At college (Ricks College, which really dates me!), one of the oddest controversies I encountered dealt with students complaining that the DJs were playing a filthy, dirty song about sex at every dance. Now, I have no complaints about people actually complaining about songs that are actually and explicitly about sex, but this one was a bizarre one: “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane (this also dates me, since most people are more familiar with the recent Rascal Flatts in the Pixar Cars movie).
A couple of my roommates were actually going on a rant about what a horrible, awful, terrible, bad, no good song this was and the college really should crack down on that.
I asked them why they thought it was such a terrible song; they refused to explain it to me, telling me I must be too naive to understand the real meaning behind the song. The only hint they gave was that the phrase “all night long” should make it obvious.
Now, this, to me, is an overzealousness to find sin in others. Sometimes we spend too much time looking for sin, for things to condemn, we start seeing that sin where it really isn’t – and that itself can be a sin.
However, while finding sex and drugs and whatnot else in places they really don’t exist (and frankly, there are enough songs that deserve condemnation, forcing such a reading on otherwise good songs is foolishness) is a problem on the more conservative end of the Mormon spectrum, I find the more liberal end has its own fair share of such looking for sins that aren’t really there.
The more liberal students I knew would often mock conservative students for such idiocy, but then turn around and insist on seeing racism and sexism in places it wasn’t apparent (dog whistles, subtle meanings, etc.). That, to me, is just as foolish and, yes, sinful.
Some mock and ridicule people who like to focus on the positives of church culture and defend it against people who (seem to) see mostly things to condemn as claiming “all is well in Zion.”
But claiming “pretty much everything stinks in Zion” is just as wrongheaded.