Christotainment: Selling Jesus through Popular Culture by Shirley R. Steinberg

By Shirley R. Steinberg

For greater than thousand years Christian enlargement and proselytizing was once couched by way of “defending the faith.” until eventually lately within the usa, a lot of that protection got here within the type of reactions opposed to the “liberal” impacts channeled via big-corporate media corresponding to renowned track, Hollywood videos, and community and cable tv. however the election of Ronald Reagan as a Hollywood President brought Christian the USA to the instruments of advertisements and multimedia appeals to young children and early life to win new believers to God’s armies.   Christotainment examines how Christian fundamentalism has realigned its armies to strive against threats opposed to it via making use of the forces it as soon as thought of its leader enemies: the leisure media, together with videos, tv, song, cartoons, subject parks, games, and books. Invited members speak about the severe theoretical frameworks of top-selling units inside of Christian popular culture and the entice plenty of yank souls throughout the blessed marriage of corporatism and the hunt for excitement.

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Christotainment has played a 0813344058-Steinberg:Layout 1 32 12/16/08 11:24 AM Page 32 JOE L . KINCHELOE central role in this success. As the early 1980s witnessed the lucrative deployment of political fundamentalist’s plan to use media in new and creative ways, the mainstream Christian denominations in the United States lost power over the ways they were represented by TV news and various other knowledge producers. The prevailing post–Scopes trial (involving the teaching of evolution in Tennessee in the 1920s) representation of Protestant fundamentalists as hicks and fools was supplanted with a view of mainline Protestants as aging, boring bleeding hearts.

In the same way, the word “choice” could be used to connote the right to “opt out” of government-mandated “liberal” policies. ” Thus, in the grander sense, we choose the private space over the diversity of the public space. In rejecting the public space, the right wing and its fundamentalist allies rejected the existing political domain, a choice that resonated with many conservative white Christians throughout the nation. Indeed, any 0813344058-Steinberg:Layout 1 26 12/16/08 11:24 AM Page 26 JOE L .

When such denominations pursued social action around issues of social justice for the marginalized, women’s rights, or corporate misdeeds, diverse forms of media increasingly ignored them. Over the last decade, fundamentalists have been interviewed over and over again on Sunday morning mainstream network talk shows, while Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, United Church of Christ adherents, American Baptists, and African Methodist Episcopalians have been virtually banished from such programs.

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