Who wants to play Christian gang? Ok. Let’s pretend we’re patrolling the streets of post-apocalyptic New York and killing off Jews, atheists, and other evil people who refuse to convert to our kind of Christianity. Ooh-Rah!
This is the subject of, Left Behind – Eternal Forces, a video game series based on the frighteningly successful Rapture series, co-authored by Jerry Jenkins and the bible-thumping, fundamentalist minister Tim Lahaye. These games are not new, they've been around awhile, and are carried by over 10,000 U.S. retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Circuit City, GameStop, EB Games, CompUSA, Amazon.com, Costco. They first hit the shelves in 2006, just in time in time to celebrate the birth of the man known as the Prince of Peace. The latest game, Left Behind-World at War 4, was released at the end of 2011. I am bringing the games up now because one, I just discovered them, and two, because they are part of the nationwide indoctrination of the children of the right into the ways of Christian Dominionism.
The game teaches children that it is noble, right, to kill any man or woman who refuses to convert, to worship, as they do. Killing for Christ then becomes an extension of religious freedom. The Christian gang member feels deep, gut-wrenching agony when he/she bumps into someone who refuses to see reason and convert, and that you see is the purpose of prayer, prayer will give you the strength to follow through (eat my gun) on what needs to be done in the name of Christ. Children who play the game are the same children who attend schools that teach creationism rather than evolution, schools that are slowly but surely beginning to receive federal funding. These children are the next generation of Tea Partiers; these children are the future Paul Ryans, Lila Roses, and James O’Keefes.
Left Behind Games claims its products perpetuate positive values. What the games actually do is deepen the fault lines between the religious right and everybody else. When people feel insecure they reach, they grasp, for orthodoxy, they give up personal freedom for safety; they project their fears outward, onto what Carl Jung calls the "other." In this case that would be people who worship differently. The difference becomes the reason why everything is a mess, not safe, and all these ugly things are happening. If they would just convert...
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Katherine Manaan