Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bad Religion - "American Jesus"
from Recipe of Hate (1993)

Recipe For Hate

In "American Jesus," Bad Religion are singing about bad Christianity. Unfortunately their perception of the faithful and their stinging commentary have a ring of truth.

Lyrics:
I don't need to be a global citizen,
'Cuz I'm blessed by nationality.
I'm member of a growing populace,
We enforce our popularity.
There are things that seem to pull us under and,
There are things that drag us down.
But there's a power and a vital presence,
It's lurking all around.
We've got the American Jesus,
See him on the interstate.
We've got the American Jesus,
He helped build the President's estate.
I feel sorry for the Earth's population,
'Cuz so few live in the U.S.A.
At least the foreigners can copy our morality,
They can visit but they cannot stay.
Only precious few can garner our prosperity,
It makes us walk with renewed confidence.
We got a place to go when we die,
And the architect resides right here.
We've got the American Jesus,
Bolstering national faith.
We've got the American Jesus,
Overwhelming millions every day.
He's the farmer's barren fields,
The force the army wields,
Expressions on the faces of the starving millions,
The power of the man,
He's the fuel that drives the clan,
He's the motive and the conscience of the murderer,
He's the preacher on T.V. ,
The false sincerity,
The form letter that's written by the big computers,
The nuclear bombs,
The kids with no moms,
And I'm fearful that he's inside me...
We've got the American Jesus
See him on the interstate
We've got the American Jesus
Exercising his authority
We've got the American Jesus
Bolstering national faith
We've got the American Jesus
Overwhelming millions every day
One nation, under God...


Is the American Jesus that they sing of the same as Jesus, the Christ? Fortunately he is not; unfortunately most who share in the opinions of this song probably think that the two are the same.

So how is this "American Jesus" described? The song talks about power and vital presence in our government of invoking the name of Jesus. A Jesus who has ties to our president. The songs sarcastically mentions American morality which we export to be modeled by the rest of the world. The song labels Jesus as the architect resides right here. The lyrics speak of a national faith and thus allude to any military action as Holy War. The American Jesus is spoken of as being overwhelming.

One of the key chunks of this song is where the lyric goes, "He's the fuel that drives the clan, He's the motive and the conscience of the murderer, He's the preacher on T.V. , The false sincerity, The form letter that's written by the big computers, The nuclear bombs, The kids with no moms, And I'm fearful that he's inside me." Here is the picture that's being painted as to how Christians are pardied. It's rather sad really that someone would fear having Christ inside them. And why?

Everyonce and a while I'll scan through the 7 or 8 "Christian" stations on the satellite dish. If I were to base my perceptions of Christians and Christianity solely on these programs, presidential speaches and the news media's presentation of faith in America. I might write a song like this one as well.

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