Monday, January 20, 2014

The contradictory Joel Osteen

The Billy Graham column in my paper was boring, so I figured we'd look at a different insanely rich preacher (Jesus is going to be pissed!)... Joel Osteen. A few days back, he was being interviewed by Larry King, and the topic of homosexuality came up. When asked his view on homosexuality, he had
Is it just me, or does Joel just happen to look like your
stereotypical snake-oil salesman?
this to say...
The same that they’ve been. I believe that scripture says that it’s a sin but I always follow that up by saying you know what, we’re not against anybody
Well, that sounds nice, but is actually an odd statement as well. How is he not judging or against anybody here? He thinks that their lifestyle is a sin, but isn't against them? So is he saying he's a pastor that's okay with 'sin'? Or if he is not okay with 'sin' (as you'd expect), how is saying that being a gay is a sin, but I'm okay with people being gay any different that if he had said theft is a sin, but he's okay with people being a kleptomaniac? His congregation would be loudly in opposition to the second stance, so why the opposite reaction to the first? Somehow this statement is being made out to one of acceptance when it's really not anything of the sort.

Joel says that the Bible is clear on homosexuality, but he chooses not to preach on it. Sorry, but him not preaching on it does not equate to an open and accepting stance on the subject. He said the Bible is clear on it, and believes it is a sin to be gay... he just doesn't talk about it. His view isn't much different than the more vocally anti-gay pastors. He just realizes that that doesn't market well, and tries to avoid the issue, or appear softer on it if he can't avoid it.

So, are we to believe that not saying something means that you mean the opposite? I am currently watching all four seasons of "The Thick Of It". I am greatly enjoying the show. But if I don't say that I
enjoy it, does that mean that I don't enjoy it? If I wasn't vocal with my anger toward the Catholic child abuse scandal, would that mean that I was okay with it? Of course not! While Joel may not preach homosexuality as evil, his few statements on the topic have made his true opinion clear.

Osteen doesn't have a clear a history on this subject as one would be lead to believe either. In fact, he has a very contradictory one. He's previously said that he "doesn't dislike anyone", and that "Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world." But on the same topic, he's suggested homosexuality is a simple choice by saying "God can give us the grace to change." And I felt he was being quite ugly when he compared being gay to a drug addiction on Piers Morgan's show on CNN. He also suggested that gay individuals could stop being gay if they were just loved enough. 
Somebody who has a certain difficulty now, maybe they won’t in five years. You know, one of the messages I speak to is, you can love people into wholeness
That doesn't sound open and accepting to me.

And of course there's the topic of same-sex marriage. Osteen  says...
From a scripture point of view, it’s not what my faith would teach, but it doesn’t annoy me.
And he also said that scripture and his opinion is that gay's should not be allowed to marry, but followed up with...
I think we shouldn’t discriminate against anybody
 Um, Joel... discriminating is exactly what you're doing! Sure, you're Bible may not be okay with it, but so what? The Bible is okay with a guy having three wives and a hand-full of concubines.  It is also okay with slavery. So why should we look to the Bible for what to do? Additionally, the United
States does not look to the Bible to create laws. Actually, doing such would be against the Constitution. In the US, everyone is supposed to be granted equal rights. Denial of a homosexual couple to marry the person they love, while saying that only heterosexual couples may marry the person they love is in fact discrimination. Just as it was when groups of Christians pointed to the Bible as to why interracial marriages should be disallowed.

Osteen may put on a good act, but he's not as different as his fans think.

-Brain Hulk

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