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It's a controversial question implied in a daring new Chevrolet marketing campaign in which the automaker is hitching cars to faith in Christ during 16 evangelical concerts that will end at the Palace on Nov. 23.
These "Chevrolet Presents: Come Together and Worship" stage shows, debuting Nov. 1 in Atlanta, already are sparking outrage and praise.
"This may be a sign of the times, but it's not a good sign," said Rabbi James Rudin, spokesman for the American Jewish Committee in New York. "America is increasingly multiethnic and multireligious. So, for an American icon like Chevrolet to link itself to one religion, Christianity, and then one specific group within Christianity is divisive.
I SUGGEST EVERYONE READ MR. BETZS' COMMENTS. THIS IS ABOUT BUSINESS, HE SAYS. THIS IS ABOUT SELLING CARS. THIS IS ALSO ABOUT SELLING BOOKS AND COMPACT DISKS. THIS IS ABOUT DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. CAR COMPANIES WILL SPEND AND SPEND AGAIN TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR GOALS. NO HOLDS BARRED. THEIR GOD IS THE COMPANY AS IT IS THE NASHVILLE PSUEDO-CHRISTO MUSIC PRODUCERS. I CAN SEE IT NOW OR LATER - A GIANT CROSS DESCENDING TO HOVER OVER A PACKED STADIUM WITH THE CHEY BOW-TIE MOUNTED AT THE CROSS-PIECE. G.M. AND MR. BETZ MAY BE ABOUT BUSINESS AND SELLING CARS. MAX LUCADO, MIKE SMITH, AND THIRD DAY MAY BE ABOUT SELLING BOOKS AND RECORDS BUT WE IN THE PULPITS ARE ABOUT PREACHING THE TRUTH FOUND IN THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST! J. VERNON MCGEE SAID THERE ARE ONLY TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE - THE SAINTS AND THE AIN'TS. CHRIST SAID, LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD. THAT CHEVY BOWTIE WILL MAKE ONE FINE GRAVE MARKER.
No doubt "this event is not a church" and "Chevrolet is not the state." Those points are not at question.
The problem is Phyllis Tickle's claim. Here's what she said: "We know that church and state are never supposed to meet...." Then she says the same thing about church and Wall Street. I *do* agree that church and Wall Street should not meet "like this." No one should support this kind of event.
While we shouldn't commercialize Christ, how can we justify Phyllis Tickle's claim that Christianity should have nothing to do with either government or business? Shouldn't we acknowledge and submit to the King of Glory in everything we do?
>>Phyllis Tickle, an expert on religious marketing for Publishers Weekly magazine, said, "This is surprising -- a real blurring of the lines between the commercial and the sacred. And it's unfortunate, because it compromises both sides. We know that church and state are never supposed to meet, and I think it's also a bad idea for church and Wall Street to be meeting like this."
It's too bad "Rev." Lucado, Michael W. Smith, and Third Day aren't this clearheaded.
When religion becomes merely entertainment and marketing, the next logical step is corporate "sponsoring" of that entertainment. It's disgusting and despicable.