My Letter To MacklemorePosted: July 2, 2013
Mr. Haggerty (a.k.a. Macklemore),
I recently heard your song “Same Love” for the first time. As a Bible-believing, people-loving Christian, your song (and the video for it, in particular) stood out to me, since parts of the song are aimed quite religiously.
Alongside you, I want to express a deep and righteous anger toward those who profess to be Christians with their words, yet with their actions produce nothing but hate toward homosexuals. I am at least as disappointed as you with the way some churches have treated the LGBT community, which in no way reflects the character of the God whom they claim to serve, nor that of his Son, Jesus, whom they claim to follow. Of course, an apology cannot repair whatever damage you or your family may have incurred from this kind of hatred masquerading as Christianity. But I can assure you that we are equal in our distaste for this kind of behavior.
However, having agreed on the widespread failure of those who claim to share my faith, I now am forced to defend that same faith against what I see as unfair and misleading representations of it in your art. Your lyrics say, “The right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision, and you can be cured with some treatment and religion, Manmade re-wiring of a predisposition, playing God…” I would have taken no issue with this, because I care little about what the world thinks of the opinions of “right-wing conservatives,” because I don’t identify as one. However, during this exact line of the song, your video has several shots of the inside of a church, including two crosses and an open Bible. The message comes through clearly enough (especially in light of several other references to God, church, and cross photographs in the video). “Right-wing conservatives,” by way of visual association, are equated with “Christians.” This prompts my disagreement, because I can assure you that neither Jesus nor the Bible will suggest that the “answer” to homosexuality is a strong dose of morality or religious ethics. Rather, the message of the Christian faith is that “Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life,” including gay people and excluding no one (John 3:16). Jesus says to the homosexual the same thing that he says to the heterosexual, the alcoholic, the narcissist, the abuser, and every other kind of sinner: “Follow me” (Matt 9:9). In light of this, your lyrics (when combined with your video) are shown to represent a caricature of the Christian faith, not the real thing.
You continue, “‘God loves all his children’ is somehow forgotten, but we paraphrase a book written 3500 years ago.” I can’t be certain of the exact meaning of this last phrase, but I will point out that the Bible (in parts that are less than 2000 years old) expressly calls homosexuality a sin, no paraphrasing required (Rom 1:27). However, that same New Testament (see 1 Cor 6) explicitly condemns heterosexual sin several times as well. Contrary to the word on the street, the Bible is truly nondiscriminatory. All are sinners. All are loved by God. And all are undeservingly invited to repentance and redemption, sexuality notwithstanding.
In “Same Love,” you find fault with those who misrepresent the Christian faith. Ironically, I charge you with the same error. If Christianity really was what you represented it to be in your song, it would be easy to tear it apart as you did. But it is no great feat to tear apart a straw man whom you built yourself. Taking on a real man is bit harder. And if you are ever able to meaningfully interact with a real, genuine, Bible-believing Christian, you will have a difficult time convincing yourself that they hate gay people…or anyone else.
I do appreciate the honesty and forthrightness of your work. Although we may disagree on the definition and application of what “freedom” truly is, I sense that we labor alongside one another, both burdened by a love for people. As your song quotes, “Love is patient, love is kind.” And, above all imitators, no one is more patient or more kind than Jesus. He does not hate gay people. He died for them that they might live.
Respect and regards,