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Osteen’s take on homosexuality

Timothy Kincaid

January 14th, 2014

I’ve discussed before the odd place that Joel Osteen, pastor of the country’s largest church, has staked out on the issue of homosexuality. It’s not one that many people like. It doesn’t play well into the good guy / bad guy dichotomy that is demanded by the Culture War.

And yet again he has been asked his opinion, and again he has given his answer. (Edge)

“What are your views on homosexuality?” King asked Osteen.

“The same that they’ve been. I believe that scripture says that it’s a sin but I always follow that up by saying you know what, we’re not against anybody,” Osteen replied.

King asked about his theory of the cause of homosexuality. “How can it be if we don’t know what causes it? You don’t know why you’re a heterosexual.”

“There’s a lot of things Larry that I don’t understand- so I just don’t want to preach on it, preach about it,” Osteen replied.

And that’s about as qualified an answer as you can get. He believes that the scripture says its and sin but he has no clue why or what that means.

So he goes with what I thin is a pretty good policy. If you don’t understand something, it’s probably best not to preach about it.



Ben In Oakland
January 14th, 2014 | LINK

I hate to be a total cynic about this, but I’m pretty sure that Osteen doesn’t want to preach about it because there is neither skin off his nose nor money in his pocket from it.

Scripture says that being insanely rich is a sin. But Osteen certainly doesn’t want to preach about that. Nor does pat Robertson, Phil Robertson, Eddie long, Rick Warren, and a host of other so called fleecers, errrrr, ummm, shepherds.

Jesus: give away all that you have and follow me.

Osteen: give me all that you’ve and follow Jesus.”

He also says that heaven is a real, physical place, even though souls apparently are not real and physical. There IS money in that.

Regan DuCasse
January 14th, 2014 | LINK

I think what many of us are usually confronted with, are people who are obviously ignorant or biased or both about a subject, and yet…will assert and violently their point.
However wrong.
However more educated or experienced a person is about the subject, dismissing them is easier than admitting actually being ignorant about something.

If Osteen is smart enough to know he doesn’t know, that’s half the battle right there.
At least to some extent, his mind is open to learning something more if the opportunity presents itself.

I know that those of us who are straight allies, what we all tend to have in common is this quality. We know we don’t know, and aren’t qualified to deny what a gay person would know from experience.
I was open to listening, and had no reason to not believe or contradict what I was told.
I’m curious, I’m interested. I WANT to learn, so I go TO THE BEST SOURCE.
If something is a mystery to most of us, I just leave it at a mystery and continue to study what possibility there is to discover more.

But considering the fact that gay and transgender folk are not recently arrived from outer space, what I DON’T understand is why there are so many people don’t know what we do.
And as much as we do.
The opportunities to know better have been quite extensive and available.
The mystery is why gay and transgender folks ARE mystifying to anyone at all.

Priya Lynn
January 14th, 2014 | LINK

“I’ve discussed before the odd place that Joel Osteen, pastor of the country’s largest church, has staked out on the issue of homosexuality. It’s not one that many people like. It doesn’t play well into the good guy / bad guy dichotomy that is demanded by the Culture War.”.

Osteen says the book he holds dear and which guides his life says gayness is a wrongdoing – he’s a bad guy, there’s no confusion about it.

January 14th, 2014 | LINK

Joel Osteen is about avoiding controversy and making money…and that’s it. I don’t believe his answer is based on anything beyond pandering to the largest number of people, and making the fewest number mad. He has never been a real participant in the culture war, so I suspect the vast majority of that huge congregation are people who may be a little more middle-of-the-road with their religious beliefs. The last thing he wants to do is push any gay or gay-affirming parishioners out…but includes just enough of “it’s a sin” to keep those left-leaning members happy.

This is a carefully nuanced position that any marketing person would be proud of. Osteen may not be an enemy, but he’s no friend. You’re right, he won’t “preach about it.” “It” being the subject of homosexuality from any perspective. “We need to hate ’em until we can heal ’em, or, Jesus tells us to love everyone, and that includes your homosexual neighbors, just as they are.” Either of those positions has the risk of impacting revenues in a negative way. So it’s best left alone.

January 14th, 2014 | LINK

And I meant to refer to “right-leaning” members.

January 14th, 2014 | LINK

It’s a stupid and vacuous question to begin with. Who cares if he or his bible or his god thinks homosexuality is a sin? What I care about is whether he believes that gay people should be denied ANY rights, benefits or responsibilities of US citizenship including the right to marry the person they love/choose. I could care less if he believes that I’m a sinner. I could care less if he believes I’ll burn in hell for all of eternity. However, I care a great deal whether or not he believes I should be protected from job discrimination and hate crimes and whether he believes in and supports laws that deny me any of the rights, privileges, benefits and responsibilities of citizenship.

Ben in Oakland
January 14th, 2014 | LINK

Exactly, Zeke,

Timothy Kincaid
January 14th, 2014 | LINK


That’s a bit harder to answer.

He doesn’t appear to take a position from the pulpit on legislation in general. So he doesn’t support anti-gay stuff.

He also doesn’t – in words – support pro-gay legislation. However, there may be a bit of a question as to whether his overall message is supportive.

He repeatedly tells his parishioners to love their neighbors and to treat others with kindness. And this, absent the anti-gay ranting, probably is supportive in a way.

He has also publicly been seen in a capacity that might appear supportive. For example, he gave the opening prayer at Mayor Anise Parker’s inauguration, something that some would not do as she is a lesbian.

And it’s probably true that if he wasn’t there, his church members would be listening to someone much more hostile.

I guess we each would have to weigh our priorities, but I see Osteen as a net positive.

January 14th, 2014 | LINK

He is just one more in a line of hucksters that fleece the non-thinkers of this world and promise them “prosperity”. Of course, he never really defines what “prosperity” will mean to them. They would have a better shot at prosperity by taking their dough to a casino and playing the quarter slots.

January 14th, 2014 | LINK

That answer is so qualified that it’s not an answer — nor is it “nuanced.” I can’t see it as anything other than dodging the question.

January 14th, 2014 | LINK

Osteen’s intent is to piss off as few donors/customers as possible. Our money is as green as anyone’s and he wants to reap it as well.

January 15th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy, I’m not disagreeing with that. My point is that I’m tired of people asking religious people what they “believe” about homosexuality. It’s a ridiculous question outside of a religious setting. NO ONE wins when people discuss what religious people subjectively believe. Asking these people what they believe about homosexuality serves no purpose but to stir up anxiety and anger on both sides. I would rather keep my powder dry to fight what they DO and SAY in an attempt to deny, withhold or take away my civil and human rights. I agree that Olsteen is probably somewhat of a net positive for us among Christians who look up to him. My issue was more with Larry King. Stop asking what pastors believe about the morality of homosexuality (leave that question to their church members and particularly the gay people in their churches) and rather, ask them about what they believe about gay people having equal civil rights. Or challenge them on what they think Jesus would have done in the face of gay people being attacked by Christians or denied civil rights by Rome. Their are scriptures in their bible that make it pretty clear what his position was on both of those things. These are the things that most affects the gay community outside of his church.

January 15th, 2014 | LINK

Their… = There are scriptures…

and in my previous post, “I COULDN’T care less”.

I sometimes post without reviewing and editing.

Timothy Kincaid
January 15th, 2014 | LINK


What you say makes a lot of sense.

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