A kind word for Joel Osteen

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box turtle.jpgBecause of its comprehensive coverage of the Uganda anti-homosexuality bill, I’ve become a big fan of Box Turtle Bulletin, the 4-person webzine that tracks homosexuality in public life in a civil and balanced (if not exactly non-partisan) way. But even by BTB’s standards, yesterday’s commentary on Joel Osteen by Timothy Kincaid is notable. Equipped with the rather odd disclaimer that the other members of the BTB team don’t necessarily agree, the commentary makes out a persuasive case that the GLBT community oughtn’t to pillory Osteen as just another conservative religious homophobe. Kincaid was prompted by Osteen’s giving the opening prayer at the inauguration of Annise Parker, the newly elected lesbian mayor of Houston.

What comes through in the array of Osteenisms Kincaid quotes is that the senior pastor of America’s largest congregation is an irenic soul whose aversion to politicized religion may not be such a bad thing. Especially amidst the agita of the “Tea Party Teens” named and claimed by David Brooks today. Perhaps there’s a lesson here for the Prosperity Gospel’s cultured despisers.