I mentioned last week that Calvin College, a Christian school, had invited the New Pornographers to play a concert on campus. And then they decided to cancel on them. Because of the band’s name.
Talk about overreaction to nothing…
Christian writer Jason Boyett felt the same way I did until he heard from someone involved in the decision itself (first emphasis mine).
The primary outcry about the band’s name has not come from major donors, board members, or people of significant influence at the university, but rather from members of the Calvin community who have been deeply hurt by pornography. Porn addictions. Damaged marriages. Divorces. These families understand the irony of the band’s name, but because pornography has had such an devastating effect on their lives, ANY apparent acceptance of it — even the tacit acceptance of a band with a name that trivializes pornography — has come across as hurtful. Regardless of the rationality of the whole thing, it causes pain. And I totally get that. If someone you loved had been murdered…and then a band came along calling themselves The Happy Murderers, it’s no stretch to understand how that could be painful.
Calvin could have taken the easy road, but didn’t. They took the hard, compassionate road, knowing how it would come across. They did it anyway. I think they did the right thing. I am impressed.
Anyway, Jason’s wrong to apologize. He was right the first time. There’s nothing impressive about Calvin College’s rationalizing of their terrible decision.
But to cancel a concert because a band’s name refers to something you’re clearly uncomfortable with? That’s absurd.
(Side note: What is it with Christians and their porn addictions? Maybe if their churches weren’t so sex-negative all the time… believe it or not, it *is* possible to have healthy sex when you’re married, before you get married, by yourself, with someone you’re dating, etc. And porn is not always evil. Hell, go watch it with someone you love. Why is it so hard for Christians to admit that?)
This is the same school, mind you, that has invited Barenaked Ladies, Cowboy Junkies, Crash Test Dummies, and Lovedrug in the past. Does that mean Calvin College doesn’t give a shit about victims of drug abuse or car crashes?
They were more interested in the music. They could see beyond the literal meaning of the bands’ names.
Somehow, that tradition was thrown out the window. Which is a sad state of affairs for a school that’s supposed to be more “liberal” than traditional Christian colleges.
I hope there are students who go there who are just as frustrated with the decision as I am.