: Yes, you did, sir.
BECK: I compared what —
SHARPTON: That was a blatant racist statement he made. What I said is I want to know what you were part of and what was the church doctrine at that time? That is not a bigoted statement.
In fact, that is a —
BECK: I don’t remember —
SHARPTON: — question.
BECK: — anyone ever saying or even thinking that I would even ask or anyone should ask if any of those girls had lifestyles that were less than stellar. No one would even say that.
SHARPTON: If they did, would that make them “nappy-headed hos”?
BECK: No. But if —
SHARPTON: If you have a policy that would limit what others can do, it is not within the rights of people to ask what that policy was and what their involvement was? I think you would ask that of anybody.
BECK: OK. Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: All right. I’ll talk to you when I come from Utah.
BECK: You do.
SHARPTON: All right.
BECK: Thank you sir. Back in a minute.