Jars of Clay lead singer supports gay marriage

Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine has shown his support for gay marriage. What does that mean for contemporary evangelicalism?

Jars of Clay in Toronto, 2007. Photo by imuttoo via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1nNJJsv)

Jars of Clay in Toronto, 2007. Photo by imuttoo via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1nNJJsv)

Update: Haseltine posted an update on his remarks to his blog.

In a series of tweets over the last few days, Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine joined a growing number of Americans in supporting gay marriage. One of Contemporary Christian Music’s most popular bands, Jars of Clay has won Grammys, Dove Awards, and sold millions of records. “The treatment of people as less than human based on the color of skin is crazy… Or gender, or sexual orientation for that matter,” Haseltine tweeted on Tuesday. “I just don’t see a negative effect to allowing gay marriage. No societal breakdown, no war on traditional marriage. ?? Anyone?”

While a musician with political opinions is nothing terribly new, Haseltine’s tweets have generated a great deal of conversation in the last few days. Charisma News has reported “The Shattering of Jars of Clay,” and conservative blogger and professor Denny Burk posted some of Haseltine’s remarks over at his website. “We are heartbroken that he is shaking his fist in Jesus’ face. When did Dan depart from truth?” Amy Spreeman asked at Stand Up for the Truth.

Although he hasn’t responded to critics directly, Haseltine argued via Twitter that “It is a form of dismissal when we assume we know a person once we identify their ‘sin.’ We withhold love for fear it would enable.” He suggested that, although the Scriptures may be without error, humankind’s interpretation of the Scriptures is never without error and that should lead Christians to err on the side of love rather than judgement.

In a 2012 interview with Christianity Today, Haseltine was asked about the band being categorized as Christian.

Jars began as a band for what we call “the middle space.” We did not want to be a Christian band. We did not want to be a mainstream band. We wanted to live in the tension of both worlds. We were comfortable with the tension of that middle space.

We loved the conversations and debates it would stir. We felt like we were right where we needed to be. We fought and elbowed our way to keep ourselves in that tension. We’ve written songs for R-rated movies and for church music albums. We’ve played for Billy Graham festivals and for modern rock radio station festivals.

It may come as no surprise, then, that a band created for “the middle space” should find themselves in “the messy middle” on the issue of gay marriage.