The discrimination against homosexuality is an ongoing problem in the world. Ministers often preach from the Bible about love and acceptance while many Christians are prejudice and judgemental. The song Take Me to Church by Hozier is a powerful song with an equally powerful video that portrays the intolerance that people regularly face due to their sexuality. This can be heard by listening to the lyrics carefully and can also be seen in the official music video through close observation. The message that Hozier is trying to relay is how the Christian church views homosexuality as sinful and immoral, and that the discrimination homosexuals receive from church and Christians is hypocritical.
The music video is in black and white. This gives the video a dark and sinister feel to it. This represents the dark and sinister feelings associated with the intolerance of homosexuality. It also portrays how certain people view the world as black and white in the sense of right and wrong. This is subtle but ties into the fact that certain ways of life are not accepted by religion due to them being viewed as sinful. The video begins with a large pile of burning wood. This is to signify the flames of Hell that Christians believe a sinner will face, which is commonly preached by religious figures within the Christian church. It also brings in pathos by giving the audience a feeling of danger to come. The next scene is a man riding a bicycle down a long path. This can illustrate the path that a homosexual couple must carefully navigate when keeping their sexuality a secret.
In the next scene there is a man grabbing a metal box off of a shelf, wrapping it up with a chain and padlock, and burying it in the ground. The box is used as a visual representation of the sexual nature of the two male lovers. The lock and chain around it represents the secret they are keeping locked away inside of them that they dont want getting out to the public. The fact that it is being buried in the ground further shows the effort the man puts into hiding his secret and keeping it buried deep down in his soul. The lyrics Every Sundays getting more bleak. A fresh poison each week (Hozier, 0:20-0:25) are also played during this scene. This tells us that each weekly sermon involves a new sin being preached by ministers in a house of worship and further shows the hypocrisy that Hozier believes is portrayed by the religious community. The following scene goes back to the pile of burning wood, this time showing the chained box in the flames. This is to show the churchs belief that homosexuality is a sin and those who live a life of sin will eventually end up burning in the flames of Hell.
The man on the bicycle reaches his destination, walks down to the first guy who has just finished burying the box, and they embrace in a hug. There is also a quick scene of a building with a flock of birds flying overhead. The freedom the birds have to fly where they want and do as they please relates to the freedom the two men have when they are together and able to freely express their feelings to each other. As they walk off together, they are observed by a man in a hooded cloak. The cloak appears to be similar to religious garments worn by Catholic priests except it is black in color, opposed to the traditional white robes worn by priests. This contradiction is used to display the hypocrisy of the Christian community. The man represents the church but has a look of disgust on his face as he watches the two gay men walk by. This is to further point out the hypocrisy shown by religion. He is looking down on them with hatred although the Christian church is supposed to be a place that preaches about love and acceptance of everyone.
The lyrics that are played during this scene are I was born sick, but I love it (Hozier, 0:40-0:45) which portrays that they know what they are doing is viewed as a sin, or sickness, in the eyes of the church. This doesnt bother Hozier and his partner as they dont see anything wrong with what they are doing and how they feel towards one another. They accept the fact that they love each other and view it as a beautiful thing. He is using those lyrics to say that love and acceptance should not be limited by any rules or boundaries. This doesnt change the fact that they still have to hide their feelings for one another due to the hatred and prejudice they face from others with a different view. The couple glance down at the ground as they continue to walk by the hooded figure. This along with their casual walk is their attempt at hiding their sexuality by appearing to be just two friends walking down the street together. They are not holding hands or showing any affection to one another while they are together out of the fear of what will result from the intolerance of others.
Their attempt at blending in with the rest of the general public can also be represented by their choice of clothing. One has a regular hooded jacket while the other is wearing a long sleeved shirt and a beanie cap. Their clothing isnt any different from what anyone else would wear on a cool day and doesnt stand out in any particular way. This shows that they are trying to keep their sexuality a secret by looking and acting like everyone else. They are trying to blend in with the rest of society by not standing out in any way. Once they are alone, they begin kissing each other. The fact that they wait until they are out of sight to show their true feelings for each other again testifies to the fact that they dont want this secret getting out. They cant keep it a secret forever though, as the prejudice nature of others is always looking to seek out and destroy what they believe to be unjust actions.
Next there is a large group of hooded men walking down the street with bandanas covering their faces. One of the men in the group uses a newspaper to cover his face instead of a bandana. In big bold print on the paper is the word world which is made noticeable for a reason. Combined with the large group of people, this represents that the controversy they face is not just a local issue but an issue that is seen by multiple people across the globe. There is a television that shows angry protestors marching down the street while holding signs written in Russian. When translated to English, the banner reads Gays for equality in (Hozier, 1:29-1:33) which reinforces the fact that disputes regarding the more traditional views of the church are happening in multiple countries.
The controversy created from different beliefs appears to escalate into physical and violent altercations. This is shown by the large group of hooded men breaking into Hoziers house and ransacking the place. Hozier is later shown being forcibly dragged down the road by the large crowd of cloaked men. His partner is running around trying to find him. He eventually reaches the location where Hozier buried the chained box earlier and finds that it has been dug up. This shows that Hoziers buried secret has been uncovered and is now public knowledge. He begins to panic now and is filled with fear as he imagines what will happen to his lover. He continues running around looking for Hozier with a renewed effort. He finally comes across the crowd of men that drug Hozier to the pile of burning wood. They are shouting at him and trying to break the chain that is still on the box. This represents that although Hozier is about to face a brutal punishment for his perceived sins against the church, he refuses to give up the identity of his sexual partner. The group eventually gives up on trying to break the chain and tosses the box into the flames. Hoziers lover is forced to remain in the background and watch as Hozier is beaten to death. Attempting to save his partner will only result in revealing himself and facing the same horrific punishment.
After watching the music video, it is clear that Hozier believes the Christian church to be hypocritical. The discrimination and prejudice received by Christians is the opposite of the love, forgiveness, and acceptance of others that they should be showing. He also believes that most people follow the preachings of their religious leaders without questioning if it is truly right or wrong. He iterates this in his lyrics Ill worship like a dog in the shrine of your lies (Hozier, 3:35-3:43). He believes that people are free to love anyone they wish, regardless of their sexual orientation. Who a person loves should not be dictated by any outside forces, especially societal norms or religious beliefs, nor should it be met with hatred and/or hostility.