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Star Wars ‘The Phantom Menace’: An Ultimate Idolatry?

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I wonder how many share with me the irritation of entering a public place to be confronted with life-size cut-out grotesques publicizing Star Wars and products linked to its promotion? This omnipresent mass-market overkill inundates the community, invades our privacy and gives no relief to those of us who despise the whole unsolicited entertainment-marketing blitz!

We need rightly to grieve over this unparalleled greed calculated to obtain billions through the marketing of such despicable merchandise, already a buying frenzy throughout the nation. The Pepsi Corporation, at the cost of a 2.5 billion dollar campaign through the year 2005, is marketing 24 “collector cans” of pop with 4 “limited editions” to come! The face of a devil appeared on my kitchen counter on a litre pop bottle that my wife did not notice in the purchase!

Employers have dismissed their employees to see the film at a cost of $293 millions in lost productivity, and “pilgrims started camping out in front of theaters a month before its opening” (Newsweek magazine, May 17, 1999). The $115 million dollar cost of the film will be easily made up in the first few days of showing with many theaters nationwide averaging six showings per day around the clock with minimal intervals between. The ‘Phantom Menace’ is a menace indeed with ‘Episode II’ already announced to follow. There is no end in sight except for a judgment of God which the idolatrous thing of mammon itself invites. We would do well to consider the rash of high-school shootings and threatened violences as being already a preliminary judgment and warning from God for a dissolute and indulged civilization.

When, for example, is the last time that the devoted camped outside church or synagogue doors waiting their opening? Indeed, it may be that our droll and predictable safe religion has so failed to engage our youth that the appetite for the sensational must be slaked at hi-tech sci-fi wide-screen spectaculars that dumb and devastate the humanity, let alone the spirituality, of the viewers. May I appeal to Christian parents especially to resist this plague, deny your children, and to seek God repentantly for the abject condition of the Faith so evidently incapable of engaging the hearts and mind of this generation as to make them eager candidates for this “entertainment event”? Has there ever been a time as this when to purchase a product or patronize a store was to commit idolatry and give homage to other gods whose demon images stare down at us from the shelves?

It is time, past time, to notify by our abstention (boycott?) the profit-crazed market elite that they have gone too far and that we are under obligation to the God who is God not to so much as “touch the unclean thing” who will soon enough judge it. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication , and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance (glut?) of her delicacies” (Revelation 18:3f.)

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