Christian singer / songwriter Ray Boltz recorded 16 albums during his nearly 20-year recording career. He sold close to 4.5 million copies, won 3 Dove awards and was a huge name for years in churches and the homes of Christian music fans until his retirement from the industry in the summer of 2004.
On Sunday, September 14, 2008, Boltz again became a big name in Christian circles; but for a much different reason. Ray Boltz officially came out to the world as a gay man through an article in the Washington Blade.
Though Boltz was married to wife Carol (they are now divorced) for 33 years and he fathered four children (all grown now), he said in the article that he had been attracted to other men since he was a young man. "I'd denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, 'I'm still gay. I know I am.'"
Living what he felt like was a lie got harder and harder as he got older. “You get to be 50-some years old and you go, 'This isn't changing.’ I still feel the same way. I am the same way. I just can't do it anymore,'"Boltz said.
After being honest about his feelings with his family the day after Christmas in 2004, Ray Boltz started actively moving toward a new direction with his life. He and Carol separated in the summer of 2005 and he moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to "start a new, low-key life and get to know himself." In his new surroundings, he wasn't "Ray Boltz the CCM singer" anymore. He was just another guy taking graphic design courses, sorting out his life and his faith.
Coming out to the pastor of the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church in Indianapolis was his first public step. "I'd kind of had two identities since I moved to Florida where I kind of had this other life and I’d never merged the two lives. This was the first time I was taking my old life as Ray Boltz, the gospel singer, and merging it with my new life."
At this point, Boltz feels like he is finally at peace with who he is. He says that he has been dating and lives “a normal gay life” now. He has come out, but he apparently doesn't want to shoulder the 'Gay Christian' cause. “I don't want to be a spokesperson, I don't want to be a poster boy for gay Christians, I don't want to be in a little box on TV with three other people in little boxes screaming about what the Bible says, I don't want to be some kind of teacher or theologian — I’m just an artist and I’m just going to sing about what I feel and write about what I feel and see where it goes.”
As to why he decided to come out in such a public fashion, Boltz said, “This is what it really comes down to ... if this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he'll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”
The Media FrenzyLooking around the Internet, I see close to 7000 blog posts have been created about Ray Boltz coming out.
The majority of Christian publications, while not openly attacking him, make it clear that they do not support his decision to live his life as a homosexual man. Most of the gay publications applaud him for coming out publicly and see him as a way to reconcile faith in Jesus with a homosexual lifestyle. One thing that most all of the posts that I read do agree on, however, is that Ray Boltz needs our prayers.
Email that I've gotten regarding Ray Boltz and this news has run the gamut of emotions. Some readers are heartbroken and feel like Boltz needs to pray harder and he will be cured of his homosexuality. (Boltz did say in the article that he had been praying for change almost all of his life. “I basically lived an ‘ex-gay’ life — I read every book, I read all the scriptures they use, I did everything to try and change.”). Other readers view him as almost a victim ... of the devil's lies, of society's "everything's good" attitude, of his own sin. Another sampling of readers looks up to his decision to go public so that people can see that gay people can love and serve the Lord. There are some that feel that him "giving in to the temptation of sin" and "succumbing to the homosexual lie" wipes out every shred of value that his music ever had in the world and he should be "shunned from the body of Christ until he repents and changes his ways because he can not receive forgiveness until he actually repents from the sin." A final cluster of readers is saddened and confused by the whole thing and rather than telling me what I should think or demanding that I write something that fits their views, they simply asked for some guidance and my thoughts.