Punk Rock, the Prophetic Tradition, Anti-Racism, Faith Formation, Propagahndi, and More


One of the first punk rock bands I got into was Propagahndi.  I remember rocking their shirt at like 14 years old. Eventually, I gravitated towards some obscure British stuff from the 70s, largely because it was what my friends were into, but some of those early messages shaped some of my emerging worldview.

Oddly enough punk music (not including the late 90s-2000s pop-punk and main stream derivatives), always had a sense that racism was not a thing of the past, but that these ideologies still need to be confronted.  Whether it be songs calling out Nazi‘s or White Supremacists, or the branding on buttons, patches, and shirts, the message was clear: punk rock stands against racism.

From a faith perspective, punk rock was meant to be prophetic; a hyperbolic and shocking a way to call out injustice and disrupt the system.  This spirit, though often lost in our pacified American Christianity,  is seen in Jesus who was a poor minority living in occupied territory, executed by the empire, and also in his earliest followers who were called to reject “Caesar” and any systems or beliefs that oppress or dehumanize.  So yes, Jesus was and is punk rock.

As a young lad I learned about things like genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda, secret US wars and their deadly consequences, oppression of the LGBT community, racism, political corruption and more all through the words of punk rock.  In light of recent events some of those memories and melodies have resurfaced in my psyche.

Below is an example of one such song from the Canadian Punk band I mentioned earlier, Propagahndi.  Warning: it contains some very crude language, but nothing more than what our current President is well known for.  Also, I do not condone in any way killing of other human beings, but I do support the death of racist ideologies and views.  So just in case you were wondering, that’s how I interpret the title of this song.

In our current historical moment, with our current “Ceasar”, I hope and pray for lots more great punk rock.

“Swastikas and Klan-robes
Sexists, racists, homophobes
Aryan-Nations and Hammerskins
You can wear my nuts on your Nazi chins

I love a man in uniform!

Just what exactly are the great historical accomplishments of your race that make you proud to be white? Capitalism? Slavery? Genocide? Sitcoms? This is your fucking white-history, my friend. So why don’t we start making a history worth being proud of and start fighting the real fucking enemy?

Swastikas and Klan-robes
Sexists, racists, homophobes
This one’s for the master race
My brown-power ass in your white-power face

Kill them all and let a Norse God sort ’em out!”

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