Carrie Underwood made waves when comments she made supporting marriage equality began circulating around the internet Friday night. Check out a sampling of the public discussion that has resulted after the jump.
Carrie Underwood’s comments about homosexuality and marriage equality in the context of her faith (which you can read here and are further developed here) have spread in daily waves as more and more media outlets pick them up, hitting critical mass Tuesday. As you might expect, Internet reaction has been heavy in volume and fervor.
Billboard characterizes the reaction among Carrie’s fans as “uniformly positive.” That is generally true, though not completely. You do have a few here and there who are tweeting over and over and over (and over again) asserting that they are done with Carrie (see also: this followed by this and this and more from the same person). But there is mostly support for Carrie’s views, as you can find here, here, here, and here, and then some.
One of the two original UK Independent articles quoted a spokesperson for Equality California saying:
If you look at younger evangelicals, they are hugely out of step with their parents on this issue…They remain committed to their faith, but don’t see gay rights being in conflict with Christian values. So while her comments are great news, they aren’t necessarily a huge surprise.”
The LA Times found a conservative group voicing support for Carrie’s stance:
“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 one look at the comments sections under articles on this story at the Taste Of Country, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, The Boot, People, E Online, Roughstock and the Christian Post (which describes her congregation’s understanding of God’s word as “unconventional”) reveals where a number of Christian hardliners stand while also making clear there is plenty of support for Carrie’s stance. The typical exchanges feature hardliners quoting Scripture and criticizing Carrie (and worse) for allegedly not knowing her Bible or for selectively reading from it, while others question whether those Biblical literalists also feel people should never wear polyester, eat pork or shellfish, and that women should stay silent in church since those are also part of the Bible. Here’s a sample comment representing each side.
From jfm in the Entertainment Weekly comments section:
Miss Underwood is obviously a very naive and uninformed “Christian”. No where in the Bible is there any acknowledgment that God supports gay relationships. The Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman united together and the two shall become one. Homosexual relationships have and always will be considered a deviation of what God established as holy sexual relationships. Sex was never designed to be the sole purpose of human relationships. Our culture puts too much importance on sex. Sex was devised as a pleasurable part of populating God’s kingdom on earth. But it was not and never has been designed for any other purpose than that. Men cannote procreate with men and women cannot procreate with women. It’s not that God doesn’t love persons who are engaged in unholy behavior–far from it–it’s because of his love for them that he has given them Christ the Saviour to deliver them from their sinful predispositions. We all have sinful predispositions but it is how we feel abou them that matters. Celibacy is not a punishment but can be a responsibly beautiful way of living. Sex has destroyed too many relationships. It’s okay for men to have intimate non-sexual relationships with men–it’s called friendship. Friendships are beautiful, loving and free of all the complications and heartaches and even physical pain that non-ordained sexual relationships present,(This goes for women, too) But the more our culture continues to endorse Satan’s lies about sexual liberty and sexual equality, pretty soon other taboos as pedophilia, and beastiality will want to be acknowledged as legitimate. It’s time to tell the truth. The truth will set you free
From Captain Obvious from the Entertainment Weekly comments section:
The lack of biblical literacy on this board astounds me. Have the Christians commenting on this board actually studied the Bible? Not just read it, but studied it? Jesus never once attacks homosexuality. Not once. The go-to pull quote about homosexuality is from Leviticus, which wasn’t written by God, doesn’t apply to Christians, and isn’t simply about homosexuality, it’s about sexual violence (which you would know, had you studied biblical history and not just taken what conservative pundits vomit on talk radio as truth). But Christians have been pulling quotes from the Bible to fight against progressive social changes since time began. Remember all the Bible signs during civil rights? Women’s suffrage? Anti-slavery? Same thing here – this is simply ignorant people justifying their own prejudice by wielding passages from the Bible as a tool of intolerance.
Further, if your argument is, “homosexuality is a sin”, have you stopped to consider that there isn’t a tier of sin? We are all equally guilty of sinning under the Christian faith. Pre-marital sex is or divorce is no better or worse than homosexuality. Everyone sins. The degree of arrogance and self-righteousness it requires on the part of the sinner to not only condemn a fellow neighbor, but strip them of legal rights – is truly astonishing. All of these Christians have forgotten the fundamental teachings of Jesus. LOVE thy neighbor. Can you love someone when you’re attacking them personally (not your job) or even condemning them to hell (not your job) publicly?
Meanwhile, Carrie’s comments have garnered positive notice from GLAAD and Human Rights Campaign while also getting positive coverage in LGBT-focused media sites like The Advocate, Out magazine, Instinct magazine, and Towleroad (which also posted a link to the trailer for Carrie’s “Blown Away” video).
Legendary guitarist Peter Frampton tweeted: “Thank you @carrieunderwood for your personal words on all marriages. Hope you guys are doing great!” Clay Aiken, who has recently made the media rounds discussing marriage equality in the wake of North Carolina’s passage of an amendment banning gay marriage, tweeted: “Way to go @carrieunderwood !! Speak out bravely and honestly. Your words are gonna change minds!” Miley Cyrus tweeted “I think it would be amazing if @carrieunderwood posed for @NOH8Campaign Would be wonderful to get that kinda support from country music!” As for the country world, Texas singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves tweeted her enthusiastic support for Carrie’s comments, while the country duo Bomshel tweeted “Wow. I just really became an Underwood fan.” (though it’s not confirmed that is in relation to Carrie’s comments about marriage equality). Most vocal and supportive has been a country singer who made headlines in 2010 when she came out as a lesbian, Chely Wright. Chely Wright has painstakingly documented her journey through a book and now through film while advocating for LGBT equality and acceptance, and had recently commented to CBS News:
“And so, it’s…a rejection mostly because I would like to hear a country music artist, the big ones, not just say, ‘Well, I like Chely. I like her even though she’s gay.’ I need a country artist who is a big deal, like Jay-Z in his community; He came forward and said, ‘I believe in equality for all.’ I’m struggling because I have not heard that from the big stars in country music.”
It’s worth noting Carrie is not the first mainstream country singer to show openness to marriage equality. Garth Brooks has been a consistent advocate for gay rights and gay equality, most notably in 1992 when he wrote and released “We Shall Be Free” (key line: “When we’re free to love anyone we choose…We shall be free”). He also sang a duet with George Michael at Equality Rocks in 2000 (his sister is an out lesbian). Dolly Parton has spoken of her support for gay marriage in her typically disarming, humorous way. Toby Keith discussed the issue in September 2011:
That whole gay issue thing, that’s never bothered me,” he told CMT Insider correspondent Allison DeMarcus. “I’ve never seen what that affects and [why] anybody should care — and they never do affect me.”
He continued, “First of all, we’re going to stop somebody from getting a marriage license because they’re gay? You won’t stop them from living together, so what have you accomplished? … Wasting a lot of money here and a lot of time that could be spent working on this deficit that we’re under … I never saw the reasoning behind getting in people’s personal lives.”
Reba did an interview with Out magazine in 2009 and discussed her stance on gay marriage:
Reba McEntire: I just try not to judge. Don’t judge me, and I won’t judge you. And that’s what it says in the Bible — ‘Don’t judge.’ Keep an open mind. That would be my voice. I have gay friends. I have a lot of straight friends. I don’t judge them. I take them for what they are. They’re my friends, and I can’t defend my feelings for them, other than I like ‘em.
There are many in the LGBT community who want the right to marry and have what you and your husband have together. What are your thoughts on same-sex marriage?
Reba: Again, I can’t judge that. I have gay friends who have partners, and I see where they would want to get married. I understand why. So, I can’t judge that.
Martina McBride also reached out to the gay media with an interview with Out magazine back in 2009 (tolerance was discussed, though not the topic of gay marriage) while Rascal Flatts were comfortable with a song from their 2009 album Unstoppable called “Love Who You Love” being interpreted as encouragement to accept homosexual relationships.
What makes Carrie’s comments somewhat different is she is probably the most prominent celebrity recently to frame her opinions of homosexuality and marriage equality in the context of her Christian beliefs as opposed to personal, practical, or political/legal considerations. As a result a lot of the reaction has centered on her religious faith.
As far as possible career repercussions, Dial Global Country programmer Tony Thomas tweeted that he didn’t foresee anything negative coming out of this for Carrie, while Music Row gossip reporter Jimmy Carter called into country radio station WQYK to say he was surprised by the force of Carrie’s comments but wasn’t sure they would cause a big reaction. One of the morning show DJs said he was proud of Carrie for her comments, but his attempt to inject some seriousness into the disucssion were laughed off. Sometimes Rolling Stone contributor and Country Music Awards head writer David Wild tweeted:
I’m always blown away to know & sometimes even get to work with @carrieunderwood. But I’ve never been prouder than THIS week.
But Wild Bill McKubby at unmonitored country station WBYZ 94.5 (South Georgia) cited Scripture in lecturing Carrie, claiming:
If Carrie Underwood was a run of the mill country artist who came out with this statement I would personally disagree with this and probably think it’s better for your music career to not come out in support of a hot political and spiritual issue in fear of offending a large segment of those who listen to and enjoy your music.
Carrie Underwood when she got married spoke passionately about her and her husband Mike Fisher’s Christian beliefs. She talked about how she read the “Purpose Driven Life”, prayed with her husband and had Bible study together. When Carrie says her opinion is based on Christian faith, I have a real problem with that because the very same scripture she studies contradicts her views on gay marriage.
He also audio of callers mocking her views. Before we get too deep into regional stereotypes, WSOC, a Billboard and Mediabase main chart monitored country station based in Charlotte, North Carolina tweeted:
We’re proud of @CarrieUnderwood for speaking out for equality! http://bit.ly/KB3ONf
Meanwhile, highly regarded veteran country radio consultant Jaye Albright of Albright & O’Malley wrote a very touching blog to thank Carrie for her words and to urge country radio to play a little more Carrie this week.
Carrie’s Twitter following has increased by nearly 30k since Friday according to Twitter counter despite her not having tweeted since Saturday afternoon, and the rate of gains in the past few days has increased over last week. Carrie just enjoyed her 14th Mediabase #1 and 12th Billboard #1 on the country charts in “Good Girl,” which will officially sell 1 million copies in the US when Soundscan numbers are released this morning. Her next single “Blown Away,” the title track of her current album (the album will have sold close to 550k in 6 weeks when Soundscan numbers are released later today), is set to go for adds at country radio on July 9th and had already received 2 Mediabase adds before being officially announced as single yesterday evening.
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