TX megachurch pastor Joel Osteen admits he didn’t choose to be straight

Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen appeared on Soledad O’Brien’s show on CNN along with former Clinton advisor Richard Socarides.

Most of the news about this appearance has focused on Osteen’s quote that homosexuality is a sin.

Socarides asked him if he chose to be straight and Osteen said that being straight is just who he is.

“So how can I choose to be gay?” Socarides asked.

But then Osteen said that he really only talks about the issue on news shows like this when he’s asked about it. He said it’s not a subject he feels he knows a lot about.

“I don’t necessarily focus on that,” he said, indicating it is not something he talks about much in church.

But when pressed about homosexuality being a sin, he lumped it in with other minor sins like pride or lying.

After Mayor Annise Parker was first elected mayor, I asked about Osteen’s appearance at her inauguration. She said at the time she had good relations with him and that homosexuality was not an issue he focused on in his church of 45,000.

Watch the clip below.

—  David Taffet

Joel Osteen gets schooled by doctor of linguistics

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Poor Joel Osteen. The pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church can’t seem to keep from tying himself in knots in an attempt to steer a middle road on LGBT issues. When he delivered the convocation at Mayor Annise Parker’s first inauguration he took flak from the religious right. When he went on Piers Morgan and called homosexuality a “sin” he caught heat from the left. Now he’s on Oprah’s Next Chapter trying to strike a middle ground, telling Oprah he believed that gay people can go to Heaven, but that “homosexuality is shown as a sin in the Scripture.”

Now Joel Hoffman, a linguistics expert and columnist on Hebrew grammar for the Jerusalem Post has taken Osteen to task for what he says is an inconsistent interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures. From Hoffman’s blog:

Pastor Osteen just confirmed to Oprah Winfreythat he believes that “homosexuality is shown as a sin in the Scripture,” noting that he encourages people to be “willing to change and grow.”

On the other hand, when Piers Morgan asked him in October whether he supports the Biblical position of a life for a life, Pastor Osteen admitted (in this video): “I don’t know,” because the death penalty is a “complicated issue.”

In other words, Pastor Osteen doesn’t feel compelled to support everything in Scripture. He openly ignores Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, and Dueteronomy 19:21. He reserves the right — as we all do — to pick and choose.

This is why I don’t think there’s any merit or integrity to his argument that he is forced to condemn homosexuality because Scripture calls it a sin.

In a post last year on the topic Hoffman explained his position further:

It’s true that Leviticus 18:22 seems to discourage homosexuality, and though it stops short of specifically calling it a sin (which is why I think Pastor Osteen is wrong — more here), I’m not convinced by those who try to interpret the text as being about anything other than homosexuality.

But the very same section of the Bible also prohibits making clothes by combining different materials (Leviticus 19:19), technically known as sha’atnez.

So unless Pastor Warren, Pastor Osteen, and those of their ilk are willing to take a public and vehement position against wool-and-cotton clothing, I have no patience for their argument that they are locked into their anti-homosexual position by the Bible. They are not. They are choosing the verses they like, and, apparently, they like to hate homosexuality.

Similarly, Leviticus 20:13 condemns homosexuals to death, but the same punishment is mandated for people who curse their parents (Leviticus 20:9). Are those in the “it says so in the Bible” camp willing to pass laws that put children to death for speaking out against their parents?

Osteen famously did not attend seminary, so it’s not terribly surprising that a scholar who dedicated his life to understanding ancient Hebrew might have a better grasp of the subject, but still, poor Joel Osteen. It must be hard to maintain a non-opinion opinion when everyone keeps trying to pin you down to one consistent biblical interpretation.

Watch the clip from Oprah’s Next Chapter after the break:

—  admin

WATCH: Houston megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen equates being gay to having an addiction

Houston mega-church pastor Joel Osteen spoke to Sally Quinn of the Washington Post  as part of the media tour hyping his new book Everyday a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week. Quinn steered the conversation towards Osteen’s recent appearance on Piers Morgan, and his statement that he would attend a same-sex wedding, but not perform one.  Osteen has gotten a lot of flack from the religious right for his willingness to attend attend a “homosexual wedding,” and it must be said that, in the world of mega-church leaders, his position is remarkably tolerant.  Unfortunately, Olsteen’s attempt at a middle-of-the-road response to Quinn’s question quickly steered toward the absurd:

“Somebody that maybe had this certain difficulty now, maybe in five years they’re not if we will love them. You know, I think one of the messages I speak on sometimes is, you know, we can love people back into wholeness. But sometimes we want to beat them down — you got this addiction and you shouldn’t have that, or you did this — I just don’t think that’s the best way.”

Yes, because being LGBT is just like having an addiction. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t hear much of a difference between “love away the gay” and “pray away the gay.”

—  admin

HRC calls out Pastor Joel Osteen, who will again promote gay teen suicide on CNN tonight

Above is video of the Houston megachurch pastor’s latest remarks, which are scheduled to air tonight on CNN. And below is a press release that just came across from the Human Rights Campaign:

HRC to Joel Osteen:  Use Your Pulpit for Good, Not Hate

Televangelist’s Hateful Remarks Before a National Audience are Dangerous

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, today called on Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX and well-known evangelical preacher with a syndicated television following of over 7 million viewers, to immediate apologize for his remarks on national television that “the Scripture shows that [homosexuality] is a sin.” Osteen made the remarks on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight. The full show will air tonight.

“It’s a real shame that someone of Joel Osteen’s prominence and life experiences would repeat this tired and dangerous statement. It furthers ignorance and discrimination by some Americans and adds a burden to those already struggling to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “One would hope Mr. Osteen would use his pulpit, with an audience of over 7 million people, to tell all human beings that they are loved just the way they are. Instead he chose to send a dangerous and irresponsible message.”

The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal.

Mr. Osteen’s position does not reflect the views of many religious leaders and denominations. Mainline denominations such at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Episcopal Church, see God’s divine presence working across the spectrum of human sexuality. Many Baptists also dispute Mr. Osteen’s stance.

“Joel Osteen is certainly entitled to his opinion, but America needs to know that he doesn’t speak for all Christians, he doesn’t even speak for all Baptists,” said Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre, a Baptist minister and member of the HRC Religion Council. “As a Southern Baptist and an ethicist I believe that we can’t follow Jesus’ commandment to love God and our neighbor as our self if we start with the premise that homosexuality is sinful. Starting with the belief that people are sinful doesn’t allow us to get to know them, let alone love them.”

HRC encourages young Baptists who are struggling with their identity to contact the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB) for resources on the church and sexuality. AWAB’s website is http://www.wabaptists.org/. AWAB partnered with the Human Rights Campaign in 2010 to honor several Washington, DC area Baptist pastors who were instrumental in passing marriage equality legislation in the District of Columbia.

—  John Wright

In case you missed it: Joel Osteen discussed his thoughts on gay people on The View

Perhaps it’s not the most fun on a Friday morning to start with a religious guy talking down the gays but Houston’s Joel Osteen did just that this week on The View. Whoopi respectfully asks his thoughts on gay people and while Osteen responds in a calm fashion, it’s clear he’s not a fan. No surprise, really.

I just love how Joy Behar is ready to duke it out.

—  Rich Lopez