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Praise the Lord and Pass the Joystick
N ever forgoing the opportunity to wage war on the evil empire of secular humanists and spread the “good word,” Christian fundamentalists recently took their pitch to new heights. Not so ironically it was in a secular setting. The folks responsible for the Left Behind series of books debuted their latest attempt to “win” lost souls with a new video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.
The object of the Left Behind video game is to “wage a war of apocalyptic proportions. Join the ultimate fight of Good against Evil, commanding Tribulation Forces or the Global Community Peacekeepers, and uncover the truth about worldwide disappearances,” the company’s website proclaims.
All of those wonderfully heroic holy characters—Rayford, Chole, Buck, and Bruce—from the novels are ready to battle nonbelievers. They lead the Tribulation Force against Nicolae Carpathia, the anti-Christ who heads up the secular Global Community Peacekeepers (think UN). The many levels and stratagems a gamer is able to experience include:
- Conducting physical and spiritual warfare using the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield military weaponry
- Recovering ancient scriptures and witnessing angelic and demonic activity as a direct consequence of your choice
- Commanding forces through intense battle across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City
- Controlling more than 30 unit types including Prayer Warrior, Hellraiser to Spies, Special Forces, and Battle Tanks
- Enjoying robust single player experiences across dozens of NYC maps that include Chinatown, Soho, Uptown, and more
- Playing multiplayer games with up to eight players via the Internet
The game’s trailer breaks humans into three categories: (1) believers: those who seek a personal relationship with God; (2) un-believers and believers: those who don’t seek after God; (3) faithless: those who chose to ignore God.
The game’s characters are confusing. The most evil characters are the faithless. They look exactly like the folk that flock to fundamentalist religions by the drove. This will befuddle most secular humanists whom the fundies have aimed the game toward as a means of conversion. The fact that the secular characters are depicted as an anonymous monolithic bunch speaks volumes as well.
Another vexing point of the game’s characters is the fine distinction made between “believers who don’t seek after God” and “those who chose to ignore God.” It may just be semantics, but both groups sound like they have better things to do than sit around waiting for the Rapture just so they can leave their wardrobe behind. Using the term “Global Community Peacekeepers” is also odd when these are the evil folk the Tribulation Force is bent on defeating. Even on the surface it is apparent that the folks behind the game have little interest in compassion, charity, love, or peace—all basic tenants of the Christianity that the man from Galilee preached.
The hypocrisy of the self-appointed righteous continues to escalate. The fundies consistently assail the entertainment industry as hedonistic and godless, yet it is that arena where they are currently waging the battle to convert all those “other” folks to their side. When it comes to all things holy and sacred nothing says it better than Nintendo.
Even without all the pseudo proselytizing, Left Behind is thankfully an abject failure as it eschews many of the things that attract gamers in the first place. Grand Theft Auto is a major seller not because of its storyline, but because it has plenty of graphic violence, celebrates the criminal, and also tosses in animated sex for good measure.
While the first image in the game’s promo is a direct rip off of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, obviously the game’s designers lacked the courage of their convictions to really allow the secular humanists a good look at what is in store for them come the apocalypse.
The fundies are probably the only group on the entire planet who actually look forward to a worldwide apocalypse. Unfortunately, as with any war, there are all those millions affected who didn’t sign on for the Rapture. By using a simple video game to set the stage for the real Armageddon, the fundies are once again lying. In a real war prayer does not miraculously restore powers to a wounded soldier whose leg has been blown off and allow him to reenter the battlefield. This is brainwashing on the most simplistic level. If operating a joy stick was all it took, there would be far fewer soldiers left behind on the battlefield and returning home unscathed.
All that a game like Left Behind does is further point out the hypocrisies of a group that breeds hate and intolerance and wraps itself in the flag. In this case it is best to take the fundies at their word and leave this game behind on the store shelf.
John Zavesky is a freelance writer living in California.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.