The Openness or Lack Thereof Within Christian Music

The Christian sector of the music industry hasn’t been known for its openness, particularly when it comes to artists who have “come out.”

Trey Pearson, the frontman of Everyday Sunday, a band yours truly is unfamiliar with (disclaimer) likely committed career suicide – he came out.  In some cases, sexuality is neither here nor there. Ask most millennials and simply put, we could care less.  BUT, in contemporary Christian music or gospel music, being gay, bi- or otherwise doesn’t come that simple.  Look at the bigger picture, in many churches, it’s considered unacceptable, particularly those who adhere to the Bible at its strictest.  So if the conservative nature of Christian music and its relationship with the church are the judge, as asserted earlier, Trey Pearson/ Everyday Sunday are likely to see their success diminish.

So, was Pearson wrong to come out? That depends upon who you ask as support vs. non-support of the LGBT community continues to be prevalent.  Support has increased tremendously and as we all know, same-sex marriage would’ve NEVER even a couple of years back.  Ultimately, Trey Pearson seemed to be getting huge baggage off of his chest after hiding something for his entire life, reading various articles about his announcement.  If you’re a more open-minded person, one will view Pearson’s admission courageous because based upon what he stated, it certainly couldn’t be easy to do.  If you’re more closed-minded or trend ultra-conservative, likely this admission will condemn Pearson and others “in the same boat” to burn in “hellfire” (*Cue up Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame).

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and everyone is different.  But this isn’t really about personal opinion and/or whether or not you agree or disagree with homosexuality.  This is specifically about how gay Christian artists are perceived by the fan base of Christian music – CHRISTIANS.  Does the conservative Christian view on homosexuality characterize Everyday Sunday’s fan base as a whole? Probably not – there are always exceptions.  Will Pearson’s admission increase the Christian fan base? Again, probably not.  Are there other Christian artists who have similar feelings as Pearson? Of course.

Here’s the deal.  Christian music, like many genres, has its own subgenres.  Not everybody likes everything, even if many/most will agree its purpose is to glorify God.  As aforementioned, I have never heard Everyday Sunday’s music and honestly, I don’t declare myself an expert in the CCM realm.  My area of expertise within Christian music is more in the gospel and black gospel realm, which is what I listened to on Sunday mornings prior to church throughout my childhood.  Speaking for much of that audience though, hypothetically, if Pearson were a gay black gospel artist, it would be a tough sell.  It isn’t far-fetched to assume the same for CCM, whether or not the fan base trends younger or not.

Is that fair? YES and NO.  Success in the music business is a fragile thing, so numerous factors can cause an artist, regardless of genre, to be successful or not.  While it is horribly unfortunate that sexuality might affect an artist’s success, from a business perspective, it is just one of many things that can undo a career (playing devil’s advocate).  Socially, it seems cruel – discriminatory – particularly in a world that is much more open-minded than they once were.

Let’s play devil’s advocate once again – wait – that doesn’t sound right, does it? Anyways, diminished success due to sexuality might be considered fair to the Christian fan base, particularly those far-right who don’t accept homosexuality in the least.  Those who are currently/have been part of the religious community can hear the scriptures being rattled off now.  While many/most younger folks are more open-minded, to call every young adult or kid open-minded is fallacious, just like characterizing every older person as being “unopen to change” can be unfair.  But if we play on stereotypes, even with progressivism rearing its head in to ‘Merica, “Pearson made a choice” is the quote.

So did I ramble a bit and go off on a tangent? Yes, but anytime someone makes an admission about their sexuality, it causes a ruckus.  Even with these ruckuses, it also starts the debate.  Even though more and more folks are being open, there’s still a gray area and support/non-support will remain divisive.

Personally, I consider myself to be open-minded, actually more open-minded in recent years compared to the past. Ultimately everyone is a sinner and everyone has sinned; no one is perfect. I’ll close with one question to ponder: Does Pearson’s admission change his love of God or his desire to minister God’s love, message, etc.?  Just a question worth pondering that will receive opinions as divisive as anything else.

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