NEW YORK, May 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In an open letter, Bible Scholar Dr. Joel M. Hoffman accused CNN television host Piers Morgan of "promoting bigotry and helping to perpetrate a fraud" regarding homosexuality and the Bible.
Hoffman, an internationally recognized expert in Bible translation, posted the entire letter on his personal blog after he sent it to Morgan and his staff.
The controversy stems from two on-air interviews Morgan conducted with Pastor Joel Osteen. During both, the religious leader told Morgan's television audience that "Scripture calls homosexuality a sin." Hoffman wrote to ask why Morgan didn't ask Osteen where the Bible says that.
"The Bible doesn't say that homosexuality is a sin," Hoffman wrote.
Hoffman elaborates in follow-up comments on his blog.
He acknowledges that "in some places the Bible seems to frown on certain homosexual acts," referring to often-cited passages in Leviticus, Romans, and I Corinthians.
But Hoffman also claims that other parts of the Bible actually encourage same-sex marriage.
In addition, he explains that the Bible uses the word "sin" frequently, but never in connection with homosexuality, and that furthermore, the Bible only addresses very specific aspects of homosexuality, not homosexuality in general.
"Why didn't you challenge Pastor Osteen on this basic factual issue?" Hoffman asked Morgan in his letter, adding that the "glaring omission is all the more surprising in light of [Morgan's] claim to be 'challenging.'"
Hoffman compared the situation to a hypothetical lawyer who might tell Morgan's audience that homosexuality is unconstitutional. "I would expect the guest to have to provide at least some evidence, especially if the guest's claim was that the Constitution was clear on the matter," Hoffman explains.
"At the very least," Hoffman says, "let Mr. Morgan set the record straight now."
Piers Morgan has so far refused to respond.
Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, a speaker, author, and Bible scholar, has held faculty appointments at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA and at Hebrew Union College in New York City, and lectured at universities on four continents. He is best known for his research on Bible translation.
SOURCE Dr. Joel M. Hoffman