By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
I tell Andrews that the informal poll I conducted indicated that most everyone thought the Knights were being ironic. This fact bounces off him like a raindrop.
"Well, I think that's a statement of the times," he says. "People don't think that you can make a serious statement about anything anymore. ... People get that impression because we wear the goofy outfits and also people think that you can't be Christian and have fun. See, that's the thing: [We're] obviously having a good time, doing something silly, but it's with a serious purpose. There are all sorts of ways to give witness. You don't have to give witness by preaching nothing but hellfire the whole time, although we do some of that, too."
"I agree with Mike," adds Stabley. "We just present our message. Hopefully people take it in the way that we intend, hopefully it sinks in somehow. I mean, they may laugh about it when they're amongst their friends and want to look cool, but hopefully something sinks in when they have a dark moment by themselves."
"'In that dark night of the soul,' as St. John of the Cross said," concludes Andrews.
Now, I know what you're thinking, because I'm thinking it, too: These guys are just well-rehearsed, and they're pulling one over on me. Perhaps. But this interview lasts 20 minutes, and during that time the band members are able to name and quote a number of their favorite Bible verses, tell me about playing the Door in Dallas two weeks ago -- possibly the nation's most popular Christian rock club -- and basically just sell me on the idea that they're authentic. If in reality they're a new Negativland side project or GWAR-type prank, well, I guess they fooled me.
What's most odd about the Knights, though, is that San Francisco audiences embrace them exactly because they're such a good parody, when they're anything but. My fellow hipsters, witness the effects of a long-term relationship with irony: Two groups -- the band, and we Converse-wearing, Onion-reading, Conan O'Brien-educated music types -- are having a conversation in which both sides are listening and responding to each other, yet unbeknownst to either, there is no communication taking place. Fascinating.
In a recent issue of the long-running MaximumRocknRoll, some dipshit writer took the piss out of the Knights for dressing silly and playing Christian rock. He didn't suspect, and therefore did not revel in the notion, that theirs could be an ironic statement, but then, he's a writer for MaximumRocknRoll. Based on his assumption that the Knights were sincere, he dissed them for playing Christian rock, which is what I imagine some people might do when they read this article and discover that this whole time they've actually been laughing at the band, not with it. So let me say this: Just because the Knights are Christian doesn't mean they're bad.
Once again, I know what you're thinking: Right now our freedoms in this country are being eroded by terrified Christian groups that finally have the allies in Washington they've been waiting for; we have no love for such groups or their acolytes. Well, to my surprise, Andrews tells me that he voted for Kerry. So I ask him what, as a devout Christian, his thoughts are about our current political landscape, the one in which lawmakers and their supporters are invoking so-called "moral" (i.e., Christian) values in their efforts to eliminate gay marriage, abortion, other countries ....
His response gives me hope:
"Well, there are people who will tellyou that they're [invoking] Christian values, just as the Pharisees said that they were speaking of biblical values. It's not for me to judge them, but I think that there are a lot of false prophets in the world today. I don't know that the Antichrist himself is in the world today, nor the Whore of Babylon, yet, but there are a lot of people who could be contenders. There are a lot of false prophets, there are a lot of Pharisees. There are a lot of people who are more concerned with the mote in someone else's eye than the plank in their own. I think that if somebody is really living a Christian life, they're not going to be telling other people what to do. ... For someone to set themselves up as a judge of other people's morals and behaviors, to me -- and I could be wrong, this is my interpretation -- but it seems to me to be distinctly unbiblical."