Originally created 04/09/06

'Idol' contestant Mandisa not 'advocate' for gays



NEW YORK - Is ousted "American Idol" contestant Mandisa anti-gay?

The 29-year-old soul singer and outspoken Christian, who was voted off the hit Fox show Wednesday, says she would not perform at an event held in support of the gay community.

Mandisa, a native of Antioch, Tenn., tells Advocate magazine, "Based on what I believe, I'm not an advocate for (being gay), so it's nothing I would take part in."

Still, she says in an interview in the magazine's Web site, she's "really upset" by speculation she endorses the ex-gay movement - a collection of Christian groups that seek to alter sexual orientation. The speculation stemmed from comments she made on the "American Idol" Web site praising author and speaker Beth Moore, of Living Proof Ministries. Moore's Web site has links to groups such as Exodus International that discourage homosexuality.

"It broke my heart," Mandisa says. "I live my life by the value system that you treat others the way you want to be treated. I let love be my guide. I absolutely hate no one."

Long a favorite of "Idol" judges, she says her views "could have contributed" to her surprising elimination. "Idol" contestants are trimmed weekly based on fan voting.

"Honestly, I'm not sure," she says. "I've heard a lot of different theories about what could have happened, and all of 'em sound pretty decent to me."