(RNS) — “God Is a Freak,” a new song by Australian artist Peach PRC, was rushed into release early Thursday (Feb. 3) after ex-evangelicals embraced a leaked TikTok clip of the track as a rallying cry against purity culture and LGBTQ exclusion.
“God is a bit of a freak — like what’s the fixation on hating the way he creates?” asks Peach PRC in the song lyrics. “So why would I spend my eternity with God when hе’s a freak?”
Sporting her signature pink hair and matching outfit, Peach PRC, whose real name is Shaylee Curnow, leaked a short section of the song to TikTok on Jan. 10 with the caption: “an anti worship song for my religious trauma girlies.”
The video immediately took off and as of Friday morning had been viewed over 2.5 million times. The song has been used more than 7,700 times as a backing track for other videos by TikTok users.
Peach PRC leaked “God Is a Freak” on TikTok without telling her label, she said on TikTok, thinking they wouldn’t get behind the song’s controversial lyrics. But thanks to the song’s reception, Republic Records worked with Peach PRC to fast-track the song’s release.
The song has permeated “exvangelical TikTok” — the domain of those who deeply question or who have rejected their conservative Christian faith. “God Is a Freak” has also been picked up as a soundtrack for homemade videos by other former Christians and non-religious users.
In many of the “God Is a Freak” TikToks, the song plays in the background while users share about finding healing after abandoning what they’ve experienced as restrictive and harmful teachings on sexuality.
The song asks why God watches people having sex and suggests that God has “f—ed up priorities.” Not all viewers appreciate the song’s lyrics.
“There’s so many churches. Don’t hate God just cause certain churches suck,” wrote one TikTok user. “This is so sad,” wrote another.
But for the TikTokers who embrace it, the song is an anthem about freedom from the trauma some have said they suffer after being brought up in evangelical environments.
“It’s irreverent, and I think that feels powerful for people,” said Jesseca Reddell, an exvangelical TikTok user who goes by @queenoftheheathens and posts critiques and jokes about Christianity. “Part of having your entire life dictated by a religion is that when you finally get to a point where you can laugh at something they would condemn, it brings you a little extra joy.”
The Rev. Karla Kamstra, an interfaith pastor with over half a million TikTok followers on her @revkarla account, told Religion News Service “God Is a Freak” is “a song of liberation for this generation, and I applaud it.”
Kevin Garcia, author of “Bad Theology Kills,” interpreted the song as a parody that’s less about critiquing God and more about calling out people who spread harmful messages about God. “The artist is pointing a finger at people who continue to perpetuate the idea that God is more concerned about what you do with your body than who you love with your body, and how we love,” Garcia told Religion News Service.
Peach PRC told Billboard that the track was written to be tongue-in-cheek but that she’s been moved by the stories shared by other TikTok users.
“It was meant to be this silly song making fun of the ridiculous concept that it is to me,” she told Billboard. “But to see so many people share these vulnerable stories, talk about their religious trauma and the way they’ve overcome — that has been so moving.”
Inspired by the other TikToks, Peach PRC used her platform to come out as a lesbian in another video with the same “God Is a Freak” track. She previously identified as bisexual.
Peach PRC rose to fame via an earlier 2020 TikTok hit, “Josh,” which landed her a record deal. It’s not clear what the artist’s spiritual or religious background is, but some of her posts suggest exposure to Christianity. On Jan. 18, Peach PRC posted a TikTok of her lip-syncing to “God Is a Freak” that includes the caption: “me when the youth group leader told me god watches everything i do.”
Regardless of the artist’s spiritual background, it’s clear that the song has struck a chord with those who’ve been harmed in religious spaces.
“To be able to share our stories en masse in a way that takes the sting out of trauma, it begins the healing,” said Garcia.
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash/Kon Karampelas