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.

Jonathan Hutson's ground breaking series on the game from last summer, while it was still in developmental stages is here:  

Chip Berlet's series on the hate-based ideology of Tim LaHaye is here:

Statement of Frederick Clarkson and Bruce Wilson from the press conference sponsored by CrossWalk America, the Beatitudes Society, Christian Alliance for Progress and The Center for Progressive Christianity annoucing a petition effort to get the game withdrawn from the market.

Bruce Wilson discusses the "prayer button."

Bruce Wilson discusses Focus on the Family's endorsement of the game.

Frederick Clarkson reports on the announcement of DefCon's campaign against WalMart to pull the game from the shelves.

Frederick Clarkson discusses the game as an instructional video for children in the ideology of religious warfare.

But people are catching on that this game is like no other video game, violent or otherwise.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:59:01 PM EST

I don't shop at WalMart for other reasons so thought it would be hypocritical to call them.  I do shop at Target and when I heard they were carrying this abomination I called to register a complaint.  The person I spoke with was aghast when I described the game and assured me that she would make sure the proper people would get the complaint.  She asked for further information and I directed her tot he site here and referenced the article in the Chronicle this morning.  

I think Fred is correct in saying that this is picking up more and more notice.   We just have to make sure that peolple realize that other Christians who don't believe the "right" way are also targeted for extermination in this piece of "crap."  

by SFLady on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:50:17 PM EST

Seems to be strange timing. A bit of CYA after criticism of the positive review on the Focus on the Family web site?

by Psyche on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 03:27:45 AM EST

It does seem a bit CYA-ish, doesn't it. But a clumsy attempt. Videogame violence studies have been going on for years, this isn't a new controversy.
I'd say FOF has just undercut its own endorsement and called into question its role as judge of what's "family suitable".

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 08:08:51 AM EST
but I think they're getting clumsier generally. Suspect they're having problems. Did you notice they redesigned their web site front page? All soft pastels now as opposed to the old patriotic red, white and blue - and the the front page topics are all the self-help family stuff. The political stuff like Citizen link, Action link, etc. are buried (and still in R,W &B). I'd wondered if they had some IRS troubles and were reorganizing the site in an attempt to separate their 501c.3 from 501c.4 activities.

by Psyche on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 10:20:59 AM EST
James Dobson will start dressing in pastel tones ? Maybe in media appearances he could starting showing up holding a pet bunny or shepherding a little flock of lambs.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 01:08:36 PM EST

I considered writing a diary entry here, but it didn't seem quite worth that.  I have to share it anyway.

My aunt is huge into the Left Behind books and the theology of it.  My wife and I were going to get her two sons gift cards for GameStop, so they'd have another game to play.  (We still are.)

Anyway, the 14-year-old said, in front of his mom and like-minded other relatives, that he didn't want the game for Christmas!

He stated it was because my wife and I are "unsaved New Yorkers", that he met a very nice Jewish lady in NYC, and that he thought it had something in common with what he'd heard about Arab kids being taught to hate people of other religions.

I am so relieved and amazed, and I hope this scene plays out in many other families.

by GreenEyed Lilo on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 11:44:19 AM EST
The younger generations give me hope.

And thanks for the link to your blog, I've bookmarked it. A lovely bit of nostalgia for this ex-New Yorker.

For those who haven't seen it, a holiday greeting from the ACLU:

An Overdue Visit
(contributed by the ACLU)

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the nation
Friends of Freedom knew it was a special occasion.
Lady Liberty stood taller just off the shore
Her torch shining brighter than a few weeks before

But it wasn't the flame turning her cheeks all rosy
It was thoughts of Snowe, Feingold and Nancy Pelosi
And leaders from every side of the aisle
Who would soon bring the Bill of Rights back into style.

The Amendments had all hurried out of their beds -
Which was no easy task, they were nearly in shreds -
And they rushed to the window on papery feet
As a jolly old man flew right over their street.

"Could it be!?" they inquired as the roof shook and trembled
And they crept toward the mantle, peaceably assembled,
Just as someone emerged from the chimney with flair
In a shiny red suit, with a shock of white hair

And a top hat, and pants all in red, white and blue -
"Wait a minute," the Amendments exclaimed, "Who are you?"
"Don't be frightened my children," he said, "it's no scam.
"You can't have forgotten your old Uncle Sam!"

"Holy crap!" said Free Speech. "Stop right there!" yelled Bear Arms
And Privacy cried "Who shut off the alarms?!"
The Fifth remained silent, but Uncle Sam said
"We've been having some trouble, but Freedom's not dead."

The Amendments were cautious. "It's just been so long
"We've seen Liberty lost, we've seen so much go wrong.
"The President's trying to mangle and warp us,
"The Fourth is in tatters, so's Habeas Corpus!"

The old man sat down - he had had quite a ride -
But he told them "Don't worry, the Law's on our side,
"'Cause the nation's fed up and more people are crying
"For Justice and an end to illegal spying,

"And secret abductions by the CIA,
"And laws that would take women's choices away,
"And Gitmo tribunals and secret detention,
"And other intrusions too numerous to mention - "

"Not so fast," said a grinchity voice from above
And Don Rumsfeld pushed past the Fourteenth with a shove.
He was covered in soot and he looked kind of scary.
It seemed like his Christmas had not been so merry.

The Amendments said they weren't happy to see him:
"You tried to throw all of us in the museum!
"You've done so much the Constitution forbids!"
"And I would have gone on, but for you meddling kids!"

Uncle Sam told him "Rummy, your plans just won't do,
"So we've got a brand new timetable for you!"
And as Rumsfeld retired and crept into the night
The Amendments cried out "Have a good secret flight!"

From the distance they heard him reply with a snort.
"Bye-bye, Rummy!" they answered, "we'll see you in court!"
Uncle Sam rode the chimney up out of the room
And, like Frosty, he said "I'll be back again soon."

But they heard him exclaim "Oh, and just one more thing!
"This year, when the holiday bells start to ring,
"Try to honor religion. Honest faith can't be wrong.
"It's America, can't we all just get along?

"So, on Christian," he cried, "Muslim, Hindu, and Jew!
"On Quaker! On Shaker! And Atheist too!
"On Buddhist! On Taoist! And to show we're not chickens
"We'll file a few lawsuits defending the Wiccans!

"Your belief is your right, so get out there and savor it.
"Uncle Sam's not a preacher, and he doesn't play favorites!"
So this holiday season, whatever you do,
Warmest wishes for Freedom, from the ACLU.

by Psyche on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 12:38:05 PM EST

Thank you for that story.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 01:09:15 PM EST

The AP article on the Left Behind video appeared on page 9A of the Sacramento Bee this morning with a quote from Fred Clarkson

by JerrySloan on Thu Dec 14, 2006 at 01:23:20 AM EST

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