Gay American Idol contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon’s father gave him a standing ovation on Tuesday just weeks after delivering an anti-gay sermon.
Maryland-native Harmon, the son of baptist pastor Rev. Jerry Harmon, came out to his family last year, and his journey has been chronicled during his rise on Idol.
It culminated in Tuesday’s performance, as Harmon’s parents watched him perform live for the first time.
After he sang Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever,” his parents gave him a standing ovation and Rev. Harmon called his son’s performance “powerful” and said he was “the best one here.”
But a month prior, while Jeremiah was waiting to see if he would make the Top 20, Rev. Harmon was at Grace Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore telling his congregation that homosexuality is part of a “downward spiral” of “sexual immorality” plaguing the country.
In video unearthed by Queerty, Harmon quotes from Romans 1:24-27, and notes a “movement of homosexuality.”
He then complains that homosexuality is now accepted as normal, and that those who oppose it are labeled “bigots.”
“This is the sign of a society that God has turned over to themselves,” Harmon says. “This is not just personal, this is not just individual, this is societal. And now we live in a society today where we are forced to accept this as normal. And if we don’t, we are bigots. And if we don’t, we hate.
“We don’t hate anybody, friend. We’re trying to love you under Christ,” he continues, adding, “We’re trying to point you to the only real way of salvation, friend.”
Harmon also seems to equate homosexuality with “evil,” continuing his sermon by quoting from Romans 1:28: “‘God gave them over to a reprobate mind.'”
“What’s a reprobate mind?” Harmon asks, adding, “This is where reasoning is corrupted. This is where the intellectual faculty is just totally crippled, and a conscience really cannot function. And so therefore we pass laws to make evil legal.”
Harmon later says: “I’m trying to walk this fine balance. I’m trying to show the love of God. I’m trying to show the unconditional love that we have, even towards our erring children. But friend, don’t ever get the idea that I ever approved anything that’s against the word of God. I will not do that.”
Watch Harmon’s sermon below (the anti-gay part starts around 31 minutes):
In an interview with Metro Weekly last month, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon said that his relationship with his family was “a little strained, and it’s been a challenge that we’ve been working on together. We’ve grown a lot, and we’re still talking. I just saw my siblings [the other] week, and had lunch with my dad and my little brother. We’re still working through our differences together.”
He noted that it hasn’t “been easy” for his parents to accept his sexuality, but that “things are looking up.”
“I think if you’re a conservative Christian, having a child come out as gay, and having that same child claim that they’re Christian, and they’re going to heaven, is contradictory to what you believe,” Harmon said. “I think it’s been a real challenge for my family to integrate those two seemingly opposite truths. But we’re there for each other, and we love each other no matter what. That’s all that matters.”
Harmon is a current favorite to reach the final of American Idol, with his performance on April 28 earning him a spot in the Top 6.