Christian fundamentalism’s cool factor

Why American businesses simply can’t afford to not love Jesus

by Emma Teitel

kyz/Flickr

A well known hardware store (Lowe’s) and a well-known travel website (Kayak.com) have recently pulled their advertisements from a little-known reality television show (All American Muslim) in order to appease a little-known group of anti-Muslim Evangelicals (the Florida Family Association). Why? Because according to said Evangelicals, All American Muslim—a TLC show about an average Muslim American family–“profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.” In other words, the characters on the show are not grenade-throwing Jihadists. They’re normal. Worse, they’re boring (the show’s ratings are abysmal, even in the midst of the current controversy). Or as Michelle Goldberg writes in the Daily Beast, “The boycott of All American Muslim marks the first time right-wingers have objected to a television show for being too bland and wholesome.”

The weirdest thing about this, however, isn’t that an apparently wholesome Christian group is carping about a wholesome TV show, but that two substantial businesses actually felt the need to listen to them; it’s as though Lowe’s and Kayak mysteriously absorbed some of the massive Tea Party pressure currently facing G.O.P. candidates—a pressure that has turned the United States into the next Twilight Zone. How else do you account for a country in which political incorrectness masquerades as political correctness? Apparently conservative politicians in America–and now big business–are no longer afraid that they’ll offend the oppressed and marginalized: they’re afraid that they won’t.

Just look at the way former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney recoils from the slightest suggestion that he was once a fair-minded and progressive guy. His desperate courtship of the Tea Party and his scorn for the liberal values he once endorsed makes him look like a 15-year-old girl who’s finally managed to join the most popular clique in her high school, and celebrates by loudly dissing her old, less exclusive one. It appears that if you want to win over the Christian Right in America, you can’t agree to disagree with your opponents: You have to deride them. Just watch this clip of Romney’s reaction to a Vietnam veteran at a campaign breakfast when he realizes the veteran is pro-gay marriage, and likely gay himself.

Deriding gay veterans is a necessary evil if Romney wants to appease his new God-fearing/Mormon-hating friends and win the G.O.P. nomination. But what excuse do Lowe’s and Kayak have for pandering to religious zealots? Why the Florida Family Association? And why now?

The answer is Tim Tebow. The unlikeliest success story in the National Football League this season, Tebow, the outspokenly Christian quarterback of the Denver Broncos, has singlehandedly made religious zealotry mainstream with (alongside an uncanny string of fourth quarter comeback victories) his game-time Jesus attributions and random acts of “Tebowing” (he literally bows on the football field in celebratory prayer, looking a bit like Rodin’s The Thinker.) How cool has Tebow made religious fundamentalism? Two New York high school students were just suspended for leading a giant “Tebow” session in their school’s hallway (think The Thinker meets Clueless); and Denver football fans, apparently deducing that only a true miracle could have given the Broncos a chance to make the playoffs, have started wearing “Jesus”-branded jerseys. Religious fanaticism, it turns out, is good for business—so the question isn’t why would Lowe’s (a company who once sponsored an award Tebow received at the University of Florida) and Kayak pander to a Christian lobby group; but rather, how can they afford not to?

In the United States, Jesus saves sells.




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Christian fundamentalism’s cool factor

  1. Americans are religiously insane.

    • Emily1, remember, Christian truth is the TRUTH!!! NOT
      ALLAH=Baal=Hubal which is not the TRUTH, you are deceived!!!!!

      • No, christianity is just your personal myth about sky-fairies.

        Left-over rubbish from sun worship, and the stories told by Bronze age goat-herders.

        • and U, left overish from worshipping the ancient moon god of the Greeks, an idol Baal and U still do today in 2012!!!!  The symbol of the crescent moon is evidence of that, I know that U can’t fool me!!!!

          • Nobody needs to ‘fool you’….your meds do that.

  2. The state of the Republican Party is sad to see. Are there no reasonable Conservatives left who can stand up to the extremists in their party? Every day brings more evidence that David Frum is onto something.

    • David Frum encouraged it….it’s just that now it’s come back to bite him ….and all Repubs…in the ass.

  3. Jesus sells.  And so have such pagan wizards as Harry Potter, such vampires and werewolves depicted in Twilight.

    • Good observation. I guess the takeaway is that a childish, simple-minded public just can’t get enough of magical fairytale people.

  4. Purple prayer hankies for everyone!

  5. Let’s all get upset about companies pandering to lobby groups in order to make money. Great idea! When Apple removes “anti-gay” apps due to lobby groups – then write an article about how gay sells too. Get the word out! After all, we wouldn’t want individuals influencing corporations! I hear the gays are making money off of new t-shirts that say “gays are people too”… oh my! They are making money off of moral views!?!?!?!? Let’s call them out on it! Throw that up on Macleans too! We should be outraged!

    Or…. we can simply accept that people influence companies.

    Yes. It seems that companies and politicians cater to the largest and loudest segments of our population. I call this capitalism and democracy. You cannot whine about how segments of the populations are being marginalized and then tell other segments of the population to shut up. This is capitalism and democracy – in Canada and in the States. The only difference is that in Canada the majority agree that sticking up for the little guy is important; that the majority must have compassion and sympathy for the minority. But it’s still capitalism and democracy, just with a different moral compass guiding the way. 
    This is a well written article. But it misses the point. It has a negative slant against Jesus poluarity instead of stepping back and seeing the bigger picture of capitalism and democracy at work.

    • Interesting comment. I hadn’t thought of it that way before… I still think it’s kind of sad that Lowe’s bowed to the pressure I hadn’t thought of it in the context of democratic-capitalism

      • It’s not….some groups are inclusive, and others are exclusive….like hate groups.

    • You’re right, Andrew. The outrageous truth is not that Christian extremists could influence these companies, but that those of us who object to that influence sat by passively whining instead of showing those companies how many of us object. 

      It’s a safe bet that the Christian wing nuts aren’t the primary demographic for the show they object to. 

      Is it the passivity of reasonable people or is it our apathy or is it our terminally hip sense of powerlessness. Or are we just too busy?

      For my part, I’m waiting for someone to do something about this ridiculous situation. Anyone else but me.

    • Although I like your reply, Andrew, I object to your pairing of democracy and capitalism. The two are compatible only if capital will accept the community’s control of its appetite, or if the community will accept that the appetite of capital is more important than the needs of the common good.

      The only way the marriage works is if capital can convince the community that its benefit will benefit the community. The ‘lifts all ships’ argument that the last thirty years of capitalistic policy has so clearly shown to be fallacious.

    • So we should not get upset that companies were influenced by a group of people.  I see your point, cause it is capitalism & democracy and getting upset is pointless.  Why did that group of people influence those companies?  I guess cause they were upset, and companies don’t like it when people are upset with them.  So the companies changed their policies. 

      Ok, now I have lost your point.  Seems like decent people should get upset with companies pandering to lobby groups, rather than just accept it.  This seems especially true when the motives of the lobby groups are racist.. you know cause that is democracy and capitalism.

  6. “carping”, “pandering”, “zealots”, “fanaticism”? Comes across as cheap bigotry rather than reasoned argument.

    Plus it seems a bit insensitive of Macleans to have this still posted on a day — Christmas Day no less — when Muslim extremists have freshly massacred 39 Christians.
    .

    • Christians have been massacring Muslims on Christmas Day for a long time…also during Ramadan, Eid and the Haj.

      • Evidence?

        • What???

          Any history book will tell you about all the crusading that was done….not to mention the current situation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

          • “Any” history book isn’t specific enough.  Please cite your source.

          • Oh do stop.

            Any book on crusading will do

            Didn’t any of you people go to school??

            PS…here’s a short version, since I know none of you will actually read a book

            http://www.tenth.org/wowdir/wow1999-02-21.html

          • I’ve been wondering after reading many of your posts over the months, but finally realized you’re no progressive OriginalEmily. Your posts are nothing more than a closed minded hatemongering of a far darker ilk than even this blighted Florida Family Association.

            Before this realization, I would have encouraged you to read about the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, the Islamic conquest of France from 720 till 759, the Conquest of Anatolia, the Arab conquest of Sicily, the Arab attack on Rome in 846 (including the Vatican, sacking Old St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls) and the myriad invasions of Greece, Byzantium and the Balkans, all which led up to the pushback we call the Crusades.I would have also pointed out that the vision of a imperialistic Christendom attacking a innocuous Ummah unprovoked, that your pushing (eg: that laughable link); is both ahistorical and purposefully counterfactual.

            But sometimes none of that matters anymore, you’ve found your villain to hate and the truth is irrelevant isn’t it?

            But still… you really should pick up an actual history book (as opposed to relying on demagogic revisionist pamphleteering sites) once in a while, for the good of your mind.

          • What in hell are you talking about?

            Did you bathe in eggnog or what??

          • The situation in ‘Stan and Iraq was not done in the name of God. Not to mention the crusades, which started on the request of the Byzantine empire in response to Islamic invasion, ended 1000 years ago.

            When Sharia comes to this country you’d better start wearing your Burkha. Also if you chirp against Islam or the prophet like you chirp against Christianity on these pages you’ll be one of the weekly be-headings in the Rogers centre.

          • Yeah it was…..Bush called it a ‘crusade’,  and the ‘clash of civilizations’  was a phrase we heard for years.

            The original crusading is over with, the modern one goes on.

            Sharia isn’t coming to this country, and neither are burkkas….don’t be ridiculous.

          • hey Emily1, any history or internet search will tell U that:
            Allah=Baal=Hubal, get it Emily1!!!!!

      • Allah=Baal=Hubal, get it Emily1!!!!!

        • I have no idea what any of that means….however, I don’t believe in Zeus, Odin, or Osirus either.

          • You are a hypocritical idiot Emily1, You very well know who is BAAL, the ancient idol God that was worshipped at Mecca at Kabba stone or whatever by the ancient Ismailites and Baal is still the God that is worshipped today in 2012;  BAAL is an idol ;and has nothing to do with being the true God and is not the God of the Bible.

          • All of them are fake….including the gods you believe in

  7. OriginalEmily1 wrote: “Didn’t any of you people go to school?? PS…here’s a short version, since I know none of you will actually read a book”

    Yes, of course I went to school. And that’s why I know that your history ”source”  begins 300 years too late.  How convenient.

      • What does the “golden age” have to do with the Crusades starting 300 years too late? While I usually wouldn’t use Wikipedia as a reference, since you seem to find it acceptable, here you go:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spread_of_Islam

        And as for your smarmy “home schooling” remark, elitist much?

        • The fact that Islam was born and spread exactly the same way Christianity was….is somehow bad?  Peas in a pod, actually.

          The original quibble here was that a post mentioned Muslims killing Christians…..and I pointed out Christians have done the same to Muslims. Christians excelled at it in fact.

          The Golden Age of Islam points out that they had brilliant scholars, and that Islam made a major effort to help Christians out of the Dark Age

          The west repaid them by crusading and butchering….over a dozen times.

          Nothing wrong with Wikipedia….it’s on a par with Encyclopedia Britannica for errors.

          LOL ‘elitist’ means the best….I have no problem being called elitist.

          • Speaking of revisionist history … Islam was born and spread exactly the way Christianity was? That’s a good one.

            I’m not at all surprised that you are proud to be called an elitist. You wear the label well. LOL!

            The original post mentioned Muslims targeting Christians and you make excuses that Christians have done the same to Muslims hundreds of years ago. Why is it so hard for you to say that slaughtering innocents two days ago is plain and simple WRONG, not matter what their grievances are. It’s WRONG. 

            You feel the Christians were wrong to defend themselves in the 11th century. I think they started defending themselves and their land 300 years too late.

            What you call “a major effort to help Christians out of the Dark Age” I call invasions – read the about the muslim conquest of Syria.

            What you call the west repaying them with crusading and butchering, I call reclaiming the Holy Land from the Muslims.

            We disagree on terminology.

            As for Wikipedia being on par with Encyclopedia Britannica for errors, you need to recheck your “facts”. It makes a fine jumping off point for further research, but to use it as a bible is as daft as the IPCC depending on article written by the World Wildlife Fund as a basis for their predictions of glacial melting.  Oh wait ….

          • Yes, Islam was born and spread the same way christianity was….christians used swords to convert people too.

            Muslims use the bible…both old and new testaments and added the koran….Jews, Christians and Muslims are ‘people of the book’….most of the beliefs are the same.

            Christians are killing Muslims everyday….not just 200 years ago….Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan….so of course they will be killed in return.

            Christians started crusading for money and power….not in self-defence.  The Arab world helped christians get out of the Dark Ages….it was poor repayment on the part of the west.

            It doesn’t matter what YOU call it, it’s historical fact.

            The ‘holy land’ didn’t belong to the west and we had no business going there.

            Wikipedia is as good, on average, as Britannica so there’s no need to be snobby about it.

            http://news.cnet.com/2100-1038_3-5997332.html

            It’s also a good deal handier online…as this site is.

            I don’t intend to discuss climate change with you….you are likely as close-minded about that as you are about religion.

    • Response to Emily1  she knows nothing, hooray for the Crusades!!!!  The Crusades battled for the truth!!!  Christian truth!!!!

      Cause:    ALLAH=BAAL=HUBAL, & is not the truth!!!!!

      • Take your meds.

      • thanks Barb R, U know the correct information!!!!

  8. I would like to say that everybody should go out and shop at Home Depot instead of Lowe’s (my brother and sister-in-law work at Home Depot by way of disclosure), but the problem is that the people who run Home Depot are even more reactionary than the ones who run Lowe’s probably, although I wouldn’t want to look too closely at either one.

  9. Of course, any store, like Sears going down, not observng the day set aside during the year that Christians celebrate the birth of Christ by not decorating their stores for the Holidays in support for or of religious people that worship Baal or Hubal …… which is actually an idol and not the same God of the Christians and Jews anyways.  Dept. stores must be Christian focused in their advertising otherwise they will go out of business!!!! (I believe this!!!!) And I have no sympathy for Sears or any other Dept. store who chooses to be politically correct and not decorate for the Holidays.  They deserve to go under!!!!!

    • You believe nonsense then
       
      Humans have been having a feast and gift-giving in this season for thousands of years….long before Jesus was ever heard of
       
      And Christians are forbidden to have a tree…it says so in your bible.

    • Above name is typo, not correct, sorry.

  10. Type youOf course, any store, like Sears going down, not observng the day set aside during the year that Christians celebrate the birth of Christ by not decorating their stores for the Holidays in support for or of religious people that worship Baal or Hubal …… which is actually an idol and not the same God of the Christians and Jews anyways.  Dept. stores must be Christian focused in their advertising otherwise they will go out of business!!!! (I believe this!!!!) And I have no sympathy for Sears or any other Dept. store who chooses to be politically correct and not decorate for the Holidays.  They deserve to go under!!!!!
    r comment here.

    • Wow…you are REALLY confused.

  11. Emily1 you’re a total ignorant idiot!!!

    • Um….you’re the one shouting out names you don’t understand, and promoting old myths.

      • Ur playing the dummy sort of speak but U know exactly what am talking about. Not old myths, we don’t lie to save face, cause to lie is a sin in Christianity.  These are not myths.  Look it up, research it.  Don’t have time for U!!!!! ….

        • Dude…I’m an atheist.

          All religions are crackpot nonsense.

          Now go take your meds and stop boring the adults.

          • Hey, bend down, pray and cut a “fart” and pray to Baal!!! LOL!!!!

          • Like I said, take your meds and stop boring people

  12. “Christians have been massacring Muslims on Christmas Day for a long time…also during Ramadan, Eid and the Haj.”

    We would all benefit by recognizing the context of “when” (ancient history, or recent events?) and “what” (circumstances – religiously motivated, or not?).  Maybe we can put this ridiculous tu quoque away and judge everyone who exists in 2012 by the standards of 2012.

    • We could…if you’d read any of the thread thus far.

      • I did read the replies, and all I can see is whinging about ancient history and attempts to equate recent political use of the word “crusade” with the ancient historical events.  Rhetoric notwithstanding, recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not conducted with either the goal or unintended consequence of religious cleansing.

        An interesting question to answer is whether the evolution of Islam has promoted or retarded open-mindedness, tolerance, and learning in the wake of the Arab world’s “golden age”.  I suppose the answer lies in burnt, destroyed, and co-opted institutions of world cultural heritage.

        • Believe what you believe.

          It is as relevant as the goat-herders stories.

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