Televangelist Pat Robertson is well-known for making incendiary comments about homosexuals. Earlier this month, Robertson even claimed that Facebook should install a “vomit” button for pictures of same-sex couples kissing. But this week, he made some surprisingly tolerant comments on transgender people.
On Monday’s episode of his long-running show “The 700 Club,” the televangelist received a question from a man asking how two treat two transgendered co-workers.
“I work with two people who have decided they are females. I know what the Bible says about homosexuality, but is it wrong to refer to them as females since they have had their gender status changed in the eyes of the law?” a viewer named David asked.
In response, Robertson affirmed the women’s identities, stating that there was “no sin” in being transgender.
"I think there are men who are in a woman's body," he said. "It's very rare. But it's true -- or women that are in men's bodies -- and that they want a sex change. That is a very permanent thing, believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated and when you have shot up with various kinds of hormones. It's a radical procedure. I don't think there's any sin associated with that. I don't condemn somebody for doing that."
"But somebody who just says, well, I'm really a woman, I question the validity of that statement," Robertson continued. "But if they say they're counted as female, you don't count somebody as female unless they really are, or male unless they really are."
Robertson’s comments have earned unusual praise from various LGBT-oriented websites. Many writers stated that Robertson may not fully understand the processes behind obtaining a sex change, but that the video was a welcome piece of tolerance from the Christian right.
"Robertson’s statement is, at its core, sympathetic," wrote America Blog's John Aravosis, a longtime gay actvist. "And regardless of how flawed the rest of his quote is ... these are the kind of positive statements that help a movement move forward, especially one that is less known to the public than, for example, being gay. Say what you will about Robertson, but this quote is very helpful."
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Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.