Friday, April 16, 2010

Christian Music’s Loss Will Be Mainstream Music’s Gain

This week the enormously talented Christian singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp came out.

I have interviewed Knapp many, many times over the years. I’ve always admired her as a songwriter and performer. She’s been nominated for Grammy Awards, won Dove Awards, had major Christian radio hits, you name it. And now, of course, her Christian music career is over.

Seriously, if Amy Grant’s albums could be yanked off store shelves for getting a divorce, I’m not holding out much hope that the Christian music industry will continue to play Knapp’s music or sell her CDs. Hey, they could surprise me, but I’m a realist.

Knapp’s decision to come out was extraordinarily brave; already I’ve seen so-called Christians label her “an example of hellbound Christianity.” I'm sure the next few weeks will be un-fun for Knapp as the intolerant freak show rears its head. So I just wanted to send a cyber-hug to Knapp for having the courage and faith to step out of the closet in which so many of her fellow Christian music artists remain--you know who you are, people! And guess what: so does everyone else!

This is the dirty little secret of the Christian music industry, of course. There are loads of gay artists, and I daresay most of them suffer with the psychological trauma of feeling there is something wrong with them, of having to live a lie or live in the shadows. How screwed up is that: make someone choose between a career and living an authentic life, just so we can maintain the comfortable status quo? That was the exact opposite of what Jesus was about.

And here's another thing: everyone knows who these gay artists are and they are happy to ignore it because they are all making loads of money off of these artists. Until someone has the courage to step out and say, “enough. I’m not going to live like that anymore.” And then they’re gay-listed from the radio playlists and their CDs are pulled off the shelves of the Family Christian bookstore. That’s pretty hypocritical, if you ask me. And it also just proves how wrong your worldview is and how intolerant and anti-Christian your brand of religion is.

So here’s one of Jennifer Knapp’s songs, performed on Live From Studio B. It’s a Christian music TV program, so watch it before they yank it to purge themselves of teh gaiii. If you like her style of music, consider checking out her new CD, “Letting Go,” which releases in May.