The Preachers’ Attack on Rock ‘n’ Roll
People view Rock ‘n’ Roll as a type of music that highlights the worst qualities in human beings. When they think of it, these people picture scenes involving blood, darkness, satanic rituals, and vulgar movements. These beliefs are the effects of preachers’ efforts to denounce Rock ‘n’ Roll. Why these religious individuals are acting against the popular form of music, and influencing people’s view of it, unsurprisingly involves more than one overlapping cause.
The most immediate cause of this attack on Rock ‘n’ roll is, of course, that the music genre highlights themes that are greatly looked down upon in religious groups. As two devoutly religious men by the names of Alan Yusko and Ed Prior have said, “The term ‘rock and roll’ means fornication. It is a street name for sexual immorality. It has wrecked the lives of many teenagers through suicide, drug abuse, immorality, perversion, satanism, etc.” These actions conflict entirely with the morals commonly taught in churches- including love, purity, morality, and respectfulness to the Lord. So, in the eyes of preachers, it would seem only logical to denounce the source of all this blasphemy.
Contributing to this cause is the way the media supports this portrayal Rock ‘n’ roll. It is no secret that the media will twist the truth and choose sides to produce eye catching news. Rem Rieder of USA Today once said, “Life is packed with nuances and subtleties and shades of gray. But the news media are often uncomfortable in such murky terrain. They prefer straightforward narratives, with good guys and bad guys, heroes, and villains. Those tales are much easier for readers and viewers to relate to.” Therefore, in this matter, it makes sense that God’s most devout followers are portrayed as the heroes. And it also makes sense that Rock ‘n’ Roll is portrayed as the villain, since it invokes dark forces and the Devil, as countless preachers have claim. The more interesting news story is not that Rock ‘n’ Roll has the power to make people’s lives better, but that it is a way for people to let their malevolent natures free. And through computers, TVs, tablets, and cell phones, the media is now always present in people’s lives. Our society is brainwashed into believing everything that appears news worthy, and rarely takes the time to search for the truth.
The most remote cause for preachers to denounce Rock ‘n’ Roll is the diminishing number of people attending church. According to Dr. Richard J. Krejcir of churchleadership.org, “Most of the statistics tell us that nearly 50% of Americans have no church home. In the 1980s, membership in the church had dropped almost 10%; then, in the 1990s, it worsened by another 12% drop-some denominations reporting a 40% drop in their membership. And now, over half way through the first decade of the 21st century, we are seeing the figures drop even more!” Each subsequent generation slowly drifted away from church. Many preachers, witnessing this loss of followers, decided to lay the blame on Rock ‘n’ Roll, using it as a scapegoat. They claimed that the music was connected to the blasphemous values of sex, drugs, and irresponsibility, which in turn would attract young people who were not educated enough to make the right decision. Their denouncement of Rock ‘n’ Roll would be publicized in the media, which would influence society’s view of the music, and which in turn they hoped would bring people back to church as protection.
There is a precipitating cause included, however. When Rock ‘n’ Roll truly hit the music scene and took the world by storm, it actually seduced the preachers. They had grown up in conservative lifestyles with very “tame” music, and with the emergence of Rock, they experienced types of sounds unlike any they had ever heard before. Eventually, the preachers realized that they had become attracted to something other than God, which they considered to be a great sin. They had fallen into temptation and did not want the public to find out. So, like their ancestral religious brothers did when confronted by the emergence of the scientifically-proven theories of evolution and the heliocentric system, they denounced it as the work of the Devil. And since new preachers were taught by those that came before, this thought process was passed down through the generations.
As shown, there are multiple causes related to preachers’ denouncement of Rock ‘n’ roll, and the influence it has on society. Although all these causes can be analyzed separately, the fact of the matter is that they are all connected through the effect that they had on society’s belief concerning Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Rieder, Rem. “Media Got Zimmerman Story Wrong from Start.” USA Today. Gannett, 14 July 2013. Web. 06 Nov. 2016.
Krejcir, Richard J., Ph.D. “Statistics and Reasons for Church Decline.” Churchleadership.org. N.p., 2007. Web. 06 Nov. 2016.
Yusco, Alan, and Ed Prior. “RELIGIOUS ROCK… The Music of Devils in the CHURCH.” RELIGIOUS ROCK… The Music of Devils in the CHURCH. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2016