John Cooper, whose band, Skillet, was awarded Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 2023 Dove Awards, offers his opinion about Derek Webb, Flamy Grant, and Semler's attendance at the Christian awards ceremony.
Webb, former Caedmon's Call guitarist and vocalist, attended the 2023 Dove Music Awards in a dress. He even brought a lesbian singer (Grace Baldridge, who performs as Semler) and another drag queen (Matthew Blake, a former worship leader who wears makeup and women's clothing and performs under the name Flamy Grant) as his guests.
Cooper shared that he was hesitant to respond because he didn't want to fuel the fire of a situation that didn't need it, but he was encouraged by friends and pastors to speak out.
"Obviously, they're just trying to get attention, they're trying to disrupt, and they're going about it in a clever way," Cooper told Church Leaders. "And the truth is they are being the aggressors in this."
Cooper said that there are "lots of Jesus followers in the industry that may not know the best way to speak," adding that he wanted to stand for biblical truth "as opposed to being compromised."
"They've been trying to antagonize the Christian music industry, including Christian artists, and have attempted to get them to affirm their views on the LGBTQ+ movement for years," Cooper said.
"The truth is," he added, "they would not show up at a Muslim music celebration to do the same" because that would be "a little bit too insensitive. You don't want to go in and just start stomping on somebody's religion. The laws of intersectionality would apply."
However, Cooper said, "they know that Christians are so wimpy and weak...they know that Christians are then going to somehow feel intimidated by them and not know how to act."
Cooper believes that the Christian music industry should recognize that Webb and the others are being the aggressors in the situation and said that he feels "like the industry has set the groundwork to make people feel like they can bully us because we are so wimpy and weak," which in turn makes Christians "apologetic about what we believe," something he believes is an "absurdity."
Cooper was unable to attend the Dove Awards this year but said that if had he been there and seen Webb and company, he would have "ignored them" like the Apostle Paul instructs Christians to do in 1 Corinthians 5.