Best-selling Christian author and speaker Jen Hatmaker made headlines a few years ago when she admitted to supporting LGBTQ people — which, as an evangelical darling, was basically a career-buster. She didn’t even say she welcomed same-sex marriage, only that gay couples ought to be afforded the same legal protections as everyone else, but it was enough for the biggest Christian bookseller in the country to stop selling her books on their shelves.
While she wasn’t aware of it at the time, it turns out her daughter Sydney has come out as a lesbian, giving Hatmaker a chance to put into practice what she had been saying. She seems to have done just that, embracing her daughter’s orientation during a conversation on her podcast “For the Love.”
There’s really nothing about this story that should be considered controversial or exceptional: Hatmaker loving her daughter is only “newsworthy” because too many other Christian parents have rejected their kids in similar situations. If this is a story at all, it’s because Hatmaker remains an influential evangelical.
But of course there are people who can’t believe she’s not condemning her daughter’s sexuality.
Writing for the Christian Post, Jeannie Law says:
The majority of Christian denominations worldwide adhere to the Bible’s stance on homosexuality and teach that while it’s a sin, believers are commanded to love the sinner. Hatmaker and Sydney argue that love without affirmation is not enough.
That’s not Law’s opinion. That’s written as a straight-news piece, suggesting that there’s only one proper approach to LGBTQ issues when you’re a Christian. There isn’t. And Hatmaker and her daughter are right to say love without affirmation is meaningless. Anti-LGBTQ theology has left a long history of destruction in its wake, from parents disowning their LGBTQ kids, resulting in homelessness, depression, and suicide. LGBTQ people are also at an increased risk for assault, harassment, and murder. You’d be hard-pressed to come up with other Christian beliefs that have hurt more people in such a short amount of time.
And while readers of this site may be aware of it, only a handful of Bible verses speak about homosexual behavior at all — and only in the context of lust, possible rape, and Pagan worship. The Bible treats homosexuality as nothing more than a sex act, and unfortunately, many Christians even today hold that view as well. At best, it’s intellectually dishonest to say the Bible is “clear” on this issue.
Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, Answers in Genesis director Ken Ham is very upset about all this:
And what’s a good coming out story without a buzzkill from Answers in Genesis director Ken Ham:
Hatmaker has abdicated her role as a Christian parent. Instead of training her child in the ways of the Lord, she is condoning her daughter doing whatever she wants with her sexuality, in direct conflict with what God’s Word teaches in places like Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4–5, and Romans 1:24–27. She’s ultimately condoning sin. Certainly, Hatmaker needs to love her daughter, but condoning her sin is not love. Love also means you share the truth of God’s Word in pointing out sin, but do it with gentleness.
As we said, some Christians hear “gay” and automatically think “sex” and nothing else. To her credit, Hatmaker didn’t take that bait. She even discussed in her podcast “what kind of woman” she eventually hoped Sydney would marry, showing that a strong relationship goes far beyond the bedroom.
At any rate, Hatmaker is, at this point, well-equipped to handle haters. The outpouring of love she’s received on social media hopefully outweighs the negative messages. Sydney is certainly a lucky young woman.