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*Gospel superstar Kirk Franklin has never shied away from controversy. In 2007, he admitted that his “addiction” to pornography almost ended his marriage.

Last fall, he apologized to the gay community for the way the church has treated gays, behavior that Franklin thinks is homophobic and not in line with Christ’s message.

Now, one of gospel music’s biggest stars is encouraging listeners to lose their religion with the release of his 11th studio album, appropriately entitled Losing My Religion.

The album debuted at the #1 position on Billboard’s Gospel Album chart, marking Franklin’s 11th consecutive #1 debut. The album’s initial single, “Wanna Be Happy,” debuted atop the Gospel Digital Songs and Hot Gospel Songs charts and has earned Franklin his latest Grammy nomination, for Best Gospel Song / Performance.

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Franklin is busily preparing for his 20 Years In One Night Tour this spring. It’s the star’s first-ever solo tour and will be a retrospective of his career, which has garnered him nine Grammy Awards, 40 Stellar Awards and 16 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.

The 45-year-old superstar graciously made time for an in-depth conversation about his new album, how he’s overcome the bounds of fear, how Christians have fallen short of representing God, and what we can expect from him on his upcoming tour. The following are excerpts from our incredible conversation.

On why he’s encouraging folks to “lose their religion”:

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