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."
What's Wal-Mart promoting this holiday season? The religious right's extreme ideology.

Just in time for Christmas, the religious right has released a violent video game in which born-again Christians aim to convert or kill those who don't adhere to their extreme ideology.  The video game, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," is based on the apocalyptic "Left Behind" novels - written and promoted by religious right leader Tim LaHaye. Despite the violent, intolerant message being marketed to children, Wal-Mart, the nation's #1 video game seller, is selling the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" video game - just in time for the holidays!

Take action now and urge Wal-Mart to stop selling religious violence this holiday season.

"Left Behind: Eternal Forces" takes place in New York City, shortly after the rapture. Gamers are charged with creating Christian militias who roam the streets of New York City, looking to convert non-believers and killing those who they are unable to draw to their side. In fact, after particularly bloody battles, players must use prayer to recharge their "soul points" that have been diminished by the killing.

Most disturbing is the game's apparent attempt at religious indoctrination - aimed at children and focused on violent, divisive, and hateful scenarios.

The game has outraged progressive and conservative Christians alike, and despite the religious right's typical opposition to violent video games, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" has not generated any criticism from this group and in fact gained a gleaming review from a Focus on the Family affiliated website this week.

While the religious right apparently has no problem pushing the product this holiday season, America's #1 video game seller should know better.

For more on the campaign, or to sign up for e-mail alerts, visit the DefCon web site.

than the usual issue of video game violence. And the ratings system does not account for the indoctrination of hateful ideologies. Whether or not the ratings system should do so is a different issue; one that is unlikely to be resolved before KBEF is in wide distribution. It will take the ongoing efforts of concerned citizens to alert people to the dangers of this product.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 04:02:49 PM EST

I remember reading and hearing stuff like this in the late 80's and early 90's. It came from a group called BADD(Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons) and its leader, the late Patricia Pulling. She directed her ire against Roleplaying Games and particularly Dungeons and Dragons. I was involved in the RPG Hobby as were a number of my friends.  
Her whole stance was based on a lot of emotionalism with no real evidence to back up her claims. She was ultimately exposed as a fraud and largely discredited. My concern is that we progressives may be going down the same road. Don't get me wrong. Both the books and the videogame are repulsive but my question would be: How much influence do they really have? Is this game really any more harmful than Grand Theft Auto or any one of a number of first person shooters? Finally, how is this any different than BADD and their attempts to ban a fantasy role playing game?

by Frank Frey on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 03:11:49 PM EST
We have been reporting on the game for months here.

That said, the game is categorically different than anythings else on the market. I am not gonig to repeat all the analysis we have done on this except to say that it is directed toward a market already steeped in premillennial theology and culture and particularly those who have read the Left Behind series. Thus, this is more than a game, it is a teasing out of a scenario based on a belief system. It invites children to consider that the rapture will happen in their lifetime, maybe soon, and that those "left behind" will have to do physical battle with sinners and unbelievers. Set in in New York City, we can well imagine who those folks might be.

This is thus not a violent video game in the usual sense. It is a tool of ideological indocrination. In this case, the ideology is one of religious warfare and the underlying attitudes that justify it.

You can find Jonathan Hutson's ground breaking series, here.  But you cna find much more, jsut by doing a little scrolling down the site.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 04:04:23 PM EST

I have read all of the articles on LBEF and they are excellent but I still had some reservations. Not anymore. Here's what happened.
Friday evening, I had a talk with Rev. Tim Simpson. As a member of Christian Alliance for Progress, I regard Tim as my pastor even though we live in different parts of Florida. He brought up many excellent points especially about reclaiming our faith.The one about the "Prayer Button" really struck home. It reminded me of how the Popes would give unconditional absolution to the Crusaders before their rampages in the Holy Land. It also makes mockery of those of us who have served in a warzone and must struggle everyday to deal with the consequences.
Secondly, I talked with my CAP colleague, Bob Bowers. We are both big time First Amendment advocates. We also talked about military service and such. One of the things that we also  touched on was reclaiming our faith. After that I spent some time in prayer and meditation.
The final point was driven home on "60 Minutes" last night. Now normally, I don't watch "60 Minutes" but they had a segment on about Sgt Joe Darby. Darby is the soldier who blew the whistle on the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. He and his family can never return to their hometown of Cumberland, Maryland because most of the citizens there regard him as a traitor. The most chilling part of the piece was the interview with the local VFW commander. He regarded Darby as a traitor because he gave aid and comfort to The Enemy. The look in his eyes was that of a True Believer. He should have been wearing an SS uniform. It struck me then that this is a living example of the morality behind LBEF.
Sign me up, Fred. I'm onboard now.

by Frank Frey on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 10:26:39 AM EST
Reclaiming faith is part of what this site is about. Not because we want to discuss spirituality or the inside baseball of various religious groups or the details of various theologies, but because mainstream and progressive faith traditions are under attack by the religious right. As we have discussed here, there are concerted efforts to undermine the mainline churches and to villify people of differing beliefs than a rather narrow band of conservative evangelicalism and rightist Catholicism. Of course, rightwing Christians have little to say about Mormons and the Unfication Church of Sun Myung Moon, because they are mostly ideological co-belligerents against the rest of us.

The endorsement of Left Behind: Eternal Forces by the American Family Association and Focus on the Family show the level of depravity to which these groups will sink in pursuit of a theocratic agenda.

Those insufficiently Chistian are, in the Left Behind worldview, are to be left behind and become the targets of a conversion or slaughter crusade.

Thus part of the contemporary struggle for mainstream Christians, is to stand up for their own faith, and to defend their houses of worship from the relentless attacks of outrside agencies bent on thier dismemberment and marginalization in the U.S. and the world.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 10:39:09 AM EST

As one of the promoters of the "prayer button" story it's very useful to hear about your reaction to this aspect of the game.

The "prayer button" is represented in the game, by the way, through a little icon of praying hands.

The button seems to have been added to the game subsequent to the criticisms levelled in Jonathan Hutson's critique of the game although we obviously can't prove any sort of connection.

The "vanishing bodies" aspect of the game also followed Hutson's series as well. Coincidence ? Who knows.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 04:10:04 PM EST

 I have one comment on the game. SICK.

by akaladystar on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:23:15 AM EST
 If there was a rating system to appropriately rate this piece of junk they call entertainment for kids... It would be NAA. Not appropriate for anyone. To use Christianity to endorse violence and hatred and bigotry is to twist the true meaning of Christianity and to distort it.  Talk about twisting the truth in the name of Jesus.

by akaladystar on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:45:26 PM EST
 I would also like to thank Talk to action for exposing this game for what it truly is..."Demonic" and an aberration to what is truly decent and moral.  Any responsible, right thinking  parent would be concerned about this game and would not endorse the  messages it is sending to our youth.

by akaladystar on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:56:16 PM EST

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