Originally it was a race thing, and now it's a gender thing. They're all just people; you're discounting their humanity. Saying they can do whatever they want as long as it's behind closed doors, as long as it's not in your face, as long as you don't have to watch them get married, to me it discounts their humanity. The argument that they shouldn't raise children together is beyond bizarre—look at the people we allow to raise children together: abusive families, drug-addicted families. Single mothers raise children, and they do great jobs all the time. How can two men not be able to raise a child? It's backwards to me. It all seems like they're just kind of following what they were told, and they didn't put any actual thought into this.
Then there’s this idea that gay men are pedophiles, so they can’t be trusted with children.
It's horrible, it's misinformed and the church is pushing that idea, not maybe overtly. Who are more pedophilic: gay men who have children or priests? I don't understand how you can make that assumption. The whole thing just seems really shortsighted. Whatever personal faith you have is fine, as long as it's actually your personal faith and you actually started thinking about it. I have plenty of friends that believe in God, and they're intelligent enough to say, “There is no reason gay people shouldn't get married; there's no reason you should mess with stem cell research. The Bible's not infallible, it's clearly written by man, clearly been poorly translated. I believe in God, but I also believe in evolution.” That's all well and good. Just take the time, analyze this text yourself, take away what you perceive as fact and separate what you perceive as half-truths or mistruths. That's really important, and that's kind of what we're really rallying towards.
What have you learned outside of Sunday school?
I've taken comparative religion courses, I've taken intellectual heritage courses, I've taken the history of the Bible, on my own I've read really in-depth books about evolution, books about the pagan influence on things like the Nativity scene, books about atheism in general, books about Christianity in general. Our drummer, Mike Kennedy, has an anthropology degree and has done extensive research on Central American religion, Mayan religion. He's done some work on the idea they were self-aware of the fact they needed more protein to survive. There wasn't a lot of protein in the area they lived, and they realized the only way they were going to live was to start to eat humans, but they were never going to be able to just say, “One of you has to die. Sorry, we need it,” so they started blaming the gods for the need to make a sacrifice. It was this way of controlling the masses into believing that someone had to die to appease the gods. In reality, someone had to die so they could get the protein they needed to survive. It really made a lot of good points about how leaders are able to use religion to manipulate masses into doing what they see as the necessary thing, to continue to flourish as a civilization.
Whether you actually believe or not, it's pretty easy to see that religion is a pretty simple way to subdue a lot of people. There's someone who said on the internet that it seemed like we were being ignorant to their faith—and by definition, I think we're clearly not ignorant to their faith. We're a pretty well-read, well-researched band, especially on this topic. That doesn't mean we're the be-all, end-all, and that doesn't mean you should take our word for it. The point is: If you never thought about it that way, it's time to do your own research.
Do you take issue with the rise of Christian bands?
I never take issue with people's personal faith if they've thought it through. I do take issue with bands who are claiming to be Christian bands who, when you see them backstage, are acting in a way that would be appalling to other people of their faith. We're not one to name names, but I feel like I've seen and heard stories and been friends with people who run venues, and friends with people who are crew [members] for these bands, and seeing them get onstage and preach every night and force religion down your throat. There are bands who will get onstage and say, “You should believe in God, he's our savior,” and then will go backstage and have sex with two girls that night. There just seems to be a disconnect in the thought process.
We get onstage and say “Fuck homophobia” and “Fuck racism,” but we don't say, “Religion is stupid and you shouldn't believe.” At most, we'll say you should do your own research and open up your own mind about it. I feel like there are bands who will claim to be a Christian band to get that Christian fanbase and to make that money, but they don't actually hold those beliefs. Even as an atheist, that's insulting to me, and I'm sure if those stories started to come out, it would be far more insulting to the fanbase that actually does believe in that.
Is it weird to be on a message board, going back and forth with kids about these issues?
It is, but to a degree it's also enlightening. In any kind of legitimate debate, you're going to learn something. That's kind of cool. Regardless of who's going to win the argument or what you're going to walk away feeling, everyone's going to walk away with a little more knowledge. For me to get on the internet and debate with these kids a little bit is kind of key, because they need to see that I'm coming from a place that's not an attack stance. They're going to see a little more of what we're thinking, and see a little more of what people who stand in opposition are thinking, and they're going to get more knowledge for their educated decision in the future.