Is Battle Cry Coming to a City Near You?
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 08:40:18 PM EST
I recently discussed an article from Mother Jones magazine, that reported on the religious right youth group, Teen Mania's Battle Cry project. The group is midway through a long schedule of events, some quite large. The remainder of thier schedule is below. Stadium events are in bold.  

Details are available at the Battle Cry web site.    

Further background at Acquire the Evidence.

San Francisco, CA  March 9-10
Norfolk, VA   March16-17
Muncie, IN   March16-17
Nashville, TN   March23-24
Miami, FL   March23-24
Dallas, TX   March30-31
Winston-Salem   March30-31
Detroit, MI   April 13-14
Kansas City, MO   April 20-21
Portland, OR    April 20-21
Denver, CO    April 27-28
San Diego, CA    April 27-28
Pittsburgh, PA    May 4-5
Tacoma, WA    May 4-5
Baltimore, MD   May 11- 12
Des Moines, IA   May 18-19

"Is Battle Cry Coming to a City Near You?" in relation to these dates posted is the wrong question.

"Battlecry" is not the name of an organization, and the events listed are for the most part NOT "Battlecry" events.

Teen Mania Ministries' TWO remaining "Battlecry" stadium events will only be held in Detroit (at Ford Field) and in Virginia (as the originally scheduled Baltimore "Battlecry stadium event has been moved to Nissan Pavillion in Bristow, Virginia, not far from Manassas. This is a schedule and venue size change, from 75,000 to 20,000, just announced publicly earlier this week.)

As for the rest of the dates on the schedule listed above, they are Teen Mania Ministries' ongoing "Acquire the Fire" arena (and smaller than stadium venue) events that make up the rest of the regular "Acquire the Fire" season which begins in the fall and ends in the late spring, just as it has in years previous, for more than a decade, in fact.

The two remaining "Battlecry" stadium sized campaign events this year can be viewed as more regional events, whereas the ATF events are part on the ongoing annual tour schedule that travels the country.

To mislabel all these dates, "Battlecry" campaign events mixed in with regular "Acquire the Fire" events, as a single thing merely continues the ongoing trend: that of 'buying' Teen Mania's branding (and rebranding) of a subset of their events and misapplying it to the rest of their pre-existing structure.

ATF events have been taking place at venues across the country since at least 1993. This 'blunt instrument' approach of mislabeling the pre-existing structure "Battlecry" both continues the mythology that "Battlecry" serves as some kind of substitute for the name of the (pre-existing) infastructure, and also serves to continue the trend towards ignorance of the history of Teen Mania Ministries, a history that is now 20 years old.

Speaking as one who has gone into these events, both the regular "Acquire the Fire" events and "Battlecry" stadium events, along with other previous Teen Mania stadium events that had their own branding, such as "Day One" or "Stand Up", let me continue to say, the mere act of outsiders blithely walking into these events, carrying with them all their preconceived ideas of what this is, all their pre-existing frameworks for how to understand what happens there, and all their pre-existing historical examples from other times and places isn't going to aid in explaining what takes place there.

No, Mike and I (co-authors of the Acquire the Evidence website Fred pointed out above) are not advocating people just wander into these events, as many of those who have, and then came back out and attempted to explain what they thought they just saw have, at times, further clouded the issue through their misreporting and basic lack of familiarity with the subculture (as in, no, a worship band is not part of a "rock concert", to label it such is to completely miss the point of the "worship periods" that begin each of the 4 sessions.)

Nor am I saying some variation on 'leave it to the 'experts'' (whoever the hell that might be).

What we are saying is:

  1. researchers, activists etc. who go in are essentially confronted with a tidal wave of what they will likely consider 'bad stuff,' hour after hour of stuff that anyone with any clue in relation to history, or rhetorical structure, or even the use of biblical parables are at times going to be 'upset' by. (Other times they'll be bored by it.)

  2. but based upon the history of what has happened in the past year, during which Teen Mania has gone from obscurity in terms of external to the culture researchers etc. to the pages of the latest junk book about the 'religious right', complete with all the authors assumptions,merely using Teen Mania's events as further fodder and proof of 'evil', those who have gone in the last year and come out and have written about it have consistently created memes that while oft repeated all over the net, are often flat out proveably incorrect.

Just my opinion here, but telling people to go into events, when people can't event get the name of the events straight is nonsensical. Further, if those going in are expecting to see guns a blazin', "nazi salutes" or other such as normative parts of an Acquire the Fire event, they're pretty much in for disappointment.

Teen angst and the arrested development of men over 40 are far more easily spotted.

by Lauren Sabina Kneisly on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 05:38:48 AM EST

The events listed are on the Battle Cry section of the Teen Mania web site. So if there is a distinction it is one that the group itself does not obviously make, although I am sure you are correct in your distinction.

My listing the events was simply an effort to make people aware that there is something coming their way, and not necessarily a call to attend, picket or take any action whatsoever.  That said, I do think it is a good and healthy thing for people to learn about organizations and attend events, and find out what is going on in their community and in the world. People have to start somewhere. It is good for people to do their own homework and sort out the truth from the hype; or indeed, discover something problematic that might otherwise have gone unnoticed or misunderstood. I have over the years attended events that seemed to be interesting that were not, and seemingly marginal events that had far more significance than I had thought. It is certainly a lesson that any reporter, researcher, or scholar learns -- one's presumptions are often wrong, and that it is important to attend events in a spirit of seeking to learn. It is a good thing, as your web site suggests, to acquire the evidence.

In this post, I invited people to check out the links I have provided and see for themselves. I presumed nothing. If there are different kinds of events, as you say, people will learn that. Good.

Although I have written to you and Mike more than once, inviting you write from your knowledge about all this and heard nothing back, I remain confident that you can do better than a lengthy nit pick in a comment thread, and more proactively help us all to separate what is important from what is not, and the actual significance of all this.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 01:54:34 PM EST

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