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The last two decades have seen the release of a number of explicitly Christian movies which tell stories of believers navigating the trials and tribulations - both literal and figurative - of a perceived non-Christian world. In this universe, followers of Christ are constantly under siege by secularists, swarthy Muslims, gay and trans agenda-pushers, feminists and a hostile, out-of control federal government.
While the media usually lumps these movies into a generalized “faith” category they are best viewed not as earnest meditations on religion and “faith,” but a political project on behalf of the Republican party, with a distinct protestant flavor.
Today, we are going to focus on the biggest and most influential players in the “Christian cinema” space: production company and distributor PureFlix and Affirm, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Worldwide. Pureflix and Affirm embody the core ideological tropes of the U.S. conservative base: a promotion of US militarism, anti-Muslim racism, pro-capitalist messaging, hostility to LGBTQ populations, anti-Semitic Zionism and a runaway contempt for women.
On this episode, we’ll discuss how the Christian cinema industry is not just low-budget schlocky propaganda that’s fun to dunk on (though it certainly is), but something more deliberate, sinister, and corrosive––a state-subsidized, far-right messaging machine for American reactionaries and imperial interests.
We are joined by author, artist and filmmaker Frank Schaeffer.