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October 13, 2010

Insane Christian Posse?

Why is the media so quick to label these clowns as 'evangelical Christians'?

icp.jpg
I've just read several stories that "report" that the two members of Insane Clown Posse, long known for their profane, misogynistic lyrics, are really "evangelical Christians."

London's Guardian, which "broke" the story on Saturday, had this for a subtitle: "America's nastiest rappers in shocking revelation – they've been evangelical Christians all along."

The Australian followed up with this: "US gangsta-rap duo Insane Clown Posse has admitted to having been an evangelical Christian group for most of its 20-year career."

Contact Music: "Insane Clown Posse Relieved To Admit Christianity."

The Washington Post: "America's profanest and most reviled shock rappers, have come out, for lack of a better term, as Christians."

At least the Post writer was on the right track with the phrase "for lack of a better term." Because nowhere do Violent J. and Shaggy 2 Dope, the two guys who make up the shock-rap group, say they're "Christians," much less "evangelicals." Why these media outlets feel the need to use those terms is beyond me. ICP has simply said they believe in God, and that they are in awe of creation.

Except not quite in those terms. In the lyrics to their song "Thy Unveiling," ICP raps: "F--- it, we got to tell / All secrets will now be told / No more hidden messages / ... Truth is we follow GOD!!! / May the Juggalos find God! / He's out there!" (A "Juggalo" is a fan of ICP).

Ah, but there's more: "Juggla, Juggla, f--- with the Juggla (repeat 3x) / May the Juggalos find Him! He's out there! / . . . This is our world! This is our world! This is our world! / SO GET THE F--- OUT! / . . . Suck My Nuts, B-tch! F--- You!"

Not gonna be singing that in any contemporary services any time soon, eh?

Explaining how he's awed by some parts of creation, Violent J. asks the Guardian writer, "Have you ever stood next to an elephant, my friend? A f---ing elephant is a miracle. If people can't see a f---ing miracle in a f---ing elephant, then life must suck for them, because an elephant is a f---ing miracle. So is a giraffe."

I don't think they'll be performing at any Christian youth conventions or showing up on K-LOVE (safe for the whole family!) any time soon. But that's not the point. If the guys in ICP have found God, that's wonderful.

What's stunning is how quickly -- and ignorantly -- so many media outlets immediately start labeling them "evangelical Christians." What's up with that? Somebody -- anybody -- finds God, and they're automatically an evangelical? What if they're a Muslim, or a Jew, or any number of other religions? Or no religion at all -- they've just come to see that there must be a Creator behind those incredible, effing elephants and giraffes?

Talk about playing fast and loose with a term. Let's leave it at this: The guys in ICP haven't used the word "Christian" or "evangelical" -- at least not anywhere I've read it -- so let's not call them anything that they're not claiming for themselves. If they do start self-labeling with those terms, well, that could be a whole 'nother discussion. Something about fruit.

Comments

I really want to thank you for not only writing about this story but doing so in a professional and unbiased manner. I am an ordained minister and have been a Juggalo for MANY MANY years. People sadly do see only the negative side of things when it comes to us. They see me with my body covered in tattoos and piercings and think to themselves, how can this be a man of God. Then I open my mouth and tell them about the Word. Once I get their attention they forget the outside and realize that many people are much different than they appear. I can tell you that ICP helped to restore my faith at a time in my life when I was lost beyond belief. I know it doesn't make sense, and I know most people have a hard time seeing it because as you pointed out, they never called themselves either Christians or Evangelical, but the messages behind all the cursing and violence are about living a life that leads to heaven, or what we juggalos refer to as Shangri la. Again Thank you SO much for being so unbiased and looking at the story in a very straight forward way.

Peace and Much Family Love

Amen to the comment above. I've always believed in God (the Creator, not the christian) but for a long time I felt . . . disinfrachised(sp?). And then I heard "Thy Unvieling". I had listened to ICP for a couple years and it took a minute to realize what they had said. But the moment I got it, it was like . . . I don't know, for the first time in my life I wasn't afraid of believing in life and loving it. I wasn't embarrased anymore. Here are two guys that make music that appeals to me (cause of the crazy and the violence) but who also say that life is precious and God is real and he/she/it loves you. Awesome. For the first time in my life I could be a fan of horror and gore and violence (as PURELY entertainment, thank you very much) and a believer in compassion and righteousness. It sounds dumb, but its how I feel.

Much Clown Love, Family

I want to add my two whoops to this as well. It's quite telling that the most perceptive and critical statements I've heard so far about the latest ICP coverage should come from a Christian. I am guessing that most atheists and skeptics were so angered by "Miracles" that they're willing to take the flimsiest statements about ICP on faith, if you will. Ah, the irony...

I'd also like to add that the "revelation" Ronson refers to in the Guardian article is at least eight years old, which is when ICP released the last Joker's Card. So their interest in God is hardly new to the Juggalos. FYI, there is a wide diversity of spiritual currents within Juggalo culture, so it's a pretty glaring misrepresentation to classify them all as Christians, just because ICP COULD be. And like you said, where's the real proof of that?

Wow, I've wanted to say what you've just said almost verbatim! You are probably the only journalist who actually read the Guardian article and realized the author was just being smug. Integrity, how does that work? Thank you and peace to all the Juggalos holding it down!

Thank you for this article and thank you to my fam for your intelligent comments.I was raised Methodist and started listening to ICP when i was twelve.When they revealed they were religious I was hardly surprised.The messege has always been there for those that wanted to hear it.Love you fam and love the haters too!

They are evangelizing about God. It's really not that hard to understand a) why reporters are calling the evangelical christians, or b) how their music endorses religious attitudes that are remarkably similar to religious rhetoric of Christian apologetics (see: Miracles, Riddlebox, Halls of Illusions, etc.). It may be offensive to you that they choose to conduct themselves with vulgar language. You may find it convenient to distance yourself from their unashamedly obvious anti-intellectual and crass language. They may have very little to do with the "Evangelical Christian" movement, but they fit the literal definition. If the shoe fits, wear it.

He speaks to those in words that they will understand. You cannot question God or the tactics he uses to bring those to Him. God can and will use anybody He wants. Don't judge lest you be judged. Go to where God has called you and dont criticize what others were called to do, or else pride may overcome you.

to all the comments above and the article, I love you guys, this is what needs to be written about juggalos, instead of all these negative comments. People need to start realizing that words hurts, and they stick with you. So God Bless All Of You! Much Luv!

To the post saying that we "shouldn't question God" that is a direct contradiction to what we are told to do throughout the Bible. It is not God before you, but humans, and it is our duty to test it and judge them to see if they are biblical. The Bereans were commended in the Bible for testing Paul's teachings to be sure that they did not contradict the Scriptures. They did not just follow someone blindly.

Acts 17:11 "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

In the times we live today, it's imperative that we test (prove) all things, because we are told that there will be very many false teachers, prophets, etc. That is why God left us His Word. God does not change. If they say anything at all that contradicts the Scriptures, then they are not from God.

In 1Cor chapter 5, Paul chastises the church for NOT judging and throwing out of fellowship, a man who was living immorally. This obviously tells us to know God's Word, and to test everything we hear and compare it to God's Word. He was obviously not only telling them to judge what was being done, but to take them out of fellowship, in the hope that they will someday repent and can be restored.

If what you are hearing or reading is different, then throw it out! For satan is clever as the serpent or wolf, and he will try to fool people who do not know their Scriptures well, and who just blindly accept everything put before them that may mention the word God.

We ARE to judge Christians, that is throughout the Bible. Look up in a concordance the words judge, rebuke, etc, and you'll see that it is a good thing. It is good to have a sound, biblical mentor or friend who will tell us if we're veering off course. John 7:24 - "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

And that goes with the plank in the eye verse. We are to judge righteously, and fairly. We can't judge someone as to whether they are saved or not, only God knows the heart. But we can tell by what people say and do, if they claim they are Christians, as to whether they are following God's Word or not.

1Thess 5 21Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil.

I live in England; I’m a regular reader of the Guardian’s Weekend magazine (in which the first ICP article appeared), and very familiar with the work of Jon Ronson, who wrote the piece. I have to say that when I read the original piece last weekend, I couldn’t make head or tail of it. But in a way, it’s quite fitting with Ronson’s style of journalism – which is basically to find a group of ‘unusual’ people and go “Aren’t these guys weird?” (He’s the author of the book ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’, which was made into a film with Kevin spacey and George Clooney; if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean)

I would just like to thank all the Jugaloos who have posted comments here, because what you’ve said has thrown far more light on ICP and their spiritual leanings than Ronson’s article did (and I say that as someone who’s been a fan of Ronson’s work – until now!). Supposedly ‘normal’ Christians may think you’re strange, but ultimately God knows everyone’s hearts.

Colossians 3:5-11

Wow I always though ICP was retarded. This just puts the icing on the cake.

This is just surreal. The original article is dead-on - I would describe myself as an 'evangelical' and I absolutely DO NOT want an awful "music" group like Insane Clown Posse associated with my faith. At all.

But then we have all these crazy people coming out of the woodwork talking about their faith and this awful 'music' group, 'thanking' the author. This. makes. no. sense. The author DOES NOT want this horrible band associated with us! I really have to wonder if some of these people are just trolling.

I am not picky about Christians partaking in 'secular' entertainment. I don't think rock, most types of metal, video games, or role-playing games are evil. A few bad words and the occasional sex scene, although not something I endorse, is not reason enough to dismiss entertainment with otherwise redeeming values. But ICP has no redeeming values; it's bland, derivative rap totally devoid of any creativity or musicality. It's vulgar and disgusting without remorse. It is simply astonishing to me that some of the above posters are really trying to justify liking this sort of awful noise with their faith. I've seen less ridiculous justifications from people attempting to reconcile pornography with Christianity.

Why not ditch this horrid band and buy some good music with real creative value, that doesn't require the listener to look like some sort of deranged clown?

While I find all this shocking, I think 10 to 15 years ago, I may have been just as shocked to hear you say that a pastor was pimping his book. Where will we be in another 10 to 15 years in regard to what we are willing to say for shock appeal? We seem to be constantly seeking to be edgy and culturally relevant and I just wonder where it will take us next. I don't mean this as judgmental, but thought-provoking.

Now what do you suppose brought all these juggalos in to not only read this article but post comments on it as well? Let's be honest people. Really, you think ICP might be Muslim or Jewish now? They're American, they grew up in Christian homes, they grew up in Detroit for goodness' sake. They found God and now they're Jewish (or Muslim, we can only hope)?

Well, color me shocked. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." But please, no swear words or weird clown paint!

Christianity, how does it work?

Question. Since when does one get one's definition of what is or is not a Christian from the "Washington Post"?

Anyone with any basic knowledge of the Bible would know that people using the kind of filthy, disgusting, despicable language that ICP uses could by no stretch of the imagination be Christian.

But you know what, once upon a time the people who made money out of "religion" were called "hucksters", and frauds. Now these same people are "respected" journalists, peddling lies and looking for every juicy religious story to make money.

Sharia is coming, but you can always blame Christians. I mean after all, there are not the ones with the suicide vests issuing death threats to anyone with the temerity and talent to draw and post a cartoon.

Hypocrites! I suppose it is best to join them if you are scared of them.

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

I agree with the author of the article and J N on this. After listening to ICP, it is beyond a doubt that their 'fruit' does anything to glorify God; even if special meaning(s) can be derived through interpretation of their songs or some press, ICP's message fails to mention anything about Jesus or the Gospel within their lyrics or interviews. It is impossible to infer, on the surface and through their works, that the members of ICP are Christians through these recent press publications.

ICP claim to believe in God,i have to ask,which God? If they mean the God of the Bible,then they obviously don't really know Him, do they believe in Holy Spirit,if so,where's the fruit.Finally,do they believe in Jesus Christ? do they know what he was all about?If we are to become more Christ like,as the Bible clearly states,thn ponder this, can you imagine Jesus saying 'suck my nut's,B--ch" I don't think so.

Boy, it sure got judgmental and self-righteous up in here all of a sudden! And yet people think that it's ICP who are a bad advertisement for Christianity!

Dear hating commentors,

Please re-read the article before bashing ICP's "christianity." The author clearly states that ICP has never labeled themselves as any particular faith, only that they believe and follow God (which I will add is NOT a christian owned term).

No, they don't talk nice and they dress different then you. Does that make them evil? Does that make them not worthy to follow God or immune to his love? I think not.

I find it interesting that a lot (not all) christians like to pick and choose the teachings that they follow. Now I won't list all them here but I think you will find that most of your comments are in violation of one main teaching of Christ.......--"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)

First. For those who are saying that the members of ICP cannot believe in God; Why not/ There was one comment about which part of God do they believe in, God of the Bible, Jesus Christ or the holy Spirit and do they really know or know about him... NO ONE DOES!!!! We just BELIEVE in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirt. No One ,in many life times, has seen, heard, or has gotton to know any one of these entities personally. There is no physical evidence, except the "STORIES" or the bible. Like I said STORIES of the bible. In todays society if ANYONE were to write about a new religion and call a "man" or "woman" a savior of god; they would be called crazy.
Just to end my ranting and raving. I went to catholic school for 12 years (grade and high school). I do believe that there is some higher power watching over us and who created life and the world around us. But, i will not meet this "God" until i die.
Much Clown Love... What Up Juggalos. Whoop Whoop.

Anybody who actually wants to know anything about ICP (who they are, where they came from, how they were raised) needs to read "Behind the Paint". I believe that even the biggest hater out there will have much respect for these guys after that. All Juggalos know what I'm sayin', and if you just want to hate for the sake of hating, then what religion are you trying to portray? I don't like the messages that the popular country stars are sending, but I'm not out there just hating on them...I think that they dress weird, and look goofy, and talk really funny, but I'm not telling the world that people want to commit suicide after hearing their poor, poor pitiful me songs. Never judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

The author clearly states that they have not labeled themselves Christians, and I'm thankful for that. Lots of cultures and religions, even those with very vague beliefs, believe in a God. They don't ever state that they believe in THE God: The God that rules, the God that saves, the God that sent his son to die for me. Whether or not they are Christians in their heart is between them and Jesus; I will say however, in the service of the Kingdom, I doubt that "suck my nuts" or the "f" word in any capacity has a place. I sincerely hope that they become saved if they aren't, and if they are already, that they see that there are better ways to bring folks into the fold than a weird, shrouded, metaphorical shout out to alternative culture...like pancakes! Give somebody a pancake and they'll likely give you a few minutes of their time :).

To any fanatic out there, who would deny that ICP or any juggalo for that matter, has not in some way had GOD in their lives before or after finding the juggalo family, I would like to say that you could not be more wrong, any derivitive of the english language used to express ones inner self, expressions or feelings derives thise feelings from what we all call GOD, J and Shaggy started out with next to nothing when i started listening 17 yrs ago, and at their first show in my home state the turn out was like 65-70 people, even though the turn out sucked they still went out there and gave it all they had, I grew up believing in GOD and not even for a second did anything they said or sang about made me believe less in him/her/it, after the show i had a brief moment to meet J and Shaggy and despite the lack of a good turn out they still gave me props for being a gumpy kid amidst their crowd, since then ive met them a few more times for a few minutes and had the enjoyment of throwing faygo off stage with them at their later concerts, but for them to tell a kid that they appreciated his support and even if they had to do concerts in peoples backyards to finsih what they started has to let you know that even back then they believed in sumthing greater than themselves. After 17 years of juggalo love and being a part of the fam i have to give out my WHOOP WHOOP to all my juggalo homies, and especially a humungus Thank You to my homies J and Shaggz for keepin it real all these years and treating me with respect all them years ago. If you can't find GOD in these two making sumthing out of nothing then take your blinders off, the carnival has and always will be bigger than anything you can phathom. Keep it real Juggalos and let the diamonds rain on you daily.

All I can do is weep.. Love is patient and kind, not arrogant or rude, it is not self-seeking, and it never NEVER EVER harms another... anyone who sings songs that glorify the utter mistreatment and debasement of women and other people could not possibly be glorifying GOD!!!!

If fantasy lyrics brought them to god when no amount of cookie cutter preaching could then I hope those are tears of joy.

Lets just look into the book itself with stories of violence how is that any different.

ICP says that they acknowledge God, but then so do a lot of religions. The defining feature of Christianity is believing in the Trinity - Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

It should also be noted that Christians cannot claim to be more moral that the rest of the general population, in fact, because broken people are often more open to Jesus, there is a good chance true Christians as a whole are less moral.

Sin is the great leveler, and Jesus spent more time exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees than blasting sinners who knew they were messed up. I certainly think there will be people in Heaven who died from drug overdoses, prostitutes, and sex offenders, people from death row, and all sorts of people we might not expect to be there. Look at the thief who died next to Jesus at Calvary (Luke 23:43). I also think about the adulterous woman, that Jesus saves by saying to the Pharisees about to stone her, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." But then to her he says, "Your sins have been forgiven. Go and sin no more" (John 8:11). Bot she and the thief were truly sorry for what they had done, and Jesus showed mercy. But he didn't applaud their sin.

The longer I follow Jesus, the more things I find to repent for. I used to strip, was a sex-addict, drug addict, and basically an everything-addict. While my life is squeaky-clean in some regards (thank God), I still am prideful, gossip, and ultimately look to things other than God to satisfy me. The definition of sin is just that - looking to created things, even good things like family, music, friends, etc., to fulfill that which only Jesus can fill (Exodus 20:3). In a sense, we all cheat on God all the time. CS Lewis said it well - 'We settle for trinkets when we could have treasure.' The gift God gives believers is that they can see their sin - how it is killing them and those around them - and then they can repent and be filled with something so much better.

God saves whomever he wants to save, and can use anything to bring people closer to Him. But we are also warned that there are false prophets (Matt 7:15). One of the dead giveaways is someone who does not acknowledge Jesus is Lord.

I have always found ICP religiously provocative and interesting, but I also find Mormonism interesting. The value of a counterfeit is determined by how closely it looks like the real thing.

Truly Satan is the Father of Lies. While I am not implying that ICP is unreachable by God or controlled by Satan, I know from personal experience that following Jesus has an effect on what comes out of our mouths. "Out of the heart the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45)." I am highly suspicious of anyone who claims they know God, but doesn't acknowledge Jesus, says they have been following God all along and writes songs like they do. Christians are to be known by their love for each other (John 17:26). I challenge ICP, if they really are Jesus followers, to show love in their words (which they so cleverly arrange)towards women, especially. Step up and be Godly men.

"God saves whomever he wants to save, and can use anything to bring people closer to Him."

Word to that

God comands us to be set apart from the world not to fall pray to its false teachings. God made us to love him. in the old testiment he used the law to make us rightous and sence we could not the animanal sacrifice( shedding of blood ) payed for the short commings(sins) of the people. our sins became so out of control he flooded the earth and chose Noah and his family who were rightous to live and began again the human race. several years latter sin became rampet again God sent his son to pay the price once and for all for sin. all that is needed is to accept the gift of forgivness through Jesus death on the cross. belive that he rose again. to show his divinity and power over death. confess that we need him to saves us from our sins.this is what God had set forth for us to be made holy. because God can not be near sin. as God looks upon us this simple choice is how he sees us as siner with out Jesus or made holy through the shedding of Jesus's Blood. these are the point of what its all about. how do we look to God!
as for me, or you or ICP you will never truly know what choice is made except through our life and it,s many choices we are faced with. Honoring God is a lifestyle that is made clear with out having to explain what the intent of the actions are.
God be with us
D

It is very true that ICP have never used the term "Christian" or "Evangelical" they only said "We follow God, we've always been behind him, the Carnival is god and may all Juggalos find him." They deffinatly are not christian or evangelical, But a lot of their songs have biblical themes. If you look at the grand scheme of thing, ICP has started a whole new religion in it's own. think about it, catholics, methodists, baptists, jews, mormons, they all worship the same God, and most, the same Jesus, they just have different customs and practices. A lot of Juggalos take this carnival stuff to heart, and a lot of us even belive in God. So why not label it as a religon? Just because its different and ICP has some horrible and gorey lyrics, does not neccecarly make it satanic. Esham is satanic, ozzy osbourne, is satanic. But ICP does actually belive in God and that he created the universe. Does Esham rap about God or the miricles of life? Didint think so.

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