Blasphemy: the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God (source)
There was a point where committing blasphemy got you burned at the stake, stoned, etc. In fact there are still places today where this happens, and even in the supposedly-civilized world the days of being immolated because you insult someone’s prophet are not that far behind us.
Artists are often the ones who push the boundaries of what is and is not blasphemous, and for that reason they are often the ones facing death threats for their daring. Salmon Rushdie was at the forefront of the Islamist collision with western values as a result of a small passage in his book The Satanic Verses. A Roman Catholic group firebombed a Paris theater showing Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, and it’s still banned today in a few countries. Things are dangerous enough for real artists creating real art without Rev. Terry Jones and his ilk intentionally making things worse.
Today, S&R highlights quality music that is blasphemous in the “showing contempt for God” sense (as opposed to the “showing contempt for the believers and institutions of God”). If you’ve got a favorite, please let us know in the comments.
Let’s kick off this tour with a little XTC:
Tori Amos, never one to shy away from controversy, has a little chat with Mohammad:
The Goth crooner Voltaire is a personal favorite of mine, and he sings from the perspective of Lucifer about how unfair it was to be cast out Heaven (apologies for the quality – there are no official videos of this song at YouTube):
And now for the bright side of (borderline) blasphemy:
And I’ll wrap up this little tour of musical blasphemy with Depeche Mode:
And to think, we didn’t even need to go anywhere near death metal…