The Uninspired Manifesto
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Convert or Kill
Actor Stephen Baldwin, the youngest member of the famous Baldwin brothers, is no longer playing Pauly Shore's sidekick in comedy masterpieces like Biodome. He has a much more serious calling these days.
Baldwin became a right-wing, born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks, and now is the star of Operation Straight Up (OSU), an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military. As an official arm of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a "Military Crusade in Iraq" in the near future.
"We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war torn region," OSU declares on its website about its planned trip to Iraq. "We'll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq."
Remember that game Left Behind? No? Me either. So for the sake of argument, let's see what GameSpot had to say about it:
Don't mock Left Behind: Eternal Forces because it's a Christian game. Mock it because it's a very bad game. The real-time strategy/adventure game from Left Behind Games based on the best-selling series of novels from Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins will even let down born-again types who expect the Rapture to beam them up to heaven any day now. Nobody has enough faith to endure a game with such a hokey story, terrible mission design, serious problems with the interface and graphics, and loads of crippling bugs.
So what is this studio, (Left Behind Games... how fuckin weak is that) supposed to do with the thousands of copies of a shitty game they couldn't sell? Why not push it off on members of our military with support from The Pentagon.
Producers of the Left Behind videogame were faced with a storm of controversy after Christian blogger Jonathan Hutson exposed its eliminationist overtones in a series of posts on the website Talk2Action. Statements by the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference on American Islamic Relations, the Christian Alliance for Progress, and others condemned the game and demanded that Walmart pull it from its shelves. Even Marvin Olasky, the evangelical publisher, intellectual author of "compassionate conservatism," and a force behind the George W. Bush Administration's White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives," denounced the Left Behind videogame. In a blog post on the website of his World Magazine, Olasky described the game's content as akin to "the way homicidal Muslims think." As a result of the fallout, Left Behind Games fired its senior VP and released three board members.
This controversy has not deterred OSU from encouraging US troops to play virtual rounds of kill or convert after a hard day of house-to-house searches and counterinsurgency warfare against Iraqi insurgents. What's more, OSU's "Freedom Packages" include a copy of evangelical pastor Jonathan McDowell's More Than A Carpenter -- a book advertised as "one of the most powerful evangelism tools worldwide" -- that is double-published in Arabic. Considering that only a handful of American troops speak Arabic, the book is ostensibly intended for proselytizing efforts among Iraqi civilians.
Wow... that's encouraging... And yet, some people want to hang on to the hope that we still have a seperation of church and state in this country. I guess it's to be expected, though. If this is a so-called 'christian nation', we might as well act like one and kill everyone we can't convert to believe in the divinity of jesus.
It amazes me every single day that people continue to kill others, all in the name of some prick who ran his fucking mouth and got nailed to some plywood 2000 fucking years ago...