Anyone who used X over the Christmas holiday most likely saw the viral commentary around #calendargate. Many of the women were targeted by commentary calling Conservative Dad’s calendar “demonic”. Bryson Gray was at the origin of these accusations.
I was up until this point only familiar with a handful of Gray’s songs. I wasn’t familiar with many of Gray’s positions on life, especially his religious beliefs. On 12/26 Gray invited me to debate him live in a Twitter space due to my defense of this particular calendar. Although our interaction was only roughly 20 minutes long, it gave me enough of a preview of the man that I wanted to find out more.
— Tim Sharp 🍊 🍊 🇺🇸 (@realtimsharp) December 26, 2023
It was obvious immediately that Gray holds his religious beliefs deeply, and for that I do not criticize him. Our founding Fathers, in their brilliance, guaranteed him that right. Having grown up in an Evangelical family, and even attended Christian school some of Gray’s positions seemed foreign to me so I asked probing questions.
Gray was very critical of the cover photo of Riley Gaines wearing a bikini. I asked Bryson if he would allow his wife to wear a bikini at the beach. His response to me was a resounding “no” and he stated that his wife “knew what he liked and knew she shouldn’t show too much skin.” I then followed up by asking him what denomination of religion he followed. He stated that he was not part of a denomination that he simply followed the Bible. I followed up by stating that since he had chosen not to be a Baptist must mean that he did not agree with Baptists, so that must be wrong as well.
It wasn’t until later in the evening that I received a tip that caused me to look closer at Gray’s religious association. The tip stated that Bryson was a member of a hybrid/fringe religious group.
I cut my journalistic teeth on investigative journalism, so the challenge of understanding the true process behind Gray’s passion was exciting. Not knowing exactly where to start, I went to the question I had thrown around my mind for months. Why did Bryson change his Twitter name to CCG Bryson?
A few targeted internet searches later and I arrived at CCG.org. CCG is an Acronym for Christian Churches of God. So much of my verbal interaction with Gray began to make sense when I looked at this website and it’s statement of beliefs.
Let me stop here and say that in America, Bryson Gray or anyone else is certainly free to practice whatever religion they choose. That being said, when you utilize religion as a bully pulpit, it is also fair to shine a spotlight as to why.
From a quick review of the CCG’s website, it appears as though this religious sect utilizes the Quran (which they spell Koran) in addition to the Bible.
This immediately resonated with me. During my verbal debate with Gray, I asked him why he did not call the original poster of the tweet he shared demonic as a Muslim woman.
I asked this question very respectfully fully believing that someone so committed to their Christian beliefs would be able to call a religion that is typically diametrically opposed to Christianity “demonic” very easily.
Gray’s only response to my question was that “Sameera doesn’t claim to be a Christian”. He never acknowledged my questions regarding his stance on her faith. Again, I take no issue with Bryson’s beliefs, faith nor church. I do take exception with his lack of transparency and selling himself as a “traditional” Christian.
This led me to another question in my mind. Bryson stated to me that he no longer supports Donald Trump because Trump had changed. I have seen no evidence of Trump changing from 2015 – now. I have, however, noticed a substantial shift in Bryson Gray. I’m not saying this change is good or bad, merely that it is there. Was Gray’s change of tone due to Trump’s 2017 Muslim travel ban?
Having abandoned Trump as the predominate subject of his music, Gray has since leaned heavily into his Christianity. In a November tweet Gray stated that becoming monetized was all about picking a sect and going all in on it.
It would certainly make sense for Gray to hide the true source of his beliefs to protect his monetization. By no means do I expect Gray to change his beliefs. He holds them dearly and I respect that. I also respect authenticity. When it comes to influencers, both conservative & liberal- believe nothing you hear, and only one of what you see.
Follow Tim Sharp on X at @realtimsharp.