“You know, I don’t believe in pushing stuff down people’s throat.”

by Greg Linscott

From Larry King Live, December 22, 2006, featuring Joel and Victoria Osteen.

KING: Where do you — what’s your view of homosexuality?

J. OSTEEN: Well, to me, Larry, it’s not God’s best. It’s not, you know, the scripture clearly defines that it’s not — it’s considered a sin. And — but you know what? There’s a fine line. So is lying, so is cheating, so is having an adulterous affair.

So I think we have to be careful not to beat people up. Our church has always been open to everyone that wants to come, regardless of who you are. And so we’ve seen people overcome things like that.

So I don’t like to take the easy way out and people say well, that’s just me. I think there’s, you know, we all have struggles and I think that we can overcome things like that.KING: But, Joel, how could something be a sin if you don’t choose it?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think that’s the debate and I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I think sometimes — I don’t think we can say everybody doesn’t choose it. I think sometimes we do choose things. But we have to, you know, maybe — for instance, Larry, maybe I have a — or just a male has a — and I’m married and I have tendencies toward another female.

You know that? I have to say you know what? I can’t do that. That’s not right. That’s, you know, the bible teaches, you know, that I have to be disciplined in those areas.

I think some — many times it’s in that same (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: What do you say to the gay person who might be in your congregation who says, you know, you preach about family and family values. I like that idea. Family is wonderful. I’d like to marry my partner.

J. OSTEEN: Well, I just never encourage it because, you know, our — I didn’t make the rules. But if you go back to the scripture, it talks about, you know — it’s all — seen throughout the whole bible that marriage is between a man and a woman. So I just wouldn’t encourage it. I couldn’t in good faith, you know, letting the bible be my guide, you know, encourage them in that.

KING: But the bible isn’t Texas’ guide or Louisiana’s guide.

J. OSTEEN: Sure. Well, that’s the thing, Larry, like kind of like you said. You know, I don’t believe in pushing stuff down people’s throat. I mean different people have different callings. My calling is love, forgiveness, mercy, let me help you be the best that you can be through the scriptures. And so…

KING: Do you like the idea of a civil union, where a state pronounces at least that two people get the rights of marriage?

J. OSTEEN: You know, Larry, I have not thought about that. I don’t really spend much time thinking on that. I think that, you know, anything that conducts the bible wouldn’t be something I could, you know, I could agree with.

KING: Victoria, what do you think?

V. OSTEEN: I couldn’t agree with that either. I mean my belief is that, you know, it’s for a man and a woman. And it’s not — it just — it wouldn’t be something that I would feel in good conscience about. I mean I wouldn’t want my children to do it and so…

KING: If your children were gay, you’d still discourage it? Because you can’t choose that.

V. OSTEEN: I’d love them. I’d love my children no matter what. And — but I wouldn’t be — I can’t say I’d be happy about it. I couldn’t say, you know — I’m not going to bend it just because it’s happened to me. There’s things that happen and they’re, you know, they happen.

But, no.