Grammy award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin is back with his 11th studio album, Losing My Religion, his first after a four-year hiatus, and the singer revealed to The Christian Post that he took his time with delivering something new to fans because he wanted to create a project that would meet expectations and not disappoint.
“To be transparent, that’s what took me so long to do the album. A lot of it was fear, and then I really began to learn that spiritually fear is a form of pride,” Franklin said. “It was pride that I would never be able to live up to ‘I Smile.’ I would tend to just kind of stay away, because I was scared of not being accepted like I was with ‘I Smile.’”
— Kirk Franklin (@kirkfranklin) November 6, 2015
While Kirk is certainly a resonating force within the Christian community, the “Stomp” and “I Smile” hit maker has found himself in hot water with many of the faithful after apologizing to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people for the rampant homophobia that has historically plagued the black church. While promoting his new album, Franklin has confessed that he was “embarrassed” by some of the actions of his fellow Christians, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in June.
“I want to apologize for all of the hurtful and painful things that have been said about people in the church that have been talented and gifted and musical, that we’ve used and we’ve embarrassed… and all this other horrible crap that we’ve done,” Franklin told The Grio. “We have not treated them like people. We’re talking about human beings, men and women that God has created.”
The Choir director, who in the past has admitted his own struggle with watching pornography, said he wants gays and homophobes to know that God is about love and the Bible is not a book “that’s an attack on gay people,” or a “book written to attack gay people.”
“It is horrible that we have made it where the Bible is a homophobic manual,” Franklin said. “That’s not what the Bible is. I mean you want to talk about things that God gets at… pride and jealousy and envy and arrogance. But what we also see is God sending his son to save us all, because we were all… straight, gay or whatever, lost and in need of a [savior], and there’s room at the cross for all of us.”
Christian Critics were quick to slam Franklin’s apology as unnecessary because those who subscribe to “Biblical truth” do not view it as homophobic, while others applaud the son of a preacher man for using his celebrity to continue to raise awareness on such a divisive topic.
“Don’t see how its ever necessary to [apologize] for reiterating what the word of God says,” one critic wrote. “If what the word says convicts you about an area in your life then turn to God for His readily available grace and forgiveness and sin no more… that is all, not sure why Kirk feels the need to [apologize].”
Another wrote, “How is this a black church issues? I’ve been to white churches who preach about homosexuality being a sin as well.”
Meanwhile, with 11 albums, his own record label, multiple television shows, and countless production credits on some of the biggest names in gospel music, Franklin believes he is still allowed to criticize the belief system that has paved the way for him to make a fortune through music.
“Religion is man’s systematic approach to try to keep the rules. The problem is that when man’s ideology and thought process gets involved, sometimes what he does is change the rules,” Franklin said. “A lot of times the thoughts of religion are not all bibliocentric, sometimes they’re cultural. Then it becomes cultural to say, ‘it’s wrong to do this and it’s wrong to do that.’ It becomes a misinterpretation of scripture.”
Kirk Franklin says his Losing My Religion album encourages Christians to accept the flaws of others rather than judge and convict them.
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