Jay Bakker and Joel Osteen in HoustonJ just sent me this article about Jay Bakker, the straight son of Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker, coming to Houston as a representative of Soulforce to try to meet with Joel Osteen, the Pastor of Lakewood Church, the country's biggest church.
Soulforce launched a campaign late last year to attempt to meet with the pastors of six of the largest churches in the nation to discuss gay Christian families and the church's response to them. Four of the pastors responded positively, but Joel Osteen is one of the two that chose not to respond.
I have to admit that I was surprised to hear that Osteen didn't respond to the request to meet. He's been more silent than anything on the gay issue (he's no Pat Robertson for sure), so I figured he'd at least be open to speaking to Bakker and the folks at Soulforce. Unfortunately, he wasn't, which is really too bad. Even worse for me was the response from the chief of communications at Lakewood, who accused Soulforce of trying to "use Lakewood to further their agenda." I'd urge him to read more about Soulforce, their Equality Ride, and the reactions they had from the schools that actually visited them before making such an ugly claim.
So, not only has Osteen declined a simple invitation to meet and picnic with families to discuss their lives as Christians and the churches role in their lives as gay people, but his top spokesperson has accused Soulfource of trying to use the church to further an agenda. I'd really expect a church like Lakewood and a Pastor like Osteen to stay away from divisive rhetoric like this (this is exactly why Jay Bakker is coming to town), but I guess my hopes have been dashed. I'll try to keep you guys updated after the picnic (which will go on even if Osteen doesn't show) this weekend.