Phil Cooke reports on a Christian protest that wasn't. Video game maker Electronic Arts staged a fake Christian protest to market a new third person action game, "Dante's Inferno" hiring in actors with placards and setting up a fake Christian website.
If ever the sub-culture of Christian protest needed a wake up call, perhaps this is it. If our most potent protests achieve so much free publicity for the very thing we find offensive (and I don't deny that some things are genuinely offensive to Christians) perhaps it's time to look again at how we make our feelings known in public. I wonder what really makes a positive difference to people outside the church, a big protest about something, or lots of Christians getting together to do something that will be a blessing to their area. I know which one I'd rather be involved in.
So where does that leave the sticky issue of things that happen that really are offensive to most Christians? If I'm to follow the way of Jesus, I can't help feeling he didn't leave me much useful advice about how to protest effectively, though he did mention that we are blessed when people have a go at us.
Perhaps the trouble is that when we protest in public we end up looking worse than the thing we're protesting about. The protests organised by Steven Green and Christian Voice was the best gift of free publicity that Jerry Springer: The Opera could have wished for. So it's no wonder that the marketing industry has finally cottoned on to the immense promotional power of a big Christian protest.
I expect we'll see a few more of these 'fake Christian' protest things. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if some marketing companies now work to deliberately stir up a Christian protest in advance of the launch of a new product. After all, that would achieve all the same marketing objectives at even lower cost. Where does that leave real Christians who are genuinely offended by something that strikes at our faith and at the Biblical world view?
If we shout at the world about things we find offensive, like standing
in a big crowd all pointing at an abomination and saying, "Look at
that," it should come as no surprise that people take a greater interest in the thing we're pointing at.
May I suggest that the best alternative to shouting at the world is a conversation with the person next to us. They're more likely to listen, to dialogue, to think about the issues and perhaps even to agree with us