Pastor: Nelly concert a 'wake-up call'
Staff Writer | July 24, 2021 1:08 AM
COMING SUNDAY: Don't fear the rapper/Press editorial
COEUR d'ALENE — The pastor of a Coeur d'Alene church on Friday refuted rumors that racism is the reason some have come out in opposition to rapper Nelly's upcoming performance at the North Idaho State Fair.
"This I find appalling!" Van Noy wrote in a commentary he shared Friday with The Press. "To judge a person based upon their ethnicity is condemned in Scripture and is an insult to our Creator."
Van Noy, who leads Candlelight Christian Fellowship Church, also echoed Mayor Steve Widmyer in calling for an end to reported threatening, “hateful” phone calls to fair organizers over the concert. Both men said such behavior is unacceptable.
"I have been asked for help in navigating through what may harm the local community reputation — and I will," Van Noy wrote.
Van Noy said he recently received a phone call from a Kootenai County official seeking advice over the sold-out Nelly concert scheduled Aug. 23.
Before that, Van Noy said, he wasn't familiar with Nelly or his music, "but learned that the decision had caused upset in the community."
"Moreover, I learned that Nelly has performed music of an extremely explicit nature and that he himself has been far less than the role model most would want for their children or community," Van Noy wrote.
After checking out Nelly and his music, Van Noy wrote that he "came to believe that the decision makers made a poor choice by inviting such entertainment to our local state fair."
Still, he had little involvement until recently, when he said he heard from several key decision makers, county and city officials, members of the press, local community members, and one member from Candlelight.
"The concerns related to both the shameful lyrical messaging and recent problems with the artist’s reputation, community upset, and how to navigate the problems," he wrote. "At the other end, I heard from panicked, frightened, broken, disturbed, and hurting persons — one of whom was wounded and crying — by what was perceived to be threats by “Conservatives and Christians on a mission to destroy.”
He wrote that "At least one person has suggested the push back against this concert/performer is related to race."
Van Noy disagreed and said he considers the concert a "wake-up call" for the community.
"As I said earlier, the decision makers made a poor choice by inviting such entertainment to our local state fair. However, that decision has now been made. Moving forward will require evaluation, truth and grace."
Van Noy said he has been asked and agreed to serve on the North Idaho State Fair entertainment selection committee for next year.
He said he will also be leading church services at the fair on Aug. 22 and Aug. 29
He called on anyone who doesn't like Nelly's music not to take it out on fair organizers, vendors, participants and sponsors.
"Support those things that serve to enhance the community and all our local families," he wrote.