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Al Sharpton on 'Glenn Beck'

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," April 7, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: How long ago was it? Two years ago? Three years ago?

I had Reverend Al Sharpton on my program; did a full hour. I think you were one of the first full-hour guests that I had. And I'll never forget because I had just gotten in to television.

And he said, whose handwriting — in the commercial — he said whose handwriting is that? And I said — you remember this? And I said, me. And you said, you write your own questions?

REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Yes.

BECK: And I was — I was stunned that people in television didn't write their own questions. And we had a — we've had a couple of hours together of good conversation.

You and I disagree on everything or almost everything?

SHARPTON: Everything.

BECK: Everything.

(LAUGHTER)

BECK: But I think that principles both play a role in our lives. And I wanted to talk to you a little bit about, first of all, you're coming in for a convention or you got a convention, national convention here April 14th and 17th here in New York City.

SHARPTON: Right.

BECK: And that is on the state of race and faith and everything else, right?

SHARPTON: Yes, that's what the convention is about, yes. Three days to deal with all of those issues.

BECK: Yes. Would you agree that this country is as divided as it has been in a long, long time?

SHARPTON: I think that it is divided politically. I think there is still some institutional divide that we've got to challenge. But I also think that on some levels, there's been a coming together in other areas. I think it has shifted.

I mean, is there polarization? Yes. Is there inequality? Absolutely. And you and I might disagree with that. But I'm not —

BECK: No, no, no.

SHARPTON: — going to say that I don't —

BECK: You and I disagree, Reverend Sharpton. When the Imus thing was happening, I said, where are you on rap music? And you said, I'll go and march in front of rap music. And I said, you do that and I'd be standing next to you.

SHARPTON: Oh, you did.

BECK: You know I don't agree with boycotts, but I walked with you because of — we united on principles. So, you and I, I think, disagree on the way to get there.

SHARPTON: Right. OK.

BECK: Here's where I'm wondering if we could come together: This show has been — we're making it this year about faith, hope and charity. That's what originally united America together: Faith, different faiths, but a belief in God; hope, the truth — the truth shall set you free, and charity — being good to each other.

Would you agree that that approach — not about politics or policies, but principles — faith, hope, charity — can unite America?

SHARPTON: Yes, I agree. I think that it could and should unite America.

But I think as we've had in the past, you have to have an honest discussion of where people approach their hope, faith and charity from. And if people approach them from different environments and different circumstances, then we've got to also be realistic about some may need more charity than others, some may need more hope than others.

BECK: No, no, no, hang on just a second. You're — again, you're going to the system. I'm saying —

SHARPTON: I'm going through the execution.

BECK: I'm going —

SHARPTON: You're going through the internal, the character part.

BECK: Yes.

SHARPTON: Yes. And I agree with you.

BECK: I'm not talking about — I'm not talking about — because when you have people who tell the truth, when you have people who revere God and when you have people who are charitable in their hearts, everything can be solved. May not be 100 percent to your liking or my liking, but we can solve things.

SHARPTON: Right.

BECK: Would you agree?

SHARPTON: I agree with that.

BECK: Is that the principle — because I was thinking about this today with you. You were at Martin Luther King's elbow.

SHARPTON: No. I was after King. I worked more with Jackson —

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: You were not walking with —

SHARPTON: No. Mrs. King.

BECK: Oh, I didn't know that.

SHARPTON: I'm only 55. I was 13 when King was killed, but I came up by the lieutenants of the King movement. And I think what Martin Luther King who probably a lot of people disagreed with vehemently — on my Twitter, I get all kind of tweets about you think Dr. King was everything to everybody.

But what Dr. King stood for, I think, outlasted even the politics of that time. And I think that's what you're talking about.

BECK: That's what I'm talking. Here are some —

SHARPTON: Basic stuff that outlasts you and my, we have some vehement disagreements.

BECK: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: But principles will outlast both of us.

BECK: There was something — there was something a friend of mine gave me today and I wrote it down: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

This has really been your mantra. You believe in certain things. And you're not going to stay silent.

How do — how do people navigate, because I believe things that matter to me and I want to say them. And other people, millions of people — Tea Parties, et cetera, et cetera — are finding themselves in a place where they've never been before and they kind of feel, I think, in some ways, like Martin Luther King or those people that stood up and said, no, I believe this to be true. How do you —

SHARPTON: Well, I think how you do it is — one, you have to honestly ask yourself if you really, in your heart of hearts, feel that you've got to express yourself. Did you understand that when people like King or even in later years, when people like me stood up?

When I look at some of the Tea Parties who I disagree with vehemently — but I defend their right to express themselves.

BECK: Likewise.

SHARPTON: I would also say to them: "Now, do you understand why some of us expressed the outrage we felt?"

BECK: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: A lot of people are not benevolent. They say — well — or not fair —

BECK: There's a lot of people — you know Roger Ailes. He also runs this network.

SHARPTON: Yes.

BECK: He did walk with Martin Luther King.

SHARPTON: He did.

BECK: I mean, there are people — I mean, I was —

SHARPTON: He and I disagree, too, but he doesn't disagree with the right of expression. What I'm saying is —

BECK: Exactly right.

SHARPTON: That you have the right to express yourself even though you and I may not agree on anything.

BECK: Exactly right.

SHARPTON: I have the right to express myself. Now, once we get through expressing, do we really move forward in society —

BECK: As we want —

SHARPTON: And make it fair?

BECK: Yes.

SHARPTON: That is where I think we have to argue out the techniques of doing that.

BECK: Right. And I think if we come to the table with faith, hope, charity, even people who are different as you and I on policies, if we're honest brokers, can make a difference.

SHARPTON: I think if we come with faith, hope, charity, we can. The only thing that shows our differences is I probably would change some of the pictures of who would represent faith, hope and charity, but we will leave it there.

BECK: No, no, no. Gandhi, Martin Luther King —

SHARPTON: All right.

BECK: Rosa Parks — absolutely.

SHARPTON: Well, let's have some revolving pictures. Let's have more diverse symbols of faith, hope, charity, Mr. Beck.

BECK: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

SHARPTON: Good to see you.

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