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Article ID: 4758
Age Group: Adult
Posted: November 4th. 2002
The Crusade Against Rock & Roll 
by Kerr Cuhulain
Truth About Rock
One of the favourite targets of evangelicals supporting Satanic conspiracy theories is rock and roll music. It started back when John Lennon of the Beatles made his ill-advised Jesus comparison. The fundamentalists immediately charged into action.
The person leading that initial assault was David Noebel. Noebel came out with the book Rhythm Riots and Revolution in 1966. Noebel quoted Aristotle and engaged in elaborate arguments to make his point. Noebel felt that Rock music was a Communist plot to subvert Western society. He accused the Soviets of using "an elaborate calculated scientific technique aimed at rendering a generation of American youth neurotic through nerve-jamming, mental deterioration, and retardation."(1) Noebel felt that broadcasting music with a primitive beat hypnotized the unsuspecting listener. "THE BEATLES , or THE MINDBENDERS, for example," Noebel wrote, "need only mass hypnotize thousands of American youth, condition their emotions through the beat of the 'music' and then have someone give the word for riot and revolt... If the following scientific program is not exposed, degenerated Americans will indeed raise the Communist flag over their own nation.[emphasis in original]"(2) Noebel went on to write The Marxist Minstrels. He inspired a legion of anti-rock authors.
In 1967 radio evangelist and Christian author Bob Larson, a former rock musician, launched his ministry based on an anti-rock message. Larson's story is an involved one and I will be discussing Larson in a later article in this series on evangelists.
One of the most well known Christian anti-rock organizations is Truth About Rock, based in St. Paul, Minnesota. This organization was founded in 1979 by the Peters Brothers, Dan and Steve. It was associated to their Zion Christian Life Center Ministry. Steve Peters went on to become president of Solid Rock Ministries. Steve has appeared to talk about the dangers of rock music on ABC's Nightline, Entertainment Tonight, The 700 Club, and the Sally Jesse Raphael Show.
The Peters brothers are major publicity hounds. They founded Truth About Rock with a well publicized record burning in Minnesota in 1979. Each of their books is full of ads for their materials and endless self congratulations for their courageous efforts to fight the evil of rock and roll.
The Peters brothers are major supporters of Bob Larson. In many ways their material is similar to that of Larson, whom the Peters brothers describe as "authoritative."(3) The difference is that the Peters brothers take what Larson preaches a step further. Where Larson calls something bad the Peters brothers call it awful.
The Peters brothers also actively supported California Assemblyman Phillip Wyman, a "backmasking" theory supporter. They quote Wyman and his aides repeatedly in their books. The Peters brothers also promoted Democrat Don Glickman of Kansas as a supporter of backmasking theories.
Truth About Rock is not so much a ministry as it is a money making business. They once sent me an information package which included:
- A pledge sheet giving the options of just praying for the Peters Brothers, sending a donation of $15, $30, $50, $100 or $150, or becoming a "monthly partner" for $10, $15 or $25 per month. Monthly partners apparently received monthly updates, new documentation, "The Insiders Report" and seminar schedules.
- A four page list of items available from Truth About Rock including books, video tapes, tracts, muscle shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers. It also offers a complete slide presentation for $249 and offered the Peters Brothers seminar schedule (prices for this not mentioned- apparently available on request).
- A set of 7 full colour tracts written in 1987 by Francis Anfuso of Truth About Rock. These tracts included the following titles:
- "Suicide and Rock 'n' Roll": States: "It is now becoming evident that one of the primary influences encouraging them to take their lives is Rock Music."
- "The Fate of Rock Stars": The cover of this tract depicts 5 tombstones bearing the names Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, Bon Scott, and John Lennon. Inside it lists these and 7 others and adds Jesus Christ to the list. Jesus is called "a rock star of a different sort."
- "Rock and Roll Obsession": Message: Rock and Roll brainwashes and/or hypnotizes people.
- "Hidden Messages in Rock 'n' Roll": Tries to sell the "backmasking" theory.
- "Sex and Rock 'n' Roll": Slams "immorality" and promiscuity which it claims is caused by rock music.
- "Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll: Message: Get high on Jesus, not drugs.
- "Satanism and Rock 'n' Roll": Message: Rock groups promote Satanism.
All of these tracts refer the reader to Truth About Rock for further information. All of them were copyrighted by Christian Equippers International in South Lake Tahoe, with branch addresses in England, Australia and New Zealand.
Dan and Steve Peters have authored several books:
- Why Knock Rock?
- The Peters Brothers Hit Rock's Bottom
- What the Devils Wrong With Rock Music?
- Rock's Hidden Persuader: The Truth About Backmasking. This book was written by Steve Peters with coauthor Cher Merrill, a freelance writer.
- What About Christian Rock? This book was also a joint effort between Steve Petes and Cher Merrill.
- Truth About Rock: Shattering the Myth of Harmless Music. Steve Peters wrote this with co-author Mark Littleton.
Mark Littleton is the president of Winsun Communications in Columbia, Maryland. Littleton is a frequent speaker at Christian gatherings. He is author of more than forty books for children, teens, and adults, including a winner of Campus Life magazine's Book of the Year Ward. Littleton's works include:
- Tales of the Neverending (a novel)
- Before Eden (a novel)
- The Rocky Creek Adventures: A children's series (The Rocky Creek Adventures, Tree Fort Wars, Trouble Down the Creek, Robbers on Rocky Road, Escape of the Grizzly, Danger on Midnight Trail, Friends No Matter What)
- The "Up" Teen Devotional Series (Fillin' Up, Pairin' Up)
- When God Doesn't Follow Your Plan
- The Storm Within
- You Can! Co-author Dr. Frank Minirth.
- God Is!
- How to Use the Bible in All of Your Life.
- A series of books and tapes on how to write and speak (How to Write a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal, How to Write a Winning Fiction Book Proposal, Put P-O-W-E-R Into Your Public Speaking, How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, Writing the Suspense Thriller, How to Make a Career Out of Writing, How to Write for Children, How to Write a Darn Good Novel, How to Write a Darn Good Nonfiction Book)
Many of the Peters brothers books include a "National Petition: to stop pornographic music from being sold to or played on the public airwaves in the presence of minors" and a sample form letter to congress to express concern over the same issue.
The Peters brothers books are very repetitious. Read one and you've basically read them all. An example of the Peters' books is What the Devil's Wrong with Rock Music? This starts with a 5 page plug for the Peters brothers featuring photos of them on ABC's Nightline program and on Christian TV network shows. The Peters brothers state "that it is unscriptural to criticize another's taste in music."(4) They then go on to say: "Often, Christians feel they know the whole counsel of God and try to inflict their beliefs on others as God's standards.[emphasis in original]"(5) Having said this the Peters brothers proceed to rip rock music apart, ignoring their own good advice.
The Peters Brothers feel that Christian Rock music is acceptable if it meets certain criteria. But any rock music which does not contain acceptable Christian lyrics or which "directly violates God's word"(6) is out.
Pages 2 to 63 in What the Devil's Wrong with Rock Music? are a "Rock Dictionary." Following this "dictionary" the Peters brothers make the following comments:
- "Many of today's rock groups sing and promote perverted sex, open immorality, bestiality, rebellion, witchcraft and the occult, drunkenness, unfaithfulness to marriage partners, homosexuality, eastern religions, and illegal drugs."(7)
- "Messages in these songs partly responsible"(8) for "the tremendous shift in the moral attitudes of America's youth during the last 20 years."(9) The Peters brothers refer to rock music as a form of "brainwashing"(10) mirroring Noebel's philosophies.
- That rock songs "both reflect and promote these evils".(11)
- That many rock songs contravene Title 18, section 1464 of the US Code regarding the broadcasting of obscenities.
- The Peters brothers declare: "Can morality be legislated? The answer is a qualified yes."(12)
The Peters brothers cite Dr. Thomas Verny's studies and state that pregnant mothers should not play rock music as it may traumatize their unborn child. They try to corroborate this by reporting that Pythagoras entertained pregnant women with his flute 2500 years ago. The fact that there were no rock bands 2500 years ago seems to have escaped them.
As far as lyrics are concerned the Peters brothers say that they must be judged by the following criteria:
- "What schools of thought are they promoting?"(13)
- "Are they Christ-like or are they thoughts that are anti-God?"(14)
- "Do they encourage or discourage you to grow as a Christian and to get closer to God?"(15)
Next follows several pages of sample lyrics from popular rock tunes. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to promote themselves, the Peters brothers conclude this book with their form letter, petition, and a few pages of ads for their books, tapes, etc.
In Rock's Hidden Persuader: The Truth About Backmasking the Peters brothers try to sell the reader on the idea of backmasking and subliminal messages in rock music. Backmasking is the theory that the producers of the recording insert secret messages into the record that can only be heard if you play the recording backwards. Subliminal messages are messages inserted into the recording which are too brief to register consciously but which are supposedly picked up by the subconscious mind. The Peters brothers make some interesting remarks on these topics:
- "...those people with a strong moral base, such as the 10 Commandments, would not be a susceptible to negative stimuli... perhaps this should make secular humanists more concerned".(16)
- "Why look for secret messages in the music when there is so much garbage blatantly displayed up front?"(17)
NOTE: If this is how they feel then why did they write this 123 page book?
- Referring to Led Zepplin's song Stairway to Heaven, the Peters brothers state: "First the song says the woman is 'buying a stairway to heaven'. That's impossible, since heaven can't be earned or bought- its a free gift. Satan would just love people to fall for that falsehood".(18)
NOTE: If the Peters brothers had really listened to the whole song they might have figured out that the whole point of Led Zepplin's Stairway to Heaven is that you can't buy your way into heaven.
- "...although a certain amount of wisdom is needed to forestall a 'witch hunt' mentality, its still perfectly logical to assume satanic involvement in back masking".(19)
- Quoting Dr. D. G. Kehl of Arizona State University: "Sin has both an accumulative and a domino effect. Satan plants subtle suggestions, often subliminal ones; he influences an attitude; makes a 'minor' victory- always in preparation for the big fall, the iron-bound habit."(20)
- "Perhaps some of the values promoted by rock music are considered acceptable by a small segment of society, but to grant the modern day philosopher, the rock musician, total freedom to preach whatever 'gospel' he wishes on our public airwaves without concern is a ludicrous misinterpretation of the First Amendment."(21)
- "Does not our society, born on the ideals of free speech, have the right to control media messages, whether delivered openly or by backmasking techniques?"(22)
- "We as Christians have a responsibility to check in every way possible the corruption of our society by whatever means".(23)
NOTE: This sounds a lot like Machiavelli's "the ends justify the means".
- "As an occasion to sin, rock music can cause both confusion and temptation. It can trip you up, muddy your thinking and misguide your actions. That is where rock's danger lies. If you're smart and concerned about your eternal welfare, you'll avoid rock music and all its sneaky snares."(24)
In Rock's Hidden Persuader the Peters Brothers cite several studies and experts who conclude that backmasking is technically impossible and that subliminal messages cannot be detected unless you are told where to look for them and that such messages have no demonstrated effect on human behaviour. The Peters brothers then contradict this, quoting Plato, William Congrave (a 17th Century writer), Martin Luther (1524) and various Christian "experts" to support their claim that backmasking and subliminal messages are effective. The Peters brothers then devote pages and pages to the supposed messages hidden in popular rock songs. None of these so called hidden messages is corroborated by any evidence offered by the Peters brothers.
[continued... Click HERE for page 2]
| ABOUT... |
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).
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