Televangelist Joel Osteen Did Not Choose To Be Straight, But Still Says Homosexuality Is A Choice

Think Progress | by Adam Peck | 09/20/12

Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen, the televangelist who presides over the nation’s largest congregation at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, appeared on CNN’s morning show Starting Point this morning to discuss his latest book and ended up in a lengthy conversation about his views on the LGBT community.

Host Soledad O’Brien and panelist Richard Socarides pushed Osteen on his beliefs on homosexuality, and whether his message of lifting people up can coexist with his church’s view of homosexuality as a sin:

O’BRIEN: You make it clear that you think that homosexuality is a sin…

OSTEEN: When I read the scripture, that’s what I believe; that the scripture condemns it or says it’s a sin. But it also says that you know, lying is, and that being prideful is…

O’BRIEN: Right, so then you shouldn’t lie. But for people who are gay, you’re saying so then you shouldn’t be gay?

OSTEEN: Well, I think that’s the big debate. The scripture says you’ve got to work out your own salvation…

SOCARIDES: Do you think you can choose to be gay or not gay? You think you choose to be straight?

OSTEEN: I know I have not chosen to be straight, I feel like that’s who I am…

HOST: Well so how can I choose to be gay?

Osteen’s admission that his own sexual orientation is not a choice while still deriding homosexuality as a sin that his 43,000 weekly congregants can choose to rectify is hardly surprising. He has repeated the claim — that gays can change their orientation — before several times.

Televangelist icons have a long history of offensive and homophobic remarks that undermine their message of inclusion and acceptance within the christian faith.

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