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January 26, 2011
Contact: Brent Childers, 828.612.4682 email@example.com
Pastor's 'uplifting' message doesn't extend to gay Americans
Faith in America denounced Joel Osteen's promotion of religion-based bigotry before a national audience this evening as immoral and a form of spiritual malpractice.
Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, and a well-known evangelical television preacher, told CNN's Piers Morgan that "the Scripture shows that [homosexuality] is a sin."
When questioned by Morgan about the likely impact of his statement on gay and lesbian individuals, Osteen said he didn't understand the issue.
"Osteen's comments demonstrate a callous insensitivity to the devastating impact of religious-based messages of rejection and condemnation on gay people, and especially on gay youth," said Brent Childers, executive of Faith in America. "He is perpetuating the myth that being gay is a choice, rather than an essential aspect of who people are. This is the great lie that has perpetuated against gay Americans for the past 40 years and the harm caused to good. honest decent individuals - simply because they are gay - has been horrendous and it is a national disgrace."
Osteen has become known in the evangelical faith community for preaching a more positive message. After deeming gay and lesbian individuals as sinners, Osteen repeated his claim to Morgan that his message is one that "uplifts."
"I hope Osteen will stop for a moment to consider the grave impact his words have on gay youth," said Childers. "Such trafficking in religion-based bigotry toward gay youth doesn't uplift them rather it is literally putting many in an early grave."
Faith in America educates Americans about the harm caused to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially youth, by religion-based bigotry and works to challenge those who attempt to use religious teaching to promote or justify such stigma and hostility. Brent Childers, an evangelical Christian who once held anti-gay attitudes, serves as executive director. Visit www.faithinamerica.org and www.crisisbook.org for more information.