A Very Perry Christmas

Ashley Baxstrom:  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Christmas tree lots sprouting up like weeds, Christmas lights hung on trees in every wannabe-hip-neighborhood in the five boroughs, a whole new set of Christmas displays in the Macy’s windows. And of course, the turtledove on top:  pundits and politicians decrying the “War on Christmas.” There may not be snow on the ground (the rolling Texas farmland ground), but there are Kay Jewelers commercials on the air, which means the culture wars – like poinsettias and gingerbread lattes – must be back in season.  Today Gov. Perry released a brand new campaign ad, keeping pace with the other GOP candidates and the changing season.

“I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Christian,” Perry says. “But you don’t need to be in the pews every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”  (Really, if you didn’t watch it before, just – just watch it. If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the voice of the Ghost of a Certain Texas President Past.)

Perry promises (drawls) that if he’s elected he’ll stop “Obama’s war on religion” and will fight against “liberal attacks on our religious heritage.” Continue Reading →

Our Daily Links — Oprah Was Raptured?

Everyone’s favorite tween, Justin Bieber is fresh off a visit to Israel and was seen this week sporting a new tattoo that reads “Yeshua,” or Jesus, in Hebrew.  Baylor University Press has published a new book, The Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia, that is being called a tool for promoting religious intolerance and a harbinger of greater social and political unrest. Scalia’s called last week’s SCOTUS decision, Brown v. Plata, “the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.”  The ruling grants that prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights must be respected.  It would be dangerous to put a Mormon in the White House.  There’s been a lot of press about the end of Oprah’s show this month (and her brand of faith) but little answer to the question of why she’s ended it.  The Revealer‘s heard from a semi-reliable source that Oprah was raptured.  (h/t Genevieve Yue) Continue Reading →

Jesus, Pop Idol: Capturing the Tween Market

by Kristina Loew

There was a time when popular culture was a bastion of rebellion, a place where America’s youth could forge a new identity and give the middle finger to their parents. Not so these days, where purity rings have become fashionable, pop stars are giving regular shout-outs to Jesus and raunchiness is in remission. Could it be that the Christian right has finally infiltrated youth culture or is it just a new way to sell wholesomeness to a precarious demographic that is bringing in billions of dollars in business?

Using family values to sell family entertainment is nothing new. Everyone from Ozzie and Harriet to Britney Spears has employed them to market their products, their shows and themselves. Back in the late 1950’s Mouseketeer Annette Funicello was carefully marketed by Disney as the quintessential “girl-next-door,” someone who was chaste and defined the morals of the time. Even Elvis and Aretha Franklin rose up through the ranks of popular music singing gospel. Continue Reading →

Mainstreaming Conservatism

Kristina Loew: From movies to music, conservative voices have cornered the tween scene, that 12 – 13 year old demographic which often looks to their favorite stars for moral guidance (and ways to spend their parents’ paychecks). Parents can feel safe knowing that the Twilight franchise is one long ode to abstinence, while the Jonas Brothers sport promise rings and Miley Cyrus gives shout-outs to Jesus. Most recently, Justin Bieber let his fans know he doesn’t like abortion, even in cases of rape. With young impressionable minds hanging on every word, maybe it’s time for parents to ask — has the mainstreaming of conservatism gone too far? Continue Reading →