Gaither and gays

My far-flung correspondent out west, PM, alerted me to this website on “Christian gays,” which includes a relevant bit about sg. Scroll down about three-quarters of the way (or do a page search on “Gaither”) and look for an entry titled “New Year’s Eve 2002, with Bill Gaither,” a post by the songwriter and inspirationalist Marsha Stevens, who is gay. The post is most important, I think, for its recording of Gaither’s comments from the stage, where he led a rendition of Stevens’ popular song “For Those Tears.” Gaither is quoted as saying:

You know, the young woman who wrote that song is here with us tonight, and maybe you’re like she was and you’ve heard about a god who would reject you for who you are or who might turn you away for something you’ve done or where you’ve come from. Well I want you to know that I don’t know that god. The only God I know is the one in this song that she wrote. The one that says, ‘I am right here for you.’ The one who sent His son. The one who says, “You are my child, I love you, come stand by my side.’ So sing with me again!”

That’s powerful stuff, at least it is to me. I rarely miss an opportunity to flog Gaither for what I perceive are his inadvertently corrosive or detrimental effects on sg, but I would be grossly amiss if I did not also comment on how consistently and eloquently he has fought the toxic hatefulness of so much contemporary evangelicalism and offered a corrective alternative to that toxicity in the ecumenical affirmation of the Homecoming experience (as he does here). PM wonders in his email to me whether “Christian gays” is an oxymoron. Gaither certainly makes a strong case that it is not. October 14, 2004 12:39 PM

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