CNN is teasing this segment from Piers Morgan’s upcoming interview with Pastor Joel Osteen, in which the usually jovial TV evangelist says he believes that that homosexuality is a “sin” and that God can give gay people the “grace to change”:
OSTEEN: I’ve always believed Pierce, that the scripture shows that it’s a sin, but I’m not one to bash homosexuals or tell them that they’re terrible people and all that. There are other sins in the bible too. …I don’t believe that homosexuality is God’s best for a person’s life. […]
MORGAN: And when you see civil partnerships sanctioned, you think that’s wrong, presumably?
OSTEEN: Yes, I think it’s wrong, but I’m not going to bash those people. I’m not going to be against those people, they’re good people. I say it’s wrong because that’s what the scripture says. […]
MORGAN: Say a friend of mine like Elton John watching this at home, who with his partner – a civil partner, David Furnish – have just had a surrogate child which was born on Christmas day. They’re going to be pretty angry what they hear. They’re going to think who are you to call them a sinner.
MORGAN: But why are they sinners in your eyes?
OSTEEN: Well, it’s strictly back to what the scripture says. I mean, I can’t grab one part and say God wants you to be blessed and live an abundant life, and not grab the other part that says, you know what? You know, live that kind of life. So it comes back to the scripture. I’m not the judge. You know, God didn’t tell me to go around judging everybody.
MORGAN: I’m not so sure though, you see. I think you are a kind of judge, I think you can’t abrogate that responsibility — because of your influence. Seven, eight million viewers every Sunday. When you say things like homosexuality is a sin, it’s a big statement to make. You are a judge. And you’re encouraging your congregation to believe that. […]
V. OSTEEN: We’re not judging the person. […]
MORGAN: You are judging the person, aren’t you?
OSTEEN: Well, to me, I’m not the one to judge and say who’s bad or who’s good….I don’t know that God is judging sins on different levels, but we pick out that one. If you listen to my message, they’re about lifting people up and so it’s not, I mean I really talk about homosexuality when we get on the interviews.
MORGAN: Yea, but now I’m curious, what would you say to a homosexual watching this? How do they change? What do they have to do to change to be better people?
OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know that I understand it all. 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 has been criticized by some members of the evangelical community for not stressing “sin” enough. During a 60 Minutes profile in 2007, one Christian reverend said that Osteen “tells only half the story of the Bible, focusing on the good news without talking about sin, suffering and redemption” and went so far as to accuse him of teaching “heresy.”