Conservative televangelist Joel Osteen went on national television this morning and admitted that his own sexual orientation is not a choice -- despite maintaining consistently in previous interviews that being gay is a sin, albeit one that "God gives us the grace to change."
The bestselling author and Texas megachurch leader went on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" as part of a segment featuring both Osteen and New Yorker writer and former Bill Clinton adviser Richard Socarides.
Osteen has repeatedly tried to tip toe around his stance on homosexuality, telling Piers Morgan in October of 2011 that he's not "mad at anybody" and doesn't "dislike anybody," while reiterating his belief that the scripture says homosexuality is a sin," and "two hundred years from now, the Scripture is still going to say that."
Citing that interview, Socarides, who has often campaigned for LGBT rights, and host O'Brien pushed Osteen to clarify his stance on homosexuality, especially for those gays and lesbians who listen to his sermons that emphasize personal happiness and other uplifting themes.
O’Brien: 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 just feel like that’s who I am.
Socarides: So how can I choose to be gay?
Apparently realizing this answer could be interpreted as a defense of a main LGBT argument -- that people do not choose their sexual orientation -- Osteen backtracked, saying he preferred to stick to "the issues I understand," the Advocate reports.
The pastor's comments were quickly picked up by media outlets, given Osteen's track record on the "born this way" argument.
During a Piers Morgan interview in January 2011, Osteen compared the ability to break an addiction to the ability to stop being gay. "I believe that it’s a process. But I believe that God can give us grace to change. We’ve seen people break addictions, and do other other things as well," Osteen said.
Similarly, in a 2011 interview with the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn, Osteen implied that being gay was a (sinful) choice, but that with enough love and support homosexuals might be able to convert to a better, presumably straighter path.
"Somebody that maybe had this certain difficulty now, maybe in five years they’re not if we will love them," Osteen said. "You know, I think one of the messages I speak on sometimes is, you know, we can love people back into wholeness."
Eating A Ham Sandwich
Lunch time? Leviticus 11:7-8 reads: <blockquote>And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.</blockquote>
Thinking of getting the Superman insignia on your bicep? Leviticus 19:28 states: <blockquote>Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.</blockquote>
Off to the barber? Leviticus 19:27 states: <blockquote>Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.</blockquote>
Men With Injured Or Cut Off Private Parts Entering Houses Of God
It's bad enough if you're a man who has had his private parts injured -- or heaven forbid cut off -- but to add insult to injury, Deuteronomy 23:1 states: <blockquote>He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.</blockquote>
Have you ever had your palm read? Or maybe you've consulted your horoscope for a little guidance? Leviticus 19:31 reads: <blockquote>Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.</blockquote> Photo by zopdeep on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcpucho/318112432/sizes/m/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
Heard some juicy news about Harold in the accounting department? Can't wait to tell your BFF that you just read that Snooki is pregnant? Leviticus 19:16 states: <blockquote>Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD.</blockquote> Photo by JoeInSouthernCA on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/4744688383/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
Wives Helping Out Their Husbands In A Fight
Gentlemen -- if you ever get in a fight and you get the feeling your lady might jump in and lend you a hand by squeezing your opponent's... ahem... "secrets," you'd better stop her. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 states: <blockquote>When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.</blockquote>
Children Cursing Their Parents
Kids these days -- you never know what's going to come out of their mouths! But hopefully your child doesn't curse you because Exodus 21:17 states: <blockquote>"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."</blockquote>
Getting Remarried After Getting Divorced
When it comes to the Bible, this is a big no-no (unless your spouse was cheating on you): Mark 10:11-12 states: <blockquote>Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.</blockquote>
Working On The Sabbath
In our fast-paced society, does anyone really work Monday to Friday from 9-5? Exodus 31:14-15 states: <blockquote>"Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.</blockquote>
Women Speaking In Houses Of God
Headed to church, ladies? 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 states: <blockquote>Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.</blockquote>
Eating Shrimp, Lobster, And Other Assorted Seafood
Craving a big bowl of popcorn shrimp? Leviticus 10-11 states: <blockquote>And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.</blockquote> Photo by jeffreyw on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/5833838507/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
Losing Your Virginity Before You Get Married
Today it might be harder to find a bride who is a virgin rather than the other way around. But Deuteronomy 22:20-21 states: <blockquote>But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you</blockquote>