Popular author and podcast host Jen Hatmaker recently interviewed her daughter, Sydney – who identifies as gay, in a podcast celebrating Sidney’s homosexuality and LGBT pride month.
Hatmaker introduced the podcast on her Facebook account, which has almost 800,000 followers: “Beloved community, with great love and tender hearts, my daughter Sydney and I bring you a bonus podcast Pride Month episode in which Sydney talks about being loved by God, loved by people, loved by her parents….and gay.”
Jen and Sydney are clear, however, that loving LGBT-identified people isn’t enough – their homosexuality and transgenderism must be totally affirmed, accepted and celebrated. Sydney says, “It doesn’t matter how loving you are, or what emphasis on Scripture you come with. That’s not enough if you’re not fully accepting them as children of God.”
Jen Hatmaker said of her daughter, “We are so proud of who you are. I would not change one molecule of you, not one. I’m so glad you’re gay, I’m so proud that you are free. I love that this is how you were made.”
Four years ago, Jen Hatmaker was a rising star in evangelical women’s ministry – speaking at conferences, selling lots of books, and writing lengthy blogs and Facebook posts. Then, in a wide-ranging interview, she told a reporter that she supported LGBT relationships and thought they could “be holy.”
The announcement caused an uproar in the evangelical community – and beyond. An initial post about the interview drew 3,500 comments, and numerous Christian leaders and writers responded to this shift away from biblical teaching about marriage, relationships and sexuality.
A few weeks later, her husband, Brandon, explained the couple’s journey toward rejecting biblical teaching on marriage, relationships and sexuality. He said they prayed and studied the issue for a long time, diving into what the Bible says about homosexuality and came to this conclusion: “Bottom line, we don’t believe a committed life-long monogamous same-sex marriage violates anything seen in scripture about God’s hopes for the marriage relationship.”
What the Hatmakers didn’t explain four years ago when they announced their changing beliefs, was that somewhere in that time period they also discovered their daughter was struggling with attractions to women. The timing isn’t exactly clear from this interview, but there seems to be an overlap.
There often is a correlation between prominent Christians announcing they are changing their views and embracing revisionist LGBT theology, and either their own struggles with same-sex attractions or someone they love identifying as gay. It would be interesting to discover how much Sydney’s experiences – and her parent’s relationship with her and reaction to her – shaped her parents’ rejection of the biblical view of sexuality.
The Hatmakers have completely embraced the idea that you don’t love an LGBT-identified person unless you affirm and celebrate their homosexuality or transgenderism.
Certainly, God loves us completely and unconditionally. At the same time, He knows us and our sin more deeply than we know ourselves. He abhors our dangerous sin and its damaging effects on us and others. Parents can love their children and disagree with them or even disapprove of their actions. And all of us can receive God’s love – while still being aware of areas of sin in our lives.
It isn’t easy to do – love people you strongly disagree with. It’s not easy to hold to truth and really love people. I’ve often wondered how Jesus spoke out so truthfully about God, humanity and sin – while drawing sinners with His deep love and grace.
But the podcast message is all or nothing: You can’t love LGBT-identified folks without celebrating their sexual identity, attractions and behaviors. If you disapprove, for any reason, of same-sex relationships or individuals trying to become the opposite sex, you are harming people.
But Jen Hatmaker goes even further. If you don’t agree that homosexuality and transgenderism are good, you’re out of here. That message comes out clearly and strongly in the Facebook post where she first announces the “Moment of Pride” podcast with Sydney. Here’s what she says to her “Beloved community”:
“But to any interlopers tempted to Bible-splain to us, or deliver shame, or drop some “love the sinner, hate the sin” trauma, or criticize our family, our theology, or our kid in any way big or small, please know it will be the last thing you say on this page. My team is looking forward to a block party today: BLOCK AND DELETE. Because this is our party, and our story, and our incredible daughter, and your disapproval and judgment and self-righteousness isn’t just annoying – it is traumatizing to LGBTQ people and I won’t have it. I will not.”
There’s no room for debate on the issue. Disagree with their theology, and you’ll be deleted. Banned from the “beloved community.” Try to explain what the Bible teaches about male-female marriage – even in the kindest, most gracious way – and you are traumatizing others with your disapproval, judgment and self-righteousness. That will not be tolerated.
If any of this sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you’ve read Hatmaker’s descriptions of the church circles in which she was raised and that she says she’s grown away from. In an article in The Dallas Morning News she writes:
“Many churches propose a sanctioned path for development and any trajectory outside of that is immediately suspect. We have an endgame in mind, and it looks how we understand a faith life to look (the way ours does), and when folks exhibit spiritual curiosity or theological evolution or grow in a different direction, we often resort to gaslighting, rejection and shame. It is as disappointing as it is predictable.”
It seems that Hatmaker learned a great deal from the way she says she was raised. Disappointing indeed.
Photo from jenhatmaker.com
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