Church leader: Being straight is not a choice, but being gay is still a sin

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The leader of a church in Texas has admitted in a TV interview that he is straight, and that he did not choose to be so, but maintained that being gay is a sin.

Texas senior pastor and bestselling author, Joel Osteen, appeared on CNN, Saturday morning, and admitted that he is straight, but that his sexuality was not a choice, reported the Huffington Post. 

He said: “I know I have not chosen to be straight, I just feel like that’s who I am.”

The Texan appeared on, Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien, alongside Bill Clinton’s former advisor and LGBT rights advocate, Richard Socarides.

Mr Socarides brought up Osteen’s previous avoidance of the subject, and asked him to clarify, particularly for gay and lesbian followers of his sermons which aim to “uplift” and “emphasise personal happiness”.

When he said he had not chosen to be straight, Mr Socarides then asked “so how can I choose to be gay?” after which, Osteen changed the subject, saying that he wanted to stick to “the issues I understand”.

The pastor had been accused of tiptoeing around his views on homosexuality, and had previously spoken to Piers Morgan on his show, when he said he was not  “mad at anybody”, and that he did not “dislike anybody” for being gay, but that it is still a sin, and that “two hundred years from now, the Scripture is still going to say that.”

In the Piers Morgan interview, in 2011, Osteen said, with regards to ‘changing’ sexuality:

“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,”

Joel Osteen also told Oprah Winfrey last year gay people would be accepted into heaven if they “changed”, equating the process with anger management

Mr Osteen, who has also said gays were “not god’s best work”,  was also involved in a confusion when tweets sent from Cher’s account praised his welcoming nature.