SO when I attempted to review CHRISTcore I stopped watching it not even half way in because a) I was bored to bits, b) I could not fucking care any less about what these Christian kids are doing at their dumb shows and I don't feel the need to watch a documentary to understand it, c) I'm sick of the whole GOD issue buggin' everybody out.. I was never raised to believe in god, aside from a short stint in Sunday School because my parents wanted to at least let us be open to that shit, but one day I was blowing bubbles in my chocolate milk and accidentally got it all over myself, the floor, and the kid sitting in front of me and got in huge trouble for it... needless to say we never went back and I still love chocolate milk and hate churches. And d) I was really tired of listening to the shitty music the bands featured on it were playing, all I wanted to do was review how bad they were because hey, I review music not documentaries. Listening to that crap and watching kids floor punch actually pains me. But, my non-review review did bring up the whole GOD + PUNK debate and although I'm pretty 'whatever' on the issue (as in whatever other people choose to do is their business, as long as I don't have to fucking go to one of those terrible shows I don't fucking care... *cough*something a certain type of these bible huggers should realize #LGBTPRIDE *uncough*) I really wanted to hear what somebody who is passionate about the issue had to say. The dude who made the documentary has actively been against god in the punk scene, and I felt it would be cool to get somebody with a similar perspective to watch the FULL documentary and review it for real. I knew my old Cobourg pal Kyle would be the best person to do it, so here's what he had to say:

Jesus' middle initial does not stand for hardcore. RAMBO said that and Justin Ludwig has affirmed that with his documentary ChristCORE. A look into the lives and travels of two Christian hardcore bands, Messengers and Sleeping Giant, this documentary is an atheist’s attempt to understand how Christians can fuse a genre of music that has been overtly anti-Christian since it’s beginnings into a vessel for them to preach. I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be for me after Sarah told me how far she got but I thought I’d stick it out to see if I could make heads or tails of their perversion of punk and hardcore. The movie starts off with Sleeping Giants ranting about the persecuted church, which confused me because when I think of Christianity it is usually them persecuting marginalized people. Maybe the fact that abortion is legal and homosexuality is becoming more widely accepted is persecution, in which case fuck them. From there we learn about the director and how he grew up Catholic and as he discovered punk music in his teens he turned away from god, which is something I could connect with growing up in a house full of Catholics myself. Another person that punk has saved from the clutches of conformity and submission, so far I’m into it. From there we meet Messengers, a Christian hardcore band in the vein of all those other generic hardcore bands, from Plano Texas. We are introduced to the singer Chad who giggles about how they were mostly homeschooled and how their drummer’s dad finds the music demonic and all that stupid ignorant shit. As we meet the band they really do have the na├»ve, almost endearing behaviors, of the Christian homeschooled kids my mom’s friend’s all had; which is kind of sad because they’re a bunch of teenagers who appear more like 8 year olds then 18 year olds, but maybe I’m just old and jaded. Kids with stable homes, loving if not overprotective parents, and comfortable lives seemed weird for me as a punk. It’s not the normal thing you’d expect from a culture that is for misfits, the kids who have no stability, and the people who had no homes to go to. We see a shot of them praying over their van asking god to “keep our engine running sound, to keep our wheels running great,” which isn’t hurting anybody but COME ON. When the guitarist and singer’s brother Chance starts talking about how he was “addicted to coke, e and weed” before he found Jesus I started to get antsy. This type of cringe-worthy stuff made me so uncomfortable I actually considered throwing away my three months of sobriety just to make it stop. I can’t stand people who “find Jesus” when they get sober, to me it just seems like replacing one crutch with another, but once again I am adamantly opposed to patriarchal, sexist, homophobic religions and maybe that has clouded my ability to enjoy someone’s sobriety when they have found god. So basically they start driving from Texas to California on their first mini-tour to play Facedown Fest, they talk about how they don’t think the “worldly economy” will affect Christians because god will take care of them, how Jesus wouldn’t have been in churches he would have been at hardcore shows, other banal shit. They play shows for kids who mosh really poorly, even by hardcore mosh standards, and they finally make it to Pamona to play Facedown Fest. Yay, Jesus is good, the lord has delivered them to play tired hardcore for a bunch of sheltered Christians nerds. One of the funnier scenes happens here where two dudes pray over the director outside Facedown Fest and they are just rambling over one another about god and holy spirits and shit, pretty good for some comic relied when I was about to stick my head in a bucket of scorpions to ease the pain. Also I’m not sure what it is about Christians but they seem to be the sweatiest musicians, either they have glandular problems or they douse themselves in holy water to sprinkle from their hair over the audience, either way PUDDLES… EVERYWHERE. Then we are off to meet Sleeping Giants who we meet in a church where they are about to play some sweet, brutal chords for people of all ages. Seeing middle-aged people writhing about, grooving to this music for the lord, it’s hard not to picture one of those shitty white people dance parties where everyone has done the same shitty coke and nobody has any rhythm. After that they put hands on each other and pray and stuff, and people are smiling and I almost don’t hate them until I remember they likely consider my sexuality an abomination and it’s right back to being disgusted with their sad, mass-delusions of god. Then we find out Sleeping Giants runs some ministry somewhere where they have punk and hardcore kids go to pray and listen to shitty acoustic worship songs. It made me feel alright though cause if I ever run out of things to write songs about I can strum a G chord for a whole song and repeat “God is good” and still have a fan base. Sleeping Giants’ schtick is that they do faith healing for people, which is pretty fucking funny, cause you can’t prove it works or not cause if you don’t feel better it’s just god’s will that you suffer in pain. I can see how it would work, understanding the placebo effect and all, but it’s still hard not to crack up as a bunch of grown men think touching someone’s afflicted area while praying will actually cure a disease or chronic pain. More faith healing, more faith healing, cameraman is hit by a car in Baltimore so more faith healing. Cut back to Messengers getting free Chick-Fil-A cause apparently they have a deal to give touring Christian bands free food, so touring bands who aren’t vegan if you’re ever hungry in the states pretend to be Christian at Chick-Fil-A and get yourself some free noms. (At least I took one thing from this documentary I can share with my friends and strangers, so not a total waste) Oh ya, did I mention Messengers are on their way to Cornerstone to play some music? Well they are, so ya, Cornerstone is fucking hilarious. The last fest I went to was in a field too, but it was full of crusties, many of whom were nude, and dogs with dreads, fleas and nooses for collars, so to see clean cut people all hanging out what looks like a sober version of Woodstock was kind of depressing. At least if they are right and those who don’t “Walk with the lord will go to hell” then I won’t have to spend eternity with these nerds, so that’s a plus. Some baptisms, baptisms, faith healing, baptisms, faith healing, baptisms/faith healings, shitty music, faith healings, that’s basically Cornerstone. So ya, by this point I was ready to cut my ears off and gouge out my eyes but it was over. The director ends with a statement about how Christian hardcore may be a scene built on love and respect but it’s also totally built on an illusion so he isn’t into it. I too did not have a change of heart and I still feel like patriarchal religions that demand that one unquestionably submits to authority has no place in punk or hardcore, but I guess I can just as easily not go to shows with these types of bands on the bill. To conclude, “We don’t mosh in your church, so don’t pray in our pit.”