TD Jakes is certainly not the most homophobic preacher out there! However, he is certainly no friend to LGBT people either:
Jakes has called homosexuality a "brokenness" and says he would not hire a sexually active gay person. It is a common position among conservative religious leaders (Graham, for instance, called homosexuality a sin), but gay Americans would have no reason at all to consider Jakes their preacher.
On same-sex marriage, Jakes once told USA Today: "To date, I have not
seen scriptural authority that allows me to stand on behalf of God and
say I now pronounce you husband and husband, and wife and wife. This
is an issue the government is undecided about. The Bible is not." [See here.]
Now, we have heard, concerning his son Jermaine:
The son of Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House, faces a charge of indecent exposure related to an incident in a southern Dallas park last month, Dallas police said.
Jermaine Jakes, 29, is accused of exposing himself in front of an undercover Dallas police vice detective at Kiest Park, near West Kiest Boulevard and South Hampton Road, on the night of Jan. 3, police said.
He was detained at the scene and released.
[The Affidavit for Jermaine's arrest warrant is located here.]
In an irony that should not be lost by anyone, Bishop Jakes, in response to his son's arrest, in part said the following as part of a statement to his congregation:
"As parents, we occasionally feel that our children do not live up to our highest and best ideals. When they do not, 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."
The full text of Bishop Jakes' statement is as follows:
"As parents, we occasionally feel that our children do not live up to our highest and best ideals. When they do not, we don't diminish our love for them as recompense for our disapproval. Like our children, we also are not infallible nor do we profess to be. Our now adult son Jermaine is 29, but when he was at home he was a recipient of correction, compassion and wise counsel. We hope that the light of what we believe will guide him through times of contradiction and moments of concern as he continues to mature.
In spite of the family pain we feel from this unfortunate situation, it has given us a chance to show him the same help, support, and restorative grace for which our family and church is noted. Through our ministry at The Potter’s House, as well as our own home, we have for years offered help in the time of need to all adults, our five children and other people’s children.
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. So then, 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."
[Thanks to Towleroad.]
Given the fact that the arrest occurred last month, it is questionable as to whether or not Bishop Jakes knew of his son's arrest at that time, or that his son was most likely Gay. Since his son was outed in this humiliating manner, and in a manner which highlights the disconnect between his support of his father's lucrative ministry on the one hand, and TD's homophobia as well as his presumed knowledge of his son's likely sexuality on the other, calls into question as to whether or not Bishop Jakes will reconcile his homophobia with his own son's presumed same-sex attractions.
Risk taking, such as soliciting sex in public parks, is one of the signs of embarrassment and self-loathing due to being surrounded by disapproval for one's sexuality as well as to the shame that has been falsely inculcated by all too many religious leaders.
In this case, the humiliation visited on Jermaine and the disconnect between having a presumably Gay son and at the same time preaching and advocating discrimination against Gay people by his father, places both son and father at a cross roads of their lives. And it will be interesting to see what choices each makes while facing their respective crossroad.
Jermaine now must decide whether to come out as a Gay man and divest himself from the toxic trappings of the false gospel that condemns what God has made, or do the Haggard dance where he states that he is merely a heterosexual with issues.
TD Jakes must now decide whether or not to continue to preach that Gay people are broken and that he would still not hire any sexually active Gay people, even though his son is presumably one. [I say "presumably" because given the many complexities of life, just because one wants furtive same-sex activity, in and of itself, though certainly suggestive of one's being Gay, does not in and of itself necessarily warrant the designation of "Gay," as being Gay encompasses both an emotional as well as a sexual component, and there isn't enough data in this one incident regarding the making of a definitive assessment regarding Jermaine's sexual orientation.]
However, it is certainly suggestive that Jermaine is Gay and both he and his father now share a time of decision: 1. Continue to live a lie and preaching and living lies regarding the lives of Gay people whose sexuality is one of God's gifts; 2. Changing their mind-sets, and divesting themselves of their prejudices, to allow that the grace of God trumps preconceived notions as to the basic normality and morality of being Gay; one can be Gay and be a mature Christian, as there is no inconsistency between the two.
Hence, both son and father are now in the position of realizing that being Gay is as normal as is being Straight, and is as equally life-affirming, and that they both were wrong in their respective mind-sets and prejudices prior to Jermaine's arrest.
Their respective decisions will determine for all the world to see whether they truly trust God Who makes us all in God's image; whether they truly trust in the grace of God as TD said after Jermaine's arrest came to light; whether or not they have the courage to publicly admit that they were wrong: the elder Jakes that he was preaching a false gospel of exclusion; the younger Jakes that he was living a lie and was inauthentic before God and his fellow human beings.
And, if Jermaine was in any way aiding and abetting his father's preaching of homophobia, that he gains the courage before God and his fellow human beings to publicly repent of that aid and comfort that he gave to the preaching of that false gospel.
Their respective decisions will show their true mettle, and might well be one of the best things that could have occurred to both of them on the one hand, and to so many people who listen to, and take to heart, the popular preaching of TD Jakes, be those listeners Gay or Straight.