Christian Bookstore Chain Drops Author After She Fails To Demonize Gay People

Writer Jen Hatmaker said she would attend a gay wedding "with gladness."

A major Christian retailer has removed an author’s books from its shelves after she suggested gay people should have the same rights and acceptance as heterosexuals.

Rick Diamond/WireImage

LifeWay Christian Stores announced Thursday it would pull all books by Jen Hatmaker after she told Religion News Service that LGBT couples were “our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

“In a recent interview, [Hatmaker] voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage—changes which contradict LifeWay’s doctrinal guidelines,” said LifeWay spokesman Marty King.

“As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources.”

NASHVILLE - January 01:  Lifeway Building on January 1, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

LifeWay operates more than 186 locations in two dozen states, mainly marketing to Southern Baptists and the wider evangelical community.

Several of Hatmaker’s titled were released by LifeWay, including Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity and Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

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In the past, Hatmaker has endorsed the view of marriage as between one man and one woman, but she told RNS’ Jonathan Merritt she’s evolved on the issue, affirming she would attend a gay wedding “with gladness, and I would drink champagne.”

“I want the very best for my gay friends,” adds Hatmaker, who also starred in the HGTV series My Big Family Renovation. “I want love and happiness and faithfulness and commitment and community… That’s an easy answer.”

She describes herself as “a left-leaning moderate” who has voted for both Democrats and Republicans.

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If one of her children turns out to be gay, Hatmaker says she “would always be on their side” and would hope for them to have a “faithful, committed marriage and a beautiful family that is committed to God and the church.”

She’s also forthright on other hot-button issues, from Hillary Clinton to reproductive rights.

“For me, pro-life includes the life of the struggling single mom who decides to have that kid and they’re poor. It means being pro-refugee. It means being pro-Muslim. My pro-life ethic, while still not in favor of abortion and certainly not in favor of late-term abortions, has expanded.”

She finds Donald Trump “absolutely, positively, thoroughly unfit for the presidency… I cannot imagine any scenario in which he could represent the American people on an international stage.”

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Jen Hatmaker

And as the mother of two children adopted from Ethiopia, she’s deeply involved in the conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter.

“I am learning so much from people of color right now, specifically my black mentors and leaders that I’ve sort of put myself under,” she explains.

“When I think about [my son] being viewed as criminal, dangerous, threatening, in any scenario… I could just come unraveled. It terrifies me.”

Wedding progressive values with Christian faith should be a no-brainer. So why does it sound so shocking?

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery