Recently, Joel Osteen has been on a couple of CNN programs (Piers Morgan and Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien) and both times, he’s been asked about his beliefs about same-sex orientation. Both times, Osteen tried to dance around his statement that homosexuality is a sin. Both times, the hosts held his feet to the fire (somewhat) and tried not to let him sugarcoat his views on the subject. If you watch the video, though, you’ll him say something interesting. When former Clinton advisor, Richard Socarides asked “You think you choose to be straight?”, Osteen answered “I know I have not chosen to be straight. I just feel like that’s who I am.”
I find it interesting that, as long as you’re straight, you can’t choose your orientation, yet if you’re gay (or lesbian, bi-sexual, trans or anything other than heterosexual) you’ve made a conscious choice to live an aberrant lifestyle. Of all the LGBT people I know, I have yet to meet one who says they got up one morning and decided to be gay. In every story I’ve heard about this subject, they’ve known from an early age they were different. Most tried to hide it because being different in school is a one-way trip to Bullytown, where’d they spend their school years harassed and beaten up. Some even got married and started families. But, the one consistent thing I hear about this is they felt they were living a lie; that they weren’t being themselves. This suppression of their true self caused all kinds of psychological problems which got better when they quit pretending to be someone they were not. This is why “hate the sin, love the sinner” is so damaging; when you attack someone’s sexuality, you’re attacking an integral part of their personality. One’s sexuality can’t be separated from who they are at their core so, in their eyes, saying you hate the sin is the same as saying you hate them.
Bottom line? One doesn’t choose to be gay anymore than one chooses to be white or have blue eyes. It’s just part of the tangled up mess that is a human being. Sexuality, be it gay or straight, is a gift from God and should be viewed as such. We can argue about scripture or that gay sex doesn’t make babies, but when you see sexuality for what it truly is, all those arguments fall away. But, if that’s not possible, can we at least stop saying LGBT folks have chosen to live a “sinful” lifestyle? All too many straight people really have chosen to live a sinful lifestyle; one in which they ignore the poor, worship wealth and hate God’s children that aren’t just like them. Remember, Jesus said that the ones without sin should throw the first stone. Seeing as how that precludes all of us, why don’t we try love and acceptance instead?