I finally got around to reading the Out magazine piece about Michael Irvin, and here’s my only question: Did Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter’s House megachurch in Dallas give Irvin his blessing on this? In the story, we learn that Irvin considers Jakes his “spiritual father” and that it was under Jakes’ counseling that Irvin finally came to terms with his brother’s sexual orientation – and his own homophobia. But Jakes isn’t exactly the type of pastor about whom you’d expect to hear that. He’s made some pretty bigoted statements over the years, calling homosexuality a “brokenness” and saying he wouldn’t hire a sexually active gay person. In fact, Jakes seems like exactly the type of person Irvin is referring to in this passage:
Irvin wants to eradicate homophobia in every corner of American society. He points to churches that have skewed the word of God to persecute those who don’t share their dogma; he shakes his head at the black culture he says has gone adrift in a sea of homophobia; and he said it’s time to end the second class–citizen status of gays in the eyes of the law.
“I don’t see how any African-American with any inkling of history can say that you don’t have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with. When we start talking about equality and everybody being treated equally, I don’t want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn’t deserve equality.”
One one hand, Irvin considers Jakes his spirtiual father, but on the other, he says he doesn’t even want to know an African-American person who doesn’t support LGBT equality — which, based on past statements, would be a fairly accurate description of Jakes. I’m curious as to whether the author of the Out story, Cyd Zeigler, asked Irvin about this seeming incongruency, and if so, what Irvin said. Here’s one possible explanation: A few years back, Jakes’ son was arrested in a gay sex sting at Kiest Park in Dallas. Has that changed Jakes’ views about gay people, just as Irvin’s brother’s sexual orientation changed his? If so, is Jakes going to speak up about it like Irvin has? And if not, is Irvin working on Jakes? If Jakes, one of the most influential African-American pastors in the nation, were to come out in support of LGBT equality, it would be just as significant — if not more — than Irvin doing so. We’re all ears, bishop, all ears.