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Musician Taylor Swift has a long history of staying silent on political and religious subjects. But with her new documentary, Miss Americana coming to Netflix, and the trying times of the past several years, she’s begun to speak up. Here’s what Swift has to say about religion and the political figures who use it to twist their messaging.

Taylor Swift has always worked to not alienate her base

Taylor Swift attends Billboard Women In Music 2019
Taylor Swift attends Billboard Women In Music 2019 | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Billboard

When she first broke out, Swift was known as a country singer. Country music, more than any other genre, is known for its more conservative base, and Christian values are often incorporated. Because of this, and her young age, it was very important for her to remain silent on political matters.

However, it wasn’t until more recently that Swift realized how her image had been linked to white supremacist groups. “I didn’t even see that, but, like, if that happened, that’s just disgusting. There’s literally nothing worse than white supremacy. It’s repulsive. There should be no place for it,” she said in a 2019 interview.

She changed her mind in recent years

During the Reputation era, Swift didn’t speak about much of anything, allowing her music to be the message. But she went through a very dramatic shift over the past couple of years since the album’s release and is now more committed than ever to revealing her beliefs.

Take, for instance, her single “You Need to Calm Down.” She used the 2019 hit to convey the intolerance of many towards the LGBTQ+ community. Swift also took further action, speaking out against Marsha Blackburn, who ran for Senate in her home state of Tennessee. For her work, she is being honored by GLAAD.

Why she spoke out against Blackburn

In a Variety profile on Miss Americana, Swift explained that she told her team of Blackburn, “I can’t see another commercial [with] her disguising these policies behind the words ‘Tennessee Christian values.’ I live in Tennessee. I am Christian. That’s not what we stand for.” She’s made it clear that her religious values are important to her here.

Her decision to speak out wasn’t taken lightly by her team (or her father, who worried about her safety). But Swift was confident. “This was a situation where, from a humanity perspective, and from what my moral compass was telling me I needed to do, I knew I was right, and I really didn’t care about repercussions,” she said.

Swift’s anger towards certain politicians

When “You Need to Calm Down” was released, some felt that it was almost too over-the-top in its lyrics. But Swift felt that it was important to make her views crystal clear. “To celebrate but not advocate felt wrong for me,” she said. “Using my voice to try to advocate was the only choice to make. Because I’ve talked about equality and sung about it in songs like ‘Welcome to New York,’ but we are at a point where human rights are being violated.”

Swift continued, lamenting the messaging used by conservative politicians to pass hateful legislation. “When you’re saying that certain people can be kicked out of a restaurant because of who they love or how they identify, and these are actual policies that certain politicians vocally stand behind, and they disguise them as family values, that is sinister. So, so dark,” she said.