Mega-church Pastor Joel Osteen declared on Sunday being gay is a sin, but insisted he does not discriminate against homosexuals, adding he believes Mormons are true Christians.
I believe that the scripture says that being gay is a sin, Osteen said during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. You know, every time I say that, Chris, I get people saying, 'You're a gay hater and you're a gay basher.' I'm not. I don't dislike anybody. [...] But my faith is based on what the scripture says, and that's the way I read the scripture.
Osteen reiterated his opposition to gay marriage, but added certain modes of discrimination, such as preventing gays from visiting their partners in a hospital, should be stopped.
I don't think that's right. They love each other, he said. I'm not for gay marriage, but I'm not for discriminating against people.
His exclusion of gays from certain facets of Christian life does not extend to Mormons, however, calling them true followers in Christ.
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I don't believe that Mormonism is traditional orthodox Christianity, he said. I realize there's differences there, but I go back to when I hear Mitt Romney and some of my Mormon friends say, 'I love Jesus. He's my savior. I believe he was raised from the dead.'
Osteen said he'd consider voting for Republican presidential nominee Romney, with the former Massachussets governor's faith not factoring into the decision.
They follow the teachings of the Bible, the pastor said. I believe they are followers of Christ and that they're my brothers. And I'm not looking to exclude them and, you know, push them out.