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Homosexuals Singers Among Christian Music Stars...
"Any country that allows homosexuals to roam and to seduce the young shall be destroyed." - Our Lady of the Roses, June 30, 1984
Earlier this month in an interview with Christianity Today, singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp confirmed what a lot of people in the contemporary Christian music world have suspected since she ascended to popularity a decade ago: she’s gay.
Since then, Knapp has continued to talk openly about coming out in Christian music, including an appearance on Larry King Live, where she got caught between King and a fundamentalist preacher in what Candace Chellew-Hodge has not unjustly described as an “immoral debate about homosexuality.” That Knapp, as Hodge also notes, held her own in the debacle of a discussion King blunderingly presided over is no surprise, given how deftly she deflected the Christianity Today interviewer’s repeated attempts to describe her coming out as part of a larger “struggle with homosexuality.”
“It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a ‘struggle,’” Knapp said. “The struggle I’ve had has been with the church acknowledging me as a human being.”
Knapp’s response echoed that of another gay Christian singer, the black gospel performer Tonéx, who came out in a television interview last fall. “Have you struggled with homosexuality?” the interviewer asks Tonéx. “Not ‘struggled,’” Tonéx replies. “It wasn’t a struggle.”
More Than Just Friends
It may be difficult for people unfamiliar with evangelical popular culture to understand how and why this kind of thing matters so much. It’s not because Tonéx and Knapp are the first gay singers in Christian music.
At least as far back as the 1940s, the gospel guitarist Rosetta Tharpe was, as Gayle Wald has noted in her excellent biography of “Sister Rosetta,” rumored to be “something more than ‘just friends’” with the performer known as Sister Katty Marie. More prominently, James Cleveland’s homosexuality was an open secret for most of his career in the last half of the twentieth century, and the “King of Gospel” died in 1991 amidst rumors that he had infected a much younger man with HIV and that he himself had died of AIDS-related complications. More recently in 2004, the Southern gospel tenor Kirk Talley was outed after the FBI arrested a man who tried to blackmail Talley with indiscreet photos the singer had posted of himself on a gay chat site. In 2006, a photo of the songwriter and gospel music impresario Bill Gaither embracing the lesbian songwriter Marsha Stevens and her partner generated such blowback from Gaither fans that Gaither issued a public statement denouncing homosexuality and lamenting Stevens’ “sad” life as a lesbian. A few years later in 2008, the soloist Ray Boltz came out after a long and successful career in CCM and inspirational music (and a 33-year straight marriage), citing the “darkness” of the closet and the torment of living a double life.
And these are only the most famous examples. Not for nothing has Bishop Yvette Flunder said that gospel music is gay music. But it’s not just gospel. From traditional black and Southern (or white) gospel, to praise and worship and inspirational, to Contemporary Christian music, you can’t swing a Dove Award (the Grammies of Christian entertainment) without hitting upon evidence of the longstanding, deep-set presence of queer experience in, and its influence on, Christian music culture at all levels: from performers on down the line to piano players, back-up singers and other supporting musicians, choir directors and song leaders, songwriters, producers, and managers, and of course, ordinary fans.
Come Out From Among Them
I have been one of those fans as long as I can remember, growing up as what the playwright Del Shores has called a Southern Baptist Sissy: a deeply-closeted preacher’s kid who couldn’t get enough of gospel music, whether listening to it, singing it, playing it on the piano in church, or performing it on stage with others. For some time now, the thinking both within and beyond the Christian music world has been that gay guys like me are attracted to the flamboyance and theatricality of Christian entertainment. Anthony Heilbut was probably the most prominent voice to assert this theory in his landmark history of black gospel in 1971. There, he wrote that “since gospel is theatrical, and theater is the paradigm for much of gay life, gospel has a special allure for gays.”
More than a few orthodox Christian-music insiders would agree with Heilbut. Many of them would probably also call for unflagging vigilance, lest the overabundance of homosexuals in Christian entertainment turn the Lord’s music into Sodom and Gomorrah: The Musical.
Tonéx’s and Knapp’s stories stand out in the queer history of Christian music because they directly challenge this heterocentric vision of the misfit gay using the stage to sublimate his forbidden sexual proclivities. Openly gay and Christian, Tonéx and Knapp insist on the right to “come out from among them,” as the apostle Paul put it in his letter to the early church at Corinth, and “be ye separate,” in ways that are true to the totality of who they are. In this way they actively resist being inscribed into evangelicalism’s punitive discourse of the self-embattled homosexual.
It is tempting to believe we’re seeing in the likes of Tonéx and Knapp the emergence of a prototypical species of postmodern gay Christian entertainer. On his popular blog about politics and culture, Andrew Sullivan linked to both Knapp’s and Tonéx’s coming-out interviews, particularly highlighting their insistence that being gay is not a personal struggle. These artists’ refusal to accept what Sullivan often refers to as the radical “Christianist” worldview about homosexuality seems to represent for him the incremental—and inevitable—liberalization of conservative Christian culture in America.
There is undoubtedly some truth to this view, insofar as greater inclusivity for homosexuals in American society at large has allowed the Jennifer Knapps and Tonéxes of the world to live open, honest lives. But it’s also easy to confuse the main currents of evangelical popular culture, which overlaps with but remains distinct from mainstream American society, with the cultural climate of America at large.
While the everyday living environment for gays and lesbians in America has improved considerably since Tharpe’s and Cleveland’s time, today the resistance within evangelical popular culture toward non-heterosexuals may be, if anything, intensifying in far more overt and punishing ways than in times past. While Cleveland dominated gospel music for two generations despite the open secret of his homosexuality, the only performers today who have been as widely known to be gay, while also maintaining a career as a Christian performer, are self-described “ex-gays” such as the black gospel star Donnie McClurkin.
And McClurkin is among the “lucky” ones. In the much less cosmopolitan world of Southern white gospel, the outed tenor singer Kirk Talley submitted himself to a regime of ex-gay reparative therapy under the supervision of respected industry leaders and prominent pastors. But music stores still pulled his product from their shelves, his concert schedule became a long list of cancellations, and his music career continues to languish more than six years later. Boltz has fared slightly better (perhaps because he has eschewed the ex-gay path and focused on building a post-gay Christian fan base), but I wouldn’t be surprised if you can find a lot his music deeply discounted in the must-go bin of your local Christian retailer.
The Song Goes On
Even though I eventually came out and left evangelicalism almost half a lifetime ago, I confess there are still times in my work as a scholar of American religious culture (and a fan of Southern gospel) when the overwhelming reality of evangelicalism’s abiding antipathy toward homosexuality becomes so claustrophobic that I want to seize on stories such as Knapp’s and Tonéx’s as evidence of a fundamental recalibration in the threshold of tolerance for openly gay people in the world of Christian music.
Yet as much as I’d like to be right about this, the reality is that the fate of professional Christian musicians who come out is mostly fixed the moment they speak their truth. Which is why no one I know expects a comeback from Tonéx or Knapp in Christian music. At some level, they both seem to acknowledge as much, releasing post-coming out crossover albums aimed as much at secular pop, R&B, and hip-hop audiences as Christian music fans.
Understood, then, within the wider contexts of contemporary evangelicalism, these coming-out cases illustrate something less uplifting but more important to any meaningful understanding of religion and American culture: namely, that the more accepting secular society becomes of non-heterosexuals, the more aggressively protective evangelicalism is of its sense of itself as a haven for traditional values and lifeways—not least of all that for them, an absolute prohibition of homosexuality as defining feature of Christianity as they practice it.
Fortunately, the song goes on, as an old Bill Gaither tune puts it. While the ideological center of evangelical culture may well hold steadfast in its opposition toward homosexuality for some time to come, the critical mass of cultural consensus against gays shrinks ever so slightly every time people like Knapp and Tonéx insist publicly on being true to themselves, without surrendering their stake in Christian music and its concern with the alluring mysteries of the soul’s striving after grace and salvation. This, I think, is the true value of the sacred music of American Protestantism: its marvelous, incantatory, ever-dawning capacity to transcend orthodoxy’s efforts to control what it means or to put limits on the redemptive work it accomplishes for all those who find in it the key for their souls to sing in.
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"Man shall not condone evil or rationalize sin. Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God and man! The Creator condemns those who do not repent of this sin." - Our Lady of the Roses, August 5, 1977
"Are you so blind that you do not recognize the acceleration of sin among you? Murders abound, thievery, all manner of carnage, destruction of young souls, abortion, homosexuality, condemned from the beginning of time by the Eternal Father. Yet sin has become a way of life. Sin is condoned now, even unto the highest judge of your land and your lands throughout the world. As you have sown so shall you reap. Sin is death, not only of the spirit, but of the body. Wars are a punishment for man's sin, his greed, his avarice." - Our Lady of the Roses, August 14, 1981
These prophecies came from Jesus, Mary, and the saints to Veronica Lueken at Bayside, NY, from 1968 to 1995.
SIN IS INSANITY
"I have told you, counseled you in the past, that sin is insanity. Your world and its people are involved--they walk as on a treadmill, seeking power and money and material goods and pleasure. And they go round and about, never stopping as the world plunges faster to the abyss.” – Our Lady, August 4, 1979
"I say unto you, as your God, I bring not your destruction. You will bring about your own destruction, for I leave you, as your God, to the exercise of your free will. In your free will, if you reject your God and the plan for man's redemption as given from the beginning of time, I say unto you, you will destroy yourselves.
"Sin is insanity; insanity shall be loosed upon your world. There will come a time, if you continue on your present path, so vile and evil upon mankind that those who are living will envy the dead.” – Jesus, May 18, 1977
THE GREAT FOUNDATION
"Pray constantly your Rosary, your beads of prayer to Heaven. Remain unified in your family lives. The institution of your country--the great foundation is based on family life. Destroy the family and you destroy your country. The enemies--the enemy is already within your country. Watch and pray well, My children." - Our Lady, June 18, 1980
READ YOUR BIBLES
"Your word of homosexuality can be explained by the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Read in your Bibles or consult your clergy. Find yourselves, My children, a humble, pious clergy. Many have fallen away from the Faith." Our Lady, October 6, 1992
PASTORS HELD RESPONSIBLE
"We hold the pastors of My Son's House, We hold them as being responsible for the fall of the children. Be ye warned now, My children, that woe to the man who has this responsibility upon his conscience and his soul. Scandals have been brought into the lives of your children. Perversion, homosexuality, immorality, perverted sex, My children-where shall you stop but at the abyss!" Our Lady, December 7, 1977
"Man shall not condone evil or rationalize sin. Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God and man! The Creator condemns those who do not repent of this sin." Our Lady, August 5, 1977
BLACK CLOUD OVER AMERICA
"In the days of Sodom, so too were men giving themselves over to all the pleasures of the flesh: eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage. All manner of sinful lusts are being committed. Men shameful with men, women casting aside their role of motherhood and lusting after women. As it was in the days of Sodom, so now is this black cloud over America." Our Lady, July 14, 1979
SODOM: "WE DESTROYED IT"
"And the great issue now of homosexuality in your country, that shall be on the balance that Michael holds. Unless this balance is evened by removing this evil from your country and bringing in just laws to prevent the spread of homosexuality, you cannot be saved; your country cannot be saved. Because I repeat again, as I have repeated in the past: When a country has given itself over to immorality and all pleasures of the flesh, and abominations of the flesh, then that country will fall! If you do not believe Me, My children, I say: You will read your history books, and you will find out that there was a Sodom and Gomorrah. And what did We do to that abominable city, Sodom? We destroyed it! And what did We do to Gomorrah? We destroyed it! And We destroyed all who did not follow the plan for their redemption." Jesus, November 1, 1985
FORERUNNER OF WAR
"For sin is always a forerunner for war, My children: murders, persecutions, robberies, all manners of sins of the flesh, homosexuality, lesbianism, perversion, sodomy. Sodom and Gomorrah fell for less sins than you have committed now upon your earth. Noah took to the ark and the world was in a better state spiritually than your world now; for you have accepted a sophisticated manner of sin, based on man's reasoning and not God's truth." Our Lady, October 2, 1979
"Any country that allows homosexuals to roam and to seduce the young shall be destroyed." Our Lady, June 30, 1984
Directives from Heaven... http://www.tldm.org/directives/directives.htm
D167 - The Family - Part 1 PDF
D168 - The Family - Part 2 PDF
D174 - Homosexuality, Part 2 PDF
D175 - Defilement of the Young PDF
D176 - Sodom and Gomorrah PDF
D205 - Sin is insanity PDF
Homosexuality a disorder:
"Homosexuality is not hardwired," concludes head of the Human Genome Project
Expert research finds homosexuality more dangerous than smoking
What the Saints say about the sin of homosexuality
Pope Benedict: homosexuals destroy themselves
Pope Benedict blasts 'dismal theories' on gays
U.S. sexuality survey shows homosexuals 107% more likely to engage in criminal activities
Great Britain study says 43% of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals have a mental disorder
Spanish Archbishop refers to homosexuality as an "epidemic" and a "fount of psychological problems and painful frustrations"
Canadian Bishop: The State must curtail homosexuality for the common good
Homosexuality and Hope: excerpts taken from a document by the Catholic Medical Association
Ghana bans homosexual conference, says its "culture, morality and heritage totally abhor homosexual and lesbian practices"
Vatican: Gay marriage evil
John Paul II calls gay marriage part of "ideology of evil"
Top Vatican Cardinal: gay marriage is "a crime which represents the destruction of the world"
Canadian Cardinal warns Senate of impending anti-Christian prosecution with gay 'marriage'
Maryland Catholic bishops identify "coordinated effort" in homosexual war on the family
America: Slouching towards Gomorrah
John Paul II urges authorities to stop gay marriages
NARTH psychiatrist says study claiming biological basis for homosexuality "absolute rubbish"
Ex-gays protest APA claim that homosexuality is irreversible
Psychiatrist who maintained that homosexuality is a curable disorder dies at age 83
Study finds new evidence that childhood family factors influence sexual orientation
"Homosexuality is not hardwired," concludes head of the Human Genome Project
Pope Benedict: Church has "the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS"
Catholic Medical Association: Homosexuality and Hope
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Place a Crucifix on the
outside of your front and back door... The only real
protection against terrorists...
Jesus - "Pray and wear your sacramentals. And, also, My children, I ask you again to place a crucifix upon your door. Both front and back doors must have a crucifix. I say this to you because there will be carnage within your areas, and this will pass you by if you keep your crucifix upon your doors." (6-30-84) (Testimonies of lives and homes saved by the crucifixes.) http://www.tldm.org/news/crucifix.htm
Heaven’s Home Protection Packet...
Our Lord stated we must have crucifixes upon the outside of all of our outside doors. In the "Heaven’s Home Protection Packet" there are instructions, four crucifixes, and a tube of special cement for wooden or metal crucifixes. Wooden crucifixes adhere better to the doors when the aluminum strap is removed from the back. Put a light coat of cement on the back of the crucifix and then press it to the outside of the door. If you have any problems, you can call us at 616-698-6448 for assistance. This Heaven’s Home Protection Packet is available for a donation of $5.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling. Send $8.00 to TLD Ministries, P.O. Box 40, Lowell, MI 49331. Item # P15 (Order Form)
Heaven’s Personal Protection Packet . . .
Our Lady tells us to be protected from all evil, we must wear the following sacramentals around our necks: a rosary, a crucifix, the St. Benedict medal, Our Lady of the Roses medal, the Miraculous Medal, and the scapular. We have all of these sacramentals in a packet we call "Heaven's Personal Protection Packet." This packet is available for a donation of $5.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling. Send $8.00 to TLD Ministries, P.O. Box 40, Lowell, MI 49331. Item # P5 (Order Form)
Our Lady of the Roses, Mary Help of Mothers promises to
help protect our children. On September 13, 1977, She said, "He has an army of
ogres wandering now throughout your country and all of the countries of the
world. They are in possession of great power; so wear your sacramentals, and
protect your children and your households. Learn the use every day of holy water
throughout your household. Insist even with obstructions, insist that your
children always wear a sacramental. One day they will understand that they will
repel the demons."
On February 1, 1974, Our Lady said, "My children, know the value of these sacramentals. Guard your children well. You must awaken to the knowledge that you will not be protected without the sacramentals. Guard your children's souls. They must be surrounded with an aura of purity. Remove them if necessary from the sources of contamination, be it your schools or even false pastors."
This Heaven’s Personal Protection Packet is available for a donation of $5.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling. Send $8.00 to TLD Ministries, P.O. Box 40, Lowell, MI 49331. You may use your MasterCard, VISA, or American Express and call 1-616-698-6448. Item # P5 (Order Form)
The Virgin Mary’s Bayside Prophesies book . . .
The six volumes have all of Our Lady’s Bayside messages from 1970 through 1994. Some of these have never been published before. This is a type of a survival book. It tells what is coming and how to prepare for it spiritually and materially. It is a must book for the days ahead. This is a great way to spread Our Lady’s messages to our family, friends and relatives. Item #001 Cost $6.95 (Order Form)
Incredible Bayside Prophecies on the United States and
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We have researched the Bayside Prophecies on the United States and Canada and put these outstanding prophecies in a 360 page pocket size paperback book. Veronica said it was very good. It tells what is going to happen here and how to prepare for it. Every North American must read this book! Item #B2 Cost $5.00 (Order Form)
Your names have been written in Heaven… "It is not by accident that you are called by My Mother, for your names have been written in Heaven.... But with this great grace you have great responsibility to send this Message from Heaven throughout the world, for if you are able to recover just one more for Heaven, an additional star shall be placed in your crown." - Jesus, August 5, 1975
A great obligation to go forward... "It is not by accident that you are called by My Mother, for it is by merit and the prayers that have risen to Heaven for your salvation. For those who have received the grace to hear the Message from Heaven, you have a great obligation to go forward and bring this Message to your brothers and sisters. Do not expect a rest upon your earth, for you will have eternal rest very soon." - Jesus, June 12, 1976
The sin of omission...
"The sin of omission shall
condemn many to hell, be they layman or Hierarchy. I repeat: not the
sin of commission, but the sin of omission will commit many to hell." - Our Lady
of the Roses, October 6, 1980
We encourage everyone to print or email copies of this web page to all the Bishops and all the clergy. Also, email or send this web page to the news media and as many people as possible.
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