Carol Channing | Film | Jennifer Hudson | News | Religion

Jennifer Hudson Won't Judge People for What They Do

Jhud_1Newly-minted Dreamgirls diva Jennifer Hudson stepped into precarious territory (as both Carol Channing and fellow American Idol contestant Mandisa well know) in an interview with the Dallas Voice in which the ingenue was asked about the Bible and homosexuality:

As a Baptist who’s singing at circuit party, has Hudson reconciled her spiritual beliefs and her gay fan base? Does she support same-sex marriage?
“Nobody has ever asked me these questions,” she says.
“Everybody sins,” Hudson continues. “No sin is greater or different than the other. To each his own. If it don’t bother Jennifer, then Jennifer don’t mind. I don’t really even think about it because I don’t believe in judging people for what they do.”

When referencing themselves, lots of divas probably do that schizophrenic thing where they toggle between first and third person. But did Hudson just say that being gay is a sin?

“According to the way we’re taught, and what it says in the Bible — it is,” Hudson says.

If her answers didn’t already sound like fundamentalist clichés, Hudson then added, “I have plenty of gay friends.”

A writer fishing for some controversy in a topic which has already ensnared one American Idol contestant (Mandisa was sent packing soon after her interest in Bible-thumping Beth Moore was uncovered) and a seasoned performer (Carol Channing's recent BibleGate)?

Considering what Hudson told New York's gay mag. HX ("I think the world of the gay community, and I feel like it’s an honor. The gay community is the hardest community to please, so if they love me, I must be fierce, honey.") and the Carol Channing misinformation, we'll put this scandal on hold before jumping to any conclusions.

ADDENDUM: Hudson responds:

In a recent interview, I was asked how I reconciled being a Christian with performing at events for my gay fans. I find it upsetting that some folks equate being a Christian with being intolerant of gay people. That may, unfortunately, be true for some, but it is not true for me. I have talked often of my love and support of the gay community. I have said again and again that it was the gay community that supported me long before and long after AMERICAN IDOL, and kept me working and motivated. It is the gay community that celebrated my voice and my size and my personality long before DREAMGIRLS. Yes, I was raised Baptist. Yes, I was taught that the Bible has certain views on homosexuality. The Bible also teaches us not to judge. It teaches on homosexuality. The Bible also teaches us not to judge. It teaches us to love one another as God loves us all. I love my sister, my two best friends and my director dearly. They happen to be gay. So what? While some search for controversy, I hope that my friends and fans who know me, know where I stand."

Related articles
Jennifer Hudson Not Judging Her Gay Fans On Their Lifestyle Sins [defamer]
Once upon a Dreamgirl [the advocate]
Boys, She'll Make You Happy [hx]

You may have missed...
Jennifer Holliday: "I'm Not Going" [tr]
Dreamgirls: A Review — In a Dazzling Adaptation, Jennifer Hudson Rockets to Fame [tr]

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  1. If there was any doubt that Andy is a Ms. Hudson supporter let it now be put to rest.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 7, 2006 10:45:01 AM

  2. Maybe I'm old and cranky, but I care more about what laws are passed than what some singer thinks about the gays.


    ps: and before anyone says anything: I thought the exact same thing when Michael Richards went on his rant

    Posted by: James | Dec 7, 2006 10:47:46 AM

  3. If she's quoted accurately, then she unquestionably thinks it's a sin! Let none of thee be fooled by her smile fucking her gay fans. That's just a mix of "I may be dumb but I'm not dumb enough to piss off the primary people who butter my bread" and "Hate the sin, love the sinner."

    And such hypocrisy goes back further than Donna Summer. Anyone old enough to remember what a gay icon Shirley Bassey once was, and still is to some, might also remember her saying that seeing her friend Peter Finch kiss Murray Head on screen in "Sunday Bloody Sunday" made her sick.

    To paraphrase an out author whose name escapes me for the moment, "Those fags are the gay fans who just left the room."

    Posted by: Leland | Dec 7, 2006 10:54:59 AM

  4. If this were anyone else, Andy would be up in arms. And I'm certainly not saying that he SHOULD be up in arms. In fact, it's refreshing to see him hold his tongue for once.

    I do not know why Andy is critical of the reporter for asking those questions. Jennifer is a Baptist who often performs for gay audiences. How could you not ask those questions? If anyone is showing an agenda here, it's the blogger.

    Posted by: Anita Woodward | Dec 7, 2006 10:56:12 AM

  5. Oh trust me Mike, I'm not giving her a pass just yet. However, given the Carol Channing brouhaha that went on I'd rather err on the side of caution this time.

    Posted by: andy | Dec 7, 2006 10:57:40 AM

  6. so she thinks it's a sin...plenty of religions think it's a sin, get over it. What does that have to do with her singing, she is a flash-in-the-pan entertainer, not a supreme court nominee.

    Posted by: Benito | Dec 7, 2006 11:05:59 AM

  7. To be honest, I think we've reached a point in our assimmilation where people are starting to distinguish between gay sex and gay people. I'm sure there are tons of straights who support our rights and appreciate our contribution but believe what we do in the bedroom is nasty. They know we are still capable of loving one another, participating in society, raising families, etc.

    That's fine with me. I think what straight people do in their bedrooms is pretty fucking gross. But I don't discriminate against them.

    Posted by: chrisb | Dec 7, 2006 11:06:49 AM

  8. The sin was that last donut she ate and that dime store relaxer.

    Posted by: Crixi Van Cheek | Dec 7, 2006 11:07:09 AM

  9. Just like to point out that in certain Asian societies, e.g. Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia etc, it is actually deemed modest and polite to refer to oneself in the third person because, saying “I/me/mine” in a conversation is considered arrogant and egotistical. People who have publicly done so include Taiwan’s Presiden Chen Shui Bian and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    I guess it’s all about cultural contexts.

    Posted by: just sayin' | Dec 7, 2006 11:16:46 AM

  10. So she is suppose to think gay people are not sinners? If her Bible says so, then she will beleive it. If she doesn't discriminate, or judge, that's enough.

    I'm certainly not interested in people liking me or approving of my sex life. Just as long as they know that I have different beliefs, and they respect my right to live my life honestly.

    She's OK by me, although I'd never invite her to dinner.

    Posted by: Anon1 | Dec 7, 2006 11:18:30 AM

  11. n response to the negative reactions caused by the above quote, this is what Hudson wrote in her myspace blog []:

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Current mood: depressed

    It should be a happy day because I heard that the National Board of Review
    picked me as one of the BreakThru Actresses of the Year. What an honor.
    I was so thrilled when I heard. But it turned into a sad day and I can't
    understand why or how this happened. When you are up, people try to tear
    you down. Some paper is saying that I have a problem with gay people.
    Its just mean and wrong. My feelings are so hurt and I can't sleep. Anybody
    that knows me, knows that just ain't true. Its makes me so mad that people
    can twist your words and say anything they want. And, there's nothing I
    can do about it, except to say,
    please don't believe everything you read.

    Posted by: just sayin' | Dec 7, 2006 11:19:46 AM

  12. Scandal --- really? Seems a bit of a mole hill to me...

    Posted by: peaches | Dec 7, 2006 11:23:08 AM

  13. Andy, you were just less narrative with this article vs. the Ms. Holliday article yesterday.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 7, 2006 11:24:55 AM

  14. Hudson is making a valiant effort to reconcile her religious beliefs with her respect for gay fans. Instead of b*tching and taking an all or nothing approach, perhaps we should be giving a her a break here. We live in a pluralistic society--glbt folks shouldn't expect to be loved unconditionally by everyone; I only wish more religious folks displayed the same kind of tolerance of difference displayed by Hudson.

    Posted by: JOB | Dec 7, 2006 11:27:13 AM

  15. Big Deal. According to the Bible it is a sin. Wearing blended fibers is a sin. Eating lobster is a sin. I do them all and I don't care that according to some traditions they are sins. She is welcome to believe what she wants to believe as long as she doesn't try to force me to live according to her beliefs, which she clearly does not attempt.

    Posted by: Ray J | Dec 7, 2006 11:28:29 AM

  16. Oh, here we go—let's light another torch for our Homophobia Witch Hunt. When did America become a place where everyone was itching to be offended by something? If she thinks being gay is a sin and yet still tolerates and mingles with gay people, I say that's exactly the kind of Christian that America needs more of! Sounds like a good compromise to me. I never said anyone has to love who I am or what I do--I just don't want them standing in my way to be it or do it. If gay people start making this fight about changing everyone's minds to adore them, they're going to lose, and make themeslves pariahs in the effort.

    Posted by: PJ | Dec 7, 2006 11:30:32 AM

  17. JOB, Ray J, PJ, kudos.

    Posted by: Anon1 | Dec 7, 2006 11:34:25 AM

  18. Since I posted my thoughts on HX on another thread, I've cut and pasted them here:

    Several months ago HX did a story on Kim English, a gospel singer-turned dance music diva. The same magazine asked her what her religious views were on homosexuality and she gave a response very similar to Jennifer Hudson.

    Some gays were saying that HX was deliberately setting Kim up for a fall so they could sensationalize the story. I gave HX the benefit of the doubt.

    Now they have done another story on Jennifer Hudson and asked the same questions of her.

    Does anyone see a pattern developing? Before anyone launches into the argument for exposing "enemies among our friends" let me restate Zeke's position that we are in danger of making enemies of our friends when we corner them on theology.

    Two of my best friends are Straight Christians and they say the same thing that Hudson says: that the Bible does not appear to support homosexuality. But they are quick to point out that as Christians they follow the teachings of Christ, who never uttered a word about gays and instead preached tolerance and being non judgmental. So the point is, many Christians choose to put more value in the words of Christ than anything else.

    The idea that someone would twist my friend's words around to paint them as homophobes would send me through the roof.

    I'm tired of gay publications taking the stance that they speak for all of us. Or that they ask the questions that are pertinent to all of us. Looking for the seeds of discrimination in someone who is brought up Baptist smells a lot like sensationalism and maybe even religion-phobia. I know I'll get flamed for that last one. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of religioius nutjobs but cornering someone on their religious beliefs concerning what the Bible says about homosexuality is NOT the same as exposing their bigotry.

    Posted by: mark m | Dec 7, 2006 11:34:38 AM

  19. "We live in a pluralistic society--glbt folks shouldn't expect to be loved unconditionally by everyone; I only wish more religious folks displayed the same kind of tolerance of difference displayed by Hudson."


    Posted by: James | Dec 7, 2006 11:34:44 AM

  20. What Ray J said. This person is an "entertainer". That is not a qualification for which she is given a leadership position in the world.

    Next "15 Minute" celebrity, please.

    Posted by: dc-20008 | Dec 7, 2006 11:35:02 AM

  21. Sounds to me like she called us sinners. My sin doesn't bother her - goody for her - and I won't bother to spend $$ on her album/movie/whatever.

    Posted by: shane | Dec 7, 2006 11:48:36 AM

  22. I don't feel any reason to attack her personally for views that differ with mine. I disagree with Hudson but I don't hate her for saying it. I want to educate her about the consequences of equating homosexuals with sin, and basing it on scripture. Because when it comes to celebrities, particularly one whose vehicle, Dreamgirls, is likely to draw massive gay audiences everywhere, we should know how we are being talked about and we should be willing to respond with respect but with conviction. People who enjoy fame and wealth and who may influence our culture are worth observing; not necessarily tearing to shreds, but observing closely. It's good to know that Jennifer Hudson does not respond to the question about the Bible's proscription of homosexuality by saying that it is irrelevant to modern life, because obviously she doesn't believe that. She told us her true belief, even though I disagree with her entirely, I am willing to listen to it. She says homosexuality is a sin (albeit tempering that response by noting that sin is ubiquitous). She repeats the tired saw of religionistas. She (unknowingly, I assume) repeats the justification for so much anti-gay hatred, discrimination and even violence not only in this country, but world wide. She probably doesn't realize the gravity of these words. Ironically, she probably did not consider that the Bible was used as a justification for segregation and slavery, as well. No surprise she was so pro-gay when interviewed by a gay magazine. Channing.... well she is an elderly woman, but clearly when she caught on to the problem she tried to correct the impression. Without reducing this to name calling, I think it's best to reach out to help educate those who throw around terms like "sin" carelessly. We should always remember that even those who might seem to be our allies may hold simultaneously contradictory thoughts about us. Everyone has room to grow, and I'm optimistic. Maybe Hudson will work to change the "impression" that she thinks we are sinners. Maybe Hudson's single comment doesn't matter that much in the long run, but in the aggregate those who capture the public imagination and who are in the spotlight do have a chance to persuade and inform. I will have a difficult time forgetting that comment when I see Dreamgirls. We don't need everyone to adore us, we need to be treated like equals. As long as we are all second class citizens (or worse) under the law, all comments that dehumanize us should be carefully considered and, in the right context, responded to constructively.

    Posted by: Lavi Soloway | Dec 7, 2006 11:56:29 AM

  23. "And I am telling you, I'm not going"

    Sorry, no sale.

    Posted by: Crixi Van Cheek | Dec 7, 2006 11:59:31 AM

  24. As someone who was raised Catholic, I myself have struggled with the whole is it a sin thing. Yea, the Bible says it's a sin blah blah blah. For me, it came down to, do I care what an old books says about me? It took a few years, but I decided no. Jennifer's young and straight. She doesn't struggle with this stuff like some of us are forced to. Give her a break. She'll come around.

    Posted by: TroyTooner | Dec 7, 2006 11:59:42 AM

  25. The real point is Hudson is actively seeking financial benefit and a boost for her career specifically from a gay audience whilst maintaining what could be construed as conditional support for that group. Of course she is entitled to her "beliefs" but we are entitled and should vote with our pocketbooks accordingly.

    Posted by: AC | Dec 7, 2006 12:02:25 PM

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