Carol Boltz finds herself the focus of public attention these days as a result of circumstances beyond her control: just a few years ago and after thirty years of marriage, her husband Ray told her he was gay. This confession came forth when Carol and their grown children gathered around him and confronted him with their fears about his state of mind. They were stunned. When they realized his anguish, they responded with loving affirmation.
Ray Boltz has had an extraordinarily successful career as a popular Christian singer, selling over four million records. Carol worked with him in the music business, happy to be a supportive wife and mother. With Ray's confession, everything in her world changed. It took a few years of coming to terms before Ray made his announcement public. By then, he and Carol were divorced.
This sounds similar to a number of other stories about public figures, but there is one major difference: Carol doesn't cry "woe is me." She still loves Ray and has stepped up to defend him. She tells fellow Christians that the fundamental interpretation of the Bible is wrong. She knows now that you can't "pray it away" and she will patiently explain it to anyone who will hear.
On her blog "My Heart Goes Out..." Carol constantly receives angry email from people who claim to be Christians. She says that the majority of the feedback from straight people is negative. Most of it she deletes because the authors are not interested in discourse. When she does respond, she is gentle and firm. Carol knows where these believers come from, and she addresses their fears and accusations with grace. She offers solace to straight spouses in mixed-orientation marriages and writes in her blog that "it makes more sense for gay people to marry gay people."
When we met recently, we talked the afternoon away in a coffee shop in Muncie. Carol is a warm and intelligent woman with a great laugh. Amid the laughter, as we shared our stories, it became apparent that she is lonely for the life that changed forever when her husband revealed his truth. She was living the life she wanted and loved. Many of her friends have since abandoned her, but I suspect it is for the crime of being single. For all of her hardships, she would not go back because she is a woman of integrity.
Forced to deal with homosexuality on a personal level for the first time, Carol learned to look at the Bible in a new way and find its true meaning. Her faith remains strong in the face of life changes so great that she is building anew at an age when some are thinking about settling in to a quiet denouement. The LGBT community has a strong and able ally.
She is somewhat uncomfortable in the spotlight which shines on her, but she won't back away. Carol is not like other public figures' wives who have capitalized on their situations with books that ask the reader to sympathize with their plight. Everything I've read about or by Carol conveys her stance that this isn't about her at all. Her story points not to herself but to faith, forgiveness, integrity and love. Hers is a story everyone should know.
Ray Boltz photo by Nellie Doneva of the Reporter-News