In the second episode of Jay Bakker’s serial documentary One Punk Under God, Jay dealt with his growing conviction that gay and lesbian Christians are worthy children of God.
Perhaps what made this episode so startling to me is that unlike many gay-supportive churches, Jay’s approach was entirely dependent upon Scripture. If it wasn’t in The Word then he wasn’t going to preach it. Jay did his research and looked beyond the quoting of one or two verses in Romans to see history, culture, context, and he tried to understand what the author was saying and how that related to the two commandments upon which all the commandments hang.
Also of interest was that not every one in Jay’s church wanted to hear this sermon – Jay did not have the agreement of all of his board of advisors.
It isn’t hard to be courageous when everyone around you is saying, “Amen”. But Bakker faces losing his financial support and his team that is helping keep his ministry going. The next episode reveals the repercussions of his decision to support gay Christians.
We still have not heard exactly why he was dropped as a speaker for the Exodus convention last year. However his sermons from 2005 show a developing attitude about who is welcome in the church, especially one called “Holding the Door Closed” in which he discusses his meeting with a transgender woman. And in June of 2006 Jay preached at Open Door Community Church in Little Rock which further developed his thinking about gay Christians. Shortly thereafter he decided to join his mother, Tammy Faye, as a straight voices standing up for the LGBT community.
Perhaps it was the growing recognition in July 2005 that Jay’s views of Christian inclusion differed sharply from those of Exodus and the ex/anti-gay movement that caused him to be disinvited to the Exodus conference. It is hard to see how Exodus could accept a preacher who said the following in an interview with the New York Blade last week:
Did a specific event or person change your views on homosexuality?
I’ve had a lot of gay and lesbian friends and my mom was always supportive of the gay community. That made me look into it deeper, and my conclusion is that it’s not a sin. The major catalyst was when I was invited to speak at Open Door Church, a gay affirming church with a gay pastor. My heart went out to these Christians who felt disenfranchised by the church. That’s when I decided I couldn’t be silent and needed to take a stand on the issue.
Do you think it is possible to pray the gay away?
I think God can do anything, but that’s highly unlikely because I don’t think being gay is a sin.