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The term Jesus freak was originally a pejorative term applied to those involved in the Jesus movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The term came into existence within the context of the freak scene of that era. At first, the term was used only in reference to members of the movement, but it has since found wide usage outside of that scene. It is still sometimes used as a pejorative epithet against Christians in general. However, some Christians now consider it a reclaimed word, as some Christians, especially Christian youth, occasionally use it as a positive term to let others know that they are not ashamed of their beliefs.
Perhaps its most well-known usage was in the lyrics of Elton John's song "Tiny Dancer" ("Jesus freaks, out in the street, handing tickets out to God," referring to gospel tracts), but it has also appeared in Felt's 1986 single "Ballad of the Band." The term has recently been used frequently by Ted Turner and Howard Stern, referring however to fundamentalists. "Jesus Freak" also appeared as the title of the 1995 album by dc Talk, and that album helped turn the term into more of a compliment.