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.
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'd like whatever "queer friends" of Joshua fucking Harris to come out and defend that choice because y'all took someone with queer blood on their hands to our one safe place.
I will not stop shouting about this until he goes the fuck away. https://t.co/qZp3yHUH8v
— Beth Lewis is queer (@BethandCats) August 5, 2019
Ew. Just more white men absolving another white dude for doing the bare minimum. The only cost is literally everyone who isn’t a white cis man and they’ll pay that cost 9.9 times out of 10. Unfollowing them too. Never surprising, but always disappointing.
— Lacey George (@LeiSeaGee) August 5, 2019
The thing is he’s probably not going to say shit about it. He did his whole bit where he “apologized” without having done the work, & he’s somehow being held up as an ally. I don’t disbelieve he can become affirming but he needs to publicly do the work.
— KJ (@kyliejustine) August 5, 2019
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.