Tom Petty has openly criticized the Catholic Church in a new song. The song, titled “Playing Dumb,” is included as a bonus track on the Hypnotic Eye album. Petty’s lyrics are in no way ambiguous. The new song is a clear criticism of the Catholic Church’s handling of thousands of child sex abuse allegations.
Although the song includes numerous negative connotations, it was meant as a tribute to those who have suffered sexual abuse. The lyrics suggest the song was written “for every man of God that lives with hidden devils.”
Petty does not apologize for his criticism of the church. However, he strongly defends his position. In an interview with Billboard magazine, Petty said he expects a degree of backlash. Although the song is certain to spark controversy, the performer believes the lyrics contain an important message:
“I’m fine with whatever religion you want to have, but it can’t tell anybody it’s OK to kill people, and it can’t abuse children systematically for God knows how many years.”
Tom Petty was never a member of the Catholic Church. However, he was raised as a Southern Baptist. Despite his upbringing, Petty denounced organized religion in general:
“Religion seems to me to be at the base of all wars… I don’t think, spiritually speaking, that there’s any conception of God that should be telling you to be violent. It seems to me that no one’s got Christ more wrong than the Christians.”
Petty’s criticism of the Catholic Church and organized religion is certain to raise eyebrows. However, the legendary performer is firm in his opinion.
Thomas Earl Petty is a native of Gainesville, Florida. Although he got his start in a local country-rock band, he and several bandmates later formed the Heartbreakers. Following his success with the Heartbreakers, Petty enjoyed further success with the Traveling Wilburys. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Tom Petty also had great success as a solo performer.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Petty was nominated for 30 awards, including 17 Grammys. Throughout his career, he received eight awards, including three Grammys and three MTV Music Awards.
The legendary performer’s career has not been without adversity and criticism. However, Tom Petty’s latest song, which criticizes the Catholic Church, will likely become a point of controversy.
[Image via New York Times]