MRBlog | What Can We Learn From Christian Hip Hop That Supports Ted Cruz?

We Are Watchmen

By Thomas J. Whitley

Combine conservative politics, apologetics, and wannabe Christian hip hop and you get We Are Watchmen, a group “that uses music and message to mobilize American Christians to civic duty.”

We Are Watchmen recently released two songs: “Stand” and “Set It On Fire.”

Musically, “Stand” is the better of the two. Lyrically, “Stand” speaks out against abortion, liberalism, and secular humanism (“secular humanism is a rotten scam”). It calls for Christians to “stand” against these evils plaguing America and for the taking back of this country to the Christian principles on which it was founded. We Are Watchmen’s focus is in returning America into their idea of what this country used to be. “Stand” is, on the one hand, contemporary Christian music that is addressed to God as are other worship songs, yet, on the other hand, the purpose of the prayer and religious language is civic and political. The “liberal policies” that have America “swerving from the Covenant” must be resisted and repealed. Liberals, after all, cannot be Christians who simply understand God and the Bible differently from We Are Watchmen (“these wicked liberals couldn’t care less what the Scriptures say”). The goal of We Are Watchmen is not to draw individuals closer to God, but to change the face of this county, which they say is “a blessing we should die to defend.”

The coupling of “religious” and “political” is even more obvious in “Set It on Fire,” which includes two shout-outs to Reagan and declares that We Are Watchmen is “all in for Ted Cruz” (Notice also that the ted Cruz for President logo is the background of the “Set It on Fire” video). “Set It on Fire” goes quite a bit further than “Stand” in its espousing of conservative political positions. A strong federal government is not just a different opinion about how government should be run, but a poison: “When power is concentrated centrally and federally, it creates dependency that’s medically like leprosy.” Since America is “the greatest nation that’s ever been implanted on the planet,” it must be saved and the only way to do that is by upholding the Constitution, pushing back evil liberal policies, and outing RINOs.

The true solution is return to the roots of our Constitution
Remove this monster boot off the neck of our Sovereign Union
Select ted Cruz and let’s get through this, the movement
Reignite the promise, if you’re conservative, then prove it.

We Are Watchmen will be easy for some to make fun of. Their music is not really that good and many of the claims that they make are simply ludicrous. For instance, from their website: “Just as many churches in Germany sang louder on Sunday mornings to drown out the sounds of wailing Jews in boxcars not he way to the concentration camps, the majority of pulpits and pews in the American churches have been willfully ignoring the stench of blatant evil rising in this once godly nation.”

Yet We Are Watchmen serves as a useful reminder of the intimate relationship between “religion” and “politics.” Some will look at We Are Watchmen as really a political group because they call for conservative policies and support Ted Crux for President. Some will see the group as really religious because of their invocation of God and the Bible. This distinction, though, does not speak to some higher, transcendent reality, but instead speaks to how we think the world ought to be ordered and categorized. Indeed, some will be able to dismiss We Are Watchmen because they are “political” while others will dismiss them because they are “religious.” Yet, progressive Christians are no less interested in seeing marriage rights extended to same-sex couples than are We Are Watchmen in seeing abortion outlawed and they are no less quick to couch their position in religious language (see here and here, for example).

Far from deserving ridicule, We Are Watchmen’s music and message  actually deserve our study, for the group is a perfect e.g. for discussing the arbitrary nature of the categories “religious” and “political.” Just as distinguishing between these categories would be a meaningless exercise for We Are Watchmen, so too should it be for those of us who would view “religion” through a critical and analytical lens.