Singer Derek Webb Tells Christians to Act Like Christians; Too Far for Record Label

A couple months ago, Christian artist Derek Webb, formerly of Caedmon’s Call, dropped a few hints on his website and twitter about problems with his record company (INO Records)about a song on his forthcoming album. He was able to turn it into a bit of great viral marketing, but to cut to the chase, we now know what the problem was.

The problem song has been revealed to be “What Matters More”. Webb has stuck to his guns, refusing to cut it, calling it “the most important song on the album”. Some rushed to the conclusion that the problem is that he uses the words “damn” and “shit” (this is Christian music, after all), but I agree with others who say that that’s not the big problem and Webb hasn’t taken a stand over a few curse words.

No, the problem is that he wrote what is, if not a pro-gay song, an anti-anti-gay song.

You say you always treat people like you like to be
I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
You love when people put words in your mouth
‘Bout what you believe, make you sound like a freak

‘Cause if you really believe what you say you believe
You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak
Wouldn’t silently consent when the liars speak
Denyin’ all the dyin’ or the remedy

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

If I can tell what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth
Then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it’s about
It looks like being hated for all the wrong things
Like chasin’ the wind while the pendulum swings

‘Cause we can talk and debate until we’re blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he’s comin’ to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don’t give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin’ today

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?”

The song is a bit electronica or whatever for my tastes, but it’s a good message. As I said above, it’s not exactly pro-gay, instead saying “We have more important things to worry about.”

Derek Webb
Derek Webb

I try to give commercial artists a bit of grudging leeway when they take tentative steps toward accepting LGBT people. While I’d love it if they would be bold and declare that God does love everyone and that He created some people gay, for whatever reason most aren’t ready to take that step. It could be that they disagree with me, but in some cases I think it’s more likely that they’ve taken note of what’s happened to artists who did take the step.

Anyway, Derek Webb has made sure that “What Matters More” is available on his album Stockholm Syndrome. Here’s the deal: The physical CD will be released on September 1, 2009 in both an explicit (what Webb is calling “authorized”) version and a sanitized version that doesn’t include “What Matters More”. HOWEVER, starting TODAY, the album is available for immediate download at Webb’s site with several options at ridiculously low prices. Go buy Derek Webb’s new album and show artists that supporting LGBT people isn’t as great a risk as it used to be.

By the way, another blogger pointed out that the “don’t give a shit” part comes from a speech by evangelist Tony Campolo: “While you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s more is that you’re more upset with the fact that I just said ‘shit’ than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”

For another taste of Derek Webb’s music, here he is singing “Deliver Us” from the Andrew Peterson Christmas album Behold the Lamb of God (which you should all have, by the way).

(h/t Good As You)