Christian band Jars of Clay was supposed to be setting out on a 20th anniversary tour—but if the latest controversy is any indication, not many fans will be celebrating.
Lead vocalist Dan Haseltine made sure of that last week by singing a different tune on same-sex marriage. The firestorm is just the latest evidence of Haseltine's slow walk away from orthodoxy that made the band famous.
Two years ago, the Jars' co-founder wrote in a blog post that he was tired of "carrying evangelical expectations on [his] shoulders."
"At one point," he said, "I was sure of who God was, and how God operated. But I am not that way now."
That certainly rang true last week when Haseltine posted a series of tweets suggesting that there wasn't a single argument—scriptural or otherwise—that could persuade him redefining marriage is wrong.
"Not meaning to stir things up BUT... is there a non-speculative or non-'slippery slope' reason why gays shouldn't marry? I don't hear one," he tweeted. "I'm trying to make sense of the conservative argument, but it doesn't hold up to basic scrutiny. Feels akin to women's suffrage. I just don't see a negative effect to allowing gay marriage."
The social media bombshell surprised—then angered—the group's fan base, many of whom had followed the band's massive rise to stardom (including three Grammys) since the 1990s. Want to know a good reason for opposing same-sex marriage, people wrote back: How about "God says"?
Several fans fired off references from the New and Old Testaments reiterating God's views of sexuality. Haseltine shrugged them off, explaining, "I don't particularly care about Scripture's stance on what is 'wrong,' I care more about how it says we should treat people. ... Tweeting Scripture verses to settle my questions of gay marriage isn't helpful. Simple answers to complex questions = meh."
That only made matters worse.
Finally, after a flood of tweets—almost all negative—Haseltine dropped the conversation altogether. He apologized for his "poor choice of words," but not for his position. Unfortunately for Jars of Clay, Haseltine could end the dialogue but not the backlash. Several Christian radio stations are striking the band from their playlists, and others are deleting the songs from their libraries.
"Caught wind that some radio stations have pulled my music," the singer said on Twitter. "Why?"
Paul makes it pretty clear as to why in 1 Corinthians 5. How can the church hope to influence the culture when Christians have willfully compromised the truth of God?
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council.