Gay Marriage, Church, Politics and Christian Music

My brother plays in a band called Future of Forestry and they recently ran across a situation that really posed for some tough decisions. The following is a blog that Eric Owyoung, their lead guy, posted on their myspace. read the blog. i’d love to hear your thoughts on what role we as Christ followers play on an issue like Gay Marriage. what role should the church play on the issue and maybe more specifically as it relates to voting and the political realm? lastly, if you took a 30,000 foot view of how the church is and has dealt with the Gay and Lesbian community in this past 30 years to present what would you have to say about it?

Put in the position that the band was what would you have done? i know there is a tendency to jump to what feels like the ‘right Christian answer’. but take a second, read this and think about some of the questions and then sound off. good food for thought and let’s stay away from gay bashing and actually use our minds before we just respond.

here’s the blog entry from Eric:


I have told my fan-base that they will be attending a worship concert. If they are not getting exactly that, then I can’t play with integrity.

Four months ago, I called a promoter/friend to request putting together a Future of Forestry headlining concert focused on worship with one or two opening bands. What started as such became an event called “8-8-08.” Eight bands, eight speakers. Just 5 days before the event, I was informed that a part of the messages that will be spoken will involve a campaign rallying together voters against same-sex marriage in our state.

I went into this show to play music and bring people into a worship experience. I do not understand how this political discussion got involved. I have asked, pleaded, begged that the event would omit any discussions of gay rights but have been refused. I cannot play this concert with integrity. This is not what I signed up for.

I was told not to be concerned because any messages spoken about gays would be “truth spoken in love.” But we live in a culture where people, Christians, even conservative Christians disagree on how to approach subjects such as gay rights. We MUST realize and be sensitive to the reality that even IF they agree on a Biblical interpretation, Christians still must choose their way of approaching homosexuality in our culture. I don’t expect my band-members to agree on the subject and they don’t. So I don’t bring it up on stage.

I reserve the right not to involve the music of Future of Forestry in this political discussion. I have been told this isn’t a political discussion but a Biblical one. But when we are talking about laws, voters, and legislation, we are talking about politics. Fine, you call it a Biblical/Political issue, but never the less, it is still political.

I went into music to play music. I was challenged by the promoter to step up to the subject rather to step out. But I have no desire whatsoever to get up to a microphone and describe, debate, or publicize my political views on gay rights. I have told my fan-base that they will be attending a worship concert. If they are not safe to get exactly that, then I can’t play with integrity.

I told you that the promoter of this a good friend. And he is a good person. There is nothing malicious in his endeavors. He is extremely passionate and unafraid. What was missing in this situation though was clear and timely communication about what was involved before it was too late. As an artist and person, I deserve a choice whether or not to be a part of an event involving such a sensitive subject. Not to be told afterwards.

Promoters, Pastors, Event Organizers, I urge you to speak clearly and with integrity to artists as well as people going to the show about the content of the events you are putting on:

“Hey, Eric, I am putting on a worship concert with a ten minute Obama (or McCain) plug. Do you want to be a part of it?”
“No thank you. Maybe next time.”

“Hey, Eric, I am putting together a basketball game with a ten minute intermission talking about gay rights. Do you want to play?
“No thank you. I’m too short. Please call me when you want to just play music.”

In the end, I believe the intensions for “speaking in love” are merited. But whether they are spoken harshly or lovingly, I just ask that a Future of Forestry worship concert not be a political platform. Is that too much to ask for? Talk about gay rights in your homes, talk about it at work, most of all talk about it in your voting booths. I am sure that I will too. But why INSIST that it needs to be talked about in worship?

I play music because it is the universal language of all people. Blacks, whites, males, females, gays, and straights. I play music because I believe it will draw people together and draw people closer to God. I leave the political discussions up to my own conversations and my own right to vote. But in this creative space called music, I will fight to have a place where we are all safe to be loved and embraced by God through every tone and every note that is played. This is the nature of worship music.

To the Forestry fans that were excited to see our hometown concert, I am very sorry and sad that we will not be playing. We promise to put together a smaller show soon in the San Diego area. No politics, no basketball…just music.

(Future of Forestry will not be performing, but the event has not been cancelled. If you intended on going to the event to see the other 7 bands or 8 speakers, they will still be performing)



13 responses to “Gay Marriage, Church, Politics and Christian Music

  1. Wow…being a Christian AND a Political Science major my head starts to race when I read something like this. I need a few to really think through and formulate a response. Unfortunately, being a pastor’s wife, I have to be careful with what I publish on the internet and how I say things but I will definitely be checking in to see where this conversation leads.

    For now, I think your friend was right on with his decision.

  2. I agree with and applaud Eric’s stance on this.

    Crap like this is what turned me off to the “Christian” music industry a long time ago. I believe it is a step in the opposite direction that Christ wants his followers to take in our culture. Besides, for the most part, Christian music is not that good. 🙂

  3. So many times we as the church think it’s our job to “fix” people. It’s not. Our job is to love them and allow his love to work in their hearts and lives. Do we think we’re more powerful than the holy spirit or something?

    We also expect people that don’t know Christ to act like they do. They’re not Christians! Why should they act like it!

    Good post and thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh yeah, love the blog and band.

  5. good for the band for wanting to steer clear of that issue because of how volatile and damaging it has been…
    to make a blanket statement about wanting to steer clear of political issues is naive. i think it’s impossible. rob bell says everything is spiritual. i say everything is political.

  6. I stand by you. Music is music and to involve something like guy bashing into it is just plain wrong. Worship to the lord through music is a very special thing, and to use that to rally up people to hate each other, because of are differences is wrong. You have to remember that god made us all, not just some of us, but all of us. He made us all different for a reason. Let music be music. Don’t use it for something else.


  7. I think that he did the only thing he could do. I think that oftentimes we’re marrying politics and religion in venues where it’s not appropriate. Yes, our religious views should shape our political views, but when you go to a worship concert, you want to worship, draw nearer to God, and be challenged to build a stronger spiritual life. Not get a campaign speech. Christianity is neither Democrat or Republican, or even pro- or anti-gay. It’s pro-Jesus, and we forget that. 🙂

    Joanne Brokaw
    host of the Gospel Soundcheck

  8. When it is all boiled down, there are two issues here: 1. Whether to play in a concert with a political agenda and 2. Notice to the band of the event details.
    To answer the first, I would say that it totally depends on the band and the agenda. There are many bands out there that play for agendas (ie. switchfoot for habitat for humanity and casting crowns for world vision). I think that band should decide what they are about and support that. If it is strictly worship, then more power to them.
    To answer the second issue, the band should have been notified as soon as the decision was made to incorporate a cause or agenda and given the right to back out at that point. I think that the band did the right thing by backing out if this is not the agenda or cause that they want to support. They did nothing wrong and I support their decision.
    As for the cause of the concert, I do believe that it is a good thing to support the institution of marriage. It is also important to realize that gays do currently have the same rights through domestic partnership as married people do. Therefore, the institution of marriage needs to remain a covenant between a man and a woman.
    With that said, the band made the right decision.

  9. i love what i’m hearing so far! this one makes us think…keep em rolling peeps!

  10. wow. Wow. that was a great email/blog/post from Eric. That’s awesome.
    People are going to disagree. protests won’t change people’s hearts let alone their actions. That’s God’s job, and he can do that during times of worship, without the protests and propaganda. They made a huge risk to cancel that, but I’m glad they made that stand.

  11. Oi people
    I whole heartedly love the template of Looks good, keep it up!
    Im a very “pure” christian and I guess I have a couple questions on my mind..
    I’ve been thinking a lot about dating.. but im not sure where to go with that.
    My buddies have been telling me christian dating is the way to go.. so I’ve done a little studying on [url=]free christian single[/url] and found some stuff on [url=]google[/url]
    Would be sweet to hear your input.

  12. I would like to say that i really like your blog a lot
    now.. back on topic hehe
    I cant say that fully agree with what you typed up… care to explain deeper?

  13. what part do you disagree with, just out of curiosity?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s