[quote="DavidFilmer, post:14, topic:349819"]
Music (especially instrumental music) is neutral, and if the artist was unknown, it would stand entirely upon its merits (and, in the case of instrumental music, that would rest entirely upon the musical merit of the piece).
I am nearly fifty years old. I was once a big fan of Michael Jackson. He is, by far, one of the most talented musicians of my age. His album, Thriller, was an absolute sensation. I bought a copy on LP, and again on CD.
But my opinion of the artist has become contaminated by his later conduct. I can no longer even bear to listen to any of his songs. The songs are EXACTLY the same, from the very same album that I bought (twice!). But my perception of the artist has changed, to the point that I cannot even listen to a song on the radio without changing stations. Pandora has learned that I do not want to hear ANYTHING by Micheal Jackson.
What is the difference between songs that I bought and paid for in the early eighties, but won't even listen to now? The recordings are identical, but my impression of the artist who created them has changed.
It matters. It is not neutral. It might be "neutral" to someone who has NO IDEA who Michael Jackson was, or what he became (a total freak job), but it matters to some of us who know the difference. And, if I were a Catholic Bishop (God help us all), I would never permit anything from *Thriller *to be performed at a Church pop concert.
I agree with you that "Thriller" is not an appropriate piece for a "church pop concert." It seems to me that the point of a "church pop concert" would be to present a band that performs distinctly Christian pop songs or "Christian Contemporary Music (CCM)," not overtly secular pop pieces. There are plenty of other performing venues for secular pop pieces. And for that matter, there are plenty of other venues for "church pop concerts," although I have to say that if the Catholic churches do not host these concerts, the Protestant churches will! It's a shame to give it away.
But I have to take issue with your assessment of Michael Jackson. I'm not a huge fan, but I agree with you that he was a brilliant musician and I enjoy hearing (and seeing!) his pieces when they are done in a secular venue (e.g., a figure skating exhibition--Jackson's songs are awesome on ice!).
I think that there were a lot of extenuating circumstances that make it obvious that Michael Jackson's objectionable behaviors were due to mental and emotional disturbances.
I don't think we should reject or disdain mentally-ill people, no matter what they do. Yes, their actions are horrific sometimes (e.g., the Colorado movie theater murderer). But THEY themselves should not be rejected, but rather, pitied because but for the grace of God, we might be as they are, unable to control ourselves and caught up in evil or objectionable behaviors.
Even the drug addiction that eventually killed Michael Jackson seems like something that he got caught up in because he was trying to relieve physical and emotional pain.
The attraction to children is a mental aberration, and we are not sure what causes a person to be attracted to children. But it's definitely not a normal attraction--something is not wired correctly in the person's brain. In Jackson's case, it is questionable whether the attraction was sexual or something else. He shouldn't be rejected because of a mental aberration that he was born with, or that was nurtured by something in his upbringing.
Many great artists, authors, musicians, etc. created great works in their younger years, and later on in life, developed mental illness that caused them to behave in disgusting ways. Edgar Allen Poe comes to mind. Vincent van Gogh is a very famous example. Guy de Maupassant is another example, although it is fact that his later-life dementia was caused by syphilis contracted by a promiscuous lifestyle in his younger years, but...what caused the promiscuity? Some would say a bad upbringing..
And that leads me to another opinion. I think we need to be careful not to condemn/reject someone who behaves in sinful ways when it is obvious that their childhood was wretched. All three of the men I mentioned above were raised in very bizarre circumstances, and it would have been amazing if they had grown up "normal." Some people do manage to overcome awful upbringings and become saints--maybe you are one of them. But many other people cannot pull themselves out of the morass that their parents raised them in, and they act out in life what their parents instilled into them.
I think it's very sad that Michael Jackson developed such mental and emotional illness in his later years, and that his actions were so bizarre and in many cases, sinful. But he wasn't right in the head. I see no reason to reject his brilliant music just because he was ill.