Sunday, March 26, 2006

Virtue Terrorists vs. the Fascist Mega-Pep Rally

San Francisco was invaded this weekend. From yesterday's Chronicle:
More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."
The organizer of the thing, Ron Luce, is something of a stealth wingnut. He soft-pedals the politics (his website doesn't even mention homosexuality, for example) in a calculated attempt to appeal to suburban audiences. It seems to have worked pretty well with Janine De Fao, who wrote a second, more softball story that ran today:
The teens were greeted Friday at a kick-off rally at City Hall by an official city condemnation and protesters who called them anti-gay, anti-choice and intolerant. Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, suggested they "get out of San Francisco."

While youth did travel from throughout the Western United States for the two-day event, which cost $55, Leno may have been surprised how many live in the Bay Area, and even in the city itself.

No protesters were on hand Saturday, and the vibe was not one of condemnation, but of celebrating the fact that it can be cool to be Christian.
The rest of the story is about nice teens rocking out to good Christian music, with a whole slew of positive quotes from the kids. Gee, isn't that nice?

Make no mistake, though: Luce is cut from the same cloth as Ayatollah Dobson and his ilk. Luce was a featured speaker, for example, at last year's "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference, and will be at the upcoming Christian right whine-a-thon (both sponsored by VisionAmerica, one of the most active groups in the fundamentalist-political complex).

And however innocuous the presentation, there was no mistaking the real agenda here:
A Battle Cry invitation to teenagers made plain the symbolism of gathering in San Francisco for a pre-event rally at "the very City Hall steps where several months ago, gay marriages were celebrated for all the world to see."
And then, of course, there's the ubiquitous military imagery:
"Battle Cry for a Generation" is led by a 44-year-old Concord native [he actually lives in Garden Valley, Texas], Ron Luce....Luce wants to unleash a "blitz" of youth pastors into the communities.

"This is more than a spiritual war," Luce said. "It's a culture war."

Military metaphors abound in Luce's descriptions of the struggle. He tells young people of how "an enemy has launched a brutal attack on them." At a pre-Battle Cry rally Friday afternoon on the steps of City Hall, Luce told his mostly teenage audience that "terrorists of a different kind" -- advertisers -- were targeting them and that they were "caught in the middle of the battle."

"Are you ready to go to battle for your generation?" he asked, and the young people roared "yes!" and some waved triangular red flags flown from long, medieval-looking poles.
I'm no expert on war, but as I understand it you kind of have to have an enemy. I'm guessing that's us.

People like Luce are arguably a lot more dangerous than their more obviously wingnutty brethren. A lot of anxious parents (and teens) who wouldn't fall for the explicit bigotry of Dobson could easily get sucked in by Luce's approach to the problems attendant on a morally complicated society. He certainly fooled the Chronicle reporter (I'd be willing to bet they ran the softball piece after getting wingnut complaints about Saturday's more critical article). His ends are the same as Dobson's, though...and we cannot allow ourselves to forget it.

[Cross-posted at If I Ran the Zoo]


Anonymous Tracey -Christian youth leader said...

You're not the enemy but you are clearly under his control. I will pray that you find Christ, His grace, love and forgiveness. A year ago I would have agreed with you but I have seen the truth. It is not bigotry, it is love and genuine pain for lost souls. Christ has changed my life and He wants you to accept Him so you can see the truth and share in His eternal glory. I am looking forward to praising God next weekend when I join the battle in Detroit. Our kids need more in there lives than material goals, diseased and deadly relationships, nights spent cutting themselves, unplanned pregnancies that lead them to a life of regret and hours of mind-numbing, violent, corrupt and sexually inappropriate media influences. They need the Saviour. It is appointed to man once to die, then the judgement. Are you ready to face Him?

7:52 PM  
Blogger Scaramouche said...


Why is that people like you never leave an email adress? How are you going to allow for the conversations on conversion if no one can reach you? Why wait for Detroit to join the battle when you can start right here?

8:30 PM  
Blogger glenda said...

That's a pretty judgmental comment for a so-called Christian. Isn't God supposed to be the one who judges, if there is a God?

"I am looking forward to praising God next weekend when I join the battle in Detroit."

Like who would want to worship this person's version of God who is so insecure that's he'd need this praising crap. And what battle does this refer to? Oh, I forgot, Armageddon is right around the corner now that Iran has the nuke.

"Judge not, grasshopper, lest you be judged."

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt -

I can understand a resistant attitude toward a radical movment like the one Ron Luce is leading, especially if you do not claim Christiantity as your personal faith. However, in my opinion, this movement is really not that much different than what Martin Luther King, Jr. led in the 60's. Was he not also fighting a cultural war that faced much opposition? (not to mention that he too claimed Christianity). And yet now MLK is one of the greatest heroes in American history. Although racism isn't the issue here, you must understand what this move is really fighting against, because based on the previous entries I've read, it doesn't seem like anyone has figured it out.

I think most would agree that there are a LOT of hurting people in America today. There are SO MANY people whose lives have been destroyed by everything from addictions (i.e-drugs, alcohol, etc) to divorce, rape, the list goes on and on....our culture is almost transforming into some sort of Matrix (for lack of a better comparison), where everything is about image, and chasing after mirages of reality (i.e. what "feels good" or what "feels right").....and in the long run is causing severe pain and suffering in young people's lives. THAT is what he's waging "war" against -- the CULTURE that has contributed to these wrecked lives. What's so bad about that? He's defending the right of young people to be able to make positive decisions in their lives without being told by advertisers and the media what they should eat, drink, wear, think, what music they should listen to, who they should be friends with, etc.

Believe me, even being a Christian myself, I KNOW that "the church" (as a whole) has contributed JUST as much to the damage we see today. I'm convinced that a lot of atheism is a result of people knowing others who claim to be Christian, and then seeing those same people live a completely opposite lifestyle. It SUCKS, but the reason I choose to stick with it is simply because I didn't become a Christian because of "other people", I became one based on what the person who DEFINES Christianity stands for (Christ)....and that is LOVE, HOPE, PEACE, JOY....words that are becoming more and more foreign. THAT is what true Christianity stands for, and Christianity is what Ron Luce's (and don't forget MLK's) movement is based on.

Now, I know the issue of homosexuality is a big reason why people are "judgemental" of ANY Christian movement. But, again, you must realize what this movement is truly focused on -- it's helping to heal young people's lives, not trying to fight against homosexuals. While I'm sure that he doesn't agree with homosexuality, that's not his target, and you ALL know as well as I that he couldn't stop homosexuality even if he wanted to I right?

So again, I can understand the resistance, but guy's come on, the man's just trying to stand up for the rights of youth to help repair damage that's been done. Isn't that more important than his opinion on homosexuality? I sure think so.

I left my email address if anyone wants to yell at me :)

11:09 PM  
Blogger TerrorTwilight said...

oh my gosh. bash the christian. real classy.

10:48 PM  

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