Douglas Harrison, writing on Religion Dispatches, reflects on the gay artists in the Christian pop music scene and what their coming out has to say about the Church, the culture and seeking after God.
Earlier this month in an interview with Christianity Today, singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp confirmed what a lot of people in the contemporary Christian music world have suspected since she ascended to popularity a decade ago: she’s gay.
Since then, Knapp has continued to talk openly about coming out in Christian music, including an appearance on the Larry King Show, where she got caught between King and fundamentalist preacher in what Candace Chellew-Hodge has not unjustly described as an “immoral debate about homosexuality.” That Knapp, as Hodge also notes, held her own in the debacle of a discussion King blunderingly presided over is no surprise, given how deftly she deflected the Christianity Today interviewer’s repeated attempts to describe her coming out as part of a larger “struggle with homosexuality.”
“It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a ‘struggle,’” Knapp said. “The struggle I’ve had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being.”
Knapp’s response echoed that of another gay Christian singer, the black gospel performer Tonéx, who came out in a television interview last fall. “Have you struggled with homosexuality?” the interviewer asks Tonéx. “Not ‘struggled,’” Tonéx replies. “It wasn’t a struggle.”
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