FORT WORTH, Texas — Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin, who released his new album “Losing My Religion” on Friday, told reporters this week that he “apologizes” for “homophobia” in the Church, stating that Christians have turned the Bible into “a homophobic manual.”
“I want to apologize for all of the hurtful and painful things that have been said about people in the Church that have been talented and gifted and musical, that we’ve used and we’ve embarrassed them and made sermons—‘Adam and Steve,’ and all this other horrible crap that we’ve done,” Franklin told The Grio. “We have not treated them like people, human beings. We’re talking about human beings, men and women that God has created as people.”
He acknowledged that the Bible does count homosexuality as a sin along with fornication and adultery, but said that the Scriptures also talk about grace.
“That’s what the Bible talks about,” Franklin admitted. “And you know what else the Bible talks about along with that? It talks about grace. It talks about love. It talks about mercy, because we are all in need of that.”
“The Bible is not a book that’s an attack on gay people,” he continued. “It’s not a book written to attack gay people.”
“It feels that way sometimes,” interviewer Chris Witherspoon remarked.
“I agree with you,” Franklin replied. “It’s horrible.”
The gospel singer, known for his songs “Stomp” and “Lean on Me,” told the outlet that he wants people to understand that God is about love and grace.
“It is horrible that we have made it where the Bible is a homophobic manual,” Franklin said. “That’s not what the Bible is. I mean you want to talk about things that God gets at: pride and jealousy and envy and haughtiness and arrogance. But what we also see is God sending His Son to save us all, because we were all—straight, gay or whatever—lost and in need of a Savior, and there’s room at the cross for all of us.”
Franklin says that the title of his new album “Losing My Religion,” his first after a five-year hiatus, is meant to relay that he thinks the love of God should be preached over the fear of God.
“I want people to see the love of God and not the fear of God,” he explained to Pix11. “I want people to be able to experience how much God loves us as His kids. And most people will never have that view of God if we keep putting the rules in front of them instead of the relationship.”
“In the beginning religion, created a mask/For generations, church was where we went to go hide/Rules without relationship is empty inside,” Franklin also posted on Instagram, presumably quoting the lyrics from his album, which released today. “There’s room at the cross for everyone, even me/Religion is a prison, but truth sets us free.”
Reaction to Franklin’s comments has been mixed.
“Amen, Kirk. It always blows my mind how people can profess faith and the love of Christ with one side of their face, while preaching hatred and bigotry against a segment of God’s children with the other side,” wrote commenter Dawn Givens under the Grio article.
“He [expletive] called the Bible ‘God’s love letter’ and then later says that he can’t change what the Bible says about homosexuals. But then in some other way implicitly admits that people have used the Bible in their preachments against homosexuals,” commenter named Danielle Black wrote, expressing confusion. “Which one is it? Is it a ‘love letter’ or not?”
“First of all, remember that Kirk Franklin does not speak for the entire African-American Christian community, therefore he cannot issue an apology for them,” commenter Billy Boyd wrote, disagreeing with Franklin. “Because someone chooses to stand on biblical truth does not make them homophobic. To the contrary, they do not fear homosexuals, but most love them [yet] hate the sin.”