While change among religious folks is painstakingly slow, among those making faith-based music there does seem to be a shift of support for LGBT artists like Jennifer Knapp.
Four years ago, when Christian singer Jennifer Knapp came off of a 6-year sabbatical away from Nashville’s music scene and announced that yep, the rumors were true, she was gay, the onetime Christian hit maker thought she knew what to expect.
“It’s a little like getting a tattoo,” Knapp tells me. “You know it’s going to hurt. You know it’s going to leave a permanent mark.”
Blazing onto the Christian music scene in 1998 with an album of acoustic rock confessions called Kansas—a record that sold more than 500,000 copies—Knapp quickly became one of Christian music’s best loved acts, an award-winning, top-selling talent adored by critics and audiences alike.
That’s likely why, despite many years removed from that success, Knapp knew that publicly proclaiming her truth, a truth she says wasn’t news among friends and family, would indeed hurt. And she was right. It did hurt. In fact, the singer songwriter comes clean in detail about the good, bad, and complicated parts of being a Christian music rock star in her just-released memoir, Facing the Music: My Story.
In many ways, Knapp expected that “coming out” would also become the catalyst for why she would walk away from faith as well as the Christian community.
“I thought my reward would be that I could purge my relationship with people in the religious community,” she says. “I figured I’d run the gauntlet of expected shaming and accusations of my disgrace, proving once and for all that my experience with faith was just a flimsy stop-gap for needs that I had in my life.”
But Knapp says she was wrong about that, at least in part. Though her being gay no doubt created a tribe of enemies in the evangelical community that once invited her to sing at their events, the singer admits that she’s mostly been surprised by the love and acceptance she’s experienced.
“What has surprised me the most, and what I didn’t know when I came out four years ago, is that there are plenty of Christians who see things differently and have for a very, very long time,” Knapp says. “Today, nearly every denomination you can think of has an active LGBT inclusive group in their midst, even if not everyone in that church agrees.”
According to Knapp, behind her closet door, there were a host of people “waiting on the outside eager to welcome me into bright, refreshing air.”
For some, Knapp’s experience begs the question: Is the Christian music industry softening its dogma against gays?
That might sound like a trick—perhaps rhetorical—question; however, despite the usual assumptions, it’s indeed a question that a handful of Christian influencers have started asking in recent months.
SOURCE: Matthew Paul Turner
The Daily Beast