Thursday, August 20, 2009

Offensive in the Name of Religion

I'm not an easily offended person. Well, at least not easily offended by things that I happen to lay eyes on. However, I've seen a couple of t-shirts the last couple of days that cannot be described in a way other than offensive. Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive here. I'm curious for your input.

The first one (and less offensive of the two, in my humble opinion):

Now, I've said before in this blog that I have a close relationship with my view of God. I've read The Bible extensively and was raised with a great deal of formal religious training. I am 100% for people coming to terms with their spirituality, finding peace and comfort from a higher power, and having a solid belief system ... and if wearing something like a crucifix necklace or Kabbalah bracelet is important to them, more power to you.

That being said, however, my spiritual self takes major issue with the likeness of Jesus Christ replacing the Starbucks siren. As one who tries to live life in a way that mirrors Christ's teaching as set forth in The Bible, I think this sort of cheap commercialism is just ... tawdry.

That one bugged me, but what really drove me over the edge was:

To be completely honest with you, I really liked this shirt when I first saw it. In fact, I kind of wanted to get one of my own. Why? Because my life was saved by a blood transfusion after I experienced serious internal bleeding following surgery. It took me a few minutes to realize that, like the Starbucks rip-off, this shirt was commercializing religion. In my eyes, it was twisting something visually identifiable as one thing (donating blood through the American Red Cross, Starbucks, et cetera) into a religious farce. Because of my personal experience with blood transfusion, it hit me especially hard.

Perhaps I'd feel a bit mollified if I knew that the proceeds from these utterly tasteless mass-produced t-shirts were going to a cause that would be sanctioned by Jesus Christ Himself rather than going into the already deep pockets of enterprising and opportunistic companies.

Am I being overly critical here? Should I just get over it? Why am I so deeply offended here when I'm really pretty easygoing about most things? What does it mean that this is making me examine my own religious feelings?

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