Christian Rock

"One can't leave all the good music to the devil", says Luke Callender, the 20-year-old bass player of a Texan heavy metal band. Callender makes music for Jesus. He plays at Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois, in the middle of the Bible belt. It is the largest annual gathering of Christian rock. For a week, over 30,000 fans worship Jesus while listening to heavy metal, punk or hip-hop. Cornerstone is like no other open-air music festival. Spiky haircuts, tattooed arms, and pierced noses are highly visible. But here, rock 'n' roll goes without sex and drugs. After concerts, musicians return to their wives instead of ending up with groupies. "Punk does not to be anti-social", says bandleader Johnny Emmenheiser. "By using punk-rock, we spread the Gospel to people who would otherwise not listen." Singers loudly praise God the Almighty and sing against what they call the "American holocaust" - their term for legal abortion.

The genre with the Lord's music is booming. Last year, almost 50 million Christian rock records were sold in the United States. Christianity is on the rise. 46 percent of all Americans consider themselves born-again or evangelical Christians.

Their spiritual leader is George W. Bush, the most religious President in American history. He finishes his speeches with the same words used by most of the 300 Christian rock bands at Cornerstone to end their concerts: "God bless America." Concert organizer Dan Bawinkle calls the President "a leader sent by God to lead us in the holy war against Islam". At Cornerstone, he says, the soldiers for this war are being recruited.

Full text by Peter Hossli (German): Abrocken in Gottes Namen