Find the most recent XGW coverage of Kirk Talley here.

March 23, 2004

This page’s original post is below, heavily revised. The links have also been updated.

On January 15, 2004, famed southern Gospel singer Kirk Talley disclosed (under alleged threat of extortion) a 30-year struggle with sexual orientation.

On Feb. 17, Talley described in detail a sexual/spiritual conversion experience away from homosexuality. The description of the event was, for some critics, a bit reminiscent of an exorcism.

On March 5, the Rev. Phil Hoskins reported Talley’s “confession of sin, his cleansing, and his deliverance from a thirty-year struggle with homosexuality.” (This page from Talley’s site was not archived.)

Hoskins, a Tennessee Baptist pastor and friend of Talley, says, “It was one of the most memorable days of my Christian journey and I know that God is preparing Kirk’s heart with a new song and a fresh start to make others aware of the liberating power of Jesus Christ.”

In August 2004, Talley announced that he will resume concerts and continue counseling.

Canceled concerts, backlogged merchandise and ex-gay counseling expenses have been costing Talley a fortune. All because a bigot (convicted in August) decided to blackmail a southern Gospel singer — and because many people reacted by blaming victim, not perpetrator.

Going forward, can Talley’s restoration team be of assistance?

Hoskins’ apparent expertise is extremely limited. His only online connections to homosexuality are two isolated references to his association with antigay sermons by Jerry Falwell.

More promising: Another key member of Talley’s restoration team is Roy A. Blankenship, a conservative-Christian sexual-addictions counselor who heads a ministry that is affiliated with Exodus.

By all accounts, the ministry’s staff are sincere, have good intentions, and have served as spiritual inspiration to Talley.

Some concerns are worth raising. For one, the restoration staff claim to hold (or be pursuing) master’s degrees, but the degrees appear to be from a mix of unidentified and unaccredited Bible schools. Other other concerns exist in the form of unanswered questions:

Is the goal to achieve change of orientation — or is it celibacy? Are short- or long-term results being promised? What is the team’s success/failure rate?

Talley is entitled to privacy regarding the first two questions, but the third question (in my opinion) is a matter of public accountability, since this team has no doubt treated other people before, and will in the future.

Talley is entitled to prayers and support — and, as I said, a reasonable degree of privacy. He did not ask to have his sexual struggles dragged before the public. Talley will, in time, choose whether or not to affirm same-gender attraction, and whether or not to opt for celibacy. He already appears to have made some decisions: He does not label himself “gay” or “exgay,” he is simply… Kirk Talley.

Here is a wise blog commentary on the situation from someone far more knowledgeable about southern Gospel music than I.

What follows are selected comments from the original discussion that appeared on this page. We had only a few hostile comments, but I’ve pared things down nevertheless. Also, out of concern for Talley’s privacy, I will consider moving this page offline.

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