Fox News Host Don Imus on Wednesday said during his programme that there was “some indication” that “Jesus may have been gay”, referring to a religious text, but not explaining why he made the claims.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers, the pair began by discussing a recent programme with fellow Fox hosts Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly who both said they supported equal marriage.

Referring to the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, Imus claimed that the third century religious text gave some indications that Jesus might have been gay, reports RawStory.

“You know there’s a Gospel of Judas floating around,” Imus said. “There were hundreds of gospels written, only four made it into the [Bible]. There was the Gospel of Thomas, Mary had a gospel, they all had a gospel. But Judas — there’s some indication there that Jesus may have been gay.”

“Oh, come on,” Powers responded, sounding shocked at the suggestion, to which Imus replied: “I didn’t write it… Don’t be shooting the messenger here.”

Powers went on to say that his claims were “ridiculous”, and Imus made a joke about Jesus not having had a wife. The host did not go on to explain his reasons for suggesting that Jesus was gay.

The US Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, said in December Jesus would have approved of gay families and of LGBT relationships in general.

Also in December, a controversial church billboard in New Zealand was unveiled, which raised the question of whether or not Jesus might have been gay.

Last week, Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kellty spoke on the O’Reilly Factor, and said that those in favour of equal marriage had a “compelling argument”, and said that opponents to it had not come up with strong enough arguments against it.

In their discussion they mentioned Tony Perkins, the president of the anti-gay Family Research Council who previously claimed that the US Supreme Court ruling in favour of equal marriage could lead to “revolution”.

O’Reilly has since come under fire from conservative talk show host Steve Deace from Conservative Talk Radio, who discussed the issue with Religious Right activist Bob Vander Plaats, and said Bill O’Reilly’s changing stance on marriage equality was a “hanging offense”, and that he was a “charlatan” and a “fraud”.