Lab Tracks

Lab Track: American Jesus

Today’s track, suggested by our own Surly Amy, is performed by the quintessential old-school atheist band Bad Religion. American Jesus ridicules the hyper-nationalistic attitudes of American Evangelical Christians, an issue that’s just as relevant now as it was in 1993 when the song came out. Enjoy!


American Jesus
Bad Religion

I don’t need to be a global citizen
Because I’m blessed by nationality
I’m member of a growing populace
We enforce our popularity
There are things that
Seem to pull us under
And there are things
That drag us down
But there’s a power
And a vital presence
That’s lurking all around

We’ve got the American Jesus
See him on the interstate
We’ve got the American Jesus
He helped build the
President’s estate

I feel sorry for the earth’s population
‘Cause so few live in the USA
At least the foreigners can copy our morality
They can visit but they cannot stay
Only precious few can garner the prosperity
It makes us walk with renewed confidence
We’ve got a place to go when we die
And the architect resides right here

We’ve got the American Jesus
Fostering their shame on faith
We’ve got the American Jesus
Overwhelming millions every day

He’s the farmers barren fields
The force the army wields
The expession in the faces of the starving millions
The power of the man
The fuel that drives the clan
He’s the motive and conscience of the murderer
He’s the preacher on TV
The false sincerity
The form letter that’s written by the big computers
The nuclear bombs
The kids with no moms
And I’m fearful that
He’s inside me

We’ve got the American Jesus
See him on the interstate
We’ve got the American Jesus
Exercising his authority

We’ve got the American Jesus
Fostering their shame on faith
We’ve got the American Jesus
Overwhelming millions every day

This has been another installment of Monday Lab Tracks. Send us your musical recommendations through our contact link at the top of the page, and tell us what you think of the song in the comments below!

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Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.

3 Comments

  1. November 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Oh how I miss music videos from the early 90’s. My band in high school covered this song. Wonder if I remember how to play it? do dodo dooo dodo doooo dododododoooooo…

  2. November 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Damn, but I do love me some Bad Religion. Never has a band* crammed more syllables into such a short time, and such syllables they are, relentless, uncompromising and melodic. Love it.

    Bad Religion “Live at the Palladium” is well worth the watch. Vocalist Greg Graffin no longer identifies with punk culture, he says as much in the film. The concert around which the interviews are hung shows him being pretty reluctant on the first few songs but as it goes on there’s a transformation. He might not identify with punk culture anymore but it’s pretty clear that he still believes in the ideals the songs espouse. That transformation from reluctance to outrage is beautiful to watch.

    *excluding a lot of hip-hop and rap here, they’re often pretty wordy too.

  3. November 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I would just like to say, fuck yeah! And WOOOOOOOOT!

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