<% IssueDate = "09/06/02" IssueCategory = "Events" %> GayToday.com - Top Story
Top Story
'Ex-Gays' are Critiqued by Bill O'Reilly on FOX News

'You're a Religious Fanatic' he tells an 'Ex-Gay' Zealot

Transcript of The O'Reilly Factor, September 3 Segment

The O'Reilly Factor
September 3, 2002 Tuesday
Interview With Stephen Bennett

BILL O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, apparently, Concerned Women for America, a conservative group, are angry with me because I am not condemning American homosexuals.

The president of that organization, Sandy Rios, says, quote, "Bill O'Reilly is an exemplary example of the American Christian who does not know what God's word said."

Stephen Bennett, a former gay man and now a spokesperson for the CWA, says, quote, "I think many people are offended by Bill's statement to be a Christian as well as an Irish Catholic." "For a man to come right out and say he does not believe in the Old Testament, I think many Catholics across the nation as well as the world are offended by Bill O'Reilly claiming he's an Irish Catholic."
Political TV host Bill O'Reilly: Faces off against religious fanaticism

Now the reason these people are attacking your humble correspondent is that I refused to support a denial of rights for gay Americans. I do believe they have the same rights as everybody else, and I support gay adoption if no heterosexual couple is available to provide a stable home for unwanted children.

Once again, I feel these positions are reasonable under God and the Constitution.

With us now is Stephen Bennett. All right. Go ahead. Let me have it.


O'REILLY: Yeah, I know.

BENNETT: We love you. If I could just preface first, what I would like to say is that I've come out of the homosexual lifestyle. I lived that way until I was 28 years old, well with over a hundred men sexually, many whom are dead today from AIDS.

I was finally in love with another man who was going to be my partner for life. I mean, he -- he was the man of my dreams, I thought, until finally, one day, a Christian woman showed up at my door with a Bible and asked if she could share with me the gospel of Christ, and she confronted me about my homosexuality that day.


BENNETT: And I have never been the same since.

O'REILLY: Well, that's great.

BENNETT: That was 12 years ago.

O'REILLY: Good for you. I mean, look, if that's the way you want to live, that's fine. But what's the beef with me?

BENNETT: What's the beef with you?


BENNETT: The beef is, for the past year and a half, we've -- I've been watching your show. I love your show.


Ex-gay and Christian songwriter Stephen Bennett: Takes a shot or two from O'Reilly BENNETT: And when you confront this issue of homosexuality or talk about this and when you say that you're quoting from the Bible, you are wrong on some certain things.

O'REILLY: All right. What am I wrong on?

BENNETT: OK. Can I read to you from your Catholic Bible?

O'REILLY: Well, look, just keep it tight, all right.

BENNETT: All right. I will do it...

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

BENNETT: ... very, very quickly. A lot of times you say you have a problem with the Old Testament, it seems.

O'REILLY: I have a big problem with the Old Testament.


O'REILLY: Do you take that literally, by the way?


O'REILLY: Oh, you do.


O'REILLY: OK. Well, that's interesting because I've got a few quotes I'm going to read to you, but...


O'REILLY: You take the Old Testament literally. You believe that everything that's written in the Old Testament is gospel truth and should be adhered to to the letter?

BENNETT: I believe everything in the Bible is the inerrant word of God, completely...

O'REILLY: OK. Well, how about Deuteronomy 22, 20-21 verse? "If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, they shall bring her to her father's house and there the men of the town shall stone her to death." Are you going to be stoning non-virgins to death?

BENNETT: No way. No way.

O'REILLY: OK. That's Deuteronomy. How about Exodus? "For six days, work is to be done. The seventh day is the Sabbath, of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does work on the Sabbath must be put to death." Are you going to putting people to death if they're working on Sunday, on Sabbath?

BENNETT: No way. No way. You know why?

O'REILLY: OK. What's -- come on.

BENNETT: Because Jesus Christ came and paid for it all on the cross. Now you should have learned that in Catholic school.

O'REILLY: Look, it has nothing to do with the Old Testament, OK. Nothing at all to do with what I just read.

BENNETT: Can I read -- can I read you this about homosexuality? This is where you say...

O'REILLY: Yeah. It's an abomination, and they're all going to hell, right?

BENNETT: Forget that. No. And that is wrong. That is wrong.

O'REILLY: They're not all going to hell?

BENNETT: God offers hope to the homosexual. I want to read you something...

O'REILLY: All right.

BENNETT: ... from Romans. You say that -- a lot of times, I've heard you say before where the New Testament does not talk about homosexuality. You've said that.

O'REILLY: This is Romans. This isn't a gospel now.

BENNETT: Now you're picking and choosing what the Bible -- what you're...

O'REILLY: Look, the gospel is named the gospel, Mr. Bennett, for a reason. That is the word of God. That's the gospel.

BENNETT: Do you believe Jesus Christ is God? As a Catholic, do you...

O'REILLY: Yes. Of course I do.

BENNETT: You believe he's God?

O'REILLY: As a Catholic. As a Catholic.



BENNETT: The Bible says that God destroyed Sodom and Gommorah, correct?

O'REILLY: Correct.

BENNETT: God -- if Jesus is God and God destroyed Sodom and Gommorah...

O'REILLY: Right.

BENNETT: ... Jesus made a very clear statement against that. Is that correct?

O'REILLY: I believe that was an allegorical story. You know what I mean by an allegorical...

BENNETT: You don't believe it literally.

O'REILLY: No, I don't believe it literally.

BENNETT: OK. So, right here, we're not meeting on the same...

O'REILLY: Right. We're not meeting on the same wavelength. I don't believe that there was smiting of slaves, that you could kill a girl who's not a virgin, and all of this stuff. It's allegorical.

BENNETT: You need a course in Bible...

O'REILLY: Fine. I need a lot of courses, Mr. Bennett. Let's talk about living in a secular society.


O'REILLY: You believe that all these homosexuals practicing are going to hell, correct? Is that correct or not?


O'REILLY: All right.

BENNETT: It is dead wrong.

O'REILLY: All right. So you don't believe they're going to hell?

BENNETT: Practicing homosexuals.

O'REILLY: Yeah. Practicing. Do you believe they're going to hell? Yes or no?

BENNETT: I believe what the Bible says.

O'REILLY: All right. Fine. Then you believe they're going to hell.

BENNETT: That is wrong. That is wrong. God offers -- God offers hope to homosexuals.

O'REILLY: Yeah, if they do what you do and convert.

BENNETT: Convert.

O'REILLY: Right. Convert. Right. But if they don't, you believe they're all going to hell, correct? If they don't, if they die and they're practicing homosexuals, you believe they're going to hell, right?

BENNETT: Anyone...

O'REILLY: You're dodging the question.

BENNETT: If you're a sinner...

O'REILLY: You're dodging the question.

BENNETT: Can I answer this -- can I answer this for you?

O'REILLY: Please answer the question.

BENNETT: If anyone does not accept Christ as their savior, you could have -- you could be a liar...

O'REILLY: And they're all going to hell, anybody who doesn't...

BENNETT: Can I read to you from your Catholic Bible?

O'REILLY: No, you can't.


O'REILLY: We live in a secular society. You're a religious fanatic, with all due respect.

BENNETT: I am far from a religious fanatic.

O'REILLY: You're a religious fanatic. Now you have a right to be that, and I even respect you for being a very, let's say, devout man in your own way. Once you cross into the secular realm and start denying people rights, then I...

BENNETT: I deny nobody rights.

O'REILLY: You don't want gay adoption, correct?

BENNETT: Exactly.

O'REILLY: All right. Fine. Now I...

BENNETT: Do you know why?

O'REILLY: No. It's religious based.


O'REILLY: You think they're sinners.

BENNETT: You're the Catholic. You're the Catholic, and you're...

O'REILLY: I'm not God.

BENNETT: ... forgetting all of this.

O'REILLY: I'm not going to point at somebody and say they're committing a sin. That's not my job. I let the deity handle that. That's not your job either. Now I know a gay couple. Two men. They adopted a 10-year-old boy who was physically abused by drug-addicted heterosexual family. Nobody wanted this boy. Nobody. No adoption agency could place this boy. They took him. Very troubled kid. Wrong?

BENNETT: I believe that homosexuals should not adopt children.

O'REILLY: All right. So you would rather have this abused 10-year- old, who no one wanted...

BENNETT: There is no one else in the world, Bill, who would take that...

O'REILLY: No -- that's right.

BENNETT: No one else in the world?

O'REILLY: The adoption agency could not place this boy. Six years they tried. Now this homosexual couple, responsible, not flamboyant, both earn a good living, are raising this abused child, and he's a troubled child, OK. But you would rather see this kid in foster care, bounced around from home to home...

BENNETT: Bill...

O'REILLY: ... because you don't like gays. That's really -- you think God up there is saying that? Do you think God would say that?

BENNETT: Some of my best friends, Bill, are homosexuals.

O'REILLY: You're against homosexual adoption, correct?

BENNETT: I am against the practice of homosexuality period...

O'REILLY: Fine. You're...

BENNETT: ... because God...

O'REILLY: That's your right to be.

BENNETT: You know what?

O'REILLY: That's your right to be.

BENNETT: What Bill O'Reilly says means nothing. What -- Stephen Bennett means nothing. What God says means everything.

O'REILLY: You don't speak for God, Mr. Bennett.

BENNETT: The Bible does!

O'REILLY: You don't...

BENNETT: Your own Bible does.

O'REILLY: You interpret it your way, and everyone else will interpret...

BENNETT: How could you misinterpret "God delivered them up," "The woman exchanged natural intercourse"...

O'REILLY: All right. Nice to see you, Mr. Bennett.
For More ...
Related Stories
The O'Reilly Factor's Unresolved Problem

The Ex-Gay Files

A Critique of Fundamentalist Dogmas

Related Sites
The O'Reilly Factor

Stephen Bennett Ministries