For Today's Mattie Montgomery Talks Christian/Secular Divide In Music
In a new interview with Altpress.com, For Today's Mattie Montgomery tackles issues ranging from sex trafficking, to the idea of Christian bands being segmented from secular ones, and even on to his thoughts on gay marriage after former member Mike Reynolds went on a Twitter tirade that put the band in a spotlight it didn't want. Check out excerpts from the interview below.
AP: This is your second album since leaving the overtly Christian-based Facedown Records. You've toured with a ton of bands outside of that realm, too.
There has been an effort by the powers that be in this music industry–media outlets, record labels, management companies–to divide bands into Christian and non-Christian groups, and I think that sucks. We've made it a point for years to go on tour with non-Christian bands.
For example, the guys in Stray From The Path, who are out on tour with us right now. They are some of the best friends we've ever had in a band. We've toured with those guys a bunch of times. I have [Christian] kids come up to me all the time asking, “How is it touring with bands like that?” I'm like: “It's fine! Who told you that I have to be afraid of bands who don't agree with me?” I don't know how people are getting it into their heads, but I feel like non-Christian kids feel like they're not welcome at a For Today show. Some Christian kids often come to For Today shows and are upset that there are non-Christian bands and people there. It's completely ridiculous. I don't know who drew a line in the sand and said you're only allowed to hang out with a certain type of people.
AP: 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.
AP: After all of the conversation stirred up by those tweets, people definitely want to know where you stand on gay marriage.
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.
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