LRU News

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to host public dialogue

Mon Oct 7 2013

September 13, 2013

CNN’s award-winning lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will host a community dialogue at Lenoir-Rhyne University on Sept. 28. The forum will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the P.E. Monroe Auditorium on LR’s campus.

This event is free and open to the public. Students, educators, and church members are especially invited to attend. Advance tickets are not required.

Blitzer will host a dialogue about “Politics, Religion, and LGBT Equality” and he will be joined on stage by local businessman Mitchell Gold, a longtime advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth who in 2008 published the book, “Youth In Crisis: What Everyone should Know About Growing Up Gay.”

Gold will serve as a panelist for the discussion along with Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, pastor of Clinton Tabernacle Church in Hickory and Rev. Dr. Jack McKinney, a Baptist minister and pastoral counselor who has served as pastor for a number of churches, including Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. from 2000-2009.

Blitzer was pivotal to CNN’s election coverage throughout America’s Choice 2012, serving as lead anchor on key primary nights, caucus nights and Election night. He moderated three of CNN’s Republican presidential debates including the first-of-its-kind Tea Party debate.

In addition to politics, Blitzer is also known for his in-depth reporting on international news. In January 2013, Blitzer traveled to Cairo, Egypt to sit down at the presidential palace with the country’s first democratically elected leader, President Mohamed Morsy. In December 2010, he was granted rare access to travel to North Korea with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Known for his Middle East expertise, Blitzer reported from Israel in the midst of the war between that country and Hezbollah during the summer of 2006 and he also returned to the region with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper in 2012.

Gold is co-founder of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, a nationally recognized home furnishings manufacturer headquartered in Taylorsville, N.C. He is also the creator of Faith in America, an organization dedicated to educating people about the harm of religion-based stigma and hostility toward the LGBT community.

Gold published the book, “Youth In Crisis”, in response to what he calls a silent mental health crisis among the more than 1.6 million gay young people in America. Gold now calls upon others, especially those in faith communities, to take the lead in helping address a societal climate in which LGBT youth and families are traumatized by rejection, condemnation and discrimination.

In 2011, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien visited Lenoir-Rhyne University as part of the Visiting Writers Series that year to interview Gold about the book and issues surrounding the well-being of LGBT youth and families.

“Since our community dialogue with Soledad O’Brien, there have been incredibly strong indications that more and more Americans, especially faith communities, are understanding that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are normal, productive and fully equal members of society.

“I can’t overstate what this means to gay youth and their families who for too long have been the victims of divisive politics and misguided religious teaching. It has taken a horrendous toll on their lives and families, despite some people thinking such a toll somehow could be well-intentioned.

“Certain religious teaching and political ideology have allowed same-gender orientation to be viewed as an affront to our social or religious values. Yet many people never really have stopped to consider the horrific unintended consequences to gay youth and their families, the negative effect on faith communities and the unnecessary division within society. Our dialogue with Wolf Blitzer will discuss a new perspective that can resolve this conflict and one which I believe our community can and surely must embrace.”


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