Post submitted by Ben Shallenberger, HRC Media Production Manager and former Methodist Youth Worship Leader.
Recently, Jars of Clay’s lead singer Dan Haseltine set the contemporary Christian music blogosphere ablaze after he took to social media to discuss the intersection of morality and support for LGBT equality.
It began in mid-April, when Jars of Clay attended a music festival and conference in Australia. During one of the breakout sessions, frontman Dan Haseltine participated in a panel discussion, accompanied by members of the pro- and anti-LGBT marriage movements.
As he traveled back to America, he took to Twitter to ask some relatively tough questions to his more than 19,000 followers of differing generations, backgrounds and beliefs. A small sample of the posts he made:
The Christian Right immediately struck back against Haseltine for his statements, while some on the Progressive Left applauded his comments.
A few days later, the Christian rocker took to his personal blog to post an apology piece. Haseltine stood by the content of his tweets, but voiced regret for the venue in which he housed his discussion.
"In my questions and dialogue with people on Twitter, it became evident that the issue I had chosen to discuss was far too personal, nuanced, and deeply connected to faith and our human condition to honor the amount of wrestling that others have done on this topic."
The important thing to note in Haseltine’s commentary is that he has not come to a final conclusion about whether or not he supports LGBT equality or not. Instead, he is willing to ask the tough questions and risk his professional popularity for the sake of a vital discussion that is long overdue.
So many of us can identify with the journey have Haseltine is now. For those who find ourselves at the intersection of faith and love, the question is, "How can I support my gay son, my lesbian cousin, my bisexual coworker, or the transgender organist at my church? How can I reconcile the passages I've heard in the Bible that condemn same-sex relations with my desire to love those I care about?"
It is not a conversation about what the Bible says about morality. It is not a discussion of whether "homosexual acts" are right or wrong in the eyes of God. It is a question of how to show love and support for the legal rights of all people in spite of, or even because of, what you are taught in your house of worship.
I applaud Dan's courage for continuing this discussion in a very public way, and can only pray that he concludes, as many have, that the word of God can no longer be used to deny LGBT people the equal rights and love we were created to enjoy.