Student opinion – Sam Smith and the devil in our culture

Seven-time nominated pop music artist Sam Smith earned his fifth Grammy at the 65th annual Grammy Awards in February. Smith and Kim Petras received their Grammy Award for best pop duo group performance for their song “Unholy.” Yet, their onstage performance ignited controversy across the nation.

Smith was born and raised in London, and it was there where he developed his passion and career in the music industry. In 2013, he partnered with the vocalist duo Disclosure and made his debut in their song “Latch.” It was not until the following year that Smith released an album of his own, titled “In the Lonely Hour.” The album was an instant hit and earned him his first recognition in 2014 when he won the American Music Award. That same year, Smith came out as gay. 

While some may have been shocked by the news, his new album was simply the megaphone to his open declaration. Since Smith’s coming out, the media closely observed Smith on his relationship journey, so it did not come as a surprise to the public when in 2018 he told the press that he identified as nonbinary. 

Smith’s shifting sexuality and its recent public display are two reasons that led to such a momentous build up to his latest album “Gloria.” At the 2023 Grammy Awards, Smith and Petras performed a controversial routine to the song “Unholy.” The performance left those who watched either delightfully surprised or unbelievably outraged.

Regardless of what side of the spectrum you fall on, there is no question that the dubious performance was testing the limits of decency, especially with the disturbing message that was conveyed on stage. The performance included Smith in an all-red leather outfit topped with a devil-horned hat while Petras wore similar satanic clothing and headgear. According to the New York Post, critics bashed the performance for its anti-Christian themes and its potential to provoke violence.   

Smith displayed a performance that intentionally went against standard morals. How should Christians respond? Instead of going to various media platforms to voice our outrage, we as believers should instead be discussing the themes of transgenderism that were clearly displayed onstage. Christians don’t need to take a second look at his performance to know that it was inherently wrong. The performance proved to be utter disgrace in the eyes of the beholder.

What will not be so clear to younger generations, however, is Smith’s openness about his gender fluidity. I believe that difficult and controversial discussions need to be had, and instead of bringing more hate to an outward performance, Christians should look, instead, to how it could affect their children. Discuss theology and raise them up in righteousness, but also teach them about the wickedness of the world. Nurture the younger generation into becoming more Christlike. 

Those who watched the performance in disbelief should not shy away from discussing the events that happened onstage. With both compassion and confidence in truth, Christians should further the conversation surrounding Smith’s performance, especially with teens and young adults who may be struggling with their gender identity. Rather than leaving them confused and left to their own knowledge to interpret Smith’s performance, believers should steward the conversation right back to truth. 

Daniel is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter

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