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Evangelical and left of center: The fallout

Evangelical and left of center: The fallout

Jen Hatmaker, evangelical author and HGTV personality, has created a bit of a firestorm with her recent, liberal-leaning comments in social media, on tour and in a recent interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service. According to the Washington Post, LifeWay Christian Stores (her publisher in 2012) have stopped selling her books and Bible studies, primarily in response to her voiced support of gay marriage. From her Facebook page:

One things I said was that it is high time Christians opened wide their arms, wide their churches, wide their tables, wide their homes to the LGBT community. So great has our condemnation and exclusion been, that gay Christian teens are SEVEN TIMES more likely to commit suicide.

Nope. No. No ma’am. Not on my watch. No more. This is so far outside the gospel of Jesus that I don’t even recognize its reflection. I can’t. I won’t. I refuse.

So whatever the cost and loss, this is where I am: gay teens? Gay adults? Mamas and daddies of precious gaybees? Friends and beloved neighbors of very dear LGBT folks?

Here are my arms open wide. So wide that every last one of you can jump inside. You are so dear, so beloved, so precious and important. You matter so desperately and your life is worthy and beautiful. There is nothing “wrong with you,” or in any case, nothing more right or wrong than any of us, which is to say we are all hopelessly screwed up but Jesus still loves us beyond all reason and lives to make us all new, restored, whole. Yay for Jesus! Thank God he loves us. He is not embarrassed of any of us. I am not a scandal, you are not a scandal. We are not “bringing down his brand.” [link here]

In Religion News Service, Hatmaker discusses her views on abortion:

I’ve always had a pro-life ethic and still do. But my pro-life ethic has infinitely expanded from just simply being anti-abortion. For me, pro-life includes the life of the struggling single mom who decides to have that kid and they’re poor. It means being pro-refugee. It means being pro-Muslim. My pro-life ethic, while still not in favor of abortion and certainly not in favor of late-term abortions, has expanded.

There’s something incredibly disingenuous about a Christian community that screams about abortion, but then refuses to support the very programs that are going to stabilize vulnerable, economically fragile families that decide to keep their kids. Some Christians want the baby born, but then don’t want to help the mama raise that baby. We don’t want to provide the scaffolding for them to thrive and be successful. That, to me, makes no sense at all.

…and on Donald Trump:

I hardly know where to start. I find him absolutely, positively, thoroughly unfit for the presidency. He does not understand politics, he does not understand policy, he does not understand the world, he does not understand how our government works. I don’t believe that he has America’s best interests at heart. He lacks the diplomacy that is required of a United States president. I cannot imagine any scenario in which he could represent the American people on an international stage with any sense of integrity or diplomacy.

As a believer, I’m devastated at how successful he has been in pandering to our lowest, basest selves. The selves that are willing to be openly racist. The selves that are afraid of anybody that does not fit our demographic. The selves that close our arms and our hearts to victims and vulnerable people. He has exposed the darkest corners of our human hearts and then given them free rein to live out in the open. That scares me.

Her statements, particularly those on gay marriage, are drawing criticism from various figures and bloggers among conservative Christians; she’s stood by her positions in a Facebook statement posted on Monday.

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James Pratt

One more sign of the growing diversity within evangelicalism. After a funeral this week, I was talking to a person who attends a local evangelical church (which happens to be very active in the neighbourhood on issues of poverty, hunger and homelessness). He is quite amazed, and a bit appalled, that so many American evangelicals support Trump, and thought that most others at his church shared that view.

David Carver

Well, Mr. Trump doesn’t quite fit the mold of even traditional evangelical values… I’d consider the surprise to be that so many are supporting him at all.

Carol Hinkle

I agree with Ms. Hatmaker 100%. She is acting in total alignment with the Gospels and recognizes the difference between the loving inclusiveness of Jesus and the hateful exclusivity of the Fundamentalist establishment who has totally missed the point of Jesus’s life and teachings.

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