Last weekend, Michelle Shocked burst back into the public consciousness with a hideous anti-gay rant during a concert in San Francisco. “When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back,” she reportedly told the crowd. “You can go on Twitter and say, ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates f—s.’”
Most of her upcoming tour dates were canceled in the wake of the controversy. Wednesday, Shocked (born Karen Johnston) issued a statement that rolled back (or at least clarified) her statements from the weekend. “I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else),” Shocked wrote. “When I said “Twitter that Michelle Shocked says ‘God hates f—–s,’ I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted.”
Check out the entirety of the statement below.
I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else). I said that some of His followers believe that. I believe intolerance comes from fear, and these folks are genuinely scared. When I said “Twitter that Michelle Shocked says “God hates f—–s,” I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. The show was all music, and the audience tweets said they enjoyed it. The commentary came about ten minutes later, in the encore.
And to those fans who are disappointed by what they’ve heard or think I said, I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. But don’t believe everything you read on facebook or twitter. My view of homosexuality has changed not one iota. I judge not. And my statement equating repeal of Prop 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: it was a description of how some folks—not me—feel about gay marriage.
The show, and the rant, was spontaneous. As for those applauding my so-called stance that “God Hates F—–s,” I say they should be met with mercy, not hate. And I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.
Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband. My sexuality is not at issue. What is being questioned is my support for the LGBT community, and that has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue. I’d like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I’m really not that clever, and I’m definitely not that cynical.
But I am damn sorry. If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them. I say this not because I want to look better. I have no wish to hide my faults, and—clearly—I couldn’t if I tried.
What do you think? Is this simply a case of misunderstood intent? Let us know in the comments.