The last time we wrote about Christian metal act For Today, I discovered a blog post on frontman Mattie Montgomery's personal blog, which has since been deleted where he condemned homosexuality. Here's a nice excerpt:
I’d like to make my stance on homosexuality/homosexual marriage crystal clear: I cannot support the homosexual agenda in our nation. This is not because people call it an “abomination,” or because I’m some sort of homophobe or bigot, but because every argument in support of that act is based on one fundamental misconception; and that is the flawed idea that we should be able to marry whomever we want.
The band remained relatively quiet on the situation, never publicly commenting on it, but with a new record out this week, Mattie was interviewed by AltPress. Fun fact: the new For Today album outsold the new Behemoth album, proving that with US album buyers, God > Satan.
The interview touched on many controversial subjects, including former guitarist Mike Reynolds' controversial rant against homosexuality that ended up with Reynolds leaving the band:
You mentioned putting your heart out there, being vulnerable. Given how often you've expressed love toward so many people, it must've been very frustrating for you to suddenly be deemed homophobic or otherwise hateful in the aftermath of Reynolds’ tweets.
It was frustrating, to say the least. That whole thing blindsided me. And it was exasperated by preexisting issues.
The fact that there are people who call themselves Christians but go on the news and picket soldiers' funerals and say stuff like “God Hates Fags?” These people totally dishonor God, and disrespect God and they dishonor and disrespect people who are made in God's image.
There is a bitterness and a polarization that has come and a lot of wounds and defensiveness have developed in the homosexual community toward Christians. That has made them very sensitive toward Christians in general, especially when talking about the issue of homosexuality. I hate it.
We've been put in a situation where the media has made it an “us vs. them” sorta thing. As a result, we've lost our sense of human community.
That is the thing that breaks my heart. Like I mentioned earlier, the guys from Stray From The Path don't agree with or care about anything I stand for, and they are still some of the best friends we've ever had on tour.
I think there's something to be said there in that we are able to respectfully disagree with each other. There are still plenty of other things where we find common ground. At the end of the day, we're all in this world together; we're all in this thing called life together. We've got to do what we can to help each other instead of hurting each other and tearing each other down.
So yes, it was a frustrating thing, and it was a difficult situation for me to go through because I really do love gay people. I have a whole bunch of people I've been friends with for years who are gay men and women. We have all been forced into this new religious/political paradigm where Christians are pitted against homosexuals in this stupid struggle for political dominance. It's really a political issue. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter.
Because I'm a voice to a lot of Christians, I'll say it like this: I would like to see Christians come to a place in which they can be respectful of people, regardless of their sexual orientation. No matter what sexual inclinations a person has or what faith they do or do not ascribe to, as Christians we still must believe they are made in the image of God, and because of that, our love and they deserve our respect and honor.
To me, it seems as though Mattie has been vetted and thought long and hard about the exact answer he would give to this because he knew all eyes were on him. Calling out the Westboro Baptist Church comes off like he's just deflecting ("I'm not the loon… these people are the loons" is what I read). It's so eyerolling that he even insinuates that he's friends with gay people after writing he doesn't support the homosexual agenda.
Then came my favorite part of the interview, where he put us and other websites on blast:
There are Christian bands who exist in the same scene who undoubtedly share many theological views with you. Why do you think For Today have been singled out about this specific topic, when it's something a lot of other bands would give similar answers about, if asked?
You want me to be totally honest? I'll say this as kindly as possible, but, I think it's your fault.
Outlets like AP, Absolute Punk, Lambgoat, Metal Injection, the PRP and all these places that will do anything to anyone to try to get some hits on their website. They saw one comment out of hundreds of thousands of comments collectively that this band have made and they thought, “Oh, that's going to stir up some drama.” And they were willing to throw our band under the bus and to put our families' well-being in jeopardy just for the sake of a few more hits on their websites. I think that sucks. I think that's irresponsible journalism. I think it's a reflection of a lack of personal responsibility in your community.
If we, as a scene, would take a step back and say, “The things that made this music scene special were that it was a place for rejects, for people who didn't fit in, a place for all of those people to be accepted and celebrated not even in spite of their diversity, but because of their diversity.” I think we need to remember that and apply it to all walks of life and all faiths.
The notion that by copying and pasting EXACTLY what he wrote that we are somehow at fault for putting his families' well-being in jeopardy is the most absurd thing ever. Look, Mattie, I am not sitting here thinking "Man, how can I ruin somebody's career?" No, I am sitting here checking sites and when I stumble upon something absurd like your preachy rants, I have to write something. Yes, I did know going into it that it will get a reaction, but the fault for "putting your families' well-being in jeopardy" lies squarely at your feet. I did not put words in your mouth, you said all those things that turned away many of your fans. Additionally, if AP is to blame, why talk to them? Why send your fans their way to buy their magazines when they put your well-being at risk?
To say that this scene is a place for rejects while not realizing the irony in rejecting homosexuality at the same time makes my head explode.
But maybe Mattie has seen the light. He was pressed about his views on gay marriage, where he writes:
I'm not a lawmaker. So, really, my opinions on what laws should and should not be don't matter. But ultimately this is a political issue right now. It seems like homosexual people are seeking, politically, to have equal rights. And I think that's absolutely fair. So, speaking politically, if I was a lawmaker? I would vote to legalize gay marriage. I don't think the United States government has the right to tell people who they can and can't marry. That is my standard across the board. To be completely honest with you, I don't think the United States government has the right to approve a marriage between me and my wife, as a heterosexual man. It's not really their business. The fact that they think they can forbid some people from marrying is ridiculous to me.
What a fantastically political non-answer. He indeed doesn't think that the US government has the right to tell people who to marry. As he previously wrote, that's up to God:
I have never heard a homosexual couple tell me that the reason they are together is because, out of a place of devotion to the Lord in prayer and scripture study, He commanded them to be together. And, until that happens, there really is no discussion to be had. They will receive the same response I would give to a straight couple that is together for carnal or selfish reasons: You are in disobedience to God, and you have made an idol out of yourself. Repent. Leave this relationship, and commit yourself to hear and obey the spoken Word of God.
Again, I don't have anything personal against For Today. I just think some of the things Mattie says are absurd. What's interesting is these recent comments have drawn backlash from some For Today supporters. Lambgoat picked up on these Facebook comments on Mattie's page:
To be fair, they are doing some good. For all the negativity, they are raising awareness for the A21 Campaign against human trafficking. Their new album Fight The Silence is out now on Razor & Tie.