What’s the most intense and scary song that I could find on the local top 40 station? Definitely “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. There’s no question. This song is heavy and full of meaning. And it happens to be very culturally relevant.

The songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne is singing against church-fueled “shaming.” Specifically, this song is against homophobia; the music video shows a gay couple being hunted and tortured by mask-wearing men.

The songwriter (who goes by Hozier) supplements a blunt statement with a clear metaphor in his lyrics and a earthy, blues, and gospel sound in his music, which increases the intensity of his message. As Forbes Magazine writer Nick Messitte points out, this style is unlike most music on the Billboard charts. Hozier is certainly unique, and so is his message among the myriads of thematically shallow pop songs.

Hozier Concert“The Meaning”

The song comes in two parts: an adoration of Hozier’s female lover and an indictment of the church.

Hozier begins by singing about an imaginary girlfriend who “giggles at a funeral,” and who “knows everybody’s disapproval.” He regrets not having “worshipped her sooner.” Hozier is strongly attracted to this woman, whomever she is.

In the next stanza, he claims that “[i]f the heavens ever did speak / she’s the last true mouthpiece.” He believes that if God exists, He would speak through this woman. And compared to her, he believes church to be a “bleak” place, that spits out “poison” at those who attend, telling them that they were “born sick” in sin. This girl is more desirable than church and, he thinks, a better way to understand the meaning of life.

In the next stanza, Hozier sings that his girlfriend invites him to “worship in the bedroom” and that he’s sent to Heaven when he’s with her. The main point of this song is that Hozier feels closer to God (or the “good life” or “right living”) in the act of love in sex, not when he adheres to established religion.

The chorus is an explicit and sarcastic attack on legalistic churches (or any church that follows guides which cause congregants to feel shame). Hozier sings, “Take me to church / I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies / I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.” He claims that the church demeans its attendees and attacks them for the things they do when those things go against the church’s doctrine.

Then, Hozier reinforces his opinion that sex (whether heterosexual or homosexual, his interviews show) is an act of love far better than being beholden to a religion. He claims to be “a pagan of the good times” who worships his lover who is “the sunlight.” But, in keeping with the pagan imagery, this “goddess . . . demands a sacrifice,” and that is the act of sex, which Hozier refers to with innuendoes referencing “something shiny,” “drain[ing] the whole sea,” and “[s]omething meaty for the main course.”

Near the end of the song, he re-summarizes his thesis: “In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene / Only then I am human / Only then I am clean.” What the church considers an “earthly scene”–intercourse not within a heterosexual marriage–Hozier finds to be one way to ultimate satisfaction in life, something to be pursued and claims it to be “innocence.” To end the song, he compares the love he has just described to his view of the church, repeating the chorus twice, emphasizing the stark contrast he sees there.

His ultimate question seems to be: How could anyone choose a rule-making (or shame-adding) church over the experience of love in sex no matter what the form?

Hozier Playing GuitarHozier’s Intention

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Hozier explains that his song is an attack on anti-homosexuality in the church, especially the Catholic church: “I’m not condemning the church or religion on the whole, just that one policy [the anti-same sex marriage policy], which seems so wrong to me. And obviously I’m not alone in thinking that.” According to an interview with The Cut, the song is also about homophobia in general and state oppression of homosexuals in Russia. Hozier meant the song and the music video to attack policies that value rules and prejudice over love and acceptance.

To make this point, “Take Me to Church’s” music video shows a gay couple being hunted and tortured by a mob of masked and hooded men. Viewers, first, see the couple making out and, then, the mob torturing one of the men. In explaining the video in an interview with Fuse TV, Hozier says, “If you feel offended or disgusted by the image of two people kissing, if that’s what it is, but you’re more disgusted by that than the actual violence…I think you should take a look at your values, maybe.” Through these images, Hozier wants to prove that being anti-gay is far worse than enjoying homosexual love.

As an appropriate summary of his viewpoint, Hozier says in his interview with The Cut that “[t]he song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming your humanity through an act of love. Turning your back on the theoretical thing, something that’s not tangible, and choosing to worship or love something that is tangible and real — something that can be experienced.”

Hozier by WallHow do you answer Hozier’s argument? Do you agree or disagree? I think the argument’s much different and more subtle and detailed than he believes. While I agree that love is important, I don’t think he completely understands church, the nature of sex, or the nature of rules. What are your thoughts? Let’s talk. 

Get My Song Meaning Pro Email Course Free!

Clifford Stumme
Clifford Stumme

Thanks for reading! I’m a college English instructor, university writing center director, and online entrepreneur (college for under $15k, anyone?) who cares deeply about TRUTH and MEANING. I’m married to the gloriously beautiful Wife April and love to swing dance and juggle. Follow me on Facebook to keep up with and discuss song meanings!

  • Olivia

    Cliff, I totally understand where your coming from. The thing that always made me get angry with this songs were the church metaphors and comparisons. Sadly, I think hozier has a little bit of a point. Maybe, we as Christians are not doing our job to show Christ’s love to everybody. Instead of being open and kind, we judge and decieve. Its so heartbreaking to hear this song on the radio, but we can see in it the reminder to be more open and accepting. I hate the fact that the church has such a bad rep, but maybe (just maybe) its deserved.

    • Thanks for sharing, Olivia! I like your point, but I want to add a cautioner against Christians getting too much Christian-living advice from people who don’t profess the faith. The song’s about specific people, and he doesn’t really mention who in the song (though it seems to be the Catholic church in interviews), so it may not even be about us too. Though, I think we both agree that we definitely should assess ourselves to make sure we can only be accused of showing God’s love and truth.

  • Cliff, I think I heard this song once, and was pretty disgusted by it. I doubt if I’ll listen to it again (unlike the 21 Pilots song you posted about, which I liked). I agree with your summary at the end that he’s a poor theologian and a poor student of relationships in general. His ‘god’ is bound to let him down soon. Unlike some of the opinions on FB about this, this is not the work of the brilliant, brave or insightful. A secular artist glorifying casual sex and taking pot shots at the church is hardly new, interesting or worthwhile.
    Just like general societal views on these subjects, Mr. Hozier is about 10 years too late in this diatribe. Today, in the real world we live in, Christians are struggling to understand how to deal with the issue of homosexuality. Most of the folks who said it was hell-bound sin are now dead. In many ways it’s been very good for the church to take on thinking about this issue, as it’s lead to more compassion towards those struggling in this area while helping us to reconsider the very nature of sin – pointing us back to the story of Christ and the woman found in sin – among others. Mr. Hozier appears more guilty of ‘churchophobia’ than most Christians could be accused of homophobia today.
    And then there’s that word – one of my least favorite in the English language – homophobia. This word has got to go! No one I know is afraid of gay people, and I pray they are not afraid of me. Like much of the gay agenda, unfortunately, this word serves their purposes well – and rolls of the tongue better than ‘homodisagreementia’, which is a word I just made up. Apparently in our world today, if you disagree with someone about something you are afraid of them and hate them. Complete rubbish but it plays well on Madison Avenue and with the gay agenda folks.
    His views on sex too, are old and tired. While it sounds kind of cool to ‘worship’ your loved one and is a semi-romantic thought (from a guy’s perspective here), glorifying the sex act – especially when juxtaposed against glorifying God is a worn-out idea which plays well with his audience, and little more. Which highlights possibly the saddest part of this whole piece of ‘art’ – most of his audience won’t think beyond the actual written and sung word of this song to think about the issues at hand. And the ‘advice’ they’ll take away is that the church is full of hateful bigots and that sex is essential a god to be worshiped, if they can even get that far into it. And that makes Mr. Hozier a purveyor of unthinking, outdated and largely worthless ideas.
    He needs to go back to school and get an education. Maybe Liberty?? 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing! I appreciate your opinion a lot. It’s difficult for me to be too empathetic with him since this isn’t something that (per interviews) he’s had to deal with much personally since he’s not gay. I really think that he should clarify who he’s referring to as the church. That would make the entire situation so much easier. Per some more interviews, it seems that his main subject is the Catholic and perhaps Russian state churches.

    • Ivy

      Liberty? lol
      Try Trinity.
      and it’s Mr. Byrne.

  • nick

    This song makes sense. But I am a follower of the bible I believe that god made A man to be a man and a woman to be a woman but regardless of that you should not judge someone from their choices in life and mob a gay couple for being gay. I don’t support gay ppl but we are all human.

  • Ms colo

    This guy set out to get a rise out of people. He talks like he has this great insight, but he is just a young stupid guy. I personally have no dog in this hunt. I do belive in God, and I have no feelings about gas one way or the other. I went to collage in the early 70s, so I have seen a lot free sex, drugs and rock and roll. All I can say is this, the older you get and the life experiences you have, you realize how stupid you were when you were young. This song does not impress me, and he is no great authority on any thin.

    • I think that’s actually a great point in some ways. He’s young, and he’s not an authority. That’s why I think this song is a little thin and maybe he needs to mature a little.

  • erin

    I love this song. I was just shown the video to this song, and it left me very disturbed. I have a gay brother, who I am proud to say helped “come out”. This video veryucj disturbed me. I dont think I’ll ever play this song again on a juke box or listen to it on the radio. I think the message that was intended could have been portrayed slightly less disturbing. I’m left awestruck and speechless

  • Riley

    Hi Cliff! Can you please explore the meaning of Hozier ‘Like Real People Do”?

    • Thanks for asking, Riley! I think I’ve moved past Hozier for now, but if I do come back to him, I’ll be sure to do that song. Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  • jay

    I think the song is fantastic. While, others talk down to the guy as if his experiences and voice doesn’t matter; when in fact it does. This was a good take on how the church, whether its catholic or not. There is a great deal of homophobia within the institution of church and to ignore that means your blind.

    • John

      Let it go people, it’s just a stupid song. Hell he doesn’t know what it means.

    • Yeah, personal experiences and voice do matter. We may disagree on homosexuality in general, but, yeah, homophobia and minimizing of other people for a single portion of their belief system isn’t the way to go.

  • Kat

    I’ll agree with the notion that the portrayal of his message is most definitely strong and shocking, and I understand why a lot of people are disturbed by it. He’s made many mistakes in his lyrics specifically, in trying to communicate that it’s not hatred towards the entirety of the church, but the singular aspect of homophobia that’s tightly bound to the church. He has not personally felt the negative experiences, as he is not gay, so he does not have pinpoint accuracy of a way to put his message together. Nonetheless, I’ve felt myself grow fond of the song. I feel a certain connection to it, being gay myself. I’m aware of the fact that there are people out there who would condemn me, hate me, attack or even kill me; for this one part of me. There are people like me who suffer these fates on multiple bases in all sorts of places, even in the communities you would expect to be peaceful. And that makes me very, very scared. The power behind this song, while unsettling to most, would be a positive thing if not for the delivery of the meaning to the listener. In its concept, it’s kind of like a slap in the face to the portion of society that tries to put it aside and pretend it doesn’t exist.

    I’m unsure if I’m putting my words correctly, but what I’m trying to say is that the meaning he tried to convey is something I agree with, not necessarily the literal lyrics of the song. I’ll never find myself trying to apply this ideation personally, but a part of me can sort of understand the negative feelings other gay people have to the people Hozier is trying to criticize: that those who are whipped will eventually feel fear, or even hatred, towards those who have the possibility to hold the whips (this, of course, being a metaphor). Christians themselves are not, and will never be, the problem, by any stretch of the imagination; but some things that they may be taught are. I want us all to unlearn any prejudices we hold against each other, no matter where we picked it up – and I doubt I am the only one who desires this. Unfortunately, the ideal is hardly easy to obtain, and it is a long and painful work in progress. Songs like “Take Me to Church” have good intentions towards pushing everyone to the goal of unconditional love, but fall short on the execution of the idea. So, despite me not necessarily being a huge fan of the song itself, I do have a kind of softness for the music video, because it’s what Hozier was trying to say in the first place (from what I gather). Yes, it is harshly forthright, and yes, it’s easy for some to feel disturbed. But sometimes a tone of this caliber is a good thing to wake up those who are not aware.

    All in all, I can’t help but lean towards a favor of the whole of the performance. It’s got its heart in the right place, though I will get the thinking behind opposing it, or Hozier himself. No one can deny it does not have flaws.

    • Kat

      Oh, my apologies for the typo. I meant that no one can deny that it has flaws.

    • Interesting thoughts and perspective, Kat. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jaja

    I don’t understand the video at all. But then again that’s what a lot of artists do, the video depiction of a song tells a whole other story. However, I don’t believe this song actually has anything to do with homosexuality the way everybody is interpreting it. I read an article and saw a video about the song’s release. It was released at the same time a couple of investigations were going on about sexual abuse against children inside of churches. The way I see it, he may have been a child sexually abused. And it’s never easy to speak about dark experiences. A lot of victims feel embarrassed to admit they were abused, among several other mixed emotions. It could be possible that he wanted to break the silence on a topic that is very real. This song is sad and you can hear his suffering if you pay close attention. He says he’s working on developing future projects, we may get down to the whole truth eventually.

    • Thanks for sharing! I’d say that the song is definitely about homosexuality–Hozier’s said as much in interviews–but I like what you say in your other comment about it being directed at members of the church. Yeah, there’s a lot of mention of hypocrisy going on here. Thanks!

  • Jaja

    Sorry, just realized I left some bits & pieces out. I had to copy and paste from my notes because my phone was acting weird while trying to type it in the comment box lol but I was also saying that it’s possible, having experienced something traumatic, through music he feels a security to begin speaking about it. It seems like an indirect way of calling specific members of the church hypocrites for crucifying the homosexuals, while being guilty of homosexual acts secretly hidden in the church. And in that interview he stresses the hypocrisy a lot, again in an indirect way.

  • Rikki

    I like this song. I think that it speaks the truth on many different levels and as with anything each person is going to walk away from it with what they want. I am not gay. I grew up Baptist, going to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I have been cut and hurt more deeply by church goers than most anyone else. And it is justified because they sit in a pew every Sunday with a Bible in their hands. I was taught that sex was evil, when if fact it is not. Yes it is something to be respected and should be sacred between you and your significant other but it is a beautiful thing that should be cherished. Go forth and multiply. Sex is a part of love. Am I anti gay? No. Am I anti church. No. Neither are for me. Live and let live. I have enough weeds in my own back yard to worry about picking out the ones from yours. Tend to your own gardens and they will flourish. Not everything is rainbows and sunshine. There is hurt and pain and suffering. There is also a light at the end of the tunnel. What better way is there to live than to be wrapped up in the comfort and security of the one you love. I can think of no better balm to ease the burn. This song, as are all songs , is merely a reflection of emotions, emotions that many people can relate to. Your lack of understanding for my emotions is not a fault of mine, but yours. Walk a mile in my shoes and then we can talk.

    • Are your last two sentences directed at me? Or are they rhetorical?

      In any case, I’m really sorry for the hurt you’ve experienced at the hand’s of church goers. Church isn’t full of perfect people, that’s sure. And a lot of times posers sneak in there and try to act holy and righteous, when really they’re the most hurt and mean people out there, hiding behind a facade. I hope you find some Christians who you like and who get along with you. I think if you’ll do that you’ll find that helping other people “weed their gardens” and being neighborly is far better than isolation. 🙂 All the best!

  • Donga

    Be good for Christians to work out how they are Christians – following Jesus’s code of conduct or from the many churches that abuse his name. Do you really think Jesus would agree with the majority of churches with their stand on homosexuality? He didn’t even like churches, didn’t write the bible. Do you people really understand the bible? Where it came from, who wrote it and when. Which bits were left out and why? Personally, am heterosexual atheist, but believe I subscribe to the core of Jesus’s messages more than most Christians, especially the fundamentalists in Africa and various denominations. As for the song, it’s pretty easy to work through. Try all the other satirist films and songs out there. Fortunately as the world becomes more educated, religion is on the decline – except for fundamentalism of all kinds, which all religions have to take responsibility for as they continue to hold dear fairy tales that unfortunately many people take seriously…

  • so i hate him however i like his song now it’s the end . or if i can change i’ll chage this lyrics to accept homosexual

  • So ,do you mean that i can love to the one of a man even i m a man .If it is i alright with you .

  • Having grown up in church for 19 years of my life, I have to say, I think he’s got a pretty good peg on it. Seeing as I’ve only been gone from religion for 15 years, and even then I have close friends and family who are still Christian, it hasn’t changed THAT drastically. Those that thought homosexuality is a direct path to hell aren’t all dead. And many of them are still in charge of churches around the world.
    Churchophobia is actually a pretty accurate thing. And, based on the history of religion in general, anyone who knows jack about history and the damage religion has done to pretty much EVERY part of history, is right to be TERRIFIED of what ppl will do in the name of religion. How many millions have been killed over the millenia in the name of a god or religion. At least sex will only kill those practicing it.
    As far as “his god letting him down”, doesn’t EVERYONE’s god let them down eventually? They lose a job, a house, a spouse, a child, a friend, prayers get ignored, they die, they don’t die but live a life of extreme pain, etc. The religious ppl I know live just as crappy lives as the atheists I know. Only the atheists aren’t constantly hoping an invisible being will save them from the crap that is humanity.
    The church IS full of hateful bigots. They seem to congregate together. That said, it is also full of some absolutely beautiful wonderful ppl. BUT, the crazies are louder. The people who actually are wonderful ppl are drowned out by the extremely LOUD minority of crazies.
    As far as sex being a god to be worshiped, well, that’s nowhere near a new idea. Throughout history sex is either viewed as shameful, or holy. Rarely does it seem to be just viewed as a pleasurable way to pass some time. Better it be viewed as a god though, than the path to hell and shameful. Just my 2 cents

    • Thanks for sharing, aselvarial. And I just want to say that I’m so sorry for all of the terrible things done in the name of my faith. I don’t know that it’s my place to apologize for what others have done, but it weighs on my heart. I totally get where you’re coming from, and one of the things I like least about faith is the constant doubt I must slog through to maintain that faith. But at least it lets me empathize with people who don’t think it’s worth it.

      And, yes, the church is full of hateful bigots. God hasn’t revealed to me every way that I’m hateful though I can pinpoint hateful, angry feelings I have for very specific people right now. I’m sorry for that too and that I’m not practicing the faith I preach, essentially lying to you and others to an extent.

      Thanks for your patience with me personally and with writing your comment. It was really good to hear from you, and I hope you come back around.

  • NoobishPro

    This is funny. Your post actually surprised me. I was reading it, completely ignorant of the fact that you’re a devout christian. I didn’t even realise it until your closing comments.

    I agree with both sides here (I’ve read your article and all the comments).
    I myself hail from a catholic family from my father’s side and a jewish family from my mother’s side. I personally am agnostic/atheist (kind of not sure yet) and have always had a major interest in religion.

    I am dutch, let me tell you this from the start. We were the first country to legalise gay marriage, we are pretty much the pinnacle of freedom and we did also start christian.
    We have almost no issues here. Sexism, racism, other forms of discrimination here are almost non-existant. Thing is, american media really keeps stirring up the pots here and there, but generally speaking we’d be about 1% as discriminating as the holy ‘murica. We have shared mosques, churches, etc… people actually live together here. We have muslims sharing a halal BBQ with the christians in the park.
    What I’m trying to say with this is, that, I will be quite objective, here!

    So let’s get down to it:

    Now, as you’ve stated and I totally agree with 100%: I know MANY, MANY religious people that do not take issue with others being gay, nor do they resent them for it. They may not always agree, but they do not discriminate. I’m talking about muslims, christians, jews, all of them.

    HOWEVER, and this is fact in my country:
    We have some ‘reformed’ religious towns. These are church towns where everyone is christian. Strict rules, where supermarkets aren’t allowed to be open on sundays (which is quite normal here these days) and where you’re not even allowed to drive on sundays, that sort of thing. Very strict religious towns.
    Now, the fact is, that over 95% of discrimination in my country, comes from these towns!
    Note that these people only represent about 5% of the population and not even close to 10% of the religious population. However, this 5%, is VERY loud mouthed. They claim that our ‘friendly neighbour christians’ (The ones that do accept others) are not embracing god or their religion. They are extremely self-righteous and just… nutballs. (ok, that wasn’t all that objective, but hey :))

    They honestly do not feel all that different from, let’s say… ISIS. I know this is a sensitive subject, but it’s true.
    I live in between christians, muslims and jews. These reformed church town folk, they keep to themselves, and claim everybody who disagrees, is a sinner and should go to hell a.s.a.p.

    So, AGAIN, for clarity: This does not even make up 5% of the total population in my country! The numbers are very small!
    HOWEVER, AGAIN: it does really show the song to be right, about this 5%.

    So, what I’m saying is, is that both parties have very valid points, but I have noticed in the comments that you are a lot more enthousiastic about christian posts than you are about posts that seemingly go against your beliefs. You seem to kind of shrug them off with a polite ‘thank you for your insights’ comment.

    Nonetheless, I’m dutch, like I said. This means, in my book, you seem like a good person. So you can hold true to whatever you want! I honestly don’t care as long as you’re a good person. That’s how it works here and that’s why we have such little discrimination here 🙂

    I hope you can understand that things aren’t so black and white. It’s mostly grey area. Every community has its extremists and misinterpretators. The best example at this moment, I would say, is feminism. Or hell, black lives matter even. No matter how good the message you’re trying to convey is, in every party (ranging from atheist to buddhist) there will be someone who thinks they’re above it all. These people will look each other up and create a sub-cult withing whatever group they are.

    I’m sure you know what I mean, sorry for the thesis lol. I’ll just stop now. It’s 5:21 AM here right now and I’m sleepy.

    Night night =)

    p.s. I’d love to get an in-depth response (not totally, but a little bit) and not a ‘thank you! kbai’ comment, if you can? 🙂

    • NoobishPro,
      Feel free to shoot me an email at jugglingcliff@gmail.com for more discussion if you like, but I’ll respond here.
      Nope, no quick response for you. You’ve raised some good points.
      Your country sounds wonderful. Living in America right now feels like walking in a minefield not sure who’ll take offense at you at any given moment. I’d love to visit and be able to relax a bit.
      And, yes, we have Christians like that here too, and I don’t understand it. They get so angry that you wonder if they have any self-awareness at all or if they realize how other people perceive them. You would think that they would at least try to seem a little cool so that others would join them to keep their faction from dying out!
      And I used to be much more dogmatic than I am now too. I used to (more often–no one ever truly quits) think people who disagreed with me were less intelligent and that a few simple truisms or tricky/clever arguments would help everyone to see my side of things.
      However, that’s not the case. Only love seems to have the power to change people’s minds. It’s weird that coming at things from a completely different angle changes things, but we seem to believe the person who we like/who likes us/who we trust the most.
      But here’s my theory: The people in your country who loudly condemn others are probably the most insecure and likely do things when no one is looking that they must declaim in others to make themselves feel better about. That’s how it always seems to work. The loudest, angriest condemner of others always seems to fall in some other way, if not at least in spreading hate. A Christian homeschooling supply seller here was loud and angry about everyone who wasn’t committed to a holy life as much as he was, and he eventually admitted to having inappropriate relations with another woman.
      That seems to be the way it goes, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the angry people in your country are hurting a lot on the inside–it’s not fun to be full of hate or anger. I wrote a paper in grad school about this actually. A heroine seemed to be perfectly good–I did not like her for that reason, but that’s beside the point–and the villain never did anything right. The heroine was taken advantage of at first even though she asked for mercy, but at the end of the book, she was okay, and the villain was completely destroyed. There were two scales here imposed by the author–morality and physical dominance. The heroine begged for mercy in the physical aspect and she thought she should get it, but she didn’t give the villain any mercy for being the morally weaker person. He was completely punished even though she had asked for mercy. I think in life, we need to pity those who hate and who are angry and be careful about jumping to conclusions about them, thus condemning them too quickly or giving them even more hate to work with.
      I hope the above paragraphs demonstrate that I understand things are not black and white in even more areas than most people realize.
      As for my level of response to certain opinions, it’s mainly out of a desire to maintain peace and keep this discussion from deteriorating into biting and scratching. I haven’t looked through my comments recently, so I don’t know what all I’ve said, but I do know that I’ve only spoken out of a desire for respect and peace, whether I did a good job of that or not.
      It’s a tough conversation, right? And there’s so much emotion wrapped up in the whole thing, that it’s scary to attempt to discuss. I personally believe that homosexuality is wrong, but I find it hard to jump forward and condemn anyone loudly because I’ve been humbled by my own mistakes and struggles. Life’s tough, but it’s harder when you’re angry and ignore your own mistakes. Let’s get along and talk through things calmly and show love. Most everything else will sort itself out.
      All right, your turn. If I had to give an in-depth response, so do you. 🙂

  • alun

    The world has moved on at a much faster pace than church has. It’s almost like it’s been left in the stone ages. I’m sure the age of a person will have a massive effect on their option on this matter. I think if you are younger it’s hard to believe what certain religions feed to their followers because it goes against the grain of modern day life. A life were everyone should feel free to make there own decisions and not be frowned upon. In my opinion the church needs to adapt to modern times or like any business that doesn’t adapt constantly then it will one day have to shut down. My small experiences of church seems that it’s an ageing population that use it only. This singer has it correct for me but I it’s all about opinions.

    • NoobishPro

      I actually just started dating a religious girl (sure never thought I’d say that lol) and it’s funny. She told me being gay is actually not a sin, just pretending to be is. Because ‘god made them that way’ and it would be a sin for them to deny what they are. It’s quite funny how I can’t find 10 people of the same religion without half of them interpreting their own ideals completely differently. Just thought I’d say that. On your point of only the aging population going to church; that’s just because less and less people are turning to religion, and if they do, they’re often too busy nowadays to actually attend church. Then again, I live in a country where the biggest part of our population is indeed atheist, and we are almost an equal-rights paradise.

  • alun

    I’m sure it was an offence at one time to have gay sex, gay marriages have only just been made legal, I’m pretty sure the church had massive influences over that. How old would your ten people be. Half young, half much older hence the difference in opinion. Pretending to be gay is a sin but being gay isn’t. First I’ve ever heard anything like that. I don’t know anyone who pretends to be gay. Something to think about though.

    • NoobishPro

      whelp, sidenote: I’m dutch. We legalised gay marriage over 200 years ago hahaha. But yes, coming to ‘murica, I think you might be right. ( I can’t ever be sure of anything about another country since I don’t experience it first-hand)

  • Jon H.

    Thank you Nick for saying this. Hozier says if you are more offended by two men kissing than you are offended by the violence in the video then something is seriously wrong. The theme throughout the majority of comments in this thread have proven him correct that there is something seriously wrong in the church… a mis-prioritization of Christian vaues and no small degree of hypocrisy. Jesus would be ashamed of the church and this conversation!

    Olivia thank you also for asking the right questions on how the church can change itself and show Christ’s love rather than judging and trying to change others.

    Algerdave, while I find your comments interesting and partially true, I think you are forgetting the concept of homoignoramia….the church in general has put itself in a position of isolation and ignorance with respect to homosexuality. There is not enough openness and understandng, and very few attempts by the church to genuinely know and love a homosexual population without judging them. We have seen the church progress on issues of race, poverty and many other things. What is preventing the church from opening it’s arms to homosexuality in the same way?

    From my personal experience this ignorance and exclusion by the church leads not to fear of the homosexual, but to fear of what homosexuality says about Christian teachings. Accepting homosexuality means reexamining other Christian teachings and values, because just maybe the things we have been taught arent entirely correct in some aspects. This causes the church to feel threatened and Christians are afraid to challenge their faith. How strong is your faith if you are afraid to challenge it?

    The behaviour of the church and “Christians” further isolates homosexuals and makes them afraid of the church in return. Fear and ignorance do not resolve the issue but lead to conflict.

    My personal experience…I am a christian, raised devoutly in the church, and I am a homosexual. I came out to my family and church in a relatively progressive community 20 years ago expecting to find love and support. While everyone professes love, I have been judged, treated as unfit to do certain things (such as be around my nieces and nephews without supervision), and never made to feel welcomed or understood. Over two decades, i have had two shortbrelationships but mistly have remained single. though I have never received outright rejection, because I am open about my struggle I have never felt included as a capable member in my family nor in any church community, despite the fact that I am a university professor. I have grown distant from my family and have shopped through MANY churches in several cities. The only church where I feel welcomed loved accepted and truly understood is the unitarian church. However there are some teachings I am not comfortable with. So for the last five years I have given up on th church. I no longer attend nor am I church shopping any longer.I remain single and celibate and cultivate my own personal relationship with God. None of my close friends are Christian because I have met embarrassingly few Christians that see and rwspect me for who I am no matter how much time I invest in the friendship.

    My personal opinion…God made man to be man and woman to be woman. However this is an imperfect world and I most definitely was born this way. What does that mean for my life? I’m not entirely sure but I’m doing my best and I feel very comfortable in my relationship with God and I have no fear to stand before him on judgement day. In fact, I feel beautiful when I sense God looking at me.

    What does this mean for the church’s role? About this I am even less sure, but that is because the church is so far off base in other respects that the church is not even in a space to have a loving Christian conversation about homosexuality. There are other much bigger things that need to be fixed first before the church can hope to help the homosexual.

    I am very saddened by this and how the “church” has impacted my own life in particular. The “church” is not living the message of love they teach.

    Cliff, I find your comments the most disturbing and the most lacking in love and understanding. I challenge you to reexamine everything about your faith. why is the first thing you write about yourself is that you are in a heterosexual relationship? You gave me the wrong vibe from line one.

    Thank you Nick and Olivia for pursuing the heart of what the church should be teaching….love. it’s people like you that will restore the church to following God’s will. Keep up the good work.

  • Jon H.

    Cliff, how often do you lunch with Muslims or homosexuals?

    If you’re not part of the cure then you are part of the problem.

    • Jon H., thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate your perspective and what you’re saying here.
      I’m a little confused though: I looked back through my comments and couldn’t find anything disturbing or lacking in love. Maybe you’re referring to the literary analysis in one comment where I critiqued Hozier’s style. As a fellow university teacher, maybe you’ll recognize me trying to critique style and methods rather than content and issues, which makes sense for me to do since this isn’t a current issues blog, but is instead a literary analysis blog.
      Perhaps my other comments were cold? Or brusque–a byproduct of being so busy and rushed as I wrote them?
      Based on your longer comment, I can’t tell what you believe about the topic. Do you believe homosexuality is wrong? I’m sorry you’ve struggled with homosexuality and hate/bigotry from others, and I appreciate that you’re open about it all. I cringe at the thought of opening up about the things I struggle with.
      I agree that the American church seems ill-prepared to interact with people who don’t believe the same as they do. It’s a product of a transition from a more hypocritical but much more prosperous time for the Church. I think after the 90’s, a lot of things fell apart in Christians’ “perfect little world” here in the USA.
      I feel like I re-examine my faith all of the time. If you have suggestions for verses that could relate to the homosexual struggle in American-christendom, I’d appreciate them.
      I’m not sure where I mention my heterosexual relationship, but I think I included it so that no one would think I was being tricky. I wanted to cut out any suspicions that I might be trying to appear a certain way to others. Maybe I was too blunt/sincere?
      In regards to your shorter question, no, I don’t even have any Muslim or homosexual friends (that I know of–my workplace unfortunately isn’t conducive to being open about such things). But I can guarantee you this: I am friends with and have lunch with people with all manners of struggles. I don’t think homosexuals or Muslims are the only people with problems right now. And even though being open to them sounds extra-loving and even “entrepreneurial” and new and exciting for Christians to do, I think we sometimes forget that everyone’s hurting, not just the people in the national focus right now. I don’t differentiate between people based on their problems or grant people extra attentions because they’re different. I take my friends as they come and try to remain open to all. I worry that your last statement in that comment creates a weird false dichotomy. Whether I lunch with those people groups or not doesn’t mean I’m part of the problem. Everyone has their part to play, and I’m trying my best to play mine.
      Now that I’ve responded to your comments, I’d like to suggest to you that you assess your own confrontational style. You’ve been hurt a lot by people who REALLY need to take the advice I’m about suggest, so I understand that I may sound like an idiot for suggesting it to you. I worry that what you’ve written here and how you’ve written it isn’t reconciliation-focused. You came to my website guns blazing and angry, envisioning an us-them scenario in which you and I have little in common. I’d really prefer you ask questions and get to know me before you make hasty judgments about me. Let’s try to fix the situation together, not tear each other apart. I know I don’t always exemplify this, and I’m going to go back through this comment I’ve typed out to try to weed out instances of me being too harsh or critical. But I’d really just like to suggest that maybe I’m not who you’ve assumed I am, that we have more in common than you think, and that maybe we could be friends even if on the surface we seem very opposite to you?

  • Spraysys

    I listened to this song properly for the first time today. I had never seen the music video so I had no preconceptions about it and I listened to it a few times as I found the lyrics interesting. I got the meaning completely wrong! I was sure this song was about him having a secret relationship with a female priest (sorry, not religious at all so apologies if they would have a different title). I absolutely did not think this was about homosexuality and the church, nuh-uh.

    • Yeah, it’s a confusing song, and I totally see where you would be coming from with the female priest theory.

  • Jay

    Yeah let’s not overdue it here–the guy is just a friggin song writer writing about sex to hit it big. If you want to dig into it, there is a world of hypocrisy with his viewpoint. He makes it sound like anyone can go have this amazing sex and feel like they are now truly closest to God. First off, hot people tend to only have sex with hot people and there is a world of exclusion there. In a way, sex is very materialistic when it comes to people choosing partners and people are worse than any church stance when you look into their motivations and physical biases. He has some sort of warped vision that were made to experience sex as much as possible with whoever we want. A precious few can get the girl they want for one thing, but everyone has they want which makes us decidedly human. And second, how silly that this guy gets laid and decides that feeling brings him closer to god than any of the words of doctrines or scriptures or declared “mouthpieces” of god. He’s yapping about a basic human act and ephemeral sensation and making no profound statements about creation, biology, etc. I’m not even advocating for god…just saying this is silly small earthly conceited dribble from a guy who wrote a poem. But I like the music and chorus and that’s enough said.

    • Jay, I totally feel you. I keep it objective just ’cause that’s what I do in these blog posts, but on the side I agree with you that there are some flaws in the song writing.

  • Christina Hearon

    Everyone is focusing only on the act of homosexuality. Hozier has said in interviews that the song also applied to the Catholic Church’s stance toward women’s sexuality.

    • I think it applies to the Catholic church’s stance on a lot of things.

  • Red

    I think that everyone is just focusing on the act of sex……I think the song is great, and more should be as outspoken as the singer/song writer. Before you judge about his opinion on church and religion, try really studying religion. Also answer some of these questions and then after getting “open eyes”, see if you still feel the same. How many different denominationall churches are in the world? What sets them apart? What is the book most of these denomination teach from? Is there any difference in most of these books?