Casting the first stone (II of II)

Kirksey’s Talley column, in which the editor splits his time between sanctimonious hectoring and moralistic speechifying about Talley’s situation without ever once mentioning Talley by name, is just one of the more hysterical expressions of the mindset too prevalent in southern gospel when it comes to issues of morality and values. Go over to sogospelnews forums and attempt to discuss or ask a question about any of the situations I mention above, and within a day some administrator will swoop in and start citing chapter and verse of site policy that bars the discussion of people’s “personal lives” (fine, but then why are such discussions perfectly ok if somebody has a baby or gets married or goes in the hospital?). My point: generally speaking – and there are exceptions, like the Perrys and the Hoppers, who have by Talley’s own account been thoroughly supportive of him – southern gospel seems almost entirely unable to admit that calling something a “ministry” doesn’t justify banishing people who fail to live up to the impossibly high (double) standards of the Jerry Kirkseys of the world, or that forced exile for the “sinners” only makes southern gospel look hypocritical and self-righteous. Which is to say, southern gospel may suffer from a chronic case of moral schadenfreude.

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