HOUSTON—On CNN's Piers Morgan show Wednesday night, Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen sparked a controversy with what he had to say about homosexuality.
"I've always believed, Piers, the scriptures shows that it's a sin. But I'm not one of those that will bash homosexuals, tell them they're terrible people and all that. I mean there are other sins in the Bible too," he said.
Even before the full interview aired, Osteen's comments had gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups -- and even some other church leaders -- firing back.
"When people hear in church that God doesn't love homosexuals, it authorizes people who are hateful in their hearts or fearful to go out and commit violence," said Reverend Harry Knox, senior pastor at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church in Houston.
The President of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus also spoke out, saying he wishes Osteen would learn more about the gay community.
"We want to extend an invitation to Pastor Osteen to talk with us. Maybe we can help him understand who we are," they said.
At the same time, Osteen's feelings are not uncommon among religious leaders. The Houston Area Pastor Council, an inter-racial and inter-denominational coalition of local pastors, released a statement, saying in-part: "Joel Osteen not only has the right to answer a question by an interviewer about the homosexual lifestyle, he has a duty as a pastor to express the truth found in the Bible he teaches from."