News and Commentary

Don Lemon: Jesus Christ ‘Admittedly Was Not Perfect When He Was Here’
Lemon Jesus
Getty Images: Roy Rochlin/WireImage VCG Wilson/Corbis

Don Lemon claimed Jesus Christ “admittedly was not perfect” when he was on earth, prompting ridicule from some who accused the CNN host of being ignorant of the basic tenets of Christianity.

During a discussion about the shortcomings of the Founding Fathers on Monday night with fellow CNN host Chris Cuomo, Lemon said, “Here’s the thing: Jesus Christ — if that’s who you believe in, Jesus Christ — admittedly was not perfect when he was here on this earth.”

As Cuomo nodded approvingly, Lemon continued, “So why are we deifying the founders of this country, many of whom owned slaves, and in the Constitution — the original one — they didn’t want, they put slavery in there, that slavery should be abolished because it was the way the king wanted. And then the Congress said, ‘No way!'”

Evangelical author Eric Metaxas, who clashed with Cuomo last December in a heated exchange about abortion and whether Christians should support President Donald Trump, tweeted the clip and mocked, “‘To be embarrassingly culturally ignorant may be regarded as a misfortune, but to proclaim one’s ignorance whilst hosting a major tv show looks like carelessness!’ — Oscar Wilde.”

The moral perfection of Jesus is a doctrine extending to the earliest days of Christianity and the New Testament, which asserts in passages such as 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Hebrews 7:26 that Christ “knew no sin” and was “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners.” In the Gospels, Jesus said of himself in John 7:18 that “the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

The teaching was later affirmed by the Early Church Fathers and was maintained as a key tenet throughout church history, including by the Second Vatican Council in 1965, which said of Jesus: “Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin (cf. Hebr. 4:15).”

Lemon’s gaffe came days before Fox News host Tucker Carlson delivered a monologue in which he implied CNN deliberately hires hosts who are “dumb.” Criticizing Lemon for his recent comments about Black Lives Matter, Carlson said:

Now if you’re running a channel like CNN, you want dumb people on TV because they are compliant, they will say what they’re told, they will tell the audience what the moment demands, they will never stray from the script, and that’s exactly what Mr. Lemon is doing…

Correction: This story has been edited to clarify that Lemon made his comments on Monday night, instead of Wednesday.

Related: WATCH: Tucker Plays Lemon’s Comments From 2013 On Black Community That’d Get Him ‘Fired Immediately’ Now

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