Dolly Parton has said celebrities should stick to providing entertainment. However, the country music star felt compelled to give her fellow countrymen some advice about good versus evil.
Dolly Parton is one of those rare entertainers who has said it’s not her place to lecture Americans on politics. However, there’s one thing she feels very strongly about, and that is her Christian faith. While performing her hit song Go to Hell during her annual Christmas special, the Hall of Fame musician felt compelled to give Americans a wake-up call.
“My brothers and my sisters, I am here to tell you that Satan is real,” the Grammy-winning songstress said during her Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas special on NBC. “He is real and walking around amongst us, trying to destroy everything that’s good and beautiful.”
Parton went on to rebuke the Devil. “[Satan] wants to break our hearts and minds, destroy our dreams and plans,” she said. “He wants to tear us up in little pieces, break us down, and send us straight to hell.” The singer continued, “Oh, my God can do anything. My God can heal the sick, mend broken hearts, and take our souls to heaven. So Satan, listen up, in God’s name I rebuke you. I stand up in his name, look you in the eye, and laugh in your ugly face.”
Parton then began singing again: “Go to hell, go to hell, go back where you belong. Take your drugs and your alcohol, your lust, and your greed, go to hell with your corruption, just get away from me. Go to hell in a handbasket, because heaven waits for me.”
Dolly Parton has never been shy about her strong Christian roots. “Every single day, before I do anything, I wake up and thank God for the night and ask him to bless the day,” she said. “And bring all the right stuff in. And just to guide me, lead me. And I always pray that he’ll let me uplift mankind and glorify him.”
In the series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, Parton recalls how an older woman at church told her that God had “anointed” her – a prophecy she says “triggered a faith in me” and drove her to serve God in her music. In her biography, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, she explains: “I’m not that religious, but I’m very, very spiritual. I grew up in very religious surroundings. I grew up with a Bible background, and I’m glad I did. I know my Bible stories.”
According to Premier Christianity, “There’s something about the witty sophistication and sharp turn of phrase of a good country song that sets the stage for profound truth-telling, and Dolly is a master of that art form. From ‘Coat of many Colors’, an ode to the richness of love in her humble beginnings (as well as Bible hero Joseph), to her earnest beseeching of ‘Jolene’ to leave her man alone, she writes from the heart – and we all feel it.”
Country songs are the one place in music where Christianity is regularly allowed to feel a little more mainstream. Christian artists often hold a special affection for fellow believers, and Dolly Parton has always been open about her strong faith. Her grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher so, growing up, she was no stranger to the Gospel and attended church regularly. American country music has reflected the state of the nation, and Parton’s spontaneous rebuke of the Devil during a primetime moment on TV will be a small part of her legacy.
Another moment that caused Parton some distress was during the 2017 Emmy Awards. The Tennesee native faced some backlash when she was reunited with her 1980 comedy film, 9 to 5, co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. While the iconic trio received a standing ovation the moment they took center stage, it took a turn when Tomlin and Fonda made a dig at President Donald Trump – calling him a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”
Parton looked visibly shocked and lightened the mood by throwing a joke at her own expense. “I don’t do politics. I’m an entertainer,” Parton said in an interview a month after the 2017 Emmy Awards. “When I’m out there if all else fails, I just do a boob joke.” While she got hammered on social media, one actor who came to her defense for refusing to take part in bashing the president was James Woods. “Do not judge Dolly Parton because she was caught between two gargoyles,” Woods posted on Twitter. “I guarantee she would never have approved that copy ahead of time. She is a very sweet person by nature. I am certain she was so caught off-guard, she was literally speechless.”