After Documentary About Allegations of Pedophilia and Having Sex Cult, Will the Church Still Embrace R. Kelly?

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 27: R. Kelly Performs During the Hliday Jam at Fox Theater on December 27, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage)

Grammy award-winning R&B star R. Kelly has had multiple allegations against him since the 1990s, but despite the pedophilia and sex cult claims, some in the church have managed to embrace the singer and his gospel music.


Early this month, Lifetime aired a six-part documentary series titled, “Surviving R. Kelly,” a series detailing sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against the singer. The documentary led to a condemnations against Kelly in the mainstream media. The #muteRKelly movement took off, and artists such as Lady Gaga and Nick Cannon apologized for their musical collaborations with him.

The Christian Post wanted to see where all of this leaves Kelly and his longtime passive relationship with the church. The gospel music community has been known to love and support Kelly for his songs, such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” Whitney Houston’s “I Look To You,” Marvin Sapp’s, “Listen” and his collaboration with Kirk Franklin on a new version of “Lean on Me”.

According to commentator Candice Benbow, Kelly’s gospel songs are “commonplace in black congregations” and she thinks the church has turned a “blind eye” to his alleged crimes.

“There are so many black girls and black women who have experienced violation, who look to gospel music and who look to pastors,” Benbow said in a NPR article on Jan 12. “If they can’t hear their favorite gospel artists or their pastors say ‘this is wrong and we have to address it,’ then we really have to think about what is the true message of the church and … of gospel music.”

Chris Williamson, senior pastor of Strong Tower Bible Church in Nashville, told The Christian Post that people will have different reactions to Kelly’s allegations. Some will continue to support him, some are not even aware of his gospel roots and others will join the #muteRKelly protest. However, the former Christian rapper turned pastor advised believers to tread lightly.

“We have to leave room for people to make up their own minds. That being said, this may not be the best time for a church to sing an R. Kelly song, or for a gospel artist to collaborate with him. The Bible encourages believers to be mindful of the company we keep,” Williamson suggested.

“The church can be a voice by using its pulpits to preach the unwavering truth of the Bible on these kinds of issues, no matter who it might offend. The church cannot be silent any longer. The church can also use its voice to encourage victims of abuse to use theirs. The code of silence that exists in many families (i.e., ‘what happens in this house, stays in this house’) must be done away with,” he added. “Too many perpetrators are going along unscathed for fear of embarrassment, victim shaming, or retaliation against the abused.”

He emphasized that both “the Catholic church and the Protestant church” need to provide a safe haven for the violated to find safety and support, declaring, “We must change the narrative that the church is a place where this kind of foul behavior is quietly tolerated.”

DeVon Franklin, a New York Times best-selling author and Hollywood producer, is gearing up to release a book in February, The Truth About Men, that will teach men how to avoid falling into the pitfalls of negative male stereotypes. When asked if he thought men, such as R. Kelly could change their alleged wicked ways, he said, “of course.”

“I do believe, without a doubt, it can absolutely be done. But it starts with that man being willing to do his work and to admit, ‘just because I am who I am, it’s not an excuse for me to do what I want. I need accountability and responsibility in my life. And I need to put myself in a process where I don’t allow my lower self, that lower man that wants what it wants, when he wants, to ruin and wreck my life,’” Franklin told CP.

Kelly has often made appearances at churches and televised gospel events. In 1997, Kelly took the stage at a Chicago concert alongside his “spiritual mentor,” gospel singer Kirk Franklin, and admitted that he had fallen short in his life but is amazed at how God loves him.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law

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