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Christian author Jen Hatmaker takes stand for LGBT inclusion

A bestselling Christian author gets bold about LGBT inclusion on Facebook - Image courtesy of Ted Eytan , Flickr (

In June of 2015, Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research told The New York Times, “Well-known evangelicals who have shifted on same-sex marriage, you could fit them all in an S.U.V.” But prominent evangelical Christians continue to become publicly affirming of LGBT persons, and serious religion-watchers only expect the trend to continue. Stetzer’s S.U.V. is quickly becoming an convoy, and now prominent Christian author Jen Hatmaker appears to be riding along too.

In a Facebook post on April 23, the bestselling author of 7 and For the Love told LGBT persons “there is nothing ‘wrong with you‘” and said she believes it is time to offer LGBT persons full inclusion into the Christian community:

So whatever the cost and loss, this is where I am: gay teens? Gay adults? Mamas and daddies of precious gaybees? Friends and beloved neighbors of very dear LGBT folks?

Here are my arms open wide. So wide that every last one of you can jump inside. You are so dear, so beloved, so precious and important. You matter so desperately and your life is worthy and beautiful.

Hatmaker and her husband, a prominent pastor in Austin, Texas, recently starred in a  home renovation show on HGTV. She is a popular speaker at major Christian events and runs a popular blog.

In 2014, after Christian relief organization World Vision announced they would no longer refuse to hire married LGBT persons (before reversing their decision), Hatmaker penned a controversial response to the news on her blog. In it, she asserted, “Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation.” After an online backlash, she wrote a follow-up post asserting a more conservative position on the matter os sexuality and marriage.

Her seeming shift will undoubtedly anger some conservative Christians who have decided that homosexual marriage and relationships are a hill on which to die. Hatmaker acknowledged that some Christians may abandon her in light of her evolution on this issue, but appears willing to accept whatever blowback is coming because she believes the stakes are too high.

One things I said was that it is high time Christians opened wide their arms, wide their churches, wide their tables, wide their homes to the LGBT community. So great has our condemnation and exclusion been, that gay Christian teens are SEVEN TIMES more likely to commit suicide.

The Facebook post has received more than 34,000 likes as of the time of this posting. The comment section on the post were filled with a mixture of celebration and lament from her Christian fans.

Hatmaker, who did not immediately return requests for comment, concluded the post by saying, “Anyhow, my message to you today is simple, LGBT gang and all those who love you: You are loved and special and wanted and needed. The end.”

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.


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  • This does not seem to be any different from her stance previously. Love others. I don’t see her condoning homosexual behavior, only loving others. Perhaps she has changed, but this seems to reflect her position of a couple years ago. Lately, Jonathan, you seem to be stirring controversy where there very well may not be any. You are better than that. Might I suggest you read Caleb Kaltenbach’s book, “Messy Grace”? He has been interviewed by Eric Metaxas and his book has been nominated for an award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association–not a theological treatise as much as a memoir on being raised by gay parents, then becoming a Christian, and managing the tension between grace and truth. We still cannot change what the Bible says. And many liberal scholars who err on the side of practicing homosexuality will say the Bible still teaches man and woman, but these are different times so they don’t care. Thankful for people like NT Wright and Wesley Hill, who believe God has been pretty clear. And if Jen has changed, then I’m sorry that she has caved to political correctness. I can love my LGBTQ friends and family, but God is God and I am not. And we are about more than sexual identity. (And I would like to see you give the same attention to a book like Mr. Kaltenbach’s. You seem to have become pretty one-sided lately.)