Do you like Christian pop music? If not, I guess you’d better come around to it, because the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings against both a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) and the separation of church and state (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District) make me afraid of whatever the court’s next trick is, and at this moment, freedom of expression, certainly any form that fails to portray Jesus in anything other than an effusively positive light, seems to be as fair game as anything else.
Of course, such reactionary rulings are clearly not enough for this court’s conservative majority, seeing as it has already weakened the Voting Rights Act and has indicated that it will take aim at birth control and marital equality in the near future.
“The court has only just begun” is a popular chorus right now, and by the end of this week, the statutes of the Environmental Protection Agency may also be at the mercy of the states, and it is obvious that the right-wing justices are not going to stop until they have nullified, repurposed, and/or reshaped every aspect of American life that does not already fall within the narrow, fearful parameters of white, evangelical Christian values. So, one more time, do you like Christian pop?
Or let me ask that this way: Does the possibility of the Supreme Court somehow circumscribing the contents of creative expression sound completely absurd and unlikely? Well, so did the possibility that they would overturn 50 years of reproductive rights, just like there was no way these justices would reverse the premise that government employees shall not elevate one kind of religious belief or practice over another. Gee, who could have expected this.
Not me, and not you, probably, because the Cancel Roe v. Wade Bogeyman never seemed real, not when Mitch McConnell used a bullshit pretext to refuse to hold a confirmation hearing for Barack Obama’s own Supreme Court nominee, and not when Donald Trump ascended to the Oval Office, and not even when his three appointees swore up and down under oath that they would leave Roe v. Wade alone. Again, does the capacity for this Supreme Court to destroy any aspect of our lives that exists beyond the comfort zone of white, right-wing, evangelical Christians sound too absurd? How long before we read a Neil Gorsuch opinion in which he quotes the lyrics from “God Gave Rock and Roll to You”? I bet he lifts them from the Petra version, because Petra is Christian pop. How does that sound? Petra. In your earholes. For all eternity. Chew on that like a communion wafer.
God did not give rock ’n’ roll to us. Black people did. And before that, they gave us R&B, gospel and soul, jazz, and the blues, the last of which being born of their own lived existence in the racist, oppressive South. All the foundations of modern American popular music come from Black people, and each sound has long since been appropriated and transmogrified into material that fits in better with white, Christian preferences. With this Supreme Court, is it too outlandish to think they might take this appropriation even further? Do you like Christian pop? Because the party that bans books and passes legislation popularly known as the “Don’t Say Gay Law” is not actually in favor of free speech, despite what it would have you believe by guaranteeing a public high school football coach the right to pressure people into praying with him to the god of his choice on the 50-yard line at a game. I wouldn’t put it past that party, via its agents on the Supreme Court, to make it legally difficult for artists to express anything other than Christian-pleasing sentiments. You think Gorsuch, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas, with the full-throated support of Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh, won’t take aim at all the other things Christian culture opposes? Because if you do, I have a box of Petra tapes to sell you. You might as well start getting acquainted with them.
Do you like Christian pop? Because if you don’t vote against the GOP and its theocratic, misogynist, racist, anti-freedom agenda, Christian pop will be what we’re left with. — Steve Steward
This column reflects the opinions of the editorial board and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. Submissions will be edited for factuality, clarity, and concision.