Michael Sweet of openly Christian rockers STRYPER has blasted artists who "continue to disrespect their fans and alienate themselves from their fan base" because of their political beliefs.
Sweet made his comments a day after FILTER released a music video for its new single, "Murica", in which Richard Patrick portrays what the FILTER frontman calls a "Trump-supporting nutbag" who "only listens to Fox News and Breitbart" and believes "every fucking thing that the Rush Limbaughs, the Alex Joneses" say.
Earlier today, Sweet posted the following message on his social media: "Maybe I'm just built a little different. Everyone knows where I stand and I have no regrets for the choices that I make. What's interesting to me are the artists that time and time again disrespect their fans because they 'vote' differently than they do.
"Probably at least half of the fans of most hard rock/metal bands are republicans and the other half are democrats. Yet some musicians continue to disrespect their fans and alienate themselves from their fan base. From those who put them where they are today. Good luck packing those venues after Covid and then telling half of your fan base that they're 'nutbags'.
"I applaud those who stand for what they believe in. I don't however respect any artist that does so with the same hate that they supposedly speak against."
When asked by Alternative Press if he thinks "Murica" is going to piss people off or it's going to be a rallying point, Patrick said: "I just wanted to show this surreal, crazy side of what America looks like. I literally am doing it just so the record shows that someone was willing to fuckin' say something about the right. Something about how crazy they are.
"A lot of my fans are from the right, and they're, like, 'Man, I like 'Hey Man, Nice Shot'. Why are you fucking talking about politics?' Because it has to be done. Someone has to say it. I'm not hearing a lot of hip-hop guys sayin' it. Country music represents the right. I'm not hearing anyone from the left say anything. Let the public record show that I tried something during this time period that at least maybe 100,000 fans are going to see on YouTube. At least I know that I said something, and I tried, and that's it."
Back in November 2016, Sweet drew criticism from some STRYPER fans for posting a picture of Donald Trump and congratulating the real estate mogul for "working his ass off for the presidency of the United States of America."
In early March, Sweet praised Trump's actions that served to ramp up the federal government's response to the COVID-19 epidemic — even after Trump was criticized by some parts of the media for downplaying fears about COVID-19 or actively spreading misinformation about its repercussions.
This past May, Sweet said that he would like to see his band represented by Trump's fourth White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany.
Earlier this month, Sweet praised Amy Coney Barrett, who narrowly won confirmation to fill the vacancy left by the death last month of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for answering questions during confirmation hearings "with poise, grace, patience, humility and intelligence."
Barrett has close ties to People Of Praise, a charismatic Christian religious group which has conservative stances on the role of women in society and other social issues. Former members of the group say it teaches that wives must submit to the will of their husbands.
According to The Washington Post, 65 percent of Republicans are white Christians, but white Christians account for only 38 percent of Democrats.
In August, Trump said that if Joe Biden, the Democrat challenger for the White House, was elected president, he would "hurt God."
"He's following the radical left agenda — take away your guns, destroy your Second Amendment, no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God … He's against God," Trump told supporters during a trip to Ohio.