Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Privatization of Culture Part Deux

There is a multitude of impacts that culture privatization has on the US. Certainly we see it in politics, in entertainment, in economics. But I think the most devastating thing for the message of Jesus has been the impact on religion, especially the "christian" religion.

USAmericans are religious people. 86% believe in God. Huge numbers attend religious services every weekend. And while there is no question that religion is less of a socio-cultural influence than it was say 50 years ago, I would still put it in the top 2 or 3 cultural powers.

However, Jesus didn't come to establish a religion, even the "christian" one. So Evangelicals, responding to the privatization of cultural expression (among other things) have pushed for certain religious symbols and expressions to be unprivatized: prayer in school, "under God" on the pledge, nativity scenes, etc. We look for political candidates who thank God, entertainers who praise God. We allow just enough "God" to get back into public that we've created a caricature--not unlike those drawings of my kids when we go to Sea World--and that caricature has come to pass for the real thing. So "god" becomes an important aspect of the US allowable public expression of culture.

But it ain't God.

1 comment:

pablo said...

Do you remember Steve Taylor? Before he became the producer of the Newsboys he used to put out very interesting albums. He has a song called "It's a Personal Thing" from the On The Fritz album. It reflects exactly what you're saying, politicians who insert the faith card subtly into their rhetoric because it puts everyone at ease. To be religious is appreciated, but to be counter-culture is fanaticism. What will Huckabee do?