For many of us who were raised Christian, among our favorite memories are those of watching VeggieTales from a VHS tape on a big clunky square TV screen. This was something I did a lot growing up in the 90’s and early 00’s. To be honest, I really enjoyed learning bible stories from talking and singing fruits and vegetables. I fondly remember so many of its silly songs, but there’s one that has always stuck out to me from the rest.
The Bunny Song originates from an episode of VeggieTales called Rack, Shack, and Benny (yes, they’re easier-to-pronounce versions of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), which is a kid-friendly, veggie-centric adapdation of the story of Daniel 3. In the episode, Rack, Shack, and Benny are employees at a chocolate factory under the supervision of Mr. Nebby K. Nezzer. In celebration of the factory’s 2-millionth chocolate bunny made, the boss requires everyone to bow down and worship a giant bunny statue every time The Bunny Song plays. The three protagonists refuse, and Mr. Nezzer throws them in a furnace, but God saves them. The boss then changes his mind about his evil ways and promotes the three workers.
If you’ve got a half an hour, you can watch the full episode here. It’s pretty funny at times, and it’s not half bad, all things considered.
I’ve wanted to write a post about this song for over two years, because I’d always remembered the catchy but very odd Bunny Song and its message of indoctrinating its listeners into joining a cult where they worship a 90-foot-tall statue of a chocolate bunny. It’s not the kind of thing that you forget. But the real reason that I wanted to write about it was that I see so many parallels between the Bunny and Jesus.
This episode, which is essentially a story of Christian martyrdom in the face of persecution (reminiscent of the religious climates in North Korea and Afghanistan that I described last week), only works for Christians because it is about Christians that are being asked to give up their faith by someone more powerful than they are, but they stand up for God because they really, really believe that he exists.
But the story is stripped of its meaning if you think objectively about the situation. Group A believes in Proposition A. Group B believes in Proposition B, so much so that they try to force Proposition B on everyone, including Group A. Group B even sings, and tries to get Group A to sing, The Bunny Song, which says:
The bunny, the bunny
Whoa, I love the bunny
I don’t love my mom or my dad, just the bunny
The bunny, the bunny
Yeah, I love the bunny
I gave everything that I had for the bunny
I don’t want no health food when it’s time to feed
A big bag o’ bunnies is all that I need
I don’t want no buddies to come out and play
I’ll sit on my sofa, eat bunnies all day
I won’t go to church, and I won’t go to school
That stuff is for sissies, but bunnies are cool
I don’t want no pickles, I don’t want no honey, I just want a plate and a fork and a bunny
I don’t want a tissue when my nose is runny, I just want a plate and a fork and a bunny
I don’t want to tell you a joke that is funny, I just want a plate and a fork and a bunny
I don’t want to play on a day that is sunny, I just want a plate and a fork and a bunny
As a kid watching VeggieTales for the first time, I knew this song was messed up. Who loves a chocolate bunny more than their mom or dad, or their education or friends!? (Not to mention the absolute crime of eating a chocolate bunny with a fork, but that’s irrelevant.) It was written to be messed up (and actually had to be rewritten because little kids kept singing “I don’t love my mom or my dad!” out in public). But Group A isn’t always Christians, and Group B isn’t always dictators, or pagan worshippers, or atheists, or whoever else God thinks is evil.
As an adult, I remembered this song, and I just thought, “Wow. Christians act about their religion the same way that Mr. Nezzer acted about The Bunny.” It was the greatest of ironies. The Bunny Song sounds to me just like a Christian hymn. Does the bible not teach people to put their faith above their family, or their friends? It does, several times, most clearly in 2 John 1:9-11:
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (NKJV)
Christianity conveys the same message that the Bunny Song does, only that the groups have now been flipped. You’re not to allow any unbeliever into your house, because he is evil. It doesn’t matter if they’re family, because your religion comes first. Suddenly this VeggieTales message isn’t so cute. It’s just messed up. If the apostate equivalent of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego simply do not believe, because they can’t bring themselves to believe in something that they don’t see evidence for, is it right for the Christian equivalent of Nebuchadnezzar to throw them in the furnace?
Religious differences will always exist. I’d venture to say that no matter who is on which side, no one should ever be throwing anyone else into the furnace. And no one should be putting their religious beliefs above their family, friends, or education. Debate and interfaith relationships are healthy, and isolating others with different beliefs is tribalistic, archaic, and no way to live.
0 thoughts on “The Bunny Song”
And the positive feelings you still have about the song are part and parcel of the indoctrination program. The program is larded with conclusions you might draw were you to do an intensive Bible study but designed to create the feeling that you already know the conclusion, so why go searching for it. Jesus loves you but guarantees you will burn in Hell if you do not accept him as your master (and you his slave). The first part is heavily reinforced, the latter part only for transgressors.
“Does the bible not teach people to put their faith above their family, or their friends?” It does, but I think Matthew 10:37–38 most directly and bluntly says Jesus comes first. Second John 1:9–11 seems to be more about those religious folk who deliberately spread doctrine contrary to Scripture, not necessarily a family member or friend who has opposing views about God. (That’s as far as I can tell, if the commentaries and my study Bible are anything to go by. Given your Christian college background, I’m sure you know more about that passage than do I.)
All that said, no matter how I parse the passage, I see conflicts. For one, Jesus ate, drank and partied with notorious sinners—quite a far cry from sending them back out the door. For another, I’ve had long and engaging conversations with agnostics and atheists, and I’ve found a great deal of common ground and have never had my faith shipwrecked. (Instead, it was the Bible that nearly destroyed my faith.) For yet another, the bare naked words of the verse say, “If there come any to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house.” It makes me wonder if the commentaries are trying to soften the message. Plus, it’s no wonder some Christians interpret this to mean unbelievers are off-limits.
One final thought: “As a kid watching VeggieTales for the first time, I knew this song was messed up.” Agreed. That wasn’t one of their finer attempts.
Just curious why you would hang on to a faith that you know is presumptuous? There are better things to do with oneself than chase old indoctrinations, pluralistic ignorance and illusory truth syndrome.
I suppose for many people it is easier to hang on with cotton threads than it is to leave, or so they think anyway.
This makes me both grateful and sad that I missed this sort of thing in the 90s. That first image of the three vegetables (?) are entirely too phallic, and the rest of it is just plain creepy. It’s both hysterical and incredibly disturbing, at the same time.
“Not something you easily forget” sums that up pretty neatly.
(You realize I will be hearing that song for the rest of the day…)
I’ve been singing it all weekend!
Isn’t the Bible full of stories putting belief in God above family? Cain and Able? Abraham sacrificing his son Issac? Adam blaming Eve..”hey..come on dude, she made me eat it” or “All you animals get into the boat, but not my fellow humans..SORRRY!!”
That’s the first I’ve heard of the Bunny Song. Nice song!
The last paragraph “… Debate and interfaith relationships are healthy, and isolating others with different beliefs is tribalistic, archaic, and no way to live.” is something most Christians whom I know need to hear. They accept those who believe in almost any god, but for some reason they can’t handle total skeptics.
Also, so strange that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego look like male members!
It is insulting and degrading, but we are also not allowed to be angry about it, and we must stop persecuting them by allowing them to do whatever TF they want.
ahhh so Im not the only one who picked up on that…lol
I hope chocolate bunnies and jelly beans go on sale tomorrow. 🙂
The irony of Christians telling other Christians not to give into pressure, when their religion also tells others to follow Jesus at all cost, otherwise they go to Hell. Christianity is no better than the other religions in that respect.
I enjoyed watching Veggie Tales as a kid too, but I’m not sure I can look at them in the same way now, regardless of how cute they might be. I’m not the first to notice that many of them look like phallic dildos haha.
Now I’ve got an earworm, and I didn’t even click on the video!
I think watching VeggieTales often had unintended consequences. My Fundie brother-in-law used to send those videos to my kids as gifts. (He claims to have been unaware that we weren’t christian.) We’d watch them with our kids, and have a great time with the really witty humor and silly songs. But then we’d also make sure to discuss the main message of each one, and whether it was a good idea. Messages like “share” or “be nice to people” would get a thumbs up. “Josh and the Big Wall”, however, said “do it god’s way, even if it doesn’t make sense”. Even when my kids were small, they could figure out that this was a really terrible idea! Both my girls are atheists now, and our conversations about those videos may have helped them get there.
I like that strategy!
There is an interview on YouTube in which the man who sang the Bunny Song said he had been banned for his performance, since he was white and the voice he used was a ‘parody’ of a black voice. I thought, who cares, it’s the right voice for the character.