A prominent black leader is calling out T.D. Jakes for his recent comments on homosexuality—including a formal statement yesterday—which indicate that while Jakes is personally opposed to “gay marriage,” he supports the government granting homosexuals the right to “marry” and believes that practicing homosexuals should attend churches that affirm their lifestyle.
“I think he’s trying to ride two horses at the same time,” Jesse Lee Peterson, a California pastor, president of the organization BOND (the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny), and leader of the BOND Leadership Academy for youth, told Christian News Network.
“He’s trying to appease … the homosexual community and trying to appease the Christian community as well,” he said. “You can’t ride two horses at the same time. You can’t serve two masters. You love one and hate the other.”
JAKES TO HUFFINGTON POST: HOMOSEXUALS SHOULD ‘FIND A PLACE OF WORSHIP THAT REFLECTS’ THEIR BELIEFS
As previously reported, during an interview with the Huffington Post last Monday, Jakes was asked by a viewer if he believes that homosexuals and the black church can co-exist.
“Absolutely,” he replied.
“An obvious yes; the Church ain’t turning nobody away,” interviewer Marc Lamont Hill added. “How should the black church and the LGBT community co-exist?”
“I think it is going to be diverse from church to church. Every church has a different opinion on the issue and every gay person is different,” Jakes replied. “And I think that to speak that the church—the black church, the white church or any kind of church you wanna call it—are all the same, is totally not true.”
Jakes said that he thinks homosexuals should find congregations that affirm their lifestyle instead of trying to change biblical churches.
“LGBT’s of different types and sorts have to find a place of worship that reflects what your views are and what you believe like anyone else,” he outlined.
“The church should have the right to have its own convictions and values; 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 find somebody who gets what you get about faith,” Jakes added.
JAKES: DESPITE PERSONAL VIEWS, I RESPECT ‘RIGHTS’ GRANTED TO HOMOSEXUALS
When asked if his thinking has “evolved,” Jakes agreed that it has.
“Evolved and evolving,” he replied.
“Where are you?” Hill asked.
“I think that where I am is to better understand we, the church, bought into the myth that this is a Christian nation,” Jakes responded. ““[O]nce you get past [thinking America is a Christian nation] … Once you begin to understand that democracy—that a republic actually—is designed to be an overarching system to protect our unique nuances, then we no longer look for public policy to reflect biblical ethics.”
In addition to stating that the government was meant to “protect [the] unique nuances” of its citizens and was not designed to reflect biblical ethics, he explained the he believes that the government shouldn’t enshrine Christian principles in the nation’s laws just because Christianity is the dominant religion in America.
“If we can divide—or what you would call separation of Church and State—then we can dwell together more effectively because atheists, agnostics, Jews, all types of people, Muslims, pay into the government,” Jakes asserted. “The government then cannot reflect one particular view over another just because we’re the dominant group of religious people in [this] country because those numbers are changing every day. We need a neutralized government that protects our right to disagree with one another and agree with one another.”
“That’s outside the Church,” Hill remarked, seeking to pull Jakes back into the original intent of his question about his “evolve” question. “Inside the Church, has your thinking shifted biblically, Scripturally, hermeneutically at all? The reason I ask that is because I talk to a lot of ministers now …. and one of the questions [at a recent African meeting] was, is there a way to approach Christian tradition—Christian Scripture—in light of a new understanding of LGBT?”
Hill then pointed to the issue of slavery, and that “irrespective of what [biblical] text says literally, we don’t support slavery as a body.” He asked if there was likewise “room for that same kind of shift” when it comes to homosexuality.
Jakes said that he believed that the shift needed to occur “behind the closed doors of the church” to avoid being called names by society for disagreeing on the matter. He added moments later that the issue of homosexuality is “complex.”
“Paul spends a lot of time wrestling back and forth, trying to understand should a woman wear a head covering, should you cut your hair,” Jakes stated. “I mean, they grappled back then and we’re grappling now because we’re humans and we are flawed and we’re not God.”
“Once you understand you’re not God, you leave yourself an ‘out’ clause to grow,” he said.
JAKES RELEASES TWO STATEMENTS SEEKING TO CLARIFY REMARKS FOLLOWING REPORTS
Following Christian News Network’s report on Jakes’ statements, he shot back on Facebook, remarking that he was “shocked” at how his comments were interpreted, but reiterated that while he personally doesn’t endorse homosexual “marriage,” he “respects” the government’s provision of it for those who want it.
“My comment on HuffPo TV drifted into issues of the Supreme Court ruling and changing the world through public policy versus personal witness. Further, I have come to respect that I can’t force my beliefs on others by controlling public policy for tax payers [sic] and other U.S. citizens,” he wrote.
“Jesus never sought to change the world through public policy but rather through personal transformation. All people didn’t embrace him either,” Jakes continued. “That’s what I said and what I meant …. Nothing more and nothing less.”
He contended that when he used the phrase “evolved and evolving” in response to Hill’s question, he was only referring to the methods used to minister to homosexuals, not his position on the issue.
“When asked about the ‘black church’ and its role in ministering to gay people, I briefly mentioned (we were running out of time) the word ‘evolved and evolving’ regarding my approach over the 39 years of my ministry to gay people who choose to come to our services,” Jakes wrote. “I simply meant that my method is evolving—not my message.”
However, Jakes’ comments about “evolving” in context were in reference to his belief that because America is not a Christian nation, it should give rights to all people and allow disagreement in the interim.
“I was shocked to read that this was manipulated in a subsequent article to say I endorsed same sex marriage! My position on the subject has been steadfast and rooted in Scripture,” he said in his statement this week.
Jakes concluded by stating that although he personally opposes same-sex “marriage,” he “respects the rights” given to homosexuals by the U.S. government—as he had outlined during the Huffington Post interview.
“For the record, I do not endorse same sex marriage but I respect the rights that this country affords those that disagree with me,” he remarked.
Jakes made similar comments on Tuesday in a new statement posted to Facebook, asserting again that he personally is against same-sex “marriage,” but that “secular audiences” are not obligated to understand the biblical viewpoint.
“Such brief commentary is inadequate to explain complex theological principles or to evaluate societal norms from a biblical perspective,” he wrote. “This is especially true of secular audiences who are not obliged to understand or adhere to Scripture as the moral arbiter for their lives.”
Jakes contended that his “evolving” remark was in regard to the methods of sharing the gospel with homosexuals and not his stance on the issue.
“The inference is that I am ‘developing’ in my approach to the LGBT community that I may share the Gospel most effectively so as to lead ‘whosoever will’ to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ,” he claimed.
“[M]y beliefs about sexuality and marriage—as with all topics—is based on Scripture,” Jakes also said. “My stance on the topic has never wavered. It is fixed, steadfast and well documented. Nor am I ashamed of the gospel, for fear of appearing politically correct.”
Jakes mentioned nothing on Tuesday of national concerns regarding his advice that homosexuals should find affirming congregations, nor did he address the original concerns over his statement about his agreement with the “rights” the “non-Christian” government affords to homosexuals.
JESSE LEE PETERSON: YOU CAN’T BE BOTH AGAINST AND FOR ‘GAY MARRIAGE’
But Jesse Lee Peterson says that he doesn’t believe Jakes is being honest in his attempts to clarify his statements as the context of Jakes’ remarks as seen in the video footage belies his assertions. He said that Jakes is rather back peddling and “speaking out of both sides of his mouth.”
“He’s trying to back pedal by lying about what he said and what his intent was behind what he said,” Peterson told Christian News Network. “For this man to speak out of both sides of his mouth indicates that he is a hypocrite.”
He said that he doesn’t believe Jakes’ comments to the Huffington Post were misconstrued, but rather that Jakes’ was telling the outlet—as reported—that while he has personal beliefs about homosexuality, he simultaneously believes that homosexuals should have their “rights” as the nation operates outside of biblical values—and in that sense, Jakes does support same-sex “marriage.”
“That’s exactly what he’s saying,” Peterson said. “He might as well have just come out and said outright that he does support it [in that regard], because that’s clearly what he’s saying, [that] because the government supports it, we should support it.”
“The country is not misunderstanding what he’s saying,” he continued. “I think the country, especially Christians, is seeing quite clearly what he is saying … You can’t be against it and for it. You’re either one or the other.”
Peterson said that Jakes’ argument in regard to the “rights this nation affords” to homosexuals is unscriptural.
“It’s clear that the government is not on the side of Christianity and it’s clear to me that today’s government does not serve God …. so they do want to accept everything—at least everything that’s wrong,” he said. “But being a ‘spiritual leader’–a man of God, a man who is leading the flock—he cannot go along with the idea of the government.”
“If you’re a man of God, you cannot have your ‘personal’ opinion about sin,” Peterson continued. “[H]ow are you going to have an opinion based on the government and be for it, but have a godly opinion about it and be against it? It doesn’t work like that. … It’s not right. We should not support it just because the government is supporting it.”
Peterson also expressed concern about Jakes’ remarks asserting that homosexuals should attend churches that affirm their beliefs instead of seeking to change Bible-based churches.
“It was unbiblical [counsel] and there is no way that you can be a spiritual leader and give out that type of advice,” he said. “God calls upon sinners to repent, and had T.D. Jakes been honest and fair, or a true spiritual leader, he would have called upon homosexuals to do the same thing, not recommend that they go to a different church.”
“A real man of God would not suggest that a homosexual go to a church that agrees with their lifestyle,” Peterson added. “He would suggest that they repent and turn to God.”