If you’re queer and at all connected to Evangelical/ Charismatic/ Fundamentalist Christianity, you’ve likely heard about what’s going on with Lauren Daigle. She’s a beautiful young artist that has exploded onto the Christian music scene with amazing new songs and beautiful music videos that showcase her stunning voice and her clear love for God.
The controversy began when she appeared on the Ellen Show and didn’t condemn Ellen’s sexuality. Then, she had the audacity to say in a radio interview that she didn’t know if homosexuality was a sin. That really brought out all the big guns who began condemning her, shaming her, pleading with her to just “be faithful to scripture” and agree that God hates queer people.
At first, I was really proud of her. I know that she knew what even that mediocre statement would cost. The fundamentalists who have overtaken the dominant Christian narrative in this country are brutal to anyone who steps out of line. They’re especially brutal to those who are most vulnerable. Those who are too young to protect themselves. Those who don’t have the funds to protect themselves. Those whose identity and faith are so wrapped up in fundamentalism they choose to not protect themselves.
After thinking about this some more, I can no longer say I’m proud of her for saying “I don’t know.” Because that’s bs. And it’s the kind of bs that those with power and privilege employ to keep the status quo in place. And in this case, the status quo of homophobic bigotry is deadly. It is destructive. It is demonic. It is violent.
I could easily go through an exhaustive list of recent acts of violence against LGBTQ people, but I’m just going to say this.
Refusing to denounce homophobic bigotry, especially when it is rooted in theology, is nothing but unadulterated Spiritual Violence.
Spiritual violence creates physical violence, emotional violence, economic violence, etc. Spiritual violence is especially demonic because it is a direct attempt to wound the soul, the very heart of its victim.
Lauren, if you’re reading this, I know these are strong words. And I hope they penetrate the layers of concerns you have and actually break through to your heart. This is the healing you need. To let your heart be broken for what breaks God’s heart. To repent of your complicity in holding up the violence. To make amends with those you’ve wounded and those you’ve let get away with these abuses.
Please read this litany below and reflect on how you might say something new.
“I don’t know.”
I don’t know if you matter.
I don’t know if you are worthy.
I don’t know if you are acceptable.
I don’t know if you deserve to be loved.
I don’t know if your love and desire of someone of the same gender identity will doom you to hell.
I don’t know if you deserve to not be abused and disowned by your family, even if you’re a kid.
I don’t know if you should be excommunicated and shunned from the church that promised to love you like God does.
I don’t know if it matters that you lose your job because you transition to your authentic gender expression.
I don’t know if you should be protected from discrimination from landlords.
I don’t know if you matter enough to not be viciously bullied in school.
I don’t know if you deserve to suffer the shame, guilt, and broken heart because you’re told God hates you.
I don’t know you deserve to die from HIV/AIDS or not.
I don’t know if it matters that you are more likely to be sexually assaulted and sex trafficked because you’re queer.
I don’t know if I should risk my income, my influence, my career to stand up for you.
Don’t you think it’s time to say something new? To declare the extravagant love God for everyone, where no one is left out?
I know I do.
This post originally appeared on Nathan’s website, NathanMichaelBlack.com.
Photo credit: image from Vimeo, “Noel – Chris Tomlin et Lauren Daigle“