When news broke in the mid-1990s about separate adultery scandals involving Christian music superstars Michael English and Sandi Patty, reaction from the evangelical community was swift and severe. Christian radio and retail were quick to pull those artists' songs from the air and CDs from the shelves.
When Amy Grant divorced and remarried in the late 1990s, many radio stations and stores pulled her music from circulation. Only in recent years have English, Patty, and Grant been relatively welcomed back into the retail (and to a degree, radio) fold.
In the wake of Jennifer Knapp's recent revelation that she is in a long-term same-sex relationship, the reaction from Christian radio and retail has been somewhat mixed—partly because Knapp hadn't been on the Christian music charts in years—and some in the business didn't even want to talk about it.
Knapp walked away from the scene in 2003 but now is staging a comeback, though not as a "Christian musician." Knapp, whose new album Letting Go releases in May, says she's still a Christian, but is no longer on a Christian label (she's indie), nor is she interested in making music marketed to a faith audience. (Her new album does include some references to her faith.)
CT contacted a number of people in radio and retail for this story; several chose not to comment, while others noted that since Knapp has been out of the picture for a while, they didn't have to wrestle with a decision whether or not to carry her music.
"We haven't been playing her songs for a long time, so it's been easy for us," says Tim McDermott, president and general manager of Houston's KSBJ, one of the nation's top Christian radio stations. But if Knapp were a current star, McDermott said they would definitely ...