Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III and sometimes known as Slim Shady, was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri and grew up between Warren, Michigan and Detroit, Michigan where he went to high school and began his rap career.
Eminem’s childhood is known to be tumultuous. His father abandoned him and he was raised by his mother, who was rumored to be an alcoholic and drug addict.1 It is a safe assumption that, though religion of some kind was probably present in Eminem’s young life, it was not anywhere near a driving force.
In 1999, Eminem revealed that he had become a Christian to justify the lyrical content of his songs, saying he is “down with the Bible.” Apparently, he was contacted by a Reverend Louis Sheldon from The Traditional Values Coalition, who told him that if he became a Bible-loving Christian, it would help him with his public relations woes. Eminem said:
By being able to say that I was just stating my ‘Christian religious beliefs’ instead of just personal stuff, they [Traditional Values Coalition] told me I could say all kinds of shit and no one could touch me about it… And so I read the Bible for the first time and I was down with it. God represents. I mean, God hates faggots and bitches, too… So now, when I sing about hating fags and sluts I can say ‘Hey man, I am talking bout my religious views!’2
Clearly, this is joke and puts Eminem in the category of those having no problem with offending the religiously faithful. But he was probably already in that category.
Seriously, though, Eminem has reported that he has become more religious of late. In 2009 he said, in all seriousness:
I definitely pray a lot more than I used to. I don’t feel like I’m crazy wacky religious. But I do believe in God, and I do pray.3
Eminem doesn’t indicate what denomination he adheres to, or even if he prays to the Christian God or the Hindu’s Vishnu–just that he prays. But he’s probably Christian.
A Political Liability
Eminem is not popular with the politically correct. His song lyrics, which include references to killing women and gay people, has earned him widespread condemnation–like the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, who called him a homophobic misogynist.4
I think if two people love each other, then what the hell? I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want. It’s the new tolerant me! My overall look on things is a lot more mature than it used to be.5
Eminem further cemented his place in the liberal corner by attacking George W. Bush in a music video and saying he had a “plan to ambush this Bush administration.”6 Furthermore, Eminem has come out officially as an Obama supporter during the 2008 elections.7
- Cleanin’ Out My Closet Lyrics Meaning. Eminem Song Meanings. [↩]
- Eminem Born Again. Planet-Eminem. [↩]
- Eminem’s Religion. Christian News Report. [↩]
- Eminem (American Musician). Britannica Online Encyclopedia. [↩] [↩]
- Eminem News: Is Eminem Giving Up Gay-Bashing Past? Celebuzz. [↩]
- Eminem’s anti-Bush video. Slate Magazine. [↩]
- Eminem Supports Barack Obama. NowPublic News Coverage. [↩]