After he took to Twitter last week to express his support for same-sex ‘marriage’ and engage in open dialogue about the issue, Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine received a mix of outrage and praise from fans. But according to Haseltine himself, the award winning musician has been at odds with evangelical Christianity long before he pondered the issue of homosexuality.
As previously reported, Haseltine posted to his Twitter account last Wednesday: “Not meaning to stir things up BUT… is there a non-speculative or non ‘slippery slope’ reason why gays shouldn’t marry? I don’t hear one.”
“I’m trying to make sense of the conservative argument,” he continued. “But it doesn’t hold up to basic scrutiny. Feels akin to women’s suffrage. I just don’t see a negative effect to allowing gay marriage. No societal breakdown, no war on traditional marriage. Anyone?”
Haseltine felt the brunt of the fallout in the days that followed, as he explained that some radio stations had decided to stop playing the band’s music due to his statements, and some fans have erased Jars of Clay from their music library.
“Caught wind that some radio stations have pulled my music and people are deleting my music from their playlists,” he Tweeted on Thursday. “Why?”
But Haseltine acknowledges that he has felt out of place with evangelical Christianity for some time. In 2012, while working on Jars of Clay’s latest album Inland, which is largely secular in nature, the singer poured out his thoughts about his struggle in a blog post on his personal website.
“[S]ince the themes of the record are very far from evangelical Christianity, the church community will most likely not embrace this record,” Haseltine admitted. “Which, on one hand, is a relief. I am pretty weary from years of pretending to be more of something than I am. I am tired of carrying evangelical expectations on my shoulders.”
Haseltine was referring to the expectation that music be overtly Christian and gospel-centered, remarking that evangelicalism is “such a tiny sliver of the entire pie” of life.
“God gave us a story, and a space to fill. And it isn’t really in the same neighborhood as the evangelical church. And so our music will be disappointing to many,” he stated forthrightly. “People will inevitably engage us with the question, ‘Are you going secular?’ or, ‘Why don’t you sing about Jesus?’ or, ‘How come you don’t share the gospel?’ And some of those people will be angry. … Some will categorize us as ‘back-sliders.’ I wish I had more patience and time for those people.”
“The touch of lips, the close of eyes/They matter more than you surmise,” Dan sings on the band’s song I Don’t Want You to Forget. “I hide it all in secret boxes/Until tomorrow when we first meet.”
However, Haseltine had incorporated mainstream lyrics in the band’s albums for years.
“Cause the rockets we’re in get so cold and I miss your skin,” he sang in the song Closer in 2009. “I want your kite strings tangled in my trees, all wrapped up … I don’t understand why we can’t get close enough/I miss the shivers in my spine every time that we touch.”
In a recent blog post about Haseltine’s remarks in support of same-sex “marriage,” writer James Knight of Classicalite noted that weeks before Haseltine made the Tweet, he also shared a fan-made video of the song Freaks, which he sings with his other band, The Hawk in Paris. The video features clips from the UK television show Skins–namely footage of a drunken orgy that includes a pair of lesbians french kissing.
“Fan videos have definitely upped their game,” Haseltine wrote in sharing the video. “Dark … super freaky, sexy… Crazy.”
But it wasn’t until he posted about homosexuality on Twitter last week that many suddenly began to chastise Haseltine for his statements. He responded by again asserting that he had not disavowed Christianity.
“Fascinated by the comments saying I have abandoned Christ and faith,” he wrote. “Get off your ‘jump to conclusions’ mat.”