Obviously there’s a lot negative there. What was positive in being Jehovah's Witness while you were in that?
What happened was, when I got into junior high school, I had this friend. His mom was heavy into religion. She was Christian, and I used to go spend the night at his house a lot. This was when Mom was already disfellowshiped, so I had outside worldly friends. I used to spend the night and weekends and stuff, and his mom used to always make us go to Sunday school. Now, you know I did not tell my mom at first.

She might be upset if she thought you were going to a different Sunday school?
Yeah, so I didn’t tell my mom at first because I was kind of scared. But I was curious. My religion was so crazy and strange and weird, I thought, well, maybe let me explore religions. So I started going to church with my friend. It was basically the same, not too much different.

You are about 11 now or--
About 11 or 12. But when I got older, I start hearing lots of this about Jehovah's Witness, the people I used to go to the Hall with. Such and such son just went to jail, she was selling drugs and not this regular-family s--t going on. You know, regular human problems, brother such and such hit his wife and he’s getting demoted from being an elder now. I’m seeing all these things happening in the Christian churches too. So now I’m looking at it as, you know, it's not just the Christian religion. The Jehovah's Witness used to make it seem that all the outside religion is f---ed up and they’re the best religion. But it's not everyone else, it's you too. I mean, everybody has their problems, because we are all human.

Now I am going to high school and its cool to be Muslim, five-percenter. So we start getting into that, so they made me preach hate the white man. I start getting into Malcolm X. I learned that he started feeling different about the Muslim religion because of the foul goings-on he saw. And I’m like, Well, damn, every religion there’s something foul going on, there’s foul play going on everywhere. I’m 20 here, and I’m thinking maybe religion is the problem. Because religion is some man-made s--t. It’s a man who said, "OK, you should go to this church every Sunday, you should go to the Kingdom Hall and go out to field service, you should go to the mosque. You should do all these things, this is what you should do. Who the f--- told you? In the Bible God said come as you are. Who made these laws, that’s what I want to know. So that’s why I wear two crosses now. I call it double cross. I believe in God and not religion, because I believe religion is the double cross. Because I’ve been double crossed by three religions, so I think I can safely say that religion--there is maybe something wrong with religion. Every temple that’s put up may not be a holy one, so watch out.

So, JA Rule...is JA Jehovah?
No, its funny--a lot of people think that, but JA is my initials. My name is Jeff Atkins.

Come on, you never considered--
I mean, it all made a good, it made a parody, whatever you want to call it. I didn’t think about it first, first. I thought, JA--that’s cool, you know it means Jah Rastafari, "God."

Now tell me about the title of the new album: "John 3:36." He who believes in JA rule shall have everlasting love?
Yeah.

Obviously, that’s on a play on John 3:16: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.” How do you fee that people are going to react to that? What do you think Christians are going to say to that
? I don’t care what Christians say.

OK, that’s fine. So what do you want out of that title? What are you trying to say?
It’s a message to the world: Believe in me, no fake love. I don’t need people coming up and smiling at me and being my friend for now because things are going well. You don’t got to be my friend now, you got to be my friend when I’m cold, you know, we don’t have to have a friendship if its not genuine, understand what I’m saying, and that’s basically what the statement is about.

And tell me, give me some words about the “One of Us" song. It’s a great song.
One of us--it’s a thought, what if he was?

How did you find the inspiration to write this song?
I’m gonna be very honest with you. I was watching "Austin Powers," and it’s a song on there.

Joan Osborne.
Yeah...if God was one of us, and it was like, wow, that’s a powerful thought. What if he was, what would he do? Would he fall victim to his own sins that he calls sins, because its kind of rough down here to kind of follow all God’s laws and not slip. So I was just flirting with the question. If God was here, would he slip? Of course he wouldn’t: He’s God, he’s perfect, that’s what everyone’s gonna say [laughs]. But who knows?


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