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Shhh – Don’t Disturb the Christians

Keep it very, very quiet, but those Mayday protestors demonstrating against McDonald’s, Nike and other symbols of US-led globalisation have picked the wrong target. If you want to see some local retailers where American hegemony reigns supreme, just check out our evangelical bookstores.


I went yesterday to the nearby Word bookstore. There, as usual, I saw shelf after shelf after shelf laden with the latest US priorities — a large display of Prayer of Jabez merchandise, huge numbers of Left Behind books, Max Lucado books, volumes on the end times and creation science and the evils of Harry Potter, Charles Swindoll books, John C. Maxwell Christian success books, Amy Grant CDs, Christian diet books, Gaither Gospel Series CDs and videos, and much, much more.


Virtually all from America.


Of course there are plenty of other stores in Australia packed with imported goods. What about the Disney stores or the Warner Brothers stores (not to mention the Nike stores)?


Yes, they’re selling US brand merchandise, but most of it is made in various Asian nations, boosting the economies of those countries and providing people with much-needed employment opportunities. By contrast, most of the books and CDs and videos at Word and Koorong are printed and manufactured in America and imported from there, directly boosting the US economy. (I’m not necessarily critical. I’m pretty pro-American.)


There are some Australian products. There are local books, but only a few of them are displayed in any great quantity. There are also locally printed versions of popular American books. But they are swamped by American-sourced product. Only the big display of Hillsong worship CDs provides much competition. Indeed, I would challenge anyone to find a chain of stores in Australia with a higher proportion of its merchandise that’s US-made than our evangelical bookstores.


But wait, there are some products made in Asia. For example, there’s the Prayer of Jabez mug. And the “Let Us Fix Our Eyes” walnut cross with silver metal insert. And the Jabez notepad with magnet. And the “I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches” wall hanging. And the Jabez prayer journal.


They’re all made in China.


China, of course, is a country that is ruthless in its repression of unsanctioned Christian groups, with mass arrests, torture and execution the official policy.


But keep it very, very quiet.


Mustn’t disturb local Christians.

May 5th, 2002