Rapper Common May Have Thanked God After Winning an Oscar, but John Legend Has Religious Doubts February 22, 2015

Rapper Common May Have Thanked God After Winning an Oscar, but John Legend Has Religious Doubts

If you’re watching the Oscars, you just saw rapper Common and John Legend (or, rather, Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens) win an Academy Award for their song “Glory” from Selma.

When they accepted the award, Common immediately thanked God, making him only the fifth person (and fourth black person) to do so over the past 12 years.

You might be interested to know, though, that John Legend has doubts about his faith.

Or had them, anyway. In 2008, he told Big Think:

I have my issues with faith nowadays. I grew up in a religious home, but I’m not religious right now. But I’m trying to get back in touch with the things that were good about the faith that I grew up with.

I never lost the sense of moral compass. I never lost the sense that the world is bigger than just me, and that there’s more to life than just me as an individual, that there’s a lot more. And I try to live that way now, and I think I was influenced by my religious upbringing in that sense. I was taught that.

What I’ve tried to do is shed some of the less desirable sides of the religious upbringing as well. I saw a lot of hypocrisy. I felt like religion, in a lot of ways, was used to control and subdue people rather than to bring out the best in them sometimes. And so I’ve tried to shed some of those restrictions, but still keep the moral compass and the character development aspects of religion that I think were really important for me.

I’m not sure what Legend thinks about God now, seven years later, but his acceptance speech didn’t include a shout-out to a Higher Power. Instead, he focused on the struggle for social justice and civil rights, voting rights, and incarceration.

Much more useful, in my opinion, than spending time onstage thanking a God who allowed that injustice to occur in the first place.

(Image via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com. Thanks to @JamilaRobinson for the tip. This story has been edited since originally going up.)


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