Engaging Culture

Manufacturing a Protest from Christians

On June 2nd, a protest march was staged outside the Los Angeles Convention Center.  It was Christians protesting the release of the new video game by Electronic Arts called Dante’s Inferno game, according to the Associated Press.  The only problem?  It was all staged.  Because Christian protests in the past have generated publicity, EA decided to hire a marketing company to create the whole thing.  They even created this fake Christian protest website called “We Are Saved.”  As World Magazine reported:

“Channeling its best Ned Flanders, Electronic Arts (EA), distributor of popular gaming software titles like Madden and Rockband, staged a protest—of its own product. A marketing team hired by EA staged a protest of EA’s upcoming release “Dante’s Inferno,” a third-person action-adventure game based loosely on the epic poem by the Italian poet. The undercover marketing group sought to stir up publicity at a trade show in Los Angeles on June 6 by posing as Christians who objected to the game, saying video games ought not glorify eternal damnation. The paid picketers even held up signs that read, “Hell Is Not a Video Game” and “Trade in Your PlayStation for a PrayStation.”

What is your reaction to this?  When the culture creates a parody protest from Christians, isn’t that a huge indicator that the real ones they’re making fun of, don’t work?  Maybe it’s time Christians created a new engagement strategy.

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  1. Did it work? I hadn’t heard anything about it before reading your blog. I mean, did mainstream media pick up on it? Were they fooled? Did they expose it as a media stunt?

  2. I don’t know whether to laugh really loud or cry uncontrollably.

    I think we’ve known for a long time Christian protests don’t work. That it would be a marketing tool, well thats innovative marketing. When will it get to the point that Christian’s need to make a parody of evil to shock people to church?

  3. All it proves is that protests [whether fake or real] often attract media attention.   I have seen Green activists do the same thing, while chained to a bulldozer.  They spend all their time on their mobile phone calling the TV station, seeking coverage.

    A valid question about the effectiveness of a campaign.  But what is the alternative?  Just sit back like most gutless Christians & watch the world race headlong to Hell?  Yeah, great. 

    The new engagement strategy might well be to gain some some testicular fortitude.






  4. Let’s figure out who the marketing company who orchestrated this travesty is and go protest them…

    Oh wait.


    When i see things like this, my first reaction is “Maybe Christians should avoid the media entirely.”  i don’t believe that for a second, but i think Christians should find ways to break into the media with actions over words.  Why can’t we be on the news for our coming alongside a downtrodden community more often, instead of this kind of crap?

  5. One of the troubles is Christians want to defend what they see as ‘right’ which is often very un-Christlike and even bigotry. Now it seems the approach of the PR compamny above is a further indictment of Christianity that the perception is that’s what we do as Christians, defend OUR rights and views instead of quietly getting on defending our neighbours (and enemies?!) from injustices.

    Time for a hymn…. 😉

  6. When I read the signs, I thought, thank goodness those aren’t as hateful as the usual signs from Christian protests! 

    Then I read the blog. *sigh* Seems the fake Christian protest isn’t nearly as mean-spirited as the real Christian protests against stuff.

    Yes, It think this way of communicating isn’t the best one for followers of Jesus. And, as a strategy to convince anyone to listen to the Gospel, it completely fails. 

    I have to admit, it was a clever PR ploy for the game company . . . they just shoulda been meaner to be more believable!? *sigh*


  7. I’ve often caught flack for my “failure” to take a hard stand.  Some may call it taking a stand, I say it more often then not just makes us (Christians) look foolish and/or gives free publicity to the thing we are protesting.

    GoDaddy is a great example.  I listened to a group trying to get other Christians to not only boycott GoDaddy but to take any domain names they had registered there to someone else.

    One said “Where do we draw the line?” 

    Apparently at food as someone else pointed out that the Doritos Ads were much worse but since we eat a lot of them no one wanted to boycott them.

    If you think the game is inappropriate — don’t buy it! If you think the movie is inappropriate — don’t see it! 

    If you want to change the world you first need to change yourself.  Rather then try to be the consience trying to force your views on everyone else, be the example and show them how it should be.

  8. Humorous and disturbing at the same time is what came to my mind seeing this. What I think is true is that video games are a powerful form of media with potential to shape culture and influence. Christians should start making some cool biblical video games–imagine David carrying Goliaths head in HD on your Xbox? Rated M?

  9. You know, I really don’t quite know what to think of this.  On the one hand, I’m offended – can you imagine the trouble if someone posed as fake Muslims for a marketing stunt?  On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure why I’m offended.  I can easily enjoy a movie like, say, Saved, possibly because I don’t mind the stereotype being challenged in cinema – but why does it bother me when it is suddenly real people going out and posing as us?

    Should I even be offended?  I really don’t know.  It’s certainly worth thinking about.

    It makes me think about Kevin Smith’s story about going down to join Catholic protestors who were marching against his movie Dogma.  I’d like to take the whole thing the way he did; with amusement.

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