With lyrics like, "I studied law at the blind man's school of cruel indoctrination," this song isn't as obvious as the title suggests. The band's drummer Steve Hindalong told us the story: "In 1973 my eighth grade teacher at Whittier Christian School spoke passionately, tears in her eyes, about the most honorable thing a young man could do - 'Join the army and kill commies.' In 1983 Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday was signed into law as a national holiday. My boss at the hardware store where I worked - a deacon and a choir member at the Baptist church I attended commented, 'Why don't they kill 6 more of them and give us a week off?' I received plenty of 'cruel indoctrination' being brought up in fundamental evangelical Christian churches and schools, where bigotry is alive and well. And I graduated from a conservative bible college.
It should have been obvious that a Christian should not have owned slaves. But it wasn't to so many who professed to be 'Christians,' including many of our nation's founding fathers. So, what things, I wonder, are not obvious to us today that should be? For example, I kneel before the cross of my redeemer 'just as I am.' Surely Jesus embraces our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters 'just as they are.' Only recently have I adjusted my views on this issue. That's why the lyric goes, 'Hey, that was me, the self appointed judge…' Jesus said, 'Judge not…' (Matthew 7:1). It saddens me that this is such a divisive subject. I have studied it intently and discussed it at length. I view the relative passages of scripture differently now, given their cultural contexts. But mostly my heart and mind are changing as a result of a few individuals who I care for and have begun to understand. If I am wrong - and I am wrong about things every day - I'd rather err on the side of mercy. So often Christians show a cruel face, in shameful contrast to the merciful face of Christ, whose heart we are called to exemplify.
But you know, I don't want to conclude this topic on a negative note. I've experienced so much goodness and light in the presence of believers. My own parents, lifelong devoted servants for the cause of Christ, have been inspiring examples of gentle, unrelenting faith. Enduring joy is strong evidence. We don't agree on all matters of theology, but they have demonstrated authentic Christian love to me - and I believe in it." (read more in our interview with Steve Hindalong