Satanic Sundays

Satanic Sunday #3: Heavy Metal

For last weeks Satanic Sunday post, click here.

I bet you didn’t see this one coming did you? No, of course you did. Probably one of the most attacked topics, during the 1980’s, in the church was heavy metal music. These long-haired, supposedly satan worshiping, drug using, sexually immoral musicians were fodder for just about any pastor looking for an easy sermon to give. Rock music was long considered evil by many in the church but when heavy metal embraced the evil accusations and went with it, the church fought back twice as hard.

Probably no other band was hated more than AC/DC, the Australian rock band with hits like, “Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Highway to Hell.” I remember being in a service where a pastor encouraged members to tear their kids rooms apart and if they found any AC/DC music they were to destroy it immediately. The pastor gave a warning though, “You can’t burn their records, the devils power is too great on them and they will not burn.”

“You can’t burn their records, the devils power is too great on them and they will not burn.”

Does that statement sound strange to you? If it does you might be surprised to hear how prevalent those sentiments were during the 1980’s. In fact the idea that their records would not burn gave the 5-year-old me an amazing idea. During one service when that statement was said I raised my hand and asked why people don’t build houses with heavy metal records….needless to say the pastor was not amused.

“… why people don’t build houses with heavy metal records….”

Heavy Metal music was blamed for just about everything that was wrong with society. It was why children were rude, why people were murdered, why women were raped, and why your grandmother’s joints ached on a cold winter day.  Yet as with everything popular in society, Christianity wasn’t going to be left in the wake of all the money to be made by heavy metal music. Christian heavy metal music was just around the corner and considered just as evil as regular heavy metal in my local Pentecostal church.

When I was about 12 years old, my aunt took me to a “Whitecross” concert. “Whitecross” was Christianity’s answer to bands like “Poison” or “Twisted Sister.” Look them up if you want to enjoy some incredibly bland lyrics with angry heavy metal screeching. Anyway, at the time it was incredibly fun and the closest thing to an actual rock concert that I had ever experienced. The next Sunday, at church, I was treated as if I were demon possessed. The church prayed over me to remove the evil beats and riffs of heavy metal music from my mind. A scary situation to say the least.

What Christianity never understood was that heavy metal musicians were, for the most part, satirizing the fears of the Christian church.  Folks like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, and Kiss were simply taking what Christianity was saying about them and running with it. The fact that the church spoke so hard against the music is why nearly every kid in the church absolutely loved heavy metal. When you prohibit kids from doing something that seems fun, more kids are going to sneak around their parents and do exactly what was prohibited.

The 1980’s and early 1990’s satanic craze came to an end but the sentiment against rock music remains relatively the same in most churches. This actually stems back to a much older belief that rock music was attempting to infiltrate our homes with African beats and racially impure lyrics. Look to how Elvis was treated by the church for evidence of this. Racism plays a huge part in why the church was so anti-rock music for so long. It was believed that your pure, white, daughter would listen to a bit of rock beat and you’d find her shacked up with a black man in no time….so scary…

I still love many of the bands that I was told not to listen to as a child. It shocked me to no end when I found out that Alice Cooper was a born again christian and that one of the members of “Slayer” was also a believer. Rock music never led me to devote my life to satan, or murder anyone. It did lead me to sitting alone, rebelling in my room, listening to music on my tiny radio that I had been told was evil.  It was silly and considered satanic, but nothing evil ever came from it. Much like the entire Satanic craze of the 1980’s and early 90’s.

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