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FOR TODAY guitarist leaves the band; issues a clarification statement [UPDATE]

ENTER SHIKARI, who have recently released their new video for the song “Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide” (available below), have commented on recent controversy around FOR TODAY‘s  Mike Reynolds’ comments on  homosexuality.

The big news is that Mike is no longer a member of the band. He has been replaced by Sam Penner from IN THE MIDST OF LIONS. The band’s frontman Mattie Montgomery has issued a public apology via the video below.

Oh, and what’s our opinion about that? LIFE FOR A LIFE issued a shout out that suits the situation perfectly. Let’s just quote it and forget about the whole bullshit. “This band has never and will never tolerate Racism or Homophobia. and fuck anyone who thinks its ok”. Oh, and BREAK AWAY got it right, too, by saying: “Break Away does not support homophobia or racism, and neither should you. Don’t support bands that support these ideals.”

UPDATE: Reynolds issued a statement in attempt to clarify his tweets. This is really entertaining. Scroll down to check it out.

Here’s the official word:

Mike Reynolds is no longer a part of For Today. He has decided that now is the time for he and his wife to put their plans in motion to enroll in bible college, and to begin working toward full-time missions work in the Middle East. Mike will be replaced by long-timefriend of the band, and former In The Midst of Lions guitar player, Sam Penner, who will be appearing with the band as they headline their upcoming FIght The Silence tour.

Oh, and here’s the ENTER SHIKARI’s statement:

Yesterday, the guitarist from ‘christian metalcore’ band For Today (a band Enter Shikari have previous toured the US alongside) made a series of offensive tweets of his thoughts on the ‘sin’ of homosexuality.

[S]uch statements should not be allowed to pass without being commented upon and having a light shone on them, and – thankfully – a lot of artists and journalists have spoken out against his comments.
Rou wanted to share his own thoughts….

Like most sane people I was completely knocked for six by this statement from… no, not a mentally deranged ageing goofball politician, or a fundamentalist fruitcake on his soapbox on a street corner, but a polite and successful musician…

The guitarist in the American metalcore band, ‘For Today’.

The thought that we actually toured and shared the same stage as this musician in 2011 now makes me feel a bit nauseous. If I knew he held views as embarrassingly archaic and morally disgraceful as this, we wouldn’t have ever gone near the band. Additionally to his nonsensical twitter outbursts, further personal anger is cemented in by the fact this bloke has the same surname as me… Bugger what an embarrassment to the Reynolds ‘Clan’!
Ok, so to begin, there is obviously no place in our modern metal, punk, hardcore, rock (whatever you want to call it) scene for homophobia.

In fact, there should be no place for these views anywhere full stop, especially not in music.

For thousands of years Music has been one of the main things that brings us humans together! Not something that has divided or segregated us. Through coming together to experience melodies and rhythms and the plethora of emotions they can generate, Music by definition, is innately unifying. A beautifully communal human experience. Therefore, anyone wishing to label and exclude other humans as ‘sinners’, for simply loving the human that they wish to love, does not even deserve to pick up an instrument, history has proven to us that every musical instrument is a tool of unity, of diversity and of peace.

But no i’m not going to stop there, Mike Reynolds isn’t JUST being an insult to music here, but also an insult to spirituality worldwide. We simply cannot and must not rely on the literal translation of scripture written thousands of years ago anymore. Our morality and understanding of the world has thankfully progressed colossally since that era and it’s about time these kooky literalists realised it.

The Bible has always been a tool for control of the masses and, arguably, never more so than in modern America, where it has been reduced down over the years to nothing more than a convenient and lucrative distraction… because while you’ve got a scared and ill-educated population too busy debating over what rights some theoretical woman they don’t know has over what happens to her own body, or whether two humans they’ll never meet are able to legally declare their love and commitment to each other, then they’re not liable to notice that they’re supporting policies and laws that directly adversely affect their own family’s financial situation and remove their basic freedoms.

Let me tell you now, a person’s right to spirituality, and a person’s right to believe in a God (whichever one they choose), is a right I would always ardently fight for. It would be a terrible day if freedom of belief is ever taken away.
But when religion begins to dictate education and curriculum or starts calling people evil for harmlessly fulfilling their romantic destiny, it needs to simply fuck off. For that is religion being misapplied to where it frankly has no business being.

Now, really all we have here is some disastrously uneducated and religiously indoctrinated chaps saying what they think is ‘right’. This doesn’t make them ‘evil’, as they’re just a victim of our societies lack of education.
I’m sure they don’t want to hurt anyone, they’re just promoting views that they believe should be heard.

Unfortunately though, this is another case where religion, with it’s hubristic scriptures and dogmas has produced a false confidence, an ego, devoid of all logic and morality.

This is where Religion gets dangerous. When people think they have God on their side, they don’t actually stop to think how utterly illogical and immoral they may be being. This is the same mentality we see of suicide bombers and in religious war etc.

Unlike the scientific method, which is constantly testing itself and trying to prove itself wrong, religion can breed a queasy egotistical ability to exclaim things as incontrovertibly true. This ultimately creates a disrespect towards morality, and is exactly what we see here; A person so up his own arse in his haggard antique beliefs that he can’t even realise just how out of touch and revolting he’s being.

And no, don’t go telling me that they are his opinions and just like any opinion, they should be respected. No. Rushed, thoughtless and poisonous ‘opinions’ or propaganda like this should NOT be respected by you or anyone. There is nothing here deserving of respect.

Plato, 400 years before the alleged birth of Christ, said “Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul”

Music is a beautiful tool to educate ourselves with. And I thought the purpose of education was not to validate ignorance and intolerance, but to over come it.

 So, to anyone spouting these divisive and disgusting views, I say simply but vehemently, please educate yourself or put down your instrument.

Oh, and the clarification. Really amusing:

There IS a state church being formed, there is going to be an exclusive acceptance of preachers who advocate the LGBT(link to DallasVoice article)… Don’t be deceived, homosexuality is a sin. This sin with all other sins is what Jesus died for. He conquered so that we would be free. No such thing as a gay Christian, the same as there is no such thing as a Christian who loves his sin. Don’t be fooled by the formation of a state church as though the government is being converted, they only use the name of Jesus for their progressive liberal agenda. If you are a Christian then separate yourself from this civil religion that advocates sin. Stay true to God”

My sole concern is not what I said, but that via social network there is a huge chasm between what is being said and the tone of voice that I would use to say it face to face. There is an apparent disconnect between tone and the statement I made. I would enjoy this dialogue in person, but as a blanket statement via twitter it is quite insufficient and is heard as though I am picketing a funeral rather than expressing what I believe to be true. My intention was not to isolate the LGBT community(there has been enough of that), but to express that Christianity is not an “everyone is welcome and not required to change” kind of an organism. The essence of Christianity is that the One True God has intervened in the broken cycle of human affairs and made a way for them to know Him and as a byproduct of knowing Him, be given true life. To say that there is no such thing as a gay Christian is simply to state that the initial requirement for a person to come to God is repentance. Repentance means to change your mind, when a person repents they change their mind. In the case of following Jesus, repentance is simply that a person who thinks their way is the best way would be required to think that Gods way is the best way. No one can follow Jesus without repenting of their sin, so no one can be a Christian without repenting from sin.

When I met my wife I surrendered any and all appetites for other women, she became my last romantic attraction. The basic rules of relationship like truth, love, sincerity, etc are intended to sustain the health of the relationship. There is a rule in our marriage that we are to be faithful to one another and not have any other partners. This rule is not a bad thing because I know how wonderful she is, but if I understood my wife to be an unreasonable hag then this rule would be a burden. When I observe how wonderful and faithful my wife is then I say simply, “whatever you say goes.” We exist inside of this understanding of mutual love for one another.

So it was when I met Jesus Christ, at first I saw a figure in history who wanted to brainwash, manipulate, and twist people to feed an egotistical hunger of some sort. With this understanding of Jesus of Nazareth I was unable to know Him, I couldn’t look at any of His commands without feeling a weight and burden of obeying someone that I didn’t love. However, God intervened in my life and I saw Him in His true light, I see the One who loves me enough to correct me when I am wrong and to affirm me when I am right. He is wonderful and I have repented of my past life and come to this conclusion, “whatever He says goes.” He died for me, I will joyfully live for Him. Does this mean that absolutely no mistakes are allowed in the Christian life? Absolutely not, I am a man who is familiar with making mistakes. The reality however is that they are in fact, mistakes. This IS a learning process that I myself am in, I have not figured out all of what it means to follow Jesus, but I am willing to spend my life on learning. He is worthy of my life, my time, my everything and He faithfully leads me along this road called life. He is my everything and without Him I could not go through the things that I am required to go through.

I love every member of the LGBT community and in no way want to simply isolate any individual group of people, but to remain true to the word of God that, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” I desire for them to know God AS I desire for all people to know God through Jesus Christ.

To sum this up, I am not isolating homosexuality, but stating that ALL sin must be left behind to follow Jesus as Jesus Himself prescribed. Greed, selfishness, pride, envy, dishonesty, and any others you can think of must be surrendered for Gods way of honest relationship with Him. Homosexuality is not the ONLY sin and I would never say anything of the sort, but it is an issue in our day and at this time. My desire is for Christian men and women to understand what sin is and to offer the only one true solution to that sin, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, this is only good news to someone who has been enabled by the grace of God to stop loving their sin, no matter what that sin is. If a man or woman loves their sin then they cannot obey the requirement of Jesus to repent and to follow Him. This is not something that human beings are intended to do in their own strength, on the contrary, God is to be glorified because He alone is the only One who can love us out of our mess.

Leave the burden behind, let go of those things that so easily distract you, God has demonstrated His love towards us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, to set us free from sin and from death. Follow Him.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.

If you have read this far, thank you, I love you and would be willing to respond to emails at questions.mikefortoday@gmail.com

PUBLISHED on January 12, 2013.
UPDATED on January 13, 2013 – another commentary added.

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