4 Things I Would Like to Say to Taylor Swift as a Pastor
June was a big month for Taylor Swift as she embraced LGBTQ month, making big political statements and releasing a hit song designed to influence the national conversation around LGBTQ issues.
“You Need to Calm Down” is a hit song targeting Christians and others who object to LGBTQ lifestyles. She wants such people to calm down and stop spreading hate. The music video ends with a strong statement urging people to get the US Senate to support the Democrat-inspired Equality Act.
The song is so creative, catchy, and well done that it will join the dominant media and influence millions of young Americans.
That is very disturbing to me as a pastor.
It is a not-so-subtle anti-Christian music video that is another voice leading to the silencing of those who morally disagree with the LGBTQ agenda. “You need to calm down, you are too loud,” Swift says to us. She says that we are in the dark ages, we are haters, and we don’t know anything about gay people.
I wish we could sit down and talk. I have so many questions for Taylor, and I fear she has many inaccuracies in her perspective. Friends have told me that Taylor used to attend church when she lived in the Nashville area. I hope she still does attend church. I pray that she would have an older woman – a godly, street-smart lady who gets creatives – who could disciple Taylor in the ways of Jesus.
In the meantime, here are the four things I would like to share with her as a pastor.
1. It is Hard When Friends and Family We Love Are Actively Involved in LGBTQ Lifestyles.
I too have family and friends involved in these lifestyles. They are good, kind, and loving people. They do not want to hurt others, they just want to be respected and loved. Many would not have chosen their orientation. I love them dearly and pray for them regularly.
From a human point of view, then, I understand the question: “why can’t everyone just love and accept them?”
But our human point of view is limited. We cannot see what God sees. Most of the major world religions, including Christianity, have taken moral stands against these lifestyles because of their beliefs about God. For Christians, the Bible teaches in Romans 1:26-32 that when a culture embraces these lifestyles it is a part of a breakdown of the moral order, an unraveling of what is best for humans.
Taylor, could you consider that God knows better than we know? Even though this is a very hard teaching for our loved ones to accept, they may be called to live a single, celibate lifestyle like Jesus, the apostle Paul, and many others.
We need to help them choose the path of God – to be bold, courageous, and faithful to the teachings of scripture. God teaches what is best for the moral order and foundations for families, for children, and for society as a whole. God’s focus on the individual is second when it comes to morality. What happens to other people and the community is primary.
We may need to love our LGBTQ family and friends enough to support them in the path of celibacy. Or we may need to encourage a different kind of marriage relationship that is not based upon fulfilling sexual desires (see Guy Hammond’s link below). I would ask you, Taylor, to become informed about Christians whose desires are homosexual or transgender, but who pursue faithfulness to the moral teachings of scripture, people such as Guy Hammond, Wesley Hill, and Sam Allberry.
See Guy Hammond’s story and ministry – http://www.strengthinweakness.org/index.php/about-us/guy-s-story
See Wesley Hill talking about these topics at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Log-dFjTsg and his advocacy for celibate friendships at https://spiritualfriendship.org/
See Sam Allbery – https://www.rzim.org/speakers/sam-allberry
2. Your Gifts, Competency, and Music Platform Can Help Lead People to God or away from God.
Taylor, you are incredibly gifted. You are a generational talent, comparable in so many ways to Elvis, Michael Jackson, and others. Wow, your gifts, beauty, and leadership skills are amazing. God gave them to you. But for what purpose?
Up until this point in your career, Taylor, you have not taken as many strong moral or political stands. That is changing. You have told people that you are more comfortable, as you approach 30, with your own views. You now feel compelled to state them and to become politically active, focusing on issues that concern LGBTQ people.
You make the Christians in your video look ugly, toothless, and stupid (they cannot even spell correctly when writing their signs). You make them advocates for the dark ages and hate.
That is a very unfair and false caricature of the vast majority of genuine Christians.
God has given your gifts so that you would honor him and the ways of Jesus. You are making those who seek to follow the Bible look bad, really bad. You are taking a stand in contradiction to Jesus’ teachings.
Are you really sure that you are upholding a high moral ground? When you stand before God at the end of your life, will you have used your influence for the things of God?
3. Love, Not Hate Motivates Most Christians to Oppose LGBTQ Lifestyles.
Your song says that Christians should control their urge to scream about the [LGBTQ] people and that they ”hate.“ While admittedly there are small groups of radical fundamentalists who are haters, they do not represent the vast majority of Christians who choose to trust and follow Jesus.
In reality, most Christians say little these days. They are intimidated by people like yourself.
When they do speak on these issues, most thoughtful Christians do it from a place of love. What is love? LGBTQ people and those who support them like to say, “Love is Love.” But what does that mean?
Surely it doesn’t mean that we should accept whatever moral choices people make. Should we just accept incest if adults choose it? Is polygamy ok? If you believe in what scripture teaches and scripture teaches that something is morally wrong, is it loving to just let people live that way without trying to kindly say something?
Love is not just empathy and acceptance. Love is hard work. Scripture teaches us that love is sacrificial actions, following Jesus, for the benefit of others.
The question in regard to LGBTQ lifestyles is what is best for others if the Bible is true?
When I speak up about what the Bible says, I know that the odds are the people will think I am a hater, that I am uninformed, that I do not understand the genetic background, etc., as your video portrays me.
But none of that is right.
I am motivated to honor God and love people enough to speak up for moral truth. It would be much easier to remain silent. But the Bible is clear on homosexuality. Christians understood it clearly for 20 centuries in all kinds of cultures, contexts, and countries. Again, just read the New Testament passage Romans 1:26-27. It is only in recent times – and only in the West – where anyone came up with strange ways of interpreting passages such as this. See Tim Keller’s response to those who claim to explain away the meaning of this and other passages: https://www.redeemer.com/redeemer-report/article/the_bible_and_same_sex_relationships_a_review_article
How is our position hateful?
Your video implies that traditional Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. are all haters.
However, we are only hateful if you redefine both “love” and “hate” to mean things that they have never meant before in human history.
4. The Equality Act Will Lead to Discrimination of Traditional Christians
For the many millions of traditionally religious people, the Equality Act would not be known for protecting LGBTQ people as much as it would become known for lawsuits, controlled speech and restricting critical moral thought. It will lead to the silencing and discrimination of traditional Christians.
Here are the results that thoughtful people see coming from the Equality Act:
- Curtailing Religious freedom,
- Regulating speech,
- Redefining gender, and
- Litigation and foreclosure of Christian non-profits which hold to traditional morals
Although Christians promote justice and human dignity, we are also opposed to unjust discrimination and we cannot support this act. This is a bad policy. It will silence our conscientious voice for traditional biblical morality within our Christian organizations.
You tell us to “calm down,” but in reality, you are advocating that we be silenced.
Taylor, with as much love and kindness as I could muster, I would tell you that you have been misled, like so many in our culture. Taylor, your posture is very unfair. It is intolerance masking itself as tolerance. It is discriminatory.
You are helping set the stage for the persecution of many traditional Christians in the USA.
Would you please reconsider your commitments?