Is the Gospel Music Association finally embracing Christian rock?
At last night's Dove Awards, Christian rock/worship band Third Day took home the Gospel Music Associations top two honors, Band of the Year and Artist of the Year. The Associated Press (which oddly notes that the awards "are named after the bird mentioned in the Bible") notes, "Since voting rap-alternative rock group dc Talk best artist in 1996, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) has returned to more venerable pop acts for the most prestigious award. Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith have won it the past two years." The band also won in three other categories, including Rock Song of the Year, Praise and Worship Album of the Year, and Special Event Album of the Year. (The Tennessean also has a report.)

But Third Day's success wasn't the biggest surprise of the night. Surely plenty of jaws dropped when both the Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Song of the Year and Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Album of the Year awards went to Raze. One of the leaders of that group, Ja'Marc Davis, is awaiting trial for rape, lewd molestation and sodomy. The Tulsa World had earlier reported that the voting deadline was one day before the arrest, quoting GMA president Frank Breeden as saying, "If they should win, it would go to them." But Greg Hamm, president of ForeFront Records—not the three other members of the band—accepted the award for Raze. "It's been a difficult eight weeks," he said. "I just ask that you would continue to pray for Raze, and pray for everyone involved in the situation."

The Associated Press also reports that plans to broadcast the awards on PAX fell through, though they will air next week on WGN. A full list of the winners is available at the Dove Awards site.

Too busy to pray? Fewer ...

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