What Happens When A Christian Hit Is Written By A Homosexual?

Christian pop star Ray Boltz came out of the closet in an interview with the Washington Blade last week, and the announcement–perhaps inevitably–led to quite a bit of hand-wringing from those in the CCM community. (Although there could be even more to come, since Boltz implied there were bigger stars still closeted in the interview.) Anyone who spent time in a Baptist church (or probably any church of the evangelical sort) like I did heard Boltz’s biggest hit “Thank You” warbled out at more Sunday School events than they care to mention. So how will the Christian music audience deal with the song now?

While the song’s chart days are long, long behind it, I’m sure “Thank You” still has quite a life in the Christian version of karaoke, the instrumental accompaniment tape. Will Boltz’s revelations result in the song disappearing entirely? There isn’t much precedent to go on. Other Christian singers have struggled with adultery, disappearing from the public eye for a moment, only to return to some semblance of their former fame (Sandi Patti, Michael English). But those stars had the good sense to stick to fornication with the opposite sex. One has to imagine there’s not much coming back from coming out, at least in an industry that would rather pretend homosexuality just doesn’t exist.

Last month, the question of whether “someone can love the sinner, hate the sin” when the “sinner” wrote a famous song came up in the case of the most recent release from the musical arm of the Australian church Hillsong, This Is Our God. While the Hillsong brand can sell quite a few albums on its own, the song “Healer,” bolstered by a touching story about the songwriter’s battle with cancer, created quite a sensation inside the worship music industry.

As it turns out, the songwriter, Michael Guglielmucci, never had cancer to begin with, and had extended his charade to the point of bringing an oxygen tank to performances. When an Australian paper uncovered his fakery, Guglielmucci announced that the cancer story was a front for his long-standing struggle with pornography. The song itself wasn’t untrue, he said; everyone just thought it was about cancer (unfortunate, but acceptable) instead of porn (quite unacceptable). The album from which the track came holds on tightly to the No. 1 spot on Amazon’s praise and worship chart, although “Healer” has been removed from the church-distributed version of the album and will apparently be removed from future pressings.

Somehow I doubt Boltz’s catalog will hold up even that well. I think it’s fair to assume that in the arbitrary ranking of sins Christians often seem to refer to, porn addiction outranks homosexuality, especially if you tearfully repent for looking at the naked ladies in the first place.

Key changes [Washington Blade]
Disgraced pastor Michael Guglielmucci a ‘porn addict’ [AdelaideNow]

  • silkyjumbo

    the gospel community seems to be okay with kirk franklin’s (former)addiction to porn. seems to be cool with donnie mcclurkin’s (former)homoexuality, too.

    is that like comparing apples & oranges? i don’t know much about CCM.

  • Tenno

    I wasn’t allowed to listen to lots of things at one time, though more from my grandma giving me a book detailing each band and what they were eveil for (AC/DC: Devil Worship, KISS: Devil Worship, Blue Oyster Cult: Use of the ankh symbol, etc); ironically, Metallica was ok to me because they weren’t in the book. I guess they flew under the radar or where too new at the time.

    So Led Zep wasn’t allowed but Metallica was.

    And that’s my story for today.

  • Tenno

    Oh yeah and Michael Jackson was allowed….. very, very hilariously ironic now.

  • TheHeartless

    I’ll tell you how a level-headed Christian sees it…no big whoop. How everyone else reacts will be interesting. What a man does in the bedroom has no bearing on the music he writes, and it’s no ones’ business but his own.

  • revmatty

    @TheHeartless: For mainstream churches that will likely be the case, but for the conservative ones (where a majority of CCM purchasers are, because they are not allowed to listen to anything other than Christian music) he will become an unperson.

  • cee

    Well, the Holy Ghost gave Ray that song as Ray walked with God. Now, Ray is not walking with God. But the song was given to us from God via Ray so I can still rejoice in it and sing along. And I pray that brother Ray repents and comes back to the holy fold. If he continues to live in the flesh he will die in his sins.

  • carlos30260

    Ok… I am a Gay Christian (many will disagree with me). We can't claim to know what God is thinking or has designed. You can't tell what is going on in myheart. Many would say, “well the bible is clear”. However, it was written by man, albeit, under the devine inspiration of God, never the less, written by man… Mankind is full of Frailties and so very capable of making mistakes and that would include misinterpreting the will of God.

    I have a huge problem when “people of God” condemn people like me and can't even quote a scripture, or speak with such hatred and agnst… clearly not the represenation of Christ himself.

    So I say this, let people live in the life they feel that God has ordained for them. If you can't accept it, realize that it is not YOURS to accept. Every person has a journey with God and we are made by the hands of God perfect the way we are. There's so much more I could go into but not enough room.

    Learn to see through the eyes of Christ… not the dogma.

  • praying for Ray Boltz

    I have been hearing for a while that Boltz came out. I am so sorry to know that it is true because it has ruined some songs that I liked very much. I don't think God has given up on him and we should love everyone no matter the personal choices they make but I don't believe that someone can be homosexual and trully have a relationship with God.. I am sorry for the things in someones life that makes this a struggle for them but with God we can overcome all our sinful tendencies.

  • Bryan

    The fundamental problem with Ray Boltz situation is not the type of sin or the Christian sin ranking system that you rightfully question. It is his embracing of the sin and his joining in the attempt to deny the sinfulness of it. Any person giving scripture an honest reading must acknowledge that homosexuality is sin. That does not justify the condemnation of the self righteous and religious Christians that fill our churches these days nor does it justify those that embrace the homosexualit as a normal or alternate lifestyle accepted by God. We all have sin that we struggle to overcome and that is the key here…the struggle. Ray has given up on the struggle and this is why his music has lost meaning and will disappear.
    The Hillsong example is another verification that majority of Christians are self righteous and religious. It is likely a great majority of Christians today would be numbered among those that would have called for Jesus' execution. The writer of the song rightfully feared the judgment and condemnation that has become the unfortunate and shameful norm among Christians. I say “rightfully” because he is experiencing it. This does not justify his lie and deception. He should have been honest about his use of the metaphor.
    The difference between all of your examples and Ray Boltz is repentance. Sandy Patty, Michael English and Michael Guglielmucci have all admitted the sinfulness of their choices. They have acknowledged that they were wrong and that scripture/God is right. Ray Boltz has not. Boltz has instead embraced his sinful habit, shrugged off the pain he has caused his family and his fans, and gives God credit for making him that way. His attitude toward his sin testifies to us all that he is a fraud.
    It should also be considered that Lucifer uses counterfeits to confuse and mislead the masses. I know, no one wants to discuss sin let alone Satan but a true Bible believing Christian must consider the foe and his influence. It certainly applies in this case by virtue of the fact that we have to discuss how being an openly practicing homosexual could discredit and disqualify someone claiming to be a “little Christ”, Christian.

  • johnnymb

    Very well and correctly said Bryan. It's like if someone is bent toward lusting after children for example, and they fight it, but after time just say, well, I guess God made me this way. Bullcrap!!! Boltz, and many like him, justify their sinful tendencies by saying God made me this way. After being a christian for 15 years, and before that being involved in looking at porno, I can say I'm still tempted by it, so, I stay the heck away from it. I don't give in and say well, God made me this way, WE FIGHT SIN!!!!

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