Justin Bieber comforted one of his fans who had just come out as queer in a video that emerged on social media Monday night. In the clip, the fan is seen greeting Bieber after a service at Hillsong Church, which he attends regularly.
In the clip, the fan asked Bieber, “Isn’t your church like really inclusive, like, of the gay community?”
“Yeah,” Bieber replied. “Anybody can come.”
Said the fan: “I’m trying to find a place that is like, inclusive of everybody, ’cause I came out as queer not long ago. So, I’m trying to find a nice place. ‘Cause, like no one is nice. Everybody is so homophobic. I grew up Catholic and everybody is such shit.”
Bieber empathized with the fan and invited her to attend: “Yeah, that’s the sad thing about religion. It can be like that sometimes. Yeah, that breaks my heart for you. I’m so sorry. That’s not okay. If you ever want to come to any of the services, any of them would love to have you. [We’d] love to have you in there, you’re more than welcome to come any time. Seriously.”
.@JustinBieber comforts a fan who opened up about the struggles of finding a church that is queer-inclusive, he ends up inviting her to his church:
“That’s the sad thing. It can be like that sometimes, yea. That breaks my heart for you. I’m so sorry. That’s not ok.” pic.twitter.com/VyWcOKQb6W
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) June 12, 2018
Unfortunately for the fan, Hillsong Church is not LGBTQ-affirming.
It once forced a gay couple to step down from their worship team, as recording artist Trey Pearson, formerly of the Christian band Everyday Sunday, noted in an interview with Billboard about the Bieber interaction.
Tweeted Pearson: “This seems lovely, but it’s a shame Hillsong is really NOT an affirming church. You’re “welcome”, but think something is wrong with you and that you need to change. They wouldn’t marry same-sex couples or let you on leadership or staff. But we’d love to see that change!”
This seems lovely, but it’s a shame Hillsong is really NOT an affirming church. You’re “welcome”, but think something is wrong with you and that you need to change. They wouldn’t marry same-sex couples or let you on leadership or staff. But we’d love to see that change! 🏳️🌈 https://t.co/zbczmaFnWb
— Trey Pearson (@treypearson) June 12, 2018
Pearson urged Bieber to make change within his church: “I think he could force the conversation. If you’re going to be so vocal for a church that does damage to at least thousands of LGBT lives, if you’re going to at least associate yourself with that, if you’re silent, then you’re an accomplice in it. You are part of that problem. I just want him to think that if he really does care about LGBT people and he’s going to stay with that church, then I think he needs to speak out about it and say something. If not, your silence is continuing to do damage just like everyone else’s that continue to allow churches like that to marginalize our community.”