david santistevan


Swearing in Christian Music?

derekwebbOne of my favorite artists, Derek Webb, was set to release a new album called Stockholm Syndrome this week. Nevertheless, his label is refusing to release it due to an offensive word. This is really an interesting subject.

Do you think it is fair, in the name of artistic liberty, for Christians to swear in their music? Given, this is not a spitting of continuous, vulgar profanities, but merely one word. The content of his music if most definitely Biblical and rooted in a deep love for God. Is this a violation of Biblical morality?

I’ve always appreciated Derek for his raw, honest approach to music. He’s not trying to sell records (well, I’m sure he is a little). He’s trying to say something.

Has he crossed the line?


May 22, 2009 - Posted by | Music


  1. I am not an a huge fan of people who swear. But if all he says is “shit” then I think the label is ridiculous. There are times where there are no other words that fit, have the right sound, or express what you really feel. It could be possible that what Derek Webb is saying is true: Christians do treat people who are gay like “shit.” Shame on the label, shame on us.

    Comment by Benjamin Davis | May 22, 2009 | Reply

    • Good thoughts, bro. I think swearing is weak lyricism. When all you hear in concerts and on recordings is swearing, it just takes away from what you’re trying to say. Derek has used strong words in the past, but his music actually says something worthwhile. This is funny to me. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to swear in a song I write. Then again, I write love songs to Jesus. haha.

      Comment by santahara | May 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’m a big fan of people using the best words to convey what they are trying to say and if that means using words that are culturally taboo then that’s fine with me. It’s not like he’s using the LORD’s name in vain.
    Then again, part of the use of language is also the climate. Even if the use of profanity might convey the right imagery, there are many settings and contexts where it would still be inappropriate. I’m not sure this is one of those cases though. That’s just my two cents though

    Comment by Aaron Hernley | May 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. it’s good for Christians to be challenged and it’s a good thing that we have someone like derek webb ready to challenge us.

    Comment by mark santistevan | May 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. I really don’t think a song from the Lord would have profanity. Isn’t that where these songs are supposed to come from? God? Think of all the many great Christian songs – no profanity. Surely he can do better. I won’t listen to it. I won’t buy it. And if my Christian radio station plays it, which I highly doubt, I will complain. I think if he plans to be successful on the Christian music scene he should rethink his route.

    Comment by Sherry | May 24, 2009 | Reply

  5. I find it slightly amusing that you “appear” to be ok with this swear word in this person’s music. I don’t know this for sure of course, it is the impression I was left with after reading it. Yet you moderate the comments left on your blog. If I am correct in my impression, maybe you should rethink your position or the moderation factor.

    Comment by Sherry | May 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Sherry,

      Thanks for your comments. I was not advocating Derek Webb’s view on swearing. I am merely stating the facts of what is going on. I do like Derek Webb. I don’t like swearing. I hope that makes clear what I was writing. Thanks for reading!

      Comment by santahara | May 25, 2009 | Reply

  6. Question: Is swearing morally wrong? Could the label define “profanity”? I think (this is just a thought) that some words are vulgar and some are swearing. I agree with Sherry in that if Derek Webb wants to make it in the Christian music scene then he might not want to use that particular word in question.

    However I don’t think Mr. Webb cares about what the “Christian music scene” thinks. I do think he cares about spreading the truth of God’s love and truth about issues that are not being addressed in the Christian world today.

    Comment by Benjamin Davis | May 26, 2009 | Reply

  7. I am not familiar with this artist but I think this is a very interesting topic. I think swearing in music is typically in poor taste, but in the same respect, I feel like there are instances that it is nearly impossible to convey your feelings without using a “swear word.” I guess I would have to know the word and context in which it was used to form an opinion.

    I seem to recall that the very amazing and talented and most influential Stryper received some “hell” for their song/album To Hell with the Devil. Just think how different Christian music would be today if their record label did not produce that amazing album.

    Thanks for the post Dave!

    Comment by Jesse Wisinski | May 27, 2009 | Reply

  8. Perceiving the use of profanity as a moral issue grossly misses the import of Derek’s choice. Profanity violates a social norm and not a Biblical statute. What this situation epitomizes is much more like the situation that Christ Himself experienced (and even provoked) by using the analogy of Himself being bread. The resulting fall out among the enthralled masses distinguished desperate seekers for truth. Whereas neither Derek nor I would assert that Derek is a modern-day Christ, we would contend that this situation distinguishes those among us who are more intent on recognizing our inadequacies and achieving a higher level of truth and love.

    Comment by David R. Jones | July 4, 2009 | Reply

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