For some, Amy Grant is right up there with Bing Crosby when it comes to Christmas music. Last month, she released her fourth Christmas album, Tennessee Christmas, which has been received well, but even so, LifeWay Christian Resources stated this week that the chain would not be selling the new seasonal record, reports The Tennessean. The Southern Baptist bookstore said that they would not comment on the reasons why they would not carry the album, which is leading many to speculate that the album is deemed “not Christian enough” to sell.
“We don’t discuss why we make product decisions,” said Marty King, LifeWay spokesman. “We’re presented every week with thousands of new products that we can carry. There are hundreds of thousands of products that we could carry online or in our stores. We’re only able to carry a few thousand.”
Still, it seems odd that the retailer, who carries more than 80 Christmas albums, wouldn’t have room enough to sell Amy’s Tennessee Christmas. The artist has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and was the first Christian artist to ever have an album go platinum.
— CCM Magazine (@CCMmagazine) November 2, 2016
Even though it has been 20 years since Grant’s last Christmas release, Tennessee Christmas is currently in the #3 spot on Billboard’s Holiday Albums chart. LifeWay’s competitor, Family Christian Stores, apparently has no qualms selling Amy’s album, which includes two traditional Christmas hymns, “Joy to the World” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” as well as “What Child is This?”
Amy Grant has managed to turn the other cheek while posting on Facebook, “We respectfully accept LifeWay’s decision that my new Christmas album didn’t meet their criteria. Let’s all move on from that decision without arguing about it. But let’s not stop asking the questions about what it means to live in faith and reflect love to the world around us.”
However, Grant’s manager, Jennifer Cooke, was a little more vocal in The Washington Post about the situation comparing it to Amy’s 1991 album, Heart in Motion, and the controversy the song “Baby Baby” caused back then.
“As ‘Baby Baby’ skyrocketed up the Top 40 pop charts, many Christian radio and retailers decided this pop effort did not deserve their airtime, and many spoke out against Grant for ‘crossing over,’ as if singing about love is at odds with a life of faith… here we are again, Christmas 2016. Grant has released her first (all new) Christmas record in nearly 20 years, and the debate is on again. ‘Is it Christian enough for Christian retail to support?’ LifeWay Christian Resources, the large Southern Baptist retailer, decided it was not. It’s their choice, and it’s okay.”
The raciest song featured on the new album is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” which Grant sings with her husband, Vince Gill.
Meanwhile, Amy Grant is busy getting ready for her Christmas concert tour with Michael W. Smith and The Voice winner, Jordan Smith. She will also appear on Hallmark’s Channel’s Christmas special, Home & Family: Home for the Holidays, which airs on November 17, and the CMA Country Christmas special on ABC airing on November 28.
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LifeWay also made headlines recently when they decided to take Jen Hatmaker’s books off the shelves after it was reported that Hatmaker supports same-sex marriage, says Christianity Today.
“In the past, LifeWay Christian Resources published several resources with Jen Hatmaker. In a recent interview, she voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage — changes which contradict LifeWay’s doctrinal guidelines,” said King.. “As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources.”
[Featured Image by Mark Humphrey/AP Images]