Joel Osteen’s Brother Cancels Memorial Service For Gay Veteran at Texas Megachurch

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — A megachurch canceled a memorial service
for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased
was gay.

Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil
Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his
sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner
as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.

“It’s a slap in the face. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’re sorry he died, but he’s gay so we can’t help you,'” she said Friday.

Wright said High Point offered to hold the service for Sinclair
because their brother is a janitor there. Sinclair, who served in the
first Gulf War, died Monday at age 46 from an infection after surgery
to prepare him for a heart transplant.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Gary Simons, said no one knew
Sinclair, who was not a church member, was gay until the day before the
Thursday service, when staff members putting together his video tribute
saw pictures of men “engaging in clear affection, kissing and

Simons said the church believes homosexuality is a sin, and it would
have appeared to endorse that lifestyle if the service had been held

“We did decline to host the service — not based on hatred, not
based on discrimination, but based on principle,” Simons told The
Associated Press. “Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it
— yes, we would have declined then. It’s not that we didn’t love
the family.”

Simons said the decision had nothing to do with the obituary. He
said the church offered to pay for another site for the service, made
the video and provided food for more than 100 relatives and friends.

“Even though we could not condone that lifestyle, we went above and
beyond for the family through many acts of love and kindness,” Simons

Wright called the church’s claim about the pictures “a bold-faced
lie.” She said she provided numerous family pictures of Sinclair,
including some with his partner, but said none showed men kissing or

The 5,000-member High Point Church was founded in 2000 by Simons and
his wife, April, whose brother is Joel Osteen, well-known pastor of the
38,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston. Now High Point meets in a
432,000-square-foot facility in Arlington, near Dallas.

Wright said relatives declined the church’s offer to hold the
service at a community center because they felt it was an inappropriate
venue. It ultimately was held at a funeral home, but the cancellation
still lingered in some minds, she said.

Houston Chronicle

Powered by ScribeFire.


  1. linda

    if what i read is in fact true that joel’s brother, a minister who is supposed to serve jesus christ the lord savior who loved and walked with all people, then i say he is despicable. people are people; we all bleed the same color. this man served this so called minister and congregation by going to fight in the war so he did not have to!!!
    gay is not a sin in todays modern world. and how do you know who really wrote the bible. for all we know jesus was a homosexual himself. we were not there. it is what we believe; and if you as a minister cannot embrace all people no matter who or what they are then you should not speak in the name of the lord.
    my brother is a gay man and everyday he helps inmates at a prison. young men, proably like your own son. would you disown him or not have a service for him if you found out he or joel’s son were gay? get with the times. you are shallow, fearful and have tunnel vision and are very ignorant and uneducated. all people need hope and joy in their lives. not just the people you choose. you are not JESUS or GOD!

  2. Scott

    Hi I am Sorry about your Brother I am a gay male as well trying to hold on to my faith for jesus christ.Joel
    Olsteen not his brother had said something on Larry King live about not judgeing or condeming gays his brother though might have been recieveing presure from the freak churches who hate the gays or believe were going to hell I dont know.Anyways much love to you and dont give up hope cause your brother is in heaven with jesus. Sincerly Scott

  3. Karla

    I would agree that if they decided to hold the service for this man, knowing he was gay, they should have continued to do that without judgment. However, don’t be misled into thinking times are different now and it is not a sin to be gay, because God’s word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We are all sinners, yes, but when we openly disobey God’s word then we are subject to His judgment. Forget what the world thinks because we are being brainwashed into thinking there is nothing wrong with it. Please read Leviticus 20:13, Deuterotomy 23:18 and Romans 1:27 for explanations as to why the Lord calls these acts an abomination. There is of course other sexual sin that people don’t talk about, like adultery and any sexual relations outside of marriage. If the church is to set a good example, then they cannot endorse what God teaches is wrong. It is not about being a freak or hating anyone. God loves the sinner, but he hates the sin. Many people today want to live for themselves the way they want to but then expect God will think it is okay, and it just doesn’t work that way. The choice is yours but then don’t bash those who do not agree with your way of thinking.

  4. jimmyboi2

    What would Jesus do?

    And … should I go so far as to say that the Osteens are probably going to suffer a LONG time in the hereafter for willfully distorting God’s word ?

  5. Jill

    Amen to Karla. It’s not an easy choice to let go and follow Christ, but necessary. The selfish things we think give us pleasure are just the things Christ can and will replace with even more glorious rewards than we can imagine. I know because I’ve lived on both sides now, and will never return to living for myself. I live desperate for Christ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s