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« Before He Was ’American Idol’ | Main | Open book thread: Summer reading recommendations »

May 29, 2009

Re: ’American Idol’

Jason, I had heard something before about the Idol "culture war." I agree with Colleen Raezler, to whom you linked, who seems to suggest that it's a mistake to put the emphasis in a singing competition anywhere but on the singing. It's a mistake when liberals do it -- and it's a mistake when conservatives do it, too.

How much do we really know about the lives and beliefs of people on a TV competition? Anyone remember what happened with "churchgoing Baptist" and abstinence advocate Clay Aiken? I'm not saying that Aiken turned from Luke Skywalker into Darth Vader the moment he revealed his sexuality; I'm saying that people who bought his carefully cultivated image -- including people who voted on the basis of that image, if any did -- were in for a rude awakening. Human beings are not perfect, and more often than not, public images have tiny but significant cracks in them -- cracks that tend to widen over time. And every time we go around saying things like "Vote for the Christian reality-show candidate!" we face the very real possibility of ending up with egg on face and people taunting us with "Where's your Christian role model now?"

It's terribly tempting to latch on to anything or anyone that looks like a wholesome example of Christianity and morality nowadays, when they're getting so hard to find. I understand that. But let's be realistic about it and not be ready to fall for every attractive image that comes along, without having any idea what's really behind it. And let's remember that talent competitions are supposed to be about talent. If we get up in arms about people making an issue out of religious and political beliefs in the wrong context (Perez Hilton, call your office), then we shouldn't be doing the same thing.

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Jason Bruce

I agree with you Gina.
Expectations on Allen and other Christian entertainers should be realistic. I don’t know how many voted for Allen purely because he's a Christian or because the opponent is gay. However, I would think many of his supporters are also objective to know that it’s a singing competition and he just happen to be a church worship leader. Unfortunately, many Christians will have expectations that will be high for him to attain because he’s just broken like all of us. But at the same time many are also hopeful that he will be different and will inspire that he will not compromise his faith and still make it big.

Diane Singer

I have nothing against Kris Allen, but he is not the better singer or performer; therefore, I was bothered by the fact that Adam Lambert didn't win. I'm especially troubled by those who turned what should have been a simple "vote for the better singer" into a culture war confrontation. Christians who voted against Adam Lambert simply because he's gay really need to look into their hearts and ask "Is this what Jesus would have done?"(this is, remember, the very Jesus who gave Adam his talent). Christianity is not about hating the sinner, but that's what an anti-Adam vote smacks of.

Adam and Kris were evidently roommates during the season, and they became friends. Both of these young men conducted themselves with class in the days up to the final show: they both said that they wanted the competition to based on talent. Kris's shock at being named AI showed that he was convinced that Adam deserved the win based on talent. I hope Kris does well professionally, and I hope he uses his fame to God's glory; but, most of all, I hope Adam is not driven away from Christ by the very unChristian things some of us have said about him.

As I saw the two of them standing on the stage that night before the winner was announced, I thought "I hope Kris had a chance to share his faith with Adam." That's what I'm praying for: that God ultimately brought these two young men together so both would be spiritually richer for the experience.


I doubt that Kris would have any Christian influence on Adam because Adam is Jewish. By the way, Clay Aiken is still a good Christian and a good role model. Being gay doesn't preclude that.

Diane Singer

Madame, Why do you assume that someone who is Jewish isn't capable of coming to faith in Christ? In the past 2000 years, millions of ethnic Jews have come to understand that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah.

jason taylor

Because a Jew does not wish to look like a "teachers pet" Diane. As those millions of ethnic Jews are accused of being.

jason taylor

Actually, Madame, being gay does pretty well preclude that.

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