And that move has ignited a firestorm.
A huge wave of support from a variety of sources has met with a flurry of ugly and pretty obviously untrue accusations and assumptions. The fallout has been so sad to watch.
This isn't the typical conservative vs. liberal clash, either. Nor Christians vs. the World. It's not even an old vs. young kind of thing. The 'teams' are a huge mishmash of unlikely bedfellows: those who felt that the Grammys were appropriate and those who decidedly didn't.
So what, specifically, was all the hoo-hah about? Musical performances that, by multiple accounts, went too far even for a very typically liberal event. This wasn't about 'wardrobe malfunctions' or even 'twerking.' This drama centered on the blatantly demonic depictions of what appeared to be satanic rituals, sexually risque performances, and an odd mass gay wedding segment.
What's particularly interesting to me about this controversy, though, is that a whole lot more support has been thrown behind Natalie's decision to discreetly leave than would be expected. Non-Christian celebrities and athletes and artists of all kinds have stood behind her in agreeing that 'the night went way too far.'
Some non-Christians are even calling out the people who are slamming Natalie (she's being called ungrateful, hateful, hypocritical and even a gay-hater). The irony of the last accusation is that Natalie left before the secret mass gay wedding thing happened. She didn't even see it.
And despite the enormously rude, cruel, and unfair accusations and comments she has received, she is still trying to be kind and respectful. . .this is from her Facebook page:
I NEVER said I left during any particular performance. I only said I left early.
I never pointed out any one particular performance, I only said I had many thoughts about the entire show, which were best left inside my head and that is where they will stay. So those who say I condemned one performance but then condoned others clearly did not read the post.
What I DID say is this: I am honored to be a part of the Christian music community. I've had many people throughout my career ask why I never tried to go in to mainstream music and last night was a beautiful reminder that I love singing about Jesus and FOR Jesus.
I've judged no one. I hate no one. And I believe that every person has been created in the image of God. I will never stand on a street corner and wave a sign, I won't use my platform to engage in political arguments that will only divide and not unite. I will continue to pray that my life will be my message. I do have my own personal convictions that I live by, and I will continue to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. (Philippians 2:12)
I was honored to be nominated for 2 Grammy awards last night. I'm so grateful that NARAS and The Grammys continue to recognize the contribution that gospel and Christian music make to the world. And I'm so thrilled for those who won in my categories. And I can say that with all sincerity.
My last thought:
"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus for it is the power of God who brings salvation to ALL who believe."
Well said, Natalie. And thank you for taking a respectful stand with such grace and gentleness.
I wasn't there, but if I had been, I would like to think I would have had the courage to walk right on out with you.
(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)