A pair of Christian podcasters who also are award-winning singers are defending Matthew West’s Modest Is Hottest song and video, saying it was a humorous way to communicate a biblical message.
Alisa Childers of the group ZoeGirl and John Cooper of the band Skillet collaborated for a podcast that was posted on each of their platforms. Childers and Cooper gave their respective podcasts the same title: “Progressive Christian Twitter Tries to Cancel Matthew West Over Modesty Video.”
West pulled the video in June after criticism.
“A casualty … of the woke mob is a sense of humor. The song is a joke. It’s meant to be funny,” said Childers, who cited the lyrics on the podcast. She called the song a “spoof.”
“… I was just kind of sad to see that he took it down and apologized,” she said.
West, in the song, urges his daughters not to dress like the Kardashians or Cardi B., a stripper-turned-singer who often uses strip poles in her videos.
Childers said much of the criticism of the video was an extension of criticism of the purity culture from the 1990s and 2000s.
Childers urged Christians to critique purity culture without “throwing the concept of purity out the window.”
“Because [purity is] a biblical concept,” she said. “That’s something that the Bible calls men and women to do – is to be pure.”
Modern culture, she said, seems to be “deeply fundamentalist” and “utterly incapable of nuance.”
“I mean, isn’t it possible to encourage our daughters to dress modestly – for lots of reasons, not just because of what it’s going to do to guys – while at the same time helping them understand that they’re not responsible for men’s lust?” Childers asked.
Childers quoted 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”
The verse, she emphasized, applies to both men and women.
“The Gospel is holistic,” Childers said. “When Jesus calls us, He says you have to deny yourself, pick up your cross daily, to follow Him. It’s a death. … And that means you die to how you want to always express yourself. And I think that’s something that our culture doesn’t really get.”
Cooper said 10 years ago, all dads, including atheist and pagan dads, would have agreed: “Nobody wants their daughter dressing like Cardi B on TikTok.”
Childers and Cooper also discussed Oklahoma pastor Jeremy Coleman’s song that included the lyric to his own daughters, “If I catch you doing dances on the TikTok, wear what you want, girl, just go off.” Coleman was highly critical of West’s tune and received multiple mentions in mainstream media.
“It’s possible for us to tell girls, ‘No, you shouldn’t be on TikTok wearing whatever you want,” Childers said. “And one of the saddest things about what this pastor said is that he’s telling women basically, ‘You can dress however you want to express yourself.’ Well, the Bible just doesn’t give you that permission.”
The Bible, she said, “is going to get all up in your business” for both men and women regarding “how you talk, what you wear, how you conduct yourself.” Part of “being a Christian,” Childers said, “is that we have the Bible as our authority, not the woke mob.”
Photo courtesy: ©John Cooper and Alisa Childers Podcast Screenshot
Video courtesy: ©Alisa Childers and John Cooper
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.