This one caught me by surprise and it was a pleasant one. I have been a fan of Jennifer Knapp since my sister gave me her album as a birthday gift almost 8 years ago. My sister always gives me Christian albums she’s been inspired by and I’ll listen to them despite being an atheist. If they’re any good, I’ll keep listening to them. Jennifer Knapp’s Kansas album is one that I never grow tired of–and, damn if she didn’t just come out last year as a lesbian!
Of course, I just found out after reading this NPR article on gay Christian musicians, though I hear something like this almost every couple of years or so (for example, the lead singer of King’s X coming out of the closet ). Now unfortunately, after building her career on gospel music, with a large fan base of–let’s face it–homophobes, Knapp had to stop her career, reevaluate and then start again. Per the article: “Singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp has sold more than a million albums and earned Dove Awards on the strength of songs like her 1998 hit, “Undo Me.” But in 2002, at the height of her career as a contemporary Christian artist, Knapp suddenly stopped making music.”
Knapp came out publicly last year, you can see an interview she gave with Christianity Today about how part of her decision to take a break was a “same-sex relationship,” but she’s back with a new album appropriately titled Letting Go. Now Knapp, by all accounts hasn’t let go of her faith, she just redefined it in terms of her sexual identity (or maybe she never had to redefine it and was in hiding) and will most likely pay a price. However, I’m sure there are gay and straight audiences that are faith-oriented who will pick up the slack, as well as fans like myself who don’t give a damn if she’s gay and Christian and just like to listen to her sing.
But I congratulate Knapp for coming out as yet another gay Christian musician. Christian pop culture may transform the bigotry of the churches who preach against homosexuality. It is a slow, slow transformation but it is happening.
BTW: Jennifer Knapp’s new album Letting Go is on emusic.com (which is how I get most of my music). I just downloaded it and will review it later. I strongly suggest for both freethinkers and gay Christians, if you like the honesty of Knapp’s decision to come out, buy her album and show your support.
SIDNOTE: If you want to see what might be a typical response by a literalist Christian and what Knapp is up against, view the next video editorial: