Glam metal band Stryper deny compromising Christian lifestyle.

PIONEERING White Metal band Stryper have come under attack after a report about them in US rock magazine Rolling Stone. The report claims that the group, "tired of having fans check their drinks for alcohol," have begun to "openly drink and smoke," and won't mention God on their next album "Against The Law".

Band spokesman Robert Sweet, in an interview with American magazine CCM, denied the truth of the report. "We don't endorse drinking, we don't try to encourage people to drink. We think if you're drunk it's a dangerous thing to be. But if you have a drink, as long as you're wise with it, it's no big deal. As far as smoking goes, I hate smoking. Personally I wish it could be outlawed. But what brought that up is my brother Michael said 'if you want to smoke, that's your choice. The Bible doesn't really make statements about "you shalt not smoke".

"It's unhealthy and I don't smoke and Michael doesn't smoke, but they just reworded those little words and made it sound different...with a secular magazine where some of the writers are so atheistic in view they sometimes have fun with it." Much of the controversy surrounding the band centres on the new direction of their latest album 'Against The Law'. Unlike previous recordings, it makes no direct references to Christ, relying on a more oblique, morally positive approach to gain them a wider audience and radio and MTV acceptance. Sweet maintains it has always been part of their strategy for Stryper to crossover into the mainstream.

"A lot of people feel we're either angels from Heaven or demons from Hell" he told CCM. "We're neither - we're people. We're rock musicians who've had the courage to stand up for Christ and we've taken a lot of heat for it. We've taken verbal abuse and been made fun of, but we've done it. If the record is big we have a bigger platform to stand on and say 'Look, what's wrong with believing in Christ?' But if you don't get the platform you can't make the statement."

One platform they will no longer have will be Christian retail outlets, as their Christian distribution company Benson has not only terminated their contract with the band but dropped all of Stryper's previous product. Jerry Park, the company's general manager, spoke of the band's "new direction that does not conform to the mission of the Benson company "as the bands new album" does not contain overtly Christian lyrics." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.