Boltz-Southworth tour launches in Nashville

When Ray Boltz and Azariah Southworth perform in concert at Covenant of the Cross in Nashville on June 17, 2010, they will kick off a national tour as well as an affirmation of their status as openly gay Christian music artists.

“We are excited to host two outstanding people who have so much to say about loving God and being true to themselves," said Pastor Greg Bullard of Covenant of the Cross says of the "Living True: The Tour" event. "We are sure their stories will continue to free more people to find and connect to Jesus in a powerful way.”

Over the course of 15 years in the Contemporary Christian Music Industry, Ray Boltz acquired three Dove Awards, two gold albums, one gold video, 12 NO. 1 singles, and sold more than 4 million units of product. 

After 30 years of marriage, four children, and a career most Christian artists only dream about, Ray Boltz came out to his wife and children. Ray read every book he could find on the topic, and outside of a Christian counselor, told no one about his struggle. According to Ray, “After 30 years of trying to overcome this, I finally realized this would never change. Being gay is not something I do, it is who I am.”

Two years ago, Ray came out. After coming out to his family, he says he felt the need to come out in a public way as well. Why?

There were two reasons. First, when Ray came out to his family, it put them in the closet. According to Ray, “I had a good marriage. People never suspected there were any problems. So if my kids were asked why we separated, they couldn’t be honest. By coming out publicly, they could be honest and authentic.”

The second reason Ray came out is because over the years, Ray had been visiting a variety of Metropolitan Community Churches and other gay-affirming churches.

“These churches were no different from the churches I had sung in for the past 30 years," he said. "They were seeking to worship God in a way they see fit.” Fortunately, they began asking him to sing. “I knew if I was going to do that, then I had to be completely honest and authentic about my life," he said.

Azariah Southworth grew up in a Pentecostal home where Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Paul and Jan Crouch, and Oral Roberts were the standards in television viewing habits. At the age of 13, Azariah begin seeing a Christian counselor to cure his homosexuality. 

The counselor’s perspective was that Azariah could be delivered from this sin. If he was close enough to God, if he was devoted enough and prayed enough, God would hear his cry for help. Additionally, Azariah began seeing a second counselor. This more secular-based counselor was going to teach him to understand and live with this homosexuality.


The Covenant of the Cross is located at 752 Madison Square. The concert begins at 7 p.m. on June 17. Admission is free however, a love offering will be taken.

However, after five years of seeing two counselors, guess what? Azariah was still gay.

Years later, when Azariah had moved to Nashville, he pitched the idea of hosting a Christian Music program to the right individual who edited the pilot, called it The ReMix, and the show went into production for 18 months. The show was syndicated to more than 128 million homes and watched by more than 200,000 per week on one network.  Though he was still closeted at work, Azariah had the opportunity to interview some of the leading names in Contemporary Christian Music: Avalon, Jars of Clay and Building 429 just to name a few.

However, he lost everything after announcing he was ready to live his life “authentically and honestly” in April of 2008. 

“I am looking forward to touring with Azariah Southworth during 2010," Boltz sid. "We both ‘came out’ publicly at the same time and we both have experienced acceptance from people who understand, and rejection from some of those who don’t. We hope by being “true” to who we are, we can make a difference for others in the same situation.”

Southworth added, “Ray’s and my story are very similar. On the tour, we will share our stories through the performance of spoken word and songs. As I share my stories in segments, Ray will play his new and old songs which convey the joy, heartache and healing we have experienced. This tour is our two stories which contain one message. That message is the hope and healing there is to be found by living true.”

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