When Dusty Burns was 19, he was listening to Public Enemy and Run DMC. Influenced by rap music — and his mother’s love for Bob Dylan lyrics — Burns developed his own style. At that time, he started rapping with a Christian message, and was involved in youth ministry for a non-denominational church in Evansville.
Today, 20 years later, Father Dusty Burns has a CD out called “Ordained” under the name, Father Pontifex. The word means “bridge-builder” he explains, and that’s what a priest should be.
His CD has attracted some attention, but not nearly as much as the response he recently received from a YouTube video.
“Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus” has been viewed many millions of times. Father Dusty’s response, in similar filming style as the original, with spoken words in similar cadence is, “Why I Love Religion, and Love Jesus.”
How it all happened takes longer to explain than the three-minute video.
Father Dusty had been connected with people at Phatmass.com. The “phat” in phatmass stands for “Preaching Holy Apostolic Truth,” according to the Phatmass website. “Founded in the year 2000, we are an online community, infiltrator of social media, bold statement maker, and authentic hip-hop production entity.” Phatmass wants to “invade every social media outlet known to man with an authentically devout, orthodox and down-to-earth Catholic message,” and to “produce authentic hip-hop with a strong Catholic message as a method of creative communication.”
That’s what Father Dusty wants to do.
The connection with Phatmass led him to Spirit Juice Studios — whose staff produced the video on “Why I Love Religion” and made it available to the world on their YouTube channel.
“Why I Hate Religion” came out on Jan. 11. Spirit Juice Studios contacted Father Dusty who went to Chicago on Jan. 17 where five hours of shooting in a Catholic church building provided the material for the edited video which hit YouTube on Jan. 18.
A day later, Father Dusty’s cell phone was buzzing constantly as he was notified with Facebook and email messages reacting to his video. The buzzing continued Friday and Sat-urday.
He has received calls from Christian radio stations and Catholic newspapers. He has gotten Facebook messages from people he associated with 20 years ago. And his mother sends a text message every day to give him an up-to-date report on how many “hits” his video has received.
As of the time of this writing, Father Dusty’s video has been viewed over 300,000 times.
As for the attention the video is getting, “I am just very overwhelmed with the reception,” Father Dusty said. “I am very pleased that this is actually getting out there.
Father Dusty’s CD is focused on priesthood, semi-autobiographical. It is rap, or hip-hop – many might say “old school” hip-hop, but that would fit right in with the musical influences he acknowledges.
The video, “Why I Love Religion,” is not hip-hop but rather spoken word, with the same music under it as in the original.
As Father Dusty calls it, “It’s theology with a pulse,” he said.
Father Claude, Father Dusty and Father Pontifex
Father Claude Burns is known by the name, Father Dusty Burns. His formal name is his father’s; “Dusty” is the name of his father’s good friend who was killed in military service.
When he records, however, Father Burns is known as Father Pontifex. His first album is “Ordained,” focusing on priesthood. An album in mind to follow the first will be centered on Jesus, according to Father Pontifex.
In describing the response to the video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” Phatmass.com’s website states, “The purpose of this video is to do a response from a Catholic perspective, in a spirit of love, but also with a spirit of passion to defend our Mother the Church. The things that are said are not meant to offend, but we do have to be direct about what we believe and what we stand for. Join the discussion at http://phatmass.com.
The Message Online (http://www.themessageonline.org)
Original article: http://www.themessageonline.org/local/2012/02-03/video.html