, pastor of the nondenominational Lakewood Church in Houston — now the nation’s largest congregation — arrived in Boston last weekend for an appearance at the TD Banknorth Garden (also known as the Hub). Attendees paid $10 per ticket to gain admission to the event.

But what caught my eye was a report in The Boston Herald about Mr. Osteen’s appearance at a book signing at the Prudential Center’s Barnes & Noble store prior to the event. He drew more than 400 persons to the book signing — a crowd exceeded only by those who came for a similar event with former President Bill Clinton.

Look at this crucial section of the paper’s report:

He’s the most popular preacher in the country right now – a best-selling author and the “most watched minister” in America.

But when asked yesterday about gay marriage during a trip to the bluest state in the land of the free – and the only one where same-sex nuptuals are legal – the Rev. Joel Osteen suddenly got sheepish.

“I don’t think it’s God’s best,” the handsome Holy Roller said of homosexuality. “I never feel like homosexuality is God’s best.”

When pressed on the issue, Osteen said, “I don’t feel like that’s my thrust . . . you know, some of the issues that divide us, and I’m here to let people know that God is for them and he’s on their side.”

Put that alongside the fact that Stephen Green was recently arrested in Great Britain for passing out pamphlets that included Bible verses clearly declaring homosexuality to be a sin [see above]. Christians in many parts of the world now risk arrest for declaring openly what the Bible clearly teaches.

Mr. Osteen can be assured that his weak and evasive non-answer to this reporter’s question will put him at very little risk for arrest. But then, pandering prophets are rarely at much of a risk from the public anyway.

There was no conviction in his answer; no clear declaration of biblical truth; no Gospel, no judgment, and no promise. Just a non-answer with a smile. Pathetic . . . simply pathetic.