A viral video of an Iowa pastor and his wife performing a racially insensitive rap has garnered over 1.2 million views in just a few weeks online, but is it just a hoax?
The video, titled "Rappin' for Jesus," was posted on Feb. 5 by YouTube user Brian Spinney, who says in the video's description that he helped his pastor make the video while he was still in high school. The video is the only one uploaded for public viewing on Spinney's YouTube account, and it was apparently meant to serve as a sort of advertisement for the youth outreach program at the now defunct West Dubuque 2nd Church of Christ in Iowa.
A link to the church's website appears at the end of the rap. Although the news page on the site says the church shut down in 2004, a Whois search on DomainTools.com reveals that the domain name for the site was just created on Jan. 15 of this year.
After the video became popular online, Spinney began selling digital copies of the song. Someone has also set up a Web page where people can order "Jesus Christ Is My N---a" t-shirts, which have in the center of them a picture of a glowing Jesus with his hands outstretched.
The video shows Pastor Jim Colerick and his wife, Mary Sue Colerick, repeatedly referring to Jesus Christ as their "n---a" in the song's refrain. While some YouTube users who commented on the video said it was offensive, others said it was entertaining.
"Well I wrote this song for the Christian youth / I want to teach kids the Christian truth / if you want to reach those kids on the street / then you gotta do a rap to a hip hop beat," Jim Colerick raps at the beginning of the song.
Other lyrics shared by the straight-laced Colerick's in the song address the miracles of Jesus, drug use and the couple's sense of morality.
"I don't blaspheme and I don't brag / I don't cuss and my pants don't sag / I do exude a little Christian swag / and I'm proud to be an American," raps Mary Sue Colerick.
Chris English, pastor of GracePoint Church in Dubuque, told The Christian Post via email that he has never heard of West Dubuque 2nd Church of Christ or its pastor. He also says the video is offensive regardless of whether or not it was really created for a church youth program.
"It really makes no difference to me if this is real or a parody as to its appropriateness," wrote English. "This is clearly over the line, and offensive. Using the 'N' word in almost any modern context is offensive."
He also said the video reinforces many negative stereotypes about Christians, and as such would probably not have been an effective outreach tool anyway.