Conservative televangelist Joel Osteen on Thursday asserted that homosexuality was a sin and not “God’s best” — but at the same time, he said had not chosen to be straight.
During an interview on CNN, host Soledad O’Brien asked Osteen how he could claim to be uplifting LGBT people while also telling them they were sinners.
“It seems like in Christianity, sometimes we categorize sin,” Osteen explained. “I mean pride is a sin, being critical is a sin, being negative is a sin.”
“Those are all things you can change,” O’Brien noted.
“I don’t think it’s God’s best,” the evangelist insited.
“You would say, the scripture says homosexuality is a sin,” the CNN host noted.
“Exactly,” Osteen agreed.
“When you’re talking to your 45,000 people in your service and some of them are gay, you’re saying to them, ‘You’re a sinner,’” O’Brien pressed.
“That’s what I believe, that the scripture condemns it,” Osteen replied. “It says it’s a sin, but it also says, you know, lying is and that being prideful is.”
O’Brien once again pointed out that liars made a choice to be “sinners,” but LGBT people did not.
“I know I have not chosen to be straight, I feel like that’s who I am,” Osteen admitted. “I don’t understand all those issues so, you know, I try to stick on the issues I do understand. I know this: I’m for everybody, I’m not for pushing people down. … I don’t know were the fine line is, but I do try to stay in my lane.”
Speaking to Fox News earlier this year, Osteen said that he thought there should be some rights for gay men and lesbians, but stopped short when it came to marriage equality.
“I’m not for gay marriage, but I’m not for discriminating against people,” he told host Chris Wallace.
Watch this video from CNN’s Starting Point, broadcast Sept. 20, 2012.