Well, Bob Jones himself isn’t competing on American Idol, but a former student of Bob Jones University is. Chris Sligh (a.k.a. “Fro Patro”), the son of missionaries who spent much of his childhood overseas, is doing his best to become the next American Idol. Yet some of Sligh’s Christian homies aren’t giving him a shout out while he does it.
The Associated Press reports:
Chris Sligh, the “American Idol” contestant who has won fans thanks to his curly mop of hair and soulful voice, has a few people concerned with his departure from strictly Christian music. . . Jonathan Pait, a spokesman for fundamentalist Bob Jones University where Sligh attended for several years, said: “We really are somewhat disappointed with the direction he has gone musically.”
The article goes on to report that Sligh is a worship leader at his church in Greenville, South Carolina, and that his friends regard him to be a committed Christian believer. Sligh’s pastor says, “He’s not going to back away from the fact that he’s a Christian. He’s going to let that shine through in what he does.”
This isn’t the first time that a professed evangelical Christian has made it to the top 12 on American Idol. Just last year, a Beth Moore devotee named Mandisa Hundley made it into the top twelve. Hundley was extremely open about her Christian commitment, and even the Baptist Press called her an “unabashed Christian.”
Yet there still remains a wide range of opinions among evangelicals about the propriety of Christians participating in shows like American Idol. Folks like Jonathan Pait of Bob Jones University look askance upon the Chris Sligh’s and the Mandisa’s of the world, while others think that Christian participation in pop culture is a way for believers to be salt and light in an otherwise dark culture.
I will give my opinion on this later. But for now, I’m interested to know what you think. Thumbs up or thumbs down for Christians on American Idol? Why?