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What Would Jesus Buy?

12 Oct, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

This may not be the most popular column I write this year, but here goes:

This new trend of marketing to Christian groups is really starting to irk me. It made sense with The Passion of the Christ, which had fundamentalists showing up in droves at the theaters and buying discs directly through church marketing programs. But now it's clear that claiming religiosity is the key to selling the American public everything from presidents to penguins.

Actually, The Passion was a good indicator. It proved you can sell anything to people if it plays to their appearance of piety — even a snuff movie in a dead language. More than one person commented that the disc sold like hotcakes to people who wanted to just have it on the shelf to announce their Christian leanings.

For me, it all smacks of the moneylenders in the temple. For those of you who are behind on your New Testament, the story goes that Jesus came upon a temple where the merchants were engaged in sometimes-less-than-honest commerce. He went into a tirade about how that disrespected his father and threw them all out.

I guess I'm the only one who sees the parallel with sending direct-to-consumer emails using church-based lists or setting up Web sites to promote certain titles under the mantle of "faith." Which, by the way, seems to exclude a number of other faiths.

Looking at it that way, we know what Jesus would do. It saddens me that the question now is "What would Jesus buy?"

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