Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This is how you enlist in the Army of God: First come the fireworks and the prayers, and then 4,000 kids scream, "We won't be silent anymore!" Then the kids drop to their knees, still but for the weeping and regrets of fifteen-year-olds. The lights in the Cleveland arena fade to blue, and a man on the stage whispers to them about sin and love and the Father-God. They rise, heartened; the crowd, en masse, swears off "harlots and adultery"; the twenty-one-year-old MC twitches taut a chain across the ass of her skintight red jeans and summons the followers to show off their best dance moves for God. "Gimme what you got!" she shouts. They dance -- hip-hop, tap, toe and pelvic thrusting. Then they're ready. They're about to accept "the mark of a warrior," explains Ron Luce, commander in chief of BattleCry, the most furious youth crusade since young sinners in the hands of an angry God flogged themselves with shame in eighteenth-century New England. Nearly three centuries later, these 4,000 teens are about to become "branded by God." It's like getting your head shaved when you join the Marines, Luce says, only the kids get to keep their hair. His assistants roll out a cowhide draped over a sawhorse, and Luce presses red-hot iron into the dead flesh, projecting a close-up of sizzling cow skin on giant movie screens above the stage.

"When you enlist in the military, there's a code of honor," Luce preaches, "same as being a follower of Christ." His Christian code requires a "wartime mentality": a "survival orientation" and a readiness to face "real enemies." The queers and communists, feminists and Muslims, to be sure, but also the entire American cultural apparatus of marketing and merchandising, the "techno-terrorists" of mass media, doing to the morality of a generation what Osama bin Laden did to the Twin Towers.

Read the story at www.therevealer.org.



  • O gees that's scary....

    By Blogger Adam Gonnerman, at 9:36 AM  

  • this scares me.
    but it shows just how powerful massive numbers of people and enthralling rhetoric can be.
    why don't (for lack of better words) more 'progressive' or 'liberal' Christians do this - what about rallies for 'soldiers against poverty' or 'soldiers against misogyny'?

    By Blogger Shannon, at 1:14 PM  

  • I dunno, but it is easier to get people angry and in a condemning mood than passionate about reconciliation and restorative justice. When the audience is composed of teenagers it isn't hard to convince them negatively about sins of the flesh...their raging hormones make them believe it. Like fish in a barrel.

    By Blogger Adam Gonnerman, at 5:26 PM  

  • I don't think we should use the word "army" or "soldiers" or "war on ____" in our language. I prefer that progressives not use militaristic language or images to promote our beliefs. We need to be the movement of inclusion, responsibility, and tolerance. A hard balancing act (because we also need to be intolerant against intolerance), but a necessary one.

    By Blogger Sansego, at 8:45 AM  

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