The Daily Show Does "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 01:43:23 PM EST
Firestorm in Response to Religious Warfare Kid Vid, Continued
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 01:01:58 AM EST
On Tuesday the mainstream Muslim civil rights group, Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) denounced the hate-based video game, Left Behind:  Eternal Forces. This followed an international media firestorm resulting from a press teleconference by DefCon, Christian Alliance for Progress (CAP) and Talk to Action. These groups called on WalMart to stop selling the game. DefCon reports that more than 30,000 people have contacted Walmart so far.  CAIR also called on WalMart to withdraw the game. Meanwhile, several progressive Christian groups led by Crosswalk America, CAP and the Beatitudes Society had also asked the manufacturer to withdraw the game and consumers not to buy it.  The matter has issue has now escalated in both activism and in media coverage.

Jews on First! a progressive web based organization concerned about the religious right, has posted a report and joined with Crosswalk in petitioning the manufacturer to withdraw the game -- and the AntiDefamation League (ADL) has issued a statement, based on an analysis of the game by their staff in consultation with game experts.  

"The game and the belief system behind it are dangerous, because they teach that Judaism and other non-Christian faiths are not valid," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians are seen as incomplete unless they convert, a concept that is contrary to the American ideal of respect for all religions."
 The game is also the subject of major new articles in Rolling Stone magazine and The Christian Science Monitor.
(4 comments, 618 words in story)
American Islamic Group Calls on WalMart to Drop Kid Vid that Promotes Religious Warfare
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 11:56:02 PM EST
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has joined a growing chorus of groups that have asked WalMart to stop stocking Left Behind:  Eternal Forces, a video game that promotes religious warfare to children.  The recent press conference held by DefCon, (Committee to Defend the Constitution,) Talk to Action and Christian Alliance for Progress toannounce the effort to get WalMart to stop stocking the game made news around the world. [image: detail from a painting depicting the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in which French Catholics slaughtered thousands of French Protestants.
(5 comments, 550 words in story)
Left Behind Game's Eastern European Charity Tie-In
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 06:22:53 PM EST
ASSIST Ministries reports on a charity tie-in from the controversial Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game:
Left Behind Games, the company that produces Christian video games based on the books made famous by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, is including an insert in every box that tells purchasers about the Eastern European Outreach (EEO) child sponsorship program.
(2 comments, 911 words in story)
Religious Warfare Game CEO Statement Implied Product Will Desensitize Teens To Killing
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 01:45:03 PM EST
"What's more damaging are games that show killing and then let the bodies disappear, desensitizing gamers to what's going on," explains Lyndon. "Although seeing hundreds of dead bodies in Left Behind: Eternal Forces at the end of a horrific battle wasn't our original intent, we can't help but stay away from desensitizing gamers. It's our hope that we don't end up with a Mature-rated game...but we might. Ultimately, our argument is that it's more humane to show the reality of death than to desensitize in the name of a lighter rating." - Left Behind Games Company CEO Troy Lyndon

As published on the 1Up Network and reprinted from a story in Computer Gaming World, February 2006, issue #259, entitled "God Mode: Fragging For King, Country, and Creator". The 1Up Network is part of the Ziff-Davis Media Game Group

The CEO of Left Behind Games, who has recently characterized the nature of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" as potentially wholly nonviolent such that "You can actually play the entire game without firing a shot." ( from a Boston Globe review of the game ) said in February 2006 that play resulted in "hundreds of dead bodies" piling up on the lovingly detailed streets of the virtual New York City in his game and that he thought the game might gain a "mature" audience rating for its depiction of mass killing. But Lyndon expressed a concern that making those piles of corpses magically vanish would desensitize gamers to violence.

Then, Troy Lyndon's game was redesigned prior to commercial release so that those dead bodies Lyndon referred to just disappeared... and it was marketed to a 13 to 34 age range that included teenagers.

(6 comments, 583 words in story)
National Council Of Churches Picks Up "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" Story
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:59:48 AM EST
The website of "Faithful America", a ministry of the National Council Of Churches, has picked a December 13 Boston Globe story on the "kill or convert" video game set in the streets of New York City, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces". The engagement of the wider liberal religious community with the hateful religious ideology expressed in the game seems promising. The New York Times has also just picked up the news of the boycott of the game including Talk To Action's role in an article entitled Grand Theft Christianity
Focus On The Family-Endorsed Game Gives Kids Brain Damage ?
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 03:10:32 PM EST
Outbreaks of self contradiction and moral relativism, or perhaps moral atrophy, continue at the powerful "family values" organization Focus On The Family. First came Vice President Tom Minnery's surprising concern - "I fear that we're in a society in which you will be held to the standards which you claim." (see full story). Now, a Focus On The Family website has both enthusiastically endorsed a video game - that lets players command forces to convert to fundamentalist Christianity or kill all the residents of New York - as "the kind of game that Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior" and highlighted findings from researchers at the Indiana State School Of Medicine indicating frequent playing of violent video games can cause parts of children's brains to atrophy.
(1 comment, 665 words in story)
Media Taking Note of Concern about LBEF
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:18:51 PM EST
The media is beginning to sit up and take notice of citizen concerns about the first Christian instructional video on religious warfare for children. This morning the San Francisco Chronicle had a front page story describing citizen concerns about the video game Left Behind:  Eternal Forces, which is based on Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of novels.  The story is titled: 'Convert or die' game divides Christians: Some ask Wal-Mart to drop Left Behind. This was followed today with a well-attended press and blogger teleconference hosted by DefCon, (the Campaign to Defend the Constitution) which featered comments by Clark Stevens of DefCon, Tim Simpson of the Christian Alliance for Progress, and Frederick Clarkson of Talk to Action. The Associated Press ran a story on the controversy and the news conference.

Beginnning with Jonathan Hutson's ground breaking series exposing the hate-based agenda of the game, Talk to Action has done considerable reporting on and in-depth analysis of the game and its underlying ideology.  Here is a brief anthology of Talk to Action posts that can serve as a back grounder on the game.

(10 comments, 330 words in story)
Imagining Satan (Part Two)
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 02:22:58 PM EST

Modern Christian Right Print Culture
as an Apocalyptic Master Frame

by Dr. Brenda E. Brasher and Chip Berlet
Copyright 2004-2006, All rights reserved, crossposting online of this text is prohibited. Presented at the conference on Religion and the Culture of Print in America, Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 10-11, 2004
[Read Part One] - [Read Part Three]

A social movement is "a collectivity acting with some degree of organization and continuity outside of institutional channels for the purpose of promoting or resisting change in the group, society, or world order of which it is a part."~25 Social movements interact in a strategic way with political movements, which have an electoral and legislative focus.~26 To be effective, a social movement has to construct an internally coherent ideology, identify grievances, set goals, and instill a sense of purpose, optimism, and collective identity among followers. Movement leaders help accomplish this by skillfully framing their ideas and proposed actions.~27 Stories, whether they are narratives of personal experiences or fictional accounts, help build social movements.~28

At various times throughout history social movements have employed apocalyptic frames and conspiracist narratives, moving them from the margins of the society into the mainstream where they have affected public policy.

(3 comments, 3444 words in story)
Push the Prayer Button
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 11:21:04 AM EST
What's wrong with a video game that depicts a "defensive" religious war set in a real, contemporary US city that's been recreated in loving detail - at least in terms of the physical features of the city - and which features game characters that look nothing like the real city residents they are supposed to depict and who do not bleed when they are killed, at close range, by assault weapons and whose corpses simply fade away from where they lie on the city streets ? What's the big deal if the game is based on a bloodthirsty pop-culture series that's been read by upwards of sixty million people ? So what if the game suggests that "secularism" is satanic and depicts a total war in which there can be no noncombatants ?

So what if this game sidesteps the moral and religious injunctions against killing by enabling players to do rote penance, when the game characters they command kill, by repetitively pressing a "prayer button" on their gaming joysticks ? ( note: this piece has been excerpted from a longer piece of writing entitled Religious Warfare Stocking Stuffer.

(5 comments, 951 words in story)
Religious Warfare Stocking Stuffer
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 11:14:31 AM EST
Religious warfare is now on store shelves in time for holiday shopping. Nothing like a video game depicting religious warfare against an existing, modern US city to bring out the true Christmas spirit. Ho ho ho.
(3 comments, 3325 words in story)
DefCon Calls on Wal-Mart to Boycott LBEF Game
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 07:37:05 PM EST
Public concern about the video game based on Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of novels is growing. It is the only video game that indoctrinates children in an ideology of religious warfare. And people are beginning to take action.

Our friends at DefCon today sent an e-mail to their national list, calling on WalMart to stop selling Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

This development comes just a week after a coalition of American progressive Christian groups called on the manufacturer to recall the game, and for Christians to boycott it.   Mainstream Baptists were soon urged to join the campaign. And The Muslim Association of Britain, called the game "evil":

This game is irresponsible and highly racist. It demonises every other religion which isn't Christianity. People must boycott this violent game. "Games like this poison the minds of young people."
(9 comments, 454 words in story)
Focus On The Family Endorses 'Satanic Role-Playing' Religious Warfare Video Game As Kid-Safe
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 04:13:07 AM EST
"Eternal Forces is the kind of game that Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior—and use to raise some interesting questions along the way" - from a review in "Plugged In Online", a website published by Focus On The Family

The violence depicted in "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" video game, and the inherent ideology, which suggests all religious beliefs except for fundamentalist Christianity are invalid and casts public education as satanic, has prompted a coalition of Christian groups to denounce the game and call for a consumer boycott, and the game has also prompted a lawsuit from one conservative critic of video game violence.

James Dobson, founder of Focus On The Family, has used his prominent position to inveigh against the alleged threat of homosexuality and, in 2005, accused that a children's television cartoon character representing an underwater sea-sponge*, "Spongebob Squarepants", was being used to promote a supposedly "pro-homosexual video". Yet, as depicted in the eponymously named cartoon series, Spongebob Squarepants seems to promote what most would tend to think of "family values", by displaying exceedingly high moral and ethical standards and taking great pains to avoid hurting anyone's feelings let alone causing any sort of physical injury.

In sharp contrast, the powerful "family values" advocacy organization Dobson founded, Focus On The Family, apparently approves of pop-culture products depicting religious warfare, at least when waged on the right sort of people - such as New York City residents. The organization also seems to have endorsed the "satanic role playing" the game affords players, who can command the forces of the "AntiChrist", as family-friendly and kid-safe.

(5 comments, 1227 words in story)
Imagining Satan (Part One)
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 09:56:53 PM EST

Modern Christian Right Print Culture
as an Apocalyptic Master Frame

by Dr. Brenda E. Brasher and Chip Berlet
Copyright 2004-2006, All rights reserved, crossposting online of this text is prohibited. Presented at the conference on Religion and the Culture of Print in America, Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 10-11, 2004
[Read Part Two] - [Read Part Three]
Within the subculture of the contemporary Christian Right, an entire genre of literature flourishes that suggests sinister conspiracies are behind high profile current events. One of the most popular contributions to this literary stream is a series of twelve books commonly referred to as the Left Behind series written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Each book explores Christian apocalyptic themes and motifs via the fictional device of a modern setting.

(1 comment, 2979 words in story)
Virtual religious, ethnic, and cultural cleansing in "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 06:27:54 PM EST
Look Ma, No Blood !......  Plus, No Jews, Blacks, Asians, Children, Elderly, Unitarians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Muslims, Buddhists.....

"The conversion of socialized people into dedicated fighters is achieved not by altering their personality structures, aggressive drives or moral standards. Rather, it is accomplished by cognitively redefining the morality of killing so that it can be done free from self-censure. Through moral justification of violent means, people see themselves as fighting ruthless oppressors" - Albert Banduras

The following analysis examines various ways by which - by accident or by design - the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" video game serves to demonize and dehumanize, as depicted in the game,  the population of New York City.

(2 comments, 6116 words in story)


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