What would it take for you to buckle to the pressure and temptation of the secular world? How much would it take to acquiesce and let sin taint your conscience? For some, it only takes a push. But for others, they are willing to sacrifice everything they’ve worked so hard for in order to maintain their moral standards.
This week on The Cale Clarke Show, Cale talked about the recent developments with the band Mumford and Sons and the departure of their lead guitarist and banjo player, Winston Marshall.
During the pandemic quarantine, Marshall tweeted out that he finally got a chance to read the book Unmasked by Andy Ngo, a journalist famous for documenting the violence of Antifa, and he commended Ngo for his work and for his bravery. Almost immediately, an internet mob eviscerated Marshall and the band online, labeling them fascists and bigots. Understandably upset, as some of Marshall’s ancestors died in the Holocaust, he made an apology in an attempt to stave off the explosive backlash. However, the apology began eating at him as it wasn’t an expression of how he really felt, but a defensive maneuver.
Eventually, after spending some time thinking about the moral ramifications of such a statement, Marshall retracted his apology. He felt that he had catered to the will of the populace rather than sticking to what he believed to be right and it was plaguing his conscience. His moral compass had been scrambled in the heat of the moment as he attempted to do damage control. But unfortunately, it wasn’t just Marshall feeling the hate: the horde wanted the other band members canceled too.
While the mob continued to attack Mumford and Sons over the support for Andy Ngo, Marshall’s bandmates supported him, encouraging him to stay with the group and weather the storm. But it wasn’t to be. He couldn’t justify the fact that even though the other members stood by him, they weren’t the ones who had brought this trouble to the doorstep. He had. So he decided to leave the band. In an article he wrote, he explained, “I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning.” (Weiss, 2021)
That was something we rarely see from celebrities in a position like Marshall’s. Almost daily, we witness actors, athletes, and musicians getting swallowed whole by their industry and the associated lifestyle. How did Marshall have the presence of mind to walk away from this lucrative career, his best friends, and legacy? In an interview with reporter Bari Weiss, he came clean, “Certainly for me, my faith has played a big part in this period of my life. And actually the week before making the final decision, I was pretty much planted in my local Catholic Church around the corner from the house because it felt like a really big…it has been a bloody big moment for me.”
Marshall concluded that leaving the band was the only way he could keep his conscience clear in maintaining his true beliefs without attracting more negative attention to his bandmates. It certainly wasn’t this isolated instance that triggered his early exit, but the anticipation of things to come. Surely, this would not be the last time he would be asked to bow before the mob if he had stayed.
Virginia Aabram of the National Catholic Register commended Marshall’s actions for not only listening to his conscience amidst the temptation of money, fame, and legacy, but for calmly and humbly allowing himself to be guided by the Holy Spirit while in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. After this period of meditation and living with his decision, Marshall said he finally had peace. “I feel like I got my soul back. I feel good now.”
“So that’s an interesting story about somebody following their conscience right out of one of the most famous bands on the face of the earth,” concluded Cale. “But ultimately, it’s worth it.”
While we may miss Winston Marshall’s talents at concerts and festivals, he provided us with perhaps a far more valuable experience. On a stage bigger than any other, he refused to back down against those who would seek to silence and tear down others, and he sacrificed his career so that his conscience could rest easy and his loved ones could know peace.
Listen below for the full story:
Tune in to The Cale Clarke Show at 5pm CT
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