One cool thing about living in Nashville is that you get to meet really talented folks who have really broad backgrounds. I have, for instance, met a number of people who have worked for a long time in the music industry here in town, both in the secular music industry, which is huge, and the Christian music industry, which is also enormous. Some folks might only be on one side of the divide or the other, especially if they are “the artist.” But a lot of artists–back-up singers, producers, musicians–work both industries.
And I have heard from lots of people that, while each industry has its share of debauchery and each side has its share of bad people and even though there is indeed really shady stuff going down in country music, it’s nothing like the coercive, exploitative evil that happens on the Christian music side. I know people who have gotten out of Christian music to work in country music because it is less toxic.
I’ve been thinking about that in terms of the Eddie Long situation down in Atlanta. The Black Snob says in her post, “I recently spoke with a friend who has ties to the gospel music industry about this issue and he is adamant that the Long accusations are true and have been known in the community for years.” [emphasis mine]
I’ll admit my biases up front. Obviously, for my own reasons, when a pastor is accused of something, I’d like for him to be given the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are in.
I also know that there are folks who have figured out that, if they put themselves into positions of leadership in the church, the cover that position provides them is so great, that they can carry on in ridiculous ways for years, it can be a widely-known open secret, and still, they are protected at the expense of their victims.
And this is something the Christian church, by and large, has failed to effectively protect itself against–across schisms, sects, and denominations.
Honestly, I don’t know how you close that loophole.
Maybe you don’t have to. Maybe you just have to know that it’s there.
But the thing that strikes me is that someone always knows. Someone always knows that the pastor was carrying on with a parishioner or that the youth pastor was molesting kids or that the treasurer was lining his own pockets from the collection plate or that the CCM producer needs a blowjob from you before things can get started.
Maybe they don’t know for sure what’s going on (though I’m always struck by how clearly a lot of folks know the score), but they know something’s not right.
It’s never as secret as folks need to pretend it was when it comes out.