Daughter, dad sing for UMC despite protest: A professor and an Indigo Girl

May 30, 2006

The United Methodist father and daughter—he a seminary professor and she one-half of the Grammy-winning folk rock Indigo Girls—performed and shared experiences in a featured appearance at the denomination’s quadrennial Women’s Assembly this month in Anaheim, California.

Nothing very unusual about that, except that a conservative evangelical Methodist women’s coalition called RENEW objected in advance. RENEW president Faye Short said that Emily Saliers, whom she described as “an outspoken lesbian activist,” should not, as one who “publicly defies Christian teachings,” be offered a platform.

Saliers, whose singing partner is Amy Ray, has collaborated on a book, A Song to Sing, a Life to Live, with her father, Don Saliers, a UMC minister, composer of sacred music and professor of theology and worship at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.

Receiving an enthusiastic reception, the pair talked briefly of the commitment by the Indigo Girls to social justice issues and their work with indigenous people, according to the United Methodist News Service. They said music can be “a great tool of change” in oppressive situations.

Father and daughter interspersed conversation with music ranging from Indigo Girls songs to Duke Ellington numbers and two musical versions of Psalm 139. -Associated Baptist Press