January 28, 2014
In 1971, Don McLean sang “Bye bye, Miss American Pie,” and asked: “…do you have faith in God above, if the Bible tells you so, [or] do you believe in rock and roll, can music save your mortal soul?” Back then there were still options. Asking these two questions in a pop song made sense. No longer. We’ve come a long way, baby. The latest Grammy Awards (January 26, 2014) celebrating the liberating power of music, launched in prime time, with all the stunning technological Hollywood bells and whistles, THE NEW AMERICAN RELIGION.
Way back in 1988, at the height of his career as a recognized journalist (having made big money ghost-writing Donald Trump’s biography, Art of the Deal), Tony Schwartz went on a journey to understand what was happening to the soul of America. In 1995 he publishedWhat Really Matters, an examination of the thought and practice of the leaders of the New Age Movement. He discovered a unique, made-in-America spirituality that joined Eastern and Western practice into “a new American wisdom tradition” that would save the world. On January 26, 2014, that spiritual tradition came out on network television in a resounding worship celebration of a new American religion.
Driven by the “faith” of the leading contemporary purveyors of hip-hop and rap, the moment was enthusiastically sanctioned by the prominently featured elder wise ones—in particular Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono.
The religious service began with serious “worship,” led by Beyoncé—at 7pm Central and 8pmEastern, while children were still watching, which is fine, since President Obama praised Beyoncé as an important role model for children, including his own. Her outlandishly sexualized dance routine, in a revealing black thong bodysuit over fishnet tights, simulating all the moves belonging solely to the privacy of the marital bedroom, was an act of heterosexual public debauchery. Her hit song, “Drunk in Love” served as an introductory hymn that set the worship tone for the evening. “I’ve been drinking…I get filthy when that liquor gets into me…[I can’t bring myself to type all the words she sang]…Drunk in love.” Beyoncé proudly embraces her sexuality, draping herself in pseudo-ethical notions like “pride” and “self-affirmation,” giving the appearance of moral high-ground while groveling in the gutter.
The order of service continued with testimonies of deliverance. Ex-evangelical Katy Perry (famous for her song, “I Kissed a Girl and Liked It”) celebrated her apostasy, dressed up as a witch with a large red cross on her chest, and was symbolically “burned at the stake.” A sister in rebellion, Kacey Musgraves (who sang in church as a child) won the Country award with her ballad, “Follow Your Arrow.” The arrows were anti-Christian barbs at church-going and traditional ethics. Her song culminated in the exhortation to escape those old-time religion chains:
So make lots of noise, Kiss lots of boys,
Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something you’re into,
When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight.
The three hour service ended on an ecstatic, unholy high note. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Grammy for Best New Artist), began the finale with their hit song “Same Love,” which has become an anthem in the gay community. Its religious overtones are easy to see:
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten.
Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one;
Strip away the fear, underneath, it’s all the same love…
About time that we raised up!
As if by magic, the stage morphed into a massive cathedral with imposing stained-glass windows and a marriage archway. High Priestesses “Material Girl” Madonna and pure “royalty,” Queen Latifah, then appeared on stage to join in marriage 33 couples of numerous sexual permutations, thereby sealing the new religion’s Oneist creed: all religions and all sexualities are One—to the thunderous applause of the thousands present, and to the approbation of millions of television viewers.
The vacuous marriage sacrament of the “Grammys religion” and its further trivialization as an entertainment stunt, only underlines the spiritually empty gospel that Tinsel Town and its beautiful people were pushing, unopposed, into the homes of people who pay these artists their inflated salaries. There is no competing message, no other opinion allowed from other artists, no apparent way for so many to hear the truth. This is a formula for cultural collapse.
But there is hope. Those watching or attending the church of the Grammys are made in God’s image and will one day be disillusioned with the lie. Christians “shine as lights” by “telling the truth” in a dark world. This is our Think Tank theme next week. If you want to learn to shine, buy a plane ticket to Escondido, and come hear some true, good news!
About the author: Dr. Peter Jones is Director of truthXchange, and Adjunct Professor of New Testament, as well as Scholar in Residence, at Westminster Seminary California. He has written The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back (1992), Spirit Wars (1997), Gospel Truth/Pagan Lies (1999), Capturing the Pagan Mind (2003), Cracking DaVinci’s Code (2004, co-author, James Garlow), Stolen Identity (2006) and The God of Sex (2006). Peter Jones is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, and is married to Rebecca Clowney Jones. They have seven children and twelve grandchildren. For recreation, Dr. Jones enjoys playing jazz piano and golf.