Houston megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen has said numerous times that he believes being gay is a sin in accordance with his understanding of Christian scripture.
In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Osteen further discussed his position on being gay by telling host Chris Wallace that he "doesn't dislike anybody" and believes gays are some of "most loving people in the world," despite his strongly held conviction that homosexuality is a sin.
"I believe the scripture says that being gay is a sin. But, you know, every time I say that, Chris … people say, well, you are a gay hater and you’re a gay basher," Osteen told Wallace during the interview. "I'm not. I don't - I don't dislike anybody. Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world. But my faith is based on what I believe the scripture says, and that's the way I read the scripture.”
Osteen also spoke in general about discrimination against gays, saying that he "doesn't think we should discriminate against anybody." But his views regarding state and federal policy on the rights of gays were more complicated.
Responding to Wallace's question of whether or not gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexuals, Osteen said he supported some rights, but not necessarily full equality.
"I don't think there is an issue where somebody couldn't go visit a gay loved one in the hospital. I don't think that's right. They love each other," Osteen said. " So, I think there should be some."
"I'm not for gay marriage, but I'm not for discriminating against people," he said.
Osteen's comments came just days after he made comments about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney that raised eyebrows among some Christians, according to the Christian Broadcast Network.
While being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., where the pastor was hosting the event "America's Night of Hope," Osteen spoke positively about Romeny's Mormon faith.
"When I hear Mitt Romney say he believes that Jesus is the Son of God -- that he's the Christ, raised from the dead, that he's his Savior, that's good enough for me," Osteen said.
The comments left some wondering whether Osteen was "endorsing Romney or his faith," according to CBN, leading the pastor to clarify his statements.
"I'm not looking to exclude people, I'm looking to include them," Osteen told the network. "Now, I realize, too, you know I grew up a preacher's kid, that Mormonism is not traditional orthodox Christianity. There are things that I don't agree with but, then again, there are things about other, you know, the Catholics, that I don't agree with -- or even different denominations."
Watch Osteen's interview with Fox News Sunday above.
Check out more statements about homosexuality from right-wing pundits in the slideshow below:
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