- (Photo: CNN)
Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, spoke to CNN's Don Lemon over the weekend, commenting on sex abuse scandals, the economy and politics.
Lemon used the occasion to ask the popular evangelist, author and filmmaker his viewpoints on the "Occupy Wall Street" (OWS) movement that has been swooping through the country since mid-September.
"I'm glad to live in a country where we have the freedom of expression and where we can express ourselves in non-violent ways,” the bishop said. “For the most part they [the OWS protesters] have done a great job with that.”
Jakes added that what he would love to see raise up out of "the mayhem of the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement" is "some deliverable ideas: this is what we want; some itemization of those ideas, and to really challenge the establishment, to implement those ideas."
The bishop added his voice to the many critics and sympathizers of the movement, who have been pointing out that the entire endeavor is so big, it needs to be managed better and clarify its main demands. Jakes said the OWS initiative "needs to be nailed down to specific deliverables, so that we can send the message to the powers that be, whether they be on Wall Street or Washington, that mainstream America really wants to see some change."
"There is some internal infrastructure that needs to be added to this movement for it to have the impact that it needs to have," he added.
Jakes has joined what is a vivid discussion within Christian circles in the United States. Churches of all denominations seem divided over whether they should support the movement or reject it.
Some members of the conservative right seem skeptical of the movement, suggesting that it is anarchist and bad for the country’s economy.
Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and host of "The 700 Club," advised Christians not to support the movement on his show. He called the movement "rebellious," "angry" and "pointless."
"I think this is a rebellion," Robertson said on his program in late October. He also suggested that President Barack Obama was "inciting" the protesters.
Conservative Catholic presidential candidate Newt Gingrich caused a storm in late November when he suggested that members of the OWS movement should take a bath and get a job.
But there are also influential Christians who have been supporting the movement since its beginnings, because they think it is exactly compatible with their beliefs.
Some Christians and church leaders believe the church is obligated to supporting the movement because it fights for democracy and social justice.
Even Pope Benedict XVI, who is reported to be very liberal on economic policy, has indirectly supported the movement by noting that economic "inequalities are on the increase."
Lemon also asked Jakes about the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., to which the evangelist replied that he thinks most Americans are frustrated "because we have this [toxicity] that continues to exist in our nation; where people really benefit from our polarities, rather than be centrist in the ideologies."
"I think that we have to tone down the hostility and move away from this type of rhetoric that is not solution-based," he said.
Jakes also called the gridlock "extremely disappointing," especially as it comes "from people that we are paying from our taxes to resolve the issues that threaten the welfare of our country. "