Christian Rock Thursdays: Abortion is Murder

I learned that abortion was wrong before I learned what abortion was. I later learned that abortion was murdering an unborn child. I learned both of these things from Christian rock songs.

A typical example was “Who Will” by DeGarmo & Key, from their 1989 album “The Pledge”, which I found for £1 in a Christian bookshop bargain bin in about 1992. I was seven at the time. I never actually liked “Who Will” very much, but I heard it a fair bit because my dad played the whole album in the car. He never talked to me about the lyrics or what the meant, but I took it that everything therein had his approval since it was Christian and he kept playing it.

Also, because the song is so plodding and dull, you haven’t got much to do except listen to the lyrics, so that’s what I did.

It’s in his image they’re created, each one a precious gift of life,
How can we steal away their future?
What gives us the power? What gives us the right?

Who will stand up for the children?
Who will fight the battle for them?
Who will speak up for the unborn child?

I suppose D&K were a bit like a Christian version of Huey Lewis and the News. The song I actually liked most on this album was “Aliens and Strangers“, because the riff reminded me a tiny bit of Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”, which I loved but wasn’t allowed to buy. I don’t really hear the similarity now, but I suppose I took what I could get.

ANYWAY, back to Christian Right propaganda. It wasn’t only D&K. In Carman’s song “America Again” (which deserves an entry in this series in its own right), he claimed “Every day a new holocaust of 5,000 unborn die”. My favourite band, Petra, had an anti-abortion message in “Hey World“, but I was too young to decipher the lyrics. I’m not going to try to catalogue all the anti-abortion songs of my youth. There was just an unwritten list of topics Christian bands had to sing about, and this was one of them.

Oh, I will also mention Barren Cross’s profoundly tasteless “Killers of the Unborn” (trigger warning):


Lay her down, commence to drill
A primo murder, the legal kill
I am a child about to die
My mother does not hear my cry

Apart from their sheer crassness, the lyrics are full of misinformation: They make out that foetuses are fully conscious  and that the foetus will feel a lot of pain during the procedure. They also make that, afterwards, the woman will definitely experience crushing guilt, for which the only solution is repenting and becoming a Christian. And the way the foetus is personified throughout, even as a literary device, is downright disturbing. “No, no, they’re gonna kill me”, the song ends, “I feel, I feel the pain. NO!!!!”

When I was young I had an encyclopaedia called The Guinness Who’s Who of Heavy Metal. Only a handful of Christian bands had entries, and most of them were not kind. Barren Cross, however, got a rave review. It mentioned that they discussed difficult topics like alcoholism and abortion, praising them for “exploring rather than simply condemning these issues”. I fail to see any exploration in Barren Cross’s command to STOP THE KILLING!

I watched Louis Theroux’s documentary on Westboro Baptist Church this week. It was interesting; in many ways, WBC is far more extreme than anything I ever encountered. I know the Christians I grew up with would be appalled by Fred Phelps, while simultaneously failing to see all the ways they are just like WBC. The most memorable part of the documentary for me is when Louis asks Shirley’s children what the signs mean: Who’s a fag? Why is it wrong to be one? The kids don’t know. They just know it’s wrong. Just like I just knew abortion was murder and communism was evil. And before that, I’d known that Jesus’ virgin birth made him divine, even though I had no idea what a virgin was.

The Christian rock music I heard growing up was not about art; it was the youth propaganda arm of the Christian Right. It hit all the usual Moral Majority political talking points, while being carefully packaged  as a Christianised version of the music we wished we could listen to but weren’t allowed. This was indoctrination. They weren’t explaining these ideas to me; they were just bombarding me with the message that if I wanted to be good, this is what I would believe. I was taken along because Christian rock stars were my heroes and because (most of the time) I liked the music. It was emotional manipulation, and they were training me to vote the right way on issues that matter to social conservatives.

At the same time, they were helping to further the isolation of Christian kids from The Unsaved. If the Christian kids don’t listen to the same music as The World, then they don’t have as much in common. It’s harder for them to socialise with non-Christians, making them feel greater solidarity with the other kids in church.

And now I really fucking resent it.

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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on October 16, 2014, in Atheism, Christian rock, Christianity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. “He never talked to me about the lyrics or what the meant, but I took it that everything therein had his approval since it was Christian and he kept playing it.”

    This is familiar. I’m sure a lot of the things I learned at home weren’t positively endorsed by my parents, but they never expressed a qualification or discussed them, so I assumed it was all approved.

  2. Jonny, this is an excellent treatise on the propaganda as delivered by the cult of Christianity. I say cult, because of isolation, repeated messages from a young age (before understanding), wrapped in outright lies and misinformation.
    And you damn well SHOULD resent it. People are not doing their kids a service to do this to them. People are stifled intellectually and morally when only given a fixed set of rules and beliefs with no wiggle room for introspect and dissection of the matters.

    I see the results daily of adults who were raised from childhood to distrust any critical thought they might have. There are NO skills for discernment of information, as to whether it is credible and what could be bull. I would say we see this also manifest on places like Faux News, where opinions are treated the same as facts… as if both are equally subjective.

    Thank you for pointing to this indoctrination technique. Glad you made it out. For the record, I resent the brainwashing, too!

  3. “I float inside her womb
    Oh mother, I am coming soon
    Suddenly, fear and dread
    When mother says she wants me dead

    Oh, how can you do this to me?

    Thousands come
    Please don’t kill me
    Thousands go
    I want to live

    Day by day
    Can anyone hear me
    The numbers grow
    I want to live

    God hears them cry
    We hear the lie
    And we simply
    Look the other way”

    The lustriously haired Holy Soldier’s effort. Quite a chilling, as in ‘eerily effective’ song too.

    However, blatantly one sided.

    God cares about the suffering of the unborn, but as soon as you make it through, well, it’s anything goes…

    • What’s with this trend for pretending the unborn somehow have total knowledge of what’s going on around them and outside the mother’s body?

      Also, what song is that? I liked Holy Soldier but I don’t recognise those lyrics. My favourite HS song is “Dead End Drive”, which I still think is pretty cool, if you pretend the devil and hell are just a metaphor.

      • See No Evil, from the eponymous debut album (in my opinion significantly better than Last Train, [they’re both on Spotify])

        No need to pretend 😉

  4. Ah yes, the sweet sweet cries of those against abortion. I grew up much like Jonny says, where abortion was wrong, but I didn’t really know much about it. Sure, there were the plastic little fetuses to hand out, tiny fingers and all. And sure there were plenty of ‘sound’ arguments such as, ‘you will regret it forever and ever if you have an abortion unless you turn your dark heart over to Jesus’ or ‘yes, becoming pregnant through rape is unfortunate, but having an abortion is simply adding a trauma to a trauma and must not be done.’

    And yeah, the one about the woman who had an abortion and then became pregnant again shortly afterwards was confusing. After all, if she hadn’t had an abortion then the next pregnancy never would have happened; and so on for the six kids which followed that one. But the answer was clear and real, “I guess I’ll just get to meet [the aborted fetus] in heaven, kind of like a bonus.” No word on what sort of personality traits an aborted fetus might possess.

    Funny thing is that when I finally did the actual research (after years of saying, ‘it will be a person at some point so you shouldn’t do it’, even long after I’d let Jesus go for good) did I recognize a zygote for what it was and realize just how self-righteous and clueless the anti-choice people truly are. Especially when you consider how little they seem to care about the destitute child once it’s, you know, born. And the thing is, it didn’t exactly take a lot of research to understand these basic biological facts,

    It’s completely a personal choice. I do think it should be done as soon as possible once the decision is made, and not right up to the day before the child is due to be born (which is technically legal in Canada!). I also think the proper weight should be given to making such a choice, though without the ‘all or nothing’ mentality so pervasive in North America at the moment.

    As for DeGarmo & Key, the main thing I remember about them is being surprised that Dana could also be a boys’ name!

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