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Band moves forward after gay marriage flap

NASHVILLE (BP) — Jars of Clay’s Dan Haseltine’s tweet that many considered to be in support of gay marriage continues to draw a variety of comments on Haseltine’s blog and the group’s Facebook page. Meanwhile, as the band moves forward, the lead singer may have given a subtle reference to the controversy during a Saturday (May 3) concert in Nashville.

The Grammy and Dove-Award winning Christian rock band performed to much applause, one day after a fundraiser concert at Christ the King Catholic School in Tampa, Fla.

“Thanks so much for hanging out with us today y’all. We love Nashville, love being able to do this and love being home,” Haseltine told the crowd in Nashville’s Centennial Park at a Musicians Corner spring concert opener. “You guys have been wonderful.”

During the concert, which included selections from Jars of Clay’s latest CD “Inland,” Haseltine made comments that seemed to allude to the gay marriage controversy without specifically mentioning it.

“If you’ve spent any time looking at the world carefully … you see a lot of people out there really scared, you know, really afraid of what’s coming next, people hanging on so tightly to the way things are right now, and so afraid that they just start attacking people,” Haseltine said between songs. “They don’t want things to change. Of course, none of us really do, but the times they are a-changing.”

The controversy began nearly two weeks ago when Haseltine began a Twitter conversation questioning whether the legalization of gay marriage undermines traditional marriage and the biblical view of Christian conduct.

“Not meaning to stir things up BUT…. Is there a non-speculative or non ‘slippery slope’ reason why gays shouldn’t marry?” Haseltine tweeted on April 21. “I don’t hear one.” Haseltine sparked thousands of Tweets and Facebook posts from Christians accusing him of supporting gay marriage, and positive comments from the LGBT community.

Haseltine has only alluded to the issue since he blogged an apology and clarification on April 25 at, www.danhaseltine.com. Haseltine apologized for choosing Twitter to discuss the issue of gay marriage, and apologized for inadvertently involving the band in the controversy that ensued.

Early in the Twitter conversation, Haseltine said he was motivated to question the biblical worldview of gay marriage after viewing “12 Years a Slave,” based on the autobiographical account of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was kidnapped and enslaved in Louisiana in 1841.

“It is perhaps less important to know what is ‘right and wrong’ morally speaking, than to know how to act toward those we consider ‘wrong,’ he tweeted. “I don’t particularly care about Scripture’s stance on what is ‘wrong.’ I care more about how it says we should treat people.”

In his apology, he clarified that he does indeed care about Scripture.

“In the heat of discussion, I communicated poorly and thus unintentionally wrote that I did not care about what scripture said. Thus, the tsunami hit. It was picked up by bloggers and written into editorials before I could blink.

“And rightly so,” Haseltine wrote. “People were shocked and offended by my statement dismissing the value of scripture. I got it. And possibly, I got what that combination of statements warranted for response. I should’ve chosen my words more wisely.”

He expressed regret for using Twitter to engage in the discussion.

“In my questions and dialogue with people on Twitter, it became evident that the issue I had chosen to discuss was far too personal, nuanced, and deeply connected to faith and our human condition to honor the amount of wrestling that others have done on this topic,” he wrote. “And though they were my questions and it was a dialogue provoked by me, it bled into the Jars of Clay world, and my other band mates felt people’s dismay, frustration and the projection of my views and ideas back on to them. It is not theirs to shoulder.

“It was a poor choice of venue on my part,” Haseltine wrote. “I chose some of my words poorly. And I was unable to moderate the conversation in such a way that it kept everyone’s views with a shared validity and civility as I had hoped. And so, I am not going to continue the conversation on that forum. I do apologize for causing such a negative stir.”

Haseltine indicated he would post additional questions about the topic on his blog and grant interviews on the topic.

“I believe there can be healthy dialogue and better understanding even if there is not shared agreement,” Haseltine wrote. “I am dedicated to being a life long [sic] learner. With a full heart – Dan.”
Diana Chandler is general assignment writer/editor for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).