Home / Freethought and Humanism: Atheistic and Theistic (Deism) / Tim Minchin Drops the F-word over 75 Times During His Performance, Especially in “The Pope Song”, at Reason Rally, Sparking Debate
Tim Minchin Drops the F-word over 75 Times During His Performance, Especially in “The Pope Song”, at Reason Rally, Sparking Debate

Tim Minchin Drops the F-word over 75 Times During His Performance, Especially in “The Pope Song”, at Reason Rally, Sparking Debate

Tim Minchin dropped the F-word over 75 times during his 20-minute performance, over loud speakers, at the Reason Rally, in Washington D. C. this past weekend.

He performed his “historic achievement”, as The Blaze called it, in the middle of the National mall, in front of the Washington Monument, before an audience of at least 10,000 people, plus various tourists passing by with their families.

The Reason Rally, held in the shadow of the Washington Monument this weekend, has been heralded as historic for many reasons. But the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history” might have just hit the record books again: for dropping the most f-bombs through loudspeakers on the National Mall.

His “Pope Song”, of course, offended the Catholics passing by with their children, as they toured the Nation’s capital Saturday afternoon.

The major offense came from Minchin’s performance of the ‘Pope Song’, which includes lyrics about Catholics:

“As that motherf–king, power-hungry

Self-aggrandized bigot

In the stupid f–king hat.”

WARNING!  VIDEO CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE!  (In case you do not already realize that by now)

This not only caused the Catholics offense, but it also caused debate among atheists.  Some atheist parents recalled that the Reason Rally was billed as “family friendly”.  Others blogged, with what appears as a play on words, that if Minchin’s song passes for reason, then atheists are f****d.

However, the blogger rants about Minchin’s song.

Well, wasn’t that delightful?  How much of that did you actually watch before you turned it off?  All reasonable people of faith, or without it, ought to be offended by this.  This is not how secularists act, nor is it in any way becoming of secularism.  It is, however, how liberals act, whether they be religious or not – but especially if they are not.  Richard Dawkins ought to be made to answer whether he found Minchin’s performance worthy of atheism, if the vulgarity (literally every other word) is a prime example of how real secularists act (it is not), and just how much “reason” went into that little “ditty” about the Pope.

The blogger ends their rant by saying, “Secularism needs Tim Minchin as much as Christianity needs the Westboro Baptist Church or David Koresh.”  Maybe he missed the humour in Minchin’s song or something, but this seems almost like what happened concerning Brother Sam at Skepticon, minus the sign by a Christian.  Such things could make one wonder why one would go to an atheist event, if they are going to complain about one performer, whose show has foul language.  There is at least one at every atheist event, despite not appealing to everyone in attendance or eavesdropping.

William Hamby of the Atlanta Atheist Examiner said that blasphemy was exactly the point of the Reason Rally.  Blasphemy and humour was exactly Minchin's intent, during his performance, just as it is for Brother Sam.

However, there are also some good arguments that it was a three minute microcosm of everything the Reason Rally stands for.  The first, and most powerful argument is the (ahem) explicit message in the song itself.  The edited version goes like this:  "If you are more offended by all the profanity in this song than the fact that the Catholic Church facilitates and covers up priests raping children, then there is something very wrong with you."

I must agree with Hamby, because Minchin’s was just one performance, out of several, and even he pointed out that the words “family friendly” are Christian terms and that cursing is a part of life.  The fact is, you cannot shelter children from the real world of words.  They will hear these words eventually and if a parent wishes to limit their child’s vocabulary, then they need to talk to the child and tell them why certain words are not acceptable.

Another offensive word, to many people, is the N-word, which both my sons’ father, who is Black, and I both told our sons over the years why this word is not acceptable to us.  It did not matter that we are divorced.  We could both still talked to our sons about why we do not appreciate that word.  The same goes for the F-word, so “family friendly” or not, I think it is the parents’ duty to tell their children why they do not like certain words.

Even Hamby singled out Christian parents in his remarks about “naughty words”, that it is the parents’ responsibility to remove their child from what they object to and some did.

Christian moral judgment against some words as naughty are within their rights to take their children away from Tim's performance.  (Some did.  And that's fine.)  But calls for either censorship or adherence to Christian definitions of "Family Friendly" defeat the whole purpose of the rally, which is to put an end to superstition as a measure of what we allow in society.

However, Hamby was not encouraging anyone to use foul language all the time and neither am I, but these are just two debates triggered by Minchin’s song.  I do think the song is funny and helps some people vent their anger.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Deborah_B

    I pretty much agree with what the blogger at Neo-Secularist had to say about this @  

    http://neosecularist.com/2012/03/26/if-this-passes-for-reason-atheists-are-fud/

    I'm not prudish and am for free speech, but if the point of the rally was to present non-believers in a good light so that people will respect them — and many media commentators have been focusing on the 'reason' aspect — I don't see why this choice of music was necessary.  There is a time and place for everything, but to the casual observer or someone walking by, it's not anything that really inspires respect for the atheist movement.  I can see having this as part of an after-rally keg party, but not on the National Mall.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

       Well, not to sound like Spock, but humans aren't very rational, logical, or reasonable, at least much of the time and this isn't to poke fun at what you said, to make a point.  The heavy metal rock group Bad Religion was there performing with their loud obnoxious migraine triggering music and unintelligible vocals that can't be understood and in general uncultured, maybe we shouldn't have them there either, just to be on the safe side.  Point being, that when we start doing that and call it reason, then we might as well be like snooty rich people with Classical music and ballet (which I happen to like) bickering over what is "cultured" and in a sense, creating a non-theistic environment where this is cultured atheism and this is not.  I'm not a fan of Bad Religion.  Their music gets on my nerves, for a variety of reasons, not because they are blasphemous though, but if we are going that route, we could include that too, if we include it with Minchin.  Both are uncultured, to quote the snooty rich.  Then again, I read where Greydon Square wasn't allowed to sing/rap, but Minchin was?  Humm…  Humans are just plain unreasonable no matter which route one goes- religious or atheist, so maybe we should just change the name or replace Bad Religion with Greydon Square, Tim Minchin with Eddie Izzard or Wanda Sykes (is she a theist or non-theist?)…  As a large group, we still might not agree about the line-up and there would still be people complaining.  Right now, people are saying Minchin was over the top and crude, some said that of Bro Sam, but if if we had someone who wasn't, people might say we didn't hit hard enough or they don't like some or all of the line-up for this or that reason.  Maybe we could have Bad Religion at the keg party and have someone with more classy mellower ear-pleasing musical style perform at the main event, dividing things by "This is beer party stuff" and "This is wine and cheese" stuff?  Or maybe a name change isn't a bad idea, because I don't know if many atheists, save myself, would attend a "Wine and Cheese" event.  Many would probably attend the "Beer Party" event and not the wine party, except for me, because I like wine better than beer.  lol  I really don't like beer.  I do love my wine and cheese, along with mellower music, but I don't think I have a corn cob up my butt.  lol  Wine, Deborah?  Oh I know!  Maybe Barbra Streisand will perform at the next Reason Rally, even though I don't think she's an atheist, but she is reasonable.  ;)   See what I mean? That and I don't think it was meant to be a cultural thing, but if it was, I too would have picked "Wine and Cheese" entertainment.  No, one is going to agree about what is acceptable and what is not for such events though.  My choices would have been different and people would say it not a "Reason Rally".

      I think I said this before, while liked another show of Bro. Sam's, I didn't like the one he did at Skepticon as much.  Not because he was poking fun of Xians.  I do that all the time, but because parts of it reminded me of minister great uncle.  However, we can't please everyone all the time, but we can please some folks some of the time and while there maybe a time and place for everything, sometimes those that put on the events don't think of everything, but they do think about those who need to vent some anger and the truth is, even if you have it in semi-private, there is going to be that Xian that stumbles into the party and gets offended and retaliates without thinking.  Maybe a keg party would have been a great idea, but there is going to be that Xian or more that stumbles in and takes offense.  It's difficult to plan these things and if we censor those we want at an event before they do their show, they might not make an appearance at all.  It's a toss up as to how to deal with the wide range of tastes and with every stage people are at in concerning religion.  These events are not easy to plan or even arrange.

      • Deborah_B

        The three stated goals of the Reason Rally were:

        To encourage attendees (and those who can’t make it) to come out of the closet as secular Americans, or supporters of secular equality.

        To dispel stereotypes – there is no one “True Atheist”. We will have non-theists from all political persuasions, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds. We will show that there are secular Americans in every American demographic.

        Legislative equality. Secular Americans can run for office and adequately represent theists, just as theists in office can represent their secular constituents proudly and openly. We deserve a
        seat at the table just like theists, and we hope this rally can put our
        values in the radar of American voters.

        The speeches I have seen so far were very good and worked toward those goals, but the music only fed into the stereotypes.  Is it offensive?  Not to me.  But does it achieve the goals of making this a movement that people want to politically embrace?  I don't think so.  Just like clips of Santorum complaining that higher education is snobbish and creationism should be taught in school will never go away so long as he seeks public office, this kind of thing will also be shown over and over again to those opposed to secularism.

        I am looking at this from a PR perspective, I just don't see how having that kind of thing on the National Mall is particularly helpful.  In an "after the Rally party," it would be great.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

           Yes, there are a variety of atheists and that's where the hard part comes into organizing these things.  I agree that the music fed into the stereotypes and as I said, I'm not a Bad Religion fan.  I liked the speeches better than the music, but the question is, would the Reason Rally have attracted all atheists from all walks of life if they did not have a variety of speakers and musicians there?  If we had all humanists, then that would only put a perspective on those who call themselves humanist, but if we have humanists, skeptics, freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, then we have a broader range of people to attract, which makes it difficult.  I am also looking at from a PR perspective and the same holds true with Xians too.  They have large gatherings and there is always something disturbing and/or insulting with them too.  Some of them are angry like some atheists are.  I don't think any event is going to be perfect, because humans are not perfect.  There will always be something to criticize no matter what organizers do and always something not everyone is appreciative.  It's a no win situation.  Either you don't attract as many people as you could or you only attract a few that you know will show what you want to show.  The last is almost as bad as Fox News, because it's not true of everyone.

  • joe paterno

    This is a song about sacredness, language, and offense,  It's about prioritizing ethical ideas and deciding where to place your anger.  Tim Minchin 

    • Vivisectus

      well there you have it :)

  • Vivisectus

    I think that guy at neo-secularist misses the point. We are so chock-full of "respect" that we barely criticise even the worst excesses of religion. By not speaking out enough we condone the bigotry that most religions espouse. I for one think it is nice to see someone go overboard a bit the other way. Just to show how trapped even the majority of Atheists are in this weird assumption that "Religious" equals "Moral".

  • Voice of Reason

    People who are offended by what they term "vulgar, foul or inappropriate" language need to take a real long look at themselves.  Stop and think for a moment on the "why?" you think it is vulgar.  Do you have a clue?  The word f*uck can take on varied interpretations in one's mind, sort of a morality compass if you will.
    Do you think religion has anything to do with it?  Duh!
    You so-called atheist's need to rethink your position when you start making moral judgments on words, words that can be taken literally, meaning the literal meaning or what your moral compass has conjured up in your little brain.
    You start sounding just like your opponents; intolerable.  Get a life or die.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      I have no issues with his song, but I am wondering if you think morality equals religion and therefore atheists should not have morals.  The fact is, depending on how the word is used, the word "fuck" does bother me, but I can honestly tell you it has nothing to do with religion.  I find the use of the words as a means to ask someone for sex or to describe sex with someone you supposedly care about is a big turn off.  IMHO, you don't do that to the person you supposedly love and care about unless you are sick incestuous sire, a sick sex deprived pedophile priest, an abusive spouse, or a dog.

      However, the reason why Tim Minchin did not offend me with his song is because he was making a point, including the one I just made, plus using the word with its other meanings too.  IMHO, one does not speak about someone they supposedly love and then turn around and "fuck" them.  If that happens then it's time to say "screw you" and walk away, as well as get counseling for the abuse that happened to you.  Such abuser who go around sexually abusing people are the ones who need get a life… in prison.

      Thus I can appreciate Minchin's song because of it's message.

  • Noodle

    I like Tim Minchin. I think that The Pope Song is great for comedy and for making a very blunt point (I don't think he likes the Pope…), but I don't think it really belongs at a protest or rally. The cause will be overshadowed by controversy, and the person (if not the event)'s cause is jeopardized because it appears that they aren't taking it seriously.

Scroll To Top