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Current Page: Entertainment | Friday, December 07, 2018
How should Christian celebrities respond when asked 'the big question' about homosexuality?

How should Christian celebrities respond when asked 'the big question' about homosexuality?

Lauren Daigle, July 24, 2018. | (Photo: Lauren Daigle Facebook page)

More than any other matter, Christians who become famous or in any way visible public figures will one day be asked by media outlets what they think about homosexuality.

The question becomes: What and how is the best way to respond?

The touchy subject has resurfaced again in light of singer Lauren Daigle, whose popularity is surging, and her response when asked on "The Domenick Nati Show" if she thought homosexuality was a sin. She said she could not say because she isn't God.

Several prominent voices asked her to retract, some more stern than others, while others urged people not to come down too hard and help her.

"The temptations that come with fame and influence are great, far greater than most of us can imagine. And the temptation to 'not offend' is always great, lest we seem like stereotyped, unloving Bible-bashers," wrote Michael Brown earlier this week. "That’s why Lauren needs our help and support rather than our wrath."

With the legalization of same-sex marriage just over three years ago in the United States, the debate about same-sex relationships has shifted significantly and is fraught with complicated dynamics in the younger generation, some say.

Josh Daffern, pastor of MTV Church in Columbus, Mississippi. | (Photo: Chris Ellis Photograhpy)

Josh Daffern, pastor of Centreville Baptist Church in Centreville, Virginia, told The Christian Post in a phone interview Wednesday that for anyone who has anything close to a public voice or a platform like Daigle has, homosexuality is "the hot-button issue of the moment not because anyone is interested in having a genuine conversation, they just want to try to discredit the other side."

"Having a discussion about something as complex as human sexuality and God's plan for that, what the Old Testament and, more importantly, what the New Testament teach about that ... that is a really detailed, nuanced conversation and it is best done in the context of relationship, and it's an absolutely horrible place for it to be done in 30-second sound bites," he explained.

So when journalists ask Christian celebrities questions they quickly go to this touchy subject. Previously, the popular question to ask was whether they believed if Jesus was the only pathway to salvation, he noted.

"Now, there's more bang for your buck if they can get them to pick a camp regarding homosexuality," he said of the media's treatment of the subject.

While Daigle could have phrased it differently, he applauded her heart because he saw her as trying to not give the reporter what he seemingly wanted.

"We don't take credit for how many people we offend and push into Hell. The whole goal is to lead people to Jesus, so let's be wise about our message. I completely understand that we do have to stand for truth and we do have to speak the truth in love."

"But I'm tired of selective outrage," he added, "to judge from afar the biblical issues that we don't tend to struggle with. If this was saddled alongside Christians for hypocrisy, judgmentalism, racism, seeming inability to care about people in other parts of the world, that's fine."

"For those who have left that [gay] life and come out of it, I thank God that sometimes even harsh-sounding truth can sometimes speak to them, and that's just the sovereignty and grace of God," he added.

Daffern counsels his church to be very careful about what they publish on social media because it's so hard to have a meaningful, nuanced conversation through the anonymity of the internet. He reiterated how important it is for Christians to be shrewd, knowing that many are out there trying to trip them up and bait them into situations not dissimilar from the instances with what the religious leaders in the biblical era did with Jesus.

"He didn't give them what they wanted," Daffern said of how Jesus responded, "and he was judged for it. That, I think, at the end of the day, for better or for worse, is what Lauren Daigle was trying to attempt."

Kaeley Triller, co-founder of Hands Across The Aisle Coalition, an ideologically diverse group of women including conservative-leaning Christians, Catholics, radical feminists and progressive lesbians resisting transgender activism and legal efforts to replace sex with gender identity in the law, also thinks Christians need to reconsider how quick they are to criticize their own when they do not speak clearly.

Kaeley Triller Haver, communications director for the Just Want Privacy Campaign. | (Photo: Courtesy of Kaeley Triller Haver)

Triller spoke with CP by phone Wednesday not representing HATAC, but in her personal capacity.

"I know what it's like to have to draw cold hard lines about truth," she said. "I say some aggressively clear things about transgenderism and I know it's important. Somebody has to draw that line and say this is what truth is because love requires it. Somebody has to do it."

"But there are other people who are called to love trans-identified people and maybe more gently guide them into the Kingdom. And while you don't want to compromise truth in any way to do that, you don't have to start with the one thing that is going to alienate them."

Triller, a big fan of Daigle who was thrilled to see her platform and influence grow before unlikely audiences like on the "Ellen" Show, finds the swirl surrounding the young Christian artist frustrating for several reasons.

"It's almost like a sabotage. [Christians] want every single play on that football field to be a touchdown pass. They aren't willing to allow that ball to advance a couple of yards at a time. Sometimes you have to build," she said.

"And let's be honest, when we consider 'Christian art' most of the time we think of how crummy it is. But when we have an artist that is kind of leading and shaping the culture and she is a Christian, we should be supporting her and setting her up for success, not requiring her to be a theological giant,' she said, echoing Brown.

"Let's help her and encourage the fostering of those relationships. I mean, let's get Ellen [DeGeneres] curious about her music and about God!"

Like Daffern, she believes that the effort to ask young and public Christians about whether or not homosexuality is a sin is kind of a trap.

"I don't know why he thought he had to ask her that question or what he thought he was going to gain by it," she said.

"Why did he have to lead with that question? What are we doing when we do that? What is the goal? To smoke her out and expose her as a less than perfect theologian and showcase her weak points?"

When she read about the interview, she was irritated because she saw Christians being relieved, saying among themselves that they knew it was not a good idea for Christians to go on Ellen DeGeneres' show.

"It's the old-school, Pharisaical 'don't touch the unclean' mentality," Triller said. "I don't think she answered it perfectly at all, and Romans 1 says what Romans 1 says. We can't really negotiate that," she added, referring to some of the Apostle Paul's most explicit words against homosexual practice. "But why is that what we're focusing on? Can't you ask a million other questions?

"If I have a gay person in front of me with whom I have a friendship, and they ask me point-blank: 'Kaeley, do you think homosexuality is a sin?' Then I'm going to talk to them about what I think and I have to tell them the truth, but I've been invited to have that opinion at that point is going to matter a lot more than if they never get to know me in the first place because I've drawn some wall that they can't get over."

Meanwhile, Nati, the radio host, is insisting he was not trying to trap Lauren with a touchy question.

"The backlash Lauren Daigle received from our interview has been very disappointing to witness. I was shocked by the amount of attack and assumption there was on someone simply saying ‘I don't know,’” Nati said in a statement shared with The Christian Post on Thursday.

“The truth is YOU don't know! You don't know if she was being honest, you don't know if she was dodging the question, and you don't know if she was lying ... and neither do I,” he explained.

Yet others believe the Church needs to speak the truth no matter what.

In a Dec. 3 Facebook live video, Jeffrey McCall, a former trans-identified man and male prostitute whom CP interviewed earlier this year, stressed that while he did not want to bash Daigle personally, he felt compelled nonetheless to address her comments.

In the church, the fear of coming across as unloving is pervasive, he explained, noting that "if Jesus came with grace and truth then we need to come with grace and truth. We can't just share grace and we can't just share truth."

"Peter denied Jesus three times yet the Lord restored him and used him mightily, very mightily," he continued.

"Don't count out Lauren Daigle. You don't have to come against her. But we do have to stand firm with the truth."

When McCall became a Christian and decided to leave his old way of life behind, he lost almost all of his friends.

"One of the biggest problems in my old life was that I was my own god. I was God. I decided what was right and wrong.

"Homosexuality is a sin. Lying is a sin. Stealing is sin. Heterosexual fornication is a sin. Adultery is a sin. And we don't want to play a role in deceiving people or leading other people astray. We need to be clear on God's Word and share what that says and what that means over everything [else]," he asserted.

But the whole point of the Bible is that no matter what sin has trapped or entangled you, you can be free through Jesus Christ, he said.

"I was a prostitute, transgender, homosexual, drug addict, alcoholic, pill-popping, selfish, slanderous, vindictive person. He had to take all of that on himself on the cross and He paid the price for me."

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