Pastor Joel Osteen reaches millions through his sermons, and he tries to preach in a more positive way than some of his notable contemporaries. But because he doesn't focus on sin in his sermons doesn't mean that he doesn't believe in it. He clarified his stance on sin and homosexuality on "Oprah's Next Chapter" (Sun., 9 p.m. EST on OWN).
"Sometimes we look at gay being a bigger sin than being proud or not telling the truth," Osteen said. "I don't think God categorizes sins." While he sounded almost reluctant to come out and say it directly to Oprah Winfrey, Osteen did confirm that he sees homosexualty as a sin, based on what he's read in scripture. But his point is, that it isn't necessarily a bigger sin than so many others, and therefore perhaps it shouldn't be emphasized and sensationalized as such.
He also said that he believes homosexuals can get into Heaven, just as other people with sin in them can. Forgiveness is a big part, but "To think that we're all going to be without one sin?" Osteen mused. "I hope that's true, but I don't think any of us would make it to Heaven.
"It's a hard thing in a sense because I'm for everybody. I'm not against anybody. I don't think anybody's second class," Osteen said. He'll be showing this in his reality television endeavor with Mark Burnett, spotlighting mission trips undertaken by his Lakewood Church.
"Oprah's Next Chapter" continues every Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST on OWN.
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Editor's Note: Some readers may find the language that appears in the following slideshow of the most homophobic tweets of 2001 to be offensive.