Bishop T.D. Jakes, who was not previously known for his overwhelming support of the LGBT community, spoke about the touchy subject with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill on HuffPost Live.
In response to an online viewer’s question, “Do you think the LGBT community and the black church can co-exist?” Bishop Jakes said, “Absolutely… I think it is going to be diverse from church to church. Every church has a different opinion on the issue and every gay person is different…. to think [each] are all the same is totally not true.”
Appearing on HuffPost Live to talk about his new book, “Destiny: Step Into Your Purpose,” Bishop Jakes acknowledges that churches are allowed to practice and preach values shared by the leaders of their respective institutions, but advocates that LGBT people attend a church that aligns with their own beliefs and values.
“LGBT’s of different types and sorts have to find a place of worship that reflects what your views are and what you believe like anyone else,” Jakes explained, “And the church should have its own convictions and values.”
As Bishop Jakes continues to enjoy a successful following, he is notably cautious with his commentary about the LGBT community.
Dr. Hill probed for better understanding about Bishop Jakes’ individual beliefs about homosexuality, asking, “Has your thinking evolved on this?”
Jakes responded, “Evolved and evolving… where I am is to better understand. We (the church) bought… into the myth that this is a Christian nation… Once you begin to understand that democracy, that a republic actually, is designed to be an overarching system to protect our unique nuances then we no longer look to public policy to reflect biblical ethics.”
Hill pressed on, “…Is there a way to approach Christian tradition [and] Christian scripture in light of a new understanding on LGBT?…”, citing the subject of biblical slavery as an example of available space for a shift in ideas, to which Jakes replied, “I think that shift has to go on behind the closed doors of the church because I think in the mainstream America, we have a derogatory name to call you and I think it oversimplifies the complexity of the texts…”
Jakes also acknowledges that, like any other U.S. citizen, the LGBT community deserved equal protection under the law.