Jars of Clay frontman posts apology but stands by support for LGBT equality

Dan Haseltine, lead singer of the popular Christian folk rock band Jars of Clay, gained much attention last week when tweeted for three days about marriage equality and religion—but not all the attention was positive.

Many in the LGBT community were moved by the public Christian figure's call to love, support, and not judge people are gay. Additionally, many followers appreciated Dan's attempt to calmly facilitate difficult conversations. According to subsequent tweets, however, it seems that numerous outlets, Twitter followers, and even Jars of Clay fans did not react positively:

Last Month, the ecumenical Christian Charity World Vision reversed its decision to welcome openly LGBT employees after receiving negative backlash from notorious anti-LGBT pundits, who doubted the organization's religious convictions. While Dan has seemingly been confronted with a similar firestorm, he did not retract his LGBT-affirming stance.

Ultimately, Dan urged everyone to visit his blog to gain clarity and insight into his initial tweets:

There, on Friday, Dan published a lengthy post titled "Reset. (Context…Tangent…Apology)".


In my questions and dialogue with people on Twitter, it became evident that the issue I had chosen to discuss was far too personal, nuanced, and deeply connected to faith and our human condition to honor the amount of wrestling that others have done on this topic.  And though they were my questions and it was a dialogue provoked by me, it bled into the Jars of Clay world, and my other band mates felt people’s dismay, frustration and the projection of my views and ideas back on to them. It is not theirs to shoulder. 

It was a poor choice of venue on my part.  I chose some of my words poorly.  And I was unable to moderate the conversation in such a way that it kept everyone’s views with a shared validity and civility as I had hoped.    And so, I am not going to continue the conversation on that forum.  I do apologize for causing such a negative stir. 

In the coming days, I will begin posting some questions on my blog (www.danhaseltine.com, and even doing some interviews around this topic, as I believe there can be healthy dialogue and better understanding even if there is not shared agreement.  I am dedicated to being a life long learner.

While Dan apologized for using an informal venue and for unintentionally causing negative reactions against his bandmates, he stood by his support for the LGBT community, and continued to explore Christianity as a lived practice:

Last week, Jars of Clay performed at a music festival in Australia. As part of the programming of the event, the festival offered various breakout sessions and panel discussions on a host of topics that might be interesting to the festival attendees.  I was invited to sit on a panel discussion about moral behavior and the church.  The question we were presented was, “Does the western church’s focus on moral behavior undermine the church’s ability to love? . . .

. . .The film [12 Years A Slave] had such incredible storytelling and superb acting that gave faces and souls to the men, women and children trapped in slavery.  The thing that continued to swirl around my mind was a scene when one of the slave owners was quoting scripture to slaves.  He was using the words to drive home a point about his supremacy over the slaves, and the wrath they would face if they were disobedient.
He was mis-using scripture to back up his acts of oppression toward another human.  He was using scripture to back up his idea that slaves were less than human, and so should not be given the rights of humans. 
I would not say that the issues of slavery, which are tied to color and race, clearly mirror the issues of gay rights.  But for some reason, all the questions I had surrounding gay marriage came rushing back.

In the heat of discussion, I communicated poorly and thus unintentionally wrote that I did not care about what scripture said.  Thus, the tsunami hit.  It was picked up by bloggers and written into editorials before I could blink.  And rightly so, people were shocked and offended by my statement dismissing the value of scripture.  I got it. And possibly, I got what that combination of statements warranted for response. I should’ve chosen my words more wisely.
I care about what scripture says.   It matters.

So, that said, Twitter is a great place to share selfies and a horrible forum for discussions and a bad place to communicate under the fog of jetleg.

To show your support for Dan's commitment to continuing the conversation and for his ongoing belief in LGBT equality--despite the criticisms he's received as a result-- you can tweet him at @scribblepotemus.