Houston pastor Joel Osteen and feel-good homophobia

Lakewood Church leader part of new breed who couch anti-gay teachings in forgiveness, love

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Joel Osteen

When the Michele Bachmanns or Glenn Becks of the world do their public rants about rampant homosexual perversion and the decay of American values, I’m happy to let them talk.

As painful as it is to keep the free flow of ideas going, it is important to let people fly their colors. This way you know where they stand and you get to fly your own big neon flag in response. When activists called to have the Mormon church’s tax-exempt status yanked for its role in California’s Prop 8, I took the church’s side — not because I approved of their bully tactics, but because I didn’t want to see other churches lose their right to fight for us one day.

So you’d think I’d be OK with Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen’s recent remarks recently to Oprah Winfrey: “I believe that homosexuality is shown as a sin in the scripture. I do.” I’m so not OK with this I almost foam at the mouth whenever I think about that nuclear white Osteen smile.

True, Osteen was just sick about having to say that we’re sinners, and almost apologized for it. He went out of his way to opine that Christians make too big a deal about homosexuality and that it’s about as sinful as being prideful or fibbing. I’m glad that my marriage only offends God somewhat.

I’ve heard that Osteen has a big gay following, and I know one of those fans well. Once I emailed him to report that Osteen called homosexuality “not God’s best” on Larry King. My friend wrote back, “Well, nobody’s perfect. You take what’s good and leave the rest.” He continues to be inspired.

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Abby Dees | Thinking Out Loud

This all sounds reasonable, and you could argue that my friend was reminding me of my own professed philosophy about free speech and religion. And yet I shrieked out loud when I read his email.

The reason Fox News gets a pass but Osteen has incurred my wrath is because his message is so insidious. It’s feel-good homophobia, so couched in God-loves-you talk that Osteen avoids all responsibility for the fact that real people take his words to heart. Not everyone can “leave the rest” as my friend does.

Whenever Osteen answers the question about homosexuality he hems and haws, but always comes to the apparently painful conclusion that the Bible is unambiguous about it.

He’s quick to add that he does love gay people, welcomes them in his church, doesn’t judge, that there are worse things to be, etc. The message that it’s still a sin to be gay gets quickly obscured by smiley faces and glitter glue for hope.

Curiously, Osteen is rarely willing to take a stand on any other issues. He’s gotten criticized by the religious right for staying out of politics and being unwilling to talk about sin as much as he talks about positivity. It’s all about being “the best you can be” — God’s plan for you. When Mike Wallace asked Osteen if he thought Mormons were true Christians, he humbly responded, “I haven’t really studied them or thought about them…I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know” and “I’m not one to judge the little details of it.”

Hmm. Why so vague about the folks who have an entirely different set of scriptures, but so damned clear on the disappointing truth about homosexuality? Perhaps some serious re-examination is in order.

Another pastor whose language and selective choice of issues is spookily similar to Osteen’s is the purpose-driven Rick Warren. Also a proclaimed political abstainer, he encouraged his flock to vote against same-sex marriage and has disturbing ties to the recent wave of anti-gay policies in Africa. Warren still insists that he loves gay people and works closely with “a number of gay organizations,” though no one ever asks which ones. These men are entitled to their opinions, but it’s time to call out the hypocrisy of this new breed of influential pastors who want us all to bathe in the light of God’s forgiving love. Except that LGBT people must still deny how God made them if they want “God’s best” for themselves.

California-based writer Abby Dees is the author of  ‘Queer  Questions Straight Talk.’ She can be contacted through her website QueerQuestionsStraightTalk.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 20, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Police investigating anti-gay fliers in Ky.

COVINGTON, Ky. — Police in northern Kentucky are investigating who blanketed a neighborhood in anti-gay fliers two days after the Covington City Commission held a press conference reaffirming the city’s human rights ordinance.

The Kentucky Enquirer reported that fliers were posted on poles and placed on windshields throughout the MainStrasse neighborhood sometime Wednesday night, Aug. 25 or Thursday morning, Aug. 26.

The fliers come in the wake of a series of crimes that police and residents believe have targeted the city’s gay community.

The Covington Police are investigating who is responsible for the fliers, which contained anti-gay epithets and called homosexuality a perversion.

—  John Wright

Bigot Pat Buchanan: ‘judicial tyranny’ on Prop 8 a ‘perversion’ of the Constitution

Fortunately, I haven’t seen Pat Buchanan on the air talking about Prop 8 recently, but this article gives every bit of the insight of this man’s view that civil rights should be up for a vote and Judge Walker is part of the judicial tyranny destroying American society.

Walker declared Proposition 8, by which 5.5 million Californians voted to prohibit state recognition of gay marriage, null and void. What the people of California voted for is irrelevant, said Walker; you cannot vote to take away constitutional rights.

If the Walker decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court, homosexual marriage will be imposed on a nation where, in 31 out of 31 state referenda, the people have rejected it as an absurdity.

This is not just judicial activism. This is judicial tyranny.

This is a perversion of what the authors of the Constitution wrote and what the states approved. Through such anti-democratic means, the left has imposed a social and moral revolution on America with only the feeblest of protests from the people or their elected leaders.

…Walker says the only motivations behind Proposition 8 had been “biases” and “moral disapproval,” and “moral disapproval … has never been a rational basis for legislation.”

But what else is the basis for laws against polygamy and incest? What else was the basis for the Mann Act, which prevented a man from taking his girlfriend across the state line to a motel?

What is the basis for prohibiting prostitution, a free exchange of money for sexual favors, if not “moral disapproval”?

What the judge is saying with this opinion is that the majority cannot define morality, and, even if it does, it cannot impose it. We are defenseless against what we believe to be moral decadence.

But not even a judge can change the meaning of words. In every language known to man, marriage is defined as a union of a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

Walker may call such pairings marriages, but that does not make it so. As Lincoln said, “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Oh god, it goes on and on…special bonus points for referencing the Declaration of Independence and what Thomas Jefferson thought about homosexuality. Is this a prescription, Pat?

The author of that declaration, Thomas Jefferson, equated homosexual acts with rape and wrote that male homosexuals (they used the term sodomites in that time) should be castrated and lesbians should have a hole cut into their noses.

Also see:
* Pat Buchanan’s latest bigot eruption: ‘Losing White America’
* Uncle Pat on MSNBC: America is “a country built basically by white folks”
* Why does Nazi apologist Pat Buchanan still have a job at MSNBC?
* Pat Buchanan explains White Resentment
* MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan: Powell Endorsement Of Obama Due To Race
* Exhibit A: Pat Buchanan – why we desperately need to discuss race  
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright