Country star Carrie Underwood, who was raised Baptist and who achieved fame with the song “Jesus Take the Wheel” told the Independent this past weekend that she endorses marriage equality – “vehemently in favor” is how the Independent puts it.
This is what Underwood had to say:
"As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love, and want to marry," she said. "I can't imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love."
This is not to say that Underwood is an atheist. She is a Christian. Just of a more progressive bent than might earlier have been recognized from her music.
She said, however, that her liberal attitude towards same-sex marriage comes because of her Christian values, rather than in spite of them. Though raised a Baptist, a church that tends to oppose homosexuality, Underwood and her husband Mike Fisher, a professional ice-hockey player, now worship in a non-denominational congregation.
"Our church is gay friendly," she said. "Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or [saying] 'everyone has to be like me'. No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody."
Boy, no judging anybody? Are you serious? You can almost feel all the head-scratching going on in the Bible Belt. As a commenter at The Blaze put it:
“Indeed sad, that now, Miss Underwood (yeah, we know she’s married) in attempting to “package” herself, and not peave off the gay-record-buying-public is leaving her principles behind in favor of the quick-buck. Many have already commented on the Biblical references to homosexuality.
Yes, Carrie it IS your place to judge others.”
Unsurprisingly, as the Independent points out, the singer “draws much of her fanbase from evangelical Christians” and you know this is going to hit them hard. The question is, how hard will they hit back?
GoProud, the conservative gay organization, is happy, reports the LA Times:
"Good for her," said Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder and executive director of GOProud, an organization that bills itself as "the voice of gay conservatives and their straight allies."
"You know, Carrie Underwood isn't any different from anyone else in America," LaSalvia said Monday in an e-mail to The Times. "The more Americans think about how issues affect their gay friends and family the more they come to realize that supporting same-sex civil marriage is the right thing to do. More and more people are coming to that conclusion — and that includes conservative Christians."
But how are conservative Christians taking Underwood’s revelation that, as she told the Independent, “Above all, God wanted us to love others”?
Well, not so well, as you can imagine. Bible quotes abound, though none about condemnation of anything other than homosexuality – they all skip right over how it’s an abomination to shave, for example. People like to shave, so God can’t possibly be serious about that one. But people who don’t have same-sex attractions find it easy enough to focus on Leviticus 20:13.
Wow! God destroyed 2 cities in the Bible because they were full of homosexuality. So, Carrie and her husband supports gay marriages while calling themselves Christian? A church who is gay friendly? Are you serious? Talk about an abomination.
Some of the other comments at A Taste of Country are more than merely hostile. Some show Christians trying to come to grips with loving and yet rejecting people with comments like
“I am afraid that Carrie may live to regret giving her support to gay marriage…Yes, we as Christians are supposed to love others, but we are not to support something that is blatantly against the Bible.”
“My church is also Non-Denominational, however right is right. You cannot argue with the Bible. I love how these big stars twist the word of God to suit them. Sorry, but I've lost most of my respect for Carrie on this one.”
Or the classic,
“Remember Sodom and Gomorrah”
None of this is surprising. A commenter at CBN garbles a “I'm not hating. I'm just saying” while another.actually gives the Inquisition-ready response:
“what is unloving about correcting? God says He chastises the son He loves. That is a sign of sonship…chastisement. When we answer with the Word of God that is love since it shows Truth and we can adjust our thinking and behavior to line up with God's Word. That is love. It shows you care.”
You’re going to have a hard time convincing the person you are chastising that you are loving them. Keep your signs of “sonship” to yourself, thank you very much. Any love that kills millions is one we could all do without. That whole "love the sinner, hate the sin" routine (which, by the way, isn't even remotely Biblical) may fool y'all but it's not going to fool the rest of us.
Carrie Underwood did a very brave thing this past weekend. To date she has not pulled a Republican and recanted like Jeb Bush, who after saying Reagan wouldn’t be considered a Republican by today’s GOP, found himself attacked by Grover Norquist, who said Bush’s comments were “foolish” and “bizarre.” Bush cracked almost at once and demonstrated that he really feels it’s the Democrats who are to blame.
It is unlikely Underwood will backtrack because Carrie Underwood seems to have the courage of her convictions. Contrary to the commenter's accusation above, she is not trying to make a quick buck, but rather risking her hard-earned dollars by coming out in favor of marriage equality. And she seems to be a genuinely loving person, who really does care about people other than herself. And she isn’t threatened by the existence of people many of her fans have been taught to be afraid of.
And fear is a very real motivator to these people and that is why they find it so easy to embrace hate, as one commenter demonstrates:
“ I would much rather be the idiot that dies and finds out that everything I believed in was right than to be the idiot that dies and finds out that everything I didn't believe in was right.”
I think I would rather be the "idiot" who does the right thing, and for Carrie Underwood, the brave thing.
Image from Wikimedia Commons