March 27, 2006

A Badge of Honor

At least that's what I would call it if the San Fran Board of Supervisors goes out of their way to officially condemn your rally... your evangelical teen rally.

More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."
Oh, yeah... fascism is exactly what I think when I think of a bunch of Christian teens getting together...

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco,... told counterprotesters at City Hall on Friday that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, "they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco."
Wow... that's ...tolerant, isn't it? I wonder what is so horrible about these kids, anyway... this is their mission statement:
To provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take His life-giving message to the ends of the earth!
Well, yeah... I can see how that could be construed as fascist by... by... well, by someone, I'm sure...

Here's more from their brainwasher founder/organizer:

Luce didn't flinch in the face of the counterprotest. The author, host of the "Acquire the Fire TV" cable television program and a President Bush appointee to a federal anti-drug-abuse commission, wants teens to find Bible-based solutions for the spread of sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and suicide.

The villains, Luce said, range from the promiscuity and "sexualization" of young people on MTV and the popular online meeting hub to a corporate culture that spends millions trying to woo the under-21 crowd. Battle Cry will try to bring them back to God through two days of religious rockers, speakers and the debut of what Luce called a Christian alternative to My

"This is more than a spiritual war," Luce said. "It's a culture war." Military metaphors abound in Luce's descriptions of the struggle. He tells young people of how "an enemy has launched a brutal attack on them." At a pre-Battle Cry rally Friday afternoon on the steps of City Hall, Luce told his mostly teenage audience that "terrorists of a different kind" -- advertisers -- were targeting them and that they were "caught in the middle of the battle."

Scary, ain't it? Kids, ready to tell the world that they don't want what the world has to offer. Yeah... I can see how some people might find that offensive... those trying to promote what the world has to offer. Those who are trying to convince everyone (especially themselves, it seems) that anything goes, and no one should think otherwise. But, wait... let's see what the City Supervisors had to add.
"There is a real intolerancy to homosexuality in a lot of these organizations," said Peter Cobb, an organizer with Not In Our Name.

Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning the "act of provocation" by what it termed an "anti-gay," "anti-choice" organization that aimed to "negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city."

..."Even if it is done by a Barnum & Bailey crowd with a tent and some snake oil, I think we need to pay attention to it," said Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who authored the condemnation resolution. "We should not fall asleep at the wheel."

This is tolerance? Wow... I hate to see... intolerance... from these people.

But, they're right, you know. Homosexuality is pretty much a big bad no-no, according to the Bible. Killing innocents is quite verboten, as well. The list of "don't dos" is pretty long. I bet these kids even had the nerve to wear silver rings.

I think that's the problem. In San Francisco, the epitome of almost everything that is going wrong in pop culture today, to have a bunch of teenagers gather and proudly say, "we want something more... we want something better than what you can offer us," is probably more than these "enlightened ones" can possibly handle. These kids... the future of our country, are standing in love (not hatred or disrespect) and saying "we're not going to buy into your world view."

I wonder if it makes any of them think, "what if those kids are right?"

Posted by Beth W at March 27, 2006 06:26 PM

Its just a general cultural conflict. The evangelicals see the population of SF as immoral and decadent. Some of that population sees the evangelicals as huge-egoed moral-dictators. They arn't going to just tolerate each other so easily.

I cant imagine the rally actually changing the views of anyone. People are too stubborn for that. It would help if the evangalicals droped their objections to homosexuality - its the perfect angle from which to attack them as 'preachers of hate', and sometimes the accusations are quite accurate. I know the bible has many negative things to say, but personally, I think these are only aspects of the culture at the time it was written embedding its own moral code into a sacred text - and not relivent today.

You need to think of what the evangelicals look like from the perspective of someone used to the more flexible and tolerant SF culture. There you are living your life happily, watching MTV, eating McDonalds, wearing the latest revealing clothes for your nights clubbing... when a temporary invasion arrives. Thousands of people are waving bibles as they systematically attack every aspect of your culture as sinful. They proclaim in smug fashion that they are Saved and you will suffer. Then a few of them - not all, just a few, but the others certinly dont condemn the few - come forward and explain that homosexuals are the scourge of society. Living in SF, its quite likely a few of your friends are homosexual or bisexual. So overall, from the outside they sound like stuck-up, holier-than-thou snobs who are convinced that only by taking society back a hundred years can it be saved and consider you too low to even talk to. Are there the type of people you would listen to? Probably not.

I am *not* saying that the rally was like that. I am just saying that from the outside, viewed from someone with a relatively liberal cultural background, thats what it looks like.

Still, could have been worse - at least we havn't had a Creationist Rally yet.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at March 28, 2006 04:08 AM

Suricou Raven, I think that the rally will change people's minds, but not in the same way you mean. I think that this will encourage young Christians to speak their mind.

You're right, though. The people of San Francisco probably did feel that every aspect of their culture was being attacked. But not because a bunch of teenagers rallied and said that they wanted something more wholesome in their lives, and not because a few came forward and said that "homosexuality is a scourge on socity." (and I am pretty sure that some of the signs said something like that... but homosexuality was probably not the only thing "targeted" in the message.) The Bible does say that that there is only one way to Heaven, and those kids believe that. The Bible also calls them to behave in certain ways- ways they don't see portrayed in the media very often. They don't want to take society back a hundred years- there really isn't anything new under the sun. The same things, in one form or another, were around back when the Bible was written.

I can only hope that you are wrong on one point- that the people at the rally would consider the people who protested the rally to be too low to talk to. If they think that, then they have a long way to go before they understand the Jesus they say they've accepted as Lord.

I know that it's more than a belief in God- it's the perception that they are being condemned, on their home turf, for things they consider perfectly fine. The problem with that is the people of San Francisco are seeing it as a personal attack, and the Bible doesn't say that, exactly. We've all screwed up, not just those who do X, Y, or Z.

Your comment (and the city's Board of Supervisors' reaction to the rally) brings to mind a quote. "Which is more irrational- the man who believes in a God he doesn't see, or a man who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?" If San Francisco is supposed to be the most tolerant city out there, then why can they not tolerate a group of people who don't agree with them on everything?

Posted by: Beth W at March 28, 2006 08:36 AM

Im not offended by God. Just by a number of people who claim to be acting in His name.

I was only saying how those at the rally would look to the locals. That is how I would have percieved them, before I took more of an interest in religion.

Perhaps 'talk to' would have been better put as 'talk with.' If someone goes on a rally like this one, they clearly want to talk to 'the enemy' - or at least talk at them. But most would have no more interest in listening to any reply than those they are talking to would want to listen to lectures on their own immorality. Minds are closed on both sides.

One thing that a tolerant culture can tolerate poorly is intolerance. They can put up with it, reluctantly, but not accept it.

Also, I think that - whatever the bible says - this was a personal attack. When thousands of people decide they their dislike for your culture is so intense they must travel across half a country in order to explain why they think you are the New Sodom, that seems quite personal. Those at the rally could have stayed home, or gone to the famous Bible belt. Or shut themselves off with no cable-TV. But they wern't content with avoiding coming into contact with corruption themselves - they decided that if they wouldn't let themselves be exposed, then noone must be allowed to see it.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at March 28, 2006 11:13 AM

"a corporate culture that spends millions trying to woo the under-21 crowd. "

"The $55 advance tickets for two days of musical performances and speeches were sold out, but walk-up admission was available for $199."

Erm.... So, what was he protesting again? Something about a culture that uses peer-pressure to convince teenagers to spend money on... right.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at March 28, 2006 11:17 AM

This wasn't just "targeting" San Francisco. There will be several of these rallies across the United States, and the San Francisco rally was the first.

Uh... yeah... the price tag was a little steep. I understand why they put a price tag on it- those musicians and speakers are being paid to peform/speak. It wasn't like a political rally- it was more of a conference, I suppose.

Teen Mania has conferences (not just the Battle Cry rallies) around the country, and they support mission work around the world. I guess they have to fund those projects, as well.

Posted by: Beth W at March 28, 2006 12:51 PM

The prices seem a little suspicious to me - the concerts look extravegent, like they could be done for much less with a little penny-pinching. And then, why is an organision whose stated mission is the spread of the gospel putting on concerts anyway?

They should have started off somewhere else :) Trying to evangelise San Francisco is jumping in at the deep end.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at March 28, 2006 01:36 PM

Yeah... starting in San Fran was... bold, to say the least.

As for the concerts... there are a lot of Christian rock groups, and music can be an awesome evangelical tool.

Posted by: Beth W at March 28, 2006 10:52 PM

They shouldn't have started in San Francisco? What? They started in Tulsa about 20 years ago...

I know firsthand, that the money goes to support summer missions for teenagers. It can definitely be done for less, but who knows if less will get the kids' attention or not. I would hope it would, but publicity is good too. :)

Posted by: Daniel at March 31, 2006 11:00 AM