Eurovision is a kind of European Idol – a competition to find the best singer in Europe. This year marks its 60th anniversary, and to commemorate the organizers decided to invite a competitor from one non-European nation. They chose Australia - my country - on the grounds that the contest has been shown here on television each year for many years and has become exceptionally popular.
Representing Australia will be Guy Sebastian, a charismatic young singer with a beautiful voice who has achieved enormous fame over the past decade. He will be singing a number he composed himself, “Tonight Again.”
Guy was once a devout Christian, and for his fellow Christians his story is a sad one. He was born in Malaysia, but his family emigrated to Australia when he was young. He attended King’s Baptist Grammar School in Adelaide and became a worship leader at Paradise Community Church, part of the Assemblies of God and one of Australia’s largest churches.
But then fame struck. In 2003 he won the very first Australian Idol television event. Many such winners are never heard from again. But Guy’s star grew only brighter. His debut song, “Angels Brought Me Here,” went on to become Australia’s top-selling song of the decade.
Sadly, as his fame grew, his faith withered. At the beginning of his career he openly praised God, and he spoke forthrightly of his Christian values. For example, he made it clear that he believed it important to retain his virginity until marriage.
But, as he became absorbed by the glitter and the bright lights of show business, he started to change. In 2012, now one of Australia’s most popular entertainers, he announced that, while he still believed in God, it was important not to impose one’s beliefs on others.
"What I was told in regards to so many things was so wrong,” he told a journalist, concerning his lapsed faith. “I've gone from a place where I was told there was one way and only one way, to being more in a place where I don't think anyone has the right to say what they believe is more important or more significant." He came out in favour of gay marriage.
On his own website is a biography which does not even refer to his faith, but simply describes him as having “a reputation as a person of the highest moral values and integrity.”
Like most Australians I shall be cheering for Guy to win the Eurovision contest. But at the same time I shall pray that he can return to the God who has blessed him with so many wonderful gifts.