Skillet’s John Cooper Warns ‘We Really Are on the Brink of Western Civilization’
How can we expect to build a society with delusional people? It’s a fair question — one that rocker John Cooper is asking in his new book, “Wimpy, Weak, and Woke.” The lead singer of Skillet, one of the few Christian crossover bands to thrive in mainstream music, has had a rare microphone for truth in his 27-year career. With success has come opportunity, and Cooper is using his platform in the metal universe to warn Americans — “We are in dire straits.”
“I am deeply concerned,” Cooper admitted on “Washington Watch” Friday. “We really are on the brink of Western civilization.” The title of his book was an effort to drive that point home. “I knew it was provocative,” he told guest host Joseph Backholm, “but I didn’t know it was going to literally provoke people to so much anger.” Honestly, Cooper said, “I wasn’t trying to shock anybody. I have deep love and concern for people. I care about their souls. I care about their kids. I care about their kids being raised in a country that is free and where you can express your religion — you can say what you want to say.”
That is no longer America, John believes. In the early fall, when Cooper started doing interviews about this latest project, he was stunned by people’s reactions. “[They] were saying, ‘This is so alarmist. We’re not about to be destroyed.’” Less than two weeks later, “the Israel massacre happens,” he pointed out. “And immediately following that, college students start cheering on the butchering of innocent people, the butchering of babies, the rape of women, and so many normal people in America were saying, ‘How is this happening?’”
Well, for one thing, he pointed out on his podcast, Cooper Stuff, look at the church. “We should have gotten involved in culture and politics.” As a result of that silence, the country has “just decided to stop teaching worldview as if it didn’t matter, as if everybody pretty much has a Christian worldview.” We’ve decided that “all that really matters is telling people that Jesus loves them.” We don’t teach children that there’s eternal truth anymore, he lamented. Instead, we say, “There is no absolute right and wrong. You cannot judge somebody else’s culture.”
Not every Christian has fallen for these lies, Cooper is quick to point out, but enough have to bring us to this point. “We need to understand the philosophies behind this [woke ideology]. … It is PC culture on steroids. It is a way of seeing the world with an obsession for social justice,” he explained to Backholm. “But it is not social justice based on Judeo-Christian values or the Western understanding of justice. It is social justice based on Marxism and this idea of oppression. … And basically, the biggest oppressor in that worldview is Western civilization rooted in Judeo-Christian ethics.”
There is a revolution underway, Cooper insists, to tear America down. Fundamentally, he argues, it’s a “revolution against Christian civilization. It’s a revolution against God.” The Left’s version of utopia, which Cooper believes they’re always chasing, is based on man’s supposed goodness. “It says that we don’t need God,” he explained to Backholm. “We don’t need morals. Man can perfect himself if we just fix all of his problems. And that is the reason that Christians [and] so much of the Christian church has sort of joined together with these secular utopians, because Christians have misunderstood the kingdom of God.”
Instead of seeing it as “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” they’ve confused it with “diversity, equity, inclusion.” In other words, “[A]s long as we fix all of man’s problems, then everything is going to be good.” It sets up a head-to-head collision between two worldviews that are completely at odds.
Backholm, who works as a senior fellow in Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview, couldn’t agree more. “It really is a worldview difference,” he insisted. “And I would add that the idea of a utopia is encouraging us to look to this life for perfection. And of course, the Christian worldview teaches us that our hope is not in what we’re going to be able to create now.”
But then, “If you deny the existence of a God and a Savior who’s going to come redeem all things and defeat sin and defeat death, then all you have to look forward to is what’s here and now, and what you can save through political revolution,” Joseph pointed out. “And I think that is, in fact — though well-intended — what the Left is trying to do. And that utopia, because of sin and because Jesus is ultimately the only solution, will never materialize. And all efforts to achieve that utopia have been very, very painful.”
And what’s incredibly disappointing — “wimpy,” as John calls it — is that large swaths of the Christian church have adopted these ideas from the secular Left, “which is ultra-tolerance.” But this isn’t your grandmother’s tolerance, Cooper explains. “What they mean is that I have to celebrate whatever someone else says is ‘their truth.’ So being wimpy means that you have decided that you are not going to speak the truth because you want to be polite. … Weakness is because we have not understood the philosophies behind this thing” — from Marxism to critical theory. “And so, the weakness comes in because we are not doing the intellectual work we need to.”
Addressing moms and dads specifically, John emphasized, “You parents need to understand that the world right now, the reason they’re coming after your kids, is because they believe your kids are in danger. And who do they think is putting your kids in danger? You, the parents. Christianity. The guiding morals of the Bible and Western civilization.” Their whole goal, he explained, is “to ‘save’ them from Christianity. That is how bad it is.”
If you take away biblical truth, “we really could lose [our country],” Cooper cautioned. “The church needs to begin to speak up. Because if not … [i]t’s horrifying to think of the world that my grandkids could grow up in.”
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.