Thursday, 27 October 2011

Obligatory Halloween post: Jesus Ween!

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Relentless knife-merchant Michael Myers looks to settle
a sibling-rivalry in Halloween (1978)
Every year it seems I end up doing a post about Christian objections to Halloween festivities (cf: this, this, this, this and this). To be honest, I quite enjoy it. I get to use terrifying pictures of pumpkins and skeletons and horror film stills and the like, and it gives me chance to wheel out a phrase I like to think I coined – "Biblical correctness gone mad".

But this year I thought I wasn't going to write one. I hadn't really seen anything of relevance, so I thought I'd just give it a miss. After all, it's not even like I particularly care about Halloween myself. But this was before I'd heard of Jesus Ween. I could probably end this blogpost here and let you explore the relevant website, because it just sounds great, doesn't it? Jesus Ween! Some of you may have already read about it in Shortlist magazine, as their columnist Danny Wallace has written about a photo of him being used to promote it, but to summarise it's an attempt by a group of American Christians to reclaim 31 October for Christianity. Here's some blurb from the website:
"JesusWeen is a non profit organization also known as JesusWin. We are focused on helping people live better lives through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. JesusWeen is a God-given vision which was born as an answer to the cry of many every October 31st. The dictionary meaning of Ween is to expect, believe or think. We therefore see October 31st as a day to expect a gift of salvation and re-think receiving Jesus.

Every year, the world and its system have a day set aside (October 31st) to celebrate ungodly images and evil characters while Christians all over the world participate, hide or just stay quiet on Halloween day. Being a day that is widely acceptable to solicit and knock on doors, God inspired us to encourage Christians to use this day as an opportunity to spread the gospel. The days of hiding are over and we choose to take a stand for Jesus. 'Evil prevails when good people do nothing'. JesusWeen is expected to become the most effective Christian outreach day ever and that is why we also call it 'World Evangelism Day'."
Those are lofty ambitions, but I have to say I'm sceptical as to whether the idea is going to catch on, given that the aim is to take a fun aspect of Halloween – dressing up in costumes and knocking on peoples' doors asking for sweets – and replace it with a spot of staid Jehovah's-Witness-style door-to-door evangelism.

And, speaking of Halloween, I was interested to see that Fox News in the US has been complaining of a "War on Halloween", claiming, in the time-honoured tradition of the "War on Christmas", that schools are banning Halloween celebrations for fear of offending immigrants. Unsurprisingly, the complaints are rather spurious, but I just found myself wondering what Fox, with its concerns about "political correctness", would make of the "Biblical Correctness" of Jesus Ween? Because if trying to convert the Halloween festivities into a worldwide day of door-to-door evangelism isn't a declaration of War on Halloween, I don't know what is.
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