Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter - Jesus gets hammered and learns about rock and roll

Every religion sells something. But Christianity seems to lead the pack in salesmanship. Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States: is it an aspect of the "Yankee Trader" mentality? Or is the less-abrasive "Christian Left" trying to become its own subculture?

(Didn't Jesus once throw the money-changers out of the temple? I have some vague memory about that... And by the way, did you notice that several churches are holding an Easter sunrise service. See? SON-rise? That's because God loves puns.)

Despite the various efforts of some of the less-ethical media to sell us on the idea of "the Hijacking of Easter," Christianity seems to be alive and well in America today, and available on every street corner, and at every price range.

The selling of a religion can take many forms, from the somewhat classier jewelry merchants, to the potentially-blasphemous Crucifix Dildo. Depending on your tastes, you can find a religious diet book (What Would Jesus Eat?), or an entire line of Biblically-based nutritional supplements. There have always been religious books, but the Word of God can now be found in every form of media, even video games. (There's even a long-running series of super-hero videos starring Willie Ames, of "Eight is Enough" fame.) And particularly since Mel Gibson made his movie, although it's still difficult to find a piece of the True Cross, you can, once again, find "Passion Nails" and other simulated relics (not to mention an endless supply of end-times literature). Some of the more egregious examples have been collected here.

And it doesn't stop with simple religion. Easter in America has, for many years, been a celebration of commerce. Although military-themed Easter baskets didn't go over real well, the more traditional Easter baskets filled with fluffy bunnies and ducks are widely available. Ignoring the possible correlation between pagan and Easter symbology, you can find children's bibles right next to decorated eggs.

Despite the prevalence of chocolate rabbits and marshmallow ducks, you can easily find other types of Christian-themed candy (although if you're not careful, you might find chocolate-covered mushrooms).

However, there is another style of Christian marketing, one that tries to emulate the mainstream culture. It's a lifestyle more comfortable with t-shirts than shirt-and-tie, one that wants to relax and listen to music.
Is this the face of the new evangelist, is it watered-down Christianity, or is it just another face of Mammon?

No comments: