Boycotting Bad Religion - Part 2
In Part 1 of Boycotting Bad Religion, we talked about the justification for evangelicals to withhold their 'tithes and offerings' from their local church. Again, if you are a part of another Christian denomination or an entirely different faith all together, I leave it up to you to decide whether this is necessary. But for those who are choosing to stick with the evangelical tribe and who want to employ economic withdrawal as an instrument of reform within evangelical institutions, you will have to focus on more than your local church. There is the world of so-called 'para-church ministries' that I would argue have in some ways caused even more damage to true faith as they aligned with the religious right's despotic march towards the gospel of America. So put on your Robin Hood hats as we look at the first two of four evangelical industries that should be starved of our 'offerings' until they fully reject their idols or perhaps more ideally just go away (we will cover the last two in Part 3).
As Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, (and) even when he is old he will not depart from it." Well that's all good...unless you are training them to embrace ignorance and intolerance. And so goes the first golden calf of conservative evangelicalism--that being, private Christian education. Aside from taking over the Supreme Court, evangelical schools is their most cherished bulwark against the liberal hordes who dare threaten their ethno-religious dominance.
Fighting against the LGBTQ community has been a particular hallmark of their bellwether educational institutions, the term 'bellwether' being oh so fitting given that it originates with the image of a castrated ram leading a bunch of sheep. Their 'stand' on 'the sanctity of marriage' and 'biblical sexuality' is a great way to narrow down your list of where NOT to send your children and your money. Simply locate a list of schools claiming Title IX exemption and you'll find my alma mater, Multnomah University, or a college just a short drive from my house, William Jessup University, among many, MANY others. The majority of the list is a veritable who's who of evangelical academia.
What is particularly maddening is that even if you choose to not support these schools by contributing to your son's or daughter's tuition or through other charitable gifts, you are still supporting them through paying taxes, thanks again to that wonderful legal loophole of Title IX exemptions. If you would like to learn more about that injustice and what public policies would set things right, make sure to check out my two-part series, Church $ State: The Public Subsidization of Religion.
In the meantime, let's make sure they don't have one more penny than that which we are legally required to give them.
In the same way that Billy Graham had previously figured out that television and radio would be essential tools in his evangelistic efforts, the religious right knew they needed to leverage these modern mediums to indoctrinate the evangelical masses on their paranoid and politically power-hungry world view. And so was born outlets like the Christian Broadcast Network, started in 1960 by a godfather of the religious right, Pat Robertson, followed in the 70's by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The latter has become notorious for controversies. Staying in the charismatic wing of the evangelical mad house, there is print media like Charisma Magazine, which I once heard described as 'Breitbart in Pentecostal drag' as it continues to spew out one Trump puff piece after another.
Then you have massive media conglomerates like the Salem Media Group. Print, web, radio...hey, there is no tool they won't use to vomit up either lies or hypocrisies! Their 'Christian News and Talk' stations, most of them either called "The Answer" or "The Patriot", are my personal favorites (sarcasm!).
And here is the thing my evangelical friends: when it comes to so-called 'Christian' TV and radio, you don't have to even send them money to pay for their idol-making machines. All you have to do is listen. That's all it takes to get their ratings up which in turn attracts more advertising dollars which begets more lies and hypocrisies.
Now what is really fun is when these two--Christian media and education--team up! I'll use a local example to make my case--that being the glorious marriage of 1380 The Answer and William Jessup University. It was the height of hypocrisy when in 2017 John Jackson, the President of William Jessup University, gave a cowardly back-door rebuke of myself and other local evangelical leaders. In a video calling for 'unity' in the Church, he claimed without conveniently naming names that me and my friends were placing our Democratic or progressive causes ahead of the cause of Christ. "If you are not a Christian first and a Republican" or "Democrat" or "progressive second, third, fourth or tenth," then we are entering into demonic "deception". Meanwhile, both before and after the video was made, his University, in partnership with 1380 The Answer, was trodding out one partisan event after the other, such as...
- a Republican rally held a few weeks before the 2016 election called "Doomsday or Redemption Day" with an image of Hillary Clinton under 'Doomsday' and Donald Trump under 'Redemption Day'.
- or in October 2017 they joined forces to host a stop on "The Fake News Tour" featuring conservative talk show hosts Larry Elder and former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, with the event description declaring, "President Trump and Conservative talk radio have outed the liberal biased media and their fake news!"
- or more recently they co-hosted former Press Secretary Sean Spicer's book tour!
Yes sure John, you certainly have moral credibility on your ability to stay above the political fray!
in part 3
Well, that's enough for this installment of Faith v Religion. Do you have other examples of specific Christian media and educational organizations that you think should be boycotted? Make sure to share them in the comments below.
In the conclusion of this series (Part 3), I'll share with those remaining on the evangelical Titanic two more classes of institutions that you should consider denying access to your bank account.