List of albums censored by Christian bookstores

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This is a list of albums censored by Christian bookstores due to specific instances of censorship based on the content of the album. Christian bookstores censor material for various reasons, ranging from doctrine (Lifeway Christian Resources is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention) to a perceived need to protect their reputation or "atmosphere" by not carrying certain products. One critic has described a particular chain as being "extremely pro-censorship."[1]

Some albums, especially those experiencing issues with cover art, are reissued with new covers for Christian book stores. This list includes albums where censorship occurred while the album was in the Christian retail chain, either at the distributor or retail point. Is not meant to include:

  • Albums that never made it into the Christian music market. Stryper's 1990 release Against the Law was not carried in Christian bookstores, as their label made the decision not to distribute to that market segment.[2]
  • Albums pulled solely because the artist was involved with a scandal or other incident, such as Sandi Patty, Michael English, Amy Grant, or Raze.
  • Albums from an era in which artistic styles were less accepted in Christian music, unless a specific instance of censorship can be shown. Petra, for instance, had trouble getting Christian bookstores to take products until the 1980s, but this was primarily due to limited distribution rather than the specific content of their albums.[3]


Band Album Year
Company Reason
Bon Voyage Bon Voyage 1998 Parable Christian Stores Lyrical content, particularly the song Kiss My Lips [citation needed]
Evanescence Fallen 2003 own record label Lyrical content, scandal[Note] [4]
Every Day Life Disgruntled 1996 Cover art, topical and lyrical content [5]
Every Day Life American Standard 1997 Topical content [5]
Jerusalem Dancing on the Head of the Serpent 1987 stores in Sweden Cover art [6]
Lust Control This Is A Condom Nation 1988 Spring Arbor sexually explicit lyrics [7]
Mortification Mortification 1991 Cover art [8]
P.O.D The Fundamental Elements of Southtown 1999 Cover art [9]
P.O.D Payable on Death 2003 LifeWay Cover art[Note] [9]
The Predators [UK] Social Decay 1983 Scripture Union Cover art [10]
Ruby Joe Sinking the Eight Ball 1998 Topical content [11]
Saviour Machine Saviour Machine I 1993 Lyrics [12]
Scaterd Few Sin Disease 1990 Topical content, plus scandal [13]
Secret and Whisper "Teenage Fantasy" 2010 Family Christian Album cover art, Title, Lyrical content
The Showdown Temptation Come My Way 2007 LifeWay & Family Christian Title and lyrics of the song "Fanatics & Whores"
Sixteen Horsepower Low Estate 1997 Family Christian Sexually explicit lyrics on "Hang My Teeth on Your Door" [14]
Squad Five-O What I Believe 1997 Lyrics [15]
Taylor SteveSteve Taylor I Predict 1990 1987 Cover art, lyrics of "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good" [16]
Stretch Arm Strong Rituals of Life 1999 Lyric content, hidden track cover of Modern English's "I Melt with You" removed from albums sold in Christian stores
Training for Utopia Plastic Soul Impalement 1998 Cover art [17]
Twelve Stones Potter's Field 2004 LifeWay Brief use of profanity written in the album's liner notes [18]
Various Artists Live at the Strand 1997 Parody cover of AC/DC's "Back in Black", performed by members of Piltdown Man and Luxury [19]
Vengeance Rising Human Sacrifice 1989 Cover art, musical style [20]
Vengeance Rising Once Dead 1990 Cover art, musical style [21]
Vigilantes of Love Slow Dark Train 1997 Family Christian Sexually explicit lyrics on "Love Cocoon"[Note] [22]
Welch BrianBrian Welch Save Me from Myself 2008 Music video for "Flush"[Note] [23]
Ws TheThe W's Fourth from the Last 1998 LifeWay Lyrics[Note] [24]
Zao Liberate Te Ex Inferis 1999 Cover art[Note] [25]


  • ^Evanescence: Their debut album was initially distributed to the Christian market, and its lead single received airplay on Christian radio. Its label pulled the album out of the Christian market, with lead singer Amy Lee commenting "I guarantee that if the Christian bookstore owners listened to some of those songs, they wouldn't sell the CD."[4]
  • ^P.O.D.: The cover artist for Payable On Death was Daniel Martin Diaz. Upon the ban he commented "It's quite ironic that throughout my art career, I have been censored by a reputable art publication and denied inclusion into art exhibitions because my work is too religious. Now my work is being censored by religious outlets. Some folks need to enlighten themselves with art history."[9]
The controversy also caused some stores to pull the January / February 2004 issue of HM Magazine because P.O.D. was featured on its cover (issue #105).[26] The issue featured additional artwork by Diaz.
  • ^Vigilantes of Love: "Love Cocoon" was included on Slow Dark Train over the objection of the band. On the topic, frontman Bill Mallonee told CCM "I do stand behind the song intellectually and theologically... I would have loved it if Slow Dark Train was the first album in the Christian bookstore market to have a parental advisory sticker on it."[27]
  • ^Brian Welch: The music video for "Flush" was designed around the personal experiences of its author. At the time the album was pulled, Brian Welch released a statement about the visual content of the video, relating its symbolism to his personal experiences of addiction and redemption. He also issued the following statement: "The video for 'Flush' is about crystal meth addiction and the crazy things anyone addicted to meth will do while they're high or to get their fix. Everything the models were doing in the video is what I was wrapped up in while I was addicted to meth... I believe I would be dead right now if I continued using meth, but instead, I chose to surrender my life to Christ and die to myself so He could share His resurrection with me... Taking my CDs off the shelves because of a music video (that isn't being sold with the CD) is a bit too extreme! There is a huge message of hope on my CD and I believe those retailers that are pulling the CD from their shelves are robbing someone spiritually by taking it off of the shelves."[23]
  • ^The W's: LifeWay pulled the album over what one critic describes as "the verboten use of words like 'suck' and 'butt'."[24]
  • ^Zao: The original cover of Liberate Te Ex Inferis was a photo of the band, on which drummer Jesse Smith's tattoos were visible. The content of the bodyart in question pictured pin-up girls, which some Christians could interpret as pornography,[28] but for others, the tattoos alone would be enough to cause issues.[29] The album was pulled by the Christian distributor before going to market, and the copies in question released to the general market. However, fallout for the band continued to be felt throughout the year 2000, as the band experienced canceled shows and festival appearances due to the controversy.[25]


  1. ^ Powell 2002, "Every Day Life", pp. 311-312
  2. ^ Powell 2002, "Stryper", pp. 891-895
  3. ^ Cusic, Don (2002). "Contemporary Christian music & 1984". The Sound of Light: A History of Gospel Music (First Hal Lenoard ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Hal Lenoard Corp. pp. 348–351. ISBN 0-634-02938-X. 
  4. ^ a b D'Angelo, Joe (2003-04-16). "Evanescence's Label Tells Christian Outlets To Yank Fallen: After bandmembers take Lord's name in vain, Wind-Up Records clarifies that group is secular". MTV News. 
  5. ^ a b Pogge, David M. (July–August 2001). "Forgotten Thoughts of Our Tomorrow". HM Magazine (90): 52–54. ISSN 1066-6923. 
  6. ^ Van Pelt, Doug (November 1988). "Metal Reviews / Dancing on the Head of the Serpent". CCM Magazine 11 (5): 33, 35. ISSN 1524-7848. 
  7. ^ Long, Jim (February 1989). "Expressions / Lust Control This Is A Condom Nation". Campus Life 47 (7): 74, 77. ISSN 0008-2538. 
  8. ^ "Mortification (Gnarly Cover)". Firestream. 
  9. ^ a b c "Artwork Controversy: Cover art causes 85 per cent of American Christian bookstores to ban P.O.D. album.". Cross Rhythms. 2003-12-17. 
  10. ^ "The Predators: The groundbreaking British band of the '80s". Cross Rhythms. 2009-02-25. 
  11. ^ Koss, "Boss" Vic (November–December 1997). "Reviews: Sinking the Eight Ball". 7ball (15): 54. ISSN 1082-3980. 
  12. ^ Clayton, Eric (2003). Synopsis (Media notes). Saviour Machine. 
  13. ^ Ruff, Steve (2009). "Allan Aguirre & Scaterd Few". The Phantom Tollbooth. 
  14. ^ Powell 2002, "Sixteen Horsepower", pp. 830-831
  15. ^ Powell 2002, "Squad Five-O", pp. 859-860
  16. ^ Powell 2002, "Steve Taylor", p. 931
  17. ^ Powell 2002, "Training for Utopia", pp. 958-959
  18. ^ "Album Sleeve Controversy: US rockers 12 Stones get album pulled from US Christian bookshops.". Cross Rhythms. 2004-11-13. 
  19. ^ Lobaugh, Rod (1998-02-01). "Reviews / Various - Live At The Strand". Cross Rhythms (43). 
  20. ^ Van Pelt, Doug (February 1989). "Mosh For The Master". CCM Magazine 11 (8): 20–21. ISSN 1524-7848. 
  21. ^ Van Pelt, Doug (March 1990). "On The Beat / Metal". CCM Magazine 12 (9). ISSN 1524-7848. 
  22. ^ Higgs, Andy (2003-10-30). "Sex & the Married Man". Cross Rhythms (77). 
  23. ^ a b "Ex-Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch defends 'controversial' video". 2008-09-25. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  24. ^ a b Baldwin, Steven Stuart; Stonehocker, Linda T. (1998). "Fourth from the Last Review". The Phantom Tollbooth. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  25. ^ a b Gamers, Matt. "Zao Possessions". 
  26. ^ "Magazine Cover Ban: HM magazine runs into Christian bookshop distribution problems with latest issue.". Cross Rhythms. 2003-12-27. 
  27. ^ Brown, Bruce A. (October 1998). "Vigilante Justice". CCM Magazine 21 (4). ISSN 1524-7848. 
  28. ^ Powell 2002, "Zao", pp. 1064-1065
  29. ^ Watkins, Terry, TATTOOS & THE BIBLE, Dial-the-Truth Ministries