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Religion Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

In God we trust -- it�s on the money!
By Nick Paccione
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Dec 15, 2006, 01:14

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Is there any other culture in the world that has exploited their religious icons like America�s Christians have exploited God and Jesus?

It�s old news that George W Bush and Karl Rove created a coalition rooted in Christian support to win their elections. It�s newer news that a Bush insider has exposed the gimmickry and exploitation of Christians by the Republican power brokers.

Liberals had this puzzle pieced together years ago when Republican masterminds invented the �We Vote Pro-Life� movement. How frustrating it was to quarrel with someone who votes �pro-life� based on the single issue of abortion while ignoring monumental environmental problems, the proliferation of guns, rampant corruption and neglect of the mentally ill and impoverished.

It seemed amazing that Republican strategists were able to get millions of Christians to vote for candidates because they supposedly wore the Christian label while blatantly representing the antithesis of everything that Jesus cared about. But then again could Jesus have ever envisioned Hemi-powered pick-up trucks adorned with metallic �ixous fish� and glowing bumper stickers proclaiming what his legacy means to swarms of Americans?

�Real Men Love Jesus�

�His Pain Is Your Gain�

�Honk If You Love Jesus!�

�This Car is �Prayer Conditioned��

�In Case of Rapture, This Car is Yours�

�T.G.I.F.: Thank God I�m Forgiven�

�Would You Follow Jesus This Close?�

�For All You Do, His Blood�s For You�

I persistently hear the voice of Fredrick from Woody Allan�s �Hannah and Her Sisters� in my head: �If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.�

Republican puppet masters aren�t the only ones benefiting from the manipulation of the simple-minded that would adorn their cars with this twaddle. Obviously, the televangelists are the most direct beneficiaries followed by the rest of the ministers that pass the collection basket and then enjoy all the luxuries of life.

Less talked about are the immensely lucrative industries that have been spawned by giving the faithful what they want and need. All the aforementioned slogans are also available on coffee mugs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, bookmarks, banners and wall plaques.

If you are so inclined, capitalistic Christians have the ideal item just for you and they haven�t missed a single heaven-sent gimmick. Scented candles promise to fill your home with the biblical odors of frankincense and myrrh, while various other aromas are designed to quiet your mind and lead you to more picture-perfect devotion. And who would dream of burning their candles without a candleholder inscribed with the words, �I Am the Light of the World�?

Your wall clock ticks away the seconds while the hands of time sweep past inspirational messages like �As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.� And just to keep you mindful of your piety while in the kitchen, why not invest in some Christian kitchenware including scripture-inscribed pottery, potholders, serving ware, pie plates, cutting boards, napkin rings, coasters and aprons. And don�t forget when it�s time to dry the dishes you�ll need your Thessalonians dish towels.

Whose bathroom would be complete without some �Fruit of the Spirit� bath towels? That�s right, you can even dry your work-worn hands on luxuriant terrycloth embossed with inspirational quotes from some of your favorite biblical action heroes.

And when it�s time to eat, serve up the biscuits in a beautiful basket ornamented with a Bible verse that makes mealtime more inspirational than ever. Made of solid maple, each basket is lasered with "Give us this day our daily bread� -- an extraordinary addition to any table. How about a lazy Susan painted with a verse or two from Corinthians? It�s the ultimate complement to your white linen napkins that are lovingly embroidered with �Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest and Let These Gifts to Us Be Blessed.�

Why stop with the d�cor when you can eat an array of foods from a most ingenious company called �Food for Life.� They offer breads, buns, muffins, pocket breads, cereals, tortillas and pastas. Their Ezekiel line of foodstuff is inspired by a Bible verse that actually gives the recipe for whole grain products (Ezekiel 4:9). Their whole-grain breads are made from the seed-bearing trees as mentioned in Genesis 1:29. Packaged with colorful artwork of doves and Bible quotes, these fine foods are available in your grocer�s freezer and they are sure to fill you up in more ways than one.

Don�t overlook the kids. Just in case they�re not already embarrassed or slightly frightened by your fanatical lifestyle, you just might want to turn off the TV and set them to play with some wonderful Bible-based wooden building blocks. Who needs Barney when your offspring can amuse themselves and build a fort from bricks engraved with Bible verses? It all stacks up for hours of fun.

Joy is the name of the game for the whole family with incredible Bible memory matching games. Goodbye Candyland; hello Holy Land. And the teens in the family will have a genuine hoot with uproarious boxed competitive games, including �Bible Mad Gab,� �Bible Outburst,� and �The Life of Christ� board game. Put away Monopoly, Clue and Taboo and have some fun with the Holy Book. Don�t pass heaven; don�t forget to tithe $200.

Now let�s go to the office where your business card holder bears witness to your devotion. And when you�re signing those pink slips, contracts and imperative memos, use your lovely Christian rosewood pen -- the perfect tool for the very special executive. It�s laser-engraved with "Jesus Christ is Lord" and it can be used for years because you can refill it with standard Cross refills.

And when it�s time for bed, isn�t it a comfort to know that your greasy hair and runny drool are soiling a pillow that reminds you that �I Can Do Everything Through Him Who Gives Me Strength.� Just be careful not to put your face in the pillow to read as you�re dozing off; suffocation can be unforgiving.

These products are just a few of thousands. If there�s money to be made, America�s Christians haven�t missed an angle. It�s a jamboree of gimmicks, ploys and dollars. How appropriate that the unfailing slogan on all U.S. currency boldly claims �In God We Trust.� It�s hard to argue with the relevance of that one.

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