Susan Hogan/Albach of the Dallas Morning News, who sports one of the most colorful bylines on the Godbeat, has written the lede and quote of the month. The topic: The scourge of music piracy among teenagers who "get their praise on" (to paraphrase a wince-inducing phrase from a recent Newsweek report) by listening to contemporary Christian music.
The lede: "Christian teens are stealing Jesus music." (A six-word masterpiece.)
The quote: "We can't be like Christina Aguilera and get all attitudy," said Jaci Velasquez, a platinum-selling singer originally from Texas. "We're supposed to be like Christ and turn the other cheek." (It's worth noting that the non-attitudy Velasquez is among the artists whose music is available through the entirely legal, guilt-free and cross-platform iTunes.)
Hogan/Albach's story tackles the issue well, mentioning "Thou shalt not steal" by the third paragraph.
Then there's this nugget of a paraphrased argument: "But not everybody thinks the pirating is a bad thing. After all, some church leaders say, isn't getting the Gospel out more important than getting paid? How can it be wrong if it saves souls?"
This is the closest example Hogan/Albach cites of a church leader:
"A lot of students think it's, like, a cheap way to witness to the Gospel," said Scott Flagg, 22, who belongs to the Christian fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi at the University of North Texas. "They go out and buy a CD, then burn several copies to give away."
Hogan/Albach also mentions the luscious detail that fans of the CCM group Skillet call themselves Panheads.
This detail-packed story begs for discussion on GetReligion. I propose these questions:
Â° If you had to fill an 80-minute CD with CCM that was musically hip or designed to save souls (or both), could you do it? Complete playlists are welcome.
Â° Can you find a direct quote of a church leader who argues that saving souls justifies music piracy? (Bonus points to anyone who cites a church leader with an earned graduate degree. If you find an ethicist who makes this argument, you win a permanent slot in the GetReligion Hall o' Fame.)
Â° Can anyone top Panheads as a nickname for fans of a specific CCM band?
Â° What would members of Beta Upsilon Chi choose to replace such time-honored Greek traditions as hazing, panty raids, keg parties and greedhead networking? Any Beta Upsilon Chi alumni out there with good stories to tell?
Update: I'd like to expand the invitation for discussing what our readers would burn onto an 80-minute CD as good music expressing their beliefs. If I were an Orthodox Jew, for instance, I would recommend the work of Peter Himmelman. The Innocence Mission and Pierce Pettis provide lively expressions of Catholicism. Buddhists might nominate Natalie Merchant or Lama Karta. And surely atheists can do better than Michael Newdow.