Friday, February 6, 2009

Continued Outreach of Religious Right to Youth: Passion for Christ's T-Shirt Campaign

A number of news stories I’ve run across in the last several days have brought to mind some predictions I made early in the new year about new outreach initiatives of the religious right, as that movement ages and dwindles in demographic size ( I predicted that the religious right will step up its strategies of outreach to youth in the new year, via web technologies and other means; and that the religious right will pitch itself to the African-American community as a kinder, gentler ally.

I thought of those predictions today as I read an article recommended by an astute reader of this blog, Carl ( The article reports that hundreds of students and adults gathered recently at Shawnee Mission East high school in Prairie Village, Kansas, to protest an anti-gay demonstration staged by Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church bunch. This attempt to counter gay-bashing seems to have been student-led.

Towleroad reported on this event today, as well, noting that Phelps and Westboro Baptist church had to “face the future” at the Shawnee Mission school protest ( As Carl suggests in sending this link, the increasing political involvement of young folks in progressive causes is a hopeful sign today. There can be no more effective counter to the religious right’s lies, in that movement’s attempt to gain the sympathy of young folks, than the organized resistance of youth to those lies.

In the same vein, Waldo Lydecker links yesterday to a College Humor article from last fall entitled “The Facebook of Genesis” ( and The article mocks the hell out of the attempt of the religious right to be web savvy as it tries to lure young supporters.

A good reminder that, in entering the online world, movements like the religious right will have to learn to play by the rules of young folks who grew up with this technology, and who can run circles around the rest of us in using it . . . . And whose attitudes towards what we hold dear can be far from reverent . . . .

But then there’s this nonsense: a t-shirt campaign by the Passion for Christ website, allowing young folks to proclaim themselves ex-masturbators, ex-fornicators, ex-homosexuals, and so on (,, and Yes, t-shirts . . . .

The Passion for Christ movement is linked to a slick Christian hip hop web journal called DaSouth. A lot of serious cash seems to be going into these two initiatives targeting (primarily) African-American youth.

I wonder where it’s coming from.