Ray Boltz, who sold about 4.5 million records before retiring from Christian music a few years ago, came out of the closet Friday to announce that he's gay.
In an interview with the gay magazine The Washington Blade, Boltz said he came out to his family and some close friends in December 2004, but only now decided to go public with the news.
"I'd denied it ever since I was a kid," Boltz, 55, told the magazine. "I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, 'I'm still gay. I know I am.' And I just got to the place where I couldn't take it anymore — when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, 'Just end this.' "
One reason Boltz decided to come out now might be because he's performing Sunday at Jesus Metropolitan Community Church in Indianapolis, and then next Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. Both congregations are a part of a denomination that embraces the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.
Boltz is perhaps best known for his song "Thank You," about a dream in which a Christian thanks the Sunday school teacher who led him to Jesus. It was the GMA song of the year in 1990. Other Boltz hits include "Watch the Lamb," "The Anchor Holds," and "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb."
Boltz also told The Blade that he doesn't want to get into debates about Scripture and has no plans to "go into First Baptist or an Assembly of God church and run in there and say, 'I'm gay and you need to love me anyway.' "
For him, the decision to come out is much more personal.
"This is what it really comes down to," he says. "If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I'm going to live. It's not like God made me this way and he'll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be — I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself."
Earlier, Boltz had alluded to the issue on his official website, saying that if people "knew who I really was, I would never be accepted."
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