I’m getting tired of the dime store theology in country music today. It’s officially reached pandemic proportions.
Up for airplay are two new singles in which religion is just a decorative prop used to elevate a human role to something divine. Instead of achieving that impossible goal, all they do is cheapen the divine into something that is only human.
I must admit, I was excited by the title “Soldiers and Jesus.” Fan of “He’s Alive” that I am, I assumed this song had something to do with the final days of Christ before the death and resurrection.
Wrong. It’s about how soldier and Jesus both die for us, so they’re basically the same. It’s a false equation that manages to minimize both of them. It cheapens the unique singularity of Christ’s sacrifice, along with His commitment to nonviolence in the face of violence being used against him by…soldiers. See the problem here?
American soldiers are not Roman soldiers. Most of them sign up voluntarily and with the admirable goal of protecting our country’s freedom and liberty. But they’re not doing the same thing Christ did. Not by any stretch of the imagination. And it trivializes their very different, very human sacrifices to blur the line between them and the divine.
So “Soldiers and Jesus” is a failure, but not nearly as spectacular a failure as the Due West release, “The Bible and the Belt.” This time, I knew what I was getting before I heard the song, but even the title couldn’t prepare me for just how clumsy and intelligence insulting this comparison would be.
Here, mom and the preacher use scripture to teach a young man right from wrong, but it’s dad beating him with a belt that really keeps him on track. All I can say is that anybody who accepts this song’s message as valid should not be allowed near children.
Country is the genre of music that produced “Why Me”, “Three Wooden Crosses”, and “You Can’t Be a Beacon (If Your Light Don’t Shine.)” I suggest that country songwriters looking to tread down the same thematic path use those classics as their road map, or they’ll keep producing dead-ends like these two duds.
Grade: Soldiers and Jesus: C | The Bible and the Belt: F
Listen: Soldiers and Jesus | The Bible and the Belt