There was a news story today about a woman who is suing Orange Country because she was fired a few years ago for exposing the foster children she was counseling to Christian music. She wasn’t force-feeding them MercyMe; instead, during a jog on the beach, the woman stopped with the children to hear Switchfoot perform. The show wasn’t explicitly Christian (it was a Surfrider benefit that also had Incubus on the bill), so the firing seems a little unfair, but looking at the Dove award nominations today, it’s easy to understand how even the vaguest stink of Christian music would be difficult to wash off.
There are far too many categories in the Doves (which will be televised for the first time in several years)—including the separation of “Best Musical” and “Best Youth/Children’s Musical”—to even cut and paste them all, but I thought it might be somewhat helpful to mention the nominees for best song. There are ten, even though at least half of them are pretty miserable and the award will go to Steven Curtis Chapman no matter what.
Chris Tomlin, “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”:
Steven Curtis Chapman, “Cinderella”:
Chris Sligh, “Empty Me”:
Brandon Heath, “Give Me Your Eyes”:
Natalie Grant, “I Will Not Be Moved”:
Francesca Battistelli, “I’m Letting Go”:
Hillsong, “Mighty To Save”:
The Afters, “Never Going Back To OK”:
Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, “Reason Enough”:
MercyMe, “You Reign”:
Aside from the Afters song (and only just barely), you’d think the only music that came out of the Christian industry last year was of the adult contemporary variety. While the Grammys made some indefensibly soft selections for a long, long time, at least they’d occasionally throw in something that implied that there was some variety out there. I wasn’t expecting a nod for Lacrae or Anberlin, but as even the Grammys began to realize it was a good idea to showcase a somewhat broad view of contemporary music, the Doves might be wise to try to fit a little more under their umbrella next year.
And considering these awards are supposed to cover the gospel world as well, maybe a nomination for a song sung by a non-white artist would have been appropriate, particularly Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It”, which I can only assume was excluded for some technical reason considering it set a record this year for the most weeks topping any of Billboard‘s singles charts.