Christian Musicians and Swearing

Joel Hartse on the recent Derek Webb “scandal”:

What does it say about evangelical Christians that we (yes, we, I’m implicated) bandy about the name of the Almighty God of the Universe — one represented by the four letters YHWH in Jewish tradition — in our pop songs, but tremble in fear before other four-letter words?


Of course, Christian rock has something of a history when it comes to taboo words, going all the way back to Larry Norman singing about gonorrhea, not to mention various fiascoes involving the Violet Burning, Pedro the Lion, Over the Rhine, and Brave Saint Saturn, who have, from time to time, uttered (or even almost uttered, or uttered quietly) “bad words” in the course of pop songs and never lived to hear the end of it.

My knowing this — my being able to recite such a list — seems petty and nit-picking, even to me, but I can’t escape it. While I was forming my pop-culture-consciousness, I learned to count the number of Jesuses and the number of swears in songs, in a kind of bizarre cultural/theological equation. I grew out of it, kind of, but I grew to be the kind of person who notices when Derek Webb is accused of being a pottymouth.

FYI, here’s the “scandal” in question. As for my take on the whole “scandal”, if you can even call it that… yawn.

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