Monday, September 15, 2008

Ray Boltz "Comes Out"

I was saddened to see in my feed reader this morning a post from Slice with a link to this article from The Washington Blade, a gay newspaper. Yep, Ray Boltz, famous for such songs as "Watch the Lamb," "Thank You," and others, came out to his family almost four years ago, the same day of the deadly tsunami in the Indian ocean. While I'm not a fan of Ray's music, I am saddened by this, but I must take issue with a few things.

First and foremost, Ingrid turns this into an indictment against the CCM industry as a whole, especially the incidences of Christian and gospel singers coming out as either gay or having committed other infidelities. I don't think that's fair. Yes, there is a lot of emotion in CCM, but there is a lot of emotion in all music. If there wasn't emotion, it wouldn't be music; it would just be noise. Even the great hymns of the past and present appeal to our emotions, to the very nature of who we are (for lack of a better term), and speak to us on a deeper level.

Next, I have to take issue with the Blade's conclusions about CCM. They publish a quote from Joe Hogue, a former CCM producer who found himself with no job offers after he came out, who says that there are "a lot of closeted people in Christian music," and yet nothing is offered to back this up. Forgive me, but with no evidence, I find that hard to believe. They also hit on the allegations against some prominent figures in the Christian world, who have been questioned about being gay because they are still single, such as Mark Lowry, although they did admit it's not fair to assume such people are gay just because they're still single. Not all of us get married, and not all of us intend to or have the desire to. That doesn't make it a sin. Jesus Himself addressed this in Matthew 19:12.

In the end, I do think it's sad that Ray Boltz chose this path. And yes, I do think it is a choice. He could have gotten help, and he chose to simply push this under the rug and let it fester for years. That's never a good choice to make. And, now, we've seen where it's led him. Pray for Ray, pray for his family (he and his wife split amicably, and are still on good terms), and pray for those who will be affected by this announcement.

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