What’s been called the “war on Christmas” is often a case of secular liberals wanting to engage in Christmas denial. In the name of not wanting to offend people of minority faiths (or no faith), they remove the C-word from department-store catalogs and remove Christmas songs from public-school concerts, leaving us with lame messages about snow.
But there’s another kind of Christmas denial: the kind that simply stomps on Christianity as ridiculous and kicks over the nativity set. Take the atheist punk band Bad Religion and their new record of Christmas songs they found “hilarious” to record.
Co-founder Brett Gurewitz told LA Weekly “Clearly, it's a satire. We were rolling on the floor a lot of the time...it felt like a Monty Python skit to me."
Greg Graffin, the other co-founder, is a part-time professor of biology and author of a book called “Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion In a World Without God.” This is Graffin in a nutshell: “Our faith should be expressed in working toward a better planet for our children and not the selfish, juvenile hope for a better afterlife for ourselves. I don’t think anyone is going to Hell, because it only exists in the minds of people who wish ill will on others."
Bad Religion’s “Christmas Songs” album is concluded by a song called “American Jesus,” which rips on America and Christianity. The lyrics start with an apparent conservative Christian’s take: “I feel sorry for the earth's population / 'Cause so few live in the U.S.A. / At least the foreigners can copy our morality / They can visit but they cannot stay.”
Then it turns to God, and the band lets it fly: “He's the farmer's barren fields, the force the army wields, the expression on the faces of the starving millions / The power of the man, He's the fuel that drives the Klan, He's the motive and conscience of the murderer / The nuclear bombs, the kids with no moms, and I'm fearful that he's inside me.”
Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” was suspended from A&E for expressing his Christian beliefs to GQ magazine. How do these elites react to an entertainer that slams Christianity?
Will it surprise you this album drew an eight-minute promotion on taxpayer-funded National Public Radio? On a Sunday night “news” program? NPR anchor Rachel Martin played a clip of their takedown of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and wise-cracked that listening to it, “you find yourself engaged in a spontaneous episode of fist pumping. Maybe a family mosh pit because things are about to get rowdy.”
Martin called them “the esteemed punk band Bad Religion” and laughed along with them as she promoted their “haunting bass line,” their “awesome guitar solo,” their “very tight, lovely produced harmony.” The segment had everything a salesman would love except the question “So where can we all buy it?”
What it did not have was a single challenging question about every offensive lyric and argument listed above. There was no time in eight minutes to discuss the assertion that “American Jesus” drives the KKK, and no time to examine the “selfish, juvenile hope for an afterlife.” Gurewitz did repeat to NPR that recording the songs was “hilarious” and added he has a “twisted sense of humor.”
“This is something that you're doing a little tongue-in-cheek,” Martin lamely suggested. Graffin agreed: “The band's name is Bad Religion and we have a long history of questioning religion and social norms and being skeptics and so forth. So we thought that that would make it a really fun thing to do.”
Would gays have accepted Robertson’s statement had he defended it as “a really fun thing to do”?