T.D. Jakes on the marriage equality decision: You may be surprised

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The Rev. T.D. Jakes

I have never considered the Rev. T.D. Jakes to be a big supporter of LGBT rights. I am not saying that this speech indicates he is. But I applaud him for preaching on the necessity of separating church and state, and the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court makes its rulings, as it should, based on civil law, not biblical scripture.

“The world is gonna be the world, and the church is gonna be the church and you have to understand the difference. The Supreme Court is there to make a decision based on constitutional rights and legalities that fit all Americans. They are not debating Scripture.”

—  Tammye Nash

T.D. Jakes loves everybody — except his own son, Michael Irvin’s brother and all other LGBT people

T.D. Jakes

Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House megachurch in Dallas, has again decided to use his position as one of the most influential African-American pastors in the country to publicly bash gay people. Jakes appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s new talk show, Oprah’s Next Chapter, on Sunday and declared that he believes homosexuality is “condemned by the scriptures.”

Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

Oprah: “Would you say that everybody is embraced in your church?”

Jakes: “Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.”

Oprah: “Because you know that you’ve been accused of saying that gay people would not be welcome.”

Jakes: “Oh, no, no, no. That’s not true at all.”

Oprah: “That’s not true?”

Jakes: “Well, the perception in our society today is that if you don’t say you’re for same-sex marriage or if you say that homosexuality is a sin that you’re homophobic and you’re against gay people. That’s not true. I’m not called to give my opinion. I’m called as a pastor to give the scriptural position on it. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with you to love you. I don’t dislike anybody. I love everybody.”

Oprah: “But does it mean you perceive being gay as a sin? Do you think that being gay is a sin?”

Jakes: “I think that sex between two people of the same sex is condemned in the scriptures, and as long as it is  condemned in the scriptures, I don’t get to say what I think. I get to say what the Bible says. I’m not particularly political. I’m not particularly denominational. I’m not worried about any of that. I’m not anti-gay. I’m not anti-anything. I don’t want to even be known by what I’m against. I want to be known by what I’m for. I’m for people bettering themselves, no matter who they are and where they are, doing all they can to be all they can be.”

In stating his view that homosexuality is condemned by the scriptures, Jakes is in turn condemning his own son, Jermaine, who was arrested a few years ago in Kiest Park for soliciting sex from a male vice officer. He’s also condemning the late brother of marriage equality advocate Michael Irvin, who strangely still considers Jakes’ his “spiritual father.”

Jakes is condemning the countless LGBTQ youth who are among his flock at the Potter’s House, perhaps pushing some closer to suicide. And he’s condemning anyone who may be at risk for contracting HIV from gay sex, further contributing to the shame and silence that helps drive skyrocketing infection rates in South Dallas.

But hey, it’s all good, because Jakes loves everybody, right? I mean, can’t you just feel his love?

Watch video of Jakes’ comments here.

—  John Wright

What does Bishop T.D. Jakes have to say about Michael Irvin’s Out magazine interview?

Bishop T.D. Jakes

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.

—  John Wright