Al Mohler is mopping the floor with Joel Osteen's perfectly quaffed hair. Last week Osteen and his wife were interviewed by CNN's Piers Morgan to promote his new book Every Day A Friday, How To Be Happier 7 Days a Week. (I'm sure the board game will be released in time for Christmas.) During the interview Morgan asked the megachurch pastor about cultural issues like capital punishment, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Osteen's ability to dodge the questions rivaled the slickest politicians.
But that's exactly what annoyed Mohler. Unlike Osteen, Mohler is never reluctant to give a definitive answer (even when none is requested). The Southern Baptist leader took particular offense over Osteen's remarks about same-sex marriage. When asked about his opinion, Osteen said:
"You know, Piers, it really never changes because mine was - mine's based out of the scripture. That's what I believe that the scripture says that - that homosexuality is a sin. So, it - you know, I believed it before and I still believe it now. Again, I would just reiterate what I said, I'm not after - I'm not mad at anybody. I don't dislike anybody. But, you know, you know, respecting my faith and believing, you know, in - in what the scripture says, that's the best way I can interpret it."
But later in the interview Morgan asked if Osteen would ever attend a same-sex marriage ceremony. He answered:
"I'm not going to disrespect somebody that's dear to us and say, you know what, you're not good enough for us or something like that. That's the way that I would see it. Now, I'm not going to just run off and go attend, you know, certain marriages just to make a statement because that's not who I am and that's not what I stand for and, again, I don't look down on those people."
This is what sent Al Mohler into a rant. He sees Osteen's position as totally inconsistent. Mohler believe that attending a same-sex marriage ceremony is the same as celebrating and supporting same-sex marriage. In his column, Mohler writes:
"Joel Osteen sees homosexuality as a sin and same-sex marriage to be contrary to God's will. He cannot perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or endorse same-sex marriage, because he is bound by Scripture. On the other hand, he can attend a same-sex ceremony, if the participants are friends, and thus endorse by his presence the credibility of the ceremony itself and join in the celebration of what he believes, or says he believes, is sin. This is beyond mere incoherence. It is moral and theological nonsense. More than that, it is a massive statement of ministerial malpractice."
Is Al Mohler right? Is attending a same-sex marriage ceremony the same as performing one? Is it ministerial malpractice? What would you do?
And if attending a marriage ceremony is the same as supporting the underlying theology of the union, does that prohibit Christians from attending Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or weddings from other religious traditions? Where is the line?
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