Parting Ways: Pearl Jam Cancels Carolina Concert Over House Bill 2

And though he’s too big a man to say. There’s a fear they’ll soon be parting ways” Eddie Vedder

For those of who you don’t know (even though I’ve blogged about it), Pearl Jam is my favorite band in the world and it has been for a long time. Today, I got a text from a friend asking me “if my love for Pearl Jam” was ending. His text included a link to a story about Pearl Jam canceling their April 20th concert in Raleigh, North Carolina. The popular Rock Band canceled its much anticipated show, with barely two days notice, in order to “take a stand against” the (perceived) “prejudice” legislated by the recently enacted North Carolina House Bill 2. HB2 is essentially a “bathroom bill” that seeks to protect businesses from being sued by sexually perverted men who self-identify as women and want to use the ladies restroom but are prevented from doing so by said businesses (and a prevailing sense of common decency). Bathroom Bills like HB2 are being discussed by legislatures across America as the homosexual lobby seeks to use the court system to fundamentally transform society into accepting their various perversions. In its notice to fans, Pearl Jam stated:


We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.

I guess I don’t want to be turned away for whom I love either. I love Jesus and refuse to see God mocked by letting men into women’s restrooms. Those who share my sentiment will be apparently turned away from receiving services from Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam, like Bruce Springsteen who also recently canceled a North Carolina concert, is refusing to service people with whom they disagree. I hope they’ll afford the same courtesy to others who refuse to to business out of personal convictions. It is a free country after all…isn’t it?

I am mine.” Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam is well within it’s rights to refuse to do business in North Carolina, if it wants to treat the state like Sun City then that’s the band’s prerogative. Pearl Jam is not a slave to the public will. No business entity or businessman should be. What’s ironic about the recent refusals of Pearl Jam and Springsteen to do business in North Carolina is that bills like HB2, which they protest, are designed to protect people who don’t want to business with certain parties from being sued. It’s also perplexing to see Pearl Jam taking its moral stand over issues related to sexuality and rights now; I’ve seen them in concert in Georgia, even after Georgia passed an state constitutional amendment that made it unconstitutional for the state to recognize“same-sex” marriage. North Carolina has a similar state amendment and yet Pearl Jam has never refused to play the state before. What changed?

Pull the innocent from a crowd; Raise the sticks then bring em down, If they fail to obey… oh if they fail to obey,” Eddie Vedder

Social pressure and the legal environment certainly have. Pearl Jam has always been a socially active and politically cognizant band. I’ve never cared for most of their general liberal and unbiblical positions but I have appreciated their music very much. So, to answer my friend’s question, I will not like Pearl Jam any less than I did before; its music is still good, its members are still lost. I hope the members of Pearl Jam will remember the very words they’ve sung about personal freedom and choice as the court system prosecutes Christian business people who end up paying the price for sticking to their convictions the very way Pearl Jam has.

Drilling for fear, makes the job simple. Born on third, thinks he got a triple.” Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen, unlike so many sued Christian bakers, can certainly afford their convictions. They are effectively supporting this perceived civil rights cause from third base. Pearl Jam and Springsteen are among the most successful musical acts of the last 50 years. They’ve sold millions of records and concert tickets. They don’t tour and play because they need to, they tour and play because they like to. This isn’t the case for so many North Carolina concert hall workers, waitresses, bartenders, and hotel staffers who’ll see less wages and tips for the days of the canceled shows; they need their work. Pearl Jam and Springsteen are effectively telling North Carolina concert-goers and service personnel, “It’s immoral to do business with you.” These musical millionaires can afford their convictions. One can certainly wonder if Pearl Jam’s members were still playing in dive bars under the moniker “Mookie Blaylock” if they’d still be so inclined to turn down concert income.

I can feel like I, have a soul that has been saved. I can feel like I, put away my early grave.” Eddie Vedder

There are almost certainly Christians on both sides of the political issue that brought forth HB2. Many, while wanting men out of the ladies room, perhaps feel that HB2 is a stunt by conservative law makers to drum up support from an evangelical voter base. After all, aren’t the bills protections already afforded by the 1st Amendment? Given American society’s moral degradation into postmodernism and judicial activism, who’s to say? Christians ultimately can’t depend on government protection and support. The first Christians didn’t have it. No matter what happens politically, Christians should remember that Jesus promised us two things: 1) that in this world we would have trouble and 2) that He has overcome it. We should not fear men; we are saved by God’s grace, no matter what nasty people may force their way into our restrooms.

As for this aging Christian, my Baptist ears grow tired of Eddie Vedder’s frequent use of the F-word. I’ve got kids now, I don’t want to hear it. My last memory of a Pearl Jam concert was an Atlanta music festival. The show was great but I remember feeling a great burden that day. Pearl Jam was the only band I wanted to see at the festival so I observed people until it came time for Pearl Jam to close the day out. What I observed were throngs of lost people, drunk, on drugs, and swaying along to some of the most profane lyrics modern rock & rollers and rappers could produce. Whatever musicians refuse to do business with me, I will not miss. I have the sweet songs of Heaven to look forward to when the Lord returns to judge the quick and the dead.

As Jesus might say when He comes back to rule and reign, “I’m still alive.”

[Contributed by Seth Dunn, host of The Christian Commute]

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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@gsethdunn

Seth Dunn

Editor at Pulpit & Pen
Host of the Christian Commute Podcast
Member, Evangelical Theological Society
@gsethdunn

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