Can you be gay as well as a Christian? For actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth the answer is a resounding yes. Chenoweth describes herself as a "non-judgmental, liberal Christian." In 2005, Chenoweth even released an album with Christian content. As I Am finds the singer tackling hymns such as "Because He Lives," "Word of God Speak" and "Abide in Me."
In speaking with Billboard, Chenoweth says: "When I released my second album, which was a spiritual Christian record, I took a lot of heat... from everybody. It wasn't an easy time. But I grew up singing in church and I wanted to make an album that was a part of that history. I was feeling pretty low on a particular day, and I had gone to do a talk and CD-signing with New York Times writer Stephen Holden. It was a wonderful afternoon. But when it was over, a young man came over and asked me to sign his copy of my album. He said, and I quote, "I'm a Christian. I'm also gay. I've been trying to explain to my family for years that you can be both. My family loves you, and this album is bringing our family together and helping my family to understand our common love of God. Thank you for making this album. Now I don't feel like such a bad person."
"With that, he gave me a big hug. He has no idea that he changed my life forever in that moment. He has no idea that that conversation is what has helped me continue to speak out for the LGBTQ community and to wrap my arms around them constantly with nothing but love. That young man said I helped him. Maybe. Truth is: he helped me more."
Chenoweth sang gospel music as a child in Oklahoma and studied opera before deciding to pursue a career in musical theatre. In 1997, she made her Broadway debut in Steel Pier, winning a Theatre World Award. Besides You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Wicked, Chenoweth's stage work includes five City Center Encores! productions, Broadway's The Apple Tree in 2006, Promises, Promises in 2010 and On the Twentieth Century in 2015, as well as Off-Broadway and regional theatre productions.