Monday, January 29, 2007

"Donnie Davies" parody video

I'm sure many of you have already seen the music video "God Hates Fags" that made the Internet rounds last week. But if you haven't here it is:

The fact that there was controversy about whether this was a parody or an actual Christian music video is itself a sad commentary on the public image of evangelicalism. We now know that "Donnie Davies" is really comedian Joel Oglesby (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan), but the discussion was interesting while it lasted.

When I first saw the video, I was taken aback by how polished and professional it looked. I could tell right away it was a parody, but I became concerned that people would think this was for real. Then the more I watched it, the funnier it seemed.

Pretty soon I began to think: Knowing it is a parody, should Christians be upset about it? Well, before you send Donnie Davies/Joel Oglesby a nasty email complaining about how he is "misrepresenting Christians," consider that for many years the Rev. Fred Phelps has been running an actual ministry in which he seriously promotes the message that "God hates fags." Now isn't Phelps' very public, dead-serious ministry a much more alarming misrepresentation of our Christian faith than Oglesby's poking-fun-at-us music video? We stand aside and let Phelps to do the damage he does, but are quick to get upset at the guy who's just making fun of us for allowing Phelps to get away with it. It raises the question of whether most evangelical Christians really do disapprove of Phelps, or whether some like to keep him around because he does their dirty work.

If the latter suggestion offends you as a Christian, then can you explain why hasn't there been a bigger outcry against Phelps' ministry in the evangelical church? I've never heard of an organized effort to oppose Phelps the way I've seen evangelicals organize vocal opposition to, say, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the gay marriage movement, or the appointment of "activist judges."

Maybe that's the point of Oglesby's video. It's brilliant when you think about it.