Hozier’s Song “Take Me To Church:” What a Waste!

What a waste! Hozier has written and recorded a song with great vocals, a haunting melody, great dynamics and chord progressions. However, his lyrics are filled with religious bigotry, and intolerance against people of the Christian faith.

Andrew Hozier-Byrne’s Grammy nominated song “Take Me to Church” has garnered international acclaim with its re-release in September of 2014 on his album with the same title. This song has registered over 122 million views on Youtube and Hozier’s album has gone triple platinum achieving number one status in 12 countries (Wikipedia).  The Youtube video portrays two gay men kissing passionately and being viciously assaulted by an anti-gay gang. Of course, no decent and sincere person of any religious persuasion or background should condone mob violence against any group. But, Hozier scatters his words like buckshot libeling “the church” as an organization that lies, hates, and is responsible for violence against the LGBT community.

Just take a look at the lyric version of the song. Even though we all have the freedom and right to say or write whatever we want (with certain limits- yelling fire in a crowded theater, etc.), it is wrong to target a whole group of people and unduly place a negative label on them. This is why Hozier’s lyrics are so bigoted. Moreover, the combination of his video/lyrics/interview stereotypes “the church” as an evil and vicious institution that is responsible in large measure for the persecution of those who engage in non-traditional sexual practices (see links below).

From my own background, I have been a Christian for over 40 years and have been a member of several large churches during these decades. Not once have I ever heard any leader or member of any Christian church that I attended endorse violence against any person at all not to mention LGBT persons. Also, there has never been one person with whom I have associated with as a teen or young adult who offered up the idea of targeting any person at all for violent attack. I confess to a couple of house “eggings,” toilet paper rolling adventures, and other silly hijinx but that is about it for my early years. To the contrary, when I attended a Christian high school for three years, we had several known gay students. Were they treated any differently than any other students? No. I had several gay friends in public high school as well. Did I shun them or attack them? No. They were just people that I knew and liked. Did I agree with their practice of homosexuality? No. Did I love them as persons? Yes.

Not only have I not heard any church leader that I am personally acquainted with favor anti-gay violence, quite frankly, the topic of homosexuality itself is not really discussed that much in any church that I have attended either. Not that it isn’t discussed a little bit from time to time, but it is just not a big topic and when it is discussed, homosexuals are only referred to as persons who are equal in worth to any other person that God has created. Just because there are scriptures that teach against the practice of homosexuality does not mean that the teachings of the Bible condone mistreating any person because this is not the case. Rather, it is the responsibility of Christians to love every person that they come into contact with regardless of their gender/sexual identification (not that I do this perfectly at all but it is a goal).

Actually, most of the ministry goals of my church are to aid those who are in need in one way or another. So, he lumps my church in with all other churches when my church is really focused on helping those in need. Also, it is ironic that Hozier attacks “the church” in his lyrics/videos for their intolerance and violence yet at the same time practices anti-Christian bigotry in his accusations. It is obvious that Hozier has never met my friends because he would realize upon meeting them that they are not mean spirited, violent people. Rather, they are a group of joyful, giving, and caring persons.

If Hozier knows of any person(s) that specifically fosters or espouses anti-gay violence, he should call them out specifically. Name them and then let him bring forth his allegations. In not doing so, he hides behind his hate filled lyrics and really does not aid anyone but libels many in the process. This topic also makes me think of the anti-Christian violence that occurs on a regular basis around the world, especially in the Middle East. With ISIS recently beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians and the reports of the systematic deaths of Christians in Iraq and Syria, why doesn’t he just come out against all senseless violence of every sort to include those Christians who are being slaughtered at alarming rates?

There is irony here. Accusing nameless Christians of violence yet ignoring the brutal torture and slaughter of thousands of innocent Christian men, women, and children.   If he opposed all brutal thugs and called even some of them out specifically, then he would be doing some good with his musical/writing talents and newfound fame. The truth is that he is just serving up anti-Christian hate rhetoric and will profit by doing so. Perhaps, Hozier could visit me here in Kernersville and I could “take him to church” where he would be greeted by my warm and sincere friends who are great people to know. In the meantime, why doesn’t Hozier utilize his considerable talents to write songs with positive themes that do not slander anyone? C’mon Andrew, don’t waste your talents!

Lyric Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0imaSCnSuA

Hozier Video Interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKzwZnyvLcE

 

Evidence for Truthfulness of the NT…Similar to Watergate and Gotti Cases

Near the end of my law enforcement career, I entered the MA program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. As I began to study apologetic arguments for the reliability of the Bible, it dawned on me that the types of evidence that I dealt with routinely in my career were actually present in the pages of the New Testament. Conversely, what I also realized was that skeptical arguments against the Bible narratives were not based on accepted principles of evidence. So, in this post I’ll start out by going over the direct evidence that is in the New Testament.

As a city detective/officer charged with seeking out crimes and prosecuting those who committed them, I relied on developing these cases by interviewing victims and witnesses, collecting evidence from crime scenes, and making reports of my findings. An example of developing a criminal case against a suspect would be speaking with a victim of a crime and any witnesses who were in a position to observe what happened. For instance, if I spoke to a robbery victim, I would try and get as much detail from the victim as to all of the specifics of what happened and a detailed description of the suspect. In addition to getting the account from the victim, I also would talk with those who also observed the crime. In talking with these witnesses, I was able to confirm/disconfirm the account of the victim and perhaps get additional information that would help me to identify the suspect. Oftentimes as you may imagine, the witnesses would vary in small details but would give the same general description about what happened. As those of you who watch police programming on television already know, there is often physical evidence as well that is left at the scene of the crime and is collected, analyzed and often points to the identity of the perpetrator.

During my tenure in the federal government, even though my mission had changed, the principles of evidence remained the same. In my custodial/security role with the U.S. Marshals Service, I was able to observe many federal drug conspiracy trials. Even though the elements of this crime were different than the street crimes that I investigated as a local investigator, there was still a heavy reliance on testimonial evidence but now of co-conspirators. Oftentimes, there would be physical evidence in these conspiracy cases to include, drug and money seizures, scales, bookkeeping journals, and video/audio recordings. But testimonial evidence was the bread and butter of these cases and this evidence was often very convincing to a jury. For who would be better to describe the activities of the defendant than someone who dealt with him on a frequent basis and was involved in the criminal activity with the defendant? Sometimes, the federal prosecutors would bring in a small army of witnesses who would testify to their relationship and joint activities with the defendant(s). The more witnesses that took the stand against the defendant(s), the more credible the government’s case appeared.

Several notable examples in the national media over recent decades were the John Gotti federal conspiracy trial and the Watergate break-in cover up involving then President Richard Nixon and his “plumbers.” For the younger generation, that is why whenever some sort of corruption scandal comes to light, the media always comes up with a name for the scandal that ends with –gate (e.g. deflategate- New England Patriots). In the case of John Gotti, one of the most damaging witnesses to take the stand was Salvatore Gravano aka “Sammy The Bull” who testified about his relationship with Gotti, how he and Gotti murdered the head of the NY Gambino crime family, Paul Castellano in 1985, and also implicated Gotti in 19 other murders.  After several other failed attempts by the federal government to prosecute Gotti, he was finally convicted of murder, racketeering and other related charges on April 2, 1992. Gravano spent nine days on the stand and 37 other witnesses also testified against Gotti. In addition to this evidence, there were also recordings of Gotti that were secretly recorded and were presented in court along with other documentary evidence.

http://tech.mit.edu/V112/N17/gotti.17w.html

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/14/nyregion/gravano-ends-testimony-after-9-exhaustive-days.html

As alluded to above, another well known conspiracy trial was the Watergate break-in cover up where burglars broke into the offices of the Democratic National Party in Washington, D.C. at the direction of the Nixon White House in order to obtain intelligence on their political opponents, but then were arrested there. In attempts to cover up the link between the break-in and the president, there was a conspiracy of the Nixon White House and campaign officials to destroy evidence connecting President Nixon with the break-ins. After starting an investigation into the cover-up, there were several men to include John McCord and John Dean who testified that the Nixon White House was connected to the burglaries and that there was a cover up to get rid of evidence for the same. In addition to the testimony of Dean and McCord, there was also evidence of a connection to the break-ins coming from written records (telephone numbers coming from a telephone number index, etc.).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/timeline.html

In relation to the New Testament accounts of Jesus Christ, we also have eyewitness testimony to his ministry, death by crucifixion, and resurrection from those who were closely associated with Jesus Christ. The person closest to Jesus and in the best position to observe the aforementioned activities/life events of Jesus Christ was John otherwise known as the “Beloved Disciple.” John recounts in great detail in his Gospel about specific instances of the ministry of Jesus, about observing the circumstances leading up to the crucifixion and the crucifixion itself, as well as having sustained contact with the risen Jesus Christ.  Moreover, he discusses his involvement in the narrative of the story itself. John is more than just a passive observer but an active participant in the ministry of Jesus. An example of this activity is when Jesus speaks to Mary and John as he hangs on the cross (John 19: 26-27). “Woman, here is your son, and to the disciple [whom he loved], Here is your mother.”

We also see John in the narrative of the empty tomb where he runs to the empty tomb and sees that Jesus was no longer there and he “believed (20:8).” In addition to John, other eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus are Peter, Matthew, and Paul the apostle who was the last to encounter the risen Jesus Christ while on his way to Damascus. All of these men write about their experiences with Jesus from their own perspectives and provide great evidence (in written form) for knowing that Jesus was/is God incarnate. If there was just one person who wrote these accounts there might be some pause to question the evidence. However, there are eyewitness accounts written from a number of different perspectives that differ slightly yet tell the same story. This type of evidence reminds me of the above-described evidence in the cases of Gotti and Nixon.

The fact that there are small differences in these accounts demonstrate to me that there was no collusion between the witnesses and also confirms the basic facts of the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So in the New Testament, we have eyewitness testimony of Jesus Christ who performed miracles, was crucified on a cross, and had arisen from the dead. There are a number of skeptics today (Richard Carrier, Robert Price, et al) who state that there is no evidence to support that Jesus was even a historical person. However, they ignore the historical eyewitness testimony to the contrary. This testimony contained within the New Testament is similar to the testimony of “Sammy the Bull” and John Dean of Watergate fame as these early Christians were in a position to observe what they testified about.  I am thankful that they informed us about Jesus who being God, came down to this Earth on our behalf  in order to bring us into relationship with God and give us meaning in our lives even today.  In my next post, I’ll go into another form of evidence that I observe throughout the New Testament, circumstantial or indirect evidence.