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Jennifer Knapp: No True Scotsman

April 27, 2010

Here’s a statement you won’t hear an atheist make very often: God Bless Jennifer Knapp!

Jennifer, as you already know, is the Melissa Etheridge of the Christian music scene: a Kansas girl with her guitar, three chords, and the truth.  With smart lyrics, catchy melodies, brilliant and honest song writing, and impressive vocals, she had it goin’ on when she suddenly disappeared from the (Christian) music scene a few years ago.

Now, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m not exactly a big fan of Christian music.  In fact, when I’m driving around searching for something that doesn’t suck on the radio, I can usually spot Christian preachers or Christian talk-radio or Christian music in a millisecond.  Most of the music has this…”pussy factor” to it (if there’s any positive way that can be taken, it is unintended) that I just can’t stand.  Damn near every Christian song I’ve ever heard has this sickening, groveling, “oh please forgive me, I’m so not worthy” lameness to it, coupled with continual references to blood and oil and livestock and shit like that, which makes for some truly revolting sonic-vomit for yours truly.  Normally, I can’t fucking stand it.

But Jennifer’s music is different.  It’s real.  She’s the real deal.  There’s an authenticity and honesty to it that you just can’t fake.  So, despite her genre, I still like her.

And she’s back!

Grammy nominated, Dove Award winning Jennifer Knapp returns from a seven year hiatus with a new album, Letting Go (Graylin/RED/Thirty Tigers) on May 11th 2010. Recorded in Nashville, Letting Go is produced by Paul Moak (Mat Kearney, Martha Wainwright, Amy Grant) and features ten intimate folk, country tinged rock songs showcasing her astonishing straightforwardness and spirituality.

Knapp’s impressive history includes selling over one million albums with her previous releases Kansas (debut 1998), Lay It Down (2000), and The Way I Am (2001). The Kansas-born musician toured the globe with artists such as Jars of Clay and was featured on 1999′s Lilith Fair tour. Knapp received critical acclaim with The Los Angeles Times calling her “a rising star” and People Magazine describing her as “an uncommonly literate songwriter.” Jennifer went on to win her first Dove Award in 1999 for Best New Artist, scored a Grammy nod in 2002 and another Dove nomination in 2003.

Yep, she’s back, and this time, she’s gay!

(CNN) — Rumors were rampant when Christian music artist Jennifer Knapp walked away from a successful career seven years ago.

After selling about a million records and winning at Christian music’s prestigious Dove Awards in 1999, the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter simply vanished in 2003 — leaving fans wondering where she had gone. There were countless theories as to why Knapp checked out, including the possibility of illness.

But the one that raised the most ruckus among her die-hard fans was the one which proved to be true: Jennifer Knapp is gay.

This week Knapp burst back onto the music scene with news of a comeback and a coming out. Her new album will be released in May, and she has revealed that she has been in a same-sex relationship for the past eight years.

You can probably imagine my excitement at the public stoning about to take place!  How long, I wondered, would it take for the Christian community to start distancing itself from her?  How long would it take them to start in with the utterly predictable, sickening, bigoted, “She’s not a real Christian after all” argument, known amongst logic nerds as the “No true Scotsman” argument?

According to Wikipedia, the “No True Scotsman fallacy involves discounting evidence that would refute a proposition, concluding that it hasn’t been falsified when in fact it has.”

If Angus, a Glaswegian, who puts sugar on his porridge, is proposed as a counter-example to the claim “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge”, the ‘No true Scotsman’ fallacy would run as follows:

(1) Angus puts sugar on his porridge.
(2) No (true) Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.
(3) Angus is not a (true) Scotsman.
(4) Angus is not a counter-example to the claim that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.

This fallacy is a form of circular argument, with an existing belief being assumed to be true in order to dismiss any apparent counter-examples to it. The existing belief thus becomes unfalsifiable.

Or in this case

(1) Jennifer Knapp is gay
(2) No (true) Christian is gay
(3) Jennifer Knapp is (by definition) not a (true) Christian, therefore:
(4) She is not a counterexample to the claim that some Christians are gay

Anyway, to answer the question, “How long would it take the Christian community to throw her under the bus?”, let’s just say that if I were the one who broke this damn story it wouldn’t have been fast enough.

Did ya’ll happen to catch Larry King on Friday night?  Larry had Jennifer on there, and just to make sure that we didn’t change channels to something else, he also had “Pastor” Bob Bostford, and Ted “I’m free from my homosexual compulsions” Haggard.

Absolutely sickening. Despite his claims to the contrary, Pastor/Passhole Bob came off as just another self-righteousness bigot in sheep’s clothing telling Jennifer that he feels/felt sorry for her, and continually insulting and belittling her with his pious arrogance.  Consider this segment of the conversation between King & Botsford (full transcript available here):

KING: How did you know you liked women?

BOTSFORD: How did I –

KING: How did you know?

BOTSFORD: I just –

KING: If she likes girls –


KING: — how did you know you didn’t like boys romantically? How did you know you liked women?

BOTSFORD: Well, I just personally knew that first of all that I did. I naturally (my emphasis) knew that I did. Secondly –

KING: So, she can’t naturally know she likes the same sex? She can’t naturally know that? (Larry obviously caught Bob’s fucked up logic)

BOTSFORD: Well, I think, ultimately, you have to come back to what truth you’re going to base your life on. I don’t think that it’s wise for any of us to base our decisions on feelings. I want to base decisions on facts.

And for me, the fact has become the truth of God’s word. And God creates this wonderful gift of marriage where a man leaves his mother and his father and cleaves unto a wife. He didn’t make Adam and Steve. He didn’t make Eve and Ellen. He made a man and woman.

KING: He’s omnipotent, right?

BOTSFORD: He is omnipotent.

KING: So, he also created homosexuality.

BOTSFORD: No. I don’t believe he did. He’s all knowing.

KING: You mean he did everything but that?

BOTSFORD: Well, here’s the deal, Larry. He’s given to us — back to your question of choice — he’s given to us a choice. Me — a choice whether or not I’m going to follow and abide by his word. Jennifer — a choice as to whether or not she’ll abide in her relationships according to his word.

Revolting.  And Haggard was all but worthless: “Well Larry, Jennifer is right and Pastor Bob is right as well.  They’re both right! [toothy grin]“  Paula Abdul would have been a tougher referee.  But don’t worry, ’cause Knapp gave it back as thick as Passhole Bob was laying it on:

KNAPP: If I am a sinner and homosexuality is a sin, let’s just go on that premise for a moment. But what separates that particular sin out from the fact that I’m angry or mad at someone or that I cheat or maybe, you know — what separates that out as so grievous to you that we have to sit here and have this type of conversation?

BOTSFORD: Well, it’s interesting. There’s — sin is sin. You’re absolutely right. And we all have sin.

KNAPP: So, why are we — why am I — why aren’t you in this seat and I’m in the other seat condemning you on national television?

BOTSFORD: I’m not condemning you. Listen, I’m here because I love you. And I told you that off-air, I’ll say it on air. I’m here because I’m concerned. I’m here as a family member.

KNAPP: You get my phone number.

BOTSFORD: You calling yourself a Christian still as part of the family of God saying, as I said in the blog, Jen, come home. Come back. Come out.

KNAPP: I will say this to you again on air. I have spiritual leadership in my life.


KNAPP: The pastoral counsel of those who are dear to me, who understand the Scripture as sacred text. You know, also, want to –

BOTSFORD: I’m not sure they do, Jen.

KNAPP: Don’t interrupt me. You are not that man in my life. Speak to your congregation –

BOTSFORD: I agree. I’m not saying that I’m you’re spiritual authority.

KNAPP: You do not know me, and don’t have the right to speak to me in the manner which you have publicly.

BOTSFORD: Well, I do have a role to stand up for truth.

KNAPP: In your congregation and your community.


KNAPP: But do not — I’m asking you not to do that. I ask you not say that you’re doing that on my behalf.

BOTSFORD: I’m here as a representative of Jesus Christ.

If that’s the case, then Jesus picked a shitty salesman.

Think about it Passhole Bob, why would Jennifer “Come home” to a church and a community and a “Pastor” like you that just can’t wait to pick up the stones and let her have it. Fuck you, and every one of you who’ve condemned her. It’s pricks like you that give a goofy religion a shitty name.

And Jennifer, on the offhanded chance that you might actually read this, I hope “Letting Go” sells a shitload of copies. And if you’re in Kansas and need a backup guitarist, I’d be proud to play with you.


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