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, likely committed career suicide – he came out. In some cases, sexuality is neither here nor there. Ask most millennials…we could care less. BUT, in contemporary Christian music or gospel music, being gay, bi- or otherwise doesn’t come that simple. In many churches, it’s considered unacceptable, particularly those who adhere to the Bible strictly. If the conservative nature of Christian music and its relationship with the church are the judge, Trey Pearson and Everyday Sunday are likely to see their success diminish.
Courageous or Damned to Hell?
Was Pearson wrong to come out? Depends upon who you ask. Support vs. non-support of the LGBT community continues to be a prevalent issue. Support has increased tremendously; same-sex marriage would’ve NEVER been supported 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. The open-minded person will view his admission courageously. The more closed-minded, ultra-conservative person is more apt to condemn him with “Hellfire.”
The Christian Music Perspectives
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But this isn’t really about personal opinion. It also isn’t about 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. I’ve never heard Everyday Sunday’s music and honestly, 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.
Fair to Judge 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.
Playing devil’s advocate, diminished success due to sexuality might be considered fair to the Christian fan base. Those who are part of the religious community can hear the scriptures being rattled off now. While manyyounger folks are more open-minded, calling every young adult or kid open-minded is fallacious. If we play on stereotypes, even with progressivism, “Pearson made a choice” is the quote. Anytime someone makes an admission about their sexuality, it causes a ruckus. Even so, it also starts debate. There’s a gray area.
As an open-minded individual, my personal thoughts are that everyone is a sinner and everyone has sinned. No one is perfect. Does Pearson’s admission change his love of God or his desire to minister God’s love? It is a question worth pondering that will receive opinions as divisive as anything else.