Posts Tagged ‘civil religion’

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Statue of Liberation Through Christ

November 25, 2007

Statue of Liberation, MemphisOn Independence Day of 2006, the congregation of Memphis’s 12,000-member World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church unveiled their version of the Statue of Liberty. Lady Liberty’s torch is replaced by a cross, and she holds the tablets of the Ten Commandments in her left arm and hand. “Jehovah” is inscribed on her crown. She is called the Statue of Liberation Through Christ, and stands 72 feet tall. The church’s pastor, Apostle Alton Williams, claims that the statue serves as a reminder to all that God is the foundation of our nation. Some people have said that there’s nothing wrong with the statue, especially in the Bible Belt. Some have complained that religion and the symbol of our country’s freedom have nothing to do with each other, and that this statue misconstrues the true meaning of the Statue of Liberty.

Pastor Williams has written a book titled, “The Meaning of the Statue of Liberation Through Christ: Reconnecting Patriotism with Christianity.” His church is predominantly black, and in another of his books, Williams says that the real Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, “was originally intended not to welcome immigrants but to celebrate the emancipation of slaves” (New York Times, 2006).

Dismissed by one man as a cheap publicity stunt, the monument was anything but cheap. The structure cost the church $260,000, and was erected on church property. Williams is quoted at the end of the article as saying, “This statue proves that Jesus Christ is Lord over America, he is Lord over Tennessee, he is Lord over Memphis.”

What does a symbol like this say to people of other religious faiths in America? Are you okay with taking an American icon and changing its appearance and meaning? Does this “work” as evangelism?

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Hello world!

November 19, 2007

Welcome to Godvertising.wordpress.com. I invite you to become a part of a new dialogue, a new discussion that may lead to a better understanding of our unique American brand of observable manifestations of faith, discipleship, and piety—simply put, godvertising.

If you have ever seen a metallic fish decal affixed to the rear of a vehicle, a billboard exhorting attendance at church, a T-shirt sporting a special take on a verse or concept from the bible, a sign in front of a church proclaiming a humorous or inspirational message, a television commercial in which a large group of African-Americans breaks into a rousing, hand-clapping, gospel rendition of “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” in celebration of Mazda’s latest Motor Trend award, or a print ad audaciously announcing the resurrection of a 25-year-old athletic shoe as the “Second Coming,” then you have witnessed godvertising in action. And in the process, perhaps, someone has “witnessed” to you.

Please submit examples of godvertising and/or comment on others’ uploads or comments. What offends you? How does godvertising work to evangelize? Does it put more people into pews—in churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques? Does the consumer product appropriation of religious imagery demean religious faith or does it reinforce it? Does the proliferation of religious imagery signify greater religiosity or not? How do religions compete with each other in their messages in ads, on billboards, on television, on the ‘Net, or on the radio? How are some denominations branding themselves? How do religious themes in our advertising media encroach upon the domain of civil religion or vice versa? What is the place of religion in politics? Where is it all leading?
Let’s hear from you on any aspect of this discussion. Suggest categories! Suggest ways to make this discussion better.