To the surprise of absolutely no one, she has long been an icon to the gay community. Her blazing talent aside, we are drawn in by her high camp and charmed by her deep heart. She is able to laugh at herself while being unapologetically exactly who she is. We just get that and love her for it. She has long acknowledged her gay fan base and shown us many signs of support over the years. Never was that support more pronounced than during an interview she gave to PrideSource last spring:
It's more than just you being non-judgmental. You said growing up you felt different, something many gay people can empathize with. Do you sense that relationship?
Yes, I do. I've always felt that. I've always felt that's one of the things that's drawn my gay fans to me. They do know that I do feel different, and all of my life I will be different. I always have been. But I enjoy and appreciate and respect that difference in myself just like I do in other people. God made me the way that I am and it's my business to be true to that.
You were one of the first major country artists to advocate for gay rights. Why did you decide to take that step and stand up for LGBT equality?
Why wouldn't I stand up for everybody, for all people? In the country field, we're brought up in spiritual homes, we're taught to "judge not lest you be judged," and it's always been a mystery to me how people jump all over things just to criticize, condemn and judge other people when that is so un-Christian - and they claim to be good Christians! We're supposed to love one another. We're supposed to accept and love one another. Whether we do or not, that's a different story. But that's what we're supposed to do.
"God made me the way that I am and it's my business to be true to that
Friends, that is wisdom.
Dolly has always unabashedly celebrated her Christian faith and I deeply admire what it has taught her. Towards the end of October, she upped the anti on her anti-judgment message for her fellow Christians in an interview with Billboard. This time, she firmly grasped the fundamentalist finger of judgment and turned it directly back toward them, using their own weapon of choice, the Bible.
Dollywood attracts lots of church groups, but it has also become a draw for the LGBT community. What does that say about you?
It's a place for entertainment, a place for all families, period. It's for all that. But as far as the Christians, if people want to pass judgment, they're already sinning. The sin of judging is just as bad as any other sin they might say somebody else is committing. I try to love everybody.
You have a large gay following. To what do you attribute that?
They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people. I've struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I've had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself. I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don't think we should be judgmental. Lord, I've got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else.
As I smiled at those words and silently thanked Dolly to myself, I knew that heads would be exploding across the tracks. These people didn't disappoint. The Christians she was directly speaking to became unhinged for being so directly called out.
Ken Ham of the Creationist Museum was first up to bat:
I doubt Dolly Parton realizes it but in saying “if people want to pass judgment, they’re already sinning,” she is doing exactly what she tells Christians not to do—she’s judging! And I sincerely doubt that she, or anyone else for that matter, would say that we can’t judge murderers or thieves and call their behavior wrong.
And on Tuesday, Jennifer LeClaire, editor of Charisma
magazine, chimed in
One of the most common outcries against calling out homosexuality as a sin insists, “Thou shalt not judge.” That’s actually not one of the 10 commandments Moses brought down from Sinai when he found the Israelites worshipping Baal and got so angry that he took the golden calf they had made, burned it in the fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it (Ex. 32:19-20)
Think about it for a minute. Let’s say there’s a patient sitting in a doctor’s office awaiting test results from a biopsy. The results clearly show that cancer is killing him, but the doctor doesn’t want to point out anything negative so he tells the patient everything looks fine and sends him on his merry way. The cancer progresses, and the patient dies. That’s called malpractice. It’s also called carelessness. The doctor didn’t care enough about his patient to tell him the truth. That’s not love.
We cannot stand by—like a physician who doesn’t want to tell his patient he has cancer because he doesn’t want to hurt his feelings—while so many are earning the deathly wages of sin. That, my friends, is not love, and it’s not biblical. And I won’t take part in it. Amen.
Dolly's compassionate words pose a clear threat to those whose stock and trade is doling out judgment. Her acceptance of gay people is sure to resonate with a large swath of her fellow Christians who love and respect her. The number of True™ Christians who insist they can never peacefully coexist with gay people is rapidly dwindling, thanks in large part to brave people like Dolly Parton who are willing to stand up to the judgmental bullies within their own midst.
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