Speaking with Oprah Winfrey during her new series, "Oprah's Next Chapter," Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas told the media mogul he thinks homosexual acts are condemned in the Scriptures and it is not his job as a pastor to give personal opinions.
Jakes, whose church boasts about 30,000 members, appeared on "Oprah's Next Chapter" on April 8 to discuss his ministry, marriage and how he deals with critics. Also brought up in the conversation, which at one point included the pastor's wife Serita Jakes, were accusations some people have not been welcomed to Jakes' megachurch.
"Would you say that everybody is embraced in your church?" Winfrey asked. "Cause you know you have been accused of saying that gay people would not be welcome."
"That's not true at all," Jakes began. "The perception in our society today is that if you don't say you're for same-sex marriage or if you say homosexuality is a sin that you're homophobic and you're against gay people. And that's not true."
The pastor continued, "I'm not called to give my opinion. I'm called as a pastor to give the scriptural position on it," the pastor added. "Doesn't mean that I have to agree with you to love you. I don't dislike anybody. I love everybody."
Winfrey went on to ask if Jakes thinks being gay is a sin.
"I think that sex between two people of the same sex is condemned in the Scriptures, and as long as it is condemned in the Scriptures, I don't get to say what I think. I get to say what the Bible says," Jakes said.
"I'm not particularly political. I'm not particularly denominational. I'm not worried about any of that," he added. "I'm not anti-gay, I'm not anti-anything. I don't want to even be known by what I'm against."
Critics immediately contradicted Jakes' comments by branding the pastor's statements as "homophobic" and "anti-gay," with some in the liberal media even calling the megachurch pastor hypocritical in light of an incident involving one of his son's several years ago.
New York-based Gawker.com portrayed Winfrey as asking Jakes if he "likes gay people," while calling the minister a bigot.
"[...] she lets Jakes spout anti-gay sentiment while swearing off homophobia," Gawker's Rich Juzwiak writes in his article, titled "Anti-Gay Pastor Doesn't Want to Be Known For Being Anti-Gay."
Juzwiak claims that by "disagreeing" with gay people, one is actually "disagreeing with something that is fundamental to their existence: how they love." He goes on to insinuate that holding a biblical view of homosexuality "values an institution over human beings who are going to love each other and be together anyway, like they have been since the dawn of time."
Dismissively calling Jakes' "love" for homosexuals worthless, Juzwiak points readers to a 2009 report on Jermaine Jakes' arrest in a "gay sex sting" in a local park. Jakes' stepson was accused of exposing himself to two undercover police officers.
Gay publication, Dallasvoice.com, took its criticism of Jakes stance on Scripture and homosexuality even further, stating that the minister "is condemning the countless LGBTQ youth who are among his flock at the Potter's House, perhaps pushing some closer to suicide" and shaming those possibly infected with HIV/AIDS through a homosexual encounter.
In his interview on "Oprah's Next Chapter," Jakes told Winfrey he wants to be known for what he is for, saying, "I'm for people bettering themselves, no matter who they are and where they are, doing all they can to be all they can be."
The Potter's House, a nondenominational church with dozens of outreach ministries, was founded in 1996 and "brings together the down-and-out, the homeless and released offender to sit beside the up-and-coming, the celebrity and the community leader," according to a description on its website.