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When The Son Of A Megachurch Pastor Gets Caught

Jim Burroway

February 13th, 2009

I hesitated to post on this, mostly because Preacher’s Kids (PK’s) have it tough. They don’t get to grow up and make all the normal mistakes the rest of us are allowed to make. Everything they do can threaten their parent’s very job. If the kid screws up, everyone in the congregation knows about it, and all the weight of scrutiny falls on that pastor — and in turn, on that pastor’s kid.

Imagine that pressure compounded with growing up in an anti-gay church as a gay kid.

So here we have, a preacher’s kid screwing up. Actually, he’s not a kid anymore. He’s twenty-nine. But his father’s not just any pastor either. He’s T.D. Jakes, the pastor of the Dallas megachurch The Potter’s House and a best selling author.

The son of T.D. Jakes — the Dallas megachurch pastor who’s called homosexuality a “brokenness” and declared that he would never hire a sexually active gay person — was arrested in a gay sex sting in Kiest Park in January, according to Dallas police reports.

Jermaine Donnell Jakes, 29, faces a charge of indecent exposure after allegedly exposing himself in front of two undercover vice detectives shortly after 10 p.m. on Jan. 3. Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther, a DPD spokeswoman, confirmed Thursday, Feb. 12 that the detectives were both male.

Young Jakes grew up in a church that condemns homosexuality, and in a culture which is quite homophobic. People who don’t have the personal freedom to be out often turn to less legitimate outlets for sexual contact. In this case, a public park. The overwhelming majority of people who are picked up in these kinds of sweeps are those who claim to be heterosexual, and most of them are married. They are desperate to conceal their homosexuality, which is why anonymous sex in public parks is so appealing to them. Take away the need to conceal, and the public sex will diminish drastically.

This isn’t to excuse what Jermaine did, but it does explain a lot why he and others like him do what he did. I hope he takes this episode as the impetus he needs to break free from his trap. After all, what is there left to conceal now?

This continuing condemnation and rejection is toxic. It entraps people who don’t experience the safety of being true to themselves. As long as that continues, there will be more Jermaines making the news. Jermaine screwed up. He’s responsible for what he did. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel bad for Jermaine’s humiliation. He’s not only being humiliated locally where this sort of exposure is normally limited, but his humiliation is nationwide. And that national exposure is strictly because of who his father is, and because of the message of exclusion and condemnation his father preaches.

Which is why I don’t feel sorry for T.D. Jakes. Those are his chickens he’s seeing in the morning paper, each and every one of them coming home to roost.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

“This isn’t to excuse what Jermaine did, but it does explain a lot why he and others like him do what he did. I hope he takes this episode as the impetus he needs to break free from his trap. After all, what is there left to conceal now?

That’s a question that only Wide Stance Larry, Ted 2, and Bob allen can answer.

We’ll see how the elder jakes deals with this. unfortunately, I suspect I already know.

homer
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Poor kid.

SharonB
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

So here’s another anti-gay fundamentalist with a gay family member, seeking to save their son or daughter from the ‘scourge of gayosity’ by whipping up passions to inflict political and physical pain on all gay people.

When will these gits learn it won’t “save” their children from something they don’t need to be saved from?

David C.
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

My hope is that Jermaine’s contrition extends only to the offense of indecent exposure, and he does not play into the hands of the hypocrites or become one himself.

a. mcewen
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

This controversy has generated a lot of talk in black community. But here is the surprise – no one is shocked (not that T.D. Jakes’s son was arrested because the issue isn’t really about him per se). There seems to be an acknowledgement that lgbts do exist in the African-American community, and ESPECIALLY in the black church.

This situation indicates the problem – how do we have a conversation in the black community regarding lgbts of color.

Matt Algren
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Don’t be too hard on T.D. Jakes. He’s been repositioning to [at least] neutral on LGBTs for at a year or so.

http://gcmwatch.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/td-jakes-becomes-a-conduit-for-false-homosexual-theology/

Timothy Kincaid
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

I hesitated to post on this, mostly because Preacher’s Kids (PK’s) have it tough. They don’t get to grow up and make all the normal mistakes the rest of us are allowed to make. Everything they do can threaten their parent’s very job. If the kid screws up, everyone in the congregation knows about it, and all the weight of scrutiny falls on that pastor — and in turn, on that pastor’s kid.

Imagine that pressure compounded with growing up in an anti-gay church as a gay kid.

I don’t have to imagine.

I can vouch that being a PK is a burden that is far more difficult than most imagine – especially in an environment where almost everything that is a part of a normal kid’s life is considered “sin” – and being a gay kid in that environment can lead to some pretty emotionally challenging places.

CPT_Doom
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Years ago Nightline did a week-long special on LGBT Americans, following the horrific hate attack in Roanoke, VA. Much of the program focused on people in and around Roanoke, including a former VA prosecutor who would try men for just this type of behavior during the day, then be in the parks himself at night (which, of course, his wife did not know). He had a great line when describing the Catch-22 of gay people in such cultures:

“You can’t push gay people into the hidden corners of society, then complain about them being in the dark.”

AJD
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

I feel pretty sorry for the guy, and despite the criminal nature of what he was doing, that’s what a lot of men in his position are reduced to.

What’s always amazed me is how utterly clueless people like T.D. Jakes are about their part in this sort of phenomenon. It’s like a restaurant: Everybody from the owner down to the bus staff plays a part. Everything from introducing anti-gay legislation to making the passing “I think homosexuality is immoral” remark helps feed the cycle of oppression and enable those willing to take their hatred to more extreme levels.

I don’t mean to be hyperbolic, but could the Nuremberg Laws and the Holocaust have happened if not for the widespread anti-Semitic attitudes among Europeans?

Michael Kensinger
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Let’s see, didn’t I read something a couple of years back about Allen Keyes throwing his lesbian daughter out of the house? And what ever happened to the son of Phyllis Schaffley? Is there a word to describe parents who, because of their political/religious beliefs, attack and denigrate their own children?

Dave
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Michael Kensinger,

You are correct about Allen Keyes.

As for Phyllis Schaffley’s gay son, he works for her.

Piper
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

As a hopefully future pastor, this worries me. Although I plan on going into the ELCA Lutheran church, and will never preach hatred (although they don’t seem to understand that’s what they do when they preach so hatefully against gay people) it is still a big worry or at least should be for pastors.

One of my moms best friends is the daughter of our pastor. She turned out ok, but i have heard way to many stories of PKs committing suicide because the environment they are raised in was so strict it never gave them the freedom to test boundaries and discover themselves.

I only hope that the gay community can step up at give this kid a hand. He’s got to be in a lot of pain right now.

Jeff
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

Religion absolutely ruins everything.

Just be yourselves and the world will weed out the zealots. Do not bow to evil cults that masquerade as a “church” i.e. all of them.

Swampfox
February 13th, 2009 | LINK

I would hope that you refrain from using the term kids instead of children, at least when writing. It is sort of my pet peeve.

I have to wonder how many anti-gay churches have social gatherings trying to match up people in their churches that aren’t married.

Let’s all wish that this gay man who is the son of an anti-gay preacher finds some balance/peace/love in his life.

Maurice Lacunza
February 14th, 2009 | LINK

“Which is why I don’t feel sorry for T.D. Jakes. Those are his chickens he’s seeing in the morning paper, each and every one of them coming home to roost”.

Amen. When will the church wake up?

Piper, the gay community can’t step up to support him if he insists on staying in the closet. Really, lets hope that Jermaine doesn’t opt for a Haggard style restoration and recovery.

If TD Jakes is truly trying to embrace the LGBT, let him reach out to his own son first. Let’s see if TD will love his own child …unconditionally.

Russell B
February 14th, 2009 | LINK

Back in the day, we “P.K.s” decided to change the term to “T.O.s” — Theological Offspring. It never caught on, for obvious reasons.

I’m not sure whether you’re saying that PKs suffer more from having their “sins” broadcast to everyone or from being afraid to sin in the first place. As a teen and young adult, I was extremely inhibited under the pretense of being a good kid with a reputation I myself could be proud of. Now, in my decrepit dotage, I regret never having done anything fun — and it’s too late now to make up for it.

The real pity, of course, is that any gay man, regardless of his parents’ occupations, has to feel ashamed of his sexuality to the point of demeaning himself by looking for gratification in a park instead of the comfort of his own home as his straight peers do.

Houndentenor
February 16th, 2009 | LINK

Another PK weighing in. I feel for this kid. The solution is obvious though. Get the hell out of the Bible belt. The only way out of the scrutiny of this situation is to be a thousand miles or more away from the Church Ladies.

Attmay
February 16th, 2009 | LINK

“Is there a word to describe parents who, because of their political/religious beliefs, attack and denigrate their own children?”

There are several words I’m thinking of, but they all violate the Comments Policy.

paul J stein
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

lets hope he makes it to some counseling before he attempts suicide or buries it deeper and gets “restored” to straightness.

Derek
February 17th, 2009 | LINK

T.D. knew his kid was gay all along. How does the most clueless parent not know, let alone a parent who spends as much time obsessing about homosexuality as Pastor Jakes? He knew: he just didn’t care. He didn’t care because he is a conservative, and so the virtues he preaches apply to others, to the little people out there in TV Land, not to him or his. Homosexuality is wrong…unless your pro-family bona fides are in order, in which case a quick BJ in a public restroom on the way to an important meeting is a terrific stress-reliever. Or the free market should decide who succeeds and who fails…until it’s Conservative Man who’s going to get the axe if the gubmint doesn’t hurry up and get on our backs again. It cannot be said often enough: T.D.Jakes and his kind are the people Jesus warned us about: groping for the specks in our eyes with one hand and lifting our wallets with the other.

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