Long before these two leaders there were others. BeBe Winans was arrested for allegedly assaulting his ex-wife, gospel granddaddy Andrae Crouch was locked up on cocaine and drug paraphernalia charges.
It was November 1982 when Crouch who had already amassed five Grammies, was pulled over by Los Angeles cops for driving erratically.
In an interview with Contemporary Christian Music Magazine, Crouch admitted he had a straw and vial with cocaine residue belonging to some unsaved friends who partied in his Marina Del Ray pad while he was out of town.
Planning to confront them about it, Crouch had pocketed the evidence but was pulled over by cops before he could give it to them, he said. The charges were eventually dropped against him due to insufficient evidence.
While other gospel stars caught behaving badly may have avoided jail, they haven’t escaped the press.
Rev. Alberto Cutié quit the Roman Catholic Church last month when a Mexican tabloid published pictures of the handsome Cuban- American priest romping on a Florida beach with a bikini-clad beauty.
A charismatic media personality known as “Father Oprah,” Cutié has since become an Episcopalian priest and is presently engaged to the woman he was pictured with.
Gospel bad boy Tonéx, has always been, er, shall we say…different? He rippled the waters in 2005 when he abruptly divorced his wife of five years.
In 2006 when his recording company, Zomba/Verity Records, filed a $1 million lawsuit against him citing breach of contract, Tonéx went on a profanity laden tirade denouncing the gospel music industry.
The year after that, the Grammy-nominated artist continued to ruffle church folks feathers releasing a song suggesting he was gay.
And there hardly seems to be a shortage of preachers who surprise us with new developments–from Rev. Jesse Jackson, who fathered a daughter out of wedlock, to Jimmy Swaggart, the popular 1980s televangelist, who dallied with hookers and was burned. Can we ever write a list of reverends gone wild without including him?
Okay, okay, so we’re not just hating on the church brothers today, there’s actually a redemptive seed in all of this: People can actually make surprising comebacks after stumbling.
It’s always impressive to see Swaggart on TV, still preaching the gospel after his very public fall. Now that takes guts.
And look at Crouch who quickly brushed off his arrest record and went on to win four more Grammies and continues to be one of the most celebrated Gospel artists of our generation.
As for our other bad boys:
- In an apparent reconciliation with his record label, Tonéx released his first new album in five years in March, entitled “Unspoken.”
- Rev. Jackson still continues to be one of our most prominent civil rights activists.
- BeBe Winans, while admitting no wrongdoing, the BET’s ‘Sunday’s Best’ judge released a statement on his website calling the charges against him “heart wrenching.””Since I choose to say nothing negative about my children’s mother, I will make no comment other than to say the allegations are inconsistent with my character and the foundation upon which I was raised,” he said.
So for those among us shaking our heads in judgement, don’t act like you haven’t messed up, we’ve all done something illegal, immoral or just plain wrong, only difference is it just didn’t end up on the six o’clock news. We’ve all fallen, but there’s nothing like mercy, grace, and forgiveness to get us going in the right direction again.
As the song says, we fall down, but we get up!
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