Are the Insane Clown Posse a Christian Rock Band?

Posted in: Metal by Robert Tidwell on July 9th, 2009 | 31 Comments

When one listens to the Insane Clown Posse, they are greeted with horror movie style story telling filled with violence, sex, drugs and vulgar words, so why do people claim that the ICP are a christian rock band?

I’ve been a juggalo for almost 20 years. In that time I’ve listened to their music, watched their movies, went to their wrestling shows and drank endless ammounts of faygo. I love the juggalo experience because for nearly 20 years, I’ve argued that unlike most bands they have a message. A great message, really, but this new notion that their message is christian bugs me. Here’s why:

The albums that the Insane Clown Posse have released, called Jokers Cards, all have a twisted, cynical message to them. The message is often that when you die you will pay for your sins. The sixth and final jokers card, called The Wraith, features a song where Violent J says “Truth is we follow GOD, we’ve always been behind Him. The carnival is God and may all juggalos find him! He’s out there!” Many people think this is a shout to the Judeo Christian deity that we, in english, call God. Another reference is the song Pass Me By on the album The Great Milenko, this song tells the story of the members of the band dying and going to heaven and how they will do what ever they have to so that Heaven does not Pass them By.

All through out the albums, the Insane Clown Posse talk of sins, heaven and hell. So they are, how ever covertly, a Christian Rock band, right?

Wrong!

The main point of Christianity is that all people are sinners and the only way into heaven is to worship Jesus Christ, the one and only son of God, and to not worship any others.

Clearly, the Insane Clown Posse, break this rule. Nowhere on any of their albums is a direct mention to the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, they teach their fans that works will get them into heaven and that they should worship a collective of carnival figures, which means they are polytheistic. This does not fall in line with Christianity at all.

So then why do they talk about Heaven, if they aren’t Christian? Well, it seems they take their spiritual beliefs very seriously and have done so since the begining. But the important thing to note is that Heaven exists in other religions than just Christianity. So why wear crosses? The side project that wears crosses is a bit of a mystery, unless you take into account that the group, called Dark Lotus, include imagery of several religions. The Lotus is a common symbol of Buddhism and Hinduism. They also reference the Dharma wheel, another popular symbol of Buddhism and Hinduism.

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31 Responses to “Are the Insane Clown Posse a Christian Rock Band?”
  • Eric July 21st, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Yes, it is true. I have listend to ICP for almost 9 years now and all of their messages are positive. Sure, they speak of murder, but notice how they always describe their victims as ” Biggots, racists, pedophiles, greedy people and rapists”. Shock music or not they want anyone who listens to their music to find their own positive outlook from it. And millions have that is why ICP are so successful and other bands/musicians are envious of what they have created so they try to degrade them.

  • Robert Tidwell October 20th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    First off, TheMorning, I did not say that ICP are not believers. I said their music is not about the christian idea of god. I state pretty cleary that they seem to adhere mostly to the Baha’i faith’s interpetation of God.

    Secondly, most of the ICP’s fans ae not inner city kids but rather suburban kids.

    Thirdly, most people from the inner city are black and hispanic and according to the last census, both populations are extremely religious. Most gangsta rappers wear crosses. If ICP wanted to talk about jesus they could have. Tupac did.

    Fourth, ” It is judgemental to say they are not Christian, and isn’t that what Christ has taught us not to do.” does not apply to me because I am not christian. Christ hasn’t taught me anything.

    I’ve been a juggalo for many years and I’m a untarian universalist. There are more religions than just Christian. ICP may or may not be christian but the music they make does not adhere to the teachings of christianity, but rather the teachings of a horror filled Baha’i.

  • alec March 2nd, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Although these are very good arguments, I can not be convinced that icp a.k.a insane clown posse are not christian. Sure, they have the jokers cards but, they dont worship them, they simply state to be sure that you look out and try your best not to sin and if you do ask for forgiveness. I know you will try to fight back with statements like, “but they worship the dark carnival”. Wrong. In the last song of the wraith, they say, “truth is we follow god. We’ve always been behind him the carnival is god and may all juggalos find him.” Meaning the carnival is replaced by god. Also, meaning everything to do with the carnival is 1. They worship 1 god. Jesus.

  • Vice April 3rd, 2010 at 12:16 am

    well explained about every religion as i can say i just read this post cause i was looking for a Baha’i metal band.. if what you point is true they maybe Baha’i but to be one there are Laws that we must follow, witch the “Glory of God” teach us in the holly Kitab’i'aqdas.

  • Juggalo4Jesus April 16th, 2010 at 6:31 am

    You say the dont speak of Jesus Christ but your wrong. neither of the times they speak of it are in lyrics cause the first time is Shaggy 2dope saying “Jesus is the way” in the background on the song “Thy Unveiling” found in the Shangri La album. The second time is a reverse message found in the intro to the Hells Pit album. lol and whats up this “the J does not stand for Jesus, so thats a strike against them” haha no duh! It stands for Joe. Nice research on their lyrics dude but you fell to relize somthing, there meanings arnt only “lyrics” deep. I beleive they are for christianity. A lot of their “TRUE” meanings that are more then “lyrics” deep are more christian then you relize.

    plus Matthew 7:20 says
    Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    There are Juggalos turning to christ from the messages that they are sending, thus, their fruits.

  • Juggalo4Jesus April 16th, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Oh, yes and dude they dont worship the Joker cards, they are warnings not gods lol you dont worship warnings nor do they try to

  • bj June 13th, 2010 at 2:55 am

    ok im a juggalo my self and we dont fallow the joker cards wat they r is bacicly the after life they show u if u had a good or bad life just like heavin er hell if we live a bad life we go to hells pit other wise hell jus like everyone does and if we live a good life we go to Shangri La other wise heavin so in a way we are christians but not at the same time were not diffrent

  • Robert Tidwell June 21st, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    @nick I don’t count Crossing thy Bridge as a christian song lyric. “I try to pray everyday” doesn’t say who he is praying to. It says he has a strong spiritual side but it doesn’t say what he believes in. He does mention the devil but it isn’t his faith that mentions the devil, it’s other peoples: “I’ve been told I’m going to rot inside the devils intestines.” Christians are not the only people who pray.

    Pass me by is about heaven, you’re right. Christians are not the only people who believe in heaven, though.

    You’ve got me on the hells pit one though. I’ve never flipped the backmasking and didn’t know he said anything about jesus but I still think their beliefs are more in line with the bahai faith than the christian one.

  • nikkie August 31st, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    so true robert!!! and if they were a christian band then they wouldn’t have hatchet boy right???

  • Bart September 27th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Also, maybe just like you Robert, I am a metal fan…I have several tattoos of Manowar and ICP, but that doesn’t get me to hell, because my mansion in heaven is already ensured. Stop judging friend, start seeing the big picture.

    ICP reaches a big audience with their language, and the least that they’ll get is entertainment, but in the best of situations they teach people to live better lives…that’s more than most christians do these days.

  • Bart September 27th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Listen to Juggalo Paradise off Bizzar…a great message for everyone. We are all struggling (juggling?) in this world, but in the end nobody’s better than anybody else.

    Also, ICP gives true christians an edge to the message some are trying to spread. It’s okay to be a geek, a D&D player, a metalhead…in a nutshell, it’s okay to be different from the rest, a ticket to heaven is not tied to interests and piety (look at the catholic church and some of their priests failing to live up to celibacy, ugh), but to the conviction that Jesus died for our sins and trying our best to live live according to what he has done.

  • Robert Tidwell September 27th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Bart, I doubt you’ll be back here to look at my reply but I just wanted to say, it is very funny that you said not to judge people but you jump to some pretty quick conclusions.

    No where do I say ICP aren’t spreading a positive message. I said, plainly, that they aren’t spreading a christian message. Their positive message is more in line with another religion, called the Bahai Faith, than it is with christianity.

    I’ve been a juggalo for nearly 20 years and a christian for zero. I’m a Unitarian Universalist. If you’re christian and a juggalo, good for you, but ICP aren’t writing songs that are explicitly christian.

  • Robert Tidwell September 27th, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Bart, I doubt you\’ll be back here to look at my reply but I just wanted to say, it is very funny that you said not to judge people but you jump to some pretty quick conclusions.

    No where do I say ICP aren\’t spreading a positive message. I said, plainly, that they aren\’t spreading a christian message. Their positive message is more in line with another religion, called the Bahai Faith, than it is with christianity.

    I\’ve been a juggalo for nearly 20 years and a christian for zero. I\’m a Unitarian Universalist. If you\’re christian and a juggalo, good for you, but ICP aren\’t writing songs that are explicitly christian.

  • Bart September 28th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    That is where we disagree. It may not be very obvious in between the abundant violence and sex references, but some lyrics seem to come straight from the bible itself. This all becomes clear in Thy Unveiling (as you probably already know), where it IS explicitly told.

    They may walk a very thin line between good and wrong, and both christians and non-christians may have valid arguments to put the clowns on their respective sides, but to me it’s painfully obvious that their core message is one that strokes with the christian faith.

    I am not very familiar with the bahai faith, but I believe their view of heaven and hell is not the same view christians have. Christians believe in a very real heaven and hell, and ICP does so too.

  • Robert Tidwell October 5th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    @Bart check it out. The album Shangri La isn’t about a spiritual heaven but finding heaven on Earth in celebrating who you are and forming a lasting bond with your friends.

    Parts of their music may sound “christian” if you omit the fact that many religions (and atheists) believe it is important to be good. Their songs aren’t anti-christian but they are also not about strictly christian ideas. They don’t rap about accepting jesus christ as your lord and savior but they do rap about a twisted form of karma, which is a buddhist belief and they rap against racism, greed, corruption, etc which is a common theme in all religion.

    They also said, in a thanksgiving day song they uploaded on their site called My Shine, “I’ve never been to any churches, except for some chicken. I’ll tell a priest to eat a dick and spit some oldschool Esham on his ass, I even use bible papers when I’m twisting my grass.”

  • Anon October 10th, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Haha sorry Robert Tidwell, looks like 20 years of being a ‘Juggalo’ didn’t get the message across to you well enough. Will you now retire?

  • Robert Tidwell October 11th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Bart, again, I have to respectfully disagree. Have you ever heard the parable with the 12 blind monks and the elephant? The monks each pet the elephant in various parts of its body and argue about what the animal is. None of them say elephant.

    Pass Me By is a song that talks about heaven, sure, but it doesn’t talk about an explicitly christian heaven. If you read the bible and compare the way it describes heaven (angels chanting in praise of god etc) and the way ICP do (lots of friends and fun, faygo, wealth etc) do not line up. Most christians misunderstand the concept of heaven but if you actually read the bible there are no promises of mansions or women or loved ones. Heaven is described as eternal servitutde to the lord god. That’s it.I suppose you could argue that they too have misunderstood the teachings of the bible and believe that the christian teaches promise mansions etc but I prefer to think of it like this: Shangri La and Hells pit are definitive for how they view heaven and hell. There isn’t a single song on Shangri La, that I can think of, that describes heaven in a supernatural way. The main track on the album is Homies, a song about running around town and just being who you are. I think this underscores the concept of Miracles even further. Hell’s pit presents hell as ultimate suffering either in a supernatural sense (like burning up) or an emotional sense (manic depressive).

    I liked the song miracles as well and that also points to a concept that lines up with nearly all religions and that is that life is a miracle created by a deity.

    Like I said before, they may be christians but their stories line up more with the Bahai faith than the christian one. They probably aren’t even familiar with the bahai faith but still, their songs aren’t exclusively christian.

  • Robert Tidwell October 11th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    @anon

    I am a devout atheist. I have no belief in anything supernatural but I can still listen to ICP and enjoy them and find a deep, spiritual meaning to them that has nothing to do with Jesus, then you simply are missing their message.

    If the dark carnival helps you be a better christian, good for you. I’m glad. But you can’t look at their entire history and say that they make music to tell kids to find Jesus when Jesus is never mentioned outright by j or shaggy.

    You fail to understand that God is not an exclusively christian concept.

    In that column, the reporter calls ICP christian but ICP aren’t quoted using that word. Are they? I have no doubt that they are religious and they may even identify as christian, but none of their music is explicitly christian.

  • Robert Tidwell October 11th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    @anon

    I am a devout atheist. I have no belief in anything supernatural but I can still listen to ICP and enjoy them and find a deep, spiritual meaning to them that has nothing to do with Jesus, then you simply are missing their message.

    If the dark carnival helps you be a better christian, good for you. I\’m glad. But you can\’t look at their entire history and say that they make music to tell kids to find Jesus when Jesus is never mentioned outright by j or shaggy.

    You fail to understand that God is not an exclusively christian concept.

    In that column, the reporter calls ICP christian but ICP aren\’t quoted using that word. Are they? I have no doubt that they are religious and they may even identify as christian, but none of their music is explicitly christian.

  • JoJo October 13th, 2010 at 6:38 am

    You are all a bunch of Bible morons!

  • EH October 17th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Robert,
    This was a really interesting article, and I generally agree with your argument, although I think the conclusion misses the mark a bit. I think ICP and their loyal Juggalos are actually forging a new kind of spirituality. ICP lay the foundation through their lyrics and Juggalos do it through things like the Gathering and online boards, etc. While their approach does sort of line up with Baha\’ism as you point out, they don\’t embrace that denominational identification anymore than they adopt Presbyterianism or whatever. So why not accept that the Dark Carnival, though it draws on extant religions (just like early Christianity drew on Judaism, just like Islam drew on Christianity, just like Buddhism drew on Hinduism, etc.), is actually a new thing in and of itself?

  • Robert Tidwell October 23rd, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    @EH christians aren’t jews, are they? Buddhist aren’t Hindi, right? Muslims aren’t Christians. When you change things up enough it does become a new thing.

  • C Butler November 11th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    These are not Christians. Christians are supposed to act like Christ. You are deceived.

  • harry December 4th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    i love how people claim to be a lo an a lett

  • Bible Study December 19th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    While many religious people would think this is not probable, I believe it is very possible. Many don’t understand the bible the way God intended, they very well could be Christians.

  • Ryan February 7th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I have an idea! Shaggy 2 Dope has a facebook page. Why dont both you Bar, and you Robert, just send a message to his inbox asking him? That way you guys can actually find out instead of arguing with eachother. Id love to know what you guys find out.

    Whoop whoop!!! J4L

  • Robert Tidwell May 10th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    In a recent interview, J said he is not christian but that he believes in his own personal concept of God.

  • alec August 17th, 2011 at 12:47 am

    nikkie, the hatchet MAN is not a symbol for icp themselves, its the logo for the record label they are signed to, Psycopathic Records. All groups signed to Psycopathic Records wear this symbol such as, Twizted and Psycopathic Rydas.

  • Brittany December 30th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Just a thought here…. For Robert. It seems that your whole argument for ICP’s unbelievable Christianity is the fact that they never once said Jesus’ name outright in any of their songs…. Have you ever listened to Thy Unveiling? J says right there that they snuck the messages in subliminally. How, exactly, can a person talk about Jesus in their songs if they’re doing it SUBLIMINALLY? Not by saying His name. I will admit right now that I know next to nothing about the intricacies of different religions, but I do know that the messages they were sending WERE Christian. You say they’re not explicitly so, but then again, it took how many years and 6 albums for the secret to be revealed? Obviously the messages weren’t exactly clear enough…And I assume that means that everyone would individually glean whatever they thought from it. Which it seems to me is what you did.

  • Robert Tidwell January 5th, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Hey Brittany, thank you for your comment. I hope you see this and reply again. I love talking about this.

    The first thing you need to do is disconnect your own personal idea of Religion from the word GOD. GOD is a catch all term for “The divine energy, personified.”

    They talk about GOD a lot. They don’t talk about Jesus. Even in Thy Unveiling they don’t say that Jesus died for your sins. They say that God is part of their lives. This isn’t a concept exclusive to Christianity. In fact, while some of their ideas do over lap with christian morals, many of their ideas are exactly opposite of nearly all christian teachings.

    For instance, we have them teaching that religion isn’t as important as spirituality. Most christian churches would tell you the exact opposite. They would tell you that, even though they are good people, devoutly buddhist people are going to hell because they have not accepted Jesus as their lord and savior. It’s the same for ICP. ICP don’t care if you believe in Jesus or not. They teach that the way to Shangri La is by not being a racist (the bible says it’s OK to be racist), homophobic (the bible is very homophobic), sexist (ahem.) and by doing good. It doesn’t matter who your own personal concept of God is, to them, to be a juggalo.

    Look up the Ba’hai. Do your research. Tell me that the concepts and teachings don’t line up.

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