10. No Place Here
“There’s no place here for any religion, no place for simple answers and pre-made decisions.” — Chokehold, “Tooth and Nail”
All of my criticisms of Christianity are meaningless if hc/punk is also meaningless. Without any sort of common ground except our music, then anything can sweep in and fill the gaps and we really have no right to object to it. If hc/punk is only about the music, then it is no better than the other musical subcultures (techno, country, pop, etc.) which are strictly about the music and its accessories. But if hc/punk is more than music (as the famous fest in Columbus Ohio is called), then what is it about?
I’m sure that hundreds of people in hc/punk could come up with hundreds of different definitions and explanations of hc/punk, but I’m going to try to distill it down to something simple, a rule on which everybody can agree. Hardcore punk is ultimately about rebellion and questioning authority.
You may disagree, but think about it: at the very least, hc/punk is about attacking the hegemony of popular music. Even if hc/punk’s major focus is solely music, it is still music which usually (with a few exceptions, of course) defies conventional tastes. Not even the most right-wing conservative hardcore band (i.e. One Life Crew and their ilk) would ever have a chance of getting regular rotation on MTV or radio, simply by virtue of their musical style.
As you go further up the scale of revolt, from unpopular fashion decisions to straightedge to veganism to anarchism to totally dropping out of capitalist society, the importance of rebellion in hc/punk should become clearer. As I explained in section 9, the ultimate law of Christianity is obedience. Because obedience and rebellion are simply not compatible, then I believe that hc/punk is not compatible with Christianity. This same argument could go for any situation in which a system of control and obedience (Soviet-style communism, Islam [the very name means ‘submission!’], capitalism, psychiatry, etc.) is trying to integrate with a system of rebellion and autonomy (anarchist cells, wildcat strikes, pirate fleets, workers’ collectives, etc.). It just won’t fucking work. The system of control will absorb, defang and/or destroy the system of rebellion.
I understand that the above two paragraphs are a bit generalized, a bit sweeping, perhaps even a bit overstated. Some people may argue that Christianity is in fact a system of rebellion (despite my painstaking attempts to conclusively prove that it is a system of obedience in section 9). So let’s make some comparisons and find out if my generalizations have somehow missed their mark.
What does hc/punk have in common with Christianity? Admittedly, some very good things. There are many Christian rules and laws in both the Old and New Testaments which seem as if they could be printed in some DIY political-punk fanzine: Love thy neighbor. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Heal the sick. Give your money to the poor. Do good works. Turn the other cheek. And so on. Christianity also has hordes of screeching, battling factions and a smorgasbord of internal contradictions — just like hc/punk.
But as we have seen, the contradictions between Christianity and hc/punk are far more numerous than the shared objectives. Christianity demands total obedience from all — and doubles the burden of subservience for women, slaves, and others, requiring them to obey not only God but mortal men, masters, and other earthly authorities! Whatever morality Christianity has is delivered with a powerful threat of eternal torture (thus utterly nullifying any benevolent intent), whereas the ethics within hc/punk come from humanism, anarchism, and (most importantly!) individual determinations of right and wrong that come from within and not from some mythical above.
In conclusion: Christianity and hardcore/punk are not compatible. If there is another music scene out there where obedience is the highest law — where a cold and cruel God is master — then Christians should immediately flock to that scene in great numbers, because hardcore/punk is not that scene. I am not asking Christians within hc/punk to abandon their beliefs; I am asking them to abandon hc/punk because it is unGodly and unChristian. It goes against the Christian religion to be involved in hc/punk, as I have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated within this essay, and it would benefit their immortal souls to depart from the godless, rebellious, blasphemous hc/punk scene immediately.