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Singer-Songwriter Josh Ritter Speaks Out for LGBT Rights at Anti-Gay Messiah College: VIDEO

Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter on Facebook:

RitterI travel a lot - this month I was in fifteen cities in as many days. I always like to learn a little bit about the place I'm going to play - that Chicago has the fourth largest GDP of any world city, or that Louisville is famous for a sandwich known as the "Hot Brown."

Today I was Grantham, Pennsylvania, at Messiah College, and as I was doing a little digging about the place I learned something that surprised and disappointed me.

Messiah College requires all students to sign a "Community Covenant" promising to, among other things, “avoid such sinful practices as…homosexual behavior….”

This policy, which I see as exclusionary and bigoted, could not run more counter to my personal beliefs. If I had done my homework, and read about Messiah's policies ahead of time, I would never have agreed to play there.

MessiahI did play at Messiah College tonight, and I chose to use the opportunity to talk to the students - to encourage them to seek openness and change. I spoke honestly about my personal views - that we should all have the right to love - and to marry freely, no matter what our sexual orientation. Everyone was respectful and kind, and it is my hope that they'll continue to demand a change to the Community Covenant.

I hope to have made the best of a difficult situation. I'm donating the fee I received from Messiah College tonight in its entirety to The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org), the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

I won't play Messiah College again - not until they welcome, in word and deed, all members of their faith regardless of sexuality, and I urge my fellow musicians to do the same.

- Josh Ritter

We've written about Messiah College on Towleroad HERE.

A sample of Ritter's music, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Josh Ritter is awesome -- and now even moreso.

    Posted by: antisaint | May 4, 2013 10:57:53 AM

  2. Awesome! He probably did a better thing by performing there and speaking up than by refusing to play there. There were no doubt students in that audience who needed to hear that, both gay and straight.

    Speaking up even when you're in "hostile" territory is the best thing you can do.

    Posted by: Caliban | May 4, 2013 11:07:03 AM

  3. Wow !
    Now Ben Shapiro there's a hero; a man with integrity and courage.

    Shapiro, you are not fit to be in the same country as Josh Ritter.
    And Shapiro, you wouldn't know integrity if it bit you in the a$$.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2013 11:26:12 AM

  4. Integrity. What an honorable, upstanding person Josh is for this. Hopefully, at the very least, students at this school who are struggling with their orientation, or are out as LGBT, or are straight allies, take something from this and know they are not alone.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | May 4, 2013 11:31:48 AM

  5. I agree with Caliban. Had Josh not played at the school, he could not have gone into their midst to speak to the students directly. I'm sure his comments were much appreciated by, and hit home to some in attendance.

    Posted by: john patrick | May 4, 2013 11:39:09 AM

  6. Isn't Shapiro a little sexy?

    Posted by: gayheart | May 4, 2013 11:48:50 AM

  7. Awesome!

    Posted by: Jeff | May 4, 2013 12:25:45 PM

  8. @ gayheart :
    Shapiro is a soufflé.

    Light soft and full of air, and very little substance.
    Sexy ? I'm not attracted in the least.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2013 12:41:25 PM

  9. Class. I applaud you. This is the perfect way to show up these bigots. Honour your agreement, state your disgust of their policies and beliefs, and then have none of their blood money. Bravo.

    Posted by: graphicjack | May 4, 2013 2:18:31 PM

  10. He of course did more good by showing up and speaking out (with respect to his audience) than not playing. I went to his facebook page. There's a lot of Chrisian students at that school that are on our side. And this is a really good man. He didn't have to post any of this on his page. All from the heart.

    Posted by: will | May 4, 2013 6:00:14 PM

  11. I've enjoyed the albums of his that I have.... He's very smooth and has a talented voice.

    Posted by: TonyJazz | May 4, 2013 7:37:12 PM

  12. Although I don't necessarily agree with everything that has occurred at Messiah College in the past in terms of this situation, I believe it would be in Josh Ritter's best interest to do a little more research into the community covenant before making such a blanket statement. The community covenant does not in any way prohibit homosexuality, but homosexual sexual behavior. It does so in the same exact way it prohibits heterosexual sexual behavior. I do believe that the separation of these two points in the community covenant is completely unnecessary, but Messiah holds the same expectations for its homosexual students as it does for its heterosexual students. Students do not have to sign anything saying they don't support homosexuality. At all.

    All in all, I did appreciate the stand that he made in this situation, but I believe it would have been much better had he known entirely what he was talking about.

    Posted by: Sv1210 | May 5, 2013 3:39:47 PM

  13. I would like to see what he said, surely someone was filming it?

    Posted by: Fenrox | May 6, 2013 9:12:24 AM

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