Mandisa and The Gays
There is a new little Idol scandle brewing, and it concerns Mandisa and her deeply-held religious beliefs. On Tuesday, she performed Mary Mary’s gospel tune “Wanna Praise You”. She introduced the song with these words:
“This song goes out to everybody who wants to be free. Your addiction, lifestyle and situation may be big, but God is bigger.”
Somebody at the idolonfox.com official forums posted a link to this Advocate.com story and wondered whether the word “Lifestyle” in Mandisa’s introduction referred to Gay and Lesbians. The term “Gay Lifestyle” is used by conservative Christians and others opposed to homosexuality to infer that it’s a conscious choice–so the question is certainly a valid one.
In Mandisa’s American Idol biography, she answers the question, “Who is Your American Idol?”:
- “An author and speaker named Beth Moore. She inspires me to live more like Jesus and I want to do the same.”
The Advocate article quotes a passage from Beth Moore’s book “Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life”:
- “A young Christian girl has a harsh abusive father. She grows up with a fear and distaste for men. Satan supplies a slightly older woman who seems tender and caring. The comforting relationship turns into a physical relationship, so the young woman assumes she must be homosexual. In her heart she knows what she is doing is wrong, but she feels helpless without her new comforter. Soon she starts socializing with other women who are practicing homosexuality, because they will support her new habit with the lies she needs to continue. She avoids the Bible and chooses books that advocate homosexuality. She drops all relationships except those that support the fraudulent attachment with lies…. Scary, isn’t it?”
I found some other quotes from Moore’s work at the AI Forum at Survivor Sucks, which has a lengthy thread on the subject. From “Praying God’s Word, Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds”:
- “We are wise to address another deadly assault of the evil one [Satan] in our society: homosexuality. I have wonderful news for anyone who has struggled with homosexual sin. God indeed can deliver you and anxiously awaits your full cooperation. Do not let Satan shame you into not seeking forgiveness.”
- “I believe the assault of homosexuality specifically against the people of God is Satan’s devious means of infiltrating the church with perversity…”
- “Homosexuality is one of Satan’s primary agendas in our current society. He is selling it at every corner..”
If Mandisa believes, as her spiritual idol does, that homosexulity is a sin and a behavior that can be changed–it’s not unreasonable to believe that in her introduction, she was talking about homosexuality as a problem to be overcome, like addiction. But what does Mandisa really believe?
Back in early January, I posted an excerpt from Mandisa’s now defunct web site. She mentions Beth Moore:
- “While she enjoys studio work, worshiping with Travis Cottrell at the Living Proof Live events featuring Beth Moore is what she credits for igniting an ever-increasing passion for the Lord and His Word. While still continuing to be a part of these events, Mandisa has now moved into the arena of leading worship on her own. She was the worship leader for the 2004 LifeWay Christian Women’s Conventions held in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio. She has also been called upon to lead worship for various women’s conferences, programs, and retreats. Mandisa’s heart is to see racial and cultural barriers demolished among the body of Christ and unity in worship of the One true God. She believes that ‘in heaven every people, tribe, language, and nation will worship the Lord as one. I believe the Lord is calling us to do the same down here on earth in preparation for heaven!'”
It’s important to note that I can’t find any passages where Mandisa herself comments on Gays and Lesbians. Checking out the cached pages of her website, her attraction to Beth Moore appears to be inspired by what she perceives as Beth’s message of unity, diversity and racial tolerance:
- “…But as the blood finally started to pump back into my heart I realized that I was seeing such a beautiful picture of diversity. I never dreamed that in just a few short months the Lord would put me on a stage before thousands of beautiful women of every age, race, and denomination all worshipping Him together! What a blessing and opportunity it was to lead worship at the LifeWay Christian Women’s Conventions in 2004.
Through all of these wonderful experiences and many more, I believe that the Lord has shown me His heart concerning unity in the body of Christ. Beth Moore always says that God has not called us to uniformity, but to unity. We don’t all have to look alike, come from the same background or experiences, or even worship all the same. As long as we worship the same God in Spirit and in truth, that is what our Father is looking for. I pray that you will join me in breaking down the barriers that the enemy has long been trying to exalt. Let’s come together and exalt the God who created us all to be different but all to worship Him!”
It’s possible that although Mandisa admires Beth Moore and works in her ministry, she is not in complete lock-step with all of her beliefs. On the other hand, Mandisa, as an Evangelical Christian could very well believe, as Beth Moore and many of her fellow conservative Christians, that homosexuality is a sin and a learned behavior that can be “treated” through prayer and faith-based programs like Exodus International. By the way, Moore links to these “treatment” programs on her website.
We’ll never know what Mandisa believes until she addresses it herself. The Idol gag-order prevents her from speaking about it without permission. The issue has entered the mainstream press. TVGuide.com’s Ausiello Report mentions it here. If this story picks up steam in the coming weeks the way “Chrisgate” did, Mandisa will need to address it, or risk losing votes from the Gay community. (edited to add: not to mention, the folks who are just turned off by Beth Moore’s anti-gay rhetoric). Mandisa’s big brassy style has “Gay Icon” written all over it. Unless she can pick up votes elsewhere (Evangelical Christian vote, maybe) the loss of votes could be devastating and eliminate her sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, since Mandisa appears to be out of favor (Simon’s look of disgust Tuesday night said it all–Katharine, Paris and Kellie seem to be the favored girls right now) she may not ever be given an opportunity to address it during her run on the show. The producers may very well allow her to twist in the wind. They won’t even have to bother de-pimping her. The press will do it for them.
thanks to snark and gr from HH for bringing this story to my attention and the links, respectively. also thanks to Survivor Sucks for the quotes and perspective