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Sacred vs Secular In Pop Music: One Baptist Girl's Tale

Contessagayles639022812

First Posted: 03/ 5/2012 8:03 am Updated: 03/ 5/2012 8:03 am

I was 12 years old when my dad found my stash ... of secular music. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, TLC, Backstreet Boys; they lived under my ruffle-skirted bed. He let me know I was busted by splaying the CDs all over my floral print comforter -- a silent but deadly move.

"Why would I want to be 'living la vida loca' like Ricky Martin?" he demanded, mocking the song's hook in a nasal, sing-songy voice. That one made me giggle. Of course, it all makes me giggle now, considering my job calls for me to listen and write about the once-forbidden secular music all day long.

For all the annoyance it caused me as a kid, my dad's secular music ban came from an honest place. He was raised in a strict Baptist home and went to church multiple times per week for services, Sunday school, Bible study, gospel choir rehearsals and performances. My dad wasn't exactly into the whole "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" thing -- and that's exactly what popular secular music represented to him as he attempted to raise me and my four brothers in a similar fashion to his upbringing. Of course, he had to face some generational obstacles; MTV, VH1 and BET were all child-protected channels on our remote control. And when the Disney Channel started airing original tween music videos, he shut that down, too. Yeah, he shut that down real fast.

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Filed by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush  |