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Jeez, for stating an adamant wish to end any boring, useless discussions of punk-rock 'as quickly as possible', sisterimapoet sure writes a long and biased letter...
...But let Me digress... It could only be a fool that states 'economics as the reason for the world's strife and turmoil, with ideology tacked on as a rider to justify wars and oppression,' without acknowledging that the worlds religions tend to have something of an impact on both 'world economics' and 'ideology.'
So much to say, but here's two quick points:
1.)Bad Religion formed in 1979; round about 16 years previous to the so-called Islamic overtaking of Christianity in the mid 90's.
We really expect a band older than the original letter's author to change their name based on at-the-time-current data about the world's religious populations? Since you're so pro-Christian, sisterimapoet, I expect you also to adhere to strict free-market capitalism, and changing your name is just bad business.
2.)It seems to me that I have more to fear from radical Christians in my own country than I do from radical Muslims worldwide, as our popular culture is encouraging gross and aggressive acts by Christians against non-Christians daily. The clearly bigoted attacks against an Islamic community center, the incredible racist undertones of the tea-party, and the revisionist view of the founding father's intent in terms of the constitution, (the very least among so, so many others) these all seem incredibly alarming. A quick review of Bad Religion's catalouge reveals that, yes, often, the band addresses these issues in their songs.
So yeah, I think for a band that has been a mainstream radio staple for over two decades did an o.k. job talking about the major religion of their times.
However, in sisterimapoet's letter i find this trend: An overwrought plea of innocence, and a justification for evil against others.
Jeez, it almost seems that, sophomoric though it may sound, Religion might be Bad.
Also: I grew out of punk rock in high school too.
Among the "fools" who have influenced my opinion that economics is the leading source of war and oppression, while religion is a mere concomitant, was a published history professor by the name of Reza Pirbhai. I never said religion does not play a role in conflict. What I said is that it does not play the main role. This is clearly evidenced by the tendency of cultures with religious differences to coexist relatively peacefully during times of prosperity. In leaner times, differing cultures begin to draw lines in the sand, sharing access to resources with those whom they perceive to be similar to themselves--perhaps because of filial ties, racial and ethnic similarities, or shared religious beliefs. Ideologies are then invented, and these often draw heavily upon religious premises, though the religions themselves are not to blame. For example, Islam is not to blame for extremist attacks on the United States. Extremist ideology and economic scarcity are.
You've brought up some redundant points. If you follow the thread so far, you'll find that I am not honestly suggesting the band change its name, nor am I acting in the defense of a particular religion. The purpose of my original comment was only to point out what I perceived to be an inconsistency between the band's anti-religious ideology and its more narrowly focused merchandise.
As to your more political accusations, you've made a lot of assumptions about me and about Christianity. You assume that I am Christian. You assume that all Tea Party members are Christian, and you assume that all Christians are Tea Party members or capitalists. Your attitude brilliantly exemplifies the sort of narrow-mindedness afflicting political and religious dialogue in our country today. If I may, you seem to be allowing media to define your world in terms of black and white, while in reality not everything is so simple as we would like for it to be.
In fact, you seem to have the raw ingredients of a polarizing ideology at work in your own mind. You've unquestioningly sided with all that you perceive to be the opposite of the so-called Christianity/Tea Party/Capitalist trifecta. This is a perfect example of what I am talking about--the tendency of ideological lines to be drawn in economic lean times. You're drawing lines between you and your neighbors, and they are drawing lines between themselves and you. They are saying that God is on their side, and you seem to be saying that anyone who claims to believe in the Christian concept of God is your political enemy. Where was this "Tea Party" before the current economic crisis? There has, of course, been political and religious tension throughout this country's existence, but it seems to have elevated in pitch and intensity. Have we not been more starkly divided along ideological lines as a result of economic tension?
I don't feel I need to go too in-depth about the differences between Christianity and capitalism, but did you know Thomas More, who was a Christian, wrote Utopia, which was one of the earliest socialist works? Did you know that there are many liberally-aligned Christians who are vehemently opposed to the Tea Party?
Reciting the lines your media of choice teach you to say (e.g. "You are obviously Christian, so you must be a Republican Capitalist who hates non-whites,") is a great way to draw guffaws out of the people whom you already consider your allies, but it contributes nothing to the sort of dialectic which could actually win opponents and lead to mutual enrichment. Such prejudice costs everyone dearly.