A Christian Nation. Get It?Featured, Film — By Dylan Peterson on February 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm
America is a Christian nation. I’m finally coming to grips with that fact. For a while, I wanted to believe this country was built on democracy, not faith, but I just can’t deny it anymore. Christians keep these 50 states running. I’m convinced.
Let’s start by looking at the driving cultural force in the country: the film industry. Over the weekend, Avatar was number one again. Apparently it’s the highest grossing film of all time now, but I don’t care about that. I was more interested by the takers for numbers 2 and 3. The Book of Eli, and Legion.
My friend and I were watching a video on CBN, laughing about an elderly Charismatic woman who claims to be growing new teeth under her gums (a miracle, as a result of praying to God for new teeth at a revival meeting in Kansas City. True story.), when I noticed an advertisement for the Book of Eli just below a banner for the Pat Robertson-founded Regent University.
Did you catch that? The Book of Eli is about a man who has the last Bible in the world, and kills to protect it. See why this ad is on CBN now? The HOLY BIBLE is the MacGuffin. Christian media outlets will support Hollywood every time when this happens. Believe me, I’ve worked for a national Christian radio network, and a national Christian publication. The bosses love stuff like this. When Christianity shows face in the major market, it’s an exciting day for the station managers and editorial directors. “It’s about the Bible?! And stars Denzel Washington!! Let’s get the producers scheduled for an interview right away! This is big!”
America invests in Christianity. Christianity keeps America afloat. This is a capitalist nation, preserved by the Christian consumers.
Throughout the past decade, people stopped buying music. Everyone just started downloading albums illegally, Radiohead released In Rainbows, and, yeah. I won’t give the history lesson–we all know what happened. The music industry went down in flames.
So now let’s have a look at what may be the most popular band in America right now, Owl City. This is awful music. Just pure shit. A glorious rip-off of The Postal Service, coming seven years after Give Up. Except Owl City employs the vocal talents of Christian pop-punk superstar, Matthew Thiessen (Relient K), and acknowledges its influences as “optimism, photography, air travel, vegetarianism, fashion, abstract art” and of course “God.” (and no, there isn’t a hint of irony there either.)
What Christians don’t realize is, they’re not the minority anymore. It’s not like when Jars of Clay or POD started getting play on major market stations. That was exciting back then. Christian bands on mainstream radio wasn’t typical. But now, it is typical. But still, every time Christianity makes an appearance in popular culture, Christians behave as if they’re a minority group infiltrating the system (in the world and not of it).
During my time at a national Christian media outlet, the publicists from Hollywood came directly to us. Hollywood wanted us to talk about their new “spiritual” release. We usually received the packet from the publicist before anybody had even heard of the movie. The marketability of Chrisitanity is very high right now, and Hollywood (and the music industry) knows this. Christians are still spending money.
They don’t steal. And they’ll spend more money on things that seemingly support their belief systems when placed within the popular culture. So if a movie about the Bible being the last, true remnant of man’s hope for salvation opens in theaters, Christians are going to turn out in droves. They agree with it. Who cares how violent or contradictory the content?
Of course, Hollywood isn’t creating Christian propaganda. It’s just giving the buyer what it wants. And as long as the Christians feel like they know what the world wants (“absolute truth! eternal peace! glavin!”), they’ll solidify America as a Christian nation for many years to come. As the Coen brothers aptly put it in O Brother Where Art Thou?, “there are vast amounts of money to be made in the service of God Almighty.” America runs on Jesus. It’s time we swallow that bitter coffee and put the slogan on a t-shirt.