“Religious Consumerism.. Uniquely American
Whether it is a six pack stomach, new hair growth where there was none before, increased libido and sexual endowment, money for retirement, fashion police, right wing fascist propaganda parading as journalism, organic farming, weight loss and or last but not least, religion, you can find what you are searching for on American television. If for some reason you cannot you can find it you can on the Web. If, and it is a Almighty big “IF”, if, you have the money!
Religion has always been a convenient and easy tool for salesmen or saleswomen whether they are potentates or pontiffs to use in the quest for power and profit. In America this is particularly true. Recently a person called “America’s Pastor” reached an advanced age and a grand party was thrown in his honour. He is not a scholar, not a theologian nor a Pulitzer awarding winning writer but he is or was one hell of a salesman who built an empire worth millions. The United States must be the only place where a carnival barker can rise to such heights of public homage as this preacher has and yet with all the attending fame not challenged any of the injustices regularly visited upon the “least of these”!
But not to worry if religion is your bag of tea there are plenty of bags out there. They cover every religious tradition both established and new. From New Age to “Emergent Church” to modern Zen and Post Modernism and all in between there is something for everyone. You can sweat in a sweat lodge for a fee that can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. You can spend a weekend at any number of religious resorts again for accommodations and “offerings”( read that as fees) that at a minimum will cost you even those in your denominational “family” three hundred and or more just to hear some religious celeb that happens to be in vogue at the time make a presentation on his or her latest book.
“Christian” trendiness or re-branding seems to be one of the largest “tea bags”. If you consider yourself an “evangelical” and can pass a variety of litmus test to prove it you have the choice from how to make your “ministry profit” to “providing armed security staff for your congregations”! If “God’s Infallible Word” is your bag there is a plethora of conferences and symposium that will enforce the fallacy that God gave us the Bible bound and neatly arranged in the “authorized King James version” without any mention of those pesky historical events of its development.
But fear not if “throwing out the baby with the wash water” is your bag you can choose everything form “the Jesus Project” to “religious universalism” and Post Modernist Deism. These seminars come with a whole faculty of academics and well paid bishops who leave you feeling good about a Christianity without a Jesus to pose thorny questions and issues for your 21st Century “one is just as good as another” comfortable school of religious diversity
America has no equal when it comes to showmanship and sadly when it comes to an apocalyptic lack of substance .
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