Danny Gokey and Artists who speak with Courage
By John Ensor
I would like to encourage you to watch the sit down interview I had with Christian artist, musician, songwriter, Danny Gokey. It was a great time with him. I asked Danny to let me interview him because he had posted a number of things about the Dobbs decision and the end Roe vs. Wade that I thought was quite courageous. He took an open stance about his willingness to defend the unborn. I think this is significant because the Dobbs decision actually instilled fear in people, particularly Christian leaders, across this nation. I personally see that pastors, for example, are even more intimidated now after the end of Roe than they were before. I think it is because they recognize that they can now become the target of animosity, hatred, and attacks. Pregnancy centers, and the board members who represent these centers, have been attacked. In other words, there is a high cost to your convictions now in a way that did not exist prior to the end of Roe.
Danny Gokey, you may know, was a finalist in American Idol some years ago. It really launched his career and I find his life’s story very intriguing. I really encourage you to watch the interview. He was widowed at a very young age, after which he was on American Idol. There he began to express his Christian faith and has continued on to be a very successful musician and songwriter. What is really encouraging about him is his willingness to risk a lot in his stand for truth. It is especially encouraging because this is a time where we really need courage to go along with conviction. I am struck by Danny Gokey. There is a lot he could lose by his stand. He could be canceled by our culture very quickly, and yet he took a stand. I think that you will learn a lot and be inspired to follow in his footsteps.
This was actually the third musician that I have interviewed. The first one was with John Piper and the hip hop artist Lecrae some years ago. I asked Lecrae to sit down with me because he had written a song particularly exposing his own involvement with abortion. In this song he talks about the pressure that he put on a young woman early in his life and his long-term regret as he became more and more aware of the reality of abortion. As his own faith grew and matured, he wanted to start a new life and a new marriage with a clean slate. He wanted to confess some of his own past. I thought that took a lot of courage. The song he wrote is titled Good, Bad, Ugly. Powerful song. If you want to check out his statement on abortion and men’s involvement in abortion through his music, I highly recommend it.
And finally, I sat down with Matthew West. He has this incredible story as a songwriter. I think it was about 10 years ago, he almost lost his voice. I mean, this is the way he was going to make his living. This would have been detrimental to his passions of writing music and singing. He got sick and almost lost his voice, but God restored it. During that period, he says that he got affirmation that God was going to use his voice to bring out the voices of others.
So he started inviting his listeners to write letters to him. All of his songs were written as they were inspired by the personal testimonies of people who would write to him. One of the songs that he wrote was called Untold. It really speaks to the crisis that a woman goes through when she is pregnant and not yet ready. He wrote, “Don’t give up on me now. I’m a story untold. There are more pages, more chapters to your life and mind together.” It is a beautiful song and a pro-life song. Listening to Matthew West, Lecrae, and Danny Gokey talk about their experiences and how these artists are out there speaking courageously in defense of the unborn is really encouraging to me.
And finally, I want to mention that there is some historical precedent for this. Back in the 18th century, an artist by the name of Josiah Westwood designed a carving that was made into lapel pins, bracelets, and many other trinkets. This is a picture of it to the left.
This became the symbol of the abolitionist movement in the 18th and even into the 19th century. It is a sign of an African-American in chains and it says, “Am I not your brother and a man?” Artists, poets, novelists, preachers, as well as politicians were wearing this pen as a symbol of their conviction that the slave trade was evil. Of course, slavery itself was evil. All of those voices came together at a critical time in the 19th century, bringing about the abolition of slavery.
Artists have a role to play in our culture, for good or for evil. I want to celebrate those artists who stand for life, take the conviction of scripture seriously, and voice it courageously into the culture in all the variety of ways that they have through music, writing, and other forms of art.
We may not be a public figure, but we still have places that it takes courage to speak. I want to challenge myself and all of us, as our culture becomes more and more anti-Christian, to find our courage and speak with grace. Thanks.