Check out the Phoenix article Pop Fundamentalism by Josh Kun. A fantastic read. Unfortunately my comment to the author/fellow-readers didn't keep its formatting so it came out as an illegible screed. So here's my comment with formatting:
I miss the days when religious or spiritually-driven songs spoke to power ("If you are a big tree, we are a small axe!", or "It's been a long, long time coming, but a change is gonna come. Oh yes it will."). Nowadays, with overt religiosity being the order of the day in circles of power, I hear someone outside the synagogue/mosque/pulpit invoking God's name, I check to make sure my wallet hasn't disappeared.
For my money, one of the best religious pop songs ever made was Black Sabbath's "War Pigs". Yeah, I said it! Check it out:
Now in darkness world stops turning, ashes where the bodies burning. No more War Pigs have the power, Hand of God has struck the hour. Day of judgement, God is calling, on their knees the war pigs crawling. Begging mercies for their sins, Satan, laughing, spreads his wings. Oh lord, yeah!
Who'd a thunk? The Right Reverend Ozzie nailed it! Of course this was before he developed the penchant for chewing heads of bats and pigeons. Nevertheless, "War Pigs" brings on the fire and brimstone a la Revelations, but points the flamethrowers at the true halls of power and the sentiments that fill them. And the lyrical gasoline burns as hot now as it did when they first wrote it.
Unfortunately, with Matisyahu and Madonna, they've taken on the soft targets (the consumeristic culture that butters their bread) and instead, fallen in lock-step or at least pander to those against whom their righteous pop fury should be unleashed.
Great article! You hit the nail on the head. When folks are so quick to point the fundamentalism finger at Islam, your article's an apt reminder that to see the mote in another's eye we must first remove the plank from our own. Thanks again.