". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


And the Grammy Goes to ... Satan

February 7, 2023

The 56th annual Grammy Awards formally aimed to honor Smokey Robinson and Barry Gordy, but the lifetime achievement award went to Lucifer.

Overshadowing the reunion of Motown legends Robinson and Stevie Wonder was a lesser duo of Sam Smith and Kim Petras singing the Grammy-winning duet “Unholy,” which celebrates adultery. Smith emerged before a fiery backdrop, wearing horns, surrounded by dancers, and bathed in red light nearly as demonic-looking as the backdrop of President Biden’s speech at Independence Hall in September 2022.

Smith was soon joined by Kim Petras, whose birth name was Tim before taking hormone injections at age 12 and undergoing gender-transition surgery four years later. Petras’s latest EP is titled “Slut Pop”; Smith, who identifies as nonbinary, released a viral social media video that doubled as a burlesque performance shortly after performing at the White House celebration of Biden’s signing the Disrespect for Marriage Act. Smith and Petras were introduced by Madonna, who bore an uncanny resemblance to New York City’s Satanic statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After the segment, host Trevor Noah mocked Christians silly enough to pray for the attendees’ souls out of concern the Grammys had celebrated “the actual devil.”

Entertainers using occultic imagery for attention is nothing new; this year’s stunt echoes previous performances by onetime-Christian artist Katy Perry in 2014 and Beyoncé in 2017. But this year, Kim Petras explained the reason he and Smith sang paeons to the Prince of Darkness: to celebrate how their LGBTQ identities violate Christianity. “I think a lot of people, honestly, have kind of labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as religiously not-cool,” Petras told Variety magazine after Sunday night’s performance. “I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it but slowly realizing it didn’t want me to be a part of it. So, it’s a take on not being able to choose religion. And not being able to live the way that people might want you to live, because as a trans person I’m kind of already not wanted in religion.”

Petras’ complaint is a peculiar one, since many of the most exposed leaders of the world’s largest denominations have rolled out the red carpet for the crimson-clad singers. Just days earlier, Pope Francis told reporters on the Vatican plane that laws that make it illegal to engage in same-sex intercourse are a “sin” and an “injustice,” because homosexuality “isn’t a crime.” While his comments were strictly about anti-sodomy laws — such as the ones America had before the Supreme Court struck them down in 2003 — they add to the pile of papal quotations frequently taken “out of context” to give moral cover to the LGBT sexual revolution. (See “Who am I to judge?”)

Leave aside the fact that none of his predecessors objected that homosexuality — or, as the Christian tradition calls it, sodomy — was illegal in the Roman Empire since at least the sixth-century Code of Justinian and became a capital offense after the Roman Catholic Council of Nablus in 1120 A.D. More concerning were the remarks the pope left unsaid.

Pope Francis’s comments did not contain a shred of pastoral concern for the souls of people living the homosexual lifestyle. The pontiff did as much as refer to the Roman Catholic Church’s Bible-based moral theology, which considers “homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity” which are “contrary to the natural law,” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.” Same-sex attraction itself is “objectively disordered,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Catholicism also teaches that “everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity,” adding that “directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations” — an integral part of gender reassignment “top” and “bottom” surgeries” — “are against the moral law.” Traditionally, the church has ranked sodomy as one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. The man who regards himself as the leader of the world’s Christians left aside spiritual concerns to talk politics with the Associated Press.

In this case, moral apostasy was an ecumenical affair. The pope’s words were wholeheartedly embraced by the leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, whose Church of England recently wrote a groveling letter of “apology” to all LGBT people. It also drew up draft services allowing priests (and priestesses) to bless same-sex couples, without conducting a formal marriage ceremony. (They did not have the “consensus to propose a change in doctrine” of marriage “at the present time,” the CoE explained.) Among these is the adolescent-sounding “Prayers for a relationship entering a new stage,” where the clergyman will pray that God will “deepen” the non-celibate homosexuals’ “love” for one another so they can “honour the commitment they have made” in an unblessed, illicit, same-sex “marriage” before a government employee. 

If the pope or the prelate hoped to curry favor with the Woke Left, they can try again. The liberal website Reckon News greeted the pope’s airborne press gaggle with an article titled, “3 ways the pope calling homosexuality a ‘sin’ creates real harm to LGBTQ people.” Similarly, they reported on Welby’s attempt to create marriage-adjacent ceremonies celebrating non-celibate unions with stories like, “Church of England bishops refuse to back gay marriage.” No forgiveness will be given to them, because the Woke ideology is a religion whose jealous “god” feeds on graceless grievance and fanaticism, and whose devotees aim to erect a socialist Utopia on Earth. There is no room for any ruler except the Messianic State — which they plan to rule with an iron fist.

Yet liberal denominational leaders labor to connect their baptism of unbounded eros to Christian agape. A third member of Pope Francis’s cohort on the plane — the Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, the Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland — told the AP, “There is nowhere in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away.”

Well, there was that one time, with the whips. Actually, two. And Jesus promised one day He would turn away many who called themselves believers with the words, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Primarily, Jesus did not turn people away: He proclaimed an uncompromising, unchanging message that caused most people who sat under His ministry to abandon Him. The rich young ruler approached Him with nothing but sincere yearning for salvation — but when Jesus revealed the cost, “he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:16-22). When Jesus cast out demons from possessed into a herd of swine, ruining the town’s bustling trade in unclean meat, its inhabitants asked Him to depart (Luke 8:37). After a characteristic “hard saying” about His divinity, “many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). Those who proclaimed His true message encountered the same phenomenon. When the disciples freed a young girl from demonic oppression, they were beaten and imprisoned by those who profited from her divinization (Acts 16:16-24). This is a far cry from the flying theological triumverate’s message, or the strategy sometimes mirrored in evangelical circles by such teachers as Andy Stanley and those who repeat the mantra of “Belong. Believe. Become.”

The Bible does teach that Jesus loves all people. He died so they can know “the breadth and length and height and depth” of “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” — which occurs only when we are “filled with all the fullness of God,” including attempting to live by His moral standards. Then we can become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

That message has been entrusted to His followers in every generation with the charge: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13). The Grammys represented another twist of the entertainment industry’s heel against clergy who deny the forgiveness — and transformation — available to every life in Christ.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.