When country music singer Glen Campbell recorded popular hymns such as In the Garden and Amazing Grace in his country genre, he had no concept that drag queens would be infused into his beloved country world. But that is exactly what happened at the 2023 Country Music Television (CMT) awards program.
Glen Campbell’s country music world embraced love of God and country. That kind of music flowed easily from the strings of his guitar. Has country music really come to this? Country road, where are you leading?
Country music has been an influential part of the American way since lonely cowboys were on their horses calming their herd of cattle. Cowboys sat around a campfire missing loved ones and regaling broken heart stories. Not all country music had a spiritual emphasis but the basic concept that men are men and women are women has not been argued in the lyrics. Cowboys were revered as tough, hard-working, God-fearing men.
Some elements of the country music world have not lost this heritage.
Founded in 1957, the International Country Gospel Music Association is one of the oldest of country music organizations.[i] Ten years later the Academy of Country Music Awards (CMA) began and their televised award program should not be confused with the Country Music Television Awards program (CMT).[ii]
Christian musicians have been a powerful force in the country music world. In 2022 Grammy-award-winning Chris Tomlin took his place as an “artist of the day” taking the first hour of the CMA FEST to lead the audience in worship. “To start the day with an hour of worship music at the CMA Fest is a moment I will never forget…God has continued to do things I would have never imagined.”[iii]
Has Chris’ voice on CMA been usurped by the blaring sight of the “Drag Race” stars on CMT? Polarized audiences both praised and criticized the move.[iv] And maybe that the point, to further divide the nation and rob Americans of yet another safe, God and country venue where sexes are what God intended.
This year the state of Tennessee passed a law banning “adult cabaret entertainment” on public property or locations where minors might view it.[v] It is note-worthy that the CMT awards were in Texas this year instead of Nashville. For some the country road is heading into a very dangerous curve.
“Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Jude 1:7 (ESV).
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[i]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_country_music [ii]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Music_Association_Awards [iii]https://gospelmusic.org/chris-tomlin-takes-stage-at-cma-fest-2022-as-first-ever-christian-genre-artist-named-artist-of-the-day/ [iv]https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2023-04-03/kelsea-ballerini-drag-queens-2023-cmt-awards-drag-race-stars [v]https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/judge-halts-tennessees-drag-ban-law-rcna77743