28 April 2021

The Ricky Skaggs controversy

The BIB editor writes:

Thanks to Uri Kohen for drawing our attention to a controversy that over the last two weeks has become increasingly divisive among bluegrass people. It originated in an hour-long interview with Ricky Skaggs on the ElijahStreams YouTube channel, entitled 'Ricky Skaggs: Believe in God's timing', released on 13 Apr.

In the interview Ricky Skaggs spoke (as one would expect) about his career, his book Kentucky traveler: my life in music, and his views as a dedicated Christian. For over a quarter of it, however, he put forward his belief that the presidency of Donald Trump was ordained by God to combat the evils of paedophile 'cabals' and the shedding of innocent blood; and that the 2020 election result was therefore a crime, which God will set right.

He is shown making these points in a three-minute clip from the interview, included in Kyle Mantyla's feature 'Famous musician Ricky Skaggs says the election was ‘a crime’ and God will return Trump to office' on the Right Wing Watch website. Uri reports that in the first few days after this appeared, not less than 170 messages about it were posted in a heated discussion on the e-mail forum for alumni of the IBMA's Leadership Bluegrass Program.

Thanks again to Uri for the link to 'Ricky Skaggs breaks the code', posted on 25 Apr. by Craig Havighurst on his String Theories blog. Havighurst is an award-winning communicator with a thorough knowledge of bluegrass, country music, and Ricky Skaggs's place in the history of both, and a profound admiration of Skaggs both as a musician and as a man. He is all the more appalled by what he sees as the interview's irresponsible promotion of unfounded, defamatory, and - above all - divisive statements. Both the full interview and the three-minute clip can be seen in this feature, which anyone interested in the issues should read.

It should be noted that Skaggs does not endorse or incite to violence, or indeed any course of human action; his position is that what is to be done will be done by God in His own time. 'We've got to practise patience and praise [...] and not try to force God's hand.'

Update 4 May: Craig Havighurst's subsequent post of today's date should also be read.

© Richard Hawkins

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