Has your vote ever been influenced by a Southern Gospel singer’s endorsement?

A number of Southern Gospel singers follow politics quite closely and share their views on their social media accounts, their websites, or even their stages. But how effective is this? Has your vote ever been influenced by a Southern Gospel singer’s endorsement?

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In the interests of keeping the peace, since this site’s commenters are so diverse, let’s not debate politics itself in the comments. Let’s just focus on the efficacy of singer endorsements.


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31 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I wouldn’t say that my vote, well at least my opinion next election I will be able to vote, has influenced me, but I know that they have said their opinions concerning things that I agree with. I am influenced by the fact that whether we get the lesser of two evils as president or not, my “vote” is for God to have His will and way in the elections. It could be possible that God would allow our current president get reelected. Personally, DON’T want that to happen at ALL, but I am wholly depending on God through this election.

  2. It is a turn-off for me. I do not need anyone telling me how to vote. I am delighted that many of our SG performers are patriotic – and it is OK to encourage everyone to get out and vote. But say it quick and do not endorse or make your positions known from the stage!

    BECAUSE – I PAID to hear SG music only… If you preach or politic from stage, I WILL NOT visit your booth and WILL NOT buy your products.

    Leave your politics and preaching at home.

    JEB

    • I enjoy it when they preach…..I’ve gotten more sometimes from the “preaching” of Michael Booth, Gerald Wolfe, Scott Fowler, Ernie Haase, Rodney Griffin and Claude Hopper than I have from preachers. And you know who elses’s “sermons” I’m continually moved by…..Bro. Dennis Swanberg! As far as politics…..I’m glad they are politically bold and active and will discuss their political views with you but I like Gerald Wolfe’s policy best in that regard…..no campaigning from the platform…..only campaigning for Christ from the platform!!!!

      • I do think that the decision to keep politics off the stage and on social media / blogs is wise.

    • Sounds pretty strong brother, I have no problem with a group speaking about issues from the stage. “You must vote Republican!” okay maybe that’s going too far but what’s wrong with encouraging people to vote for life, marriage, etc.?

      I agree with someone else, I decide who I’m voting for regardless of what anyone says but I pay close attention to what they say anyway because it definitely influences my respect for them.

  3. This is a tough one. While I am very conservative and frankly or tied about our country, I don’t like SG artists doing it from stage.

    My goal on stage is to show Jesus. If something like politics can get in the way of that then I don’t want it said!

    Getting someone to hear my political view will NOT change their life and may offend some.(democrats love SG too and so do unsaved people!) but JESUS will change their life. I’m not willing to wave a flag and risk turning some off to my later mentions of Jesus!

    Now having said that, there might be a difference in a social media setting. For instance, Gerald Wolfe being political there doesn’t bother me as much because you presume someone following him in that setting has already heard the music , maybe multiple times and like him for that reason. Where as a concert goer may not have a clue who he is and if he used the same approach it would detract from Jesus.

    • And I think Bro. Gerald does a great job in how he approaches it. I think he’s very cognizant of that fact and that’s why most of his discussions on politics are kept to his personal Facebook page. But I must say this and I hope Daniel doesnt’t get upset at me for saying this but the way Gerald preserves the platform/stage for God’s glory but also isn’t afraid to put forward his Biblically based political positions on his FB page is just one of the reasons I believe he has demonstrated the perfect capacity to be the “perfect candidate” for President of the United States. And I am very sincere, genuine and committed on that point. And that is entirely due to what I’ve seen and heard from Gerald in his singing, ministering and his FB posts over the years.

  4. Perhaps it does happen, but in my years of traveling, I never once heard an artist promote a candidate or political party from the stage. Maybe I missed it, but I think the artists are well aware of what should and shouldn’t be said, and endorsing a candidate during your concert wouldn’t be wise. I have no problem at all with it on Facebook.

    • Varnado! REALLY?????

  5. I agree, that politics is not something that should be pushed from the platform, during a concert. Like J.E. Butler said, they came to a gospel concert, not a campaign rally. On that same note, I’m not sure why anyone would have a problem with a group member “preaching” a little, unless they have a problem with preaching in general. Now, if it became a mini-sermon, and there was more preaching than singing, that’s one thing. However, a gospel song is a story about Christ, and what He can and has done in our lives. Simply reiterating that in spoken word shouldn’t be something that ruffles any feathers. There are groups out there that are simply traveling to provide Christian entertainment. That’s fine. But there are others who view it as a calling to minister, as well as provide a great source of Christian entertainment.

    I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way, but I’m sure that most of these group owners would be fine with you not coming to the product table, and making a purchase – based on the fact that you don’t think they should be able to share what’s on their heart, if they feel led. I may have read a little too much into your post. But, if you know you’re not going to like your experience, don’t show up! Most of these groups make it clear what they believe, and one should know what to expect at their concerts.

    Concerning speaking out on politics, I’m with Stewart. I see no problem sharing it on social media. It’s something that we, as Christians/Americans, should be knowledgeable about.

    • “I’m not sure why anyone would have a problem with a group member ‘preaching’ a little, unless they have a problem with preaching in general.”

      Great line!

      • I do, because not all know what there talking about!

  6. My vote has never been influenced by any artist, Christian or secular. But I will say that my personal affinity and respect for an artist have frequently been influenced by their endorsements and/or political stance. Gerald Wolfe is a prime example of that. He not only makes his views known on his personal Facebook page, he’ll tell you why he thinks that way…and he can provide the documentation and/or citations to back it up. Every voter should be as well informed as Gerald is.

    • Completely agree with Melissa. It doesn’t influence my vote, but it does influence my respect personally for an artist when he/she takes a Biblical stand on the issues. I’ve only heard a candidate endorsed from the stage once, but I have seen a lot of personal endorsements on social media, which I have no problem with.

      • I think Lauren raises a good point that I completely agree with. Knowing how an artist views certain biblical issues is important to me. I find it hard to respect a Christian who believes in or votes for issues that are contrary to the Word of God. A lot of times people forget that this is Christian music and not various other genres. Christian artists need to take a stand on Biblical issues as do other Christians in general. The rest of the music world expresses their opinions so why shouldn’t Southern Gospel artists do the same.

      • Wow Bryan totally agree with you there! It’s encouraging to me to see SG artists take a stand for whats right when so many other “Christians” are not really following what the Bible says.

  7. Stewart, you have to stay inside and listen to the artists to know what they say from stage. Kidding, Stewart has a point. The only time I heard it from a major group, I was extremely uncomfortable. It has no place on the stage.

    • Pat…see ya Friday! πŸ™‚

  8. They may say something that I agree or disagree with, but I haven’t let what anyone else says change my vote. If it did, would it really be MY vote any more?

  9. I totally understand that people are not paying to hear preaching at our programs. That’s why the preaching part is FREE!!

    • …and trust Michael to come up with the perfect (and perfectly witty) comeback! πŸ™‚

    • Michael – While we’re on the subject of preaching, a couple of years ago, we heard you guys in Roseville, MI and at the end of the concert, you gave the very BEST plan of Salvation that I’ve ever heard. There would’ve been NO reason for anyone to walk out of that church confused about how to become a Christian.

      I grew up in the Booth’s old stomping grounds, and knew people from Gilead Baptist where the Booths got their start if I recall. My Dad pastored a church in Taylor, MI off of Telegraph Rd. as well.

      I’ve often said that The Booth Brothers are proof that you don’t have to sing loud to sound good. (and I also like it loud on occasion) You guys have smooth harmonies down to a fine art.

  10. Good comeback by Michael. I don’t generally have a problem with a little well-done preaching by the likes of Jim Hamill or George Younce. But too much preaching (especially so-so preaching) at a paid-admission concert is not free if takes away a lot of the time alloted to the singing for which I paid.

  11. My decisions come way before it come on the public radar screen.
    It is a issue if it done on the stage or industry type event.
    It does not matter if personal or a non-personal page!
    You see, you are guilty by association. (happens all the time in the secular world when members of a civic organization support the same candidate so the locals think the organization is endorsing the canidate)
    Just as long Bible believing entities supports the focus of Biblical values based on God’s Word.
    I would be glad to be guilty by association in those cases.
    It is very important how you do what you do in everything you do for Christ!

    Most respected promoters will advertised in advance when preaching comes with the price of the concerts.

  12. @Norm — a typical Booth Brothers concert is two and a half hours long, and that includes Michael’s ‘sermonizing’. Trust me, you will not leave feeling shortchanged in the musical department. The ‘free’ part, however, is most assuredly worth the price of admission on its own, even without the music.

  13. I’ve been to quite a few gospel concerts that had a lot of long sermons, and left them wore out. Having said that…..

    I went to a Booth Brothers concert this past weekend, and enjoyed their program as much as any I have seen in the past several years. Yes, Michael did do some preaching, but quite honestly, I didn’t feel like the preaching overwhelmed their concert at all. The preaching was mixed with a lot of comedy, and hands down, the singing stayed WAY out front. The Booths had free rein of the concert, at no point were they really under any time constraints. The group did several songs back to back, and Michael brought his “mini-sermons” three or four times through night, and probably no more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time. Their program was very entertaining and inspiring….and everybody loved them.

    The Booths have clearly learned how to get the most out of everything they sing, say, and do on stage, and I believe that is one of the hardest things for a gospel group in particular to accomplish. We left the concert with more joy than when we came in.

  14. Not really as I think that there is a time and a place for everything. As politics do need to be on social media. Or like CNN. Leave the singing just to be singing! Nothing more or less! But really Michael is a riot! As if he weren’t a SG artist, he could be a comedian.

  15. A sharp-eyed reader notes that the poll says “songer” instead of “singer”β€”and, frustratingly, that is the one part of the post that cannot be edited. To make any changes to the poll would wipe out all results! So, regrettably, the typo has to stand. πŸ™

    • I tried to called an election law lawyer but they all been on retaining contract for months due to a potential political situation.
      Really, I think you are off the hook because you show intent because of the entirety of the question.

  16. Concerning preaching, we might need to examine what our individual definition of “preaching” from stage is.
    There is a major difference in what I’d call “testifing”, and preaching. If you take some time to talk about the Lord, praise Him for what he’s doing in your life, or explain why a particular song means so much to you, then that’s definitley a testimony.
    I have a recording of the Singing Cookes singing “Ain’t No Grave”, in which, after the song, Jenatte Cooke “takes off” in an energetic testimony, where she says that she’s thankfull that, when she’s buried, the grave won’t hold her, and that Jesus will carry her to the portals of glory. After that, they go back into the second verse, which mentions Jesus comming after the saved.
    It, without question, enhanced the perfromance.
    Additionally, I have a live recording of The Keetons, on which Dan gives his testimony. I’ve personally heard Danny Riley give his testimony of his struggle with depression, before they sang “He Hideth My Soul”. I’ve heard on video Tim Riley talk about his time in Vietnam. On Volume 2 of Gold City’s 20th Anniversary video, Mark Tramell give an excellent testimony on the love of God, in conjunction with the song “Calvary’s Hill”.
    I’ve seen in concert Ivan Parker mentioning how his mother would walk a hallway of her home every night, in prayer for him.

    Then, there’s the actuall preaching of the gospel. Someone will use a Biblicall text to build a sermon on, or will start with a theme, (Marriage, abortion, ect.) and often will use multiple Scriptures to show what the Bible says on the particular subject.

    Without question, “…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1st. Corinthians 14:33.
    So, anything that somone does in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ will NOT cause confusion, or disrupt the flow of the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says “Quench not the Spirit.”, so God would not instruct someone to do something that would quench His Holy Spirit. If they’re “led by the spirit” to do something that is disruptive to God’s plan, then it’s “another spirit” they’re obeying, NOT God’s.

    With that being said, I was saved at a Steeles concert in Mt.Vernon, Ohio. Jeff Steele took time to explain the gospel of Jesus Christ, to let us know that we needed to be saved. I grew up in church, so I knew the story. But this night was the night God personally revealed to me that I needed to be saved. I repented, accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, and according to God’s Word, was born again.
    If Jeff hadn’t taken the time to share the gospel, then I most likely would have walked out of the church lost that night.

    Before we judge those who use Bibles onstage at a Southern Gospel concert, we should evaluate what they’re doing by this Scripture, Luke 9:26.
    “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
    Look again at this: “…and of my words…”. Jesus is putting being ashamed of Him and being ashamed of His words on the same level. If you’re ashamed of Him, you’ll be ashamed of His words, and if you’re ashamed of His words, you’ll be ashamed of Him.
    What are His words? The Bible. Who is the Word? ( John 1:1)
    Jesus.
    Christian, don’t be ashamed of the Word, or those who are bold enough to bring Scripture into a Gospel concert. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (See Romans 10:17).
    And may God continue to bless Michael Booth, Scott Fowler, and others who use the Word while they’re onstage.

    • AMEN!!!