Men of God react to Teejay’s ‘Clean Like Jesus’
Christian themes are not foreign to dancehall, and 2019 has welcomed more secular songs mentioning the name Jesus.
Teejay's newly released Clean Like Jesus joins the list of songs name-dropping the Messiah, including Mavado's Big Like Jesus and Elephant Man's Jesus Take the Wheel.
On the track produced by Romeich Entertainment, Teejay likens his high fashion and appearance to being as "clean as Jesus".
Though some religious folk may view this as impious, Reverend Merrick 'Al' Miller gives the message his stamp of approval.
"I don't know this song so I cannot speak to context. Based on the lyrics, if he is making a parallel to say he is clean like Jesus, I think he is acknowledging that Jesus is the standard that would communicate to someone that when you speak of purity and cleanliness, Jesus is the standard," he told THE WEEKEND STAR. "I see no serious issue with it because he is affirming and not defaming. Jesus made a statement that if you are not against me, you are for me and that is not a statement against Jesus."
He added that while some people may interpret the song as sacrilegious, the lyrics speak to Teejay's exterior and should not be translated any other way.
"If he is using clothes and how he looks, he is talking about his outward appearance, how he carries himself, how he looks externally, I would not interpret that any other way," he said. "I am confident he is not claiming his life is perfect and clean like Jesus and it would be wrong for anyone to draw that conclusion if he is speaking to the external. Which one of us has not sinned and which one of us are not continuing to sin? He could not be referencing his internal condition."
But Anglican priest Father Sean Major-Campbell is concerned about which Jesus is being referenced on the song.
"The Jesus of Christian theology is Jesus the Christ and contrary to what many people may realise, the name Jesus is a common name in some other contexts," he said. "While in Jamaica it would not be the thing for people to name their child Jesus. Certainly in the days of Jesus the Christ, there were many parents who named their son Jesus. Also, in a number of Latino contexts, there are people who name their sons Jesus."
He added that deejays should not be singled out in the matter.
"On the American Evangelical scene, there is a lot that people would want to convey about the Jesus message that is inconsistent with a Christian understanding of Jesus the Christ. So it would be true to say that there are pastors and politicians who are doing the same thing, applying an interpretation of Jesus which may not be consistent with established theological understandings of Jesus the Christ," he said.