I believe several things dynamics are at work in the Huffington Post interview with T. D. Jakes. The interview was first posted on the Huff Post website on August 4. The topic of discussion was Jakes’ new book, then turned to the LGBT community and the black church.
After personally transcribing the interview myself, I tend to think that several dynamics were at play in the interview. First of all, I think two conversations were going on. The interviewer, Marc Lamont-Hill, academic, journalist, author, activist, and television personality and Distinguished Professor of African-American Studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, was looking for Jakes to endorse the LGBT community and to admit to an acceptance of homosexuality. Jakes, it seems to me, was trying to be benevolent with his “Jump the Broom” theology (if you don’t know what that means check out this post). The interview spurred what Jakes referred to as “a virulent diatribe in cyber-Christian-land” which demanded a reiteration of his stance on that old diversion, same-sex marriage.
Jakes may think the criticism unfair, but the proof is in the pudding: the Huff Post article accompanying the video. In sum, the article claims that Jakes thinks it is absolutely possible for the black church and the LGBT community to co-exist, that Jakes’ own views on homosexuality have evolved and are still evolving, and that LGBT people should find a church that aligns with their own views on faith.
While Jakes was waxing eloquent on the separation of church and state, the republic, and pluralism, Hill heard him endorsing homosexuality.
Jakes can be irritated at the outcry from cyber-Christian-land, but in reality the force of his interview was simply to placate the LGBT community and give quarter to the concept of gay Christianity.
Michael Brown called Jakes out asking him to clarify his stance on homosexuality. This elicited a “reiteration” of Jakes’ stance on same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, Jakes didn’t answer the question and Brown let him off the hook.
In his article, “Oprah, Osteen, Jakes, and Homophobia,” Brown is somehow encouraged that Oprah still welcomes Osteen and Jakes after they openly claimed homosexuality to be a sin. First of all, there is little to be worried about with inviting Osteen on your show. He is not going to be polarizing. Second of all, T. D. Jakes is a powerful, popular black man with a feel good theology. Oprah would never reject him. Neither of these men have ever stood up to Oprah and called her out for her new age religiosity or her pro-gay stance. Why wouldn’t she welcome them? Brown ends his article with a pointer on how not to be labeled a homophobe. Anyone who unequivocally takes a stand against homosexuality as a lifestyle (which Jakes did not do in his interview) is going to be labelled a homophobe and a hater.
While I have no problem with Jakes “reiteration,” and I do not think he supports homosexuality, he absolutely encouraged gay Christianity. Here is a quote from the interview:
“If you don’t like those convictions and values and you totally disagree with it, don’t try to change my house, move into your own. And establish that sort of thing and find someone that gets what you get about faith.”
The answer for the American culture that rejects truth from the Word of God is not “find a place to go where people agree with you”! My goodness, this only feeds America’s twisted definition of tolerance. The answer is, “Go to a Bible believing church and sit there until God changes you! Immerse yourself in the Presence, the Power, the Word, and the worship of the True God!” Yes the church must be accepting and loving. But sending the LGBT community into inclusive churches where they can be surrounded with people who agree with them (which as a community they are wont to do anyway) is an unfortunate message!
Post Script: Once again the issue has gotten side-tracked by the diversion of same-sex marriage. The issue is gay Christianity!