Ex-“Purity” Advocate Joshua Harris Angers Christians by Going to a Pride Parade August 8, 2019

Ex-“Purity” Advocate Joshua Harris Angers Christians by Going to a Pride Parade

Author Joshua Harris, the former purity-promoting evangelical Christian author who, in recent weeks, has announced a separation from his wife and his de-conversion from Christianity, continues to make headlines.

This time, it’s for showing up at a Pride parade in Vancouver.

His presence there has impressed some Christians while raising eyebrows and inspiring homophobic rage in others. (It’s not clear if Harris is LGBTQ himself or an ally.)

As far as the angry Christians go, as hard as it may be to believe, being an LGBTQ ally isn’t necessarily hypocritical. It may take more than a cheap “I’m sorry” sign, but you can support civil rights in the law and the happiness of others even if you believe God wants you to take a different path personally.

That said, for conservative Christians, Harris coming out of the closet (which he hasn’t) would be the cherry on top of a heresy cake. But conservatives aren’t the only ones peeved about this. Some progressive Christians aren’t happy about Harris’ presence at the parade, either.

I can understand the concern that Harris’ presence takes the focus off of the LGBTQ community, and that showing up now after years of anti-LGBTQ writing takes serious chutzpah. That’s fair. But let’s also consider the heartfelt apology he gave via Instagram in which he said “I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry.”

To quote Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Connie Schultz, “We can’t ask people to change and then not give them the chance to do so.”

Harris is well aware of just how damaging his books have been. That awareness seems to extend to LGBTQ people too. If he’s trying to make amends, he has to start somewhere, and this is a start. Slowly. Perhaps imperfectly. But he’s trying, which is far more than what you can say about other prolific Christians in his circles.

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