After months of online bullying, the Underoath are standing up and speaking out.
This is a timely reminder that the things you say on the internet don't exist in a vacuum, that artists and band members are real people, and it costs nothing to not be a dick.
After three months of unrelenting criticism and bullying being thrown their way from Christian fans, Underoath's Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie have posted an incredibly frank and honest video, talking about their position on Christianity.
In the short video, Underoath frontman Spencer opens up about his treatment by the Christian community around his addiction problems, and how he was alienated by the community when he needed help most.
Says Spencer: “The Christian community is what ruins Christianity for me. Because when you need help if you’re someone who’s supposed to be a role model, it’s very alienating.
They were putting out magazines about me being a drug addict and stuff. The whole Christian world was like “that’s the reason that Underoath is breaking up”. And there was no help- on one’s like “hey man- what’s up?” in the Christian world.
The places I was most accepted and where people would listen to me and talk to me and share stories about how they’re fucked up were the people who weren’t Christians. They’d be the other bands on tours that weren’t that way. And I’m telling these people and relating to these people who are just normal human beings. And they were like “let’s talk about it”, but in Christian bands they were like “let’s not”- and doesn’t that seem opposite? Doesn’t that seem very unloving and very unaccepting?"
Watch the full video below:
This is just the tipping point, with both Spencer and Aaron having been on the receiving end of a never-ending parade of Christian vitriol for the past three months.
In April, Underoath released their first new album since their 2010 'Disambiguation', and since then have been in the firing line from their fans with criticism on their position on Christianity.
For context, Underoath and the members of Underoath have openly called themselves Christian in the past- even going as far as to declare the band a Christian band. However with the release of their new album 'Erase Me'- the band's first album to feature any profanity, fans have been taking to twitter and instagram to openly berate the members of the band for their apparent change in theological position.
Following the initial backlash to Underoath's comeback single 'On My Teeth' containing a curse word, the band updated their bio on Spotify to say "The band who once openly—and without apology—professed their faith-based worldview onstage nightly, have since moved beyond the realm of seemingly impenetrable polemics. At various junctures, 'Erase Me' illustrates those moments of sanctuary, anxiety, betrayal and conflict that inevitably arise when humanity grapples with belief systems."
Earlier today, in the face of yet more criticism over his faith, Aaron took to twitter to post "Disclaimer: if you "Christian bully" me I will put you on blast. Everytime. Things must change, faith isn't your country club, sorry I don't fit, but I'm happy and healthy and thriving, your version of my faith is zero interest to me."
Disclaimer: if you “Christian bully” me I will put you on blast. Everytime. Things must change, faith isn’t your country club, sorry I don’t fit, but I’m happy and healthy and thriving, your version of my faith is zero interest to me.— aaron gillespie (@aaronrgillespie) July 30, 2018
This isn't even the first time Aaron has taken to twitter to defend his position this month, having posted a series of tweets on the subject a few weeks earlier:
"People in the Christian community have done more shitting on my since 'Erase Me than any group ever, something has to change. I’m one person, with people yelling at me, think about the world as a whole. It’s truly terrifying what a community that’s supposed to be about love and grace has become.
People cannot judge each other if you believe in god, only He judges. It’s incredibly sad that because certain people are conservative in their belief that they think they hold a gavel.
If you follow me and are hateful and filled with judgement unfollow me now, don’t listen to my music, don’t read about what we do. It’s pointless for you. I’m only Interested in truth and love.
Right now all over the world there is injustice, war, hunger, racism, sexism and the bulk of the people who are on here who are Christians are talking about MY faith cause I said “fuck”- our priorities as Christians are so out of whack.
If we believe in God that we believe in people and I don’t see that anymore. I see bigotry, anger and judgment over differences in opinion."
Rarely, if ever, have we seen a band be bullied so significantly on the internet for their beliefs. For a change in musical direction.
What makes this okay? What makes this treatment of members of our community okay?
The internet is written in pen, and the band members on the other side are real people. In a world that's increasingly fragmented and disconnected, it's easy to lose humanity when sharing your opinions on the internet. But these are real people. Consider how your actions impact on them. Don't be a dick.