Growing celebrity Christian culture sparks criticism

The religious atmosphere of the United States has shifted unexpectedly as celebrities such as
Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Kevin Hart and Kanye West have publicly discussed and acted
upon their newfound faith.
Kanye West, with the release of his new album, “Jesus Is King,” early this month, drew both
Christians and non-Christians to join his audience. When he appeared on the Late Late Show
with James Corden, West proclaimed that he works for God. “God always had a plan for me and
has always wanted to use me,” West said. The rapper is now holding Sunday services in various
churches as he continues to profess and speak on his faith.
In October, singer-songwriter Demi Lovato took to Instagram to share about her recent trip to
Israel. “I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God … something I’ve been
missing for a few years now,” Lovato said. She was pleased with the opportunity to be baptized
in the Jordan River, “the same place Jesus was baptized.” She described the trip as filling the
“God-sized hole” in her life, stating she had never felt more spiritually refreshed.
Lovato’s fellow Disney star Selena Gomez has also recently been in the public spotlight for her
faith in the past few weeks. After the release of her Billboard number one song, “Lose You to
Love Me,” Gomez took to her Twitter feed to post a screenshot of what she had written on her
phone. “I’m literally just laying down and thanking Jesus … Where my father has taken me and


me is exactly where I am meant to be,” she wrote.
Gomez said she felt God’s presence and heard Him promising her that she never was and never
will be alone. “In my worst moments, I never stopped falling to my knees wanting and needing
only His love,” she said. “See the enemy keeps trying to tear me down and it’s just not gonna
happen. Not today.” Gomez has been open about her Christian faith and regularly attends
Hillsong Church, and openly praises Christian worship leaders and artists, such as Lauren Daigle.
“I have looked up to Selena Gomez since I was in elementary school,” Lizette Perez, freshman
communication major, said. “Now that she has proclaimed herself a Christian, I admire her
even more.”
Following a car accident in September, leaving him with severe injuries, and over a week in the
hospital and months of recovering, Kevin Hart, comedian and actor, posted a video to
Instagram in which he discussed his recovery journey. “When God talks, you gotta listen,” he
said. “Some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things you needed
most.” He shared that his experience helped him realize that it was God’s way of telling him to
slow down.
Several of these celebrities have faced backlash accusing them of being “fake Christians” as a
publicity stunt.
In response to this, Perez said, “I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be under the
public eye at all times and to receive hateful comments about finding your faith. They don’t
deserve it. I’m sure they’ve already been through enough.”
Senior at Summit Christian Academy in Lee’s Summit, Missouri Anna Butler shared Perez’s
sentiments. Stating that she “hates” the backlash these celebrities are dealing with. “We are all

humans,” she said. “No one is perfect, and we have no right to judge them and their faith. That
isn’t our job.”
Leah Scott, freshman elementary education major, believes that Christians are being critical of
the celebrities, and rightly so, because “false Christians” can lead members of the church away.
Scott also expressed her fears over Christian conversion becoming a popular trend and thus
straying from the authenticity of the faith.
Butler also remained hopeful that good will come from the conversions of popular individuals.
“Maybe they will become a ray of light for all to see and spread the news, and soon maybe God
will be clearly seen in social media and in this world,” she said.