Lauren Daigle is a young Christian artist who has made a splash in recent weeks with the widely celebrated release of her most recent album (debuting at the top of the charts) and becoming a crossover sensation as she sings and performs on Christian and mainstream platforms alike, influencing both Christians and non-Christians with her Christian-based songs. For those who want to see this as an opportunity for a believer to have a wider platform to a large segment of the populace that typically walls itself off from Christianity, this is a powerful opportunity to share hope and ultimately share Jesus.
Yet Daigle has come under fire in recent weeks for her appearance on The Ellen Show (Ellen Degeneres being an open homosexual) and most recently an interview with celebrity journalist Domenick Nati where she refused to declare whether or not homosexuality was a sin, stating:
“I can’t honestly answer on that, in the sense of I have too many people that I love and they are homosexuals. I can’t say one way or the other, I’m not God. When people ask questions like that, I just say, ‘Read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out let me know because I’m learning too.'”
Not surprisingly, Daigle is coming under heavy fire by many religious leaders for her refusal to declare openly and outright that homosexuality is a sin. To some, she is now little more than an ill-informed Christian or an outright heretic. But in reality, I believe there’s something much deeper going on.
It’s well known that homosexuality is the number one hot button cultural issue that divides Christians and the general population. It seems as if there are two and only two camps: outright hostility and condemnation or open acceptance and approval. One camp completely alienates a large segment of the population we’re called to reach (not judge) with the gospel, and the other camp compromises on what the New Testament teaches on homosexual behavior. It’s a lose-lose proposition, which is why so many in the media jump straight to that question. Whether open acceptance or full-fledged condemnation, either answer serves mainstream culture. In this particular case, I don’t believe the interviewer wanted to have a thought-out and genuine conversation about God’s plan for human sexuality. He wanted a sound bite he could use to discredit her influence.
What throws a monkey wrench in the whole system is when Daigle refused to answer the question. In fact, if you’ll read her response she slyly encouraged people to read the Bible for themselves to find out what the Bible says on this and other matters. As for the Christian leaders who are aghast at her opportunity to completely alienate a large segment of the population she’s trying to reach for Jesus by jumping at the bait the journalist dangled in front of her, it reminds me of something similar that Jesus himself did. In first century Israel, the hot button issue was not homosexuality but the occupation by Rome. There were only two camps to be in: open collaboration or outright rebellion. Jesus’ indifference seemed to satisfy no one and upset everyone:
Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent. Luke 20:20-26
Jesus was about something much bigger than a mere military occupation, and so he refused to be sidetracked by the hot button issue. He refused to give them the answer they wanted. I believe in the same way, Daigle’s non-answer on the hot button issue of homosexuality is her attempt to soar above the maelstrom of this hot button issue and continue to have a platform to spread the hope of Jesus to a much larger audience, including those in the homosexual community. (By the way, personally I’ve found it difficult to love someone sincerely while at the same time judging them outrightly).
For those that would rightly note that the Roman occupation was a political and military issue while homosexuality is a moral and spiritual issue clearly denoted in Scripture, I would agree. Yet at the same time I would love to see the same level of vehemence and vitriol by the Christian community attached to this one hot-button issue replicated and used to judge and shame ourselves as Christians for our seemingly outright refusal to obey the Great Commission and make disciples of all nations or even the Great Commandment of loving our neighbor as ourselves. All that being said, selective outrage against only the biblical issues that we don’t tend to struggle with doesn’t do anyone any good.
Even better, what about when the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus in a no-win question, and he smartly refused to answer?
Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. Matthew 21:23-27
Lauren Daigle is in an almost impossible position, with people on both sides wanting her to fail and people lying in wait to trap her in her words. If nothing else, now she knows how Jesus felt.