Joel Osteen: I Didn’t Choose to be Straight, but Being Gay is Still Wrong

Here’s Joel Osteen‘s predicament: His success hinges on his ability to inspire and uplift people. But, as a successful pastor, he knows he’s going to have to take stances on “controversial” issues like gay marriage. So what does he do?

He stays ignorant. It’s just easier for him. When he gets asked about whether homosexuality is a sin, he tries to avoid the line of questioning by saying he never talks about that in church and he “stays in his lane” and his areas of expertise. He purposely keeps those areas to a minimum.

Still, the man has thoughts, and those thoughts are important. Not talking about homosexuality is just a pastor’s way of avoiding the “bigot” label… even though, deep down inside, that’s what he is.

You can imagine how frustrating it must have been for Osteen when he went on CNN to promote his new book I Declare, only to get grilled on the issue by Soledad O’Brien and Richard Socarides:

“You are known for these uplifting services… and I always wonder when you say, homosexuality is a sin and there’s a bunch of people who clearly are gay who are in your church, you’re calling them sinners,” O’Brien said. “I mean, that is the opposite of uplifting, I would think.”

Osteen quickly responded, saying that homosexuality isn’t really an issue that he focuses upon. The faith leader went on to say that there are a plethora of sins and that Christians have a tendency to categorize them (something he doesn’t support).

To which the better panelists responded by basically saying you can change your behavior when it comes to lying and stealing but not when it comes to your sexual orientation.

Osteen has no real response. He admits he never chose to be straight, but somehow, homosexuality is still bad because the Bible said so, as if that makes it true.

But here’s how this will play out (and it’s what’s most upsetting about this whole thing): Osteen won’t solidify his views. He won’t get educated. He won’t talk to LGBT groups, he won’t talk to other pastors, he won’t read up on the issue. He’ll just bask in his ignorance, promoting a faith that he thinks is wonderful, while knowing that the faith has caused so much harm to so many people.

This isn’t a complicated issue. It’s not like most people can’t quite grasp it. Hell, even schoolchildren understand that it’s ok to be gay. But Osteen can’t rise up to that level of understanding. He’d rather just say he doesn’t know enough about the issue and mimic the other pastors who say homosexuality is a sin without getting into the specifics about how the laws based on those misguided views affect people all over the country, presumably including many who attend his church.

You can’t whitewash the problems away by not talking about them. Journalists need to keep pushing him on this issue — it shows his true nature. He’s all for making people feel better, but he can’t muster the courage to stand up for all those people who aren’t allowed to get married or adopt children because of the faith he wants to propagate.

It’s cowardice, and it’s coming from someone whose approval of homosexuality — something that many, many Christians have had no problem giving — might actually make a difference.

(Thanks to Dr. Matt for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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