The first time I heard Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” song, I thought it was about a man’s devotion to a woman, and for some reason he associated it with a church. But as I continued to listen to the song, I understood that it had a deeper meaning. “Take Me to Church” is a very well-rounded song that pushes the boundaries of interpretations in a song. From why sex is seen as a sin yet is a means for procreation, to the belief of religion which its credibility has always been challenged. The song portrays these issues and more through its lyrics.
“Take Me to Church” is about the perception of the church, or any powerful institution like the government, about intimacy and sexuality, despite your sexual orientation. The song compares the physical act of loving with a religious act and according to religious authorities, it is a blasphemy to God when preforming sex before marriage. But in the lyrics, according to Hozier’s, he assimilates the church to love and sex and he refers and compere the woman he loves and worships to God. Several times in the song “Take Me to Church” he refers to original sin, admitting that he enjoys it because it is what makes him human. For example, Hozier sings “I was born sick, but I love it Command me to be well Amen, Amen, Amen”. The sin of enjoying the sexual act goes beyond good and evil, for example; the Bible says “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Therefore, if we see sex with the eyes of a religious person, sex is not “just sex.” The Bible teaches that sex has meaning because marriage itself between a man and a woman is a beautiful picture of the gospel. Jesus, the Groom, sacrificially gives himself for his beloved bride, the church. Sex is ultimately a picture of this redeeming love that God has demonstrated by giving up his Son to save us.
In previous lines of the song, he mentions the following: “Every Sunday’s getting bleak A fresh poison each week ‘We were born sick, ‘ you heard them say it my Church offers no absolutes. She tells me ‘worship in the bedroom love’. The only heaven I will be sent to is when I’m alone with you.” They are just a few lines, but they let you glimpse almost all the meaning behind the song. He begins by referring to the mass every Sunday, so he mentions the Church. Same church that, as we well know, does not allow people who are “different”. In this case it is those who mention that they are “the sick”. This is how the Church catalogs people who have sexual inclinations different from heterosexual ones. Therefore, we can immediately assimilate that the song is a criticism of the Catholic Church and its rejection of non-heterosexual people.
In an interview with the New York Magazine, Hozier stated regarding the song: “Take Me to Church is essentially about sex, but it is more an irony directed to organizations that through their doctrine can weaken humanity by teaching them to be ashamed of our sexuality, whatever it may be, which is a sin that offends God. This song is about reaffirming oneself and reclaiming our humanity through the act of loving.”
Now moving on to the video of the song. The music video, directed by Brendan Canty, is one of the many interpretations of the song, this time aimed at the persecution of homosexuals in Russia. The video criticizes the repression that exists in Russia and, unfortunately, this reality is shared in several countries. However; Russia has become the most hostile European country to sexual minorities, comparing homosexuality with pedophilia. It should be noted that neither the song nor the video were thought or created as an insult to the faith, but a critique of how different organizations (the church or the government) weaken our humanity to the point of blaming us for something as intimate as the right to choose who to love.
According to my point of view and the interpretation I got from the lyrics and video of the song, I don’t agree with the message the director was going after when making the video of the song because the video focuses a lot in homosexuality and if we interpret the video from the religious point of view the whole message of the video is a blasphemy in God’s eyes because God stated that a man should only lie with a woman and God considers an abomination when two people of the same sex have sexual intercourse. There are two verses of the Bible that clearly affirm that homosexuality is not approved by God, one of those verses says, “You will not lie with a male as with a woman; is an abomination”. And the second verse says, “If a man lies with a male as a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them”.