Joel Osteen of the Houston megachurch
Lakewood has said he didn't choose to be straight.
The 49-year-old Osteen, who is
currently pitching his new book I Declare, added in a CNN
panel discussion with Soledad O'Brien and Richard Sorarides that he
believes being gay is a sin.
“When I read the scripture, that's
what I believe,” he told O'Brien. “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 ...”
“Right,” O'Brien started, “so
then you shouldn't lie. But for people who are gay, you're saying so
then you shouldn't be gay?''
“Well, I think that's the big debate.
The scripture says you've got to work out your own salvation ...”
“Do you think you can choose to be
gay or not gay?” Socarides interrupted. “You think you chose to
“I know I have not chosen to be
straight, I feel like that's who I am,” Osteen answered.
“Well, so how can I choose to be
gay?” O'Brien added. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
“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,” Adam Peck wrote at Think
Progress. “He has repeated the claim – that gays can
change their orientation – before several times.”