- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2015

As gay media cheered the “evolution” of Bishop T.D. Jakes on gay rights, the prominent black pastor issued a statement saying he was “shocked” to be so misinterpreted.

“For the record, I do not endorse same-sex marriage. But I respect the rights that this country affords those that disagree with me,” Mr. Jakes said in a Facebook statement posted around midnight Monday.

He explained that in an Aug. 4 interview on Huff Post Live, he was asked about the “black church” and its role in ministering to gay people.

“I briefly mentioned … the word[s] ‘evolved and evolving’ regarding my approach over the 39 years of my ministry to gay people who choose to come to our services” at The Potter’s House in Dallas,” Mr. Jakes wrote on Facebook.

“I was SHOCKED to read that this was manipulated in a subsequent article to say I endorsed same-sex marriage,” he said. “My position on the subject [of same-sex marriage] has been steadfast and rooted in scripture.”

Mr. Jakes, who also is a popular author, soon garnered more tha 400 mostly approving comments on his T.D. Jakes Ministries Facebook page.

However, Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor at Charisma magazine, posted Mr. Jakes’ Facebook reply on her Watchman on the Wall blog — and then asked her readers, “What’s your take?”

She also referenced religion academic and author Michael Brown’s Monday article on TownHall.com that was titled, “Bishop Jakes, Could You Clarify Your Stance on Homosexuality?”

“Given your stature as one of the most influential Christian leaders in the country, and given the fact that headlines now read, ‘T.D. Jakes Comes Out for ‘Gay Marriage’ and ‘LGBT Churches’ … and ‘Bishop T.D. Jakes says Black church changing stance on LGBT community,’ I appeal to you to remove all ambiguity and state clearly what you believe,” Mr. Brown wrote, noting that when he posted his article, he had not yet heard from Mr. Jakes.

In his Facebook statement, Mr. Jakes scolded a “so-called Christian publication” that chose to “misconstrue my words using lazy journalistic tactics to further their own agenda and draw attention to their site.”

According to other online articles, the offending article is likely the Aug. 7 article on Christian News Network, that had the headline, “T.D. Jakes Comes Out for ‘Gay Rights’ and ‘LGBT Churches, ‘Says Position is ‘Evolving.’”

Mr. Jakes said in his Facebook statement that “I simply meant that my method is evolving — not my message.”

Meanwhile, in gay media, On Top Magazine, and the popular blog, Towleroad, both offered a Jakes story for their readers.

On Top Magazine highlighted Mr. Jakes’ comment that he is “evolving” and that the black church and LGBT community can “absolutely” coexist. Mr. Jakes also said LGBT people should “find a household of worship that reflects” their views and beliefs, like anyone else, the publication said.

An article for Towleroad said Mr. Jakes — “one of the nation’s most influential African-American pastors” — says he “is slowly but surely evolving on LGBT rights.”

“Clearly, Jakes still has a ways to go,” author John Wright wrote on Towleroad.com, adding that Mr. Jakes has also said Christians need to watch to make sure “our religious freedom is also respected and protected so that we don’t have to get caught up in the winds of the world and go the way the world is going.”

“Nevertheless, in a state where African-Americans lag the overall population when it comes to support for same sex marriage, Jakes’ comments are a step in the right direction,” Mr. Wright wrote.

Both gay media noted that in 2009, Mr. Jakes’ son, Jermaine Jakes, was arrested for indecent exposure in a police sting involving gay men in a Dallas park.

Mr. Jakes said in a statement about that arrest that while children may not live up to parents’ highest and best ideals, “we don’t diminish our love for them as recompense for our disapproval.”

“It is in moments like these that I am so grateful that we do not preach that we are the solution, but we look to Christ for resolution,” Mr. Jakes said, adding that “as a very human family with real issues, like many other people, we will draw from the same well of grace to which we have led others to drink and be refreshed.”

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