Sunday, October 1, 2017

Asherah Poles and Marching Band Shows

Band Parents should be alarmed about the amount of pagan imagery and idolatry that is appearing in marching band shows. I have been seeing more and more productions featuring young, impressionable students bowing down in front of sacred trees, phallic symbols, and goddess-costumed colorguard performers. In fact, one of the most common elements between contemporary shows is to see performers gathered in a circle around an uplifted goddess figure, bowing in homage and worship. I saw it again live, just over a week ago.

In the video shown below, the colorguard members were told that they were "a goddess the whole world worships and adores." This sounds alarmingly similar to Acts 19:27 when the head of the silversmith guild (idolmakers) referred to the ancient goddess:

There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty

In the ancient cults, young girls were often used as stand-ins, or the physical personification of the goddess. This video shows a colorguard performer with wings at the center of the circle as the object of worship:

Here is an image of students bowing down before what appears to be a type of phallic symbol. 

There are many who believe that the Asherah poles forbidden in the Old Testament were phallic symbols. I personally, tend to believe they were sacred trees, and just this last weekend I saw a band whose entire show revolved around a sort of sacred tree, they even bowed down before it. The temple at Ephesus had such a tree, which I believe represented the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which was bowed down before and worshipped. This represents preferring and honoring the knowledge of man and the craftiness of Satan over the Wisdom of God. Here are some passages of Scripture about this type of worship:

You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make for yourself. -Deuteronomy 16:21

But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim. Exodus 34:13

They tore down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars that were high above them he chopped down; also the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images he broke in pieces and ground to powder and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. -2 Chronicles 34:4 

It is possible that not every band director realizes what their drill writers and show designers are doing. Hopefully, this will serve as a wake-up call. I confess that I once programmed Danse Bacchanale, from the oratorio Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saens. Even though it was based on a Bible story, it turns out that the Bacchanale was the bad, pagan part of the story. A Bacchanale is a tribute to the false god Bacchus, god of wine and revelry and is basically a big Ba'al worshipping orgy like the event that occurred when the people of Israel bowed down and worshipped the golden calf. (Exodus 32, Acts 7:39-43)  So, famous or not, the piece was a poor programming choice which I am deeply ashamed of and regret. And I believe that there were spiritual consequences to that decision. But we certainly did not have inappropriate visuals or pagan worship. I thought it was a cool sounding song with a neat Egyptian melody from one of my favorite drum corps shows of all time. Now that I think of it, Phantom Regiment had an absolutely shocking and filthy visual in that show........ This type of wild, out of control, pagan worship event is precisely what Igor Stravinsky portrayed in his piece The Rite of Spring, which incited a riot at its premiere. As it happens, this piece was featured in a show at the BOA Regional last weekend. 

I also saw a tribute to Destiny, with the image of a woman in silhuette on Banners behind the band--clearly in reference to the goddess herself, not the concept of Destiny. Isaiah 65:11 warns against worshipping this false god:

But as for you who forsake the LORD and forget my holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you for the sword and all of you will bow down to the slaughter. 

The words fortune and destiny refer to the worship of The Fates, which, not surprisingly, yet another band offered tribute to at the BOA Regional, titling their show "Fate." Spreading a table and filling bowls of mixed wine represent having communion, and welcoming the presence of this false demonic god into your life. 1 Corinthians 10:20 warns against any type of worship to a false god. 

The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

Why is this such a big deal? Fatalism, the belief that human decisions don't matter, is antithetical to Christian hope. Equally concerning is that this IS the Ba'al worship of ancient Canaan, the same fertility cult worshipped in Babylon and eventually Israel, which caused the nation to be destroyed. Ancient pagan psalms reveal that this false faith is the very same wicked religion as the ancient Mesopotamian fertility cult which Abraham was called to come out of, which descended from the original cult of the moon goddess, Sin. This cult was the very incarnation of evil and the origin of the widespread worship of Satan. The cult of Ba'al and Asherah featured widespread prostitution, the objectification and misuse of women (and men), drug and alcohol abuse (mixed wine was laced with drugs), demon worship, false prophecy from demons, ritual cutting, child sacrifice and every deep, dark lewdness imaginable. The open worship of this cult is not only an affront to Judeo-Christian values and the fundamental ethics of civilized society, but a defiance of decency, an abandonment of morality, a degradation of human dignity and nothing less than the open celebration of prostitution and the objectification of women, which are the hallmarks of the cult. In short, it is a SIN against God. And this corrupting influence is being deliberately pushed into the lives of American children.

As music teachers, we perform both sacred and secular music. This is something we treasure as Americans and is supported strongly by the Music Educators National Conference and case law. But it is an outrageous abuse to require students to engage in acts of pagan worship. Personally, I believe that immoral and lascivious individuals are doing this on purpose to not only indoctrinate children, but perhaps to provoke a response that would end up in legislation forbidding all religious music in schools or altogether like Russia has done, plunging us into darkness and hopelessness, instead of a beautiful country that was once founded on freedom to practice the Christian faith.

For this reason, this issue must be dealt with shrewdly. It needs to be taken care of discretely, not publicly, but through private parent conversations with the Band Director, demanding that the offensive choreography be removed. Of course, polite conversation and concerned correction is preferred, but if that fails, then men of integrity on local school boards need to have private, in person conversations where it is made clear that exposing communities to such pagan filth will result in non-renewal of contracts.

While I personally know many, many wonderful people who are band directors, who work with students for every right reason and noble purpose, there are, sadly, certain influential individuals within BOA, DCI and WGI who have been pushing inappropriate behaviors, attitudes, deviant sexuality and points of view and indoctrinating impressionable students for many years. I have personally heard the stories of Christian students suffering persecution in these programs. It is time to take a stand. It is time for it to end. It is time to take back the ground that has been lost.

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